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By James Howard
Now Listen carefully young, man you probably think that I am just another rotten and booze stained old fucker spouting nonsense but I assure you that you should listen to what I have to say. But I would none the less understand if you choos e not to. If you don’t want to end up in this place then you might want to listen at least in part to some of the shit that I wish to impart, some of the filth an
d vileness that I have experienced. What…piss off? Surely you be more erudite than that, epically in this most blessed of bars, this most sacred of holes, most di shelmed establishment. Yes, okay your friend may listen as well. Of course I sha ll buy him a drink if he so wishes, I know the Barman well, he is an associate o f mine, a confidante who has long served me in the most noble fashion and I must add always with the best intentions. Thus it shall be another Scotch for me and two Beers for the two young men. First you must know that I do not always behav e in this manner. I am not always this drunk, sometimes I am merely inebriated, but rarely am I this fucked up. Though as you can see I manage to regain a lucidi ty and speed of thought that is rare amongst those who congregate in this place. A line of coke? No. Not for me. Very kind of you though but sadly it no longer agrees with and my nervous system. There was a time but that has sadly passed. L ike all things. How do I speak German so well? Ho do you know that I m not Germa n? Ah, yeah a look is it? I have not heard that before. I grew up here, not here in Berlin but somewhere in Germany. I have always loved Berlin. I spent much of youth here, yes back in the Noughties. It has not really changed that much exce pt for a maybe a few skyscrapers in that shit hole Potsdamer Platz., but I think they needed that to this place look more imperialistic. Now listen, I am not a pious man nor I am condescending, which I understand is in some ways essentially the same thing but I will now tell you a story. Hah I see recoil already. Do no t worry, I am a good story teller and there will be plenty more booze in for you so that should be an incentive in itself, my young friends. I felt insignificant on the first day in England. I felt scared on the first day in Germany. I was sixteen to be precise. I felt neither noble nor righteous, po ssibly less than that. My isolation amused me. It made me laugh. I never made an y attempt to cure it. It is me and I am it, oh how trite, I thought! Alas, it wa s true and without it I would be even less than I am already. At least it is som ething, not a void. Let us forget. I tended to forget a lot. And so it continued .If you really want to hear about it, I suppose it all began with two expulsions from that place of fear and loathing known as school. I am not going to numb yo ur minds with a self-indulgent account or autobiography or any shit like that. B ut let’s face it these things or events had and have their own kind of twisted imp ortance, dare I say significance. The first time it happened it was purely a cas e of nihilistic and hedonistic ideology colliding with the prude and insulated t hinking of my pseudo American High School. I was sixteen when I was “refused re- e nrolment” as they so eloquently put it in those politically correct days. I was a teenager and consciously lived out the freedom that age gives you. Simple as tha t. Everyone should do it. For the sake of the human spirit. The second time was slightly different. I was eighteen and about to take my A- Levels when I was exp elled for supposedly dealing the most commonly found drug in England at the time… Anyway I don’t want to dwell on these things. If there’s one thing I hate its self-p roclamation and self-mythology.My name is Keith, this is my confession, not a re ligious one, that would be superfluous, and it begins thus: Who achieves those ab surd dreams that one espoused in those innocent teenage years? "I shall become a filmmaker!" I would proclaim, knowing full well that it was a claim that would never be fulfilled. I will die alone, like you. But it is not the horrific natur e of existence that no one will ever fulfil ambition or the banal curse of conte ntment but rather be shrouded in a veil of uncertainty and darkness? If it were not so why...Fuck it, here follows the truth, the only one I know, the only one that makes sense, and sense is something that only the deranged and disaffected can communicate as they are the ones affected by its scourge. This I know to be true. I cannot stop drinking. I am not an alcoholic. I am not an alcoholic. I am no longer luckily any of these things. And so it continues. Thus, I will explai n how this came to pass, even though I am fully aware that this should in any de cent society be of no interest to anyone of even moderate intelligence or integr ity. Nonetheless the saga begins and will be told in a fashion of utmost candour , if only to expose the nature of some of the swine who have made me what I have become. I am a fiend obsessed by all things illicit and savage. This is of cour se by no means new and that is what makes it all the more servile. Hence I write this with a degree of self loathing, regret and embarrasment that I could have
possibly plunged to such despicable and dissolute depths of depravity that I had once seemed hithero impossible.
We shall start with the school in England, a vile and most decadent institution for those who failed elsewhere, a kind of prison comprised of dilettante sons of playboy west end thatcherite coke heads and upper middle class European beuroug ise parents who felt an English private school would fuel their kids cvs on thei r path to investment banking world domination...I felt embarrassed having to att end, embarassed by being a public school boy, the words still make me shudder. T his former is true. The latter is, sadly, also true. I am better now. PART 1
It was one of those grey and morbid late September English nights when we arrive d at St. Joseph s , public school of the liberal so they claimed. The truth was closer to public school of the degenerate, alienated and cast offs from other ac tual public schools. My mother and I pulled up outside one of the houses, the ho use at this point a concept that was thoroughly alien to me. This house as it wa s known, was a vulgar piece of cheap early nineties architecture that would not have looked out of place in any dead suburban catchment area coming soon to a to wn near you. We had not brought much. I had refused to be bring a trunk out of sheer horror of looking like some over privileged arse of a private school kid, the trunk being the iconographic icon of this in my eyes. I had a case of ess entials, including my new uniform, clothes, some cds and books and very little e lse. I had no booze. The latter of course filled with fear as it had been a good year and half since I had actually gone to bed without the assistance of a sixpack of beer and some smoke. Hardly the sign of a raging alcoholic but nonethele ss it was something that would take some getting used too, I thought trying to c onvince myself that surely other people in this prison must be feeling the same doomed fear that I was. Was everyone here a robot? I had hardly been within the gates of this private fortress for ten minutes before realising that I could be alone that I might be the only one who thought that wearing a uniform to school was tantamount to purchasing a Daily Mail subscription whilst drowning in upper middle class aspirations and etiquette. These matters though were to be the leas t of my problems. We were met by the house master. He introduced himself as Mr. Andrews and after that first hand shake with the slimy, rotten man I disliked him immediately. He grinned like a drunken goon his leathery face contorting in phonie bonhomie. He was a fuck wit of the highest order and I asked myself why it was always people like this who became teachers? There was much activity of other new boys coming and going in and out of the house, whilst the old kids held court amongst each o ther in small clusters surveying and sneering at the ones coming in. Andrews inv ited us into his home that of course was perversely a matter of yards from where his subjects slept. His home looked just like the main house only with lesser t aste, if that was at all possible. He asked my mother and me to sit down. I looked at his closely cropped hair, his stale yellow-tinged skin and his flash ing brown eyes that were so full of artifice that it made me feel ill.
"First thing is, we re going to have to do something about that hair, I m afraid ." He was referring to my bleached hair, something that at what I considered normal school was not a problem. I was though prepared for this and knew at that very moment that it was a sign of things to come.Ah, the liberal school! "Why?" "The head doesn t like I m afraid. We will sort it out tomorrow." "The Headmaster" "We met his assistant for the interview. I believe Mr. Parron was away on holida y..." "Of course" "I used to play rugby, you know, Keith. Play yourself?" "No." I should have guessed. A rugby player. "Football, man?" "Sometimes." I was in no mood for this man s idea of transitional small talk. I wanted to get the horror out of the way as soon as possible and view my cell. This was someth ing I had been working myself up to for the last two weeks and been up until I h ad got drunk and temporarily forgot about it whilst on the ferry over. My mother had not noticed my consumption of these strange lemonade flavoured vodka concoc tions that had yet to arrive in Germany. "Shall we get you settled into you re room then." Yes, please. He pulled out a long list of names attached a clipboard. "Ah, you re rooming with Chang. Lovely, chap." We made our way past the various groups of boys standing around, some chatting t o older looking girls, into the house. This was to be something a motif than ran throughout my time at St. Joseph’s. The powers that be were obsessed with calling meetings for no apparent reason, certainly none that most of those I knew could comprehend or fathom. These organised gatherings were like rallies, with some m ember of the faculty spouting some kind of irrelevant gibberish whilst the subje cts looked at their shoes, perhaps a girl’s ass or pondered the possibility of reg ime change. These gatherings would to come to make me feel like a ghost, driftin g in and out of a world that had once been so comfortable with and accustomed to , a feeling that was not to abate for some time. Anyway this was Dorms House, as it was known and would now be my Prison for the next two years of my still youn g life. Were these years being wrestled from me? Had I been accosted by a system I did not and had no intention of understanding? The answer to both of these qu estions was affirmative. But so it goes. There were three others as I would later find out. Two more for the boys and one for the girls. How proper, how very midd le fucking England. The entrance of Dorms was flanked by a glass cubicle, a kid of reception area th at doubled up as the nurse s station. Directly opposite this was the common room . We passed these odious and sterile white rooms and meandered round white corri dors, up a flight of stairs, then another onto the second floor of three. We arr ived at my room. Andrews knocked on the wooden door. I looked down the long clau strophobic corridor, its white walls blinding in their banality, the same wooden doors at intervals of around five yards and felt like I was in some cheap motel , like the one I had stayed in in Boston a year previously. Even the grey carpet reminded me of that servile place. Chang opened the door. My heart sank. It was not because of Chang. "Chang, this is James. He s doing drama just like, you?" Chang shook my hand meekly and without conviction and offered a pathetic smile. We were both trapped. The room, if you could call it that, was about three metre s wide and ten metres long. It was the cell I had dreaded. It was white and ooze d loneliness and despair. It offered no comfort, it had no heart nothing conceiv ably warm or vital, it was devoid of life, an empty dead zone. Chang it turned h
ardly spoke English, this was certainly not his fault, but made we feel even wor se. There would be no deriding the institution and its leaders between the two o f us that night. I would be left alone with my thoughts. I bade my Mother farewell, trying to make it as quick and painless as possible. I was sixteen and I had seen a fair bit but this was testing. Alone with these p eople, in the middle of the English countryside, amongst these strange and terri ble halls I may as well have been in the dessert. As she pulled away, I made my way to my room. The lights were turned out a ten o clock. Ten o clock, I hadn t been asleep before midnight for about four years and yet here I was told by some rugby playing moron that I had to go to sleep at en o clock. I lay awake, whils t Chang slept, trying to think of the good things. The girls, the possibility of meeting interesting people. But it didn t work. The silence was suffocating. I lay awake starring at my barren surroundings, thoughts rushing through my mind u ncontrollably. I felt alone and indeed I was alone. There was no conceivable way of numbing the fear.I was adopted at some stupid age like two months or somethi ng. It never bothered me. It’s not really even worth mentioning. My biological mot her died when I was a week old or something and my biological father, Christ I h ate that fucking word, lives somewhere in Scotland. I’ve met other people who were adopted and saw how they acted like they were playing out some awful daytime TV soap opera character by constantly espousing how much of a tragedy it was. How they had been given away to strangers and ultimately how they wanted to meet the ir own “flesh and blood”. Fuck, I thought, does anybody need more fucking family! I always thought that was bullshit. I asked myself if I should feel any other way. I came to the conclusion that I shouldn’t. Why the fuck would you want to meet so mebody who obviously didn’t and probably still doesn’t care about you? There was no T V to turn on, no beer, no light and no comfort. I was alone. The thoughts kept c oming and I was becoming increasingly incapable of separating or organising them . My whole self was being manifested within the disorganised train that my thoug hts were creating, meandering recklessly and unpoliced through those recesses on e hates to visit. Though it was these very recesses that I needed to face in ord er to achieve equilibrium that much I was sure of, that much I knew. I would not be dehumanised, I repeated and therefore I would fight, not surrender. Be alive I thought, it will pass. How did I get this place? Had I shown so little regard for the present that I had now destroyed the future? Had I raped the present to such an extent that this was my punishment? I had been dissolute, that I knew. Was this my punishment, was this my penance? My thoughts were now so uncensored that images and memories seemed to be attempting to seep through me and into a s pace where they would not be trapped, trapped by my unwillingness to acknowledge and deconstruct them. I had the sudden urge to cry. But I couldn t. Suddenly there was a cry that emanated through that damned corridor. "7, o clock, time to get up...roll call in half an hour." I wearily got up and put on what was the school uniform. A shirt of one s choice , a blazer of one s choice and a the school tie. Liberal by public school standa rds I had been told. I felt ridiculous and awfully self-conscious. I cursed the wretched tie as cleansed my fatigued face from the basin that Chang and I shared in our cell. Then it was time for roll call. At the previous evenings house mee ting it had transpired that roll call was taken every morning at seven thirty be fore the house was sent of to breakfast. Breakfast was "a requirement", a phrase I quickly recognised as one of Andrews favourite phrases. He seemed to utter w ith a lustful pleasure as if he were enjoying a post-coital kiss with his wife. The poor woman. The "requirement" of breakfast presented yet another problem for me as I had not , just like I had been to sleep before midnight for four years, eaten breakfast in the same amount of time. Food did not agree and never had agreed with my stom ach so early in the morning and thus I had decided to shun it. I recoiled at the thought of eggs, toast and bacon. My stomach turned as the house marched off to wards the main school campus, the old boys in groups, the new one s made obvious by the fact that they walked alone, the grim expressions on their faces somehow
comforting me and reducing the loathing for this place that had kept me up all night. I did indeed manage to boycott the consumption of the foul, putrid and re constituted swill that had been deemed a requirement on that first for the rest o f my time at St. Joseph’s. It was to be the first of few small victories within th e suffocating gates of this institution. Though at this point I could not have f oreseen how significant, how invigorating and fuelling these would prove themsel ves to be. And so we shuffled along away from dorms House and onto a kind of road intersect ion where were joined by groups from the other houses also on this bizarre pilgr image to force food into their stomachs at this absurd hour. I noticed that a gr oup who were approaching from the left of Dorms looked strikingly different to t he conservative looking bunch from Dorms. The group from Dorms had initially str uck as multi cultural. They were a lot of black kids, Asians and Orientals. They all seemed well groomed and their free time attire I had noticed from the night before consisted of designer clothes, yellow YSL shirts, Polo Ralph Lauren jack ets and Burberry caps. I couldn t believe that these kids actually chose to dres s that way. I had arrived in baggy Jnco jeans, an Alien workshop t-shirt and a l eather jacket, my hair wild and unkempt, the bleach still dripping from the long split hairs. It was apparent that I would encounter not just a culture clash, b ut yes a sub-culture clash in this place. It had been one of the many things tha t had kept me up that first night. But suddenly in the group approaching from th e left I noticed some people who seemed more akin to myself. At sixteen you do t hat, you look for those dressed in a similar style, those who might share simila r values, listen to the same music. These kids seemed to have longer hair, looke d scruffier and generally conveyed a far more pissed off demeanour. This gave me comfort. We crossed the road that divided Dorms house from the main campus and which lead into the village and walked passed the wall surrounding the school onto the gra vel which lay upon the main parking area for the buses that were starting to arr ive bringing the day boys into the school. As we continued our march I glanced o ver my shoulder and saw a chapel that stood by Dorms house, something that I had noticed the previous evening. It was a classic English village scene. It made m e feel sick. The classrooms were built around the main administration building a nd were all modern extensions of the old gothic centre that housed the amongst o ther things the headmasters office, the girls dorms and the dinner hall. The bui lding was from the 17th century, it s fading grey exterior masquerading the fact that the school had only been founded in the nineteen sixties, the idea of a me galomaniac trying to create artificial history and prestige, ashamed of the mode rn and obsessed with the past. As we reached the dinner hall, the crowd of boys came to halt. A queue, that great English tradition was beginning to form under an archway that led into the dining hall. This was the protocol. A teacher or a fucking monitor (more of those bastards, later) would stand at the front of the queue and would at his behest would let two or three people at a time. This is h ow it would be for all meals as it later turned out, unless you were unlucky eno ugh to be in the place on a weekend in which case no cone could usually be arsed . The whole exercise was grotesque. It reminded of waiting in line to get into a club, a cocaine, steroid and power crazed bouncer eying up potential victims st anding at the door. We shuffled along, so it continued. The new school year was to be marked by a meeting of all six hundred pupils bein g addressed by the Headmaster in the school sports hall, where once a week I had been told school meetings would be held. The scene was reminiscent of those I h ad experienced at my previous school, the Frankfurt International High School in Germany, where these kind of Nazi rallies had been held in the theatre. Here it was the sports hall. So it goes. I arrived late and spotted two empty seats in the very last row of chairs set up in the sports hall. I spotted two blokes that I recognised from Dorms. One was about my height and build, that being thin and about one metre seventy five. He
had long flowing hair, parted in the middle that came down to his shoulders. The other guy was tall and skinny with close cropped hair and a large protruding no se. We made eye contact briefly and I sensed a kind of connection to the two of them. I sat next to them. After a moment of silence, the boy with the long hair spoke. "You re in Dorms too, right?" "Yeah." "I m Pete, this is Charlie." "Hey, nice to meet you, I m Keith." "What do you think?" Charlie said his accent vaguely cockney, his tone chirpy an d bright as his demeanour. "Depressing" "Yeah, I know what you mean." Pete answered in a more middle-class accent, his t one more like mine, deflated defeated and angry. Suddenly a hush descended over the six hundred strong captive audience and the f orty or so teachers who had also been standing around idly chatting with each ot her whilst they stood at various points of the gym. A Tall man wearing a tweed s uit and sporting a some kind of old school boy tie had taken to stage. He was in his early sixties and was now standing in front of the school on the makeshift stage, glaring at all and sundry. He stood there glaring for thirty seconds, get ting off on the dead air, craziness in his eyes, and a brooding insanity quite c learly within him. This was my first sight of Mr. Montgomery Parrin. After this brief demonstration of abuse of power, he began to speak. "Welcome, those new and old to the new academic year at St.Joseph s" He spoke in wild upper class English, the personification of the English eccentr ic. I already had images in my head of him charging around the countyside, shotg un in one hand, bottle of scotch in the other. "At St. Joseph s we strive for excellence and those of you who have just joined have done so for this very reason." Doe s he carry a hipflask? "It will not take you long to settle as we have much to achieve this year, in al l field, may those be academic, sporting or social. We shall continue display a sense of fortitude and brilliance." Who would marry this crazy bastard? "You will enjoy you re time is this intuition, one steeped in a grand and proud history." 1965? "...and you will, I repeat will, reflect this prestige in your behaviour, appear ance and attitude. I can not underline this enough." The man was obviously delusional. He seemed to think he was running Eton. From I had heard and seen so far this place was on the whole a refuge for misfits and fuck up s from the public school system who had been expelled, whilst the other half was in fact quite honourably made up of kids on scholarships who might othe rwise not had access to the institutionally elitist and racist English private s chool system. This paradox was something I could not quite figure out and as muc h as I loathed the place offered it some kind of redemption. After the ludicrous speech, Charlie, Pete and I moved onto our next engagement o f this tedious first day. Another speech from the madman, this time though solel y an address to those mature souls of the lower and upper sixth, of which we wer e members of the former. The speech was held in the Drama room, where I would be taking one of my A-Levels. We assembled on the four levels of steps at the back of the Drama room, which rose above the a large space reserved for absurd drama exercises and the performances of plays. "The guy s seems insane." I muttered to Charlie, as we waited for the leader’s arr ival. "You should have seen the guy at our last school." "So you too went to school together?" "Yeah, near Glastonbury.” Chirped, Pete in that jovial tone of his. "What, as in the Festival?"
