Diamanda Galás

I’m quite taken with her at the moment.  I wasn’t able to find the lyrics for this song, so I thought I’d release them into the ether here.  She gets a little carried away occasionally and I can’t make it out, so any comments are welcome.  It’s about Aids apparently.

You, who speak of crowd control, of karma, of the punishment of God.  Do you feel the cages they are filled in, Kentucky, Tennessee and Texas, while they’re given ten to forty years to find a cure?  Do you pray each evening out of horror or of fear to the savage God of bloody hand commands you now to die alone? 

Let’s not chat about despair, Let’s not chat about despair

Do you taste the presence of the living dead while the skeleton beneath your open window waves with arms outstretched?  Do you spend each night in waiting for the devil so the angel tries to **** you in your sleep?  Do you wait for miracles in small hotels with ****,  all for a ticket to the house of death in Amsterdam.

Let’s not chat about despair, Let’s not chat about despair

Do you wait in prison for the dreadful day the office of the butcher comes to carry you away?  Do you wait for saviours or the paradise to come in laundry rooms in toilets, or in cadillacs.  Are you crucified beneath the life machines, with a shank inside your neck and a head which blossoms like a basketball?

Let’s not chat about despair

Do you tremble at the timid steps of crying, smiling faces of who, in mourning, now have come to pay their last respects.  In Kentucky, **** around the bed to celebrate the death of Billy Smith the queer, whose mother still must hide her face in fear.  

You who mix the words of torture, suicide and death with scotch and soda at the bar.  We all real decent people aren’t we; but there’s no time left for talk.

Let’s not chat about despair, Let’s not chat about despair, Let’s not chat about despair

Please.  Don’t chat about despair.


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So long and thanks for all the fish

I started playing Rugby this year.  Growing up I’d always opted for what I perceived were less violent sports (Hockey, how wrong I was), so I wanted to at least give it a go before I hit a certain age.  The whole endeavour has taken up quite a large chunk of my life recently.  There’s going down to support the Saturday game; fundraising nights selling raffle tickets; and recruitment nights trying to get people to come down.  I probably spend around half my income (paltry at best) on Steelers related causes and there’s generally some team obligation every weekend.

It’s been great for fitness, meeting people and I’ve even played a few games which were terrifying beyond all comprehension.  In fact I was almost sure I wasn’t ready when asked to head down to play after three weeks of training, but everyone assured me the best way to learn was in matches and that we really needed to make the numbers up so just do your best and you’ll probably only play for ten minutes anyway.

I ended up playing for an hour on broken rib cartilage.

It’s been like this all season, the club has had a lot of injuries, so new people have been asked to fill in.  We know full well that our lack of experience might cause us injury, but we do it anyway out of loyalty and for the sake of the game which might not go ahead if we don’t play.  I was more than happy to put my name down as a sub for games which needed them, but each time I found myself starting and playing for at least forty minutes.

Oh well, c’est la vie right?  It didn’t seem like I had a lot of options at the time and I assumed it was all good experience.

So then I guess I was a little disappointed when our coach proceeded to tell us last night how embarrassed he was by the new guys and our performance this season so they’ve decided to cut our training to Mondays only… oh and well, it was either this or thanks-but-no-thanks and realistically we’re only doing this out of guilt because you’re the only ones who consistently turn up to training.

Hm, thanks, but no thanks may become a recurring theme.  It may sound a little petulant but frankly, a lot of us have gone way out of our comfort zones this year out of commitment to the team and being lumped with the guilt of dragging the club’s reputation through the mud is not something which I feel we deserve.

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I was on the bus today reading an introduction to Barthes and Semiotics, in particular the idea that a sign, as a social construct, is so arbitrary as to be completely meaningless outside of the society’s context.  How the tangible and intangible, all we hold to be true and real are actually hollow wireframes unintelligible to aliens.

My agents are to eventually create their own signs and in turn their own customs.  But how would I measure success as an outsider, this alien, incapable by definition of being able to insinuate itself into their ranks?  Cultivating a sign organically may yield a facile recognition, but this norm only means something to those who have lived through its creation.

I blundered into my supervisor’s office and it all tumbled out of my mouth in a disjointed zeal gradually building momentum.  As the endorphins reached a crescendo words began to fall away to the elation of a paradigm shift; a moment of dazzling, bridging warmth.

I caught a far-off glimpse of a future.

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Te toka tu moana

I felt something lacking on the bus today.  Something which was there before but gone.  I was reading Bird Without Wings and had a somewhat out of proportion response to the passages on the Anzacs.

“The Franks had another game which consisted of kicking a large ball around on the beach.  They did this stark naked, and every now and then they would jump up and down and cheer for no reason, and if a shell fell among them, they would just clear away the dead and wounded, and carry on playing the game.”

I felt a nauseating pang; the construct of all my reverse-abandonment complexes and the realisation of a lost identity.  To cling to the present is stupid and impossible, but being reminded of this alien who existed a decade ago evoked a longing and remorse that I’m not familiar with.  Perhaps it’s a product of age, decades used to be such an exterior concept.

I need something solid, something to hold on to.  I tend to hate whatever I write but dumping my brain to secondary storage helps me get my thoughts in order. Hopefully this public display of housekeeping won’t result in a public display of a gradual Spears-style descent into mental illness.

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Dissertation down, bam!

Well, sort of. I’ve used too many words from the thesaurus to prevent sentence after sentence coming out the same. Oxford is a sobering change from Paris, I have no idea what I plan to do with my Summer. I’ve been so occupied with France, that the idea of returning to England hasn’t been tangible enough to scare me into finding a Summer placement. I’m certainly going to need something to fund my inevitable trips to and from France to fill the gaping bordeaux shaped hole in my psyche.

It’s the Imperial centenary ball tonight with the departmental dinner beforehand, so I’m lugging myself to London later today to get ready for it all.

Reading: Rimbaud – selected letters, and the Automatic Millionaire by David Bach (although I’m skipping all the chapters whose titles include exclamation marks… eg. There is no catch! Let the Goverment Help! or Your Journey Begins Today!


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Sitting bleary eyed, in front of my computer watching the console tick over inbetween episodes of Ugly Betty, which I’m only watching out of loyalty to ‘Le diable s’habille en Prada’ (less shameful in French, insofaras not everyone who visits this blog will understand it). Such is writing up period, as I’m sure many of you will testify to.

It’s funny how quickly a group can break apart if there’s no reason to stay together. Despite everyone being visibly depressed about the conclusion of English Theatre, we barely acknowledge one another in the corridors. There are awkward silences in the elevators, like seeing an old one night stand where you embarassed yourself by shouting something inappropriate. Maybe we just remind eachother of something which we know we will never have again, and would rather not rub salt in the wound.

Me HorridMordred

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