Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Storm-chaser

Just as the "Troubles" in Ireland were compared to "having an elephant in your living room" (and somehow being able to ignore the presence of this elephant), I now find myself wanting to write about having started my new job, but knowing that it will seem understandably trivial compared to the damaged caused to the city of New Orleans these last few days.

So, instead, I will talk about my dream Hurricane Katrina:

My dream hurricane Katrina would've turned away from New Orleans at the final moment, bringing palpable relief and making Christian fundamentalists proclaim that the hidden hand of God had once again demonstrated His Special Regard for the American people... that would've been pretty hideous. However, no sooner were the men and women of faith rejoicing, than something new and terrible became clear. Hurricane Katrina had now turned and was heading straight for Crawford, Texas. Perhaps the storm would spell out "IMPEACH BUSH" as it wound its way across the country, maybe not. However, it would be clear that God was indeed making his displeasure known. The men and women of faith would now reappear, desperately spinning God as victim of liberal activism. I quote Pat Robertson, "With all due respect, God doesn't know what he's doing..." and an unnamed televangelist, "Put simply, God is a fag whore, and probably a Communist..." Others claimed that the storm was being variously steered by a global conspiracy of Jewish bankers, by Satan, by Osama Bin Laden, or, finally, by the mental projection of a group of yogic liberals, affiliated with Hilary Clinton and moveon.org, ensconced in an underwater bunker at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean...

As hurricane Katrina zeroed in on Crawford and the president's ranch, Bush faced the toughest decision of his political life (or, at least, his advisors did, advisors who had now safely retreated across state lines and were happy to conduct business through "the calming media of the telephone and Microsoft Net Meeting"). If Bush moves and the hurricane follows him, it's obvious what is going on, divine retribution is coming for him. If Bush stays, he runs the risk of being torn a new asshole by the mother of all storms.

How do I call it?

Bush runs...

Hurricane Katrina chases him to Washington, where Bush is suddenly persona non grata. He is moved by military helicopter towards the Canadian border. It doesn't work. Finally, Bush is flown to Alaska and deposited at a scientific observation facility on his very own glacier. He sits there reading his comic books and making up powdered food, taking good luck calls from Cheney and Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz. He addresses the American people, insisting that he's in good spirits, "Gosh, folks, I saw a polar bear this morning while on my morning run. And I outrun him. Such is the resolve of my presidency and I will emerge from this strange meteorological situation. I will prevail. Freedom loving people will not sit idly by and be whisked into the sky and deposited hundreds of miles from their starting position. God Bless America."

Hurricane Katrina skirts Canada, heading out to sea and respecting its borders. It approaches Bush, roaring with unthinking intent, ready to vigorosly stir the President, to paddle the ass cheeks of his pride with the Big Stick of 165 mph winds and raindrops the size of watermelons.

Last transmission of Bush, lit by a candle as power fails, attempting to look steadfast. The picture begins to shake, the scientific instruments in dim sight behind him begin to shake. As Bush starts to cry, the pictures are lost...

... you fill in the rest...


Sunday, August 28, 2005

Frankly, bonkers

A father whose son became schizophrenic after long-term cannabis smoking has rollerbladed up Ben Nevis to raise awareness of the issue.

Terry Hammond, from Southampton, took six hours to climb Britain's 4,406ft (1,344m) highest peak in driving rain and bitter cold on Saturday.

His son Stephen, 27, was diagnosed with schizophrenia six years ago.

Mr Hammond said it was probably the hardest thing he had done, but said the reaction of people he met was great.

>>> Well, apart from the obvious, that this man is mad, just how many people do you meet on the side of Ben Nevis in driving rain and bitter cold??? Boy Scouts, most likely...

... and the headline for this marvellous story? Like something from a round of Exquisite Corpse:

CANNABIS FATHER ROLLERBLADE CLIMB

Friday, August 26, 2005

Silence, for an idiot doth pipeth uppeth...

FINAL UPDATE - 6.52 p.m.

Tim didn't reply to my final message, but it's worth reading anyway (scroll to bottom)

UPDATED! A reply from Tim Clare! Read down.


Had to rant after reading Claypot's link to Tim Clare, a scribbler, who has penned a conceited article on publishing for today's Guardian. go read his idiocy and then you will better appreciate the open letter i sent him this very day.

