Tag Archives: the wild

The Wind Cries Barney

No melting hearts today in the blue snows. Just the aftermath of the winds. The kind of winds that re-enlighten your belief in the coming apocalypse. A troll stomping over rooftops and chasing down to you in the damp street. He bellows in your ear leaving a damp splattering of spittle quickly iced by the cold air. Stray twigs torn from trees crunch under foot. You step around them until they become too many, filling the pavement and road in piles and piles of insignificant broken limbs.

“Did you laugh together more than you argued together? And if not do you know why?”

Mazzy flipped the record to it’s forth side and teetered among the clutter in the tiny flat. Immunity by Jon Hopkins. Something stronger was needed to block out the catcall of teenagers in the street.

“We always laughed. We were always stupid. That’s why it lasted so long. I don’t know how to be any other way anymore. All that bickering about things that don’t fucking matter. The most efficient way to load the dishwasher? Nah.”

A quick shake of her head and eyes that strayed into a distance that wasn’t visible beyond woodchip and the first feint patterns of damp. I was persistent though. I knew how he could be.

“But the moods. The dark moods. How did you cope?”

Mazzy looked puzzled. She picked up a mug of tea which had turned tepid. A softer wind was tapping the window. If yesterday he was an angry troll today he was mischievous sprite.

“There’s a tiny bit in the middle of this bit of the record which reminds me of Diamond Mine, just a few bars. Do you know what I mean?”

I waited. Knowing she would settle and answer my question when she’d dispelled these important thoughts.

“I don’t notice them. I didn’t.” A shrug. “You know my family, if nobody’s hitting the roof you enjoy the peace. It’s just grumps with him. I could still make him laugh, that’s the difference.”

Mazzy settled in a beanbag and looked at her tea disappointedly. “What about you, now? Do you get lonely?”

I faltered at the question and rubbed my forehead, trying to work out the creases. It seemed a stupid question. I nodded.

“Everyone does. Don’t they? We’re all alone.”

“But you’re really alone.”

“Like a troll.” I tugged at troll hair which seemed to sprout like dune grasses.

“This bit.” Mazzy pointed to the record spinning on an axis of melodic refrain.

“What?” I’d zoned out of the music. She’s better at multi-tasking than me.

“Reminds me of…”

I nodded.

The scene dissolves in history like all others before it. The young march on into the morning. They know all will not be well, but there’s nothing to do but evolve, grow, be something society didn’t expect it was capable of. You are your own hero, your own catastrophe. Failure doesn’t lie in your bed. You only fail when you hold others back with your backwards mindset and bullying ways. Your poison is malice and you drink it straight from the bottle.

Back to the whispering hum of the dehumidifier removing tears and mould from stained walls. No music or the voice of Mazzy to break its hum drum sound. The lack of television keeps the brainwashed society at bay. Adverts and pop music filtered out. Shelves stacked with more books, music and films than they can hold. Stuff that has fucking meaning. Stuff that draws a portrait of a life before it’s lived. Brain supplements to keep the rot at bay. To help us keep writing. Because writing is all we can do to survive our own minds.

I tear open a letter from Mazzy, out in the Hebrides. I saved it two days because I knew I would need it today.

‘Dear Barney,

Although you are not dear.’ She begins….


Walking in the Rain

Walking in the Rain

To write how you feel you have to stop thinking. You have to fall down the rabbit hole and keep fucking crawling until your knees are muddy and scratched with blood and mud inside the blood. The rational hat is no use. The one which wants to form human sentences. Things spoken in a real world context. By explaining yourself you lose the thing. You return like a faithful broken-boned mutt to the phrases you’re socialised to say.

Put your face through a window, then rebuild it from scratch using polystyrene balls to fill in the bits you lost. Now speak. No don’t speak. Just write. Or paint, or hit some fucking bongos, whatever tickles your pickle. Don’t write to be understood. Write to be misunderstood. Write to let the freaky gobshite reading it look into the booze slops of their own brain matter and form a meaningful sentence. The meaningful sentence might be “This is fucking pretentious, quirky nonsense. This chick needs a good slap”.

