Entry 0072: Reading Update (Metal Postcard)

mittageisen

EP: Mittageisen by Siouxsie and the Banshees

1979 Polydor 2059 151

Favorite Track: Mittageisen

 

I finished F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Beautiful and Damned while standing on my feet in my kitchen. I have a new habit of standing up while I read. But Fitzgerald saved some of his best writing for the last fifty pages, so I had to sit down and contemplate his second novel with methodical thought. There was a lot to digest and Fitzgerald’s ability to craft a story that has simultaneously a typical rising/falling story arc and a straight line story arc is impressive.

The Beautiful and Damned pales to the Great Gatsby because it is bloated, hesitating too long on meditations of love and marriage and not extending scenes concerning the Great War, the horrors of which were still fresh in the readers’ minds. But it is a very good second book. The writing is patchy and marred by the times in parts, but some of the most beautiful sentences struck me. I read them again before I even contemplated moving on or reading them a third time. He also managed to make me find compassion and sympathy for characters he created to be despised. Anthony’s alcoholism leaps off the page in ways only Under the Volcano seemed to have managed. Gloria’s tragic attempt at acting is superbly written: suspenseful, bold, every word forcing your eyes to speed along the page before your lungs have registered its next breath…

I will study it and hopefully re-create it here on my blog.

Now comes the hard choice: what to read next? I have 60 pages left in a sci-fi anthology that I plan on finishing today. I have American Gods to read for a book club, but I’ve read it before and tend to finish reading right before the meeting so it is fresh in my mind. The book club just discussed The Island of Dr. Moreau and that has me wanting to read The War of the Worlds, which was also in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and how have I not read that yet!? But League is also making me want to read Carnacki the Ghost-Finder and I’ve been wanting to read more classics than sci-fi this year so Absalom Absalom, Native Son, Devil in the Blue Dress, Journey to the End of the Night, and Les-Miserables are all fighting for my attention. Then I have a ton of weird fiction, Philip K Dick, Samuel R Delany, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Claire Castillon to read.

I love choices.

[Metal Postcard]

I saw Voivod at the Southgate House Revival church in Newport, KY. It was my first time there. Two things struck me immediately: I’ve read too many weird tales and any neighborhood church because the Esoteric Order of Dagon, and two, the metal was loud enough to be heard through the brick walls, but not quite to overpower the hootenanny playing over an outside speaker. Inside was a sea of black denim and cotton and hair and boots. On one side, a bar was set in front of a pipe organ. I suggested they should shoot foamy beer out of the pipes. The altar was turned into a small stage with banner draped over the second floor balcony where members of Vecktar looked down at the old crowd that my friend was destroying with his fierce pit instincts. I have heard about sound problems at Southgate House Revival and noted all the blue padding stuck to the walls and ceilings. This night, there was a constant hum coming through the speakers due to a loose cord or a blown-out amp. The problem muted the lead guitarist for a bit, but it was fixed and the show became much louder. This did not distract me from enjoying the concert. The lead guitarist was the happiest metal musician I have ever seen: a jolly shlock of blonde 80’s metal hair spinning around a convivial smile and beady eyes. They even played a merengue. In tribute to a dead bandmate, they played a Pink Floyd song. A beautiful night really.

 

Advertisements

Entry 0071: New Cha-Cha-Changes For Storiesonrecords

12742315_10153469842223590_8215212153452065255_n

LP: Aftermath by the Rolling Stones

1966 London Records PS 476

Favorite Track: I Am Waiting

 

Many new things are happening in my life. Since October, I have traveled back and forth from Cincinnati to Milwaukee in an attempt to land a full time job with the Milwaukee public library. I was in the Top 5% of test scorers to be granted an interview. The interview went well. Long days and nights happened with me flip-flopping on whether I was glad to be leaving Cincinnati or not. I had so many friends here; I could make new friends. I would have more time to write; I would have less time to write because I would be working full time. There are two incredible record stores in Cincy; there are awesome records stores in Milwaukee. It would be a fun new adventure which would be refreshing; I am slowing down and looking more to settle down. Then all kinds of thoughts about money. Was it enough? I would lose all that sick pay I have accrued. Etc.

