Mechanically Separated Chicken.

Thursday, February 28, 2002

The Quote Project.

I am embarking upon a new programme of public property defacement, for which I'm currently seeking recruits.

You know those "quotes" you see painted on shop windows, where the signwriter has added quotation marks for "emphasis?"





or the one I saw just a couple of hours ago,


Firstly, and to state the fricking obvious, the inappropriately placed quotation marks make the emphasised bits appear untrue, or at best ambiguous. As though the leather bag is, to be honest, made of nuagahyde, the seafood on offer is in fact a stinking bucket of putrefying squid ink, and you're not actually allowed to eat the food with your mouth, you must instead engulf it with your entire body and absorb it through a mucous membrane, like a protoplasmic slime mould.

Secondly, it makes the words and phrases in quotation marks appear (crazily enough) like quotations. And, dammit, I want to know whose freaking quotations they are. I want them attributed - and if need be I'll undertake that assignment myself, with the aid of spray cans.

I want to see:

- Sir Walter Raleigh, 1612


- Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

I urge you to join me. And, while you're pulling on your balaclava and packing your satchel with aerosol paint and protein nut bars, stick in a copy of Fowler's Modern English Usage as well - have you seen all the rogue apostrophes out there? Not to mention those accursed interrobangs.

The Queen's English. It must be defended. If not by muskets, ninja stars and garrotting wire, then at least by acts of vigilante proof-reading.

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

An album review by Emmett Foster Spendlove

The boards of Canada.the boards of canada
music has the right to children

I never thought I'd confess to this, but occasionally (usually whilst lying insomniac between my monogrammed Tunisian silk sheets with a tumbler of cognac in one hand and a raging hard-on in the other), I feel a little, well, lonely.

'Piffle!' I hear you protest, 'How can a man blessed with chiselled beauty, elegant machismo and an inexhaustible supply of caramel-coloured calfskin slippers ever feel truly alone?

Well, the simple fact of the matter is that I do. Oh, it's true, there will always be sex - extravagant, filthy, depraved sex. Trudie Styler's parties may eventually lose steam but I'll never run out of slutty debs eager to loosen the puritanical apron-strings of their social x-ray mothers (along with their underpants). And it's only a matter of time until Charlie Sheen tumbles back off the wagon and resumes throwing those three-day fully-catered all-you-can-fuck benders with courtesy bowls of blow lined up on every flat surface.

However, as I can mournfully attest, as soon as you've 'tried everything once,' it begins to get a tad repetitive. Once you've snorted GBH off Angelina Jolie's inner thigh with blood trickling down your chest from the savage bitemark above your left nipple; once you've given Travolta a blowjob while he's piloting his jet through the Rockies; once you've thrown a private party for the cast of Sex and the City (plus Broderick) that involved hiring a suite of animal costumes and that Mongolian contortionist girl from Cirque de Soleil...

Well, let's just say that one's palate can get a little jaded.

So, it was late one night, during one of these rare fits of pique - pondering my existential aloneness and trying fruitlessly to brush that last almond biscotti crumb out of the bedlinen - that I heard a sound which perfectly encapsulated my mood. Wafting through the french doors like the aroma of hot brioche came the most excruciatingly wistful music I'd ever heard. So, I bundled myself into a pashmina robe and ventured out to the balcony, to see where the fuck it was coming from.

At first, while my eyes adjusted to the darkness, I could see nothing. The melody, however, became louder - a livelier version of the spaceship's communique from Close Encounters: a haunting and seemingly random mathematical ladder of notes evocative of searching a labyrinth and encountering numerous dead ends.

This led into a soft-shoe-shuffle techno set-up. It may have just been the cognac, but the beats brought to mind an image of Fred Astaire tap dancing on sand in a hotel corridor, with whistling, reverb, and the somewhat disturbing sound of a dog gurgling 'I love you.'

I was transfixed. What was this music? And how had it managed to capture precisely the same cutting-edge combination of cleverness, cleanliness and postmodern sadness as myself?

Slowly, I began to make out the source of the music: in the courtyard below, Johann, my chauffeur, was cleaning the town car. At three in the fucking morning. There he was, rubbing lotion into the upholstery and gingerly picking my insulin syringes up off the back seat. He hadn't turned on the spotlight over the driveway, so he was obviously trying not to wake me, but the music I could hear seemed to be coming from the car stereo.

For a while longer I stood silently on the balcony, listening to that minimalist electronica and watching Johann empty the Jag's ashtrays into a plastic Sears bag. It was mysterious and occasionally sinister music, with a nostalgic element I couldn't quite put my finger on - perhaps it was the filtered voices of children or the slow dreamlike beats. I wasn't sure, but for a moment it made me forget my empty bed, my diabetes, and my tragic inability to rid myself of dandruff despite my vast wealth and access to scalp specialists. So I went downstairs and into the courtyard, to ask Johann was he was playing.

Flushed with embarrassment, he handed me the CD cover and in his infuriatingly bad english, stammered that we were listening to a Scottish duo called The Boards of Canada, more specifically their album Music has the Right to Children, released in late '98. He also informed me that their new album, Geogaddi, has just been released through Matador, making them lablemates of Pavement, Belle and Sebastian and the Pizzicato Five. I thanked him, asked if I could have the CD, and trotted back to bed, the booty clasped to my bosom. I slept like a baby.