You can’t be afraid to write. Be afraid to be misunderstood. Meaning belongs with the witness. If they want to peer at a pile of colourful sick on the pavement and decide what it means, so be it. If you’re so fucking scared just write it down and bury it six foot in dirt. It’s all you deserve. Or not. But friend, the worms are reading. Maybe even eating the fucking thing and then shitting it into fertiliser which will make some patch of goose grass grow a little greener, higher, and stickier.

If you write how you feel, it has a story. Even if you make shit sure no-one sees it. Rip it up and eat it. Let your insides digest ink and paper. Burn it and let the smoke stain the ceiling. If you write how you feel it has to be abstract. No culprits named, no hometown stated, no work politics, no lovesickness, no apathy, no addiction, no past reasons nor consequences. No childhood traumas, no demons faced, no nostalgia or bitter anxiety for the person you once were that you’re afraid you still are. Just the pissing rain trying to wash away the plaster stains on the concrete. Just the sea and the rhythm. The crash of waves or thunder or war. Just the sound of your guts daring you to do the wrong thing. Step out of line. Be foolish. Don’t have regrets. Own your mistakes. But please please please, for the love of a life less ordinary (one without the inevitable downward spiral into that pit where there is only blankness, despair, and pairs of red or green eyes peering from crack-addled-would-be-geniuses)… don’t let your mistakes own you. And write how you feel.

Extracts from Dogtooth Chronicals – At Odds


Wolfgang, the World

 The little bearded man known as Tobias Roe was at odds with society.  He could see himself too easily becoming his parents, arguing about mortgages and convincing themselves that because they used a chiropractor, they hadn’t very quietly and gradually become that alien of things – ‘conservative’.

It was easy to idealise, when you were young, but now your bones creak, and you have to worry about pensions, and providing a future for yourself.  The wilderness absolves this very quickly.  The wilderness tells you that you will die when you are no-longer physically able to hunt and gather…  Your demise will not be drawn out into a pitifully banal tale of incontinence and hip replacements.

There will be no hospital bed, and sense of doom, just the sky and the land, which will suck the last of your sprite out through your irises.  Through the little specs amongst the colours that join so easily with the wind, once the moisture on your lenses has dried to glass.  It might be a slow, lonesome death of starvation or illness.  But it is noble nonetheless, and not so slow and lonesome as living in a flat by yourself, with a special red button to press, should you take a fall.

I read a book written by young Toby Roe and it stuck with me.  Whether he really ever wrote a book I cannot say.  For it echoed so much of Farley Mowat and Jack London, and H. Mortimer Batten, it may have only been an amalgamation of these that I had somewhat dreamed into being.  For all those books and pictures seemed to merge, seemed to speak in turns of the character Nether Ed who Cassie had written of, which in turn reminded me of Cuan’s little skeletal scribbles.

Indeed it could’ve been young Cassie Siddal who dreamed us into significance. She had all the freckles of a Greek goddess of stories and trees.  I think it is funny that the term Raconteur is so very masculine, it describes a ballsy chap stood in a pub, surrounded by eager faces that laugh and listen (with that bird man on his shoulder).  The pages of Lissy Siddal’s stories are half finished and read only by educated squid.  In fact it is not peculiar at all that the word raconteur is so masculine, it is just very bloody French.  But then I would speak ill of the ‘cheese-eating, surrender monkeys’; it was a Frenchman that stole my wife after all.

At some stage in youth we all reach a certain wall, one that is too high to be scaled with the merest of tools our upbringing has laden us with.  I’m off track, I think I was trying to justify lunacy somehow, but I’ve forgotten how, I’ll come back to the wall presently.

Firstly, know that the jolt you experience as you transcend dream to wake – that is your death inside the dream.  That is your soul leaving the dream to return to your waking life.  You will feel that same jolt when your soul leaves your body, this I am sure of, but when it comes to death and the great beyond, that is all I am sure of…

I felt that that was so profound, I then pondered if I was already on page 42…had all of it passed so quickly?

…And Toby Roe.  He had long put aside the path written for him from university into a steady job.  He was walking in the wilderness amongst the wolves and bears, who like man in his hungriest, barest form, could turn on him and take his life.  As dangerous and fearful, some might say, as crossing a busy road every day, so bored with your routine that you barely pay attention to the traffic.  Never lose your fear of the big metal beasts (Toby would advise), for all their gleaming beauty and hypnotic yellow gaze, they are predators.  And push come to shove, if that Toyota is hungry, you are lower in the food chain.  But like the wolves, most of the time you’re pretty safe, he’d rather quaff petrol than human blood.

