Kieron Gillen's workblog




I open the document. It's what I'm told is a segment from Jim's new novel.

As I start to read the MP3 player clicks on. Aphex Twin's Girl/Boy Song. I have to stop.

(I entered the word "Song" into my MP3 folder and queued up everything that turned up. You can draw odd lines between work with such random linguistic mixes, sometimes. And beside songs with the word "song" in the title are usually self-reflexive enough to intrigue or naive enough to enchant.)

I'm far from the biggest devotee of the last Richard, but my devotion to Girl/Boy song surprises me. I've just skipped back to repeat it, and I feel my fingers desperately trying to synchronise to its asynchromatic beat spasming around the String Section's chest like a heart desperate trying to shake a fat-blockage free. It was, upon its release, generally discussed in terms of a piss-take- a parody of jungle, essentially. Utterly random barrage of beats married to a string section. And - y'know - it could be. It was on the same EP as the Milk Song (Main lyric: "I would like to drink milk from the milkman's wife's tits") after all. But equally on the cover of the EP was what appeared to be Richard James' own gravestone. He eventually reveals - though believing anything the man said is clearly a dangerous thing - that it was his own Twin's gravestone. His Brother died at birth, while he lived. Now if it's a joke, it's an extremely black one - up to the point of it being less a joke, but a *gag*. As in something you put over someone's mouth to stop them screaming.

Whatever way you take it, Girl/Boy song is an extraordinary piece of music.

I can't dance to it. I can *almost* type to it, if I try hard and forget about things like breathing, but eventually my spelling gives way and I have to press delete... and then it races off into the distance and I haven't a hope of catching it.

Finished again. I order a re-wind. The PC dutifully complies.

Girl/Boy song's first home was on a mix-tape I played once a day for ten months during my time working in a science lab disecting human brains in Denver Colarado. It was, to be honest, the most miserable year of my entire life. At least 2000's exploding organs - appendix and (melodramatically) heart - had elements of drama and glamour to them.

And another re-wind.

However, even in that year which I black-marked days from my calender like a prisoner in solitary, not counting until the end of the year, but the end of the week as to attempt to comprehend the entire sentence in one go would shatter the mind with despair, Girl/Boy song is entirely unconnected with negative memories. During its 4:52, my mind was otherwisely engaged. The entire labratory cell was re-defined, from confinement to nature. A cell - an organised system of light, sound, intermeshing imagery. The pippette moved between each tube, depositing fluids like a perfectly fair mother-bird feeding hungry youngsters. Light caught suspended above the cheap PC where I learned to type, learned HTML, learned the net and - quietly, without me realising - learnt how to become a writer rather than a fascimile of others. The simple shelves became icons of geometric perfection.

The world's phenonemological nature was highlighted, reinvented as a game for the senses.

And then, as the string section slinked away and the cardiac-arrest-drums lose the will to live, everything returned to normal and - I don't know - some Placebo B-side or something came on and everything was shit again.

I don't think life can ever be shit when Girl/Boy song is playing. It turns the world into a dream - the sort that's so convincing where you're unaware that you're even in one. It's different, yes, but it's just as valid, as real.

Even now, on my fourth repeat when it should have dulled slightly - I missed a rewind a minute ago - I don't really feel like me, at a keyboard. I feel like an author. Of what, I don't know.

The song moves gracefully away from me, like a pantomine villain prowling on pointed-feet. Ode to Joy starts up - added to the mix-list as I can never resist it.

I return to Jim's book.




Kieron Gillen's Workblog, foo'.