----> TO TIM CLARE, GREATEST WRITER IN THE WORLD <---- It really is hilarious reading your moans, Tim. You remind me of people who moan about the traffic clogging up the roads when they drive their car, not prepared to concede that they are also a part of the traffic. It appears that basically you require your own perfect world where no-one else entertains dreams of going anywhere with their writing, so that you can move through the world of publishing with god-like ease.

If english teachers are so bad, why did you spend so much time at university, developing your writing skills?

Don't worry about this being sour grapes, as i have worked on numerous books and have a substantial circle of friends who are novelists/journalists. My problem with your piece is how conceited you are. While it's true that there's thousands of hopeless writers are struggling to get signed up, the fact that you have been signed up for a first novel is no kind of proof that your "success" won't simply prove to be one more example of "a frightening propensity for chucking good money after bad." You seem to skip merrily over your own argument when it comes to your intergalactic adventure book.

You haven't made it yet, so let's see where you are in a year if your novel doesn't sell. You may be wishing that you'd shown a little more humility. jason kennedy ***

>>> FROM TIM CLARE <<<***

Dear Jason,
thanks very much for reading my article and taking the time to respond to it.
I feel - having not seen my Channel 4 programme - you may have missed the tongue-in-cheek nature of the article. I count myself amongst the great unwashed and unpublished, since Joshu Replied is still being rewritten and thus doesn't have a publishing deal. It was intended as a lighthearted pop at all the vain ungrateful wannabes - myself included - who think the world owes them a book deal, irrespective of talent or saleability.
I'm quite happy for my own work to be judged purely on merit and sales. If it flops miserably, I can be a waiter or something. I'm sure you will secretly love my book when it comes out, shutting yourself in the linen closet and surreptitiously masturbating over it with an expression of rapturous glee. If this proves to be the case, I shall of course be only too happy to sign a copy for you. Thank you again for your interest.
Best wishes,
TIM CLARE

****

tim

i was going to include the line

"no wonder you're writing science-fiction. no doubt the male hero gets to plunder lots of space pussy and never has to queue."

but i left it out, thinking it wasn't fair to you and sci-fi as a whole (as i am a great fan of philip k dick, h g wells, william gibson, etc). then you reply and include unsolicited references to my
masturbating in a linen closet. is this your conception of a reader's general relationship to your work, or am i supposed to feel special!

i live in the US, so i am sadly deprived of the majesty of your Channel Four appearance, but i think you'll find that the tongue-in-cheek aspect has gone astray, i did a reread and found no signs of intentional humour.

if you haven't been, you'd find a good place to film/observe writerly matters is the Way With Words Festival at Dartington College of Arts. lots of wealthy pensioners gone slightly dotty, the highlight was probably the rhythmic foot-stomping protest they delivered to Anne Widdicombe a few years back.

jason


Thursday, August 25, 2005

The fate of the world

Religion blushing, veils her sacred fires,
And unawares Morality expires.
Nor public flame nor private dares to shine;
Nor human spark is left, nor glimpse divine!
Lo! thy dread empire Chaos is restor’d,
Light dies before thy uncreating word;
Thy hand, great Anarch, lets the curtain fall,
And universal darkness buries all.

- Alexander Pope

Other news --->>>> I notice there's a story of mine up on Deadmule.com a website for Southern Literature. My reasons for being southern look kind of stupid now, and my story doesn't make sense as I sent the wrong final version (and having more than one final version is part of my problem). Still, at least I can reflect on what I will Get Right next time I make a submission anywhere AND no doubt whoever reads my error-filled story will feel marginally superior for a little while at least. <<<<---

Monday, August 22, 2005

Take pity on me, for my foot it acheth...

I returned to the Social Security Office to collect my shiny new Social Security Number today. The office supposedly opened at 9 o'clock, but when we arrived there was already a legion of the needy stationed in the anonymous grey chairs, arranged into mind-numbing rows.

Insider knowledge of the full-time down-at-heel? Most likely.