The next morning, after a light breakfast of wheatgerm and watermelon frappe, I slid the disc into the Bang and Olufsen, turned up the volume, and gave instructions to have Johann dismissed. I hate being dragged out of bed at three in the morning by noisy help; additionally, he insisted on wearing the most offensive coconut pomade I've ever had the misfortune to smell. Gave me terrible headaches, like Sharon Stone stabbing me in the temple with an icepick. I don't know what the fuck he was thinking.

Monday, February 11, 2002

Hey you!

who told you to stop working? i see you there, relaxing on the banana lounge with a tattered copy of 'where's my totty' and a fresh bowl of pork brains in milk gravy.

get back to work! pick up that arc welder already! we've been through all this. i told you, work to the plan:

a) destroy the monsters.
b) hack into the mainframe.
c) build the giant robot laser claw.

simple enough for you? thank you. you can relax later, once we're orbiting the earth in that titanium space-palace i told you to build on your days off. okay?

okay then.

so, i had this dream last night...

...and i'm on a gigantic plane, that's like a cruise ship. we're flying through mountains. i'm travelling with my father, and we're sitting at big round tables covered in white damask tablecloths having dinner, silver-service-style. my dad and i go back to our cabin to get something, and i open the closet to grab a coat. i hear a buzzing noise, and notice that in the back corner of the wardrobe, the screws are whirring around and dropping to the floor. i tell my dad to come look, and then hear, from behind the wardrobe, a male arabic voice say 'she's seen us'.

i deduce that terrorists are trying to destroy the plane by dismantling it from the inside. they are crawling through the spaces between walls and popping out all the screws; eventually the plane will just fall apart in the sky. i explain this to my dad, who is skeptical, but believes me for the most part and works out that we have 5 hours to stop them. that will be enough time, if only we can convince the cabin crew and other passengers of the danger. as we walk back to the ballroom, i insist we arm ourselves, so we walk with a swiss army knife in each hand, with ALL the different instruments sticking out.

when we get back to the ballroom and try to explain the situation to the other diners, we are ridiculed. my dad drops his swiss army knives and sits down to continue eating, looking sheepish. i am desperate. so i grab one the diners by the throat, an annoying, blonde-bouffant trophy wife who has been sarcastically telling me to calm down, and i hiss 'now, listen to me, bitch. when this plane is hurtling to the ground, and you're screaming your face off, your realisation that i'm right will give me no satisfaction. so instead, i'm going to be bashing your skull into a pile of sludge on the dancefloor. how's that?'

[i have no idea what the dream means. i haven't even attempted to analyse it. but i confess to awakening with exhilaration at a bit of gratuitious class violence.]

Work is, needless to say, not very interesting.

Today, I spent close to half an hour flipping through a Harvey Norman's whitegood catalogue, wherein I found thirty-two full-colour glossy photographs of refrigerators. Big, white, backlit refrigerators, as clean and perfect as the afterlife. Each fridge is crammed with a wide assortment of food, as an illustration of the things one might like to put inside if one bought it for oneself. What intrigued me, however, is that no two fridges contain the same arrangement.

The following items can be observed:

1. Crab on glass plate, encircled by gherkins.
2. Coleslaw topped with hoola-hoop of bright orange prawns.
3. Mango slices tossed with tiny lobster things. Huge, black dangling eyes on stalks.
4. Okra.
5. Glass bowl filled with what look like small blue and white translucent spheres. I have no idea what these are. Robot snacks, perhaps? Novelty pickled onions?

There are recurring themes in the fridge contents: wine, juice, fruit and vegetables, boutique beer and cheese feature prominently. However, the catalogue features no item twice; for example, nineteen fridges contain at least one bottle of wine, but every single bottle is a different brand: there is no 'doubling up' of produce. One fridge is loaded with oranges, another with melons, another with capsicums. Three fridges feature pumpkins, hence, three different varieties of pumpkin. The work involved! This catalogue had been given the sort of attention to detail hitherto unseen outside a Stanley Kubrick film.

However. There is an exception.

In four fridges, two leeks can be spotted crossed elegantly over each another, like Grace Kelly's legs. And I'm sure they're the same pair of leeks in each shot.

What's the significance? Well, I'm not sure. Yet. But I am working on a theory involving crop-dusters, freon gas and Alan Turing. I'll let you know when more information comes to hand.

Now, let me get back to this Ikea catalogue. I think the Hansjorensen Adjustable Chrome Shaving Mirror is a clue of some kind...

Gummy mouth.

it's late afternoon, and you're standing in your hot driveway, shaking a piece of gravel out of your sneaker. earlier today, you visited your mother in the nursing home, where she told you for the twentieth time how badly she wants a motorised wheelchair, regardless of the what the nurses say. you know the administration won't let her have one. imagine, the head nurse explained to you on the phone, if the home was full of clumsy elderly people zipping around as though in dodgem cars. it would be mayhem, she assured you; and you, of course, agreed - as any practical person would - although secretly you rather liked the idea. when she first came here, your mother was almost thrown out for angrily twisting a nurse's nipple with her left hand, the hand that still moved. the nurse went home in tears and the staff took to calling her 'the witch'. so you spoon some apple into her gummy mouth, light her a cigarette, and ash your own into a pot plant as she tells you how much she hates the way her room-mate hogs the television, and why this is all your fault.


I'm not going to introduce myself yet, I'll save that for another time.

Right now I'm just going to take my pants off.

Would you like to put them on?

They're extremely comfortable pants.

Plus, they're nice and warm.

I think you'll like them.

There's some folded paper in the pocket.

Why don't you take it out?

You can smooth it out and read it, if you like.

Go on. Really. It's not personal.

Go on.

Now, read it to me. Aloud.

You have such a beautiful speaking voice.