Kieron Gillen's workblog




A few unassociated notes from the front line.

1) Walking home tonight an eleven year girl stomped her feet past me, waving her hands despairing over her head, stating loudly, with the upmost seriousness, "I HAVE TO LEARN TO WALK IN A STRAIGHT LINE". And who couldn't empathise?

(And God knows I love that whatdidtheysay moment you get from catching a snippet of someone's conversation, out of context - just a little sprinkle of surreality in the modern landscape. I try to return the favour as often as I can, spraying random ludicrousness just to make some alter-me's day. Harmless snippets like - say - "But if we do that, where would be put the other limbs?" or "That's very well, but what would you put in the other orifice?")

2) Reviewing Black Box Recorder's new album - which I'm still not sure about - has pushed me into full femme-pop mode. I've fell for Girls of The Underground hard, despite never really finding the pleasure everyone else did in its obvious role model, Addicted to Bass. There's something about the obviousness that gets me - if a song claims outright it is something, plays the self-mytholgising game blantantly, and just presses whatever buttons it can find in the hope that one semiotic bullet will find its mark, I'm sure to like it. Subtlety is over-rated.

3) Following on from the last, instead of using Filesharing to discover all manner of new musiks, I'm channeling it to bring all manner of pop-gibberish to the comfort of my hard-drive. All manner of Chrimble records. Spandeau Ballet. Mya's Case of the Ex - which always disappoints me, as it's got one of the finest titles for a pop song of the last decade. And so on and so forth.

(That said, I'm getting all manner of interesting Garage stuff that, since we don't get the Pirates out here, I've missed completely. As always, I prefer the hysteric stuff that sounds like it's breaking down around the edges, which breaks rules, hence making new forms. New shit, baby, new shit.)

4) With my dinky Muvo, I'm listening to music when mobile. Unusual for anyone who's been a music obssessive, this is something I've never really done often. My approach is to listen to the city and see what it tells me - hear what Missy Elliot sounds like when screamed tinny-style from a Fairground Machine, the horror of Toploader ejected from a Top Shop front door, the almost subliminal shape of whatever whoever's sitting beside you on the bus is listening to. You know - music as part of life, rather than an enforced soundtrack. I've always felt as if you actually have to *manufacture* a soundtrack, you're just lying to yourself. You should hear it whether there's music there or not.

Of course, since it's relatively fresh to me, it hits harder. As I turned the corner onto the Long road down the centre of Bath, with the crowds spilling around me, the ridiculously and gloriously over-blown Orchestra remix of Clint Mansell's Requiem For a Dream theme (Used in the Two Towers Trailers) kicks in.

And I'm reduced to a laughing fit.

5) I really must have wanted to waste time at work, so making myself an all too obvious target for Panelbleed mocking over at the V and Grammarporn. Pah.

6) On the way back from the Garricks last night, popped into Sainsburys to get some ready-made pasta delights (The foodstuff that defined the culnuary year for me in 2002. Ridiculous quick. Relatively pricely. Vegetarian. Absolutely delicious). On the way out, four Sainsbury's staff have surrounded a homeless guy - early twenties, at most - and getting him to open up his coat, search him down and the usual. I just breeze past.

It's none of my business.

Heading across the covered bridge, leaving from Supermarket corporate haven back to the reality of Oldfield Park, I hear steps behind me, increasing. And then what I can only describe as a cackle. And no mild thing this - not the earthy, harsh, genuine thing provoked by the dirtiest of Wrong Jokes. This was a genuinely Crazy, bizarre, ulunating thing. I step out the shelter and look behind me - as I'm always wary about people approaching behind me fast. I've been jumped randomly before, and bruises bore me. The geezer runs past, holding a huge pack of biscuits and a bottle of vodka which somehow he'd managed to get past the search. He scarpered over the carpark over to the river.

You had to smile. My lack of business cuts both ways.

Three minutes later a smile turns grin-wards when our paths cross again. He's going into Sainsbury's Garage to get a bottle of coke. Which, I believe, he paid for.


7) Song of the moment: "Just Like Christmas" from Low's Christmas album. Just beyond beautiful, as beauty's kind of surface and transitory. When you're presented with a beautiful thing - like Belle and Sebastian at their most crystaline and open-hearted, or the Flaming Lips laments of Yoshimi - it's obvious. Beauty is a higher emotion, hitting the ears and resonating downwards. Other beautiful songs aim directly at the hind-brain and the gut, but beauty is really the wrong word for them - they're beatific, transfiguring, holy (Think Soldier Girl for a good example).

(I'm contradicting myself up-page on the obvious=good, yes, but if that matters to you, you really don't understand music at all)

"Just Like Christmas" doesn't aim for any target like that. It isn't a sniper or a general barage of the soul - it's more like gas, an effervecence and... actually, that's wrong. It's not like that at all. A Gas implies weightlessness, a lack of touch with the earthly coil. "Just Like Christmas" isn't like that at all - it's earthy. But not in that sickening Uncut Alt.Country way - which Low are, but y'know, I'm thinking aloud here - but something that glows within. Brandy, perhaps. Or the feeling of deep satisfaction which womb-hypers tend to describe feeling after child-birth. The smile of a friend on a car journey or a lover pointing at a cloud hanging in the sky or anything which suddenly reminds you that what we have is precious and we'd be a fool not to treasure it. It's the emotion which Nostalgia is a cheap substitute for. The moments you remember forever - a brunette woman waving playfully to my first real girlfriend and I when were out on Cannock Chase walking, All of team four and a half crammed in the back of KwK's army surplus landrover- which collect in your brain for no logical relation to their import.

Just like Christmas, I suppose.

10) Bleedmusic's end of year polls: Singles. Albums. Clearly, I disagree with them totally, but that's the point. It's a Pop year. Fuck it.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.