Tag Archives: synthplicity

The Tide Before

The cobble stones become fish heads and the boardwalk planks and railway sleepers become bodies and drunks asleep where they fell. The fog muffles the distant clang of a soft metal bell, the rust on the hammer absorbing the force of the blow. Sporadic fog horns, each from a different direction three sixty degrees and getting gradually closer yet further away. Some old gulls squabble, blind and deranged, not aware of the time of the day or the depth of the night. With the sea breeze comes the breath of the night, over the gentle ripples of the almost stagnant bay, the smell of the sea in all its decrepit splendor. The fragrant and pungent, fresh and decayed, there is salt in the air, there in salt in the wounds of the broken nosed fools. It brings tears to the eyes, as does smoke, and chopping onions, remising, or any consideration of our lives.

The sea side carnival that once thrived is now survived by just junk ‘n’ drunks. It is best personified by the oddly sweet smelling candy floss vendor who sweats as he turns sticks and pedals his machine. Curls his moustache, rigid with sugar, scratches his crotch, less said the better. The Ferris Wheel – held together by great globules of grease which chokes and spits as the creakiness and strain from sea salt air on Victorian wrought iron buckle and contort, then on days when the wind picks up it picks off shards of egg shell blue paint raised off the surface on layers of rust and decay, tiny fragments fill the air and top ice creams of red eyed infants and scabby kneed kids. Tonight its buckets slowly sway in a symphony of moans either moved by, or moving for effect, the mist that shrouds and envelops the lovers beneath. One pair of lovers, the rest are just lonleys together. Old lovers and young lonleys. Old and away from their lives for one brief fleeting moment of cherished contentment, once in a millennium of doom and gloom and blame to which tomorrow they must return. The young just desire what the old couple have tonight but through their desperation and circumstance of nights like this they are sealed to the same fate of doom and gloom and blame for a million millenniums every day of the week for the rest of their lonely lives. Outside the sad silent saloon all closed and bolted some hours ago, accordion wheeze in synch with the breathing of a fat snoring lump as he sleeps up right – girth corked in the top of a barrel, a crooked mound – till the guttering he leans on bends from his weight and gives way, he falls fast to the wall and slides like a damp rag down the brick, jowls fill the spaces between like viscous grouting, he slides in slow motion, so amazingly slow considering his abundant size. Accordion burst and disgruntled gruff murmurs as he resettles in puddles and cigarette butts.

The top of the town, the bay head. Docks on a pier that leads to a bar with some rooms. This was the hub, this was the heart pumping blood to the town below… This is now the place where children once came to play during school holidays. Summers sun bursting in their memory still. This is now the place where sad clichés linger, fester, propagate and thrive like virus. They cling to the tongue and stuttered infinitely in fear of being spent. “The sea side town they forgot to bomb”, indeed.

Faded posters invite to long since car-parked ballrooms and bingo-halled theatres with names of entertainers whom have been consumed, digested and regurgitated by worms in the intervening years and similarly afore by whiskey, gin and chorus girls. From flappers to slappers, once the play ground of the social elite, a resort to rival the Riviera, then after the obliteration of class and humanity circa late ’40’s, all were welcomed. This place then favoured children and they came in their abundance for years, then came the swingers, the socialist conventions and anti tax rallies, illegal ravers, the homosexuals and finally the pensioners. Nobody comes these days, nobody leaves either, they just stack up and up all the while crashing down and out. This ol’ town still has its abundance of one armed bandits, pirate rides and big dippers. The log flumes and tetanus jabs, dodgems and compulsory scabs, waltzers, wineos and chip vans, this place’s a fair ol’ ground, pale, sickly and puce, from pill box grey sky to pill box abuse, purgatory, with a touch of dungeon, and purpose without hope, the dregs. “A pint an’ two ez please”.