"Yeah." "And why did you come here?" "It was recommended by our school" Charlie muttered. "What, so you chose to come here?" I asked incredulously. "It cause of the special needs department they have here." Pete said. Charlie l ooked a little irritated and embarrassed by this utterance from Charlie. He need n t have. I guessed they must both be slightly dyslexic or something. Nothing to be ashamed of, I thought. The Leader entered and the room fell silent. "Dignity," he began,” Is something that is intrinsic to the fabric of our society. It is the fundamental virtue upon which our great nation was built, it defines us as individuals and sets us apart from savages and degenerates, those without values and who are lost in a vortex devoid of ethics and morality. Furthermore our ideologies also set us apart from those very people who also indulge in sol ipsistic, debauched and nihilistic behaviour, the latter of which is an especial ly deplorable characteristic and one that therefore will not be accepted at St.J osephs. It is imperative, I repeat imperative that our values are upheld.” Parrin briefly seemed as though he might launch into a rendition of God save the Queen, so full of faux pride did he seem after his equally ridiculous and hyber bole laden words on the subject of dignity. The man was clearly and unequivocal ly deranged, his unruly hair a metaphor for his unpredictable nature, his crimso n nose a definitive indication of his boozing, the latter only serving as fuel f or his pontificating and as I would later find out, his fierce volatility.(all Fast 19.5.2009) Silence. "Dignity." He repeated again. His eyes seemingly bulging out of their sockets wi th a fervour and ferocity that unsettled but did not for a second scare me. Gett ing a closer look of him, I now noticed his large disproportionate nose and the fact that his grey hair was long, combed back past his ears in that mad old Engl ish eccentric manner. He spoke with an urgency that punctuated by silences and g randiose pauses for effect. He was drunk on his own presence and clearly intoxic ated by his own movements which dramatic and swift as he darted from side of the room to the other searching for a victim, someone to prey on. He needn t have b othered to look. He began discussing the loss of Princess Diana, he talked of th e grief of a nation and that it was all right for us feel as though we had lost someone, as she was the personification of the grand and superlative values for which our great land stood. Then he asked for our opinions, on the matter and ho w we felt. There was silence. Then a hand went up and some idiot recycled some s ound byte from his mummies Daily Mail of what a great woman she was. I felt myse lf seizing up physically with disgust. My muscles began contracting, my mind rac ing. This subject pissed me off and before I knew what I was doing my hand was u p. "Yes, you." "Well, you see I think this whole thing...has been a complete and utter media ci rcus. It has been unnecessary and crazy...I mean if you think how many people di e-" "Who, are you?" He shouted at me, his eyes now full of rage. Everyone looked at me; Charlie looked at the floor daring not to make eye contact with the leader. "Who, are you?" he repeated "Keith Davies” I replied dazed by his response. "Davies, what?" "What?" "Sir! You disgusting, insolent...who do you think you are?" Sir? What is this, P.G. Woodhouse? "I..." "Who are you?" Silence "Who ARE you? Don t you sneer at me! How dare you sneer at me?" More silence, some coughing. "Who do YOU think you are? Get out and stop sneering like that at me! No one sne
ers at that like me. Get out." There was violence in his voice, violence and hatred. He had unsettled me and I slowly made my why past my fellow six-formers, like you do when getting out of t he middle of a row of cinema goers in the middle of a film, excusing myself as t hey pulled their legs back to make room for my exit. I closed the door behind an d wondered what to do next. If we had been alone he would have assaulted and mai med me, of that much I was sure. That and he did not care for anti-royalist s mu ch. "So do you, smoke?" We were lying around in Pete s room on the top floor of Dorms which was about tw ice the size of mine and seemed luxurious in comparison. I was sitting on Pete s roommates bed. "Yeah", I replied. "We haven’t figured out yet where the spots are, have you?" "No, but I could do with a beer and bong." "You should meet Mark, Keith. He s been stoned or on pills the whole of this fir st week." "Lucky bastard." I mumbled, "Is he in Studs?" "Yeah, of course he is, they get away with all sorts over there. The bloody hous emaster is pissed all the time apparently." "Seriously?" "Yeah, man. Naughton is his name. Teaches German. You do German don t you?" "Yeah but the course hasn t started yet. This Mark, bloke. What year is he?" "Same as us, man. Lower sixth. He s new but he knows everyone already." "I wonder why? Does he deal as well?" "I think so." "Let s go for a fag" So we did. This much the three of us had figured out already about the ridiculou s hardship one had to go through in order to legally have a cigarette. Officiall y it was banned and if caught you were liable to spend you re Saturday afternoon in detention when you could be drinking Jack Daniels out of the bottle. THere w ere though several clandestine semi-legal areas’ where the sixth form smoking was tolerated. It still especially at night always seemed like, especially at night, like going on some covert SAS mission from a 80s straight to video film. The mo st convenient place for us was at the bottom of a vast array of rugby and footba ll pitches which bordered the surrounding pastures and fields of the English cou ntryside. People always seemed on edge going for a fag; there was absurd talk of possibly being "busted". It all seemed so fucking juvenile, it made me laugh, m ostly out loud at whoever had said it. We arrived at the bottom of the field, cl imbed over a fence and lit up. The problem with this, the most popular spot for smoking and drinking was that one had to pass Studs House, so called because it had been converted from a former stable, and pass directly past the housemaster s office window. Regardless of these rumours of Naughton being a drunk it was st ill irritating. The second was the mud. Oh, the mud. It was always, even at the end of the year, muddy and filthy and some even wore Wellington boots to go down there, for if you came back covered in the stuff it was not difficult to deduce that you had been conducted in illegal behaviour. Mud on trousers or shoes to a member of the brain dead faculty meant either fucking, smoking, drugs or boozin g or even worse all four at once. It was boarding school as I had imagined it: a circus of the ridiculous, a theatre of the oppressed. In short a joke that was slowly revealing itself to me in all it crazed cruelty and candour. I inhaled deeply. "So what do you think, Keith?" "You know what he thinks, Charlie" Pete giggled with his stoned even though he w asn t, laugh. "I think it s all right. Yeah, I think it s all right." Charlie would often say things like this. He seemed to be content with very litt le. He never seemed to ask questions of authority or complain about the shit hol e we were in. I used to joke that he had been institutionalised. I liked him a l
ot. He came from a working class family in Chiswick who had when they had found out that he was dyslexic been informed that the Government would pay for private education. They could not believe it and neither could Charlie. He made me feel guilty sometimes. I was middle class and my parents paid for this place, even i f they had borrowed the money from my grandmother. "The girls are well fit, Keith." Yeah, I ve noticed a few." "That Carol, bird. The tits on that mate!" "Carol?" "Yeah, she s in our economics class." "What about this smoke tonight, then? I can make a bong and we can hit the golf course or something.” I said. "I talked to Mark. He said to meet him at nine.” Pete smirked; finished his cigare tte and we began the trawl through the dense and uninviting mud. We stood outside the entrance to studs in the darkness shivering in the cold win d as people ambled in and out of the field and the house. Pete was sporting jean s, vans trainers and a snowboard jacket, his long hair blowing in the gale. Char lie wore tight jeans, Reebok trainers and a tight windbreaker. I stood slumped a gainst the fence in my brown and white snowboard jacket, baggy droors jeans and wore orange soled white Duffs skate shoes, my mind yearning for escape from this place, a white Kangol hat pulled over my freezing ears. I thought of Lou Reed a nd the Velvet Underground. Then I cursed myself for being so ludicrous. We were, on a much more innocent level, none the less waiting for the man, though at tha t moment we must have felt just as desperate. Not physically of course but after the mental torture of four days at Boarding school the longing for some respite was palpable. "Where the fuck is he?” I snarled looking at my watch more out of making a point t han actually seeing what time it was. I knew what time it was. "Can t we just go to his room?" Then he suddenly appeared. Mark said hello to Pete and Charlie then introduced h imself to me. "All right, mate. I m Mark." He must have been about six foot two tall, taller than Pete who was about six fo ot. He was skinny like Pete, too. What first struck me about him though was his thick baritone cockney drawl. Like a cockney who had been taking Es for a month straight. You could tell straight away that this man knew about drugs. He spoke with authority on the subject and I felt like I had found another like minded in dividual. His authority was not of an intellectual kind but one of experience an d though at times he seemed like some kind of stoner caricature there was a shar pness to him if not perhaps an academic intellect. I had pretences that extended to literature, obscure 60s garage psychedelia and a fascination with journalism . I knew I could speak about none of these things with Mark and that was fine. "So I hear you re from Germany?" "No I m not German, I just live there." I was getting a little bored of saying t his. Just like I along with the rest of the sane members of the school were goin g demented with talking about what GCSE results we had got prior to joining the sixth form. The standard formal conversation for a new kid went something like t his in that first week "Hi my name is X." "Nice to meet you, my name is Y" "Where are you from?" "I m from Z" "Where are you from?" "Really. What GCSE s did you take?" "I took...." "What about you?" "I took..." "What did you get?" I DONT FUCKING CARE AND NEITHER WILL ANYONE ELSE IN TEN YEARS TIME YOU FUCKING,C
RETIN! "What s the draw like over there? I was in Amsterdam over the summer." We were making our way through the field, all smoking fags. "Yeah, man well it s better than here. What s up with only having hash or skunk? You know in Germany you can actually specify the kind of hash or fucking weed y ou want..." "Yeah, that’s what I love about Amsterdam." "Did you try white widow?"I enquired. "Yeah, man. Me and my brother brought back an eighth of it. Fucking wicked" "The AK-47 was pretty potent. I almost felt like I was tripping after a few bong s of that." Charlie and Pete remained silent as we discussed stoner nonsense, two kids bondi ng over all things narcotic and illicit. "Charlie? Yeah, I can get you some next weekend." And so it continued. We were now on the nine hole Golf course that lay just beyond the semi-legal smo king area at the bottom of the playing fields. I had been told by someone that t he golf course had been some kind of personal obsession of Parrin s and that he had fought the local council for years to get it built. The thought amused me. I could just imagine the madman at a council meeting stating the intrinsic import ance of a Golf course to the local community whilst simultaneously ranting and r aving about the hypocrisy of local politics. It was getting colder and the gale was picking up. We congregated around the ninth and final hole, shielded somewha t by its bunker. I could tell Pete and Charlie were on edge and so really should I have been considering I had just four months previously been expelled from th e Frankfurt International School. "Shall I make the mix?" "No you re all right, Keith. I already done it, mate." Then from my jacket pocket I procured the makeshift bong that I had constructed from a small Evian bottle. "Don t you wanna spliff it?" enquired Mark, and then before anyone could reply he said,"Fuck it, let s bong it then." We began to smoke. We talked of films and music and how much we hated the school . It was blissful. I looked out at the vast field that lay behind us. It looked scared and empty, i t s blades of fading grass struggling and eroded by the constant flow of self-im portant sportsmen and louche smokers trampling all over it all day and for the m ost of the night. It looked damaged and frayed like the plastic surgery manipula ted and ravaged visage of an ageing film star desperate to regain the roles that she was allowed to audition for in her twenties and thirties before the misogyn istic Hollywood system had robbed her of her dignity. As it started to rain I could see the mud being created and as the rain became h eavier and the mud greater so the field became uglier. Ugly. "Keith!" "Yeah?" "Over there!" Suddenly I saw a stream of light from around thirty yards away. It was coming fr om the direction of Studs house. Charlie and Pete who were by this point complet ely and utterly blazed seemed petrified, their red eyes filled with pure horror. Mark indicated there should silence. We sat and waited. Then Mark made a hand g esture that indicated that me move. We all jumped and began to run towards the a nother hole that seemed to have a far deeper lying bunker and which, if we could reach it would keep us out of sight. We reached it, dived over the green into t he sand bunker that was adjacent to it and waited. The light was still out there and we had all by now realised that it was a torch and that it could mean only
one thing. Not the first week, I thought. Please not in the first week. "Who the fuck is it?" Charlie whispered. "I don t know. Just be quiet." We lay there in the rain, stoned and silent. "This is bullshit. There s no one out there anymore." I whispered, attempting to sound convincing. "He s right. I ll see you guys tomorrow." Mark smiling stood up and we left, wit hout a torch in sight. It was about two weeks in when I first met Jarrin and Tommy. It was as if a grou p of like minded individuals was starting to form. This seems to happen to happe n at all schools, groups of kids find each other and then some day leave each ot her. We were coming together, at the first innocent stage. Jarrin was a tall ski nny Dutchman and a few years older than the rest of us. He wore his hair in a ma gnificent white afro that he managed to pull of without sounding ridiculous and often regaled us with tales of his upbringing between Holland and Kenya. He spok e of dangerous encounters in the bush with strange beasts and poisonous snakes. Long after we were firm friends myths still abounded about Jarrin of which I did not know the truth. Once trust was gained he revealed that his father had been a hash smuggler he had run the product by boat from Holland to Southern France a nd back. He smoked a lot and often drifted into hippy cliché’s when talking about th e meaning of life or how he would when he left school return to Africa and buy a bar, whilst surfing and enjoying the rest of his life in what he referred to th e as the "womb of the earth". Jarrin had spent his formative years in Cape Town before moving to Kenya and whilst in South Africa he had discovered his love of surfing. He was by all accounts, and I had no reason to disbelieve him, a master of the waves and often recounted tales of facing off sharks and riding murderou s waves. He often talked in manner that alienated some, because he always spoke of foreign lands, always of outlandish, almost supernatural experiences, things that many could not relate to and after a while felt that he was reverting to st ereotype or even accused him of being some kind of bore. I always forgave him th ough because he meant it, his was completely without artifice. His art was his l ife and his paintings reflected this with their abstract ambivalence. Darrin and I especially shared a love of discussing life and how full of cruelty it was th ough never forgetting the hope and joy it could also bring. Tommy was a middle-c lass London kid whose family hailed from Surbiton. He and Jarrin had been at St. Joseph s for years together and were very close. Tommy was a jovial, portly kid who wore glasses, glasses that exuded cool, who had an answer for everything an d whose was a sharp as his vision was myopic. Tommy was one of those characters whose humour and enthusiasm was infectious. Tommy smoke and drank heartily, his lust for living a great addition to our burgeoning bunch of delinquents. He also , and this is what I really appreciated about Tommy, knew exactly when there was a need to be serious, a time to be thoughtful and sensitive. Without him I woul d never have survived the first year of St. Joseph S. Classes had been underway now for two months and I had made my observations and had begun to cement my alliances. My shyness though had made it a little harder for me than for others. I often withdrew in classes and found it difficult to ma ke my presence felt, even though I knew I had more to say than the whole class p ut together. My at times introverted nature was often interpreted as arrogance o r me being sullen. It took a few months for people to get to know me and they de cided for themselves. For my A-Levels I took Theatre Studies, Media Studies, whi ch at the time I did not realise was a Mickey mouse subject and German, which as I spoke the language fluently would be a piece of piss. My withdrawal in classe s soon faded and I began to gain a certain notoriety, something that I had secre tly wanted all along, just like I had at my last school. I enjoyed being subvers ive, being a shit stirrer.
