Friday, February 27, 2015

Bills, Thrills and Skills

I’m a big fan of Should I Work For Free? - my personal three-tier approach to anything I write is a little more basic. The following works for me, but I guess it can be applied to any creative endeavour.

If it doesn't pay much (if anything), that’s long as you are having fun.

If it doesn't pay and you aren't enjoying it, then that’s OK long as you are trying something out, teaching yourself how to do something, testing yourself or experimenting in some way.

If it doesn't pay, isn't fun and you aren't learning anything...then you really have to seriously question why the hell you’re bothering with it at all.

All of which can be distilled down to my overriding mantra:

"If you don't take money, they can't tell you what to do." -- Bill Cunningham

Bonus Dictum:

“Art is long and life is short, and success is very far off.” -- Joseph Conrad

Friday, February 20, 2015

Relax - This Won’t Hurt

“The world is still a weird place, despite my efforts to make clear and perfect sense of it.”

The Doctor is Still Out. Hunter Stockton Thompson - ten years gone today. I still remember when I discovered that he’d checked out. Hell, I even wrote about it here.

Ten years on and, if anything, the myth and legend of the Good Doctor has calcified even more to further obscure the Man as Writer. The unseemly deification of his Gonzo persona and storied antics gets in the way of the work after a while, and that’s what I've always really loved about Hunter S. Thompson - the sheer, glorious quality of that prose. I don’t give a shit about drugs, but I get a rush from the catalogue of excess in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. And I definitely give no fucks at all about sport of any kind and I've still read everything he wrote for ESPN. Good writers can make anything interesting.
I thought I’d read it all, and then a couple of weeks ago I tripped over a copy of Ancient Gonzo Wisdom (a collection of transcribed interviews with Thompson) in a remaindered bookstore. I’m still savouring the book in small measured sips rather than a blowout Word Orgy. But I did want to capture just a few excerpts to mark a decade riven with more fear and loathing than ever, but with no Hunter to take aim at it. Selah.

Jerry Williams: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Were you in your right mind when you wrote most of that book?

HST:(laughs) Really, it’s a very disciplined book. It had about four rewrites. It’s a writer’s book. It’s probably one of the most disciplined things I’ve ever written, much more so than the political writing.

(on WBZ 1030 AM Radio (Boston, Massachusetts) - August 8, 1972)

“Whatever you’re doing, even if it’s crazy, if you get paid for it, well that can’t be insane. There’s insane that’s functional, and there’s insane that’s dysfunctional.”

“The disease is fatal.  There is no known cure.  The most we can do for the poor devil, it seems to me, is to name his disease in his honor. From this moment on, let all those who feel that Americans can be as easily led to beauty as to ugliness, to truth as to public relations, to joy as to bitterness, be said to be suffering from Hunter Thompson's disease.” 

-- Kurt Vonnegut Jr. on HST, from "A Political Disease" (1974), a review of Fear and Loathing: On the Campaign Trail '72

Wednesday, February 18, 2015


I have many nodes on this internetwork we all share, and it’s about damn time that I reminded everyone of all the other places round these here parts that I can be found. Avanti!

Tumblr - A virtual shoebox for me to fill with the pop culture detritus I find whilst carving a swathe through the thick undergrowth of the web. A hearty repast of my current preoccupations and obsessions, leavened with the serendipitous fruits of Google Image Searches Gone Wrong.

Flickr - Sometimes I remember to upload pictures of stuff I've snapped with the glass rectangle I carry in my pocket. This is where they eventually end up.

Twitter - an endless scroll through the scum scraped off the top layer of my brain, served up in easy-to-stomach 140-character portions.

Letterboxd - which allows me to surrender to my incipient Obsessive Compulsions and where I log every film that I watch, occasionally accompanied by capsule reviews (which basically means “idle observations that have just occurred to me”). - what I'm listening to, as I listen to it.

This Is My Jam - A way for me to exorcise ear worms as and when they infect my supratemporal lobe. If it’s going to be stuck in my head, you can be damn sure that I’m going to try and get it stuck in your head too.

Pinboard - On the "About" page on the Pinboard website, it says: "Pinboard is a bookmarking website for introverted people in a hurry." That sounds about right.

I'm also on Google+ and Ello but, honestly, who gives a shit?

Happy Clicking!