Friday 27 December 2013

There is a different way to look at 2013. I recently posted a positive summing-up on Facebook, but here's how things also went:

After 5 years at failing miserably at freelancing I gave in and took the first corporate job offer that came my way.

After spending a year with a manuscript in contention with a big-league publisher I threw a hissy fit and went with a micropress who will reach about 50 people instead.

After 2 years of struggling to get my band somewhere, I finally pulled the plug just when things were starting to go well.

After trying very hard to make a difference to the lives of a displaced urban community I was overwhelmed by the responsibility and drifted out of the relief effort.

After being estranged from me since I was 16, my father died and we never had a chance to reconnect.

Really the only things that I can take any pleasure in are the fact that I'm still married, still happy that I'm married, and that I am playing some small part in a trust dedicated to animal welfare. Everything else is pretty much shit-flavoured mulligatawny soup served in an empty glass. But that's alright. It's only life. 

Wednesday 18 December 2013

My top reads of 2013

Books I read in 2013, not necessarily books published in 2013. In no specific order.

Sycorax and other fables by Suniti Namjoshi: Not all of the fables work equally well; some are a bit too transparent. But when Namjoshi's wit, whimsy and thought-provoking themes all come together, which they do more often than not, the result is a series of new fables and poems that play with ideas, words and meaning while re-jigging familiar tales.

Crandolin by Anna Tambour: A wry, weird and witty fantasy tale which reads like a heady mix of Bulgakov, Gogol and who knows what else. All I ask of a good fantasy novel is that it be completely original and really well written. Crandolin is both.

Ambrosia For Afters by Kalpana Swaminathan: An excellently poised coming of age novel with the most wonderfully-named heroine ever and interspersed with powerful, slightly demented fairy tales.

The Invisibles by Grant Morrison: This is some seriously mind-blowing stuff. Morrison mixes psychedelia, occultism, cyberpunk, conspiracy theories and more to create a heady cocktail of secret societies, shifting realities and anarchy. I don't know why I waited so long to read this.

Gingerbread Girl by Paul Tobin: Elegantly drawn, engagingly written, this graphic novel uses an interesting technique of jumping between narrators with results that are both meaningful and whimsical. The central tale of a disturbed young woman is leavened by the elaborate metaphor the girl - and Tobin - weave around her dissociation.

Korgi by Christian Slade: Just a totally adorable, good-natured little fantasy comic series. Great art, incredibly loveable central characters and

Wilson by Daniel Clowes: I thought slice-of-life graphic novels were not my thing. This brilliantly bleak (but also grimly funny) story of a man who is incapable of relating to any other human being in an effective way changed my mind. The varied illustration styles helped too.

My Friend Dahmer by Derf Backderf: Another graphic novel, this one is by a real-life high school classmate of the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. It's chilling and absolutely unputtdownable. Without soft-pedalling Dahmer's crimes, Derf examines how society and the school system failed him and failed to recognise that he was going off the rails.

Mythago Wood by Richard Holdstock: You know why most fantasy fiction sucks? Because it's about plotty plotty plot and wordbuilding and all that unwieldy stuff. This book is about stories, magic, imagination, desire, love, fear, hate, more magic, more stories. About the deep places that all these things come from. The good stuff, not the dull action thriller/soap opera gestures the genre wastes so much woodpulp on.

A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge: This, on the other hand, is full of plot and worldbuilding, but here's the thing: the plot is chaotic and twisty, more a rollercoaster ride, with all the euphoria and nausea that implies, than a dreary trudge through a maze and the worldbuilding is equal party whimsical and mind-boggling. The fantasy world is examined, the social order is ripped apart and upturned and a great time is had by all, especially the reader.

The Red Tree by Caitlyn R. Kiernan: We're back in no plot land, and a what fine place it is. Fine, but deadly. A portrait of a woman who is feeling her age and who may be coming to the end of many things - the limits of her talent and productivity, the last of her chances at love - and coming face to face with mysteries that will absorb her in more ways than one. The weird tale is so hard to deploy across the length of a novel - but Kiernan does it to perfection.

The Young Merlin Trilogy by Jane Yolen: Yolen distills the magic and mystery of the mage of mages into a vivid yet economically tale of a young boy learning about the world and himself. The setting feels grittily real, but has room for wild magic and wonder too.

A Tale For The Time Being by Ruth Ozeki: This is a luminous, generous-spirited book which encompasses so many themes and stories without ever being too big for its britches. Someone called it half a great novel but I think neither half works as well with the other. It is also a novel which supports my contention that any truly contemporary literary novel must also partake of the qualities of speculative fiction.

Honourable mentions: Some Kind Of Fairy Tale by Graham Joyce, By Light Alone by Adam Roberts, Anya's Ghost by Vera Brogosol, Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones, Freddie & Me by Mike Dawson, Why Does The World Exist by Jim Holt, Owly by Andy Runton, The Autumn Myth by Joel Lane, I See The Promised Land by Arthur Flowers and Manu Chitrakar.