My Media class contained twelve pupils. This was the size of most classes, and s upposedly the great attraction of private education. Most of the class were anon ymous goons who had no interest in media or it seemed anything at all. Their apa thy was offensive as were their moronic opinions and general lack of knowledge o f anything in the real world. Other than the apathetic ones there was myself, Ch arlie, two kids from Studs called Pierce and Daniel and two girls Cilia and Dian e. Pierce and Daniel were two complete speed freaks, who would before class crus h up Pierce s prescribed Ritalin, snort and proceed to speed through the day. th ey always seemed to be laughing about something, thriving on all their personal in jokes or quoting Withnail and I in front of a baffled class, including myself who having been somewhat sheltered from English sub-culture but rather drenched in all things American had at this point not seen the film. We got on even thoug h drugs and class were not and never had been my idea of fun. Cilia was a gorgeous girl, who always flirting and spouting double entendres eve n though she once smilingly said that I was "weird".She had long curly hair and always seemed to giggling and laughing with her best friend Diane about somethin g. Though Cilia was sexy she was not as classically beautiful or developed as Di ane, who was the kind of girl who could have been a model. Every year has that g irl, the one who is untouchable, unattainable and who had been going out with me n her senior by god knows how many years since she was thirteen. She never inter ested me know. She was thick, narcissistic and cared very little for the kind of people I associated with. I would of course be civil with her because of Cilia. Diane was also the daughter of Mrs. Wellington. Our beloved and loathed leader of A-Level Media Class 1997-1999. Mrs.Wellington was in her mid to late forties at the time Jarrett was the most eccentric of the bunch. My first encounter with him was whi lst hanging around in Pete s room, talking shit with him and Charlie. Suddenly t here was a knock on the door and this gangly, thin awkward looking kid just walk ed in, nervously said hello, waited for a response and after not receiving one, just walked back out. We were stunned. It was completely surreal and utterly con fusing. During the course of the first two months this strange scene would repea t itself at least half a dozen times. Jarrett seemed to have no conception of ho w downright bizarre this exercise appeared to us. He seemed to have no awareness of social interaction whatsoever. He was in the last year of my St. Joseph s wh en others had abandoned me, or like Jarrin, Tommy and Pete simply left, to becom e my closest friend. Those first encounters with Andy and other strange behaviou r which included following us around like a psychotic puppy earned him the cruel moniker of "Leach". This name, much to his dismay, stuck even when he had been accepted by all. After a while Charlie, Pete and I, as we were his dorm housemat es after a while just became fascinated by this almost alien like being. Andy ha d red hair, pale sullen skin and movements that seemed diseased and uncoordinate d as if he would fall or break apart at any moment. He seemed to drop things all the time and stumble like a punch-drunk boxer. He was physically well but his b ody defied this. As I started to get to know him and we found out that we had a shared love of books, especially twentieth century literature, as well as a heal thy disregard for authority I noticed that he suffered from obsessive compulsive disorder, something he would later freely admit. He would also wash his hands i n endless cycles using gargantuan amounts of soap in his pursuit of destroying e very last possible germ that might have found its way onto his long thin bleache d white hands. Andy was open to all kinds of insults and heinous attacks from ot hers and he suffered the taunting of the mindless ones for many a month. Hey, Leach, you fucking weirdo! They would cry. Why the fuck are you following us around? Haven t got any friends you fuck up? I too was guilty of this for some months, until like I said I began to understan d the man. He was delicate, and the barbarians, the same ones that I despised to ok out out their own insecurities on him, whilst I shamefully joined them for a while. I did though redeem myself. We became firm friends. And so it continues. Don t worry, Andy. I would say, those fools don t understand irony and probab
ly could not even spell satire. Once they leave this place, where they are kings , and enter the real world, they will have the shock of their lives. I know. he would say, but there was a sadness in his voice that never left me. We are their satire. he once said. No those fuckers and the people who run this place are ours. Could it get more ridiculous than fearing to go for a fag, wear a shirt that does not comply with regulation or listen to music after ten o clock? We sat in silence as Andy relaxed to the strains that calmed him most, those of Tool. I didn t like them, but I never complained. We were trapped. Trapped in Dorms Ho use. But at least we were trapped together. After ten you had to back in the Hou se as the doors would be locked. There were many times of course when this nonse nse was disobeyed, but more often than not it wasn t worth the aggravation. When we weren t talking about girls, films, music or books or our respective fri ends from back home, Andy and I talked about the holidays or the weekends, the p romise of leaving the walls that surrounded us. We would read Uncut or Mojo, mak e fun of Shaun Ryder s lyrics, which I know realise are actually quite close to genius. No one else read Uncut or Mojo. We would decry right-wing newspapers lik e the Daily Express and the Mail. Andy often groaned when browsing through the D aily Mail, which he had stolen from the common room, before breaking into laught er and proclaiming Oh, no. Another attack on single mothers. Single Mothers, Keith! They will dest roy our society! And we would both laugh. Distracted for a moment. We talked about leaving and especially when talking of the holidays which were a lways a torturous eternity away we would sink into deep solemn depressions. Then I would I leave and we would both attempt to sleep. We rarely did. Until Bar night anyway, we suffered in silence, starring at the cold white walls of Dorms, their hollowness only somewhat defied by a poster or two that reminde d us of the outside world. What made it so much worse for us was that most peopl e didn t seem affected; they seemed to thrive, even love this regime of the bana l, the repetition, and the endless roll-calls. They loved it. They were the wank ers. We were who we were. Maybe they were right. So it went. Bar Night, as it was known, was the greatest paradox that this place of ignoranc e and suffering had to offer, it was a giant full blown pissed up meat market of the kind I had not witnessed before. It was the savage vortex within the facade of the benign temple. I had been clubbing and going to Bars in Germany since th e age of fourteen, but I had never witnessed this kind of animalistic behaviour. What is now known as yob culture in the Daily Mail was well and alive in the heart of an English private school in 1997. It went something like this. When it came to girls, as they were then, I was uncomfortable and would mask my uncerta inty with cool. I had only just lost my virginity in the summer in a bumbled mes s of an act, naked and bruised in the middle of a German forest with a girl I ha d little or no interest in but who had magnificent tits. It was the eve of my si xteenth birthday so it seemed like the thing to do. I had a hard time keeping my member up. So it goes. So anyway on Bar Night, which occurred on Wednesdays and Saturday s for sixth fo rmers, for those poor souls who were unlucky enough to be there, the majority of the sixth form would congregate in the their allocated common room, which conta ined a TV, several couches, a snooker table and a Bar. The official rules were a s follows; each member of the sixth was allowed two cans or two bottles of beer between eight and ten o clock. The bar was inevitable manned by one of the brain -dead and mostly the law was never enforced. It was just a drunken free for all. Most people, including and perhaps especially the girls, had already drunk a bo ttle of wine each before they even arrived, and when they left they were either fucking in the smoking patch next to the common room or puking back at their hou ses. What was especially interesting was the choice of music and how the various
groups used to fight over the tunes that were to be played. The bar staff stude nts were in charge of playing the music as the PA system was behind the bar, but they were obliged to accept requests from us, the great drunken mass. This inev itably led to friction and sadly it was usually of a racial kind. I have always been someone who has loved Hip-Hop, from Africa Bamabata, through A Tribe Called Quest, The Wu-Tang up until Def-Jux. At the same time I love The Stones, The Wh o, Can or Primal Scream. Good music defies genre. Genre is the sanctuary of the moron. Though 1997 was also the time of mindless dance music, not seminal innova tive dance music, but fuck wit dance music. Hence conflict between certain group s was inevitable. The black guys, and I am afraid that is how it was, wanted to listen to clichéd mainstream rap, my friends wanted to listen brit-pop light shite and the pill heads wanted dance music. There was at least Drum n Bass. That was at times agreed on. I would sometimes say to Mark Just whack on LSD or Hype, man. And there would be peace. Usually Mark and I retired for quick joint in the aforementioned smoking patch. Keith, what do you reackon? Mark said in that long stoned, at times moronic sou nding, drawl of his. Whilst he spoke he would always look around, swaying on his long thin feet, looking for an acquaintance to greet. You all right mate? Yeah that was wicked! See you later, mate You, all right Mandy.Yeah, I m sweet. See you later Then he would return to the original conversation Its phat.God, man I am sure sick of that fucking music. Mark laughed, in that deep blazed manner of his. Why are you always so angry mate? I don t know I would say. My brother was well off his tits on the weekend. Well speeded up and had done l oads of Mitsubishis. Oh, yeah. Where was he at? Mark exhaled. Down at Bagley s. Said it was fucking wicked. I was there with Pete and Charlie a couple of weeks ago. And so it went. Mark was of course like myself, caught in the middle of this particular culture w ar, as he not just liked both bad hip-hop and dance music but also dealed to eve ryone who had but the slightest interest in smoking grass, including the crew of black guys. Some people watched Friends, sipping Alco-pops on the three sofas. Many an evening was ruined by dreadful insulting to black people rap, whilst we, our group, attempted to stay drunk and enjoy the evening. One evening when we g ot our, not my, music on, things escalated. Sad though it was, we were segregate d. Gerry was the leader of the black gang. I could never understand it, but so i t went. Drama classes were always especially painful. I never particularly enjoyed the a ct but had been very involved in theatre for some having played several main par ts in various Shakespeare pieces. I was somewhat of a star at my previous school . I knew I would never make a proper actor but enjoyed it nonetheless. This came to an end at st. Josephs. My drama teacher had type cast me as the nervous ene rgy fuelled outsider within weeks. I was fine with that. The wankers were welco me to the leading roles. The Drama as did the Media class, contained ten pupils. Five girls and five boys, both feeding off each others teenage sexual frustrati on and tension, which was especially amusing when we were forced to practice phy sical theatre, but more of that later. It made for interesting times. They were no divisions in this class. It was rather myself and Spencer, the rest and the t eacher’s darling, the Drama supposed future star of RADA and ueber-thespian James. That is not to say that we did not superficially get on. We did. But those were the underlying lines that had been drawn. Spencer What the hell are you wearing, boy?
I heard his deep nasal twang from afar and as I turned around and he was upon me . I was dressed in shorts, a Rage against the Machine Evil Empire T-shirt that b ore a sole letter E on the front and my white kangol hat. It was three thirty in the afternoon and myself, Charlie and Pete were playing five a side football wi th a bunch of younger kids from the lower years. Prior to the game Pete and I ha d got into a fierce debate about football. This always relaxed me as no else; ne ither Charlie,Andy,Jarrin,Tommy, Spencer,Marls,Jimbo nor Mark had but the slight est interest in the beautiful game. What were the odds I used to think? In of al l countries to find but one friend who was interested in the game. That afternoo n we had been discussing England s chances in the following year s World Cup. Pe te was an Arsenal and England fan. I was Eintracht Frankfurt and Germany. This a dmission of mine usually caused much disharmony and chaos when I brought it up a s an Englishmen supporting Germany at football is to most, paramount to treason. My answer would always be, think, and think carefully what football is really a bout. Is it not to uphold community? Is it not about integrity and honour? Is th at not why we true football despise those plastic, commerce tinged Manchester Un ited fans with cockney accents? Besides I would answer, what s more provocative and punk rock than an Englishmen supporting Germany? Anyway I mentioned to Pete that England s chances were at best limited and at wo rst utterly disastrous. Hoddle was an idiot who only gained the top position on account of his glorious playing and even those had not extended to the internati onal stage. What about the Italy result then? challenged Pete? Pete, what other country would celebrate a 0-0 draw with Italy like they had ju st won the World Cup. Just think about how the tabloid machine controls the Engl ish team. Right, Charlie? Yeah, right. The tabloid machine. That s bollocks, Keith and you know it. Look at Germany, there an ageing bunch of has been’s. How old is Klinsmann?56? Thirty-four actually. Fuck that. Just look at Germany s record. It s the best i n world football. Superior even to Brazil, man. Yeah,no cares though because their Germany. Exactly. What? muttered Charlie, confused. Okay. Pete, let s finish this with FIFA. And so after throwing down my gauntlet I lost 2-1 on Pete s laptop, with Gazza s coring for Pete one minute before time. Let s play properly. On the Astroturf. So now Parrin was glaring down at me, my attire so obviously in breach of regula tions. Our imaginary Germany-England game would find no end that day. Come here, Davies he cried. The senile bastard had at last caught on to my name after three months. By know all my preconceived notions about the Boarding school system had not onl y been confirmed but exceeded. The true torment was yet to come but I know under stood that there was no conceivable that a normal existence was in anyway possib le. We were sitting around, myself Pete and Charlie united in our state of boredom, banality and ennui, the latter being something that was becoming increasingly di fficult to overcome as our supplies of booze were decreasing to the point of bec oming non existant. Charlie of course was his usual content self, spouting gibbe rish about some nondescript encounter he had had with some girl who probably had not been interested in him anyway, whilst Charlie and I were wallowing in our o wn rotten self piity, a feeling that was becoming intolerable and pathetic. Sudd enly though Charlie began to display unusual symptoms, such as joy and genuine h appiness, traits that belied the true nature of his character when he was within the grounds of St. Josephs. I was immediately intrigued by this sudden fucking rise in his state. Had the bastard been withholding booze from me or worse, coke
or speed? If it was the case this would, in our particular predicament, have be en a breach of trust comparable to the crimes committed by Nixon against the Ame rican people. It was Friday night, a time that for normal people of our age and that formely myself meant a time of… Are we prisoners or convicits, subjects or Citizens? The pseudo pikey, preppy fuckers were fast asleep or fucking each other at this point, and the beast gave a certain of leeway on a Friday night to talk in each others rooms past the stated time at which were to return to our designated room s. Oh, the humanity. He did indeed have a family and a wife and even though I am sure he would far prefer the sadistic pleasure of stalking us in the hope of di scovering and exposing some irrelevant misdomener like smoking a fag, even he I told myself must have just enough humanity within himself to spend one night of the weekend with his wife. If she, and for that matter his family felt the same way , was another matter entirely and something that I certainly doubted. I almo st felt sorry for the ringmaster whilst pondering this point when I was suddenly awakened from my coma by the entrance of Dieter. Dieter never knocked. He never felt that he had to. He was one of those members of the german population of th e prison that I despised. Contrary to many bigoted, insulated troglodytes in Eng land, I having grown up in the land of Kraftwerk loved the land for the glorious liberalism that it had granted me and perhaps moreso for the hidden subcultures that it harboured and that I had grown to love. Dieter though was part of the u pper middle class morons who believed sending their children to an English board ing school somehow set them apart from their social rivals, as if it gave them s ome kind of ludicrous gravitas, something to hold court about during terminally decaying dinner parties in opulent Villas on the outskirts of Frankfurt. All the Germans were sadly like this in this place. I did not recognise them. They were not the Germans I had known nor ever wanted to know. Dieter was a year older th an us, slightly portly for his age, with short cropped black hair and pale skin, his eyes always seemingly beeming with annoyingly spritley enthusiamsm for even the most menial of tasks. When around me he would talk of his upbrining in the Ruhr Area of Germany, and of supporting Schalke 04, the personification of the w orking mans football Club, presumabley in some kind of faux attempt to garner fa vour with somebody who he, it must be said in an almost respectfull manner, refer eed to as a proper, authentic Skater Stoner. Of course I was not really either a nymore and found the term terribly cliched and lame but his perception was large ly due to tales I had told dieter about my previous years in Germany. Dieter was n’t actually that despicable compared to the others but he did play Golf and often talked about how he would once turn pro and schock the world with his self proc laimed precocious talent.. He did though nonetheless understand our hatred of th e prison and ocassionaly shared some draw with us, most of which was usually his and I do believe he respected our ailing or a least my ailing attempt at subvert ing this godforsaken place. On this particular evening Diter came, neither with tales of Golf course heroism nor regaling us with asinine tales of the Ruhrgebiet , but bearing gifts. Gifts of the kind that were unusual to be offered without any kind of financial recip rocation. on a dour, suffocating Friday night in the depths of the Sussex outbac k. You see when I looked within myself, and I often did, I knew, despite fightin g it with every sinew of my body and every neuron of mind, that this place would leave an indelible, almost untreatable cancerous mark upon myself, that for how ever much I tried I would in some inane manner always be inextricably linked to this place and possibly somehow, perversely be indebted to it. I was at the poi nt of forgoing all notions of ressistance, ideas of defiance a but was now rathe r accepting their ideas of normality and was thus admitting to myself that the l ife I had once known was not only an eroded and fanciful distant memory but an u natanable part of my lfe that had now passed, never to be recovered. My resistan ce, whether I was aware of it or not was being worn down, my Teenage naivety, my privileged Idealism, melted into the same institution of all those that I so ver bally and internally claimed to hate so much.
