Isseue #5 November 1st - 7th 2002

A guide to kitchens...
Every dog deserves a place like this to sit and mull over the the puzzles of this crazy world and what better room could it be, than in than in the best room of the house?
By Belle

Guitars and fireworks, it's exposions in the sky!
Their songs build up and up and then die down. It is pure magic. So beautiful, loud and often breathtaking that it should be the soundtrack to your first ever firework display.
By David Strange

Lines, heroes, faith and magic, and an interview with Johny Brown
You always think there's something that separates you from your heroes... but there are days when the world gets drunk, or something, and it behaves a bit differently than usual; and on days like these such lines can, sometimes, be crossed.
By Dimitra Daisy

Becoming Charles Bukowski
At this point in the tale, Chinaski's friend gives a baby a shot of the whiskey.... but there was no way were were giving a shot of whiskey to an innocent, defenceless, child. For one thing, neither of us has kids. Instead, we gave a tiny saucerful to one of Bob's innocent, defenceless cats.
By Paul Williamson

In Search Of The Appropriate Form or It's Hard To Be Inspired
Ola lala (yawning)
-The only horrible thing in the world is ennui; and you are a total bore. Sling your hook, you linguistic bewilder-bully!
By Ola Szkudlapska

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A guide to kitchens...

+++A guide to trains...+++ A guide to the beach+++

The kitchen, is the best room of the house. You just can't beat it. The smells, the left over chicken, the big white freezing cupboard You don't get all of that in any other room of the house now do you? I could go on all day about the wonders of this amazing room, but as a committed journalist, and as writing takes up too much of my valuable, eating, sleeping, chasing cat time, I shall confine myself to five topics.

1)The Small Grey Hot cupboard:
You can always tell when the girl is going to eat something because first of all she puts it into the small grey hot cupboard. I'm not sure why she does this except that the cupboard does do something to make the food smell very nice. I have to be on my guard when she puts anything in there because sometimes she forgets about it for as long as an hour! I have to keep telling her to come and get it out and eat it! Without me I'm sure she would leave things in the small grey hot cupboard forever!

2) The Big White Freezing Cupboard:
I love the freezing cupboard. It has two parts... one is quite cold and the other is umm... well... freezing. The girl keeps all of the best food in it (chicken, chocolate, carrots) Sometimes when the girl opens the door a frozen carrot or chip will fall out and if I'm really lucky I can catch it before the girl gets it for herself! The girl must love the freezing cupboard too because when we went away on holiday recently she made us bring it with us. I must say I was quite confused by this behavior. Normally she won't even let me take my football when we go away anywhere. She took a lot of other things on this holiday, like my football, both of my bones and even her bed. At the time I thought she was slightly crazy packing so much stuff. but have since change my mind seeing as how we have been on holiday for quite a while and it has been quite handy to have all of this extra stuff. I'm not sure when we are going back home. In fact, the girl doesn't ever mention it and I'm secretly hoping she has forgotten all about going back because I quite like it here. For one thing this place also has the Greedy plate licking machine, which we don't have at home.

3)The Greedy plate licking machine
This is my biggest rival in the kitchen. The girl gives it all of her plates and knifes when she has finished her food and it licks instead of me! If I'm quick enough and the girl is off collecting something else for the greedy machine I can get in before it even has a chance to lick anything off the plates. Sometimes when I'm lucky I get to lick the plates with gravy on them. Other times I'm not so lucky and just get the mugs with coffee on it and a telling of from the girl for eating the greedy machine's food. The greedy machine doesn't always play fair though and once it got one of the knifes to bite me! To this day I don't know how it manged to do that.

4)The left over chicken/sandwhich/chocolate cake
The girl doesn't always give the food she leaves to the plate licking machine instead she gets a bit confused and puts it back into the big white freezing machine. It sits there laughing at me. The girl once left a particularly nasty pieceof chicken which taunted me relentlessly for almost a whole day. It sat in the freezing machine endlessly whispering "siiit!... stayyy... stare at the door... whine a little bit". The nasty chicken seemed to have the same sort of power over me that the girl sometimes has and I couldn't help but do as it said. Eventually, the girl came to my rescue and threw me a piece of it:
"oh for goodness sake! here you are belle! Will you shut up now!?"
As you can tell she had obviously had enough of the chickens endless whispering and wished to silence it once and for all.