A prosopopoeia hurdy gurdy plays a Circus Screamer through the démodé tannoy. The wires vibrate and the suspended coloured bulbs, all faded and rain filled, rattle and sway in the eerie gloom, their light wains as the music swells, soaking each other’s power, exchanging light for sound and so on and so forth, like the exhausted trying to resuscitate the fatigued and collapsed, open mouth and breathless, gasping and drooling into vacuous chasms of belch and halitosis and the rest. It is still in the am…

The squabbling blind gulls bite and pinch at the air occasionally landing blows on already bloodied feathers over what they think is food but really just old rope that fish guts had saturated the tide before. They will do this till the next tide and again when it recedes. The moments in-between they perch peacefully and eat candy floss off the frayed spokes on the slow moving Ferris Wheel, soothed by its unhinged motion and subtle hummed song.

BD 2012

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Posted by on November 9, 2012 in Something Else...


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The Gore

When writing rehearsing and recording with a band there is considerable down time. During this time self indulgent escapist’s pursuits are the main stay to keeping sane. There can be so much adrenaline, elation and ecstasy then suddenly nothing, a void that permeates, a cold sweat, like a hangover in the afternoon.

It is during this time this music was made.

Disbanding into different realms before reconvening for an encore of mass, this is the intervene sound of the down time muse, the pretty one with no direction or goal, abundance of time and only daydreams to mind. These songs happened when all others had gone. They emerged after the dust settled. They evolved in half light. This music set its self free when there was no music asked to come. It arrived unannounced, speckled in bespoke glistening dusk air, enchanting till dawns fragrant soft light breaches, and away again on a whisper till calmer pursuits pertain and sanity settles all around.

These in-between days, sometimes mere hours, moments of clarity, focus, indulgence, what may be, it is these fragments that have brought the most joy. Out of all the work we participated in and under took, all the writing rehearsing and recording, this is the prize. This is the one.

The uninspired muse, day dreaming, lazy bone, twilight zone eyed waif. She was on my shoulder most evenings, in the room continuously, taking control occasionally, winding it down, turning it low, staring slow. Gentle touch, gossamer. Finger prints on surface instructions, suggestions to stop, just stop, not even to listen, stop and be still.

The others have left. The equipment still buzzing, valves cooling crack and gently pop, channels left open hum, effects and pedals recall the day’s work in infinite and distant cosmic spiral waves, the last sounds being sucked from the room off to an eternal resting place just the other side of reality.

The vacuum that seeks out and sucks in the last sounds, retains it along with all the other last sounds. All gathered together in a swirling mass of nothingness, calm still deafeningly quiet. All the last sounds, every single one, from the last shrill you made as a baby, to your first orgasmic belch, to the last record at the slow set on the first nights teenage disco party, the tyres on the road just before the crash, the birds in the morning, specifically the one with the geese not too long ago. Every sound fades out of ear shot and continues on its journey, off to the void, the vacuum of sound just the other side of reality filled with aural moments and memories. Bursting. This room in the evening. This room through the night. Similar perhaps, reminisce of bygone noise.


There is music included here that is superfluous. Pleasant as it may be it is direct and obvious. I am not excusing it; I am including it for such. The quiet moments seem more quiet as a result and one cannot rely on ambient noise for ambience.

The room and the goings on or more specifically the non events are where these pieces of music came. The room was the tool that allowed the music to be created in such a manner. Everything, the dense smell of warmth and life, the prisms’ of light ballet on the overly painted but once ornate architraves. From the old yawning floor boards to the dust particles languishing in sun shafts through the fenêtre, everything counted. The give on soft green leather of Danish 70’s furniture, crisp clank of cottage ware mug of tea on the marble top mantle, crunch of brown weave wicker ring rugs under occasionally sandaled feet, more often than not soles of feet on dry dusty boards, cardigans in the small hours hold extra warmth as they give off gentle fragrance of slow ambered logs from early evening fires. With the calm comes the sounds, you can hear the vegetation outside the window. Stirrings in the distance, possible stirrings in the distance, it is all too far away, there is really just the room.