And then Diteter walked in. After some initial nonsensical banter about the appailing nature about that even ings tea and a slightly more interesting but yet at the same time superficial di scussion about that evenings Champions Leauge results, Diieter abruptly and with out warning changed the tone of the converstion. As it transpired he had not onl y Acid in his possession but a firearm. A gun. He pulled it out and laid onto th e standard issue dorm room table that laid to his left, that was cluttered with Charlie s work, his Laptop, salacious mid torn out pages of loaded and other abs urd Lad mag tit spreads and various Economic papers that were no doubt due on Mo nday. I knew very little about guns. I had seen a few through friends of friends in Germany who I thought were insane but never really wanted to be associated w ith cretins like that.. As the gun was produced we all feigned a kind of fake non plussed air but knowing full well that this evening was not to end well. In an e nviroment where smoking a cigarette is tantamount to crimes against humanity, po ssesion of a gun is the fucking Cambodian genocide of rule breaking. This appealed to me, I knew it should not have. It was not even about the foul firearm ,it wa s about how far I could push the cunts who were destroying the best years of my life. For in this savage moment it became clear to me that I was not only an ani mal, but a beast of fury something that hithero I would have decried. Eat the be st. Fry the Beast. Smoke the beast. I am the beast. Am I a cliché? Am I a pseudo Bo oker Prize winner sycophant?
PART 2 I had just turned sixteen years old at the time, as I looked into the eyes of th e man, at first seeking some kind of superficial physical resemblance, then for some kind of comfort or sign that had been plaguing his subconscious since the d ay I had begun searching for him. He looked about fifty- two with a receding hai rline of vital lazily tousled, but ultimately elegant, wild dark black hair much like my own, with large unnaturally nonplussed brown eyes. He had shuffled to t he door like a retired boxer ruing the blows to his once great physique. As he o pened the door there was a silence so crippling and crude that I froze into a st ate of reticence afraid of what to say or convey through his facial expression. How was this moment meant to feel? It felt like nothing. Just raw, bitter and bl eak silence. I had, though on account of his bravado he would never soberly admi t it, gone through this scene in his mind countless times, imagining it like an idealistic naïve child, to be a profound reunion almost like a scene from some bog us Hollywood movie. I stared into the deep brown eyes of the man and felt nothin g, just a void of loathing, misunderstanding and resentment. I struggled to find cohesion of his thoughts. I always tried to articulate emotion in his mind but at this moment I felt the force of being barbarically overwhelmed. “You must be, Keith. It’s…It’s good to see you. Please, come in.” I turned to Jim as he sat in his battered but defiant Volkswagen Golf by the road side for some kind of solidarity in this, my ultimate moment of solitude. As I g ave him a swift and subtle look of reassurance, I walked slowly into my biologic al father’s gravely monotone suburban home for the first time. I reeled away from the horrors that were unfolding in front of me and reached fo r the trusted comfort of a half full bottle of Jack Daniels. I moved my sight aw ay from the television screen in front of me in a futile attempt at escaping the gross injustice, pain and disbelief as The Republican Party and George W. Bush celebrated stealing the US General election. Bush had always come across as some kind of millennium version of Richard Nixon but what made Bush far worse was hi s shameless abuse of the family’s power that had given him the chance of becoming the US Congresses marionette and symbol of power for the next four years. Surly it was obvious to everyone that Bush was eroding the corrupt fabric of democracy to an extent not meant to be so obvious in a nation so proud of their false fre edom. This though was of course not the case. I lazily shaped a long line of coc aine on my sister’s eight grade make up mirror and slowly snorted it up. I started to think about all the films I had seen in which coke had figured and how every
time a line was snorted in a huge salacious theatrical and physical movement wh ich was usually always followed by the consuming party touching his or her nose before making some lame derogatory comment about the quality of the product. The phone rang. As always I let the intrusion ring at least four times before an swering. “Yeah. Of course I’m coming.” I am twenty years old. Most days I am drunk so are Matt and most people I know. Though I had the capacity to maintain a clarity and sharpness of mind and vigour of body. Since the age of fourteen the promise and pursuit of debauchery and de cadence had been normality but still regained their pleasure. I shuddered at the thought of St.Joseph s, then of FIS. I was at university known. Why was I think ing of the past? There is no past. I met Matt at Robert’s house, years ago. Robert was Ivy League through and through hence he was universally hated and despised. He was of course a hapless product of his family and social background but in my words that was no “fucking excuse”. R obert tried embarrassingly to seem knowledgeable about matters that he presumed were of importance to the people that attended his parties. He was a man who own ed Never Mind The Bollocks: Here’s The Sex Pistols idiotically thinking that it wa s some kind of seminal punk album, but had never listened to it. He had more bee r than a fifteen year old could dream of but he didn’t like beer much and he owned a DVD player but didn’t know who Jim Jarmush was. His parent’s home was a gratuitou sly large house decorated in a lavish style that let any visitor with a good cha nce of guessing Roberts fathers income bracket. I despised the stench of middle class numbed money that seeped through the million pound walls. The parties were inevitably anarchic due to the complete disregard and lack of respect for the h apless host. I spotted Matt doing what looked like Scarface proportions of cocaine. He was no t though snorting the coke rather smoking it in a little glass pipe, as a Norman Rockwell-esque family portrait of Robert and his parents glared down upon his c rack smoke contorted features. “Do you think Robert would approve of that?” I said in a mocking elitist nasal tone. “Fuck when did you get here?” Matt says exhaling white crack smoke into my face. “Get that shit out of my face! I haven’t even had a drink yet.” I soon take care of this minor problem by producing a bottle of Wild Turkey and nine beers. We start talking about the new WU-Tang album, I think it’s “shit and a s ad comedown…” whilst Matt remains defiant that it is a conscious attempt to break a worldwide mainstream market. Then I begin raging about The Rolling Stones and th e parody that they have become before condemning Dancer in the Dark as the worst film I have ever seen. Two girls, around sixteen and fifteen respectively, who both seem to suddenly look like Nico (in her decadent prime) from the Velvet Und erground say they have got some crystal meth and we gladly join them in gleefull y consuming it on a an oval glass table in the centre of the living room, surrou nded by amphetamine sycophants who come away with nothing. The ambience of the place has become charged and lost. I suddenly realise that I haven’t seen Robert all night and start laughing to myself as I snort a line of fe rocious methampetamine before washing away the savage drop with Wild Turkey. “We haven’t seen you guys in school before?” Nico asks us. “We both left two years ago.” I slur in that lazy composed way of mine. I feel disgu sted and take a mental note to not to it again. I awake with a jolt, before looking around the room and finding the usual scenes of banal madness protruding my vision. Cans of cheap lager and half empty bottl es of wine and whiskey lay scattered around this Palace that Robert called home. Next to me lay two guys sporting baggy jeans and Fuct and Alien Workshop T-shir ts respectively. There were no skateboards to be seen. This point of the day had always been my nemesis. Awaking at an early hour feeling like booze and savage narcotics were dripping out my pours has become normality but never a pleasure. It wasn’t a pleasure to anybody. I shuffled into the kitchen were I observed two b urnt out bongs nestling next to a solitary bottle of Malibu. I pondered this bot
tle of Malibu. This symbol of mainstream apathy that inspired loathing and poten t distrust in my coke tinged nervous system must have belonged to Robert he thou ght. Due to this thought I convinced myself that the righteous thing to do would be for me to consume it rather than any more being potentially wasted on Robert . The Malibu soothed my ravaged throat as I drank lazily out of the bottle befor e lighting a Marlboro that had survived being sacrificed for last nights bong mi xes. The black outs were becoming worse as I got older. They were like lost segm ents of my soul that other people had gathered but I, the owner of said soul, wo uld never be able to judge or feel again. Raped and tortured memories. I though was defiant and active. If it was worth remembering it shall be remembered. The previous evening though had been an especially optimistic decadent quest for wis dom and thus had ended darkly and vacant and hence was to be discarded. When I awoke Matt was gone. He usually was. He had an amazing capacity for being revitalized and awake after bouts of self-destruction. I did not react in the same way as he did in these situations. I never had the p leasure of the clichéd headache, rather an ambiguous LSD- esque glow that would st ick to my skin and mind for a few hours before I had the next beer. I had a habi t of drinking to rid myself of these of strange and demented hangovers. My drink of choice in these dark times was beer. Something light for the morning, I told myself. I cracked open a can of Becks whilst pushing back my shoulder length black dyed h air and surveying the casualties of the night before. I looked at myself in a la rge mirror that was situated above the kitchen sink and took note that I was loo king similar to Keith Richards in or around 1973. Black hair tousled in a passiv e cool, whilst eyes shallow with confidence and energy. I decided this was proba bly wishful thinking and finally composed and hungover left the Palace. I think of love. I try to visualize an image worthy of such a superlative. I fin d nothing. I went home and decided to write a music review, because that is how it goes sometimes. It went something like this.
Primal Scream: Vanishing Point
Through my diseased eyes I m sinful; sly I can t stop stealing I will pay the price of being a thief when I stop breathing’ From Burning Wheel, Vanish
I should be tired/and all I am is wired From Motorhead, Vanishing
I first understood and became acquainted with Vanishing Point during a time in my life, at the age of fifteen, when I was in the midst of a compulsive ,but none the less, rather enjoyable bong smoking period, whilst basking in the careless g low of that age, that up until that point had been primarily sound tracked by th e transgressive strains of late sixties Beatles, Magical Mystery Tour and Revolve r in particular, Becks s Mellow Gold, Rage Against The Machine s Evil Empire and the Wu-Tang Clan s Enter the Wu-Tang;36 Chambers. Then, I don t remember where exactly, I procured Vanishing Point after reading a typically hyperbole laden re view in the NME.
One day after a particularly deranged session, listening to Vanishing Point with a group of associates who tended to congregate around my house to smoke, one of whom had never smoked bongs before, the utopic oblivion of being really young w as momentarily shattered. About halfway through Kowalski, my friend, who shall r emain nameless, started to look uneasy, shaking a bit and looking generally ill at ease. Then paranoia and fear began to take to hold of him. “I feel weird...I th ink I’m hearing things...’ he mumbled, his eyes full of madness and insecurity, as h e attempted to at least retain some semblance of being in control of his mind. A t first everyone laughed a bit, took the piss, like teenagers, who believe to be superior drug takers to their friends, tend to do. Feeling disgustingly superio r we put it down to his cone smoking inexperience. After a while though our fund amental good characters took hold as we realised this was different from a sligh t reaction to a savage bowl. His brother, who was also feeling dauntingly blazed himself, had to take him home. My friend wasn’t right for a month. He complained of suicidal thoughts, paranoia and depression for the whole of the ensuing month and demanded never to listen to that album again when he was round my house, wh ich as it turned out was not often after that day. Of course my friend could have been listening to Coldplay and at that particular moment it would have put the fear of God into him, perhaps more so, but the fac t remains that the Scream’s Vanishing Point is an album of ferocious, focused clau strophobia and menace. It never, with the possible exception of the Stones by nu mbers karaoke of Medication, fucks around. Great albums, like great films or nov els, have no regard for pleasing, no intention of satisfying an audience, of shi fting units, but are rather an uncensored product of their creators state, of th eir fears and frustrations, their anger and maybe, just maybe, their hopes for a slightly less oppressive future, a utopic desire. Primal Scream were at a crossroads when they recorded Vanishing Point. After the MDMA induced psychosis of the late eighties and early nineties and the critical mauling of their over produced, unintentional Exile On Main Street covers album , Give Out But don’t Give Up, the Scream, though revitalised by the relentless dyn amo that is Mani Mounfield, were wounded and hungover, something that self-impor tant music journalists had turned into incessant sound bytes like ‘the Scream are coming down from the Ecstasy high of Screamadelica and the smack addled mess of Give Out...’ To continue such simplistic hyperbole this would be, as Xtmntr is, th eir amphetamine album. That kind of thought though is simplistic and redundant, a lazy form of journalism, as is trying to associate a drug with the sound or es sence of any album. Before the recording and release of Vanishing Point the Scre am were though, like The Happy Mondays before them, in danger of becoming a vict im of drug taking mythology, of metamorphasising into a endless narcotic tabloid tale, some of which was down to their honesty on the subject with the press, bu t perhaps more accurately because of the declining quality of their music. Vanishing Point would be the point at which the Scream re-discovered their punk Mojo. Vanishing Point manages to fuse dub, techno, punk, rock n roll and pop elements without ever seeming contrived or artificial, something that is a reminder of ju st how musically ambitious and progressive Primal Scream have been as a musical unit, and how they have never settled on attempting to lazily reproduce past glo ries and suck the allegorical cock of the corporate rock world like anomic MOR b ehemoths such as Oasis. They were always more than the debauched beast that the British press has built up over years. Bobby Gillespie, lead singer and true musi cal devotee, has often been mocked in the music press for his political posturin g and rock n roll namedropping, his persona always seemingly at one with a certa in period of rock n roll iconography, whether it was Keef in 1991or John Lydon in the late ninties,but it has always been authentic, never a charade catering to trends dictated by the propaganda ministry in the Kings Reach Tower, like many b ands who are either attempting to remain relevant or breaking their first album
do. Regardless of all the tabloid Jack Daniels and cocaine clichés, of which there was by all accounts much, and the often pedantic, pompous and downright pretent ious ranting of Gillespie down the years, for Primal Scream, I truly believe it has really, and as trite as this might sound, always been about the music, the p romise of redemption and laying waste to their minds and bodies in the great roc k n roll tradition ,and the comfort of manifesting their frustrations, hopes and laments within the confines of a simple, cathartic song. And most importantly, with a few exceptions, I believe they have always known what they were doing. Vanishing Point opens with Burning Wheel, a brooding, slow burning declaration o f intent that perfectly captures the ideology of the album. When Gillespie sings Through my bleeding eyes/I m filthy, fly/I crawl with insects/I m anaesthetize d/I m demonised he sounds like a man taking his last breaths of air before dyin g, struggling with his own fucked up alienation, and painfully admitting his own diseased existence for better or for worse, but just relived and content that h e has confessed, found some kind of completion. Meanwhile, Mani, the now central driving force in the Scream sound, chops out a seismic baseline that never leav es the listener in any doubt as to what awaits; namely a journey into the recess es of the mind that are not generally recalled, the places we don t want to go. But we do. And this is the fucking genius of Vanishing Point, we want to be ther e, to listen to the darkness and remarkably ,it even feels good, almost comforti ng. The second track, Get Duffy, is a atmospheric instrumental but the album really begins with the incendiary ,transcendental speed psychosis of Kowalski, which op ens with the sample from the film from which the album title was taken, This ra dio station was named Kowalski, In honour of the last American hero to whom Spee d means freedom of the soul. The question is not when he s gonna stop, But who i s gonna stop him This immediately paints an image of an isolated anti-hero who has given up on trying to conform, something that is an underlying theme, perhap s the underlying theme, of the whole album, and is battling existential fears, t ravelling through the dessert, refusing to accept the horrors of reality, whilst both metaphorically and literally speeding towards the unknown, in order to giv e his existence meaning., some kind of purpose. The moment that Mani s bass kick s in and Gillespie whispers the repetitive mantra of Kowalski , the desperatio n of the film samples and the soaring and murderous guitar crescendos take hold, not relenting in their stark and barbaric sonic assault, the first example of K rautrock influences such as Can throughout the record. Finally we are left with a sense of doom and loss that manages to be both poignantly uplifting and comfor ting even though the eponymous Kowalski of the track is heading inevitably and i rreversibly towards destruction. The song oozes nihilistic defiance, and so it s hould. This truly is the sound of blissful psychosis, a kind of descent into ins anity that is perversely pleasurable and exhilarating, again perfectly demonstra ting the essence of the album. Readers, as we are at risk of drowning in sycophancy, I have to admit that than in my teenage years I despised Star, to me it always sounded like benign MOR pop , even 80s synth music. This of course was an act of supreme naive ignorance tha t could not be further from the truth, as Star in the ensuing years, has reveale d itself to be an act of subversive pop genius, a track that employs minimalism a nd simplicity to great effect. The presence of dub melodica guru Augustus Pablo playing on the track adds an element of gravitas to it and when Gillespie sings Everybody is a Star he manages to make this trite line take on a heartfelt int egrity, his voice smooth and innocent, at one with the tender strains of the mus ic, whilst conveying the soulful optimistic tone of the track. If They Move Kill Em is an instrumental speed-funk workout in which Mani again underlines his im portance within the new Primal Scream. It comes on like a middle of the road 70s American Cop show theme tune and then turns into an animal longing for relief f rom the relentless surge of breaks and waa waa pedal loops.