Tuesday 17 December 2013

“If you are asking me what the individual can do right now, in a political sense, I'd have to say he can't do all that much. Speaking for myself, I am more concerned with the transformation of the individual, which to me is much more important than the so-called political revolution.”
                                                                             -- William Burroughs

Sunday 15 December 2013

the death hyphen

it's only a fullstop for the deceased
for the rest of us, it's a comma
a pause in the prosaic flow
of our own lives
or a right-bracket closing a clause
or a semi-colon, signalling that a phrase
is over
or some new punctuation mark
which i would like to propose
three lines radiating from left to right
the uppermost angled upwards
the central line horizontal
the lowermost angled downwards
i call this the death-hyphen
and it indicates that all the words
and paragraphs and chapters
that follow now
carry an added inflection
or are hollowed out just a little bit
because someone or something has died

Friday 6 December 2013

The rituals had their own tempo
Shifting from a lope to a stroll
The rituals had their own rhythms
A longline of sound and gesture
Of flame and milk and water and seed and leaf and
The rituals were lulling stupefying mesmeric
But they only made me numb
Only left me tired

And the only emotion I had was about him:
He was not so old
How sad for him
Sad for him
Not me

No ritual I suppose could enlarge that

Sunday 1 December 2013

my father died on the 29th of November. He'd been ill for a while, but we only found out about it when he went into his final decline. His wife's nephew decided that she had kept his condition from his family for long enough and called my uncle in Madras. My sister, my uncle and my wife and I rushed to the hospital, but he was already too far gone to recover or recognise anyone. He died the next day at 7:15. It had been 3 years since I last saw my father or spoke to him. He was 63.

He was never much of a friend, or much of a father to me. At least he didn't abuse me or throw me out. When he remarried, his second wife made him cut me and my sister completely out of  his life. My sister tried to stay in touch. I didn't.

He still turned up for my wedding. He actually caught up with me a little before it happened. Asked Yasmine if she was sure of her decision, gave us a DVD of Casablanca. He'd been a journalist all his life but he was talking about getting qualified as a lawyer and writing books in his retirement. He'd started sketching again. But he never did write that book.

The funeral ceremony was horrible. Horrible. Poor old man, couldn't they just leave his tired old carcass alone? He still had a thick head of hair. Still looked at least ten years younger than he was. Strange to think he died so young anyway. His father lived to be 96.

He read a lot. The last few books by his bedside were novels by James Patterson and Louis L'Amour, books on colonial history and mountain climbing. Stephen King was one of his favourite writers and he used to read a lot of George Simenon's books.

Such a long ceremony. So many rites and verses when all I wanted to say was goodbye old man. I'll miss you. Sleep now. 

Saturday 2 November 2013

2 adorable two-month old kittens for adoption in Bangalore

These little kittens were born on September 8th, and they're just the right age to be adopted. One's a stripey grey and the other's a stripey ginger, although the pictures only seem to be of the ginger. Their mother is a street cat who is being fed by a lady named Sujatha who lives in New Thippasandra. Please call her if you would like to adopt one or both: 9845421813.

A few guidelines for adopting a kitten:

  • Please take a cat carrier, plastic picnic basket or at least a cardboard box with you so that you can bring your kitten home safely and with minimum discomfort
  • Please get your kitten dewormed and vaccinated right away - ask for a vaccination or combination of vaccinations that covers panluekopenia, calci virus and herpetic infections as well as rabies
  • A month after the vaccination, take your kitten for a booster - this is the shot that actually confers immunity
  • Re-vaccinate anually after that
  • Do not give your kitten milk - cats actually cannot process cow's milk easily even though they will gladly drink it
  • If you can cook chicken and fish for your kitten at home, do so
  • Provide a lot of water in bowls throughout the day
  • If you use commercial cat food stick to Whiskas and Royal Canin products
  • Please look up potty-training a kitten and take the time to establish a toilet tray and condition your kitten to use it. be prepared for initial accidents. 
  • Please think twice before adopting - what if you leave town? Who will care for the kitten when you are on holiday? What if relatives or neighbours object? If you are not commited to keeping this cat for life, DON'T ADOPT

Wednesday 30 October 2013

may the skies always be grey
may death never rain down on you
while the remote control peace laureate
presses buttons and signs death warrants
in washington far away

may the skies always be grey
may the drones sleep today
president obama's a good man
he has a good plan
target someone, anyone
count them all as militants

may the skies always be grey
are your far flung brethren allowed to pray
in their stateside mosques
or will they be targeted too
interrogated and dragged away
to some place where the walls are grey?

Tuesday 29 October 2013

fuck your diplomacy.

Turning vegan was not something I spent time agonising over. I saw a documentary about dairy farming in India and knew I could not continue being a part of a system that snatches newborn calves away from their mothers, often leaving them to die. All those Hindu morons who worship the holy cow and guzzle down its milk need to know that we no longer live in the halcyon days of yore, if they ever existed, and that the dairy industry today treats cows as captive teats and as often as not sells surplus calves to slaughterhouses. I don't need to equivocate with morons implying that veganism is a choice only 'elitists' can make or to engage in a dialogue with non-vegans on how one has to ease the transition.

