Archive for the ‘HAMMERED DRUNK’ Category

Saturday morning in Australia, cup of tea at the ready

August 3, 2013

Nothing much I’m afraid.

James was in Sydney last night (as he should be), and he got to go see the amazing Sounds Like Sunset at the equally amazing (but for different reason) Record Crate in Glebe.  I can think of a few heavy metal acts that would be more appropriate than SLS  for such a tiny venue, but by all accounts (of which I got many) the night was a success.  To give you an idea of what it might be like, imagine hearing this

in a room that looks like this
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And wham-bam that’s how a Friday night should be spent.

I fell asleep on the couch with a baritone guitar in my hands and a notebook with an empty page next to me.  It happens.

In other non-events, one of our new friends captured this small clip of us mucking around on our last gig at the Phoenix Pub in Canberra, one of our new favourite haunts.  If you’re going to request a song at a Royal Chant or Designer Mutts gig you’re probably going to go down swinging, but we will make an exception from time to time, talent permitting.

And that’s pretty much the gist of it. It’s Summer for half of the world, and for those of you who happen to be in Port Macquarie, Australia it damn near feels like it.  I’m off to teach, but after I would suspect that there’s a few waves with my name on it.

Holler back if it’s been a while xoxo

-M

 

 

The Question That Dares Not Speak Its Name…

July 12, 2012

Well alright now…for better or for worse I’ve had days to traipse around a city (Brisbane), and have been doing some thinking (for better or for worse).  I’ve been getting downright depressed, mostly because I can never say what I mean, but if you’re any kind of writer you should be used to that.  In fact, that is one of the curses of writing, or trying to write.  “A picture is worth a thousand words” is not just a cute & clever saying: it’s the truth.  Words separate us from our meaning, but still we rage and wail away at getting to the “truth” of it all.  Rather than try to fight this head on I’ve decided to try a different tack: there are no answers, only solutions.

What I mean is that I’d like to start talking about things that have no final answer (at least not in my opinion), but are worth looking at and mulling over and considering and debating and fussing and pulling and punching and all the glorious rest.  The greatest problem facing humanity, beyond staying alive, is being human.  We’re a shyte species, but tangents right and left, so what are are going to do about it?

Warning: I’d like to address difficult subjects that will leave everyone unhappy and no one satisfied.  There are no winners, only losers, and that is the mark that we might be on the right path.  If I do this correctly, this will be brutal and will leave me with fewer friends than I had before.  The sad thing is that is a very hard thing to accomplish.

So….here we go.  I’m not sure which subject I will so ineptly tackle next, but it’s going to be a doozy, and I will make a right mess of it.  In any case, know that I want solutions, not answers, and if you understand the minute difference we might just get along after all.

Lots to write, but for now….

Love, Peace, & Tea:

Mark

Muck + Irish Eyes

July 3, 2012

I’m really tired of being so ambitious with this blog.  You wouldn’t know it, because I post so rarely, but on this side of the ink curtain it’s a bloody mess and only getting worse.  I really hate to start every post with an apology, but I think in this case this public excoriation is more for me rather than you.

The problem is that I keep trying to tackle really big, ambitious subjects.  For instance, I tried writing about “Thinspo”, or, in layman’s terms, that subsect of blogging which is not only devoted to anorexia, but towards encouraging oneself and others to stay strong and remain committed to the ideal.  Do you have any idea how hard it is even to begin a single sentence on that subject?  To get my point across (which was admittedly a fairly convoluted one to begin with), would have required the precision of a rhetorical surgeon, and that is way, way beyond my ken.  After the first few lines any person of normal intelligence would have thought, “so you’re supporting what these poor girls are doing to themselves?”.  And the answer is “No no no no….that’s not what I meant…it’s just that I sort of….I mean, I can relate….it’s rather like….um…ug….sigh”.

I often tell my students that anything worthwhile requires work.  What I don’t tell them is how often I shy away from it.

I’ve been thinking quite a lot about writing.  Not only about “Gee, I wish I could write ______”, but about the honest capabilities of whatever writing muscle I might posses.  And I think it’s worth noting: I write songs.  As much as I salivate over poets, immerse myself in fiction, and scratch my chin at incisive social commentary, the fact remains that I am essentially engaged in a lazy man’s “art”, and yes, I use those quotation marks very, very deliberately.

It’s not that I don’t think songs are art, but from a purely verbal perspective it might perhaps be overrated.

Unfortunately, I have wandered into yet another territory that is too broad for my pen, so for now I will have to leave it be and say good night.  Before I do, here is installment #4 of Royal Chant’s Sleep Quintet.  Music is changing in every way, from it’s conception to its reception, so we have created a “thing” and have decided to curate it in our own fashion, molded out of pride and financial restraint.  It is yours to do with as you see fit.  It is ours, from the heart.

Cheers for now….it’s 11:30 and the tennis is on.  There’s some cider lying around and I shall most certainly indulge.  My plane leaves for Brisbane in 10 hours.  I’m looking forward to a spell away.  I’ll miss the cat though, among other things.

Cheers & Peace & Tea to you all…

Mark

Thursday. Waste. Reflect.

