Congratulations to Manic St Preachers Nicky Wire and the team at Faber for last nights Death of a Polaroid book launch event at Rough Trade, London. The book, published by Faber, is Nicky’s visual history of more than 20 years of the bands shenanigans and showcases his passion for the Polaroid. A great night was had by all and to top it off - in what was surely a career defining moment for the Cymru legend – Nicky was presented with a specially commissioned Jaggy Nettle ‘Slag’ classic. And they talk about the luck of the Irish.
Shaken not stirred.
Hanging on a Wire.
Apologies Nick, was trying to hang back at the Reggae aisle, didn't think they would recognise me.
Looking like Nicky could probably fit the rest of the band in there with him
Warm welcome to Hombre 81, a new contributor to the journal. H81 will be relaying us with some of his tales from the past (varied and many), musings on the world as well as treating us to some of his new works of fiction. Did somebody say colourful character? Not interested. First up then, to kick things off we planted three fingers blind onto the page of a book; the three words struck would form the basis of his first piece. The words were:
Our Unholy Three
And here it is for you perusal. Can you dig the connection? The first person to email in – firstname.lastname@example.org - with the ‘link’ will get a JN prize. So what you know, our first competition and a new contributor all rolled into one. Double barrelled journal madness. On the journal front, apologies to the hundreds of thousands of people who have been in touch in the last few days regarding the lack of content of late. Lets just say we’re getting right back intae it.
Prose and ex-cons. Reformed cultural commentary
JN on the BBC
Whilst in the shower this morning I was struck cold by some text that appeared on the shower door. The letters arose eerily from the plate screen as their glass canvas was enveloped in muted condensation.
Dripping wet I left the automated downpour of the glinting cubicle to ponder. Sitting in front of my record shelves one possible catalyst to enlightenment came to me, poking its stark, linear head out from its cloned peers.
I studied the cover, poured over the sleeve notes but to no avail; the message it seems was no free meal anxious to ease my hungry curiosity. So whilst I look out my Vestax PDX-2000 decks –the ones with backward playing capability, I urge you to have a wee listen to Richard and Linda perform the title track from this classic piece of wax – maybe something will jump out at you, arm you with the insight to appease my troubled mind. Gently poke the album for the audio.
Centre Zone is part of a regeneration experiment, a 4 acre mish-mash of health centres, leisure centres, social work buildings and astro turf pitches, a business park for junkies, cripples, old people, paupers and non-educated youths. A communities diagnosis and treatment, a prescription of architects drawings, spiralling building costs, visiting Audis, idea heavy, task light professionals and lip service remissions. A sticking plaster on a tumour. There’s scarring everywhere, malicious scarring, nothing questioning, just the classic etchings of inner city emptiness. None of your quality graffiti here, these walls have never felt a stencil against their shells, never felt the pause as a new colour is selected and shook. Ambiguities’ been exiled also, this is straight to the point stuff, it aint wanting you to think what it could all mean, its fucking telling you. Sharon Telfords a Hoor, Smigsys a grass, Gilmerton Youth Team are #1 (they kick to kill!) and I kinda like all that. Grass roots stuff, no allusions, a lack of allude, I like that. Another thing I’m perversely fond of is the classic archetypal type of mindless, wanton, bullying destruction that I see all around me. A good example of this is the fledgling tree break and tear which occurred recently outside my work. I rank it alongside the kittens in a pillowcase scenario we alluded to earlier for its symbolic, vacuous vindictive value, another classic staple of inner city inevitability:
The place is looking a bit grey, nothing but concrete, wood panelling and glass for miles around, needs a bit greenery, people need to breathe, they need some greenery in here, calm everybody down. So the community council get on the case and within 36 months they’ve got it together and they’ve lifted a couple of slabs and the local MP is smiling to the local paps as they flash and he digs and by the end of the day the trees are in and it’s a start, a step in the right direction, things are for the up. Everyone filters off as the sun gets set to lowse for the night and in time the young trees are left alone, planted and staked to the ground, side by side, two young strangers in a strange land. They are nubile, vulnerable and quivering as the nightly air unsheathes its cool, cold blade. Swaggering hooded figures with odd shaped faces appear out of the grim grey landscape, streetlights throwing allegations of incest over their freakish physicality’s. They are angry. What is anger?
“Anger is a deluded mind that focuses on an animate or inanimate object, feels it to be unattractive, exaggerates its bad qualities, and wishes to harm it.”
(This explanation of anger is based on Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life, the famous poem by the great Buddhist Master Shantideva composed over a thousand years ago!)
Oh I see, so the two new trees could be at risk of being harmed? Yes. Cause the anger mob are closing in now for they have smelt helplessness and fear, a feral nose is finely tuned and must deliver unto its master sacrificial lambs for ameliorative anger management and/or pure badness. They don’t waste much time torturing the prey by delaying the inevitable like that cat probably did with my bird, they don’t have the sense of a cat, they just set about it and they start high and swing from the tallest branches till they break them from their shoulders, the young tree letting out a tight crack of agony as the cold night air invades the open wound, but its sinewy limbs are fresh and pliable, and they cling to their trunk for dear life as the stub nosed youths pull and pull and pull, tearing and stripping the very skin from the tree until their hands are calloused with their efforts and they slink home to the symphony of strange men projecting violently upon their biological mums. The morning brings fresh waves of revulsion from community council members and supporters and the knowledge that they aint really doing anything to help is soothed with the fresh revelation that they don’t wanna help them now anyway. The tree is naked and broken, savaged and raped and its still wearing that funny black plastic clip rounds its trunk which all inner city trees have to wear, like a big thick, rubber jubilee clip that looks like a priests dog collar and that only makes it worse and deflates shoulders further still.
So that’s View Field, as much as I can derive from never having lived there. Its all surface and no soul, places have no soul till you’ve lived there.