Transiting to veganism did not come without its drawbacks for me. I lost a lot of weight, I had muscle cramps because of insufficient protein and I often felt weak and run down until I incorporated suitable substitutes into my diet. You could say I should have first done my research, but once I knew what eating eggs and consuming dairy products implied in terms of suffering and cruelty, I didn't care. If you want to be vegan, it means you don't value your life above those of animals. Fuck you and the ease of your transition. Either you want to be a party to murder or not, that's all there is to it. 

Tuesday 22 October 2013


It was always difficult finding time to dream
Wading through cloud, looking for the silver seam
It was always difficult working against the grain
Finding a space above mere loss and gain

Now my life has been inverted, upended
The clouds have cleared, serfdom has ended
Or at least, has ceased to be an easy road
Now my art is the only burden, the only load

All I have now is time to stare, to aestheticise
To dream forever beneath endless blue skies
And I do not mean to fret or complain
But sometimes it is hard to strive without strain

I do not miss the drudgery, the genteel bondage
I do not wish to return to that clouded age
I spent toiling for someone else's profit
It was a diurnal inferno, I will not return to it

But I wonder if the trade I made was wise
Can I really tell pain from blue skies?
Most of all, was I right to dedicate my days
To an art that satisfies but seldom pays.

Wednesday 9 October 2013

two poems

Two poems about Little Red Riding Hood, the first is by me and the second by my wife. Next time, she will write the first one and I the second.

Reading Red Riding Hood, Age 6

- Jayaprakash Satyamurthy

There will be a wolf in the woods
There will be a young maiden and an old hag
I understand most of this
The woodcutter scares me
His axe sticky with the sap of his victims
His burly body slick with sweat
He bursts in and
Slices open the beast
He seems to kill a lot of wild things
I think Granny and Red
Were happy to be eaten
Masticated and slowly digested
In a dark place, far away from
Axes and sweat and heart’s sap

In A Lone Cottage

- Yasmine Claire

There are maidens and there are wolves,
And then there are the rescuers,
Big, burly, brave,
They burst in, uncalled,
Dragging with them, death,
In bloody trails.

But the forest is old,
I, older still.
I have walked these paths,
Known each tree,
Known each beast,
And held their magic,
In me.

Know, hunter, when you kill,
And spill life,
I am watching,
For you to burst in again,

My grandmother and I,
We are readying a feast,
Wolf is by the hearth,
The fireplace warm,
Outside storm clouds gather.

You are lost, hunter,
Tired you drag,
Feet, weary and hands blistered,
Fingers caked in mud and blood,
You seek us.

In a lone cottage,
A welcoming light shines,
Inside two women and one wolf,
Ancient and endless,

Wait, hunter,

For you.

Thursday 3 October 2013

yeah okay so this is happening

I, Asshole

'When I tell people I don't eat meat, bread or etc. I always follow it up with "and please don't group me in with the vegans. those people are fucking assholes."'

Because only assholes try to live without cruelty.

Wednesday 25 September 2013

A Very Sturdy Mind: Interview with Nicolas Huck

A weirdo in the best way, Nicolas Huck is reclusive, intermittently misanthropic, German, artistic and irreverant. He did the art for my band Djinn and Miskatonic's first album, 'Forever In The Realm'. For people curious to know more about him, here's a little interview I did with him over e-mail.

1. I first got to know you as an illustrator who works with the horror writer Jeffrey Thomas. You're also doing the cover art for an anthology of original Lovecraftian fiction I am putting together for Aetherial Publishing. What draws you to eldritch horror and all things Lovecraftian?

It is weird (how fittingly!)... but I have to admit that all my author friends (all... without question!) fueled my passion for Lovecraft and everything beyond. *shivers*
Even this evil social network (Facebook)  I am visiting and using for slandering about humanity has become a sheer pool for eldritch input these days. I mean I was a huge Lovecraft-fan before... but now, it is pure madness! And I like and enjoy this kind of madness there a lot. Tentacles... everywhere!

2. What are some of your favourite horror stories and films, especially from the perspective of the visuals they evoke/portray?

Oh this is an excellent but also a "hardcore" question... specially as fanboy of all things gory, strange and creepy! Famous and mostly american movies like Dead Alive, Fright Night, An American Werewolf in London, Poltergeist are surely some flicks we know and I appreciate. But i think "The Thing", "Evil Dead" and "A Clockwork Orange" are the clear favorites that inspired me for creature design and cinematography. All in all I should blame David Cronenberg, Chris Cunningham but principally Stanley Kubrick for their visual perfection, or at least for changing the way we look at movies. But for written tales and stories... hmmm, I think mentioning Lovecraft is almost needless, right? So I may just move on and mention one of his minions here: My friend Jeffrey Thomas with his classics "Punktown" or "Monstrocity". The man changed my reading habits! But I also love my non-Lovecraftian, Russian authors from Asimov up to my personal modern masters Lukianenko with "Spectrum" and Dmitry Glukhovsky & Co. with their "Metro 2033"universe.