5)My Bed
My bed is just perfect, it sits in the corner of the kitchen where I can look out through the back door into the garden and keep an eye on the big white freezing cupboard, the greedy plate licking machine, the small grey heating cupboard, and any left over food which might be lurking in the kitchen. There is nothing like your own bed. Curled up with your own blankets, chewed just the way you want them to be, safe in the knowledge that nothing can get past your beady eye (except next doors cat). Every dog deserves a place like this to sit and mull over the the puzzles of this crazy world and what better room could it be, than in what, I hope to have proved to you by now, is the best room of the house?

Belle

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Guitars and fireworks,
it's explosions in the sky!

'Explosions in the Sky' are a 5-piece band from Austin, Texas and although they haven't been around for very long, they have a very special place in my heart. Their first two independently released albums: "How Strange, Innocence" and "Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell the Truth Shall Live Forever" are wonderful pieces of work. Imagine "Mogwai" and "Godspeed You Black Emperor", because that's who the music press liken them to. In my eyes, though, Explosions are perhaps better, and despite the obvious influences of the two bands, they have their own distinct, individual style.

Now I know what you're thinking, good reader: 'oh great another chin stroking post rock band', and you may have a fair point, but there's so much, much, more to 'Explosions in the Sky'. Their music comes straight from the heart, and unlike other post-rock bands, they don't rely too heavily on guitar pedals or insane volumes of noise to blow the audiences away. Their wonderfully crafted songs build and build to a natural crescendo without adding 20 minutes of feedback.

On top of that, their songs actually go somewhere! Either into a beautiful guitar part or more often they add a new instrument to the song and so instead of having the guitars drone on and on they may add a bell ringing or perhaps a new drum beat. All of this might not sound very original or new, but believe me, they do it so well that you would think that they are the first post-rock band to actually experiment with other instruments.

They seem to have the ability to know exactly where and what to add to a song to give it a different sound. Sometimes instead of adding a new part to the song they allow the song to draw it's own natural conclusion and end on a beautiful note.

I could listen to both their albums about 100 times and still discover new parts to the music. Either new guitar parts or a lovely new tune or some other melody that may seem, at first, an insignificant part of the music, but you listen again and it's significance grows and, in turn, my interest in this band blossoms.

The band got it's name from watching a fireworks display in Texas one Independence Day. I feel it is very fitting as their sound and songs produce fireworks for me. They build up and up and then die down. It is pure magic. So beautiful, loud and often breathtaking that it should be the soundtrack to your first ever firework display. Their music gives me such a warm glow. It's just so beautifully crafted and well played.

I'm a fan of Godspeed and Mogwai but Explosions, in my opinion, are the next level of post-rock. They play intelligent post rock from the heart and this is a very endearing feature. There are few bands around at the moment who really make me feel excited about music and unless you've misread this article totally you will know that Explosions are one of them. Since 'Slint' are sadly not around any longer, I needed a post-rock band to adore and to cherish (don't we all?!). It seems Explosions are the ones for me.

David Strange

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Lines, heroes, faith and magic and an interview with Johny Brown

(the story so far...)

You always think there's something that separates you from your heroes. An imaginary line drawn by the fact that they made a record and you bought it. Or maybe they wrote a book or directed a film or went on a trip round the world looking for people with the same name as theirs, or maybe they had a tv show; it doesn't matter, what matters is that whatever it is they did draws a line between you and them. You may think of them, want to meet them, you may even care for them, and they'll never need you. You'll want to be friends with them and the closest you'll probably ever get is watching them play a concert - and as you cheer for more or try to accept it's over they'll walk away, back into their own lives.

The existence of this line seems unfair, absurd even, but you can't deny it's there and crossing it always seems so hard, almost impossible. But there are days when the world gets drunk or something and it behaves a bit differently than usual; and on days like these such lines can, sometimes, be crossed easily.

On a day like this I met a friend whom I hadn't met in ages; he invited me to his flat, which he hadn't done in ages; and he played me a new Band of Holy Joy record. My original hesitation, fear even (because you can never be sure about a band who reforms after ten years) was soon turned into excitement. And, the day being magical and crazy and all this, I offered to try and track them down and interview them for his site. Rather casually, he agreed; and suddenly half of the distance was crossed already.