On Out of the Void, Bobby G. sings I can t slip my skin/I m full of dust/I m ch emically imbalanced/I m cancer and I can t get out of the void into the light‘. His wounded and damaged voice manages to evoke a sadness and tragedy whilst engu lfed within a swamp of swerving electronica and deviantly contrasting, organic g uitar. ‘If I were a child again...’ Gillespie sings, surrounded by the momentarily b enign ambience, sounding relieved and in search of judgement, almost praying, fo r another shot at his life, a broken man, cynically reviewing his wasted, yet de bauched, life. Stuka is a cacophony of swirling abstract riffs and techno flourishes punctuated by the sound of Gillespie singing, through a vocoder, his voice distorted, disc onnected and filled with menace. When he sings I got a demon my head... we are again reminded of the manifesto of this record, the disillusionment that fuels and underpins it at every turn. Stuka manages through its quiet complexity, to d evelop a violence that is so abstract yet paradoxically succinct that to the cas ual listener, as well as the acid drenched devotee, is capable of inducing the e motion that first created it. Medication is easily the weakest track on the album, a mid-seventies Rolling Sto nes pastiche that serves as a painful reminder to the Scream s previous album. G illespie s wails that he needs medication to heel this wound whilst Andrew Inn es and Duffy chop out standard, though at least filthy and primal, rock n roll r iffs that would not be out of place on one of the Stones lesser seventies albums such as Black and Blue. Whether it is homage or, God save us all, postmodernism , it doesn t quite work. Things pick up again with the relentless twitching, wired, robotic punk groove o f Motorhead. It is, something that the title in itself makes clear, a clear ode to amphetamine, that contains the not very ambiguous lyrics Fourth day, five da y marathon/ We re moving like a parallelogram/Don t move, the mornin s not a pre tty sight /Don t move, the mornin s not a pretty sight/I guess, I ll see you all on the ice/ should be tired, and all I am is wired. It s a pretty established fact, and something he has admitted, that after a period of heroin addiction Bob by Gillespie was a speed freak extraordinaire, a raving, ravenous amphetamine sn orting beast caught in the lust for the infinite and thus the track takes on the form of personal confession and a celebration of debauchery all rolled into one . Speed though is a drug that offers no respite, no neat conclusions; it induces no emotion or finite meaning and the song reflects this disorder. Motorhead,wit h it s lyrics that speak of the desire of never ending lust for avoiding the nig htmare of sleep, and it s relentless drum beat and motoric surge captures this w ith it s nihilistic fervour whilst conveying the ugliness and intrinsic emotiona l violence that nihilism fundamentally contains. Trainspotting, which was recorded for the film of the same name, is a sedated, sm acked out dance track that makes manages to be calm and reflective without ever sounding like MOR dinner party dance filth like Groove Armada. It is the beginni ng of the comedown from the hellish, brutal realities of previous half an hour. Finally the blissful and reflective Long Life, a track of eerie calm and tranqui llity, concludes the record and we are left reeling and frayed, torn and pensive , starring into the abyss, but feeling somehow joyous, the duality of the record manifesting itself within us. Let’s get this straight. Sycophancy is practised by class A wankers, reality TV Zlist celebrities, tabloid socialites,wannabe Hollywood players at award ceremoni es, rock’n’roll hangers on-who pray to the altar of Pete’n’Carl and 1970s Led Zeppelin g roupies. It must though be proclaimed that Vanishing Point is a journey through a diseased, disaffected mind, a cathartic meditation on a dark period within the lives of it s creators, an album that has flaws, and for it to be utterly convi ncing it must be flawed, just like Johnny Greenwood s bum note on the intro of R
adiohead s Creep or the chaotic and frenzied riffola of The Stooges’ Fun House, bu t that will ultimately stand alongside Xtrmntr and Screamadelica as the Scream s best, most intriguing and layered work, an album that understands the notion of kicking out the jams, not as fake sloganeering, but a reason to exist. If you play with fire you’re gonna get burned some of my friends Are gonna die young From Stuka, Vanishing Point Jim was in full flow. He had smoked two joints but marijuana only fuelled his sh arp brilliant mind rather than hinder it. He ragingly debated the involvement of the US Government in it’s attempting to assassinate Fidel Castro in The Seventies with Mike. Mike , himself an American , who was out of his depth and he knew it and thus after smoking the same amount of weed as Jim reverted to stoner type a nd raised the metaphorical white flag. “Yeah, whatever.” Pathetic. Jim was an intelligent twenty year old man. He studied economics at university, and was known on campus for his sharp intellect. He studied economics on account of his fear of failing at his passion of music. With anybody else this would ha ve roused distrust and loathing in me but this was Jim. Great friend and prince amongst rebels.We had known each other since we were thirteen in Frankfurt. He w asn’t as blatant as myself but rather had a striking intelligence that made him da ngerous to conservative values and the old order. He didn’t much care for drugs ex cept grass and beer, though he tried them all before most people had been to the pub, but that was completely irrelevant. He was also a kind and insightful man. A diamond amongst a sea of corrupt beasts. He wore his dark brown hair long and flowing in a late sixties manner and had recently begun wearing glasses which h ad given him an uncanny similarity to John Lennon around the split up of the Bea tles. Jim was profoundly understanding and had an honest love of music and literature that always ensured conversation of the highest calibre. His insight never even bordered on the pretentious or the ill informed and hence was classic. A man, of integrity and truth. Can’t You Hear Me Knocking blasts out of my pathetic speakers and life makes sense again. Jim has given up his debate with Mike whilst I smoke a relatively large joint. There is talk of where Matt is. I dismiss it as unfounded and state that Matt will no doubt join our little gathering in due course. After all we are on a campus in a fucking dorm. Talk turns to a new band called the The Strokes of w hich Mike has no idea so we drop the conversation out of respect for his ganja s oaked ego. Mike is suddenly demanding food, on account of his weed fuelled metabolism. “I haven’t got shit, man. “ I lazily retort. At this point Mike suggests a sober trip to the nearest twenty four hour petrol station to procure sustenance. I cannot be bothered and tell him to do whatever he has to do. Mike tends to worship the cult of the twenty- four hour petrol station. He often preaches loud banalities about how it was invented for the stoner by stoners. W e ignore him. Jim demands that I put on Goodfellas. I remind him in a turgid dra wl that we have seen it, by conservative estimate, over one hundred times, and w e are not even certified or self- proclaimed film buffs. The problem with this p
articular masterpiece is that, like many others, people tend to spout out meanin gless as well as classic lines of the dialogue. “As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster.” His timing is impeccable to my comment. There is a silent moment before I remind him of his inherent lack of film knowledge. He protests while I open a bottle o f cheap home brand supermarket vodka that is reserved for the likes of alcoholic s and me. Yet again conversation turns radically. It is like being inside parliament on a particularly focused day. Controlled chaos reigns as we converse in ambiguous th oughts expressed as profound, addled, thoughts. How can nu-metal be justified as the saviour of rock’n’roll? This question sticks and refuses to leave our attention s like The first rising tremors of a acid rush. How could this form of generic, mall- c ulture, pseudo angst expressing music be considered by so many young people as b eing a new sub culture? Has MTV finally become a form of active mind control wher eby they are teaching teenagers that this filth is rebellious, or in the lingo o f the beast itself, alternative? MTV has created a ambience where there are only two options; Pop or what it has decided is not pop. Everything else is not repre sented and therefore irrelevant. Musically nu-metal is appalling, but what is mu ch fouler is its false pre-tense of savage disregard for authority. Where punk w as invigorating, nu-metal is purely sterile and pathetic. The look and fashion t hat the pitiful sub-culture has been adopted ,is the bastard son of early nineti es skaters in Europe and pioneer hardcore bands, such as Pantera and Slayer. Bot h groups, and I can speak for European skaters, are embarrassed by the associati on. A whole generation has been dominated, controlled and processed in the most salacious manner. Nu-metal is pop. The ultimate insult is that former respected publication and authority, the NME, has not only hailed and championed this faux movement but traced its roots back to Nirvana. May God have mercy on your false souls, you swine! Eight A.M. The hour of responsibility. The hour of the working man. All notions so vague and alien that they erode my soul and beliefs. As the world awakes to a nother day of slavery another world casts its thoughts to how feelings can be ma intained, how decadence can possibly carry on even further before the crash come s. The crash is the nemesis of the speed freak. David is a man who spends his li fe running from the crash, constantly playing distorted and sad chess with the b east. I had not seen David on the previous night. In fact I had not seen him sin ce his last crash. Many people use amphetamine and cocaine at weekends for relat ively recreational ten hour periods. David though spent weeks awake at a time li ving in a world of timeless angst and grave paranoia, where time was a foe that dissolved into over stimulated nervous systems. This though was his choice, a ch oice engraved in his hollow damaged eyes and shuffling, then suddenly spastic ga it. I saw David, smoking a cigarette, by the bus station. I had left Jim s as wa s on my way to my digs in Town. “Hey, man.” Hey, indeed. “How, you doing? You look tired.” “Shit. You know me. I’m never tired.” His hands were trembling as he sought therapeutic drags of his cigarette, as if he was preparing and calming his nerves for the horrors of the crash. Popular cu lture has adopted the state of withdrawal from opiates such as heroin and terms such as Cold turkey have become normal discussion points or references over midd le class dinner tables , but the less glamorous amphetamine crash is less docume nted. The depths of despair and mental torture are arguably higher. “What are you doing tonight?” “Jeff’s coming over with some meth. So…well just do that, I guess.” Obviously he wasn’t ready for the crash. He would try and hide for a few more days , and who could blame him. I try to think of love. I try to think of a superlative to describe it. I find n
othing. I snort some crystal. David sits opposite me, licking his lips spastical ly. Time erodes into subtle disturbance as the sky changes from crimson to blata nt subtle passive blue beauty, the colour of life. I feel nothing. I try to beli eve in the false propaganda of poetic terrorists and romantic lust. I feel nothi ng. CNN flickers offensively in the background as I ponder the worth of David Bowie in a fake post modernist art culture. I think of the oppression of the middle cl ass media and it’s savage and sinister media management. Matt calls. I ignore his call and prefer to accept the banal mumblings of some M.O.R. music channel on sa lacious tabloid television. I think of cancelling my subscription to cable telev ision, and liken my pathetic role of being a payee to the offending station , as being a subservient and demoralised slave not seen since the height of the mid nineties MTV zombie era. I snort some meth. Thoughts cross my mind swiftly. Am I pedantic? Fuck the meaning of this life! Am I pedantic? Can nihilism be a form of redemption? Or shall I forever be trapped in pretentious hyperbole in order to express anything. Crystal Methamphetamine is a terrible drug and I stop using it. That was that.I look at David and feel s orry for him because I know he will never stop. I have though.
The next day I call Jim. “Hello.” “Hey it’s me.” I proclaim. “Do you know what…its one o’clock, man”? “Listen. How’s your car?” “What the fuck do you mean, how’s my car? How are you, bitch?” “I mean, is it ready to go?” “Ready to go? What is this?” “Okay, we need to go away for the weekend.” “Where?” I don’t believe it’s already twelve thirty one. “Frankfurt” “Germany?” “Well I see you passed kindergarten geography. Yes, fucking Germany. The city of E uropean commerce, home of the euro, city of the mighty Eintracht Frankfurt. Fran kfurt. Where we went to school” “Listen, Keith I’m too tired for this shit. Call me back later.” “This is serious, man. I’ve got the money for petrol and booze. I just need you to d rive. It’s seven hours at the most!” “Do you know what fucking time it is?” Jim say s cursing my filthy comedown. “Get your fucking head together, man. I’ll be round in twenty.” “Keith…” I appear looking my usual torn self. Hair, died black and unpretentiously wild, eyes sharp and focused, baggy jeans scrapping the ground- lager in my right hand . “So tell me the story.” Jim leans back into his pseudo seventies bean-bag and awaits my explanation and justification for this voyage to the capital of capitalism. The story is characteristically long, derived, theatrical but ultimately profoun d. My discourse begins with a reference to an obscure seventies road movie calle d The Vanishing Point that Primal Scream used as the theme for their aptly title d album Vanishing Point then continues with a cry to emotional arms in a quest f or righteousness. It transpires that I have received an offer for a screenplay t hat I have written and the production company that likes the project in question is located in the Frankfurt and will only discuss an option on said script face to face. How human, I think to myself cynically, in this age of globalisation, e-mail and dehumanisation. “Well?”
