sometime off-topic blog by Inchiki



I really like my Chambers dictionary. I like that on the spine it promotes itself as "the first choice of many". So modestly self-effacing. I look under the definition of "moon" and find that it has "to present one's bare buttocks to public view, esp through a vehicle window".

Inchiki 22 11 10

S O N - School of Nothing

I couldn't be arsed, frankly, to fill in the application form for university so i sent it in blank. Four months later i was informed that i had been offered a position in the school for doing absolutely nothing (much) and would i like to take it up? as my mother had been going on at me about "when was i going to buckle down and do something about my education" i decided that i might as well. the rest here.

Inchiki 09 11 10

Illness almost leads to theory of everything

In bed with a lower chest infection recently (thought it was pneumonia, but unfortunately not), i spent some time looking at the inside of my eyelids, that old familiar world. The structures of the earth loosened their tether and i was swept away on a fever. Over rapids of shivering and cascades of sweat i tumbled like mortal debris, turning over and over. In the end i visited that place which is familiar through meditation, that place without a location, where we go to be re-formed. What little value feverous insight has, i am always moved enough by the experience to want to write about it.

I have a problem with death. People either accept that it is “the end” as part of the humbling process that comes through also knowing of our smallness in the universe. Other people believe in some kind of afterlife or return to this life in another body. I don't think that i am that enamored with my identity, but i don't like endings.

If we accept that death is the end, we then accept that there is no immortal soul, and that we are inseparable from our bodies. Some consolation is offered by science in the possibility of one day extending life indefinitely, for instance by finding a way to transfer consciousness on to a non human medium so as to extend it beyond the life of the body. But at the present time, there is nothing to ease any feeling of discomfort in the disposable nature of our consciousness.

Discomforts like these are undoubtably a part of the explanation for the tenaciousness of religion and spirituality in the modern world. These paths all have different variations of a life after death story, which comfort us with assurances that we contain or are part of, something immortal. Even where modern religions defer to science on every other matter relating to the cosmos and laws of the world, the operation of the soul is their domain, and where science only offers a blankness, emptiness or absence, they provide richness, clarity and assurances of ultimate meaning. But these are all just fairy stories, imaginations.

When i close my eyes and look at the inside of my eyelids there is no emptiness. Thoughts tumble through my mind, sometimes connecting together so as to reflect the world, to tell a story. If i make no effort to follow them they break apart into disconnected sensations. At last i feel as if i am watching-experiencing a waterfall of coloured sand, which slowly becomes distant and silent, except for my breath, rising and falling. I have a clarity of perception, like i am stripped of my skin and my nerve endings touch the wind, like my eyes can see around corners and into darkness, like i am pure thought, careering around the earth.

But it is not the Earth, or any planet, or any part of the universe, which i am experiencing. All this has become a concept and seems unreal. As does my life, my memories, my body. These things have to be thought into existence. When the thoughts disappear they disappear also. But something ineffable remains. What i am describing are well known mystic experiences, hackneyed almost. The question is whether it can all be explained by brain chemistry- whether any sensation or experience no matter what it is can be described by firing neurones etc. My fevered visions are sometimes overwhelming but are they proof of an alternate reality?

I read somewhere recently that "reality is a subset of the imagination". If only the imagination were real. If truth is determined by observation, why can't it be applied to the interior worlds? My experience of the "ineffable something" to me seems proof enough - but it can only be "proof" to me. No one else can verify my experiment to me as i am the only inhabitant of my interior worlds. No one in this reality can either prove or disprove that i have had "an experience" in another reality - if there was another reality.

But who can verify my observation of "reality"? all other observers are contained within it - and so their observation cannot be shown to be true unless reality is first shown to be true. I alone have decided that this is the reality. I alone have decided what is imagination. I only have myself to blame.

Suppose i place reality on par with my imagination. What happens then? I would be a madman, believing anything i liked, also subject to the terrors of an imagination i couldn't control. It would feel like i was half awake during a dream. Surely soon i would shoot myself in this world, just to see what would happen. But that wouldn't matter as i would still have my imagination - i could create as many new realities as i liked. It's an experiment which cannot be observed from within this world, but perhaps from another.

As far as i can tell, apart from dying, and seeing what happens, there is no way to test this theory. But that "ineffable something" is to me - and it can only be to me - a little clue. If you want to look for evidence of another world, of life after death, you have to look as far away from this reality as possible. Push it away. leave it behind. get sick. Maybe you will find something that feels like proof to you.

