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A PERIODICAL FOXY COMPENDIUM ISSUE NO. SEVENTEEN — 13 JANUARY 2011
F ROM T HE S NOUT If you have read any of the conversational snippets published in The Sniffer over the last year, you will know a few things about James Parker. You might remember that he likes a nip of whiskey before bed. You might remember that he owns a cat called Kenmore. You might also remember that he once made a transport research job palatable by furiously wanking his cock whenever he had the chance. But there are many things you don’t know about James Parker. It doesn’t matter whether you are his best friend, his mother or his wife. There are still things you don’t know. This installment of From The Snout is dedicated to shedding light on these unknowns. Or, to put it in more magazine-friendly form, here are 10 Things You Didn’t Know About James Parker. 1. He studied pharmacy at Bristol University in England. But he was expelled in his second year for gross misconduct. 2. He has a birthmark in the shape of Florida on his left buttock. 3. He once had Copperfield. dinner with David 4. In his early days as a music reviewer in the mid-90s, he coined the phrase “Nosebleed Techno” to describe the fastest and most extreme examples of Belgian techno then being played throughout Europe. 5. He receives around ten letters a year from disgruntled Henry Rollins fans who take issue with some of the things he wrote in his unofficial biography of the singer. 6. He was born on a ship. 7. He was once arrested for urinating in the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park. 8. Backstage at the Brit Awards in 1992, he kissed David Bowie on the mouth. 9. In 2002, he ran the Boston Marathon dressed as a rhinoceros and raised over $5,000 for the World Wildlife Fund. 10. His real first name isn’t James; it’s Leslie.
Should you run into Parker at a dinner party, be sure to quiz him on some of the trivia tidbits above. And, should he deny any of it, watch how red his ears get; he’s a terrible liar. H IS M ASTER ’ S C HOICE Each installment of His Master’s Choice considers a single album that has graced the gramophone of Cocky’s creator and master, James Parker. On this occasion, we sink into an armchair daze and then leap aggressively out of it in response to High On Fire’s Snakes for the Divine.
heavy vehicle perfectly equipped to transport a sylvan off-tits-masher into a realm of ontological navel-gazing. High On Fire can’t claim to have fathered the stoner metal genre; paternal honours go to Kyuss when they began cracking open the rock floor of the Mojave Desert with generator-fuelled noise experiments. But they’re bloody good uncles. They’ve been metallically stoning headbangers and headbongers since the late 1990s and they show no sign of unplugging the Marshall stack.
I realize that the idea of a fox liking music is a ridiculous one, but humour me for a moment. Imagine that Cocky has an iPod and imagine that, in his idle, inebriated moments, he likes to laze under a woodland canopy and accompany his shampoo-guzzling with a suitable soundtrack. What type of music would such a soundtrack contain? And who might play it? If Cocky were a fox of the 1960s and 1970s, there is no doubt he’d be a prog rocker. He’d be all about lighting up a bong of Brylcreem and nodding off to the sound of a lilting, slow-motion Pink Floyd jam. But he’s a fox of now. And the getting-mashed-off-your-tits music of the age is stoner metal. It’s a slow,
Snakes for the Divine is the most recent High On Fire release. And, as if setting out to destroy my foregoing claims about them being bloody good uncles of the genre, these tattooed hairballs start out with a furious, dwiddling onslaught of a title track that sucks simultaneously at the breasts of power metal (the dwiddle) and thrash metal (the fury). This isn’t to say that Cocky wouldn’t enjoy suddenly leaping out of his psychoactivated reverie and punching the shit out of an imaginary battalion of rats while this noise reverberates through his skull. Nor would the second track on the album, Frost Hammer, give him any reason to sit down again and have a breather. It’s another rattling, smashing, roaring bastard. By the end of it, we’d still have a fucked up, pumped up fox spinning and flailing around on the forest floor, with all imaginary rats soundly flattened into a rodent terrine of black fur, grey bone and dirty blood.
