Something for the Weakened

Archive for 2014

Note to Self #4348

June 17th, 2014 by Alastair

Stop using the word ‘jinkies’ to express surprise.

a) You are not Velma and

b) You’re accent makes it sound as if you’re making unpleasant comments about the Chinese peoples.

Everything Under A Pound

June 16th, 2014 by Alastair

The following was commissioned by dear chum Paul for the magazine Ferment, which he edited. It’s been defunct for a couple of years now and the issue where this saw print sold out even further back into the mists of time. Every issue of the magazine featured poems, art and prose, gathered together under a theme. This issue’s theme was food. I did receive a missive from the person who did the accompanying illustration for the following and would link to them now if I had it or the physical magazine to hand. They spoilt what there is of a twist in these six and a half hundred words anyway, so no publicity for them. So, unless you bought a copy of the magazine (you didn’t), edited it, contributed to it or keep stealing my hard drive, it’s unlikely you’ll have read this. Unless I put it up a year and a half ago and forgot, in which case you’ve just read tis lovely new preface. Lucky old you. Right, please try and enjoy Everything Under A Pound.

Tastiest thing I ever et? Musta been, what, five year back now. I was livin’ wit’ this real fine bitch. Much older ‘n me, but treated me real good. Always givin’ me steak, chicken, always cooked up real tasty. Man, she could cook. Real rich stuff. Some days it messed up my stomach somethin’ chronic, but I din’t mind an’ nor did she. Always happy to clean up after me, no matter what sorta shit I done. Real homemaker. Plus, we got on real well, know whum sayin’? I be all over her and she be all like “Dog, you good, you good boy,” or some shit. We got on real well. Always goin’ on these long walks ‘round the park, her showin’ me off ta ev’rybody. Life was pretty sweet, I c’n tell ya.

Things got sour though. Food started comin’ straight outta cans. The walks got shorter an’ shorter. Then I started smellin’ somethin’ on her. Couldn’ figure out what it was at first, ‘til we was in bed one night. I was layin’ next ta her when I figured out what this smell was. It was a man. Most times my musk was all I got when I sniffed her, but that night I got a real nose full. Course, I freaked out! I was leapin’ round that bedroom, tryna tell her how pissed I was, but she wan’t havin’ none of it. Laughin’ at me, actin’ like she din’t unnerstand what she done. She walks out the room, tells me to come wit’ her. I was so steamed that I was outta there like a bullet. Ploughed straight inta her at the top o’ the stairs. Tha’s when she fell.

I ran down ta the bottom, see if she was okay, but she wan’t movin’. Tried ev’rything I could, but she wan’t goin’ nowhere. In the end I just lied there, nuzzlin’ up to her, whimperin’. Next mornin’ I tried getting’ outta there, but it wan’t happ’nin’. Ev’rythin’ was locked up. Went round the place, musta bin a hundred times, tryna find a way out, but jus’ couldn’. Few days passed. I bin howlin’ all day an’ all night, hopin’ someone’d come help me, but no one did. Musta been the fifth day when it got too much fer me. I ain’t no chef an’ far as I could see there weren’t no food in the kitchen. I was so damned hungry. I din’t have no choice.

Musta bin five, six nights after that when the men come. Busted in the door, shoutin’ ‘n’ yellin’. I was pretty weak then, but I got myself up and went ta see ‘em. Ta thank ‘em. Ta get me some sunshine. Some o’ them were damned near pukin’ at the smell, but they seemed happy ta see me. Weren’t so happy when they seed what I bin eatin’. They all start tryin’ ta corner me, tryin’ ta wrap me up in chains, y’know? Tha’s when I smelt it again. Same smell she had on her that night she fell. Wha’ could I do? Always acted on instinct before, it wan’t gonna be any different then. I jumped at him wit’ all the strength left in me and sunk my teeth into the nearest bit o’ flesh I could find.

Tha’s what got me here. Lethal injection ‘n’ a shallow Battersea grave. Tha’s no way ta go fer a best in show. Some nights I wonder if I shoulda bit the man, if he was the one she’d bin cheatin’ on me with. I still dunno, but boy, his balls sure were the sweetest meats I ever did taste.

The Anagram Song

February 10th, 2014 by Alastair

A couple of months ago my good chum Simon and I hosted the pub quiz we both regularly frequent. As well as co-writing the quiz itself, I also ended up creating a sonic abomination. Here it is.