Inchiki 01 10 10

About the DEATH Of POETRY and other things

I suppose I have to agree with Anthony Weir that Poetry has died. The first mark of her infirmity is given by the invention of cuneiform script in the 34th Century BCE, whereafter Poetry went through nearly five thousand years of feverous sweats and convulsions, sometimes seeming to recover, but her health inevitably declining and weakening up to the moment of the terminal diagnosis - Gutenberg's re-invention of the printing press in 1438. Her first full anaphylactic seizure roughly coincided with the London issuance of the Gentleman's Magazine in 1731, after which the disease of literacy became widely spread in schools and libraries around the world, so that at last Poetry herself did die, and was buried under a mountain of rotten verbiage.

But POETRY has been reborn in her children who are numerous and unalike to her. Take any modern poet - Kevin Debroux for instance - the features of the Mother are there. The fibres of our thought bear resemblances to our origin in Her. She speaks through us, though we speak not of Her. "Those who speak of Her have not known her/ those who have known Her do not speak". That is not to suggest that anyone should try to know their mother. All mothers are beyond comprehension.

Inchiki 17 09 10

a trail of words

hello! future me - present you. just want to say ~ it's alright. out. here.

a new cup of tea. time out from busy life. sun. yeah. a nice rounded black hat. it's all about continuity. i'm a continuity person. a hat on the beach is washed clean by waves. only the truth remains. as shiva the destroyer removes our inhibitions. as a bamboo cane is hollowed out. true as a needle in the eye. the thread accumulating eyes, thoughts, birthdays, deathdays, false prophets, a nice black rounded hat filled with the tears of the ocean. i am drunk from that hat, my skull. I am flooded with tears.

today i am going to the nursery to buy strawberries. i'll leave a trail of words. so anyone can come and find me.

Inchiki 28 08 10

Transiting aspects and other influences

Jupiter conjunct sun simultanously square my jupiter & saturn opposing mercury, leave me feeling as if on the verge of a very painful epiphany suddenly. At home ill with flu like symptoms. I read about Coleridge and wonder if his opium habit concealed a genuine love of slob and decay. I am writing a poem about decay today, i need to finish it, but it just tails off. Perhaps some medical visitation can give me the ending i need. I am blown apart by adverse winds and only live for one day but running through my veins is the most wicked sap. Here alone, my fingers tinkering over the keyboard, what is alone?

Inchiki 02 08 10

Candidates for Oxford Professor of Poetry Election 2010:

myriad oxford professor of poetry candidates this year Clockwise from top left: The Marantz 1070, The Sansui 555a, The Jaguar XJ6 (1995), The Korg MS10, WB Klezmatrix, The Asus P7P55D-E

Inchiki 28 05 10

S U M - School of the Unintelligible Media

A short story

I first became a student at SUM at the age of 12 after the government schooling ended. My father paid the fee for the first six months after which i got a job in the library answering enquiries (which i felt ill suited to answer but had some guidance from the second years) which paid my fees and gave me a good chance to read and learn something of the various ways of the world. the rest here.

Inchiki 12 05 10


laneway sydney 2010 Philadelphia Grand Jury - photo by Daniel Boud

So last weekend I took a hilly walk up through Balmain then across the leafy green lawns of the Sydney College of Arts at Rozelle, to the St Jerome's Laneway Festival with an idea to hear a few groovy bands of 2010. I was also interested in the old hands - like Echo and the Bunnymen - who were headlining as the aged music gods that they are, showing the new kids old tricks, preaching the indie gospel, or whatever it is they had planned. It was a warm sunny sunday afternoon and the festival going collective had that enjoyably expectant buzz as we filed through the entry gates.

The first position I sought was at the 'Clocktower' stage to see Frightened Rabbit – a slightly wan sometimes stocky beardy Scottish sextet with a folksy rock ethos. After a few moments of careful tuning, the talented Scott Hutchinson fired up and immediately dropped his Hohner hollowbody when the strap broke. The crowd loved it. When a string fell off during song three, and another broke during song eight (or about then) I began to wonder if he was having a bad day. Then my mind began to wander.. “Boy that sultry boy at the piano has big lips!” I thought “I bet he’s in it for the girls”. I don’t know why I noticed this, or why I thought that. Also when Scott announced “this song is for Jesus” - that escaped me too. Somehow it all escaped me - but perhaps it was just that I was warming up.