Only when Bastard Samurai turns up on the iPod might Cocky think to take a break and munch another handful of mushrooms. In his own warped bonce, he’s just been a bastard samurai, slaying all of ratkind with claw and tooth. But the title of this song belies the heavy-but-dozy riffwork that oozes out of the headphones and into the ear canals like magma through the earth’s intestines. The guitars conspire with gravity and drag your head down; and, once your
head is on the ground, they melt it. This is music that makes you angry. But it’s music that leaves you too lethargic, monged and bunged up to do anything about it. Oi! Get up off your ginger arse, Cocky! Here’s another army of ghost rats to take care of. No sooner than the hirsute noisies have slid down into the stoner groove than they’re back up again with a nose full of amphetamines. Ghost Neck is drums and marching and destruction. It’s music to punch to. High On Fire are now blasting a growly, aggro salvo into the “Come on you cunts” centre of Cocky’s animal brain. He’s whirling around once more, swishing, slashing and thrashing. Swish, slash, thrash, swish, slash, thrash, swish, slash, thrash. The mime-fighting makes him dizzy and tangles his brain. Just like it tangled your tongue as you tried to subvocalize it. Eventually, The Path brings relief. But for how long? Eighty seconds. And then it’s back to the front to have a thrashy, noisy dig at the next phalanx of foes. And the next. And the next. For an album by a stoner metal band, there isn’t actually much stoner metal here. In fact, it isn’t really a stoner metal album at all. It’s more of a troublemakerwho-occasionally-likes-to-get-stoned metal album. Which, when you think about the battle-heavy Odyssey that our vulpine Odysseus has enjoyed, with its occasional interludes of narcotic nut-mashing, makes it all the more fitting an addition to a fighty fox’s iPod. F OX F ACT Poor children in Zambia who can’t afford glue, gasoline or other hallucinogens, turn to the streets for inspiration. They reach down into the gutters, gather up handfuls of the raw sewage festering therein and cram it into plastic bottles. When left in the hot sun for a few hours, the bottled sewage begins to yield a noxious mixture of methane and
other gases. The children then open the bottles and huff the mixture, which is known as jenkem. The high from sniffing this toxic brew lasts for about an hour and yields powerful visual hallucinations. (Jenkem has nothing to do with foxes.) T HE C OCKY C OMPANION Each edition of The Sniffer features an extract from The Cocky Companion, a Rosetta Stone for decoding the less obvious elements of Cocky's London vernacular. This extract looks at you, punches you and swears at you, all within the confines of a draughty metal tube.
N ISSEN H UT The British construction industry has nothing to do with constructing anything. It’s a front for a huge network of greasy spoon cafes in which “builders” guzzle mug after mug of tea, compare the length and hairiness of their arse cracks, and dribble bacon grease and egg yolk on to the breasts of the semi-naked girls who stare up at them from page 3 of The Sun. So if you are interested in getting a house built for your money, what are you to do when 80% of an average builder’s day is spent thus occupied? A Royal Engineer called Major Peter Norman Nissen solved this problem decades before it was a problem: build one yourself. All you need to do is get hold of a big sheet of corrugated steel, bend it into a tunnel shape, stick it in the ground, block off the ends and then put a
door on. A bit basic, you say? It was good enough for officers in the two World Wars, so it’s good enough for you. Stop complaining.
O NCE -O VER Looking at people and beating the shit out of them are, for some reason, united in eternal linguistic matrimony. If you tell me that you just clocked Justin Bieber, are you saying that you caught a glimpse of him or that you gave him a slap? If you mean that you caught a glimpse of him and then gave him a slap, you are to be congratulated. Once-over is another of these devoted see-and-smash unions. As I walk past an Echo Park dive bar, I notice a gentleman outside smoking and loudly telling a group of girls about his latest electro-dub folk-noise project. I give him the once-over and observe that he has a handlebar moustache, a pair of ironic glasses and a t-shirt with a plunging v-neck. The gentleman flicks the butt from his now-expired cigarette into the gutter. But it misfires and boomerangs back into the face of the hulking doorman. The doorman clenches his fists, steps forward and gives the gentleman the once-over. I now give the gentleman the once-over again and observe that his nose is bleeding on to his handlebar moustache, his ironic glasses are smashed and his v-neck shirt is ripped. P ISSED O FF While informal Americans use the monosyllabic sibilant “pissed” to
describe somebody who is upset, informal Britons use it to describe somebody who has swilled down an excess of lager and is behaving like a silly bollocks. Because of this confusion, Americans think drunk Britons are angry and Britons think angry Americans are drunk. So how do Britons, drunk or otherwise, describe angry Britons? By recruiting the services of the small but forceful adverb “off”. “I just clocked Justin Bieber in a Nissen hut and gave him the once-over. He was well pissed off.” The S’s and F’s stumble over each other to vent the speaker’s spleen. There is no ambiguity and not a drink in sight.