“You got the money?” “I told you before.” “I will think about it.” I take a gulp from my can of cheap and probably warm beer, fixing a deadpan star e on Jim, presumably expecting him to think about it at this precise moment. “You know I would really appreciate this. I really need to get there. I can’t afford the fucking train and flying is out.” “How’s Friday?” Jim says, suddenly finding the idea of a road trip strangely seductive . “Friday’s cool.” I say trying to disguise his obvious euphoria. I had lied about the screenplay. It was time to visit my biologic father, the one who had created me and left me. It was time. I went home and wrote a review. Because I felt like it. It went something like t his. Last Days Notes on Gus Van Sant s film June, 2005 By Keith Davies As the seventh person prematurely walked out of the Toison D or UGC Cinema scree n 1 in Brussels, where I was watching Last days, it had become completely clear that if nothing else, Gus Van Sant had succeeded in utterly confusing and warping the minds of the popcorn toting troglodytes who had been lusting after a juicy, salacious and utterly conventional account of the end of Kurt Cobains life. The y had smelt blood and had been disappointed. Yes, I, smugly, cheered this partic ular victory to myself. The first two people left ten minutes into the film, whil st another group ,consisting of four teenagers, one of whom looked like a neo-co nservative hawk on his way to the white house situation room, in drooling antici pation of bombing a third world country that had dared to criticise the American Fuehrer, lasted a good forty minutes. Well done. If this film, which premiered at Cannes in May of this year, had had to have been pitched to a stereotypical d emonic Hollywood studio Executive, it would have gone something like this: Fat Cat Honcho (smoking cigar and counting money): Okay break it down, twenty-fi ve words or less, what you got? Van Sant: Okay, Michael Pitt, who was dropping acid and acting crazy in Bully, p lays Kurt Cobain. He walks around his decaying mansion, plays his guitar a bit, wears a dress and hides from his friends. He then proceeds to walk around the fo rest that surrounds his mansion for a bit. Oh, wait , the best bit is; nothing h appens. Nothing at all! It s genius. It s like Warhol s Empire meets Fassbinder! And the greatest thing is that before the audience even sees the movie they kno w that he kills himself! So there is no pay off, no phoney twist! Fat Cat Honcho: What about tits, ass and guns? Car chases? (I realize this is a tired cliché, readers but needs be) Van Sant: None. Fat Cat Honcho: So this is like, an art house movie? Fuck that. Van Sant: You fucking guys are all the same. This a film about human suffering, alienation and the futility of celebrity , godamnit, conveyed through internalis ed emotion and objective voyeurism, no less. Fat Cat Honcho: Take it to those commies at HBO, asshole and get out of my offic e! And Gus Van Sant did... As you probably know Last Days has stirred up expectation and interest due the f act that it was supposedly inspired by the suicide of Kurt Cobain. Michael Pitt,
physically aping Cobain with his long greasy blond hair and, at one point sport ing the red and black striped shirt that Cobain bought in Camden market and wore at the 1992 Reading Festival., plays the heroin addicted rock star, Blake, who, seeped in terminal depression and in the throws of addiction, shuffles, at time s unintentionally bearing an uncanny gaitly resemblance to Ozzy Osborne, around his vast home and the surrounding woodlands whilst mumbling to himself (subtitle s really should have been offered in English as well as French and Dutch ,Herr V an Sant) and attempting to hide from his manager, a private investigator and his band mates before his inevitable suicide that sadly leaves the viewer completel y cold. Dead. Last Days is a film of startling, and often irrelevant, long voyeuristic and ste rile sequences in which consecutive scenes have no connection in terms of narrat ive and characters are utterly redundant. The film is marked out by the aforemen tioned long, haunting and lingering takes with Van Sant often holding frame for three or four minutes of, for example, Pitt,sitting, alone and alienated in the woods staring into the sky, disconnected from the surrounding world. In another instance Pitt, with his back to the camera, plays guitar, building a savage and emotive cacophony of white noise reminiscent of My Bloody Valentine s Loveless t hat manages to reflect the sadness that has eroded him, whilst Van Sants camera slowly pulls back from the window outside the house from which we have been watc hing. Whilst Pitt continues to play ,Van Sant pulls back the camera further from the window into a long shot as we watch Pitt become further and further away st ill playing ,for a full five minutes. It’s an astonishing moment, one that display s honesty and true courage to examine aspects of cinema that most directors igno re, namely the elements of human behavior that are usually deemed to be of no val ue because there are not easily understood and too abstract in nature and theref ore cannot be defined in simplistic terms that have the potential to satisfy. Th ey just are. There is definitely no satisfaction and no fast food resolutions in this film, merely a calculated, and that sadly is what it is, ambiguity that is certainly something that should be applauded. Sadly this is seldomly reproduced . In another lingering shot one of Pitt s band mates, who are living in his home and seemingly exploiting his catatonic state, returns from a night out before l istening to the Velvet Underground s Venus in Furs. Van Sant holds a close up as he sings along out loud to the whole song. Twice. Indeed the choice of song is obvious and clichéd but Van Sants intention is clear. He tries to communicate the cold and alienated world within which Pitts character finds himself by creating a suffocating, monotonous atmosphere where everything is steeped in banality and nothing offers relief from the sense of impending doom. The scenes do convey a sadness and poignancy that sadly though is never given any semblance of context. It is difficult to convey just how the film lacks any semblance of soul and thi s reviewer found himself not caring about anybody who was onscreen, not because of their traits but because they were so vague and undefined. Of course this is the point. Van Sant has attempted, and achieved, to create a world so cold and d islocated that it is suffocating to watch in order to convey the isolating force that is heroin addiction None the less, people who s teenage years were sound t racked by Nirvana will no doubt, if Pitt s character really is based on Cobain, b e infuriated by the portrayal of him being a mumbling, zombie vegetable and not the disillusioned musical genius, fighting the fucking beast of depression, smac k and Courtney Love he no doubt was. Pitt s Blake inhibits a world he no longer feels a part of, his identity and bei ng numbed by heroin and depression, and therefore Van Sant presents his surround ings as having no definition, no fabric and most aptly no vitality. Van Sants in tentions are honourable but unavoidably repellent. Does one though really have t o care about characters or any form of their development, substance even? Of cou rse not, that s something for Hollywood to worry about, but the film has absolut ely no character development or insight, not even into Pitts tortured musician a nd this is the films central flaw. Just because there is a two minute close up o f Pitt staring into futility, does not make it a moment of stirring pathos, just
as a shot of Pitt, held in frame for several minutes, sitting in the woods surr ounding his home, pondering, I presume, the absurdity of existence, does not evo ke poignancy, but rather, in this reviewers case , a rather crude thought, for w hich I duly reprimanded myself for being a middle of the road swine, to get on w ith it! Please jut get it over and done with so we can all go home, mate! The real problem is that the film is so crassly superficial whilst at the same t ime profoundly and defiantly believes it is exploring the inner torture of the c entral protagonist. It is therefore hard to completely dismiss the film. This pa radox creates an almost excruciating experience that is difficult to convey to r eaders who are not familiar with truly awful avant-garde filmmaking. There are s cenes that work, such as the five minute shot of Blake making music that I menti oned earlier and especially Pitt’s self-penned songs that he performs in (obviousl y) , uncut long takes, in which he manages to impersonate Cobains voice without descending into parody or caricature whilst transmitting the internal strife of his character. Also a scene where Kim Gordon, of the mighty Sonic Youth, playing a record company representative attempting to get Blake into rehab, is so fragil e and gentle in it s observation of a man who has already decided his destiny an d will not, can not, be talked out of his decision, that it should pain any livi ng ,breathing soul. There are though sadly too few moments where Pitt is allowed to convey any sense of his self, let alone the reason for his state. Stanley Ku brick was often criticised for the cold distanced nature of his films and Van Sa nt employed the technique to truly mindfucking brilliance in Elephant but here i t just feels contrived, hollow and lacking in bathos, much like the fans that Ni rvana gained after Nevermind; those very souls that apparently troubled Kurt Cob ain so much. Last Days is a mangled mess, a grandiosely bleak and , at times plainly embarras sing, frequently brain numbingly empty, wonderfully pretentious beast devoid of direction and sense, but one that is audacious and uncompromising. Is that how h eroin addiction truly feels? Is this cinema s first true, naturalistic represent ation of an addict’s descent into suicide? It s too empty and at times, quite simp ly, unbearably awful to be that. I wanted to like this film but ,alas, it’s no Performance that s for sure, but one must admire it s ability to annoy the fuck out of the 25-40 young professional demographic hoping for a entertaining night out in the company of a slick biopic and who before they listened to Nevermind thought that Green Day was punk rock. “Nothing Happens!” I can hear them cry. Indeed, nothing and everything. Furthermore The Daily Mail(right wing English newspaper, German readers.) is going to go ins ane with rage when their reviewer sees it, which is always a good thing.
Jim was waiting for me. The navy blue Volkswagen Golf was as many had mentioned in the past worth considerably less than the fine stereo system inside it. It ha d been given to Jim on his seventeenth birthday by his mother, three years ago. Even then the beast had been in absolute uber dire straits. Since then, the upho lstery had passively and unwittingly consumed more spilt beer and Jack Daniels t han the media representation of John Bonham in a dark mood. Cigarette burns scar red the entirety of the seats like hellish carpet bomb craters. A worn and burnt out Wu-Tang Clan sticker still clawed defiantly on the rear window, unbeknownst that said band was past the pinnacle of it’s once great powers and that it’s once g olden age had ended in commercial meritocracy and complacency. I had no real kno wledge or passion for cars and to me as long as the fucker moved it was satisfac tory.
As we drove away from Brighton talk turned to the Frankfurt International School and our time there. We became nostalgic and cursed ourselves for it, though dee p down inside we were both content that we even had the memories to share.
I looked around, at first with a genuine innocent sense of anticipation, followe d swiftly by a rising sense of anxiety, reminiscent of that first incompetent ki ss or a first altercation with authority, before finally realising that the only way this was going to work was to let me myself be completely engulfed and surr ender all sense of control. Mozatti and I had taken the mushrooms around an hour ago. I was always fascinated by the idiosyncrasies of mescaline, LSD and pylosib in and their various effects on the mind and the deep influence they had had on music since the early to mid sixties. I hated the poseur pseudo hippie culture i t had bread in the early nineties though with a barbaric fervour. Most of these kids were middle-class and hopelessly vague in their faux appreciation of Sergea nt Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band, the most obvious and banal of psychedelic wor ks and did not understand the true raw power of the drugs, the draconian laws wh ich prohibited their consumption and the damages that they could cause when cons umed by troglodytes such as themselves . We sat on a park bench near my parents home sipping cheap supermarket beer with a nervous zest awaiting the shrooms to take hold. We were both well versed in th e effects and at fifteen arrogantly considered ourselves assured veterans of nar cotics, in my case acid and the chemical that was at that very moment in my body . I had always preferred the bravado of whiskey, beer and amphetamines( a fact r eflected in my taste of music) over drugs where one had to confront oneself and the subconscious, though I was far more versed than Mozatti if less so than Jim. Mozatti was though fully capable of it and he wholly respected the experience a nd its significance; he just simply didn’t like it. I looked over at Mozatti, his hair in its usual black perplexity, and sensed his slight unease about the upcom ing mental storm. Many people take psychedelic drugs for mindless fun. These peo ple are idiots or brainwashed. Or both. “It’s kicking in.” Mozatti claimed, looking as his hand as he moved it in swift vertic al motions in order to see if trails were developing. This was Jim s way of dete cting the commencement of a trip, I remembered. I too began to feel the beginnin g. Sinister tingling sensations begin running up the back of the spine and the b ody begins to feel numb and redundant before the intensity of perception is fuel led pitilessly. Then thoughts begin to rush through the recoiling mind with a de vilish speed. This is where one has to adapt and accept. Those who do not adapt and accept will not recover. The beginning is crucial to the trip. Mozatti certainly has accepted. He is laughing manically at a passing woman stru ggling with her three industrial sized shopping bags. I look into his eyes and t hey are dilated to twice their usual size. I question what he is laughing at but cannot make out his rambling and distorted answer. “There pretty potent, man” “Yeah, all right.” I say trying to remember how long ago it is we took them. Is it o ne hour or two?
“You know what, this might sound fucking banal, but I feel fucking great! And I he reby demand some booze!” Mozatti bellowed with the fervour of pure confidence. A passing man stops and gives us a dark look before muttering something about yo ung people under his breath and moves on. “Fuck you, slave!” I retort. I too am now feeling a surge of raw and dangerous energy, like an MDA rush mixed with pure rural Peruvian cocaine. Fuck that, this is a feeling of unadulterated goodness and savage liberty. Fucking hippie bullshit this is not. And suddenly we are on our feet dancing in a little clearing by the woods holding onto our ca ns of lager for dear life, revelling in the freedom we have in this moment, lovi ng the endless and abstruse limitless moment, as the colours of the woods around suddenly seem important and something worth acknowledging. As we breathe the tr ees are literally breathing with us in alchemic unison. “You see the breathing…” “I see it. It’s different to acid. It’s more…” “More real…” “More subtle…” “Yeah, subtle like Iggy Pop.” “Do you know Jim Osteburg? Name-dropping star fucking, bitch…” Never had being alive been so easily unpretentious. Now we are walking down the decrepit suburban road which seems strangely tranqui l on this mild October afternoon. I glance over at Mozatti, whose Christian name is Anthony or Antonio, I can’t remember which exactly. I should remember because he is one of my best friends. This makes me feel momentarily guilty but it soon passes and I notice that Mozatti is laughing. I have not spoken for a least a co uple of minutes so it comes as a bit of a surprise. "What is it?" He continues to laugh, quietly at first then building to a deranged cackle that begins to unsettle me. "What is it, man?" "I was just thinking about that chick in my maths class I was telling you about. " "What chick?" "You know fucking Helen." Mozatti s eyes, or rather his pupils are swelling and contorting trying in vain to expand further than their already altered state. "My mouth s dry. I need a beer." "That s why were going to HL." Were about a minute away from the supermarket now. We can see the Promised Land that harbours booze, food and Fanta. "I think I’ll get some Fanta. I love that shit." "What about this chick then?" "What chick?" "Helen! or whatever her name is!" "Oh, yeah. That was funny as balls." "Well..." "She came over to my house a couple a days ago..." "Helen?" "Yeah..My Dad s on business at the moment and the brothers are away..." "Why didn t you say that you had a free house?" "I m telling you now, nigger." "Fuck it." "Anyway so she came over and we had some beers, this is like four o clock..." "After school?" "Yeah." We are now outside Germany s equivalent of the mighty Co-Op shopping experienceThe local HL.
"I’ll tell about it later, I need a beer and some fags." We enter the supermarket. It s pretty much the same as any other shopping temple in the western world except that it doesn’t quite live up to the standards of an industrialized nation. The soft drinks are not cooled but rather sit in cardboar d boxes, poorly placed on shelves that probably can’t handle their load. The selec tion of unhealthy, heart destroying instant junk food is frankly appalling and f or a shop in Germany the place is rancid and rotting from its core. This being G ermany though you can buy beer and vodka from about thirteen upwards. This is ou r Off-Licence. Mozatti makes his way towards the soft drink section and starts picking out far more bottles of Fanta than he could possibly need, then decides against this exc ess and puts a few back into the swaying shelves. He is definitely tripping now. For those who are not initiated he must look vaguely drunk as he slopes through the isles intermittently pausing and staring at various objects of his desire. I begin to hear myself laughing. I look around but Mozatti is nowhere to be seen . I too am now coming up, helpless to suppress the surging psylosibin. Before I know what I am doing, and helpless to the potent urges that have grasped and con quered my nervous system I grasp the nearest can of liquid, which happens to be a coke, I can see and devoid of any restraint or sense of conventional, basic so cial etiquette bight into the side of the can, sucking out it s carbonated conte nts. The aluminium tinges the coke but my thirst is quenched. No one has seen me , so I calmly and meticulously replace the bleeding can in the shelf and move on wards along the isle. I noticed her when it was too late. Standing in front of me at the checkout, her overweight, bloated face glaring at me in disapproval and disgust. There she wa s, her unkempt red hair hanging down over her shoulders, whilst her narrow, inqu isitive rat eyes peered at me. There she was grasping her late thirties single w oman microwave dinner. There stood my Drama Teacher Mrs. Stanley. "Hello." She looked as though she had been watching us and formed some kind of decision a s to our states of mind. After all that is what teachers do; they judge. They ju dge those who are prone to mistakes and therefore are likely to fulfil their smu g desires of condemnation. "Hi, Mrs. Stanley." I just about manage to remember her name and say it with a relatively straight f ace before cracking up like a thirteen year old school boy(I am fifteen year old school boy, I am the young Jim Morrison before he was ravaged by bourbon, I am the purveyor of a good time for all, I am a demi-God.,I am the most subversive k id in school and the most dangerous, I am a magnet to all those young girls desp erate to loose their virginities, I am mature far beyond my years...I am loosing control of this situation so I may as well enjoy it.) "Hello, Anthony" Mozatti does not take Drama but his notoriety denies him any kind of anonymity i n this situation. "How are you?" Mozatti is further away from Mrs. Slater’s reality than me. He can only laugh. He laughs directly in her fatty face. God knows how she must look to him in this mo ment. Probably like some kind of red ogre. We leave the supermarket, drink more beer and then Mozatti disappears. I later find him masturbating, standing up in the park adjacent to the supermark et. He had only made a partial gesture to attempt to conceal this act, by placin g himself behind a group of bushes, their leafs shedding and dried out by the fi lthy air. An old woman walks past and on seeing the sight of Mozatti, after having regaine d her composure, cries out at him, decrying his filthy behaviour, condemning a g eneration of apathetic and foul, perverted nihilistic, degenerates.