3. I sense that the world of gaming is also an influence on how you visualise your art. Is this a fair guess, and what are your favorite computer games?

 Correct! As old schooler I love and will always love the dark realms of this certain game called "Quake" by the way. It really deserves respect, because it is truly one of the most unique and also "lovecraftian" games ever made. Always wanted to defeat Shub-Niggurath? Here you go! It is grim, disturbing and still unbeaten. But I am also a huge adventure game fan. Especially the "Quest for Glory"-series with "Shadows of Darkness" inspired me massively in my more atmospheric sketches and paintings. The developers Cory and Lori Cole are just two great people. The never get tired of showing people that they can be real-life heroes themselves. Oh, did I mention that they also had a huge Lovecraftian influence within their fourth "Quest for Glory" installment?

4. What is your usual process? Is it all digital or do you sketch/paint as well?

It is all about digital work since a few years now. I'd love to do a traditional painting someday tough. But as a user of all this modern computer "magick", I want to push and simulate it as far as possible. I respect and appreciate the way modern software can simulate oil paintings these days for example. Maybe I'm just too lazy for cleaning my hands after work anyway... *hahaha*. Seriously  i feel like a cretin here! Real brush-swingers have my full respect here and should not compared to me anyway. They are true artists!

5. Who are your visual/artistic influences?

This may come across really weird, but I can't remember about any old or new visual artist I dare to point my paws at and shout: It's all your fault! *hehe* I think I devoured so much of many styles and ideas, my mind just mixes a "Bloody Mary" out of them and so I can't identify the masters here anymore. I somehow prefer written lines as my basic inspiration. I don't know, but it seems I dislike to copy styles, ideas, colors... just features that are there already. It maybe allows me more freedom for brooding over my own style and ideas somehow.

6. Can you tell us more about the Huckbros fan videos?

 Haha, unholy thanks for mentioning it! My brother and me started creating our freaky videos for showing love to all the grindhouse and trash-flicks out there. Actually the "German trash cinema" has become pretty suppressed and hefty underground these days. I mean "officially", because it is cooking below the surface! Our pretty prim and non-flexible society just doesn't allow the genre to grow high. Maybe that is why we're taking care of it? Maybe! It is just our passion to create strange videos since a Lloyd Kaufmann dropped out his first "Troma"-movie or Christoph Schlingensief brought us the "Das deutsche Kettensägenmassaker" ("The german chainsaw massacre"). Schlingensief was truly the master chief here! Sadly, also our time for making movies has changed. Ordinary work keeps us away from the projects we love to do. But the fire is still burning... and we know it all: There is no rest for the wicked! *hahaha*

7. Your music is electronic, and very cinematic. What inspires you to make it, and do you have any more musical projects in mind?

I'm somehow glad to haven't found my personal favorite genre, yet. Seems staying flexible is my actual mantra... or I just haven't found a genre where i'm good at. But oh yes, seems I'm very into this cinematic stuff. I was fan of all the strings, brass and drums since I enjoyed my all-time-favorite action-flick "Die Hard" with its excellent score of Michael Kamen. Also the great Alan Silvestri made me crave for good or almost lovely-cheesy orchestrals! For any other kind of wicked inspiration i have to blame Sepultura, Fear Factory, Gojira, Metallica, AC/DC, Megadeth, NIN, Portishead, Aphex Twin and everything that comes from the golden ages of music aka oldies. I think I'll try to do evil sonic mayhem with the genre of "Industrial Metal" soon. Hmmm... my muses? Well, many of my friends inspire me to go further and further here. I dedicated almost every track to them and their creative projects, such as indie games and movies.

8. Finally, what advice do you have to aspiring artists, especially those who want to make it as freelancers?

Stay stubborn and never give up in everything you do in your life. I'm not a good artist... but I may compensate that a bit with being... well, let's just say "being very sturdy" in my mind. It will be not always about creating a "good" or even "perfect" work ( least when not having to work for morons), it is about creating something you like yourself without counting the hours of becoming it finished. There is also no "good" or "bad" in art for me, generally. Most people have no good or special taste anyway, so never let yourself be scares away by anyone or any institution that apparently knows what a fine work should look like. Show your works to your family, friends and everywhere on the web, not only those self-called masters and manipulators at art schools for example. Nobody has the right to tell you what you can archive or not, especially not this rotten and selfish society. *hehe* Talent is hard work, not some kind of gift.

Finally, some Huck-links: 

Huck Bros Pictures
Nic's Music
Nic on Deviantart
Oh! and Nic's Professional Page! 