People responded when their number was called. Some people seemed to be on disability; these folks had a particular way of rising from their chairs - slowly, with much grimacing and the issue of pained grunts. One such woman, a black woman in her 50s, had on an enormous white padded sock and took about 90 seconds to rise to a standing position. Another man performed a pronounced limp as he shuffled towards a window, it suggested something like an anvil had fallen on him during the 80s. There was also a 300 pound bushy-bearded baseball-capped bastard with a pot belly to shame a Vietnamese pig. This gentleman's disability issues could all be placed squarely at the door of one individual - Ronald McDonald.

"You just know he's going to sit next to us," I whispered. Providence intervened and he collapsed into the nearest chair.

We waited and waited. I looked long and hard at the photo portraits of a smiling George Bush and a smirking Dick Cheney, fancying that their eyes are where they locate the spy cameras, to check for dissenters.

I wondered what would happen if you sent a Donald Trump lookalike to sit down and await a chance to loudly voice his need for welfare payments. Cut to imaginary picture of an old man, teeth missing, saying, "Damn! Time's is hard for everbody!"

You're not wrong, my imaginary friend.

Tomorrow is my first day at the bookstore. I have to wear a red t-shirt that says "Yes I can help". I forgot to ask what I should do on days when I don't feel like helping. Is it okay for me to have a letter T on a velcro strip and just turn the legend into

YES I CANT HELP

Best not to reveal myself as multi-dimensional just yet, expect a first day report on the world of work tomorrow.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Is Britain Going Mad? part 3

More truth has emerged about Stockwell shooting. It appears a police officer requiring a piss at a crucial juncture in the operation was responsible for setting in motion this comedy of errors.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Seeing New American Things

I'm back from Alabama and it was a fun trip. I saw a few creatures I'd never seen before. Chief among these was The Hummingbird, a totally awe-inspiring piece of engineering as it goes about the refined business of feeding from the flowers and drinking sugar water from the feeder.

The other new creature was a possum, or an opossum, to give them the correct name. In appearance, the opossum bears a facial resemblance to late-period Barbara Cartland, the rest of its form being reminiscent of a large white-haired rat. This ugly beastie appeared on the step around sunset and started eating the cat's food. I informed Steve that the possum had arrived, Steve did the rest. He flipped open the door, aimed and fired, his rifle sending 4 shots into our white-haired guest.

I am back now and preparing for the in-depth training session at the bookstore. Thanks to everyone who has wished me luck.

Oh, STUPID PEOPLE Alert, this comment in today's Washington Times

"... when she [Eudora Welty] said that politics and fiction don't, or shouldn't, mix, she was right."

*** my message to the writer of this ***

Enjoyed the Washington Post review. However, the sentence,

"when she said that politics and fiction don't, or shouldn't, mix, she was right."

While this may be true of Welty's fiction, to state this in a generalised way, as you do, is to dismiss so many great works of fiction that it's hard to believe you're given the platform to espouse on writing at all. Maybe it was an oversight.

jason kennedy

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

An American Job of Work

I have found my first American job. I shall be working at Barnes & Noble bookstore. I shall not be writing about it here in my blog, as I don't want to join the select group of "People who got fired because of their blogs."

I received a spam email from Jimmy Carter this morning. He wants me to try Cialis Soft Tabs.

So that's what he's doing nowadays.


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Saturday, August 06, 2005

RIP Robin Cook

This is so sad. A staunch opponent of Tony Blair's unconscionable march to war, Robin Cook has passed away suddenly, aged 59. I will never forget his amazing demolition of the Tory government's Arms to Iraq scandal, digesting a 2000 page document in 2 hours and then smashing to bits the government's defence in an amazing Commons performance.

Yes, he could seem a little arrogant, but his continued critique of Tony Blair after leaving office carried huge intellectual authority along with a forensic knowledge of the machinations that led to war. As a former insider, who was intimate with the build-up to war, but not culpable in going to war, Robin Cook was uniquely placed to demonstrate the deviousness of Blair, his sophistry and ellipses, his repeated lying to Parliament and the British people. The truth about Blair's crimes is just that little bit harder to get at today, after this untimely death.

Rest in Peace, Robin.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Remembering Hiroshima

This is inspiring. That a message of peace can take form from an act of such violence. Read the whole text at the Hiroshima Peace Site.

