music nonsense sea trees


It’s over a year now since I started work on recording the fifth Neureille album but I still need a few more sessions before it’s finished. I’m happy with the way it’s going and contributions from Paul Wigens, Everton Hartley, Mike Dennis, Pete Judge and Jim Barr have been superb. The next session is going to involve Ant Noel if we can get it together and that then shouldn’t leave too much to do.

In the meantime here’s a couple of improvisations I recorded on Sunday – just me and the loop pedal. The 1st is about 3 and a half minutes, the 2nd 8 minutes something. I thought about adding some words but instead here are the words I was thinking of using – you can always try a voice over of your own. It seems I wrote these at 1am on 2 October 2015. My diary tells me that earlier in the evening I’d been at Jocasta’s open mic night at the Clifton Wine Bar. The text file history tells me that I then modified the words on 3 April 2016 at 11.30pm. My guess is that I then added the last 11 lines and gave the thing a title which is West to East and East to West

the melting preferential stripped of alternate meaning
the diaspora of the circumference of the passing shroud
swill bits that squirm through deltoid species
the fascinating fandango of the fantastic phalanx
add extra sum-ups slowly and from below
the twining undergrowth of holistic chasubles
dredged as if from saffron drain combustible syringes
cotton-bud simplicity mixed with altruistic tendencies for symbiotic adherences
turtle-clad appendages bristling with slimy tendencies for chlorine aroma
aroma like sedge harvested from cocoon mocking hysteria
a thimble-full and then plenty
squidged through the blatant synergy of druid-built floating platforms
until suppressed and supplanted by visual images of cacophanies long forgotten
in boats squeaky on a high-built sea
like throats weakly on a fibre tree
I admit to a remote tendency
for torrid themes of treachery
and in-built divisions of geometry
that fly up into the terrasphere
and cast a shadow right to here
where symbols drift and conflicts clash
who cares to lift whose conduct rash
and so I pause and seldom rest
west to east and east to west

Fragment I
Fragment II
literature nonsense wells

Reading List 2015

some time ago i did a post with the books that i’d read in a certain year and this is a continuation of that. but this time it’s the books i read this year which currently is 2015 and here they all are

Title By
Ancient North America Brian M Fagan
Memoirs Vol 1 William T Sherman
Memoirs Vol 2 William T Sherman
Selected One Act Plays George Bernard Shaw
The March Of Portola Zoeth S. Eldredge
Trips To Mars Lucian
Narrative of New Netherland Various
The Faber Book of America ed. by Christopher Ricks & William Vance
The Red Badge of Courage Stephen Crane
A History of Europe JM Roberts (II)
The History of Louisiana Le Page Du Pratz
Galactic Pot-Healer Philip K Dick
By Night In Chile Roberto Bolaño
The Divine Comedy 1 Hell Dante Aligheri
Charles Bukowski Barry Miles
Mrs Shelley Lucy M Rossetti
A Life of Philip K Dick Anthony Peake
George Gershwin Alan Kendall
Miles Beyond Paul Tingen (II)
Misquoting Muhammad Jonathan A C Brown
Voyage around the World Bougainville
Summer Crossing Truman Capote
The Storyteller W.Benjamin (IV)
The Enchanted Wanderer Nikolai Leskov
White Rooms & Imaginary Westerns Pete Brown
Omoo Hermann Melville
Valis Philip K Dick
Across The Plains Robert Louis Stevenson
Utz Bruce Chatwin
Briefing For A Descent Into Hell Doris Lessing (II)
Selected Tales N.Leskov (III)
Cantata 140 Philip K Dick
Lost Illusions Honoré de Balzac
Hung Lou Meng Cao Xueqin
The Last Crusade Nigel Cliff
What’s Welsh For Zen John Cale & Victor Bockris (II)
Popism Andy Warhol & Pat Hackett (II)
Alfred Jarry A Pataphysical Life Alastair Brotchie
The Jugurthine War Sallust
The Letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague
The Woman of Andros Thornton Wilder (IV)
The Diaries Andy Warhol & Pat Hackett
Letters Of Madame de Sévigné
When We Dead Awaken Henrik Ibsen
Visions and Revisions John Cowper Powys

i’ll write a bit about some of them not all because that would be too much.

the first one i mentioned in my last post so enough about that.

general sherman is one of those great characters they named a tank after him. anyone who gets a tank named after them must be ok?

the march of portola tells the fascinating tale of the european discovery of california. what a hostile environment that was back then.

i returned to the american civil war with stephen crane’s book which arguably helped to define war correspondence and cast a new light on the overall theme of war.

john roberts’ a history of europe can be seen as a companion piece to his triumph of the west series which i have posted the 1st episode and promise to deliver more in time. the tension between christian and muslim society grows ever more emphatic.

