Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Lauren Bacall RIP

Well, yesterday we lost Robin Williams at the age of 63 and through suicide. (See here)

Today we lose Lauren Bacall. First laughter now beauty. Cruel couple of days.

The only consolation is that Bacall's life was longer and I hope happier. Bacall was the epitome of beauty to me, has been since I was in my teens. It wasn't all about the looks, although she was incredibly attractive, but the attitude, the personality, the strength of character, the intelligence. All of it, young or old. You can keep all of your models, your modern day stars, she was one of a kind.


Saturday, March 08, 2014

More music... the new Elbow single / album....

The new Elbow album is magnificent. Beautiful. Melancholy. Uplifting, Emotional. Wonderful. Downloaded it tonight, been on continual rotation all night. The single New York Morning has all the anthemic, festival pleasing stuff going on, but I think by year's end it will be some other fabulously mellow track gracing the end of year list....

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Dementia and me....

My mother.... Christmas 2005... at our house, Christmas, well groomed, loving being with her family....

My mother... Christmas 2013... a shell of her former self. If she had any idea I'd be showing this photo she'd be mortified....

Is it wrong that I wish my mother dead?

Is it wrong that I see her, at best, every six months?

Is it wrong that she's effectively dead to me already?

My mother has been suffering with Alzheimers for many years now. She's two and a half years in a home, my dad (almost) finally free of the guilt putting her there caused, finally getting some distance from her.

It's the long goodbye.

My mom and I were never that close, the relationship fracturing in my teens, never really to recover. Looking back I start to question how much of the intractability, the fury, the obsessive nature that I remember so well when I remember who she was, was actually merely early signs of the dementia to come. In some ways I'm grateful that our relationship became toxic, as it saves me from the pain and guilt of seeing her this way. In other ways, it makes me sad and guilty that I'm not deeply affected by seeing my mom laid low by this horrible disease.

She'd seen her own mother go through it. I remember Grandma Hancox suffering from dementia, seeing mom go to her house, get upset, chastise grandma for doing all the stupid, illogical things dementia sufferers do, all the lost clothes, al the boiling kettles dry stuff. And I remember how upset she was by experiencing it.

She always said, only half joking, that if ever she started showing those same signs, we should put a pillow over her face and end it all then. Thing is, I knew she meant it.

God knows, when I say the same to Louise and Molly, I know I bloody well mean it.

Suffice it to say, Louise and Molly already know my wishes.

I do hope by that time wiser heads have prevailed and we have a reasonable assisted suicide route in this country. My wishes are simple, as soon as I start showing signs, Louise is instructed to thrust fags, cigars and G&T into my hand (fuck it, I'll hopefully have been quit 30/40 years by that stage, but lets make those final years pleasurable eh?) and let me get on with it.

The key moment is when I don't function properly, stop enjoying reading, find my cognitive abilities restricted. Louise will be the best judge of that. And then it's simply a case of booking me in to the clinic, feeding me gin, and fags, and cigars until the end, one last night to see the stars and then goodnight. Terry Pratchett may want to see a final sunrise, I've always been a nightowl, I'll be happy seeing the stars when I go out.

If they can cope with it I'll have Louise and Molly with me at the time, both of them reading from Richard Bach's Jonathan Livingstone Seagull.

If they can't cope with it (and no guilt if they can't) a nurse will do the job instead.

An overdose of whatever is legally (I hope) mandated will see me to sleep. God knows that is so much better than the hell I see my mother go through whenever I see her.

I wish my mother dead. I don't think that makes me a bad person.

What makes me a bad person is that I don't walk into her care home tomorrow and do the bloody deed myself.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Seriously.. you failed to tell me about this why?

Daft Punk with Giorgio Moroder - Giorgio by Moroder. (From Random Access Memories, 2013)

This is beautiful, this is powerful, the sound of the future, the click track, the wonder as the beat kicks in. Nearly 10 minutes of perfection, running a gamut from spoken word to bare electronica, from early synth beauty to full orchestration all the way through to daft Punk and their oh so modern reinterpretation of the sound.

This is beauty and brilliance and has been playing over and over and over and over and over since I discovered it (too damn late) today.

The moment when it all comes together, when you get the name, and it just goes on and on and on. Oh my.

Granted, I reckon Moroder is at fault for going to the comfortable, to the easy far too often, but there's always that sense of being in the presence of a pioneer, even if he did throw it away later on. This captures some of the majesty of Moroder the pioneer. I recommend it to you heartily. (And yes, you can expect it on the end of year list).

"I wanted to do a album with the sound of the '50s, the sound of the '60s, of the '70s and then have a sound of the future. And I said, "Wait a second...I know the synthesizer – why don't I use the synthesizer which is the sound of the future?" And I didn't have any idea what to do, but I knew I needed a click so we put a click on the 24 track which then was synched to the Moog Modular. I knew that it could be a sound of the future but I didn't realise how much the impact would be
My name is Giovanni Giorgio, but everybody calls me Giorgio
Once you free your mind about a concept of harmony and music being correct, you can do whatever you want. So, nobody told me what to do, and there was no preconception of what to do."

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

New Year's Resolutions - More writing and Infinity #5 - Reviews of Room For Love, Winter's Knight, Blood Blokes.

One of my New Year's resolutions for 2013 is to spread my writing wings just that little bit, writing more, writing different, writing for more places. Part of that involves the renewal of Fictions, where I'll be posting as regularly as I can, not just new material but various links to other writing not on the FPI Blog.

This absolutely doesn't mean I'll be stopping writing for the FPI Blog, not a bit of it, I'll be contributing regularly, reviews, news, opinion pieces all year long. But I'll also be putting up links to other work here.

So, first up....

Infinity Magazine Issue 5 has three of my reviews
Adam Cadwell' Blood Blokes,
Robert Ball's Winter's Knight,
Ilya's Room For Love.

Cheers to Russell Willis for including them, and you can pick up you copy of Infinity either on the iPad or as a PDF.