Category: loneliness

"Are you talking to me?"

Say cheese!


There’s a quiet menace about Mark Kozelek. His songs reveal he’s a sensitive guy but his highly personal, story songs never stray into sentimentalism.

The lyrics are full of the humdrum details from his life at home or on the road yet are delivered with such intensity that they seem positively revelatory.

He sings of being unable to shake his melancholy nature, a condition that I imagine is exacerbated by touring on his own and having time to brood in lonely hotel rooms.

On stage during this two-hour solo performance he’s not ice cold but not warm either. There’s no charm offensive. He seems pissed off that the audience don’t talk to him but doesn’t do much to meet us half way. He doesn’t even know what city he’s playing in so you get the impression that part of him doesn’t give a damn who’s listening and why.

He wonders why there is so much graffiti in Rome but nobody dares venture an opinion as to why Italians are so into street art. In the US, Kozelek says, kids have better things to do; they’re too busy mugging and stabbing people. This is a topic he also touches on in song form in Richard Ramirez Died Of Natural Causes.

Having a few rows of seating and playing under dimmed lighting efficiently communicates the fact that you take pictures or videos at your own peril. And amazingly, no-one does. I can’t remember the last show I went to when there was so little chatter and so few pulling out smart phones. “You are a nice, respectful audience”, Kozelek acknowledges near the end and he was not wrong. Continue reading

A TASTE OF HONEY directed by Tony Richardson (UK, 1961)

Shelagh Delaney’s unsentimental view of procreation puts the hearts and flowers romance of Valentine’s Day into proper perspective : “It’s chaotic – a bit of love, a bit of lust and there you are. We don’t ask for life, we have it thrust upon us”.

Lines like these help explain why A Taste of Honey retains its contemporary edge more than half a century after it was first performed.

London’s National Theatre are about to stage a new version to bring the play’s honest, down to earth characters to a new generation of theatre goers.

No prizes too for guessing why Delaney was such a formative influence on the young Steven Patrick Morrissey.

Labelling A Taste of Honey as a ‘kitchen sink realism’ might lead you expect a mundane and bleak drama. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is a play (and movie) that fizzes with energy and humourously challenges popular preconceptions about so-called  ‘ordinary’ working class lives in Northern Britain. Continue reading


Sometimes it is good to be alone.


MorrisseyWhat is up with Morrissey?

Recently he has cancelled more gigs than he’s played, is without a record contract and now comes news that his autobiography is not, after all, going to be published by Penguin.

Apparently, the book was due to hit the stores on September 16th,  a fact that frankly I find hard to believe as there are no review copies and there has been relatively very little hype.

All we have to prove that some writing exists (part of 600 pages) is a story The Bleak Moor Lies  which appeared  in The Dark Monarch: Magic & Modernity In British Art edited by Michael Bracewell, Martin Clark and Alun Rowlands (Tate Publishing). Continue reading

OPEN DOOR by Iosi Havilio (translated by Beth Fowler – published by & Other Stories)

“I dream of toads, skirts, orgies and horses”.

The unnamed first person narrator of this story is a young woman who has disturbed dreams and finds comfort in the fleeting strangeness of her experiences.

She may or may not have witnessed the suicide of Aida, a woman she has just befriended and moved in with.

She is a woman given to “complicated introspection” and her constant state is one of uncertainty : “I don’t know what I want……I don’t know what to do” .

When someone asks where she is from she replies vaguely “from far away”.

She’s a real nowhere woman. Isn’t she a bit like you and me? Continue reading


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