As Rachel always says, the idea is always the start. The handful of hopes, the dream, that is the start. Armed with that start, I embarked on the quest for the band of holy joy contact address... A few weeks later that too was found, so I took a deep a breath and emailed Johny Brown... as the 'bloke from Holy Joy' turned out to be called.

Here's what happened next, and proof that the things you consider impossible aren't really. The interview was made in June, so it might slightly out of date... Though some things never age.

1. Is the world magical? What do you have faith in?

The world is brutal; I have faith in magic.

2. What place should music have in our lives?

Depends how much you love music. I live for it. ME!

3. What's your favourite place in the world?

I used to love having a bedroom with a bed in, and I was also partial to having a kitchen to cook things in. with a radio tuned to a pirate station on a bank holiday. Though at the moment a windswept desolate seaside town is going to have to do. Or a train station with an awesome destination on its board knowing I've got a ticket to somewhere special in my hand. Sadly I haven't got a ticket.

4. Describe your music and lyrics in a few adjectives, please. (Mine are: anarchic, crazy, happy, inspiring, um, different)

Mine too Dimitra. Though can I add, sad sometimes melancholy and always romantically hopeful, though too often destitute. Depraved is not a word that's came up for a while though. Have to do something about that. Spiritual is always something we aspire too. My favourite words at the moment are provenance and hubris. Debris is a pretty good word too.

5. Could you tell me the story behind the instrumentation of one of your songs, and how you ended up using all these unusual instruments?

Initially, a long, long time it was just the instruments we picked up in junk shops. We were pretty anti guitar. Fuck knows why. Now it's all to do with the esoteric nature of Alf and Chris. Those two fuckers are geniuses. Just where they come from, their background in classical ethnic jazz spiritual and plain fucked up weird shit has left them with the most immense palette to dip into. They've got a studio in Soho full of trombones and accordions and Persian cymbals and moog synthesisers. Tempered with samplers and cubase and all that. I never think about it myself. As long as it sounds like Burt Baccharach on crack cocaine I'm happy. Bing on ching even. Personally I'm a fan of the syndrum, the casio and the guitar that Franny bought me for my birthday.

Black on smack for those Alabama 3 moments in life. Ermm, hi Jake.

I have an enduring hatred for the didgeridoo and distrust all who perpetrate evils upon them.

6. What have you been reading and listening to lately?

Irvine Welsh porno. Ted Hughes birthday letters. The magical world of Aleister Crowley by Francis King. An invitation by Oriel Mountaindreamcatcher (honest) and another one of those spiritual new age books. Chocolate for the soul or something. I've been listening to Nils Petersson who's this kind of jazz drum and bass guy from Scandinavia. And some Chopin that Alf bought me for my birthday. I'd like to go and buy some new house records. Some dirty tribal ones or some spiritual uplifting shit. Has to be New York anyway. I'm always playing jock scotts my personal culloden when I'm at tams and all his nectarine number nine cds too. Otherwise I just like your Billie Hollidays and sometimes your Nick Caves and I'm always listening to the radio. Not intently just like wallpaper.

Yesterday I went to see an exhibition by Chris Offili called 'freedom one day' I loved it immensely it was like being in a chapel in the jungle when the secrets of the universe are just a whisper away. I'm always drawn to black painters for some reason. It's the way they draw on their past and how they see their future that gets me. White London painters I find a little obvious. A little snide. Though yesterday in the Christi's auction gallery next door I also saw a photo by Shirin Neshat of all these Muslim women in burqhas pushing a boat through the desert. It took my breath away. Also I am honoured to be able to collaborate every now and then with this woman called Tracey Sanders woods who does installations and floating exhibitions and works a lot with txt messages and bricks and balloons.

7. Where would you most like to travel, and, more importantly how?

Well, I've got a plane ticket to go to the languedoc region of France on the 15th July and I love it there. It's in the mountains where the Cathars, the original pacifist vegan heretics used to hang out. Giving all those nasty catholic inquisitive bastard torturers the slip, skipping from mountain hut to mountain hut. So that's on the cards. Right now I'm in Cambridge at our Paul's. It's a beautiful day, sunny, birds singing in the garden as I answer this. I guess you couldn't ask for more. But I've got a mate called Irv and right this moment he's on a plane to New York with his three mates big George nazi Jim and Deano and I'm gutted I'm not with them. Thinking about it though and where they'll end up and in what state, not. I'm due a trip to a desolate seaside English town very soon but right this moment where I'm most hankering to be. Apart from a trip down the Nile for the absolute adventure, is my chess and debs farmhouse in a valley in Northumberland then home to see my mam and dad in Newcastle. Dimitra I have not been home in ages.