Tuesday 24 September 2013

audible and 'orrible

Thursday 19 September 2013

my rules. for me. (you too, if you want)

Scott Nicolay's Dogme 2011 outlines how weird fiction can move beyond Lovecraftian pastiche, and escape simply becoming another subgenre. When I first read it, I expected to disagree, but I found that I was already following most of its principles (I did once write a zombie story).

Re-reading it recently made me wonder if I could enumerate a list of my own self-imposed rules of writing a good weird short story. These rules are specific to me. Some relate to content and others relate to process, so I am dividing them into two lists.

1. If it isn't done in three days, abandon it.
2. Get back to it after a respectable amount of time has elapsed. Resume writing it, or start again if you prfer, applying rule 1 once more.
3. Rinse and repeat. Don't worry if this goes on for years. You are working on other stories too, aren't you?
4. If you think someone else has had the same idea, they probably have. Fuck that. If you aren't imaginative enough to write an original story with an unoriginal idea you should stop writing.
5. If tense and voice start shifting as you write, just run with it. This is one of those things you fix later.
6. When it comes to productivity, find what works for you but be willing to improvise. If you can manage 6 short stories a year, so be it. If you can write a novel every 6 months, they're probably crap unless your name is Simenon, but go ahead. Just be prepared to buckle up and punch out 10K+ words a day once in a while. It may come in handy.

2. Remember, no list of rules is complete.
3. Be very wary of portraying evil. Be even warier of portraying good. This is not a morality play. It's more interesting than that.
4. If your premise can be described in punchy, high-concept elevator-pitch terms, ditch it.
5. Ghosts are always with us; we are all someone's ghosts. Any other stock supernatural entity can be safely given the ditch.
7. Write about places you know. Write about people you know. Steal from life. Research is for non-fiction writers.
8. Read a lot of non-fiction. Don't read to learn, or for background research; read to creatively misunderstand.

10. Don't try to explain everything. Even if it all makes sense to you, don't put all the connections and clues into your story.
11. Keep a dream diary. Refer to it for ideas.
12. Keep a diary. Refer to it for ideas.
13. Copyright isn't an imposition preventing you from playing with other people's creations; it is a much needed barrier that forces you to play with your own creations instead.
14. Don't waste time giving them what they expect.
15. Despite rule 7, there is one kind of research you must engage in: be a flaneur. Be the invisible man. Walk around your city, or any place you happen to find yourself in. Look at things. Don't try to remember everything, but pay attention to the things you do remember.
16. Places are characters. People are scenery. Dialogue is optional. Description is not.
17. Language is an end, not a means.
(This list is a work in progress. I'm still trying to make up my mind about rule 9)

'why, this is hell, nor are we out of it'

hardly a day goes by
and you are already a symbol
a symbol of flickering outrage
in front of a screen
a symbol of impotent dismay
in an ergonomic chair
hardly a day goes by
and i wonder what they did
with the remains
i wonder what they would do
with that smouldering mess
then i remember
hell never has a garbage problem
i don't wonder how you felt
it is not my place to imagine
your ordeal
it is not my right to feel
your pain
i cannot claim i know
your terror
you are only an animal
and i am a devil
and everyone knows devils
do not suffer or feel pain or fear
hardly a day goes by
when i do not quote
to myself
in my head
hardly a day goes by
when i do not wonder
if my master has noticed
that i am shirking
and what my
will be
but i am a devil
and i cannot suffer
like the innocent do
like you did

Tuesday 17 September 2013

About The Human Head

I am not certain
About the human head
It seems expressive enough
It seems to contain
Some sort of sentience,
At least some kind of nerve-fired
But I am not altogether certain
About the human head
Dennett says it is not
That nothing is conscious
There is only process
And no coherent self
I am not certain
About Dennett
And I am not at all certain
About the human head
Detached from the neck
I fear it will rot
All too soon
Rust this pike
And stink up this public square
But it is intended as a warning
And the dissenters must be shown
I am still very uncertain
About the human head
Its hatred for its fellows
Its impenetrability
To reason
I think about the Guillotine
I think about how you must lose
Your head
To be free
I think about all that the head
And I am still not certain

About the human head

Friday 13 September 2013

Just putting this picture here to cheer myself up for a number of reasons.

Tuesday 10 September 2013

'Silence Thereafter' by Wicked Inquisition

This is long overdue, and I’d like to apologise to Nate, who asked me to give his band’s record a listen back in July.

More to the point, I’d like to apologise to myself.

I’m a fan of proto metal/doom: Budgie, Toad, Blue Cheer, anything especially gritty and misanthropic that you could have downloaded from the late, lamented Chris Goes Rock blog. And Wicked Inquisition straddle a space between the bubbling-over energy and wide-open skies heaviness of these bands and the assured vintage doom stomp of genre pioneers like Pentagram and Saint Vitus. This is a wonderful EP, brimming with emphatic, catchy pentatonic grooves, psychedelic allegations and a palpable aura of herbal fumes, bell-bottom blues and a rowdy young quartet working a riff like there’s no tomorrow.