W ANKERED The flexibility of the English language makes it a delight to use and a bastard to learn. A single word can be twisted, turned, squeezed and shifted so that it serves so many purposes for so many speakers. My own field of expertise, swearing, offers myriad examples of this chameleon characteristic. “Oh for cunt’s sake! You stupid cunt! You cunting cunted it. Cunts!” And so it is with “wank”. A literal fellow may wake up one morning and relieve himself with a wank. But a more metaphorical fellow may hear a wanker (“fool”) talking a load of wank (“rubbish”) and challenge him: “Why are you wanking me off with all that stupid wank?” “Sorry mate. I’m wankered.”
(Trans: “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” “I’m sorry, old chap. I’m rather drunk.”)
T HE L EGEND OF C OCKY THE F OX A CCORDING TO P OPJOY He had bad habits. He lived with a rabbit. Scratching about in the pits of his nature – did you ever see a sorrier creature? And then he was gone, and now he’s back. Alack.
T O T HE S NOUT G ET F OXED In the last Get Foxed several fits ago, you were invited to chew upon a concentrated nugget of puzzlery. What, you were asked, is the shortest word in the English language that contains the five conventional vowels in reverse alphabetical order? By way of a hint, you were told that the word was seven letters long and had a connection to something animalistic and Sniffery. The word? SUOIDEA Suoidea is the superfamily to which pigs belong. The connection was with Pink Floyd’s album, Animals, which was discussed in that issue of The Sniffer. In this installment of Get Foxed, we slice another trivially titillating tranche from the juicy buttock of animal-related word fun, and invite you to relish it. Consider all the different species that Parker has paraded in front of you so far. Take the household (not Latin) name of one of these species, remove a letter and rearrange the remaining letters to give the name of a country. If you come up with the answer, punch the air and shoutwhisper “Yessss!” to yourself. And then look around sheepishly to see if anyone noticed. Sir, Have his adventures with Champion taught Cocky a valuable lesson about parenting? If so, is it something all parents ought to know? Please explain. Yours faithfully, Noah Jungles
*** Dear Mr. Jungles, Shortly after Champion and Cocky went their separate ways, Popjoy the omnipresent squirrel spotted Cocky in a forest clearing. The poor fox was in a forlorn daze and pacing back and forth across the clearing like a caged tiger just before dinnertime. He appeared to be mumbling something to himself. Popjoy scuttled out across a low-hanging branch to see if he could get nearer and make something of the mumbling. This is what he heard:
They fuck you up, your mum and dad. They may not mean to, but they do. They fill you with the faults they had And add some extra, just for you.
But they were fucked up in their turn By fools in old-style hats and coats, Who half the time were soppy-stern And half at one another's throats. Man hands on misery to man. It deepens like a coastal shelf. Get out as early as you can, And don't have any kids yourself.
If you are curious about Cocky’s attitude to parenthood, his love of Philip Larkin should tell you all you need to know. Yours soppily and sternly, The Editor
*** If there are questions you would like to ask or remarks you would like to make, you can do so by emailing the editor of The Sniffer (firstname.lastname@example.org). And if you are interested in displaying your allegiance to Cocky, you may care to use the same email address to enquire about the availability and price of one of the t-shirts shown below.
T HE S NIFFER
& WRITER Patrick Cates
P UBLISHERS Matthew Battles & Joshua Glenn of HiLobrow.com I LLUSTRATION Kristin Parker W ITH THANKS TO Generous backers of Cocky the Fox & Kickstarter.com please direct all enquiries to sniffer@ hilobrow.com