8. Oh, and what do you think about the football frenzy that's over everyone lately?

Over, thank god. I love football, I'm sick of fucking football bores.

Dimitra Daisy

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Becoming Charles Bukowski

PART 2

(Part 1 I would do Bukowski. Not in the sexual sense (he's been dead since 1994, so it's not really an option), nor in the violent Cockney gangster sense (ditto); what I mean is that I would take a scene from one of his books and do it, I mean, actually perform the scene in as accurate a way as is physically possible. Bukowski's stories are littered with sorry tales of delapidated bars, lonely whores, and drunken, incoherent men. I was onto a winner here...)

Bob and I have been friends for years. Like most enduring friendships, we hated each other at first, but my guess is that was probably because we were so alike.

Bukowski's (or Chinaski's) friend gets sent off to war at the end of 'Ham on Rye'. Mine has cancer.

The second shot of whiskey was a lot easier than the first. The first shot seemed to burn like hell and numb the senses, the second one was when the alcohol can begin to work it's evil magic and secrets begin to drop from an unguarded mouth like lemmings rushing towards their imminent demise.

"I kissed Dawn" I said too Bob.

"Eh?"

"Me. I kissed Dawn. For a long time."

There was silence. "When?"

I took a deep breath. "When we were both eleven years old. At the school disco" I grinned.

Bob's furrowed brow dissolved into creases of laughter. I was beginning to enjoy this whiskey, in much the way Chinaski does in the story. At this point in the tale, Chinaski's friend gives a baby a shot of the whiskey. Of course, we were trying to offer a faithfull adaptation of the story, but there was no way were were giving a shot of whiskey to an innocent, defenceless, child. For one thing, neither of us has kids. Instead, we gave a tiny saucerful to one of Bob's innocent, defenceless cats.

"You sure?" I said to Bob.

"Aye, give it to that one there. It's Dawn's favourite, and he take my place in the bed next to her at night."

We thought about diluting it with milk, but we had finished two quick shots in succession and were on our fourth, and getting braver by the minute. Anyway, the kid in the story took his like a man, surely it would be no difference for an older, wiser, albeit smaller, feline?

"Here boy, come here Glen...look, what's this, eh? Look what daddie's got you..."

Bob put the saucer down and Glen moved across the room to the saucer. It was at that point that Dawn showed her face.

"Bob, what you doing?"

"Just giving Glen a drink."

"What of?"

"Tea" he grinned.

"Tea? Bob, we don't have any tea. We don't even drink tea." She saw the whiskey. "BOB! You bastard. Paul! Why didn't you stop him?"

I shrugged my shoulders, partly because I was as much to blame as Bb, and partly, seeing as we had downed another couple pf shots by now, out of saying the wrong thing. I mean, how could I tell Dawn that I didn't stop him because I was trying to remain as faithful as possible to a Charles Bukowski story that I am writing an article on, and that poisoning your cat (seeing as you didn't have a baby) was all a part of this process? How?

This is how.

"Because I'm writing an article on Charles Bukowski, and remaining as faithful to the story as possible is a part of the article, and in the story he gives whiskey to a baby, but you ain't got any kids yet so were were using your cat instead."

There was that look. All women have the look. It's as if they are born with it. It's a look, nothing more, just a look, a tightening of the face, a sigh, a mere shake of the head, that's all, but when women give you the look, you suddenly feel individually responsible for every single catastrophe ever inflicted on man (or cats, for that matter) in the enitre history of the universe. Ever.

"Look we didn't mean it no harm" Bob said, although we both knew it was a pathetic excuse. Boy, did Dawn give Bob the look for that one.

"Sorry Dawn. I mean, we didn't mean, look, we were gonna dilute it." I knew the minute the words left my mouth how preposterous they sounded, but that didn't stop me.

"Oh that's alright then" she said, not without a hint of sarcasm.

More silence. More of Bob and I frantically avoiding eye contact with Dawn, in mortal fear of the look. Finally she spoke.

"I'm going to bed."