Next on stage were the phantasmorgasmic Philadelphia Grand Jury who, following a string of crazy live shows and bankable hits, have caught a wave in 2009 and are in the middle of a peak right now. Indeed, they are currently at the very top of suggested searches when you type ‘phila’ into – above the actual city and even above the famous cream cheese. What a band though, and their new drummer Calvin Welch who took the stage first of all, mesmerised me with an unusually poignant hesitation in his movements and with his shining mad grin. He provides a very stylish musical jungle gym for Berkfinger and Mad Genius to tangle on. The set steadily gained momentum until “I’m Gonna Kill You” when it all broke loose into that faux-freeform instrument swapping and crowd participation for which they are already well known. Mad Genius lurched off the stage and ploughed into the front rows, flinging his bass carelessly over his shoulder as he fell. These wild antics do I think reveal their rehearsed origin as it resolves so neatly together again to finish the song and the set - but the music is better for it.

Getting out of the sun for a moment, my head in flames, I loitered in the welcoming cloisters, enjoying the barmy atmosphere of the former insane asylum's sandstone barracks. It was an appealing venue for St Jeromes’ 2010 - unfortunate though for the flowerbeds that got rather trampelled - but only I seem to worry about those things. I spent a half hour sucking down overpriced cola-sweet alcoholic fuel and cataloguing the ingenious variety of sunglasses and hats and coloured stitched fabric that people attach to themselves to communicate sexually. Slowly, The XX's gear was being set up by very stressed roadies, mostly a complex synthesiser arrangement in place of drums, which seemed to need a lot of tweaking.

I wanted to see the XX, from Wandsworth whereabouts they have made their name, and was more familiar with their music than half the other bands I saw that day. But what a disappointment I had! The problem for me mostly was bassplayer Oliver Sim – once I noticed it, I couldn’t get my mind off the shape in his tight black short longs. It was going sideways. The synth swelled, the crowd was going crazy, “this is our first ever Sydney gig” they announced. Everyone screamed. Romy Croft, the female singer guitarist plucked slightly disingenuous notes on her Les Paul (aside: it was the only LP I saw that day), and the keyboardist/drummer in nice Bob Dylan circa’66 shirt pencilled snare hits into his keys. It all sounded very uber-nuanced and is definitely a successful vibe to be riding this particular moment in time if you are dr who. But that cock! I couldn’t stay near it and left long before song four.

So I went back to the clocktower stage to await the Black Lips. A band of much yay and huzzah, courting notoriety like a crazed bunch of Mormons, notably spouting bodily juices in such out of the way places as India (population ¼ the globe) and Georgia (probably) simply because they can. They arrive on stage to set up amidst much hoo-har-ing and then leave because they’re too early. After a ten minute pause they start. Again finding myself in front of a block of speakers at the front of the stage my ears are instantly torn apart by a malfunctioning boss fuzz pedal that squeals like an ice pick every time guitarist Ian St Pe walks near it. It seems possessed. Just like the music. There is something even harrowing about the vocal mix of these guys, maybe it’s the drummer Joe Bradley’s higher semitone-off pitches that do it, that mimic the piping soundtrack of early horror film noir. Or a house full of racked-off hornets. As the set jolts on, beer flows effusively into and out of their mouths, causing cameramen to cover their machinery and girls to scream. A steady flow of crowd surfers begin to tumble into the pit and are swiftly escorted out by security. The Black lips are out of tune, but they have an excuse, cause they are the black lips. And this explains it all - the bad gas, the hype, the enigma, the history, the impending fall. They are the ideal band, capturing a mood in the air of these prelapsarian times. At the end of the gig, Ian comes beer from his mouth as he strokes his bandaged strat like a phallus. It’s pure art, freaking divinity, Venus with her nose broke off. No one is really expected to understand.

Music festivals lurch us onward from one emotional release to another. We burn out before halfway through, struggling among crowds seeking out expensively bad food, drink, unsatisfied by either, we need a bed, a book, beans on toast. Somehow we find some energy in a few spicy lumps of cold tofu and bean-sprouts in a Styrofoam cup - and then another band comes along to pick us up like the gigantic mechanical arm of a fairground ride.

So for the first time I made my way to the main stage and watched again as the roadies made endless minute adjustments to instruments over and over and over. I’m interested to notice a blues junior is miked up – it looks comically tiny next to the DeVilles and Twin Reverbs everywhere else. After a long wait as the crowd fills up, and after many many final tweaks, Echo and the Bunnymen emerged, a ragged band of tired, seedy, slightly artificially lifelike old legends. Ian McCulloch was cranky and seemed to have just got out of bed, or maybe a bubble bath - anyway he didn't want to be on stage (or acted that way). The guitarist with the nifty jazzmaster plugs in but seemed distracted by a leaf on a nearby tree. The crowd watched on, subdued, through songs that seem slow and meticulous. “is there anyone here from Liverpool” asks McCullock – this being Sydney there is a sizeable roar – which is met with disbelief, obviously not recognising the copycat geography. Later on, he quote/mumbles the first two lines of Gray’s Elegy “The curfew tolls the knell of parting day, /The lowing herd winds slowly o'er the lea” which falls on a general air of unrecognition. McCullock then undoes this stillborn poetic lapse by exclaiming “Ted Hughes is shit!” and bursts into a rewrite of Lou Reed: “take a walk on the Merseyside” - this is quite a good remix actually.