philip k dick’s galactic pot-healer is a very weird trip and i think it would make a fantastic film but you would have to have a lot of cgi for the underwater sequences. maybe not – a few plastic models floating in a tank might do the trick. later i read the biography very much around the time of reading barry miles’ book about bukowski. 2 californian lives.

whereas gershwin was east coast.

going back to the history of europe/christian/muslim equation jonathon brown’s book tries to shed some light on some of the important issues which seem to be becoming more and more vital day to day.

the new translation (2 years old by now) of the enchanted wanderer and other stories was something i had my eye on for a while. sometimes it pays to hold off immediate desires and play a long, laborious game of catch. the eponymous tale is a masterpiece and it’s all good.

i’d read all of bruce chatwin’s books (maybe not some obscure ones if there are any) except for utz so was glad to find this in a 2nd hand bookshop – oxfam at the top of park street in bristol i think but possibly elsewhere. whereas the leskov interacts with walter benjamin’s the storyteller essay then utz interacts with the unpacking my library essay.

and then straight into doris lessing’s briefing for a descent into hell. dantaesque?

eventually as the year staggered to completion i plunged into the world of jarry and warhol – an unnatural combination, one devolving into a world of poverty and the other becoming increasingly wealthy especially with death. both benefited from death one dying in his mere thirties the other lasting into his fifties. both difficult to measure exactly how influential. whatever i’ll stick with them.

geology mixes music nonsense sea

Granite Mix 7

and now a granite mix that deals with my own work. this is my unveiling on this website of my new album which is called true v eye and will imminently be available on itunes and as a hard copy at my amazon store – see the buy stuff page for links. there are only 2 of the tracks from the new album featured on the mix along with a selection from other albums and some obscure places.

the music speaks for itself but it would be churlish not to write a bit about these tracks so here goes. desert ghost dance has nursery rhyme style dialogue and therefore acts as a pair with track 6. a famous german 20th century artist is referenced in the last verse. perplex is a pair with it too because it is also a dialogue of sorts. then there’s suspense which also hovers between heaven and earth, as do, for that matter the children of the sea. domes however merely fly beneath the starlit sky. i’ve already mentioned in my jar – a famous 20th century british writer is referenced in the 3rd verse.

my video for happy song is a shoddy affair but has a certain innocent sweetness in its demeanour which i hope makes up for that.

the track that i’ve called chasing the sun dates to a period when I was using a sampler to create the basics of my music. everything was a home recording and nothing was ever that well-finished but i’ve got a lot of interesting things that may never show the light of day. this one’s made it through though – for a while at least. It contains a sample from a track by sun ra called disco 2100. in the train was recorded in about 1982. at the recording session for the new album i re-recorded this track and my plan is to release both versions on some vinyl later this year. this is a re-mastered version of the 1982 track.

the words for v’nosnu are almost all from primo levi’s magnificent novel if not now when (english translation i’m afraid – an italian version would be good or maybe even a yiddish one). i’d just like to point out though that there is some art to it all the same – though mostly inspiration. in my book inspiration trumps artfulness. a cherry tree aka the cherry tree was somehow inspired and inter-connected with the music of the last track of the mix. I was still at school when I wrote the words which aren’t used in the music but which are

I planted a cherry tree
I watered it every day
in the summer I sat in its shade
one day a cherry appeared on my tree
one day a cherry appeared on my tree
it is for this that we live
it is for this that we live

here’s the mix


Granite Mix 7
Artist Title Album
Neureille Desert Ghost Dance True V Eye
Neureille Perplex Amanogawa
Dry Rib Suspense Whose Last Trickle
Neureille Children Of The Sea Disparue
Robert Vasey Domes Unreleased
Neureille In My Jar Amanogawa
Neureille happy song (for dependable person) Disparue
Robert Vasey Chasing The Sun unreleased
as,hem,syrup In The Train Whose Last Trickle (remastered)
Neureille V’Nosnu True V Eye
Robert Vasey A Cherry Tree Unreleased
angels birds fire insects literature music nonsense sea spider trees

mr knight

I am halfway or more through my new album which I won’t name yet, but I thought I’d do a quick creature head count.

1st song

a flesh hound (whatever that is)

2nd song

another hound (seems to be a bit of a theme – not intended)

3rd song

red wolf
mountain lion

4th song


5th song


6th song

tsetse fly

7th song


8th song


9th song


Eventually I’ll do a whole thesaurus of the animals, birds, fish etc. that populate the world of my song lyrics, not to mention the trees, flowers and assorted inanimate objects. When I am ill and lie abed with 2 fat wishes I’ll be fed and let the leaden moments pass each choosing singly their own path.