The opening track, ‘The Jester’s Crown’ brings the Budgie comparisons to the forefront, while ‘Brainstorm’ positively bristles with riffs, feeling like an epic doom-fest despite its concise 4.49 minute run time. Shades of Saint Vitus, Pentagram, Trouble, and a Wino-esque vocal delivery along with flailing, infectious leads that reminded me of Wino, once again, with elements of Victor Griffin and Dave Chandler, don’t prevent the song from also sounding fresh and original. The drum work is absolutely idiomatic and keeps the energy levels high, and the drums are also mixed well, punching through the mix as needed, but without an overly bright, modern sound.

The instrumental ‘Blue Nightshade’ sees lead Nate laying down some soaring, questing distorted lead lines over a mellow apreggiated backing. It’s a song to sway to, an atmospheric and oddly anthemic interlude before the last song in the EP, ‘Radius of Fear’ kicks in with some wonderfully assured, quietly doomy riffing. This one really screams vintage Pentagram, and the vocal delivery is some of the best among this set of songs. The contrasting riffs, upbeat and chuggy versus spaced out and doomy, complement each other brilliantly. The thick, dark and juicy guitar tone is just right for this kind of music and when the bass guitar steps out a little bit from the mix, it just adds to that free-for-all retro rocking atmosphere.

My favourite tracks on this EP are ‘Brainstorm’ and ‘Radius of Fear’. These are archetypal no-nonsense hard-rocking doom songs which pack in lots of great ideas into relatively short time-frames and are instantly memorable. I wish I’d treated myself to the chance to listen ‘Silence Thereafter’ a lot sooner, but this one is going to keep popping up in my playlist now that I have. Wicked Inquisition is the real deal, not just a trendy retro simulacrum. I can’t wait for their first full-length and I wish I lived someplace where I was likely to catch them live!

Thursday 5 September 2013

just thoughts in progress. blogs used to be about this kind of stuff, right?

Not a day goes by when I don't read about the terrible things people do to animals. Here are a few things i read about in the last few weeks:

  • An unidentified stranger threw a young kitten out of a window, aiming it at a protest being held about the conditions of dolphins in captivity. The fall broke one of the kitten's legs and the shock proved to be fatal.
  • A poodle-type dog adopted from a shelter turned out to have a prolapsed anus, and the cause has been determined to be the insertion of 'a cucumber-sized object'. Very likely, some human being raped this little dog, or molested her with something about the size and shape of a penis. 
  • A woman posts videos of herself crushing kittens and puppies to death and has an online fan following. 
  • The Government of Romania has approved the mass murder of stray dogs in the country. 
  • The Government of Britain has commenced its badger cull. 
And then there are the terrible things people do to people, which I read about and sometimes see with my own eyes. I could create another list here, but if you've read a newspaper recently, you know what I mean.

I live with my eyes more or less open and I am not made callous by it. I feel horror, shock, pity, anger and despair when I read of all these things. It doesn't get easier to read about cruelty and injustice, and I don't avoid the topic either, although I don't actively seek these stories these out the way some of my fellow animal welfare campaigners seem too. 

As I've said, I am aware of social injustices too, and while I primarily work with animals, I do step in to try and help the disenfranchised citizens of the city I live in whenever I can. I don't do this because I think I'm some sort of noble individual, but because I strongly believe that if we all work to alleviate the problems around us, we don't have to wallow in despair or wait for some government or corporation to apply a quick fix in return for our souls. 

I don't privilege the welfare of human beings above that of animals. But I feel that if you care about suffering and injustice at all, you have to come to a realisation that all living things who can feel pain and suffering deserve your compassion. I cannot imagine living my life in any other way.  

I am very tempted to hate and dismiss humanity, but I think it's just the selfish, oppressive, sadistic streak in humanity that I hate. 

Wednesday 4 September 2013

on 'invisible communities'

Doing and talking are not the same thing. Talk is cheap and so is sympathy. You are not special and your thoughts don't mean a thing if they aren't actually put into action at some point.

I recently got into a fight on a friend's animal welfare organisation's Facebook page. My friend stated that the two cat shelters she runs are completely full up. Due to the lack of fosters and the slow rate of adoption, she is not taking in any more cats. She will continue to look after the existing shelter population, seek adoption for them and so forth, but she cannot accept any more requests to take in more cats.

Someone commented to the effect that she would love to help, but with her 3 house cats and 4 ferals she can't take on any more. While this is probably true, it's irrelevant. My friend has taken on far more than this woman ever has, and has received far too little help and support. It's in poor taste to cite your 7 moggies against the couple of hundred my friend shelters. My friend's organisation has reached a point where it can no longer do one of the things it set out to do - take in abandoned pets or ferals in need of shelter - because there just aren't enough people to share the burden. WE ALREADY KNOW THIS.

I told the commenter that, unless she could help, I didn't see the need in her posting at all. This led to a bit of a flamewar with people telling me my comments were wasting time and that I did not realise there was an 'invisible community of cat lovers' who may not be able to help this organisation, but who all do their part, presumably by being there in spirit and in online comment threads.