Most of us are too acclimatised to our society and comfort zone, to do little more than daydream of the wilderness, but Toby’s comfort zone had become the wilderness.  He was inside the changing seasons, the routines of the migrating creatures, the multitude of insect life which held the planet’s eco-system together.

But he’d once had the guts to leave humanity to their lot, and go into the unknown, and now he felt it time to summon up those guts once more.  For all his disillusion with the human race, they were just animals, and he had more than a little affection for a few of those animals he’d left behind.

Back to the wall.  You may know the wall already, you may have conquered it, or it may have cowed you.  We have all been cowed, or will be, no one can be sure of their breaking point until they are broken.  To be cowed is not to be conquered though, the cowed can get back on the horse they fell off.

I have spoken…and it is so.

Letters to My Sister (No. 2 The Craic)

Fark it’s cold.  Who’s shitty idea were it, to go on a road trip in December?  It’s like I wanna punish me self.  Got the seats flat in the back, and I’ve got that double duvet, and the all-weather sleeping bag I nicked of Camping Boy, and I’m fully clothed and sweaty like a pig-on-heat.  I stink, but I’m past noticing, and I’ll never stink like you Sis.  Or stink boy.

Lying in the dark, except for a street light, with the rain pounding on the window.  Kinda lovely after a few smokes.  Need to pick up some weaker stuff though, I’m caning this shit, and it’s proper bonafide Meadows skunk.  I’m in a smoky little bubble in the back street of some random town.  That would be proper lush, if it weren’t so farking cold.  People have walked past and not seen me at all.  I’m just a ghost.  A past life.  With the drizzle on the window pane lit pretty.  Me and the drizzle merge like an inconsistent sigh.  Neither happy nor sad, just, y’know alive.

I do miss home an ickle bit.  Just not enuff to turn the car around.  I miss my friends, I miss the warm pub and the craic.  But I don’t miss goin home to that shitty damp flat, and listening to the couple upstairs smacking each other about.  I can’t write too much tonight Sis.  For one I can barely see the words on the page.  For two, I’m just too out of it.  I’m gonna dig into the cold pizza in the dashboard, bosh one more smoke and then curl up like a kitten.

But, y’know I love you and stuff.  And I am thinking about what you’re going through right now.  I’m not totally selfish to the bone.  Anyway, nowt about owt.  Love you and leave you.  Night Sis.

Little Rue xx

Ps. nearly forgot, explain what ‘craic’ is to that Boyf of yours, I know he’ll assume I’m in a drug spiral otherwise.  I can tell he thinks I’m the rough side of the deal.


Letters to My Sister (No.1 The Escape)

What is about stoned drummers I can’t get enuff of?  You’d think I’d fucking learn the first time round, but I spose not.  I think I’ve worked out what it is though.  It’s Calvin.  Yeah I know, you’ve not heard me say that name in time.  Yeah I know, I told you if you ever said his name to me again, I’d make you pay Old Boy style.  But lowe it Sis.  See shitty little Calvin, with his shitty little glasses, and short man ego had nuff pet hates, I forget most.  But now I let myself remember he hated drummers.  And he hated weed.  He used to get all up in my face when I said booze and fags was worse for ya, remember that?

And that’s me in a nutshell int it?  Once I get shot of one bloke, you can be damn sure the next one will be proper different.  I’d love to get them all in a room, so they could spout out all their issues and fucking ego trips, and combust together.  Except Stu and Erfin, they’d proper love each other if they ever met.  I know you never met Erfin, but he’s basically Stu, a bit weedier maybe.  Like I mean physically, they both smoke bags of it.  But I mean…they’d get on amazingly, until they got onto drumming.  Then they’d fall out.

Wait, how the fuck did I get into this already?  These are my preoccupations that’s the mess.  That’s why I’m gone Sis.  On the road.  Out the fuck of here.