Chateau. Chateau indeed, not, chateau of dreams perhaps, this is no more than a gate house, hunters lodge perhaps as we are so far off the road. Closer to the lake. Close to deep in the woods. Access is quite straight forward. Small train station not so far away, not dissimilar to Wemyss Bay. Village in walking distance, cycle anywhere else. Inexpensive full bodied local wine, freshly baked baguettes and hummus to sustain till meal time. Good company, pleasant chats, considered pronouncements, witty retorts, rude jokes and the compulsory meanderings and sustained tangents over dinner spilling into desert and smokes. Throw another log on.


The Gore because of the feast of self indulgence. And the lack of any responsibility to anything at all, considered, real or artefact. A blind disregard of everything. Existing. And it was so disregard it was The Gore. We were opulent in our life; we were monarchy and time was our dominion. Bristling with seasonal change, crossing between, soaking it all in, experiencing it all form back out, manifesting into something new, original. This was something that had never existed before, we had never experienced before, and here we were creating it, watching it evolve right in front of us, possibly regardless of us, but it was we who were glimpsing for the first time this sheer feast, and we were more than willing to gore ourselves on every morsel. “We may be the last in the world, but we feel like pioneers.”

When morning would come around again on fresh breeze and bird song bringing tea and toast with it and the night before so long ago and the night ahead to far off to even consider, we would have breakfast. As natural and real. Breakfast would start the day. Out of the yard, poke the reminisce of ambers in the heap and off to the room for some clarity and purpose, education and community, fun and frolics, wank and bollox.

BD 2012


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The Crate

The Crate

Many events conspired, and so many more coincidences manifested to get us to this place. Translations of translations, whispers and half truths, folklore and exaggerations. But finally a sense has been made. An agreement of such. And we are here now.

It is a crate in the distance. Looks abandoned. They will be along to collect it shortly.


The crate was large and secured to a pallet with old frayed dusty reed rope. The tan canvas was coming away from the base in places revealing markings on the side of the aged box. Text and lettering, possibly an address, a description of some sort, an instruction, details of content, a warning, but it was now faded and melded into the stains and damp of the box. Illegible.

They were not hieroglyphs, Arabic nor Roman, Greek, Latin or numerical symbols, none could have been mistakenly thought to be these markings. The case had been journeying for some considerable time by the looks, and it would seem at each port somebody recognised the marking at least enough to stamp an official approval and process it. And so it proceeded. Unopened through customs and on to the next port of call, just journeying, unchallenged, uncollected, unopened. Until now that is. At this point in our story, in your life, now, the crate is opened.


The bindings are cut away. Stumpy short blunt blades scuff away at the aged rope until it unfurls and snaps. Spit and tears as faces too close with protruding tongues to magnify concentration and strength get full impact of the mini explosions of dust and fragments as the old bindings finally snap.

The rope was all that had been holding the canvas cover together and it falls as the ropes give way, solid and firm like walls, like guardians with body shields and spears in hand toppling, their ankles shattered, ligaments severed. Six feet of canvas tall, four sheets wide plus the covering from the top in all its acquired dust and age slide to the ground in a pyroclastic flow. The aged canvas and dust alone make a ferocious noise as they spill and fall and for the first time in ages hit the ground. A cloud engulfs the place. Like a stone circle the mushroom cloud swallows up the crate for a time, swallows up the whole hanger in opaque. It is a while before the dust settles. It is sometime before the crate in all its decrepit splendor is visible.

Strange markings. Each undecipherable from the dirt and mold. Is it patterned, is it coloured in splendid detail, is it rank. The old reed rope, the canvas and all the description of knocks, bangs and weather it endured on its travels through the ages, although extensive and old, antiquated, still all familiar. The crate though, not a mere crate. A box. An exquisite box. Container. Vessel. Object. Single piece object. Complete, without joins, without parts, one complete six sided block.