Judging by Mozatti I do not disagree. "Do you know who I am?" He cries,” If I want to wank, I m going to wank." Are these the words of a genius or a fucking wanker? I pondered this as the old lady moved on full of shock and disgust. And so it continued.
BERLIN ........................................................... I am now 25. I sit infront of the TV sipping on a bottle of Evian. I felt like w riting a record review. It went something like this. Riot City Blues (2006) And notes on 2006, the year of Berlin, increasing self-doubt,a distinct lack of self-obession and the zenith, or if you rather nadir, of state sponsored surveil lance. By James Howard
Is there a claustrophobic, introspective, brain wasting, yet paradoxily life aff irming sadness and melancholy in the new Scream album? A manifestation of an epi phany so incendiary and savage that it should be destined to eclipse all previou s LP released by this grizzled yet defiant group of self-proclaimed outlaws...NO . But it rocks... (At the risk of sounding crude) like Ronnie Wood falling off the wagon and inviting Keef to his home Pub... I Assure thee, this a decidedly ‘Dad Rock’ Free Zone Yes, I am aware that the LP title sounds like a B-side that a pseudo-garage band like the vapid and doomed Warlocks or The Paddingtons might have released in th ose heady and hype drenched days after the Strokes metaphorically and sartoriall y invaded England in 2001 and reintroduced the young of this great land to the g uitar, after having seized their turntables and burnt them in front of the Nazi sponsored Ministry of Sound no less, but alas I ask you, what the fuck? This is the intrinsic trait of this absurd record. These middle-aged men made Screamadel ica (though it Is Andrew Weatheral who must take most of the loving)and XTMNTR, an d I for one for one view them as being as significant to popular music as the fu cking Velvet Underground, Muddy Waters, My Bloody Valentine, The Stooges, The Wu -Tang Clang or The Clash, and therefore, so should you....
Rock Star or Front Bencher? Oh, ye narcissistic beast... Yes, the lyrics on this record are absurd, even grotesque and at times downright laughable but it is not meant to be T.S. Elliot or even solo Lennon, this a won derfully self-conscious, party record.
Yes, the rock n roll posturing is more pronounced than on Give Out, the record t hat has been most referenced by the great British music with regard to this albu m for obvious reasons. And yes, Bobby G. still thinks he is some kind of meth fue lled hybrid of Keef, Lou Reed and Iggy Pop ,whilst he was the lead singer of The Stooges in the early seventies, not I might add, the car crash that was his 80s career. But tis this not what we want from our rock stars, even if they are 44 years old? I for one, applaud the man. Pitchforkemedia.com, purveyors of righteo us and succinct reviews were so far of the mark on this one, awarding it I belie ve something between 3 and 4, that one almost thought some angry forty-year old was trying to get back at the Scream on account of the fact that they could stil l look and sound so good at a similar age. In order to enjoy this paradox of an album you need a fucking sense of humour. For those who have not yet understood this, rock n roll is ridiculous, it is the greatest theatre of the absurd known to man, and Primal Scream, when in this mood, are the masters of this particular field. Like Herr Bangs said,” There are no facts in rock n roll...only myths." But, and I believe it is called for, Riot City Blues is not a great album, of rock n roll and at worst a rotten ds like the product of a conservative rs at a party conference in sunny old at this point let s get one thing straight, it is at best a celebration of the history cliché contaminated swine of an LP that soun party think tank trying to play Exile cove Brighton.
Tis though a new age. The old adage of “Don’t trust anyone over thirty” seems to be er oding by the amphetamine fuelled minute...Tom Waits and Nick Cave could attest t o that. I readers have just turned 25, an old man showing his solidarity with th e old guard. Let us though forget these transgressions. Yet, I hear thee cry that the Scream have left their period of progressive sonic innovation and returned to the dark heroin tinged days of Give Out But Don’t Give Up. Oh, I can already hear the cries of the now mid-thirties post acid- house e -heads! Or Are are these people only in my imagination? If truth be told the Scream have indeed departed from revolu tionary and progressive sonic sounds possibly on account of the departure of ueb er-noise soundscape maestro Kevin Shields, though I do believe that there is a f ar more banal explanation for the screams return to the whiskey and cocaine dren ched sounds of Exile On Main Street and this is a very simple, namely the experi ence of making an album in a thoroughly organic and uninterrupted manner. Innova tion is of course what all music should be about but the Scream, like any other group, need a break and thus this period of, what some might call complacency, h as resulted in and ultimately manifested itself in Riot City Blues. Bobby G. has of course always immersed himself in the glorious iconography of ro ck n roll, his persona a at times an infuriating combination of rock clichés and m ythology though seemingly always capable of presenting an integrity and bathos t hat no other other lead singer in the last 20 years could dream of coming close to. Is it this image, so thoroughly at odds with what for instance an earnest, s elf-aware and insecure indie lead singer should have been in the early nineties, that has carried Primal Scream through an album so mediocre in terms of ambitio n as Riot City Blues? This is an assumption that only a fool would concur with a s it is precisely this supposed mediocrity that makes Riot City Blues such a deb auched, decadent and savagely filthy experience, though it doth alas, contain a degree of banality. If one were to deconstruct the ideology of Riot City Blues one would come to the following conclusion: This is the sound of a band rediscovering what it feels l ike to pick up a guitar and wake up the neighbours whilst rehearsing past ten o clock, the sound of a young T-Rex perchance, a young MC5 not giving a fuck, befo re their political posturing became a hindrance to their development as band., a fourteen year old kid whacked out on crystal-meth and cocaine listening to Stic ky Fingers and holding an internal monologue that suggested that Gimme Shelter w
as indeed the most dishevelled and most powerful intro of all time and that TV Ey e by The Stooges was more fun and aggressive(something one craves at that age) t han fucking Nirvana riffs from Nevermind. And thus begins the review, as we enter the debauched vortex... Country Girl sets the tone for the Scream s eighth studio album. It is also, some thing that by now doubt is widely known, their most commercially successful sing le, as it grooved (oh, please forgive me this...) its way into the top five. The words "commercially successful" and "Primal Scream" have never been a union unt il, now 20 years into their career. Don t question this idiosyncratic cultural s hift, just believe it. Oh, how they must have celebrated as this mandolin driven , early-seventies Stones driven riff of a genius single crashed the BBC party. C ountry Girl is the personification of what a single should be; catchy, simplisti c, yet with a heinous undercurrent, as Bobby sings of "drinking til the morning come", we share his imagery of emerging from a Louisiana blues club at six in t he morning, our minds still sedated by copious amounts of bourboun,shit dirty so uth weed and cocaine. What makes this relevant, rather than asinine and idiotic is that it feels warm and honest, instead of the cold, sterile plastic-blues of Don’t Give Out ... It is euphoric, yet understated, garage-rock, yet pop, and the absurd pseudo-Ame rican southern rock lyrics round off a supreme single. The difference between th is and the over-produced Rocks is that the track is loose and unpretentious and there is a genuine, profound I dare say, happiness emanating from the strings and horns.. This is the sound of a band feeling content with themselves and the mus ic they love. Don’t fucking hate them for it. Join the celebration muthafuckas, ev en if it has been on CD UK. It is dumb and loud and against all the odds, it doe s indeed work. Nitty Gritty Suicide Sally and Johnny Guitar Once one gets past the ridiculous title and all the high school-esque gossip abo ut how the song is like, about Pete Doherty and Kate Moss, man, their lurks a go od song. Alas, the tabloid fervour surrounding the aforementioned neo Sid and Na ncy somewhat sours the third track on Riot City Blues. I do though not believe th at Bobby Gillespie wrote this track about the tabloid beasts favourite on and of f saga, but rather is satirising the romantic vision of a doomed couple, so alie nated and isolated by the mechanisms of rock n roll that, as the title suggests suggest , there is only one way out. In terms of contrived, high-octane, kinetic rock n roll, it is possibly the best track on the record, drenched with decaden ce and even certain pathos. Despite the repetitive "all right" strains and a mom ent when Andrew Innes momentarily turns into Slash The Scream can not disguise w hat this really is: a riffola laden, stones boogie that just about gets away wit h lyrics like "Rock n Roll doctor, Rock n Roll Nurse, give me a shot...give me s ome pills..." and therefore must be applauded.
Of course the music on this record is regressive, though Primal Scream have alwa ys been steeped in and have been proud of their musical postmodernism, their inf luences have always fuelled and never hindered their development and I defy any Hoxton based glossy magazine writing sycophant to debate the joys of a track lik e Nitty Gritty, primarily because they would not know what Exile on Main Street w as, even if they snorted enough gak at one of their Soho c-list celeb parties to f uel a discussion about whether Dazed and Confused was a culturally superior inst itution to the decaesed Face. Where Give Out But Don t Give Up was a bloated, ov
erproduced, heroin and cocaine bloated pig of an album Riot is free of angst and existentialism and therefore flows like an angel spreading its wings, whilst de scending to purgatory and then discovering that he, if indeed it is a he, has ta ken a wrong turn, and landed in a blissful riff laden Nirvana where Keef is the leader of all those who are allowed to enter. It is the sound of a band, in thei r forties, realising that in order to subvert the expiations of the fascist musi c press there is one option, follow conviction even if that conviction is a Ston es influenced, ueber-contrived, cliché gorging, stereotype orgy, boogie fest. The hegemony of the British music press must be toppled. Why should the scream not p ull out the guitars and to quote the Dude, "In the Parlance of our Times" celebr ate the notion and essence of the New York Dolls? Does good rock n roll have to menacing, distorted and abstract? The answer to that is no, it has to filled with an ambivalent sense of destructio n, redemption, love and hope, a hope that can be manifested in death as well as well as existence, a lack of ennui, the only profound criteria being fury, which co-exists in both. it is this fury, this urgency and pain that makes rock n rol l the force that it is, without it we would succumb to the strains of MOR, FM Ro ck and the lazy and bloated pedantic, pontificating, musings and preaching s of motivational speakers, who as we live threaten to take over the civilized world. Just this weekend my father was telling me about... We were warned by Douglas Coupland... Douglas Coupland warned us, and this should in no way sound trite and we, isolat ed and alienated by our mortgages and sky TV subscriptions and reading one Camus novel a year, refused to head his warnings. Shame on us, the western rock obses sive, who spend far too much time debating the disgrace of Bowie s Raw Power Mix , the representation of Cobain in Last Days, the Pete Doherty soap opera and the merits of Dirty Pretty Things Waterloo to Anywhere. Old Men In Rock n Roll Pastiche Shock! This is where the Scream comes in, ladies and gentlemen. Do they not uphold, or personify, the last bestion of rock n roll, the unashamed New York dolls riffing ; feather cut sporting rock n roll beasts that do still exist in this vile year of our lord, 2006. I hear the cry, what of the Futureheads, Viva L’American Death Ray Music, Mr.Lif, El-P, Ditrty Pretty Things, Arctic Monkeys, I Forward Russia or fucking Plan B? The answer is as simple as it is absurd, namely that that, as I have written in previous articles, the Scream seem to defy the ageing process , they have immunity from the process of becoming irrelevant, they laugh in the face of the Kings Reach Tower fascists claiming they can not appeal to certain s uperfluous demographics. As derivative and bereft of inspiration this album is, one has to commend the Scream on retaining a semblance of cool. Yes, cool. But, can one believe such ambiguous statements? Where doth the myth end and the tabloid/British Music Press Mafia truth begin? Tis a question that has been deba ted and discussed by writers from Bangs to Kent, those who relentlessly and with out remorse searched and speeded, literally and figuratively, for a truth that w as if not achievable, certainly not attainable with any degree of sanity. So yet again readers, this is where the Scream come in. Alas, there are no incendiary moments or ambitions of creating something seminal on this record but rather a pastiche, no an homage to the music that shaped and defined the manifesto of Primal Scream. Have they finally descending into savag e self-parody and caricature? No, they just wanted to make a rock n roll record. I will see you down the Rainbow snorting speed and drinking whiskey with Lemmy.
Somehow those last grotesque lines seem fitting for a record that is so gloriou sly self-conscious of it own degree of rock n roll absurdity. But is that not wh at it is all about? Would it be disingenuous to suggest this album is a philstin ic rawk best with as much depth as a Black Crowes album? No, that would be the s tatement of a troglodyte, this, man is a glam-rock record. Zapping through the endless array of Channels, I stumbled across the horrible Fo x News Channel. The presenters face is distorted with hatred and vitriol. War wa s raging, people were dying. I continued to drink my water. I fix my stare on th e TV. He begins to speak. Good Evening, folks. Let me first tell you this. We are the greatest nation in the world and if anybody from the left of the political spectrum dares to critic ise or bash our honourable and divine President we will put them through the mos t disgraceful, salacious and undignified character assassination much in the tra dition of the Clinton hatchet job in 1998. Now at the risk of alienating viewers from our fair and balanced, and that s what we stand for folks, unlike the libe ral mass media that dominates this country. Well I have to say that an American life, providing he or she has voted for our glorious leader, is worth at least t hree times that of someone from Iraq or maybe someplace in Africa. You know why? Because that s the way it is! You French people out there got a problem with th at? Still doing deals with UN are you? Furthermore I am going to say this...I am going to say something that amounts to complete and total heresy in this world. What s the obsession with Africa? I mean, this is the day after the Brits big d ay of terror. Fifty dead, seven hundred wounded. I mean all this stuff about deb t relief, AIDS and starvation. I know Africa needs help but for God s sake we ar e at war! We are at war with barbarians who slaughtered three thousand innocent people on the 11th September 2001. These people can t be reasoned with! We have to support our troops! Not question them and therefore put their lives at risk! Some people say I m biased! Damn right I am biased! Now go out and the fly the f lag, don t let The New York Times tell you that you can t be patriotic. The left are weak and only make the enemy stronger. A vote for the democrats right now i s like voting for Osama Bin Laden. Think about. That s my word.
The World Cup was but days away now. It was late May 2006 and the heat was reach ing a point were clothes were becoming redundant in the privacy of ones home. Anyway I was drunk again. Somewhere between Kreuzberg or Friedrichshein, know I really didn t know or care. The Taxi was moving with a real zest and a love of t hose decaying Berlin roads. I had just watched Germany defeat Sweden, that much I could remember, and yes I could just about remember the score but the scorers and the six or seven white Russians that morning, or highlights? No, they were g one, sucked into the alcoholic abyss. Then suddenly I feel that somewhat familia r sensation of cold, hard steel upon my wrists. Oh, yes I love feeling dehumanis ed. I was just about to shout at the arresting officer, his green uniform somewh at at odds with his cold, pale exterior and dead, brown eyes, when I realised th at I had nothing to complain about, I had no valid reason to decry the law. I ha d been justly arrested for failing to pay the driver of the aforementioned cab. This having daunted on me, I briefly composed myself, pondered the possibility o f waking up in a cell without the opportunity of fighting off those irritating, yet increasingly prevalent minor DT s without the aid of more booze, and hands c uffed behind my back, started to run. At first in a frenzied panic, having not r un from the police since my teenage years, and then in a calmer manner, becoming ever more composed and surprised by my own stamina. This seemed to take the two officers, and the cab driver by surprise as I bolted away from them, arms force d behind my back, glasses falling from my pocket. As I ran I imagined A Time For Heroes as my grandiose soundtrack, an old outlaw on the run, past closed curry
wurst stands, kiosks with yesterdays Bild headlines, their hegemony announcing t hemselves onto the dark sidestreets, still petrunding from rotting wooden signs. When they caught me, they proceeded in the dull and depressing protocol of dema nding identification and searching me. The former of their demands was met with me explaining that I had lost my British passport and had no other form of ID, t he latter with the discovery of 12 euros, of which I had no recollection. "So, now you can pay the man and we can all go home." One of the officers said, seemingly relieved that this pathetic fiasco might be coming to an end. I agreed and made my way into the Berlin night, alone, half-drunk and without much memor y of the last sixteen hours, of where I had come from or where I had planned to go. "Can, I or rather may, I bestow the honour of most liberal cop..." before I fini shed my drunken pontification, I realised I was alone.