That’s where I should have started, that’s the reason this is a letter not an email.  I know what you’re thinking.  Bullshit.  For one she don’t got the guts.  For two, um, no driving licience.  I dunno what happened Sis, I just fucking flipped out like some crazy biatch.  It’s Dem Boys.  As you would say in your pretend American accent.  And that car was sat there ready to go, and I can drive, I drive better than you, don’t I?  A ton less likely to get pulled over for anything.  It’s like seeing things a new way.  Laws are there to make things safe, but I’m not fucking paying all that money for them to tell me I’m ok to drive.   THEY THINK YOU’RE OK TO DRIVE, AND YOU DRIVE LIKE A FUCKING EEJIT.  It is said.

So tonight, one week after Erfin fucked me over and went back to his psycho-love-interest (this is the girl who used-the-shit out of him when he was vulnerable, from all that cancer stuff), I’m sat in the pub chatting to Fliss, and she says “Oh soo sad that didn’t work out, cos he’s lovely”.  Lovely?  He’s a spineless rodent.  Cute with it, sure as shit, but you know that kind of cuteness suddenly wears very-fucking-thin?

So, I let that go, but I know she worries about me, and so I was trying to be positive, and mentioned this bloke that I’m totally into (Oxo…you remember Gary Lazerick?  It’s his little brother, we grew up two streets away, but I just never remember meeting him, I’m sure I would remember).  And Fliss says, “Oh him, he’s a proper stoner…you know he’s a fucking drummer don’t you?”  And like that, I just felt like a teenager again, like it was the end of the fucking world.

Now I know what you’re thinking (it’s not the we-is-psychic-cos-we-shared-a-womb, yeah? stuff, it’s just I’ve known you too long, I can see your face right now).  You’re thinking, what are all these crazy stupid names?  So just to ‘clarify’ (the Americans love that word, yeah?).  Errol Effin, I hate the name Errol, so I give him some stupid pet name, and now everybody call him Erfin, and I want to smash their faces into plates with hammers.  Yeah, yeah got rage issues.  You know it bitch, I kicked you in the womb nuff times.  As for Oxo, don’t fucking ask me, some fucked up nickname somehow related to The Cube.

So I assume you’ve heard Dad’s into his second divorce?  And Mum is seeing that librarian still, you know the one with the curly hair who has worked there since we were like twelve?  Dad is so self-involved he bought me the Nova, but never bothered to ask me if I’d actually passed my test.  Which, as my driving instructor kept saying really sleazy things to me about gear sticks and backseats, was unlikely. I mean FUCK THAT SHIT.  You get me?  You do get me, that’s the thing.  They don’t fucking get me, not my parents, not my friends.  And as for Dem Boys.  They’re shit-scared of my cosmic powers.  They want it, but just not in the right way.  So they smoke weed, play their ‘Lana del Rays’ (sick of that song already), and stay with the girls who wear thigh socks and talk about party tricks like that’s all there fucking is in this life.

I am in a nostalgic phase.  I know if you were in the same country I’d be avoiding your calls, cos you piss me off big style.  And I know when you hear that I’ve hit the road in the Nova, all by myself, with only stoner music and a sketch book  for company, you will say I’m running away from my problems.  And that I am a selfish bint.  And that I skanked out of buying a round last time we were out, so I owe you a round of ale, plus interest.  You must miss the fucking ale over there.  I know they have craft beer.  But it isn’t proper British beer.  I had this oatmeal stout the other day, it was beautiful.  And I thought of you.  I do miss you like a rotten limb.  Like something overly familiar in how immovable it is.  And shit, I’m writing this only to you aren’t I?  So I spose all those years of sharing wombs, and buggies, and clothes (and hot Chris trying to shag us both in the same evening, and failing so spectacularly), must have had some affect on me.

So yeah, I’ve contradicted myself.  I said I get shot of one bloke, and make sure the next one is proper different.  But then I realised Oxo is another stoned drummer.  But at least he’s tall.  You always did give me shit for going after short blokes.  But not all of them are like Calvin, not all of them act like Jack Russels on Red Bull.  I’ve been trying to prove to you for years that not all short men, have short-man-syndrome.

But as blatant as the day is light, if he likes to hit drums, and shoot shit over a few Red Stripes, he will like intense conversations about what it feels like to vomit (Do you remember that?  That was Stu, but I swear on the bag of bad ju-ju in my glove box, Erfin once said near exactly the same thing).  Some day they’ll all end up in the garden of eden together, with Super Mario and the little mushrooms with faces.  Anyway, I’ve said nowt worth owt, as usual Sis.  I’ll see you on the flipside, and write you more tomorrow.  Love and hugs.