On removing the last of the rope and canvas covering from under the crate, the pallet beneath gave way, disintegrated. This prompted all to scurry and run for cover but there was not a peep from the crate. Nothing. Not a movement. It just hung there. Above the ground. Motionless, all be it askew, but only ever so slightly. While in the cargo hold, on docks or warehouses wrapped its bindings surrounded by freight and cargo it resembled such. Now in the warmth of day surrounded by human persons it resembles something very different indeed, something familiar, something laudable.


Slowly, almost unnoticeable slow, the slight markings and textures moved across and over the body of the box. The shafts of light that illuminate the object in this vast hanger occasionally pick out a face in the shifting surfaces, smiling faces, pleasant and still sleeping profiles tumble into pink gossamer granite and cobweb structures. Laughing children are enveloped by cascading waterfalls only to re-emerge from same water as smoke and petals. One witness described over the course of some hours what appeared to be a volcano spew Dervishes into clouds with colts running free through them, and all set to a single sustained bass note from a harp which another witness seen dive into a fractal pool of thunder storms and re-emerge as a school of shimmering rainbow dolphin absorbing each other to become Jupiter.


On the journey to learn more about the origins of the crate I have traveled long and far. Tracing each port, visiting each pier, examining ledgers in warehouses from Saigon to Singapore, hangars and runways from Mombasa to Miami, Beirut to Bangladesh.

Surprisingly some still remember the crate. The way it would creek they all said, a hum, like a children’s choir, but old and deep, forlorn but reassuring, and too loud to ignore. ‘When is just another box not just another box. You move boxes then you drink. Before moving boxes again you drink again, you do this and at some stage I presume you will die and there the circle of life ends. But one afternoon late 12, bright sun, long shadows and cold air – a whisper from a consignment, a peculiar creaking, a fragility snapped through the docks deafening commotion. The crane was suspended and I went to investigate. The crate lead me to it with the occasional whimper and hummed melody. Then there was the lights, prisms scurried toward it, always just a glimpse away, off around corners before I could be sure I seen them. But when I reached the crate, and put my hand on it, I knew then.’ Another reported after seeing the crate ‘I never minded since’. One young dock hand said he had handled the crate twice through the same port. He also said he was a much older man then.

The descriptions of the sound it made on its travels and the reoccurring  themes, people still remembering the melodies and still humming them to this day, and on hearing their melodies now and from so many different people of all ages from so many different continents, cities, towns and ports, the melody is always consistent and follows through. It is a continuous piece with only fragments heard by individuals over some considerable time, decades and decades. Piecing together these remembered notes from random individuals it becomes clear that this is a narrative. A constant. It is a symphony of sorts. Perhaps it the most intriguing element of the story. This is its voice, it is sharing. The hum it gives off now in the hangar and for the past twenty years is a dull flat tone, it underscores the melodies collected from around the globe from all those humans it touched on its extensive travels. The notes and melody, tempo and pace are delightful, but the sound, the actual sound its self is beyond description. It is the blue whale and the old barn door, it is the felled tree and an ass in a gorge, it is too a four stroke engine biplane and a balloon full of bees buried an inch underground, it is the sound of stretching after a full sleep, it is a meadow, it is tranquility bay, it is the voice of angels, it is the supernatural personified, is all the elements succumbing to a vortex, it is the colours of a supernova in hyper Technicolor in all encompassing surround sound, it’s a baby’s ‘a-goo’.

The block is on display. You can go visit it. You too can stand and watch the images and suggested happenings move across its faces. You can succumb too to the mighty hum. There is nothing secretive about this. The box is what it is. We may not know what it is and that is a mystery, but the box itself is no secret. Thousands have passed through the hanger in the last twenty years and seen for themselves the slow motion wonders. They have been well documented and publicised all around the globe. Curiously the marvel of what it does far exceeds the wonder at what it might be. The stories of fact and witnessed actions it has portrayed in its own bizarre and abstract way eclipse to the extent it has obliterated any question or pondering of what it is or where it came from, why it came or what’s more so, what it is going to do next…


BD 2012


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