February 27, 2012

Here is a shorthand, non-poetic summary of my Thursday evening:

Night off, planned to spend it writing but instead
get a call to do something I don’t really want to,
but hey, it’s for the kids at school, so fine,
I get a ride and go.
It sucks and I’m not needed in the end,
though that was clear as soon as I arrived.
So I’m stuck there, grumbling to myself,
drinking with money I really don’t have,
getting mad at anything and everything,
not least of all myself.
I put $10 bucks on a dog that comes in 5 to 1,
so I’ve got this winning ticket
but it’s too late to cash it.
Get a lift into town, drinking ciders all the while.
Hang out at soul night for a bit,
making an ass of myself.
Heading over to the pub to cash my ticket,
50 bucks quickly becomes none, shouting drinks
for friends and strangers alike.
Walk to someone’s home with some other strangers,
spill some red wine on their floor.
Wake-up early and get a lift home,
tongue parched, headache, self-pity and self-loathing.
Hate the world as well, just for good measure.
Want to spend all day in bed, but drag myself
out of it in time to teach a lesson at 4 PM.
Collect my money and go home, and straight back into bed.
That song remains unwritten.

Besides being not productive, I found some comfort in the following lines, as I am wont to do…

The first comes from T. S. Eliot, in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock:

“I have measured out my life in coffee spoons”

Then my favourite Morrissey line from my favourite Smiths songs, “Half A Person”:

“And if you have 5 seconds to spare
Then I’ll tell you the story of my life”

And lastly, a line from Youth Group’s Toby Martin, from “All This Will Pass”:

“But you’re talking to yourself,
you’re as lonely and as desperate
as a kettle boiling with no-one there to get it.”

I shall not compare T.S. Eliot with Morrissey, or Morrissey with Toby Martin, or any other configuration of some non-existent trivalry.  That would be pointless, besides sheer folly.  All I will say is that I love each of those lines in my dark, brooding hours and look upon them as being very, very spot on.  What they describe, they do so very well.  It almost hurts how perfect they got it.

Cheers to you all.  Better days ahead, I hope.

Gutter Sensibilities

December 31, 2011

The Pogues – White City

Here a tower shinning bright
Once stood gleaming in the night
Where now there’s just the rubble
In the hole here the paddies and the frogs
Came to gamble on the dogs
Came to gamble on the dogs not long ago

Oh the torn up ticket stubs
From a hundred thousand mugs
Now washed away with dead dreams in the rain
And the car-parks going up
And they’re pulling down the pubs
And it’s just another bloody rainy day

Oh sweet city of my dreams
Of speed and skill and schemes
Like atlantis you just disappeared from view
And the hare upon the wire
Has been burnt upon your pyre
Like the black dog that once raced
Out from trap two

+++++++++++

Shall I explain why I love this song?  Is there really much more to say other than you either get it or you don’t?  Buy me a cider and maybe we shall talk for hours on end.

Happy New Year.

-m

On crack…

April 3, 2011

My parents just left. It was their first visit to see me in Oz, and I can never recount nor express what came to pass over these last 2 weeks other than banal asides and whatnot. They did, however, leave me with a copy of The Fighter, which means that this was the first movie I have seen in the last 10-12 months.

I don’t want to get all rock star and shyte on you, coz trust me, that ain’t it. Between work and jazz gigs (which make money), Royal Chant shows (which lose money), reading (often), and writing (less often), movies have fallen by the wayside. If it makes any sense or provides some perspective, I have yet to see The Social Network, Black Swan, Avatar, and pretty much any movie released in the last 3 years. If you ever start to ask me the question, “Hey have you seen….”, I will cut you off with a sharp “NO!” before you get to the end of the sentence.

But, seeing how it’s 2:27 AM and I just got done watching The Fighter, between you and me and these bottles of beer I started trolling my mind for my favourite depictions of drugs and drug users in film.

1) I will start by tipping my hat to Christian Bale in The Fighter. Well done. If I was a true Aussie I’d use the C-word and the F-word in conjunction right about now.

2) Samuel L. Jackson as Gator in Jungle Fever. BLOODY HELL! He nailed it! That is exactly how a crack head dances. His mother’s denial and complacency in his addiction is absolutely gut-wrenching.

3) Ewan McGregor as Mark Renton in Trainspotting. Pretty much my inspiration for high school & college, sad to say.

4) Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler. That’s how I see myself in a few years. Barely blonde, bloated, facing defeat, coasting on old success, telling the same stories in the same cadence….

5) Jason Schwartzman in Spun. Yup, that’s meth. John Leguizamo is superb as usual, and Mickey Rourke shines in this one as well.

There is a lot to be said about the movies and characters I have just mentioned, but seeing as how it’s now 2:56 AM and I’m a rather lazy sod, I’ll leave it to you to do the introspection. Goodnight for now…

Sing, Singing, Singer, Singed, Sang , Sung….

July 7, 2009

It’s a very old observation, nothing new here, but I was indulging myself with watching an old Pogues video, “Dirty Old Town”, and I somewhat solidified something for myself (and probably ONLY for myself): there are those that sing because they have nice voices, and those that sing because that HAVE to.

Bob Dylan is the obvious, and far too easy, example of this, but really, it does seem somewhat true far beyond that.  I’ve never been all that impressed by a good or great voice, and maybe that is because I don’t have one myself.  BUT, I would like to think it is because I am waiting for something that involves or reflects the human struggle/soul.  A good voice?  Blame God, but don’t take credit for it.  Personally, I have always thought of a good voice as something akin to a pretty songbird–something to adorn the sitting parlor, but nothing to get attached to.  A good voice does not change lives.  A good message does.

I wholeheartedly admit that my own singing voice is somewhere between a scratch and a warble, so don’t go calling sour grapes, coz it just ain’t true.  I want to be moved, and the only thing that seems to do that is hearing something that is singular, something that no one else can give me.  I want to be shattered to my foundation, not entertained.

Enough….for now.  Godspeed Shane McGowan, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, etc….sometimes, the message is the music.

To my ears, anyway.

la la la la la la la…