Monthly Archives: January 2011

Rotary Signal Emitter

A quick post, via Hard Format (I will try and post something longer later in the week). This thing’s incredible:

If I did the same things 500 times would you see it in the dark?

I’m still in the grip of Throwing Muses fever, so I’m going to post some lyrics:

once there was two mexican women ran over the hill ripped off their skin and ate it up

I’m flipping back the pages of your calendar

and your books

and your childhood and your looks


I pray to science and history like cancer doesn’t grow


as it drags us by the legs across the living room


I wanna fight the clouds with your head on a stick


I picked up this lady in the store

she dropped her stuff and then tripped on it

and so I picked her up I said,

everybody falls down


her husband was in line behind her

not everybody falls down

you’re so old, I said, what happened?


if you eat her lipstick you consume her jealous rage

they get you in the mouth, those girls




Centredale to Providence

Middletown to Armageddon

a road is in my dream

Centredale is in my dream



pick your hands up

put them on your head

move it around and say

this is too much

it doesn’t fit!

your feet say nothing but move your hips


if you don’t think I’m pretty

I understand

just don’t think you won’t die by a woman’s hand

plus I might hurt you


a boy was tangled in his bike forever

a girl was missing two fingers


home is where the heart lies

the heart lies


two step behind the rest, one fingertip too long


make these people go away

their coats are on my bed


I said a nightmare

complete with barking dogs and coke machines

keep feeling like a baby chicken


I found my september in a notebook

it was too much for the book to hold

that’s how come I wear raincoats


I thought this hardness was a shell

it’s a hard, hard, hard core


I can’t lie

some bitch gets out and tells the truth


I have a fish nailed to a cross on my apartment wall

it sings to me with glassy eyes and quotes from kafka


he loves those noisy girls he wants to beat them up he loves them so much


pianos in my hearing

Vincent, my ear is falling off

who left me alone?

what do you mean you’re alone?

fucking wolves


And here’s that video of mania again. I love how funny Kristin’s lyrics can be.

Oh wow…

via Found Objects

Wikipedia page about Numbers stations

Don’t kill the god of sadness

I’ve just finished Kristin Hersh’s Paradoxical Undressing. In honour of which, here’s some early Throwing Muses:

Seems decent videos from back then are incredibly rare. Shame I couldn’t find a good video of The Letter – I have a bootleg(?) with it on from that Town & Country club gig shown in a couple of those videos, so I’m sure it exists, just no-one’s ever uploaded it to youtube 😦

Throwing Muses are one of those vital bands for me (at least, up till hunkpapa. From The Real Ramona on I start to lose interest), the kind that re-shapes your world, spins you around and says, “THIS. This is what matters. This is what you should be doing.” I reckon you only ever get a couple of those in your lifetime, and it’s very much dependent on where you are when you hear them as to whether they have that kind of world-altering impact.

I got In a Doghouse in my last year of high school, and it’s become the album/book/film that most sums up my adolescence. Something about the fractured stories in Kristin’s lyrics has tangled with the various stories I heard or (very very occasionally – my teenage years were very boring) participated in growing up on the outskirts of Edinburgh. I realise this probably happens to other people listening to other music, but I still think there’s something different about Kristin’s lyrics, something that lends itself particularly to this kind of entanglement. Something about the way you get these vivid fragments of stories that attach themselves to your own memories.

I have a pipe dream of one day writing a TV series based on Hate My Way. Not a literal transcription, and certainly not a biography of Kristin or the band, but something full of vivid fragments and light, a coming of age tale set in a West Coast town (maybe Oban? or Lochgilphead?). And it would be mixed up with stories from my own adolescence, and the hints of stories buried in the song. “Full of colours and sweat, and memories and potential”.

Reading the book, I realised that to me, Throwing Muses occupy a similar position to Joy Division. Both offer a hallucinatory take on the world, translating hidden currents into vivid images. But where Joy Division see darkness and death, a dangerous magic, Throwing Muses (despite Kristin’s assertions to the contrary) always seemed to be about life, about its mess and confusion and joy and potential. I do wonder who I would be if I had discovered Joy Division before I discovered Throwing Muses. I think my world would be a far poorer place.

Sunlight on snow

A trip to Milngavie earlier today:

All will be artists

The quote in this short post on Ken MacLeod’s blog is pretty amazing:

All will be artists. All will be workers and students, builders and creators. All will be free and equal. Human solidarity will encircle the globe and conquer it and subordinate it to the uses of man.


It is our destiny, here and now, to live in the time of the decay and death agony of capitalism. It is our task to wade through the blood and filth of this outmoded, dying system. Our mission is to clear it away. That is our struggle, our law of life.

I’m reading David Harvey’s The Enigma of Capital at the moment, and one of the things that he makes clear is just how riven with conflicts and contradictions capitalism is. Thatcher crushed the unions in order to drive down wages, in order to increase profits for the capitalists at the top. But of course, if you drive down wages for the majority of the country’s population, you drastically reduce their ability to consume, to purchase the goods(/services, etc.) they are labouring to create. This means profits fall, so in order to fix this problem, we got ridiculous loans and mortgages to try and encourage people to spend money they don’t have. Which led to the most recent crisis.

Capitalism has a long history of overcoming crises like this, but the more you look at it, the more you have to wonder: can it really go on forever? A healthy economy requires a 3 percent compound rate of growth, but the universe’s resources are not infinite. How much more profit can possibly be squeezed out of what we have before something breaks irrevocably? There’s hope there, I think. There’s going to come a point where capitalism will simply be unable to function, where it will – of necessity – be replaced by something kinder and fairer and more sustainable.

There was a fantastic banner at one of the London rallies a couple of years ago that pretty much summed up Harvey’s book: ‘Capitalism is Crisis’.

And for what it’s worth, I subscribe wholeheartedly to James P. Cannon’s vision of the future. All will be artists; that’s the future I want.