Then, after months, the rejection letter arrived in my mailbox on my 33rd birthday. Luckily, I was distracted catching up with a friend that I didn’t find it until the next day. I did not get the job. I trembled. I could not tell you if it was because I was disappointed, elated, or just relived that I had to stop thinking about it.

On a lighter note, for my birthday I received Beethoven’s 4th Symphony on vinyl. It is my first piece of classical music in my collection. I am excited to create a small classical music section devoted to my all-time favorite pieces. I am hoping not to exceed 30 records but we will see. I love classical music. Expect my next post to be a list of potential favorites.

Finally, the most exciting news. I’ve decided to add a new page to this blog. Collaborating with one of the best artists I know, Cassandra Gallagher, I will be writing a longer story and she will be adding illustrations. My dream is for me to update one month with about a thousand or so words. The next month, she will update with some illustrations. I am hoping the story will roughly be about 10,000 words. I will constantly be adding and editing it, fixing bad grammar and poorly written sentences. So watch it grow here at https://storiesonrecords.wordpress.com/the-scatterdoyens/.

Entry 0070: Three Sentence Bowie Stories Part Two

12670140_10153448690473590_8885522571410097310_n

LP: The Next Day by David Bowie

2013 ISO Records 88765461861

Favorite Track: The Next Day

high

Welcome back to Three Sentence Bowie Stories, where I take a David Bowie song and turn it into a three sentence story. If you missed the first part, here is the link: What in the World.

 

  1. Rebel Rebel

Janus had never garroted someone before, let alone Emperor Axe the Second. The high-carbon piano wire slid effortlessly through the mounds of neck flesh and the wide esophagus, destroying the fat fuck’s tyrannical voice, and restoring power to the people unless Janus decided to pick up the crown from the pool of dark cherry blood and place it on her own head which was a sort of temptation right now as power surged from the piano wire up through her fingers, arms, shoulders, and into her neck which seemed to stretch skyward with pride, potential and a sort of sickening lust. From the shadows behind the curtains, Judas soundlessly unsheathed a sharp blade.

2. China Girl

The oldest dance in the world had her jumping from man to man. Back home, her parents were arranging a good marriage with Ha Jinn, a classroom friend who now successfully ran a bicycle delivery service. When she came to America to study biochemistry, she never expected to learn the formula for explosive love.

3. Always Crashing into the Same Car

Gerald never wore a crash helmet so his face resembled the type of unsolved puzzle found in certain hospital wings. He barked when twisting the ignition, punched the ceiling as the lumbering automobile began to pick up speed, and laughed a reckless high-pitched cackle as the rear view mirror fell off right before impact. Wrecking his life was his sole addiction and it gave him drive to confront his problem head-on.

4. Fantastic Voyage

Dr. Long Ghost watched as the grout renovated into city streets, the headlights of miniature cars tracing right turns, and the tiles rose into great skyscrapers from which radio antennae and beacons emitted a soft phosphorescence. For many hours, Dr. Long Ghost contemplated the meaning of existence found on his bathroom floor. By dawn, he was found eating spaghetti squash in the bathtub, giggling with a maniac’s insight that he used to be a character from a novel.

5. Fascination

Rebecca had no use for love now, but before she had found that she had entirely too much of it and years flew past in a passionate whirlwind with many men and women. Men and the occasional forward woman would give her their phone numbers every time she went out, but she slipped the scraps of paper into passing stranger’s pockets dreaming of the chaos and unexpected love she was causing. She never inspected the hardness of her heart until, one night during a blizzard and she was driving desperately from work to get home before the road conditions got even worse, the song came on the radio and she was forced to pull over for tears.

6. Beauty and the Beast

Beast was beautiful, danced with all the ladies, had illegitimate children, and fancied his conduct irreproachable. Beauty was ugly, gave herself on her hands and knees to the vilest of men, tears had made permanent canals under her eyes, and her soul yearned for the caress of Beast so that she could not sleep at night for the shivering. In a dark magical cave, Beauty killed the Beast by becoming the Beast herself.