We were in the Rio, myself, Nick and Ben. One Englishmen and two Germans united by the spirit and alcoholic fuel of not having seen each other for a few months. Ben, a well built man, a few years older than us, approaching his late-twenties , his muscle slowly and rather prominently turning to fat, had by all accounts b een drinking heavily on the long bus ride from Hamburg and it was beginning to s how as we sipped pretentious corona and slammed shots at the slowly filling bar. "Let s get some fucking e s" He slurred, his lack of balance taking hold of the big man. I looked at Nick and remembered a story Ben had told us a few hours previously w hilst we had been drinking in my room in the former West. Ben had been ejected f rom the house he was sharing with a bunch of people he had previously described as eco nutters, something that had seemed pretty inevitable in the first place. Whilst cackling manically between swigs of vodka-fanta and dreadful Berliner bee r, he told the tale of how one of his house mates had wanted to introduce his gi rlfriend to Ben. Having knocked on Ben s door several times, they decided to go in anyway, possibly to see if he was all right. On entering they discovered Ben, body slumped in front of his laptop, his cock hanging out his trousers, porn fl ashing across the laptop screen, oblivious to the presence of anyone entering hi s room. As he reached the punch line he remarked that he could "not remember a f ucking thing." and proceeded to piss himself with laughter. I too laughed, not s ure whether it was an act of defiant and divine genius or desperately sad and di sturbing. "James, what about those, pills?" I of course should know about these things, I after all live here. Though explai ning to Ben that my drug taking days ended about four years ago and that I am kn ow a heavy drinker who only takes drugs when they are offered are free was not a n option. So I gave him some Xanax, in the hope that he would shut the fuck up.
I arose from a drunken stupor, love lost in a savage manner Divine chaos in a foreign land, the ship of dignity sailing into the storm of a barren land, Scarred liver, severed cortex, bruised ego and drowning in the ethanol vortex, I come up for air, watching as the swirling wind, its zest, relentless devoid of poise, Full of lust, burnt by cruelty, I yearn for the day of cerebral regression, I trust in thee, the paradox, My love, My enemy, sinister smile, my ennui burnin g in the sea, Decry what you were told, the rhetoric of those who sold, what was once meant to be the beginning of a utopic society, I look around the room, all the attributes of a cocaine night, gibbering creatur es attempting conversation, nervous systems stimulated, no more endorphines to r elease, As they move their lips, no listens, only speaks, I am the centre of you, You ar e a part of me, Only Monologues no empathy, compassion or humanity. The void of darkness, I enter through the gates of indiscriminate consolidation, Limbs torn, blood flows, a sour, polluted wateerfall of hypocrisy, bombs fall fr om the liberators, the leaders of the free, Whilst we cower, in the shadows of the blinding light, the purveyours of terror are oblivious to our plight, Soar above us, showering the vast planes of our existence with arrows of damnati on and cruelty
The hallmarks are so profoundly stark that I recoil in horror, I can feel the re lentless, racing heartbeats of the cocaine addled cabal of liggers and media who res, pseudo-scenters, fashionistas ,their superficiality and egocentricity, blin ding me with their insincerity as I awake. Their eyes and voices evoke debaucher y past as they attempt to communicate but alas are only speaking to themselves, engaging in impenetrable convoluted banal monologues, lost within themselves, sp
itting out self-obsessed nonsense like machine gun fire whilst feigning interest in the replies they receive from their grandiose proclamations before spouting even more crass asinine soliloquies. It is indeed a gruseme spectacle, like a pa ck of hyienas in a zoo fighting over a raw slice of meat, the last gramme will b e the paramount, imperative, the final prize of an already absurd circus, welcom e to the Terrordome. Empathy and Integrity, where art thou? The latter seems to have been lost in a glazier, that has been cut and entered the septums of a hund red hungry, fevered hangers on. One hundred people in a room, alone, devoid of h uman interaction. I continue to peruse the room. My eyes darting fro left to rig ht surveying the human carnage that passes my field of vision. Ignorant, shuffli ng droids like punch drunk prizefighters returning for one last farcical payday, disregarding the warnings of an MRI scan that only promises one things; a dark descent into the abyss of dementia, parkinsons or insanity. They attempt to find some booze and once that feat has been accomplished their eyes belie the pain t hat lies inside. I try to speak, I am erudite but cannot see putting on a pair o f Keef shades to keep the sunlight out of my eyes, so tomorrow remains a distant lie, keep racking out the lines, eventually you might reach the place within wh ich you might attain the power to not be cut out of a frame by a deranged auteur with a prediliction and propensity for employing pretentious tracking shots, lo oking for a younger visage, yours is already passe, floating down Hollywood Boul evard like a discarded exploited boy band victim of a svengali. I can smell the morbidity of failure, the stench of the wistful and forlorn as I survey the vamp ires attempting to evade the protruding rays of the savage sun, penetrating thei r sullen, bleached skin. Is this a pretext for devestation? A prescient warning of another disaffected, alienated generation? Where is the fortitude, I yearn fo r the lack of postmodern irony, detached depersonalized homogenised animals bath ed in disingenuous self-pity. They all seem like extras on a barren stage devoid of an audience, their despicable ideologies bleeding from their horrendous soul s, the only applause that can be heard is that of blood thirsty reality TV execu tives desperate and on the presipice, the brink of jubilation at the thought of fuelling falling ratings and in turn satisfying the empty, immoral commands of t heir paymasters. As they battle with their neurons to move their limbs and remem ber the few lines that they had been awarded by a cliché of a director, chomping o n cigar and watching idly, as the cameras roll and transmit the despair, isolati on and self-hatred of the actors on the stage into a million homes around the co untry pleasing those who prey on the failure and suffering of others. Alas, they forget their lines, mumble through a an act of absurdity whilst the homogeneous mass metaphorically masturbates and self-righteously condemns and judges those who have fallen, once beyond reproach now merely performing caricatures, self-pa radoies of their former identities, clichés of doomed Hollywood clones, like impri soned chickens confined to the hellish existential purgatory of a battery farm, crushed verve, devoid of conviction, chutzpah or vitality, all that remains is a faint heartbeat awaiting the inevitable. They recoil at their servile, reprehen sible, reoccurring failed attempts at reconsolidating with friends and family lo st, redemption a far off objective. As the frenzied strains and cocophony of pri mal, incendiary proto-punk intermittentantly replaced by MOR, saccarine ersatz p unk swirl and resonate with their swollen, enzyme ridden livers, their eroded, a trophied frontal lobes, the very aspirations that they once held in such esteem are now just dissolving in a plume of, heinous, toxic smoke like degenerate wast e dumped into the innocent, organic system of nature with utter ruthless contemp t, staining the once pure land with the mark of the industrial revolution like t he rape of a woman in an underground car park by a sociopath; An act so loathsom e and full of intimate violence and hate ,as God sits back and watches smoking a pipe of pious morality, seemingly apathetic and impartial, dying slowly, on a l ife support system that his son monitors with a sinister eye, clearly pondering the thought of omniscience, drunk, suffering from mental ataxia, on the promise of all encompassing power and possibility of sending genocide, famine and war to those he hates.
He awoke in the usual position. As always he followed the usual protocol. At fir st he fumbled for his pseudo-Rock star shades. His right hand found and he picke d them only to discover at first glance that they were cracked on the edge. Fuck . Another pair gone he thought. He slowly rose from the ground, clutched his cru mpled white shirt in a futile attempt to make himself look presentable and then proceeded to instigate the banal process of auditing his personal possessions. A s usual his wallet was gone, his glasses broken and his mobile phone lying on a table in some Kreuzberg Bar. His left iris the discovered the obligatory stains of blood on his white shirt. At least he still had his black tie, jacket, trowse rs and shoes. Within minutes he realised where he was. The new Hauptbahnhof. Eur opes Busiest, most expensive, gargantuan, decadent Train Station in Europe. He w ould have complained but he did not pay taxes thus he had no mandate. He thought of the previous twenty-four hours but as usual this exercise proved to no concl usions as the alcohol and God knows what else had scarred his cerebral cortex an d erased yet more misadventures from his existence. Nothing. Nothing but an abys s of meandering, eroded images that were inextricably linked yet so utterly divo rced from each other. This was a frustration that he had got used to some time a go. He was twenty-six and lit a cigarette. Then he began to remember. He remembe red the cocaine, the squat, the 80s cliché , punks with their fucking dogs, the po st-yuppies slumming it, the Fashionistis spouting the usual inanties. He remembered . Cocaine as the users nervous system is slowly fuelled and synthe tically whipped into a frenzy like a jockey punishing a stud, their endorphines released and their eyes filled with zest, lust and desire for further stimulatio n, all the while unaware of their external behaviour. The hallmarks and symptoms of crack exesses were as clear as those of the downfall of the world economic m arkets, namely shameless self-obssesssion, an irrational desire for ever more of what has already consumed, the need to engage in asinine debate, superfluous di scourse and the ugly spectacle of Dictarial self-importance coupled with a frigh tening lack of self awareness. No one communicated; they merely held court and d elieverd monologues, their brains shrinking and demanding more fuel to continue the ugly, empty spectacle, hollow actors on a desolate stage, the empty seats of the theatre a ominous, prescient sign for those on the aforementioned stage. He had enough of the horrific display of self-indulgence and the fled. But who w as with? Why O, Lord. Why? He realised that he had yet again smoked his dignity, snorted his credibility and lost his sense of control, if indeed he had ever po ssessed the latter. At least his visage had not been scarred and tarred by the v ery institution that had once championed him, namely those vacuous pseudo-scribe s within the Kings Reach Tower, who spent each day assaulting each other like a pack of wolves in a attempt to search for a new faux-sub culture to sell or more importantly another clichéd Rock Star that they would be able to live their cowar dly lives through in the most reprehensible, vicarious manner known to man. Yes he was a Music Journalist. At least he had been until an unfortunate drunken inc ident, chatting over Facebook with his Editor, alas this was not at all surprisi ng considering that all his indescretions had been on account of his brain being sedated by Valium or Alcohol. Alcohol. He needed a drink before the fear would begin to descend and send him him to a possible state of depersonalization. He thought about the son, his sinister eyes still fixated on the slurring, drone -rock- esque , hum of the Life support system of his father. Would he would he a ssist humanity by ending his physical existence? He continued to smoke his integ rity but alas, he had suddenly been reminded of his time in Hollywood, a time wi thin which his Father had condemned him as a degenerate. He reminded his Father of his crimes. The retort was scatological at best. Those who create have the ri ght to destroy he claimed, a divine right to employ indiscriminate murder in the
name of our Family. We must make distictions though. He awoke again. Memories of drunken phone calls, poor behaviour at best, The dep lorable fallacy of of an Author who doth need to be named who claimed he was Alc oholic. “Guten Morgen” The German Police Officer exuded a gravitas that he was not apt for this particu lar blackout. He stuttered, not slurred. “Sie sind Bessoffen” No shit. “Ausweiss, bitte” He did not have one. “Fuck off” our Hero slurred, disregarding the actions of normality, still drunk and before he had a minute to relax or exsuse himself he was arrested. Again. He had crashed, resorted to stereotype.He sung “Where is my Mind?” by the Pixies all the w ay to the Station. Drug stories are boring, he thought. He thought of Entourage ,The Sopranos, The Wire, A Bout de Souffle, 8 and a half by Fellini and passed out. He took a Valium. The arresting Officer did not acertain the aforementioned action. He was subtle. As he awoke, he thought of his Mother. She spoilt him, i ndulged him and then sent him to purgatory, English Boarding School. He survived , but there were casualties, like a post Vietnam Republican led cluster bombing of innocent civilians. He thought of Nixon. Napalm and the iconographic image o f a child scarred by the United States Military Industrial Complex. The Police w ere asking questions, none of which he could comprehend even though he spoke flu ent German. They were becoming increasingly perturbed to say the least. “Fuck off” He slurred yet again. Then it happened. It happened very quickly. They always do. Punch in the face leaving an indemblim e mark, He thought of cocaine, whilsy he was being beaten, his already torn skin becoming damaged by each blast, each savage blow numbed by his drunknesss. He awoke after yet another night of lying, self-depracation and a futile attempt to find a partner. The night, as always had been the case, had faded into insig ingence. He asked himself the same questions as always? How doth one loose contr ol? Why do you attach yourself to strangers in a state of drunknesses? Try to im press them? The answer he knew. Always the same. Repetition. Obama had metamorph osised into a carituure of Blair, Pakistan was still under water and he started to drink, his liver swelling, his eyes drooping, his mind being eroded, a CT sca n on his mind,. He drank a beer. He felt like Pol Pott, the genocide notwithstan ding. He thought of nothing, his mind drowned in a pool of ethanol, his fears co ming to the fore. He drank another Beer. He felt the fear again of not being as erudite as he once was, in his days when he was young, his life in front of him. Pretention, allegory or the truth? He stood on the presipice of truth, would si nk or swim as his Father had once told him? He attempted to disregard these unso licited thoughts, alas they were indoctrinated in his cortex. If there were a th eatre he would have forgot his lines, naked in front of an forlorn audience. He questioned his sanity. He drowned himself in a canyon of brain destroying liquid , redifing the louche cliché of a lunch that would never reach an epiphany. He was drunk. Again and thought of the abortion. Alas, She had concure. He took anothe r slug and lay back, sumptuous, benzodiapanos soothing his brain, whilst he thou ght of all the misadvesteres that he had commited in his decrepit existence. He had been a asshole. Again, but he was still aware of it, he looked within himsel f and asked, how much longer? He thought of his friend. Had they grown apart? The former a apathetic boozer an d the latter a high flighing beast within the city of London. He contemplated an d came to the conclusion that both were in a sate of dissaaray. Lost perchance in Movie of the week Cliches, looking for answers after having watched too many ANGST filled Casssesvetes films, doomed by their talent yet crushed by banality. He awoke and started drinking , it was the only thing that made him happy. As s oon as the Cortex was sedated he felt well. It was his version of legal Prozac.
He hadstop to produce , create. He had a meeting. His dissolute lifstyle was fin ally beginning to catch with and thus he drank more, leaning into a plume ridden abyys. He then thought of the Abortion Technique, an urban myth some Fashionist a had told him about at a depraved party at his time in Berlin, Nitrous Oxide co rpses, Stoned old Students, Skateboarders, all sharing the same desolate squat i n Kreuzberg, devoid of their senses, dignity and self. He was one of them. He awoke again, eyes burning, searching for Valium to supresss the hangover. The first thought that came was the Novel, not the asinine Music Journalism. He fel t that he had had enough of the vacuous coke fuelled monotonity of hyping up Ban ds at the command of a Drunk Editor, whose only mandate was to create a new SCEN E that had not exiscted since the last Summer of Love. Phonie Subcultres sell th e magazine, but once one gets where the ARTIC MONKEYS are consirederd a cultural instution he recoiled in horror. Neo-Folk? New-Rave? The latter surely a contri dition in terms. The magazine was metaphorsining into the the fucking Stasi. OPI UM FUER Das Volk. He found an half empty Becks and took a slug. This can not go on. Whose party was it anyway? Oh, yeah he thought, the so called glorious retur n of Oasis. Hyperbole did not even come close to the opulent decadence that he h ad perceived. “David?/” It was her. She looked pristine, he did not. He always hated that name. “yeah.” He slured. “You look great, I don’t…” “You were so fucked. My sister was in Rehab and she told that she had never seen a nybody that messed up!Are you okay?” “I don’t know who you are. Sorry” He takes another slug of a discarded ale. “We went to School together.” Nonplussed. “Really?” “We fucked” “Hey!Tone it down!” “You blacked out didn’t you?” Did he, he searched for a reply that would evoke witiscm. He found none. “You have become an Alcoholic have you not?” “And you went to fucking Oxford. Who cares?” “Listening I don’t like that kind of language”he uttered, his teeth recoiling.# “Jesus! Comon. You were on coke, drinking and God knows what else at High School. Don’t be a turd” “A Turd?” “What are you reborn or some shit” I laughed at him. Not with him. “Look,, Okay fuck it .” “Fuck what, looser?” “Are you evoking early Beck?” “No, Im I am evoking you. Look at yourself. Your drunk, lying and cant remember t hat we fucked” “Fucking, hell”
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