Monday, 22 March 2010


The point of this blog is for me to have a place to keep the amazing things humans are capable of creating. This mostly means linking to works for art: paintings, writing, music, etc. Sometimes though, it's the human themselves and the lives they lead that I admire.

Margaret Moth

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Why Don Pedro Drinks by José Marín Cañas Translated by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

Why Don Pedro Drinks
by José Marín Cañas
Translated by Gilbert Alter-Gilbert

Nobody had any idea, until that night, what made Don Pedro drink. Don Pedro was a very picturesque gentleman who affected extravagant airs. He sported oversized collars and cravats in the absurdest of colors. But the truth about this grandiose fop was that he drank and, at times, in a manner immoderate and obstreperous.

Don Pedro’s flaw was an infantile and harmless conceit. The poor old sot had an atrociously fecund musical bent, and he composed waltzes, minuets, rigadoons, fox trots, marches, one steps, and other various popular pieces and, what is more, penned poetry in a calligraphic style reminiscent of Crispulo Elizondo: he delighted in exorbitantly cursive script, and he dashed off lyrical petitionary missives as accompaniments to his waltzes, polkas and other trifles – all dedicated to Senora de Fernandez, de Benitez, or de Oconitrillo, and delivered right under the noses of their husbands who stood there alongside them in their yellow shoes and ugly cashmere sweaters like big, dumb schoolboys dressed by their mothers.

That was how Don Pedro lived.

"I enrich the art of music," was all he would say in a fierce tone, when he overheard the wisecracks of some loudmouthed know-it-all, in an attempt to deflect further gibes and snipes. "There will come a day," said Don Pedro, "when my name will resound throughout the four corners of the globe along with those of Verdi, Wagner, Donizetti, and Cavallini." (Don Pedro had a queer mania for believing that Cavallini was the name of a composer, and no one pointed out to the poor man that this name belonged to a watchmaker.)

Then someone asked, "Why do you drink?"

"I am not a weakling like you," he retorted. "I drink because I want to. Yes, gentlemen. Are you listening? Because I want to. I hope my answer doesn’t disappoint you, but there are no sad stories to tell. I’m not shameless like you, you sorry riffraff! Any of you who thinks otherwise is scum! You hear me? That's why I drink. Yes, Perez! Because it cleans my kidneys. Have you got that, you assholes? Would you like me to tell why your girlfriend left you, or why your wife went with somebody else, or what kind of books they pollute themselves with? Assholes! I drink because I want to!"

In the face of such flaming oratory, no one dared interrupt.

"Alright, alright, Don Pedro, don’t get worked up."

The poor old man sat down and cooled off, thanks to the ministrations of one of the more compassionate regulars. Then, after awhile, he thrust his hand into his satchel and removed some sheets of music. Amongst all the other muck he dredged up from the unfathomable depths of his pockets, was a little photograph smudged and blotted by filth and age.

"Eh, Don Pedro, who is that?"

"My little boy, my son," he said quickly and guardedly.

"Eh, Don Pedro," Perez spouted, "This son of yours, where is he, anyway? How come we never heard about him before? Do we look like we just rode in on camels? This is a gag, right?"

"Where is he? Where is he, you imbecile? He's over there." And he pointed, ferociously, forbiddingly, his arm stiff, his eyes fixed.

* * *

Don Pedro's inexorable finger was outstretched towards the gloomy silhouette of the distant graveyard.

I took this from A Journey Round My Skull. An amazing blog. Check it out.

Saturday, 6 March 2010


Wander around, give him a chance, he's wonderful.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

This is why I love humans.

Somebody took the time to make this. No money to be made. They just made it, because amusement would be had. God bless that person. For they are one of the good ones.

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Charles Bukowski

"I talk about myself because you guys ask the questions, not because I give the answers."

Monday, 22 February 2010

Andrew Jackson Jihad - Rejoice

The lyrics of this song pretty much sum my experience here on Earth so far.

Rejoice despite the fact this world will kill you
Rejoice despite the fact this world will tear you to shreds
Rejoice because you’re trying your best

Friday, 12 February 2010

Elene Usdin

This incredible book cover:
led me to this amazing photographer and illustrator, Elene Usdin

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Skip James Plays "Crow Jane"

skip james from sugewhite on Vimeo.

When I discovered Skip James it was a revelation. It changed my understanding of music and its power. His voice and guitar never fail to move me.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Performing Stories

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about what literature works as written versus spoken or performed. In many ways the written word is harder. A good story teller can use all the cues bred into us for thousands of years as social animals to cover weak writing with the slightest flick in inflection. It's amazing to see. I'm rather jealous of comedians who seem have that story-telling ability built into their craft. Find a comedian with a talent for literature and you have a truly dangerous man on your hands1.
Rarer is the writer who can make those perfect phrases, sentences, paragraphs march about the room bullying strangers to care about them.

1See above video for an example.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

... You got illustration in my short story. Two great tastes that go together.

Jonathan Williams's illustration is pitch perfect for Kate Clanchy's short story "The Not-Dead and The Saved."


Monday, 25 January 2010

Monday, 18 January 2010

Consorting With Angels by Anne Sexton

Consorting With Angels

I was tired of being a woman,
tired of the spoons and the post,
tired of my mouth and my breasts,
tired of the cosmetics and the silks.
There were still men who sat at my table,
circled around the bowl I offered up.
The bowl was filled with purple grapes
and the flies hovered in for the scent
and even my father came with his white bone.
But I was tired of the gender things.

Last night I had a dream
and I said to it...
"You are the answer.
You will outlive my husband and my father."
In that dream there was a city made of chains
where Joan was put to death in man's clothes
and the nature of the angels went unexplained,
no two made in the same species,
one with a nose, one with an ear in its hand,
one chewing a star and recording its orbit,
each one like a poem obeying itself,
performing God's functions,
a people apart.

"You are the answer,"
I said, and entered,
lying down on the gates of the city.
Then the chains were fastened around me
and I lost my common gender and my final aspect.
Adam was on the left of me
and Eve was on the right of me,
both thoroughly inconsistent with the world of reason.
We wove our arms together
and rode under the sun.
I was not a woman anymore,
not one thing or the other.

O daughters of Jerusalem,
the king has brought me into his chamber.
I am black and I am beautiful.
I've been opened and undressed.
I have no arms or legs.
I'm all one skin like a fish.
I'm no more a woman
than Christ was a man.

Friday, 8 January 2010

This song has been haunting me since I read of his death.

Vic Chesnutt (November 12, 1964 – December 25, 2009)

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Friday, 1 January 2010

New Year's Resolutions are for Suckers

Mine is to keep track of all the amazing things humans are capable of making.

Let's start it off with Edwidge Danticat’s “Water Child” as read by Junot Diaz.