To which my only reply is: fuck you. You're not doing your part. If you were, people like my friend and myself wouldn't be the only ones everyone calls when they find a lost kitten or an injured feral or want to abandon their pets. There would be people like you in every community, every social circle, waiting to step in and help. There would be more shelters and more support for the shelters we have.

Instead, there are a few people stuck with growing populations of cats in need, three or four dependable fosters, maybe a handful of kittens adopted a month and no larger community of cat lovers, invisible or not, to rely on.

What it boils down to is: there are people who love animals, who feel compelled to work for their welfare, but not at the cost of their own comfort. I don't grudge them the choice - really I don't. I just wish they would realise that they're just play-acting, which is alright, I guess, and stick to looking after their handful of pets - which is the one thing they're doing right, hopefully - and Shut. The. Fuck. Up. when the grown-ups are talking.

Because I've learned that large collectives of sympathisers don't actually solve problems. Just a few committed individuals do, no matter what all the hype over online activism and the power of communities will tell you. Awareness means nothing and sympathy is just wankery. If you can't help, then keep your thoughts to yourself. Don't waste the time of the few people who actually spend most of their lives trying to get things done. Don't be white noise, it's okay not to have your say and add your voice. Everything isn't a chorus. This dialogue isn't about you, it's about achieving actual results.

Still want to join in? The be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty, because making a difference in the real world isn't just about rhetoric and debate and discussion. It isn't about community and communication and the wisdom of the mob. It's about doing. 

Wednesday 28 August 2013

In the mornings, the city is almost indistinguishable from the city I knew 15 years ago, if you ignore some ugly new architecture. There are sparrows skipping on rooftops and sidewalks, morning walkers in monkey caps and woolen sweaters diligently pacing parks and pavements, sleepy schoolchildren emerging from their homes, the briefly opened front doors giving out a haze of filter coffee fumes and sambrani, the roads are empty and you can have a plate of steaming hot idly-vada for twenty rupees, a lot by the standards of 15 years ago, but surprisingly little for today.

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Bean Town Blues

You will never leave the bean town
The old bean town
The plague mother will fold you
In her arms
The ghosts will caress your 
Swiftly cooling flesh
The songs of the Minstrel
Will infect you
Infested, you will hear the ballads
Of the Eukarya
You will join with the Dancer
You will stumble through streets
Lined with glass towers
And fall through shadows
Into empty courtyards
Into forgotten lanes where
Cottages gather dust
You will never leave the bean town
I will not allow it
I am the Bangalorey man
And I will not allow you
To leave. 

\See? You’re still here.

Monday 26 August 2013

death is in my lungs i think
it can't be everywhere
i can't be sensing that whiff
 - sweet, cloying
   over-ripe, nauseating
   heavy in the nose
   heavy in the lungs
   heavy in the head
   heavy in the air and in the gut - 
it can't be following me 
it can't be that death is everywhere
and my dead always with me
                                 it can't be me
it must be that death is in my lungs
and all i need to do to escape it
is keep breathing

Tuesday 13 August 2013

I want to write a zombie novel, a novel that is devoid of all life but just keeps shambling on, consuming the life force of all literature it comes into contact with until there is nothing but zombie literature, zombie poetry, zombie drama, zombie non-fiction, zombie memoirs on every shelf and every ebook reader everywhere. But I think it's already been written and you've already read it.

Friday 9 August 2013

I think I know why
the idea
of an afterlife
is so persistent
It's not for ourselves
I think anyone can
contemplate their own
if they take a moment
to think about it
and anyway when it
we're done and that's all
no, the afterlife
is so that our knowledge
of everyone else's death
can be put aside
the afterlife
is so that
you can lose a child
or a lover
or an enemy or
anyone else
(I don't mean misplace
but lose to death)
the afterlife is so you can
lose these
and not lose yourself
(of course I mean
the idea of the afterlife
of course there is no
of course we are all

Thursday 8 August 2013

all week I've been going for 3-4 hour walks, stopping at parks and cafes, just rambling around mostly in the cantonment area

I want to be indistinguishable from the city

a sparrow contemplating kamaraj road while the newspapermen sip tea

i want to be the bangalorey man

to walk through shivajinagar and turn aslant and find myself in blackpilly

slip through a shadow and stroll down east parade

oh and further back

i want to find a terrible secret at the city's heart

want to go even further back and find a wonderful truth soaked into this land

and further, furthest, i want to walk in empty space forever right here

don't follow me

Saturday 3 August 2013

the cat watches me make tea
he is fascinated.
the cat is a hunter
he has only two modes of regard:
absorption and apathy

Wednesday 31 July 2013

this microcosm is enough for me
what is writ large elsewhere
is here writ fine
and deep
a tattoo on the flesh of the nation
a gang sign
to show all the other nations
'see, i'm just like you'

( Photo: K. Gopinathan)

'If the summer was harsh, the monsoon has been merciless towards the residents of Ejipura housing colony for economically weaker sections, who were forcibly evicted in January this year to make way for a mall and a residential complex. Two elderly women died on consecutive days this week and one toddler died of the cold a month ago.

