A Bit More Than Less

You’re staggering down the sidewalk, cuz’ you’ve had a bit more than less. You know, because the bartender asked, shortly before you left, closing the place down with your last order: don’t you think you’ve had enough?
But, oh hell, you think… no. I want more. A little bit more.
So there you walk, so to speak, in the early hours of the morn’, thinking that you want more. But all the bars are closed. Going up a quiet little side-street on the way home, you fall in to the well-trimmed hedges on the side. Laughing out loud, you lie there, in the shelter behind the bushes. Thinking about what people will think when they see your legs sticking out on the sidewalk on the other side, you have to laugh even louder. It’s fucking hilarious.
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It’s a lovely night, so you decide to lie there for a while and look at the stars. Everything is fine, the bushes support your waist comfortably, and you feel the cool lawn behind them on the back of your head, like the hand of a lover.
With a sigh of contentment, you settle in. It’s so wonderfully peaceful. You wouldn’t want anything less than that, and you can’t ask for more.

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Inevitable

What if… what if I had to take a piss, no matter what. Perhaps time is like a river. You can throw a pebble in, and you’ll cause a ripple, but the main current goes on. So, no matter what I do, I am going to have to go to the toilet. Excuse me, I’ll, uh… I’ll be right back. So, where was I? Ah, piss, that is to say, urine. I don’t want to offend anyone here, harharhaaardiharhar (Jackie Gleason greets you from the grave).
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All those little rivulets of urine I’ve pissed over the years have become a mighty river of time. There is no way anyone can stop it, least of all myself. Or could I? Could I simply say, one fine day, I shall never piss again? My bladder would burst, after a while, and I would cease to be. Would that stop time?
Christ, what makes me piss so much? The coffee, the beer, the rum? Sure as hell ain’t water. But I digress, as so often. Time. That was the subject in question. Damned if I can remember where I heard that, but time is what keeps everything from happening at once.
Is that true? What is time… a concept invented to order the incessant procession of sameness we all face from day to day. Time is a matter of perspective, a matter of scale. It’s subjective. I have no time, I have all the time in the world… there is in fact no difference between these two statements. The only thing that remains is inevitability. Things happen, and in the final analysis it doesn’t matter when. They will happen, all those things.

Properly Toasted

Just right. Nicely browned, slightly darker at the edges. Buttered, that’s me. Been eating those lovely little roasted coffee beans covered in chocolate. Keeps me zipping along. Add to that a half a bottle of wine, a couple cigarettes, and a bowl of weed, and I’m buzzing like a bumble bee, blundering through the grass to find my little hole, where I do whatever it is that bumble bees do in their little holes in the ground. I don’t want to know. I wonder what the bumble bee-equivalent of toast is.
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Little Tricks

I once read about a famous guitar player who said that his style was mainly shaped by the little tricks he used to conceal his deficiencies as a player. I thought: wow, cool, at last, someone who admits it! We are all shaped by the effort to conceal our deficiencies. We are all lazy fuck-ups, and we are all trying as hard as we can to conceal it, and this dude, hey, he said it straight out. Kudos to you, man.
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I wonder what would happen if we would all do that. Just admit that we are fuck-ups, and be done with it. The world would certainly be a more relaxed place. But, on the other hand, the effort of concealing our laziness and incompetence certainly drives us forward. In trying to appear as if we knew what the hell we are doing, we do in fact do more than we otherwise would.
Little tricks that keep the world going. Like appearing busy at work when the boss comes by, when you, in fact, have been ignoring the assignment lying on the table the last three hours. What have you been doing those last three hours? God only knows, you certainly don’t, but the fact is you’ve oiled the wheels just by pretending to do something. You may have actually done something more important in that time, without even noticing it. You’ve coasted along, you’re on the road to nowhere, and along the way you may have discovered wonderful and important things.
I am not kidding here. In compensating for your incompetence, you will discover the things you are really competent at. Perhaps you will only discover that you are really good at concealing your incompetence. You incompetent fuck. But most likely you will be doing something that really interests you, and that is the path to… something. It certainly isn’t the path to efficiency, or any of that shit. Efficiency is another word for unhappiness, take it from a very efficient person. My boss likes me for my efficiency, and when I take two seconds to think about it, that makes me wonder what I am doing wrong.
If it sounds like I am making a plea for laziness here, you have understood me perfectly. People say necessity is the mother of invention… bullshit. Laziness. That is what makes people inventive. Inventing little tricks to make it easier to live: that is the main characteristic of the human animal. Apart from mulishness, that is.

Reminiscence

Two strawberries lie on a wood cutting board, one has been bitten in to. The man who has just bitten in to the strawberry wipes at the drops of juice that have fallen on the piece of paper he is writing on. He drinks a bit of wine, thinking that the wine has real character. He stops and wonders if he should think about his life, but decides it isn’t necessary. Another drop of wine. The strawberries are quite delicious. He lights a pipe of hashish, inhaling deeply and holding the smoke in his lungs. Recently he’s been told he may have cancer, but he doesn’t really believe it. Even if he really had it, it wouldn’t  phase him. Cancer is mostly curable, so he thinks. His chances are good. And he always has been lucky with important things. He eats the rest of the strawberry, there’s just one left.
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Wine. Smoke. The fact is, he doesn’t have cancer, but he doesn’t know that. He doesn’t care, even if it turns out he will have to die… because he has children. Beautiful children that make everything whole. He knows, without thinking of it, that he can leave them and they will survive. Even if he dies he has given them power for life, strength to keep on. He is sure of it. He bites in to the last strawberry; it’s amazingly tasty for this time of year. He decides to save half for later and takes a smoke. It’s not like I want to die, he reflects. Fuck no, I want to live, and enjoy it as long as I can. Might be five weeks, might be 50 years. He grabs the bottle and pours another glass. He doesn’t know what to write anymore, so he goes and takes a piss. The children are snug in bed. He flushes the toilet by mistake, but no one wakes up. He goes and drinks some more wine, and smokes some more hashish. Half a strawberry is looking up at him from the cutting board. First more wine. Should he get some bread and cheese? No, somehow, the remaining half a strawberry will have to do. Wonderful. He eats it and takes a mouthful of wine afterwards, letting the taste mingle in his mouth. Heady.