Little Rue xx

So many films…so little time

Lost moments in cinema.  Art is mostly about failure.  As is Troll hunting in the suburbs of the Midlands…

You have to go a little further afield for that sort of romp, specifically Norway.  A doubtless stunning country which is on my to-do list along with a whole bunch of films I’ll never have time to see.  At least I saw ‘Trollhunter’ (2010 Andre Ovredal), a film stranded in the wilderness, somewhere between Blair Witch & Where the Wild Things Are, but with that odd Norwegian humour that I bloody love (see ‘The Bothersome Man’ (2006, Jens Lien), a bonafide masterpiece in my mind).  I’m dead glad I saw the trolls on the big screen, they were worth all the nagging it took to persuade somebody that this would be f**king amazing, rather than terrible.  It was.  A madcap film, oodles of tweaks & quirks that made its format (supposed-found-footage/mockumentary or what you will) not feel like a tired old experiment.  Mainly it was just damn funny & left you with little to say after, as you felt like you had a brainful of trollfarts.  Lovely.

I also saw the new version of ‘Jane Eyre’ (2011, Cary Fukunga), on a friend’s request.  I’m not mega on period dramas, but I always forget them Bronte sisters love a bit of rugged Yorkshire moorland, and saying boo to gooses, so it was time well-spent.  I really want to see ‘Melancholia’ (mainly cos I recon Lars Von Trier has been tapping my brain & stealing ideas, the crazy rogue), but also Paddy Cosidine’s directorial debut ‘Tyrannosaur’, cos I’m a massive fan of his & it’s had awesome reviews.  But fitting round work + friends plans + being short of a quid, are working against me.  I’ll just have to go alone, and then discuss my feelings on the finer points of apocalypses & domestic violence with the nearest enigmatic lamp post.

I also wanna see ‘Midnight in Paris’, cos it’s like an artsy Goodnight Sweetheart (which come to think of it was a philosophical masterpiece, even if they dragged it out way too long).  But that’s no.3 on my list…ho hum.

I leave you with more troll parps, over & owt.

Guest Blog from a friend…On walking from inner city to forgotten outskirts


This was part of an email sent to me, by my friend Daniel, I asked to repost it, as it made me want to go wandering myself.  He lives in Leeds.  Enjoy.  (The polaroids were taken by myself in his local area several years ago).

…Mainly I have been walking; it seems the right thing to do. It isn’t a trail as such, not according to maps, nor secret as in as far as parts of it are used daily, but mainly only by the march of Stinging Nettels and their old enemy the Dock Leaf, but it feels like both. From google maps point of view it’s a barely noticeable green snake extending 8 miles from the city centre, at times slim to the point of starvation but periodically well fed and swollen mid digestion.  It is as series of passage ways and ginals, barely there twitchals and tracks stolen from the very end of private gardens.  Sometimes it is whole forests, sometimes precarious river banks, mainly it is back alleys and bins. It is hard to say whether it is known, my guess,  it has become underused and so has fallen to secrecy.  I myself crossed it for three years on my way to uni, while hoping  for something fabulous to occur, something marvellous and absurd* and I never noticed it.

So, some days you will find me here.  Maybe it is my apocalypse fetish, but when the time comes, and the roads have become impassable with panic, we will slip from the city along this route bound for open countryside and further still the thick forest, we won’t look back over our shoulders, for we have dreamt of the plumes of smoke, the retina burning flashes and the sky an indelible indigo, they are already who we are. We will instead simply move forward.

It is weedy and decrepit and the perfection location to attack and kill someone, but I have lost my fear of this place, no one ever comes here now. Although I’m almost certain a human foot was found somewhere nearby, when I first moved here.

Then there is the waste land masquerading as a nature reserve, on a bend in the river just outside of Leeds. The site of an early power station slowly being reclaimed by little beasties both of foot and root. Strange sets of steps are dug into the earth that lead nowhere, old embankments, embank nothing and in the middle a raised plateau, not quite windswept enough to be unhipster-esque. The last time I was there, a startlingly orange leaf had fallen upon a bleached piece of paper, giving the effect of a bizarre fried egg. Most magically of all however is a tree covered island in the river accessible only by ford, google maps tells me there is a clearing in the middle with lake, locals tell me there are deer living there.