Day Two Hundred and Seventy Three: Autumn 1

A decent title proved elusive so you’re left with the unimaginative “Autumn 1”. Sorry.


Sad, drooping, falling from grace,
plumage falls off in
gold and yellow and brown,
akin to the feather shedding bird
at the end of its days.
What a sorry state to be in
but it’s not one you can repair,
the air changes, the sun retreats
and starts to steal your life away
leaving botanic dust
discarded like the skin we’re in.

Day Two Hundred and Seventy Two: Instant Poetry 5

In my creative writing class yesterday we did some automatic writing. An interesting exercise, which yielded something that demands more work. More editing. Refining. The basis of a good story, perhaps.

This was written using the same technique. It’s really raw, but screw it. It’s here.


Still Life Night Light

Night falls with the flick of a switch,
the streets surrender their worth
to a thousand yellow lamps
distorting and distracting
the original concrete view.

It is a watercolour hue.
It is the colour that emerges
when you smudge everything together
on the easel.

And the rain just makes it worse.
It violently robs the pavements
of any good intentions,
murdering all colour and gaiety on site.

Nothing interesting happens under these lights.
Cast your mind back awhile to old film and prints
preserved in sepia tone;
echoes of which can be found in our road’s tomes.

The sodium vapour engulfs street scenes
in a light that’s cold and old
it is like the dullest film,
where the streets are paved
with a rotten colour of gold.

Day Two Hundred and Seventy One: Music and Music

Two things.

A review of Clash Battle Guilt Pride by Polar Bear Club which is, if I do say so myself, fucking BRILLIANT.

Secondly, Ants and I did our first episode of the second series of Daily Dischord Radio on Subcity Radio and you should go here to check it out. It’s ace, eclectic and we have an interview from Swedish rock and roll mofos Cheerleader. ROCK.

Day Two Hundred and Sixty Nine: Polly Wants a Cracker

It goes without saying that Nevermind inspired a generation, and records like don’t come along very often. I feel that time has been kind to the record in a way that perhaps it hasn’t been to some records from other luminaries of the grunge scene, so I guess that would place it firmly in the “timeless” category.
I was a mere six year old boy when it was released, so my first experience with the record was when I heard ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ performed, or should I say mimed, at a school talent contest. I’d been into Limp Bizkit, Marilyn Manson and The Offspring at the time so already my brain was primed for this kind of music.

It was a song that created a surge unlike that I’d ever experienced before. Or since.

Like many teens since the release of the record in 1991 I was hooked. Unlike many of my friends I never really bought into grunge much aside from Nirvana; it seemed that I was attracted more to the punk aspect of Nirvana as opposed to the grunge aspect; nevertheless it remained a record that I played constantly from age 14 to 18.

Ironically I never owned a proper copy of it; my copy was actually a CD-R that someone in school burned for me.

Like any record one listens to excessively, eventually I went off it. Not in an “I hate it” kind of way, but as my taste changed I became more attracted to the noise of its successor, In Utero. Nevermind, even though it’s completely overproduced, spoke to me exactly the same way it spoke to a generation.

Times change.

In my 25th year I rediscovered Nirvana. More specifically I rediscovered In Utero and, even with the 20th anniversary of the band’s seminal record, I only revisited Nevermind today when I heard Kevin Devine’s version of it.

What’s the point of this, I hear you cry?

In all the histrionics surrounding the 20th anniversary of this record and its re-release, it’s sometimes important to reflect on how music affects people. Nirvana, like Oasis and Green Day after them, inspired thousands of kids to pick up guitars and start their own bands and while that’s a great achievement, when people talk of “legendary” records it seems their influence is measured on how many bands sprung up in the wake of them. When you remember Nevermind, when you read about how great it is, how influential it has been, take an extra moment to reflect on the profound impact music has on us in our adolescence. Teenage rebellion always sounds good, and while I can’t relate to the transformative moment Nevermind had on rock music at the time, much in the same way I can’t relate to how Never Mind the Bollocks changed rock music in the last 70s, I’m absolutely certain that Nevermind continues to touch and change youth in the same way now as it did to me a generation ago and to others a generation before that.

It’s easy to forget that. Most people who write about a seminal record will count influence as the amount of other bands that exist because of it. Yes, that’s important, but the music of our teens will, for many people, shape their listening habits and connection to music for the rest of their lives. The best records transcend the moment where they changed the outlook of music; they continually change people for years afterwards.

Day Two Hundred and Sixty Eight: Scottish Friction

A friend of mine posted this Edwin Morgan poem on Facebook earlier and I thought I’d share it.

Although I studied Morgan in Scottish Literature last year (and do so in my spare time) the first experience of his poetry was in the Idlewild songs ‘Scottish Fiction’. The poem of the same name was written specifically for the Idlewild album ‘The Remote Part’ at the behest of the band’s singer Roddy Woomble (who perhaps wins the award for the least rock star name in the world) and if you want to hear the song, which is closed by Morgan’s reading of the poem, then click here.

The poem is excellent and can be read below. As ever, copyright belongs to Edwin Morgan’s Estate.

Red Road Flats

Scottish Fiction
by Edwin Morgan

It isn’t in the mirror
It isn’t on the page
It’s a red-hearted vibration
Pushing through the walls
Of dark imagination
Finding no equation
There’s a Red Road rage
But it’s not road rage
It’s asylum seekers engulfed by a grudge
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction

It isn’t in the castle
It isn’t in the mist
It’s a calling of the waters
As they break to show
The new Black Death
With reactors aglow
Do you think your security
Can keep you in purity
You will not shake us off above or below
Scottish friction
Scottish fiction