Music is Everyone’s Possession

Who said that? John Lennon, no wonder. „Its only the publishers who think it belongs to them.“
You know why? Well, you’re probably thinking about the artist’s right to make money from his work and so on. I can understand that viewpoint. But what you have to realize is this: I can take a song in my head, and play it for myself. Again and again. So who does it belong to then? Am I supposed to pay a percentage each time I listen to it in my head? Who is monitoring that? And when I make variations on it? When I improvise, based on the original, who does that belong to?
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The same thing applies to any book I’ve read. When I think of passages from a book I’ve read, do I have to pay the author something for those thoughts? There are people who can repeat a book they have read page for page. When they repeat that, do they owe money to the author? When I write, I often paraphrase things I’ve read, or use the ideas presented there and go off on my own little tangent. Is that plagiarism?
I am sure you would agree it is not. The question is, where is the border? The second question is, who should decide where that border lies? I’ll say this much: I do not believe a lawyer, or a committee of lawyers, can decide the question.
Music can be so beautiful, it straightens your lopsided head right on out. It hits you between the eyes and pierces your brain like a white hot knife. It sends you floating on high, transported from this world. and then it hits you low down, below the belt. Man, it hurts, makes you cry out like you’ve been stuck with a knife, like a stuck pig… and you have been. Music twists on knobs you never knew you had. Music can turn you inside out. I wonder, can you write like that? No. No author ever wrote something that can twist me like that.
Listening to Tea with Cinnamon from Katzenjammer. This song reminds me of two women at once, and that kills me. Depends on the mood though. Sometimes I hear it and just think: yeah, yeah, skip it.
Music kills me anyway. There are songs I can hardly hear without crying. Not while they remind me of anything, necessarily, but because the music speaks with me. It is so beautiful, so poignant, that the tears just plain squirt. It isn’t sadness, but rather an overwhelming sense of deep feeling that forces me to cry. The tears may be of joy, or fear, of love lost… or found.
Once, many years ago, I was in the cathedral in Cologne, seeing the bloody sights. As chance would have it, there was an amateur choir of five men there, who happened to be visiting, and spontaneously, right next to me, they sang a chant they obviously knew well. Some kind of gregorian shit, y’know. I tell you, it was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard. It reverberated in those (holy) chambers in such a way that I burst instantly in to tears. I was in bliss, not because of God, God forbid, but because of the simple beauty of it. The beauty of their combined voices, those combined tones, in that incredible chamber.
The Germans say: he lives near water. Someone who cries easily „lives near water“. Well, I live near water, in certain situations, fucking badly damaged romantic that I am. Crash and burn, baby, crash and burn, says the little cynical bastard in me. It’s when you burn that you start to feel, and when you feel you realize you are alive, and that life is worth living. Life always begins in the ashes of death. So get up, and listen to some music. Listen to the tears. Listen to the water flow.
All those feelings… who do they belong to? Whose song is it, when you listen to it? Who wrote that song? Do you think those fellows in the cathedral knew what they did to me? Do you think they cared about making me pay for my experience? That is what John Lennon was talking about. He wanted to change the world, and that was all he cared about. He knew that every single person would make their own song out of what he created.
Listening to Come Together as rendered by the Butthole Surfers. But it doesn’t matter what I am listening to, really. The point is that I am listening.

Unedited Dialog

Oscar Wilde was said to have spoken like the written word. His spoken sentences were elegant, perfectly structured finished pieces, though he spoke them spontaneously, in the middle of heated conversation. Certainly that is a rare gift. Wasn’t any use to him in the long run anyway.
I love uncut spontaneous interviews. Some of the best thing of this kind I’ve seen is a long interview with the Texas psychedelic punk band Butthole Surfers, in their early years. All of them reclined in a big hotel bed, most likely all stoned out of their minds. Hearing a longer uncut interview gives one a completely different feel for those involved, and you see how the conversation evolves. It may seem chaotic at first, with loose ends all over the damned place, but in the end your impression is far more cohesive. It doesn’t work as well with experienced interviewees, I find, because they start using the same formulations over and over, in order to reduce the effort they have to put in to an interview. It sounds smoother, polished, but they are using stock sentences that can be heard in thousands of interviews. Most interviewers are no better in this respect.
In any case, what got me on this tack was the following, reblogged from Sentence first. Thanks for the pointer.

Sentence first

“Words troubled and failed Andy Warhol,” writes Wayne Koestenbaum on the first page of his psychological portrait of the artist (Penguin Books, 2001), even though Warhol wrote many books, “with ghostly assistance”, and had a distinctive speaking style.

Wayne Koestenbaum - Andy Warhol - Penguin Lives biography book coverKoestenbaum returns several times to Warhol’s relationship with language and with time, for example noting how Warhol’s love of repetition manifested in verbal expression, and remarking on how he “distrusted language” and didn’t understand “how grammar unfolded episodically in linear time, rather than in one violent atemporal explosion”.

I want to quote one passage in particular, from later in the book. Warhol’s magazine Interview, first titled inter/VIEW and then Andy Warhol’s Interview, featured stars interviewing other stars with the results transcribed generously and precisely, without the editing that conventionally turns spontaneous speech into readable prose:

Interview magazine was Andy’s most sustained attempt, after a [a novel], to cross…

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