We tried to make our sighs of relief as inconspicuous as possible, but six shots of whiskey make this a hard task. And we had survived a fierce grilling from the look. "Come on Glenn, come to bed with mummy, daddy's staying downstairs tonight."

Bob didn't protest.

After Dawn had gone to bed (with Glenn in tow), Bob and I slumped onto the sofa. The urge to remain faithful to Bukowski's story somehow didn't seem so important. Well, not in a literal sense, that is. We decided to spend the remainder of the night faithful to Bukowski in principle. So, we abandoned the whiskey drinking competition, got ourselves some beer, put some music on the stereo, and fell into our hopes and dreams and crazy theories of the universe. Life this way was a lot, lot better, and somehow seemed to make more sense.

And not once had Dawn realised that, by the timeshe took Glenn up to bed, the saucer was empty...

Paul Williamson

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In Search Of The Appropriate Form or It's Hard To Be Inspired

I closed my eyes and sat in the time-honoured armchair. This aged autocrat seemed to be treating other pieces of furniture in the room with a certain condescending air, and they accepted this informal supervision, as if embarrassed by his self-confidence and experience. I succumbed to him too; beleaguered by his gentle softness, locked in the indolent feel of inability.

I found myself in a severed off enclave, beyond the reach of the bland smell of starch and the acrid and expansive odour of onions, that somehow managed to find its way into my flat from the floor above. Mother was in her room - this hub of order and cleanness radiated onto the whole apartment, but I could only hear faint echoes of the energetic bustle. Tranquillity.

And yet somewhere in the corners of my mind, under a transparent layer of relaxation, smouldered shyly a sense of responsibility. Gradually the light became stronger; the flame fed on other, less intensive thoughts, until it filled the whole space with the pungent smoke of guilty conscience.

(All of a sudden the doorbell rings. It has to be an incredibly piercing sound, almost drilling into the skull. Ola lala stands up and walks to the door. Having cautiously looked through the peephole, she opens the door and finds herself face to face with The Salesman - a small, plump man of about thirty. His face looks as if it's been made of elastic gum and his eyes are small and restless, resembling Ping-Pong balls. He's smiling - it's this peculiar persistent smile which, having appeared on the face, won't come off so easily.)

The Salesman (finding it a little hard to speak because he's constantly smiling - still, he begins sprightly)
-Good morning, my name's Geoffrey Sellers. On this completely ordinary day of the week I offer you an amazing discount when visiting the dentist (he'll pull out your teeth half price!) or a thoroughly absorbing book describing the life of ants. Furthermore, I have here...

Ola lala (quietly, but firmly interrupts The Salesman's monologue)
-Thank you, but I'm not...

The Salesman (gets even with her and interrupts her too)

-Not? Oh no! Woe is me! No-one turns down Geoffrey Sellers! I'm the best of the Salesmen kind! And, as is commonly known, only the best, that is to say, only the most intelligent and strongest will survive, others will die out in the evolution process. Such is the theory of Darwin.

Ola lala (yawning)
-The only horrible thing in the world is ennui; and you are a total bore. Sling your hook, you linguistic bewilder-bully!

(Ola lala slams the door hitting The Salesman in the nose. For a moment angry muttering is to be heard from the staircase, but soon The Salesman is again in his element, this time presenting his amazing offer to Ola lala's neighbours.)

However, the unexpected visit of the salesman can't have remained without any consequences. The armchair became again just an ordinary piece of furniture, and nothing could avert my attention from the pieces of paper lying on the table, waiting to be pieced together as a piece of writing. Ho hum, but how am I supposed to manage that? How am I supposed to hit on an Idea when I long for Inactivity and Unthinkingness? And if the Idea did appear by any chance how am I supposed to smother it into neat paragraphs? Just those bloody words everywhere... and they won't create anything of interest when employed by a mere scribbler!

Suddenly all thoughts swarming in my head started pouring out of it: through the ears, through the nose; I even had to open my mouth, such was their number and commotion. They were whizzing around me, faster and faster, more and more of them, till they created a sort of a tornado, which swallowed myself, the table, the pieces of paper and eventually the whole room. Tranquillity.

There once was a mad girl in Warsaw
Who thought she would start to compose prose;
But the story she wrote
Was consumed by a goat,
So no one in Warsaw her prose saw.

Ola lala