Neelamma (60), who was running high temperature for over a week, died on Monday evening in her plastic tent that overlooks the site where the construction of the mall is apace. “The tent got flooded every time it rained. We could take it because we were younger, but Amma was too old,” said Neelamma’s son Kumar (38). Neelamma, Kumar and brother Ramesh (42) shared the tiny tent, which is no larger than an average work cubicle. There are at least two dozen similar tents on the footpath opposite the construction site.

A day earlier, on Sunday morning, the Viveknagar police found the body of 70-year-old Maqbool Jehan on the pavement outside the police station. She too was one of the women who had been displaced by the demolition in January. A police official said Jehan died due to cold and hunger.

“Her mentally challenged daughter Salma (25) has been missing since her death,” said Siddharth, a researcher at IIMB who has been helping the displaced people in his individual capacity.

Riju, whose grocery store overlooks the pavement where Ms. Jehan was found dead, told The Hindu, “The night before she was found, it rained heavily.” Shanta Mary (35), another displaced person, said Ms. Jehan was too old to work.

“She relied on alms to feed her daughter and herself,” she said. While other evicted people at least had enough money to set up tents, Ms. Jehan was left with no option but to sleep in the open. “She feared for the safety of her daughter. That is why she used to sleep in front of the police station,” said Ms. Mary.

A few weeks before these deaths, at 4 a.m. on July 11, there was a birth on the same footpath. Nusrath gave birth to a girl out in the open. Her husband, who had been arrested by the local police on robbery charges, was not present. Hearing her cries, the neighbours rang for a government ambulance. “The ambulance driver cut the umbilical cord,” Nusrath told this reporter.

The ambulance then took her to the Primary Health Centre run by the BBMP in Austin town. Here, the mother was in for another shock.

“The nurse demanded a bribe of Rs. 600 to attend to me and give the birth certificate. I had only Rs. 300. She did not care for the Below Poverty Line card [which entitles her to free healthcare]. “The ambulance driver gave me the rest of the money from his own pocket,” she says.

On June 25, Clara, who lives three tents away from Neelamma’s, lost her 18-month-old daughter to the rain and cold. “I didn’t have enough money to treat my baby Adrena,” Ms. Clara said.'

 Read the original article here

Monday 29 July 2013

actually, death is nothing
it's the point after something has ceased
it isn't anything i can fear
or deny
or understand
or welcome
or come to terms with

what i can grasp
what is concrete
is the heartbeat slowing down
the final gasping breaths
the body locking, stretching
in agony

what i can fear or hate or accept is
the poison coursing through the veins
the gunshot wound
the crushing blow
the final cry or whimper

all these are real, they are
events in the world i live in
death is not. it's the absence
of all of that

i will never understand it
never come to terms with it
never experience it
except as a series of absences

that slowly envelope my life

Wednesday 24 July 2013

what does it matter if i'm low
if i'm cranky
if i lash out or drown my
sweet in bitter and my bitter
in fury
if in the balance i run my race
if in the balance i serve my muse
what does it matter if it gladdens me
what does it matter if i am elate
or despond
if i can still unlock the hoard of words
if i can still throw open the storehouse of melody
if i weep these words or sing them piping
like a blithe bird (who is actually warning
his rivals to stay the fuck off his turf)
what does it matter if i do it with a smile
or if i can't turn my frown upside down
i'm a writer a kind of traitor
a malcontent a fly in the soup
not a waiter

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Earlier, I'd listen to Joy Division when it all started getting me down. Now I've discovered that in the right mood, any music can serve as a soundtrack to a grey mood! If it's cheerful, it serves to remind you that you too were, once. If it's aggressive it makes you feel rage along with your self pity. If it's calm, it reminds you you're not. Oh music thou art bountiful.


(parking this here for future use in a story or something)

The natural state of matter is to be inanimate. The atoms that we are built from have spent most of eternity insensate, not-alive.

Life is aberrant, a curse, a humiliation, a torture. In every living thing there is a white-hot core of rage at this imposition.

Every living thing has a death wish; this is not negation, it is an affirmation of the natural state of all things.

Any impulse which gets in the way of closing the circle is only part of the punishment, part of the humiliation that is life.

Friday 19 July 2013

Personally I was born human but whatever

So it seems the nation has to choose between this theistard and Rahul Gandhi, who is just a plain old retard. How did it come to this?

Saturday 22 June 2013

I learn more about decay
Than I ever wanted to
The day old body: stiff but still pulpy inside
Week old: starting to fall apart, gums blackened
Fresh: still warm and pliant, you feel you could almost breathe
Life back into it
A year later: elegant forms
A disquieting shade of dirty yellow
And a lean, acute skull gaze
Death lives in us all the time,
Drawing up its plans
And eventually executing them
Even after we are gone
Even after you are gone