This column is relentlessly exhausting this week so if you want to stop here, the page view has already been documented and I have gotten all I am going to get by way of remuneration from the Outsideleft people for this. Stay on the page for a while though, for the approximate time it might take to skim through this, otherwise a ‘reader disengaged’ flag might pop up next to the column on the Outsideleft HQ dashboard. Targets and goals, two things I’ve never had use for in arts and life, yet here they are, encroaching. Too many of those flags and this column will be permanently disengaged.
This week began with a conversation in the kitchen, with Ms. Champion who does not call herself that even slightly, remotely or ever. We are talking about the prospect of me continually making art that for it’s starting point I will say, “This is difficult to enjoy.” And subsequently being surprised when so many people do just that, don’t enjoy it.
Is that an intangible, irresolvable conundrum? Is it a quantifiable success if it is successfully unsuccessful? If it remains, unenjoyed?
In Leilani Raven’s brilliant and very now novel, Luster, her central protagonist while miserably misjudging and failing a job interview at a clown agency, is told by a comic Maestro that the art that matters is the art that is wrought and consumed with great difficulty. Leilani Raven, her name is like a Jacqueline Suzanne character, pick up her book and your day is going to be derailed unless you’d set aside four hours for reading.
What is success? What is a measure of success? I know I don’t need to remind you that my music has been critically acclaimed on at least two continents, ah the perversities of people! It has been streamed apparently thousands and thousands of times in France, again, the perversities of people! That I have been described by a punk rock icon on the BBC as being more interesting than Rod Stewart. And I am in a movie directors’ coffee table book with Madonna. Although this was mainly for standing around in my own clothes, which I stood up for vs. whatever the dresser had in mind that day. The clothes and oh my Elvis glasses, from Graceland, I found them shoved down the side of a sofa cushion in the Jungle Room or the Den as the King called it. They’re authentic. Blink and you’ll miss them. Is that anything?
We were talking about the potential (comical?) commercial appeal of my ever so nearly finished short collection of short stories, Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere. The title, so succinctly enticing, proffering way more in terms of thrills and spills than any one or even all of the stories put together ever could. A title promising so much, if you don’t see it in bookshops and on library shelves then you will know that is has been legislated against by an uncultured cabinet secretary on the grounds that public blood pressure could be raised to the level where piss may boil, an expression borrowed from an politician friend who is always handy with the most apt of aphorisms for defining a moment. What is important to me, is that nothing at all happens in these Six Stories About Motoring Nowhere. Nothing Ever. I mean I can’t emphasise enough the emphasis I put on this fine point while writing. These are the lives I want to depict, lives history doesn’t record at all. I will. And so, there will be nothing to see here.
“Something must happen?”
“People drive. People park, but parking is not important. Driving is not important. Actually, I don’t recall whether anyone parks, anymore. The hush-hush pandemic exile person editing these stories, a genuinely esteemed genius, highly low profile person, one of several to take the reins of the collection over the past year, might have actually just thrown out the one story where someone reverse-parked. Wait… There is plenty of parking, what am I talking about. People park. At the crematorium. At the auto parts store. But they don’t reverse park. I’ll say that at least, and if they did, it would be with the aid of parking sensors so they won’t have to turn their heads and look over their shoulders. To park.”
“You're writing about people who would have parking sensors. But don't have anything else.”
“They’re a safety feature that can purportedly make your insurance cost go down. People should want them.”
“I think automatic braking and lane assist steering are more likely to make your insurance go down. If anything ever does.”
"I think I need to get someone to work on the book cover art."
I’m looking at the large hole in the kitchen countertop, which isn’t large enough, if it was large enough then it wouldn’t be there. This is where the induction hob that I shattered used to be. Are there other critically acclaimed artists and musicians with self-shattered hobs? I could be recording the final trumpet parts on the final track for Music Inspired by the Museumgoer of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I could be calling Woodenhands Warren to come over and play the wholly exceptional guitar as he does, like he did on There Was No One Else I Could Tell, the archetypal Ancient Champion piece. I feel like the new short long player is getting away from me. I can hear these final trumpet pieces, they are so pseudo Simon Park, just on the last few bars of The Lost Minutes of the Last Meeting of the Bearwood Lake Fountain Committee, just a smattering of James Last style brass easing in under pianos and organs like... Instead, a new hob was delivered and was to be installed by an installer who came with it, but by mere millimeters the hob didn’t fit as intended and so, head office was phoned, a target went unmet. We get a store credit and we have the now goading me, empty orifice.
It’s been recommended that I start with a rasp. But I don’t see that, it’s just a little too much for that. Too much to rasp away.
excellent, excellent guitar...
Main Image: The Model From the G. Love and Special Sauce video, Cold Beverage screen grab by AC
Video: There Was No One Else I Could Tell by created and directed by Jason Lewis on the Ancient Champion video channel
Anarchy in the UK by Ancient Champion can be heard on Spotify and elsewhere, right about now
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