Anagram Question

Some background – the words of the song have been sung every week before the quiz’s anagram question for at least the past three years. On the occasions that I’ve presented the quiz before, I had gotten them wrong more often than I had right, so making a recorded version seemed like a solution to that potential minor moment of embarrassment. Having no desire to record myself singing or talent to create any accompaniment, I instead took inspiration from a track I’d heard that had replaced every word from the BBC version of Lou Reed’s Perfect Day with a different artist singing that word. I’d provide a link to that now, but I can’t remember who recorded it. Thought it was nervous_testpilot, but can’t find any evidence of that under any of his aliases. Shame really, as it would help to demonstrate what I was trying to do and quite how badly I failed.

Over the course of seven hours or so, I tracked down songs that featured the individual words that I needed to make the song, ripped them from discs, cut out the word I needed, transferred the files from one computer to a slightly better one (whose disc drive had been playing up), put them altogether in order in a single file and then added some gaps to create the call and response sections needed for playing the song in a live environment. After this full Sunday’s work, I played it to my housemate. He could not make out what was going on, but he’d never attended the quiz, so I felt sure that the fault was his, rather than mine. After all, this was an in gag for regulars. They were sure to get it. I played it to my good chum Simon when we were finalising the quiz itself. He could just about follow what was going on, but couldn’t fully make out the words. Just my crappy headphones, I rationalised. When played through the pub’s shitty speakers, surely everything will be fine.

On the night, I did play the song just before question eight. The call and response section was met with silence, except for one half hearted reply on the third “Anagram question.” You have no idea how hard it was to find a song with the word anagram in it. At one point while it was playing a Canadian team visiting the pub for the first time shouted out, asking whether there was actually a question contained within this horrible racket. The indifference became a little too much for me and I bottled out of playing the Gardner’s Arms refrain right at the end, so this is the first time I’ve let those out into the open.

It’s a long way from being a brilliant piece of music and is significantly worse than the aforementioned Perfect Day thing, which you’ll have to take my word for or let me know who done it (if you know who done it). That benefitted from having the instrumental parts of the song surrounding the seemingly random samples, giving it a bit more structure. I think the samples were more carefully picked there too, using a lot more soul artists than I had instant access to, with their far more distinct pronunciations of words than the folk I used. I probably wasn’t helped by some of the more obscure words or spellings used in the anagram song either. Still, it’s a solid concept and I utterly stand beside my decision to steal it.

I briefly toyed with the idea of doing this as a ‘How many artists can you name?’ quiz, but frankly no one reads these less than sporadic burblings these days, so I’ll just list them here now.

A – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

N – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

A – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

G – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

R – Tony Ferrino – The Valley Of Our Souls

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

A – N.W.A – Straight Outta Compton

and – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

M – Frankie Howard & June Whitfield – Up Je’Taime

Anagram – Massive Attack – Blue Line

Question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

[Call & Response repeat]

It’s – Syd Barrett – Dominoes

question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

eight – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

of – The Kinks – Death of a Clown

G – The Residents – N-Er-Gee (Crisis Blues)

K – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

two – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

You – McAlmont & Butler – You

all – Nirvana – All Apologies

know – Smog – No Dancing

what – Monty Python – Do What John

to – Pizzicato Five – 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 Barbie Dolls

do – McAlmont & Butler – You

Anagram – Massive Attack – Blue Line

Question – Vivian Stanshall – The Question

[Call & Response repeat]

You – McAlmont & Butler – You

take – Spandau Ballet – True

the – Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band – Joke Shop Man

letters – Radiohead –  Motion Picture Soundtrack

give – Parliament – Give Up the Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker)

them – Pink Floyd – Us & Them

a – N.W.A. – Straight Outta Compton

spin – Vic Reeves & The Wonder Stuff – Dizzy

we stole – The Jam – Thick As Thieves

this – Spandau Ballet – True

song – Public image Ltd. – This Is Not A love Song

from – Kano – 140 Grime Street

another – The Charlatans – One To Another

inn – Bill Withers – Take It All In & Check It All Out

Gardener – The Divine Comedy – Eric The Gardener

’s – David Bowie, Philip Glass & The Aphex Twin – Heroes

Arms – Bardo Pond – Despite The Roar

[Call & Response repeat]

Gardener – The Divine Comedy – Eric The Gardener

’s – David Bowie, Philip Glass & The Aphex Twin – Heroes

Arms – Bardo Pond – Despite The Roar

Plantation – Pixies – Lovely Day

Road – Tony Bennett – The Rules of the Road

And that’s that really. Good bye and good luck to Ian and Sarah. You will both be sorely missed.