Peace Declaration, August 6th, 2005

This August 6, the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing, is a moment of shared lamentation in which more than 300 thousand souls of A-bomb victims and those who remain behind transcend the boundary between life and death to remember that day. It is also a time of inheritance, of awakening, and of commitment, in which we inherit the commitment of the hibakusha to the abolition of nuclear weapons and realization of genuine world peace, awaken to our individual responsibilities, and recommit ourselves to take action. This new commitment, building on the desires of all war victims and the millions around the world who are sharing this moment, is creating a harmony that is enveloping our planet.

The keynote of this harmony is the hibakusha warning, "No one else should ever suffer as we did," along with the cornerstone of all religions and bodies of law, "Thou shalt not kill." Our sacred obligation to future generations is to establish this axiom, especially its corollary, "Thou shalt not kill children," as the highest priority for the human race across all nations and religions. The International Court of Justice advisory opinion issued nine years ago was a vital step toward fulfilling this obligation, and the Japanese Constitution, which embodies this axiom forever as the sovereign will of a nation, should be a guiding light for the world in the 21st century...

continued here

Nick Duerden - an outrage of a man

I happened to read this in today's Independent, a truly terrible article by Nick Duerden about his touring London's Starbucks for no real reason. Here is a sample of the appalling, sub-Terry Pratchett writing:

"Allotting several hours to recover in the peaceful haven of a nearby park, I browse some of the countless leaflets they insist on producing but that nobody, surely, actually reads."

and

"I learn how many calories exist within my latte (200), and I immerse myself in their Guide To Whole Bean Selections, which regales me with the news that many of its seasonal blends – from Africa, Asia, and Latin America – are Fair Trade and, consequently, Chris Martin-friendly."

You get the idea.

This prompted me to message the features editor at the Independent, to register my displeasure, thus:

this article was terrible, even leaving aside its frivolous subject matter; absolutely the worst written article i've ever read in the Independent. it even includes the word "regale". nick duerden needs to put away his PG Wodehouse and Terry Pratchett novels and learn how to compose a sentence without sounding like the prize idiot in the Student Union bar, the moron who finds it impossible to order a pint without saying such things as "Oyez! Humble innkeep. Pray, be so good as to fill a pair of foaming flagons with your heartiest ale, for verily, myself and my kin are parched, Sirrah!"

Jason Kennedy

***

OTHER NEWSSS

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/entertainment/4748063.stm - truly great. check out Bansky's website at http://www.banksy.co.uk

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Back to the 19th Century we go...

THE SONG OF THE LOWER CLASSES.

By ERNEST JONES.

We plough and sow—we’re so very, very low
That we delve in the dirty clay,
Till we bless the plain—with the golden grain,
And the vale with the fragrant hay.
Our place we know,—we’re so very low,
’Tis down at the landlord’s feet:
We’re not too low—the bread to grow,
But too low the bread to eat.*

Down, down we go,—we’re so very low,
To the hell of the deep sunk mines,
But we gather the proudest gems that glow,
When the crown of a despot shines.
And whenever he lacks—upon our backs
Fresh loads he deigns to lay:
We’re far too low to vote the tax,
But not too low to pay.

We’re low—we’re low—mere rabble, we know,
But, at our plastic power,
The mould at the lordling’s feet will grow
Into palace and church and tower.
Then prostrate fall—in the rich man’s hate,
And cringe at the rich man’s door;
We’re not too low to build the wall,
But too low to tread the floor.

We’re low—we’re low—we’re very very low,
Yet from our fingers glide
The silken flow—and the robes that glow
Round the limbs of the sons of pride.
And what we get—and what we give—
We know, and we know our share;
We’re not too low the cloth to weave,
But too low the Cloth to wear!

We’re low—we’re low—we’re very very low,
And yet when the trumpets ring,
The thrust of a poor man’s arm will go
Thro’ the heart of the proudest King.
We’re low—we’re low—our place we know,
We’re only the rank and file,
We’re not too low—to kill the foe,
But too low to touch the spoil.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Return of Weird Search Terms!

A beauty today, someone found my blog via a Google search for

"unicycle injuries testicles"

*** IN OTHER NEWS ***

My latest batch of ebay books arrived today, 4 of them, making me sooooo happy. They are:

Denton Welch, In youth is pleasure
Barry Miles, Ginsberg: A biography
Isaac Asimov, Fantastic Voyage
J T Smith, Nollekens and his Times

! a result !

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