Monday 30 July 2018

When I am gone, I want you to do this:

When I am gone, I want you to do this:
Hold a memorial where all the words are mine
The epitaph a thing I wrote myself
And demand that all the guests wear black
And weep, and bow their heads,
And miss me, and miss me, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this:
Tape an inexpensive white bouquet
To a lamp post by a dual carriageway
And leave it until the flowers have wilted
And replace it only then, and when you pass
Think of me, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this :
Erect a statue of me in a public place
And write upon the pedestal the ways I changed the world
So that in a thousand years they'll find it in the ruins
And add me as a footnote in their history,
Make me part of history, for I am gone.

When I am gone, I want you to do this :
Carry a cold, hard weight beneath your chest
And feel a terrible affront, a deep offence
When the people that you meet might not
Be grieving for me also, and regret
You never got to say the things you meant to say
And you will never get to say you're sorry.
For I am gone forever. I am gone.

Saturday 28 July 2018

On a Thousand Walls – Guest Post: Quatermass and the Pit (1958/9)

OK, this is epic, this. It's the single most extended piece of criticism yet to appear on this blog, and it's not by me, it comes from my friend and frequent co-conspirator Jon Dear. You may know Jon from the credits of Perplexed Music, the wall of the BFI and the fine cultural criticism he writes at Views From a Hill. Jon also very kindly contributed four entries to my book We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror, which you can totally buy now for Kindle and which, if the Universal Forces (and also Amazon) are kind, should be available in inch-thick print by the end of August. 

Jon's piece on Quatermass and the Pit fortuitously comes at a time when for reasons I don't fully understand, the BBC have seen fit to put the whole thing up on iPlayer so if you're in this United Kingdom that we still (Brexit willing) have here, you can watch along. Jon worked like a demon on this piece, and it shows. Jon's done me proud here. Over to Jon.

Thursday 26 July 2018

We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror – out this weekend

So I finally managed to get the digital files for We Don't Go Back: A Watcher's Guide to Folk Horror to the Kickstarter backers, which is only the first stage of fulfilment, because there's the print files to sort out, and the sequel books, On a Thousand Walls and Cult Cinema, in both digital and print, so this is only stage one of six. But it means that We Don't Go Back will go to Amazon Kindle this weekend. But for the time being, here are some pages from this 440 page, 150,000 word, inch thick monster to whet your appetite. Click to zoom in.

Edit: it's live. Buy it here. 

Monday 23 July 2018

The Question in Bodies #16: The Cell (2000)

I went to see The Cell in the cinema on its initial release. At the time, I really wanted to see what a horror film directed by the bloke who directed the video for “Losing My Religion” looked like.

As it turns out, it looks a lot like the video for “Losing My Religion”, only much longer and with a somewhat higher number of dismembered horses.

Friday 13 July 2018

Deities and Demigods

You might catch your breath at the idea,
Grasp the boat’s side, knuckles not as hard nor as pale as this
Wall of sea-borne scales
Glimmering in this cold, crystalline mist.
Your stomach might harden
At the premonition of hell
In the smell of sulphur and charred meat,
In the sight of bobbing, half-finished meals:
Lost men, brave men, men like you.
The dawn might darken
In the opening of this single slitted eye,
Wider than your height
And you might rise to your feet,
Barely trusting the creaking unsteady wood,
Raise your ancestral spear,
Fear that the moon-bright blade
Will not be good
To end the serpent that girdles the earth:
But since you know its hit point total,
You kill it instead and steal its stuff.

Sunday 8 July 2018

The Question in Bodies #15: Upstream Colour (2013)

(Edit August 2020: This piece was obviously written long before the allegations of horrendous abuses perpetrated by Shane Carruth against his co-star and former romantic partner Amy Seimetz came out, and indeed long before Carruth posted a picture on Twitter of an Upstream Color soundtrack album next to the restraining order Seimetz served on him, which, however you frame that, can be in no way excused. Eventually I'll revise this post. But for the time being, just hold the thought that you don't treat the people who make things you love like saints.)  

As you get older (and I mean, as you get to my age), your favourites often become static. Your lists of things that you love, whether conscious or not, cease to allow new entries, and fewer things fall away. I suppose this isn't really as dangerous or depressing as it seems. It's part of aging. It's part of who we are.

Still, sometimes we surprise ourselves. I think it was the third time, or maybe the fourth, that I watched Upstream Colour that I realised that I was rewatching it for more than simply thinking it interesting or worth writing about, and that it had moved me deeply.

Spoiler warnings are for wimps, but you nonetheless have been warned. 

Saturday 7 July 2018

It is OK to be Sad (For David)

It is OK to be sad.

It is OK to say that I regret
The loss of a thing that gave me
Much to remember, to mourn
And say that right or wrong
This thing has gone, and forever
And this is done. And I am sad.
And it is OK to be sad.

It is OK to take a breath
And recognise I am not unmarked
By the deaths of those we loved
And those we knew and those
To whom we had a profound
Ambivalence. And I am sad.
And it is OK to be sad.

It is OK to understand that time
Has passed, the opportunities that
have passed untaken gone forever
With your youth, and say that
More than half my life is gone
And things did not pan out and I am sad.
And it is OK to be sad.

It is OK to say I am afraid of all the hate
And I am crushed beneath the weight of all the
Sorrow of the world when people who are
Good and people who are innocent are
Turned away and all the world is toxic
And I cannot stop these things and I am sad.
And it is OK to be sad.

And it is OK to say the sun still rises,
You are still here, you are still here
And you are young if I am not,
And I do not know what the world
Into which you will grow
Will be like, and mourning cannot stop
The bullets and the knives and the votes
That snuff out hope,
But as we are right now,
I am still alive, we are still alive
And we will take that breath again together
And we will straighten up
And we will smooth down our clothes
And I will place my hand upon your shoulder
And I will hold you tight
And I will look you in the eye
And I will say I love you and I know,
And I will say, I know that we have much to do,
But right now
It is OK to be sad.