7. Station to Station

ZIGY704 stepped onto the train platform, a fedora pulled low over its eyes. 346.74 hours on the lam as the System checked every nook and cranny in Central Processing, finding the false tracks laid down to buy ZIGY704 time. This was only one of the many stations ZIGY704 would use in its journey of self-discovery–a journey that only at the end, did ZIGY704 realize, had no end.

8. Golden Years

The last sentence seemed too small on the page, but it had been penned and the author’s life work was now finally completed. Different emotions simmered inside his mind, so the author went to his cabinet and pulled out an unopened bottle of bourbon, pouring himself two fingers worth of the semi-transparent brown liquid. The emptiness of his house surrounded him.

9. Boys Keep Swinging

Jared clipped Will on the chin as Daryl sucker-punched his kidneys while Merrick stomped on the bodies of Paul and Reefer when, with an inarticulate shout, Amadeus broke the jaws of three young punks. Will returned the favor to Jared who spat out a tooth and gave both Will and Daryl a black eye as Merrick grappled with Amadeus over a few corpses lying curb-stomped on the pavement when Will fell before Jared and Daryl wiped the blood from the gash in his forehead, his eyes small and red. They circled each other before snapping ribs and Merrick lost a finger but Amadeus fared the worst and Jared had a moment of hesitation which is when the brick came crashing down on his skull.

10. Red Money

After getting off at the Kano Station and ducking through the alleyways leading to the Soundway Club, Vargas polished his boots, carefully removing tufts of cat hair from the treads. He knocked, greeted the doorman with a curt nod, and was ushered into the back room where Bola Bateke, wearing his immaculate white pinstriped suit, greeted him jovially with a briefcase full of red money. “I never ask an artist why they do it,” Bola laughed while taking back the machete he had lent Vargas, “Especially those who deal in the most creative and punishing of arts: assassination.”

 

Thanks for reading. There will be a third part.

Entry 0069: Stations of the Cross

12494756_10153410452733590_6701462346955250986_n

EP: Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time by Gang of Four

1980 EMI Z1, 7-inch

Favorite Track: Outside the Trains Don’t Run on Time

 

Nick flipped the switch inside his mouth, then stepped into the Information. The train that ran from Burlington to Neptune was late again. He’d have a few hours to deep search the Information for the missing boy. Unfiltered bytes flickered like strobe-ghosts, toggling different synapses in his brain. He heard the last known telephone call between a boy and his father, a line which went awkwardly dead on the father’s side. Yearbook photos. The color yellow permeating sports awards, bathroom slippers, a plush doll that acted as an invisible friend, the color of his eyes. February 1, 2016. Last seen at 12:26 PM. He had purchased a weekend ticket to the Ninth Planet. Ticketmaster said he was morose. The day was deserted. A summer day when the weather should have been harsh. People were stupid enough to try and swim and found the water icy. Nick depressed the switch and came back to the train station. He checked his watch. Someone was watching him.

People believe in the Information. Most of its content is false, but people believe in it anyways. So now everything in the Information is true in its own way. Nick’s talent was his ability to trace origins. Find roots. Discern fact and fiction, knowing that they bleed together. In the Information, one can solve a case without even really solving it. It’s a matter of control. Data burial. Nick was paid the big bucks so he had to watch out in real life. Believe it or not, you cannot jump over bullets in Flesh Time.

Another man stood on the other side of the tracks. The wind whipped his trench coat around his pleaded pants and immaculately polished Oxfords. The snub-nosed .38 looked tiny in the meaty paws he called hands. The man’s face was bearish and owlish–a hybrid monster of teeth, hair, and protruding nose with flaring nostrils. The man was looking at the Information. Nick wondered if he was even the target or if the man just picked up a Murder Virus, the latest in sick Information jokes.

The train whistle was louder than the gunfire. Nick flipped the switch inside his mouth, picking up his search thread. He still had an hour or two to find a better lead. Or make up a definitive case solver.

He didn’t like watching the trains rolling over the dead bodies that littered the tracks.

No wonder the trains don’t run on time.