Unfortunately they couldn't escape the malaise of the crowd which was shamefully waiting for Florence. And I thought I detected a sort of relief for everyone including the band when they finished their set. Immediately there was a surge of young girls pushing forward as a few or the maturer audience filed back form the stage. I was unsure - "should I stay and watch Florence? BBC prodigy and well endowed with voice child of suitably well connected parents?" I couldn't remember who else was playing – only later do I remember everything I missed that day – Blasko and her attractive speech impediment, Daniel Johnston and the whole strumming with a broken wing mythos, Danimals, and their peculiar new sound which had piqued my interest and needed an explore. All for another day. So I stayed put as the crowd bantered, made hand puppets, soothed and sozzled and dusk drew on.

At last a band, and then Florence herself emerged, in a royal blue embroidered floaty costume with wings (Florence nightie-gale?) and gorgeous shocking red hair. When she opened her mouth and let that voice escape, to ripple along the sandstone walls, my qualms were almost arrested. Florence's voice is so powerful and athletic it's almost equine. After two songs she was warming up and sounded brilliant. But at the same time, I thought, she seemed tired and shy. She fumbled with the microphone cord which was covered in a flower arrangement (there were quite a lot of flowers on stage) and didn't seem very comfortable with her performance. The audience were lapping up every song and giving her a roaring response anyway, so perhaps it didn't matter.

After about song three, feeling that this wasn't going to take off, I decided to go and see what Eddy Current Suppression Ring were doing - I knew they would be stirring up some kind of mayhem. So I pushed my way from where I stood near the front of the crowd though the packed masses, trying to avoid stepping on thonged feet, heaving and squeezing my way out - it was like wading out to sea against a heavy surf. At last (after getting myself into the wake of a much larger person who was going my way), I popped out into the open and made my way to the 'Inner Sanctum' stage where ECSR were playing.

It is a Machine, Florence et. al. and their well crafted hi-fidelity sound and marketing network doing the groundwork in advance, getting everyone familiar with a few mainstream songs, making the sets the costumes, getting the airtime. It's the oldest story of the industry Vs the Music, playing itself out again. But I witnessed the juxtaposition as I rounded the corner to a small rabble who were bobbing up and down in front of a stage where I could hear a familiar jangly sound. From a distance it all seemed so small, just a few dozen people. At first I almost felt disappointed that I had given up my strategic near-stage position with Florence. But as I got closer I knew I was wrong because what was happening on this stage was live music actually alive. Imperfect, impassioned, sweaty, like I had seen with the black lips, the Philly Jays. Brendan Suppression, the singer, was pacing the stage letting the vowels flow like liquid amber into his microphone. Mikey Young released a few existentialist chords from his trebly squier. The bass ground on irresistibly and worked the crowd and the musicians into a high octane groove. Brendan has an insane nervous energy which infected everyone as he clambered up a speaker tower and off the stage onto the tin roof. The music has a punk edge, but I wonder if ECSR capture something of the native condition in that behind all the volume is a playful, kind of goofy heart. "I admit my faults!" screams Brendan in a suburban drawl, long loops of microphone wire wrapped around his wrist. Then he climbs down again.

The band communed about what song to play next and burst into "which way to go", an electric dynamo of a number with a static magnetic core, fantastic live. Crowd surfers are hoisted into the air. People drop sunglasses that are crushed instantly. The frenzied part of the audience grew and swayed left and right wildly like the tail of an enormous lizard. Passers by stopped to watch the implosion. ECSR played it fast and focussed, but then Mikey seemed to be tiring as his solo wandered a little abstractly. He can get away with this in his other more experimental band, the Ooga Boogas, but not here and he brought it back in, finally resting the head of his guitar on the amp for a feast of feedback that rises like a chime from a vat of acid.

Then suddenly it was over. The band members gave each other sweaty hugs. "That made the my day" I heard someone near me say. I slowly made my way out but caught Florence again from the back of the car park, her voice sounding more strained, as she was trying to get some audience participation. "when i say three, everyone jump - ok? lets try it..."

Inchiki 05 02 10

Hello new year. Hello new bulb in the sky. What a lovely year to ... oh i don't know.

Inchiki 02 02 10

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