Instead of a basic guitar/bass/drums core the new songs are underpinned simply by 2 acoustic guitars. There is a 10th song which won’t be on the album but is a new version of an old song and this moves matters in a further fish like direction. Everton Hartley as always is the 2nd guitarist. We also recorded a dozen or so minutes of the instrumental music that we play together under the name Ashinosya. Here’s an excerpt from that to give you a flavour of the 2 guitars by themselves.


birds may music nonsense songwriting


In 1991 I spent a few evenings doing a recording session with my friend Andy Smith who is now manager of the PMT music shop in Bristol. Whenever I call in at the shop and see Andy he always tells me that he has no time to do any music any more, which is a shame because he is very talented. We worked on 2 songs, one which we completed which is called What Is It That You Dread? that tackled the subject of having a 2 year old daughter and an about-to-be-born son whilst the Gulf War and other atrocities seemed to be leading the human race towards Armageddon. The coda was from a radio recording that I made on the night when the US started the war with a precision-guided bombing raid on Baghdad. Now I wish I’d kept the whole of the recording, but all I have left is a very poor quality copy of the actual track. This is some of the dialogue from it

we continue to hear, er, an occasional round, er, go off in the background

they’re spurting fire into the sky, heavier calibre. I don’t know what they are but they’re more impressive than that used earlier.

Are things better today? I’m not sure when we live in a world where to some people Anders Breivik is a hero.

The other track we worked on was never finished – at least no vocals were ever added, but the recording quality was better, probably because the track was simpler and didn’t have so many added layers. I can’t remember who played what though I’m sure the drum machine programming was mostly by Andy and I think he played bass as well. I definitely would have done the rhythm guitar, but I suppose it’s the 2nd guitar that could have been me or could have been Andy. Sounds more like Andy to me, but sometimes I surprise myself.

Now, some 21 years later (my son’s age of course) I have recorded the vocals. I could do better but as usual I can’t be bothered. I have a philosophy which decrees that you shouldn’t work on things too much. If what you can do fast isn’t good enough then maybe next time it will be better. And there’s also a distorted guitar solo at the end which is another 1st take. In fact I wasn’t really thinking of it being a take at all, it was just to check the levels but once it was done it seemed adequate especially when you consider what I’ve just said above.

Compared to the serious shit I’ve described above re the other track, the lyrics to the song which I call Real are a reversion to my normal Nonsense. See the category Nonsense for further details. At times it seems like a John Cooper Clarke tribute, which is fine because I think he’s great, but there are definitely bits that are vaseyesque.


birds nonsense prose sea trees

Winter Thirst


A Short Operation


Green became tawny. Between tall spindle trees smoke rose from a cottage chimney. It hung in the air and then spilled to one side.

As Ern and Kast drew closer they heard sweet violin tones, muffled by thick limestone walls. The door was open – they knocked and Ern shoved his head inside. Both were grabbed, shaken and invited to dance by a frenzied crone, drenched with a bitter perfume. Mascara cascaded down her wrinkled cheeks. Her breath smelt strongly of onions.

The face of the violinist caused them to leap back towards the door. It resembled a metal flower – well-rusted and extremely scrappy – fit only for the junkyard.

They both ran for it, of course. Afterwards Kast said to Ern “You know, I liked very much that violin-playing.” Ern agreed that it had been astoundingly skillful. They returned to their small boat and sailed back across the channel to their homeport.

Ern’s Dream

At work, wearing new overalls he spilled a plastic cup of hot chocolate over his chest. His father emerged from behind a forklift truck. His eyes were pointed heavenwards.

“Commend my son unto thee. See he is like a whisky bottle run dry – the last drop of spirit lies unevaporated around the concave bottom. His mother passed away many years ago, since when I have used a fish in order to be faithful to her. Aye, a fish, like fisherfolk do on long sea-voyages.”

His dad was acting like a raving widower. He could not bear to see him thus transformed and went for him with a box of nails, assorted into handy sizes.

His father, with a cut eye and forehead lurched back out of what was now a chapel. A rather lively fugue was being performed on the organ. He followed the injured man out into a sunlit courtyard. Out in the open air, church bells pealed deafeningly. They were quickly surrounded by ostriches with long inquisitive beaks and necks.

He retreated to the chapel where he watched through the peephole whilst the ostriches, somewhat excited by the smell of fresh blood, perpetrated hideous disfigurements on his father’s whole body. The old chap still clung on though and, when he could, delivered stubborn kicks that winded several of the birds.

Ern was interrupted by a tug of his sleeve. “Could you sit down during the sermon, please” asked a rather presumptuous lay-worker. He sat in a central pew.

“Hells’ teeth, friends, are long, like fritters, coated in tartaric acid with the taste of rancid margarine exhumed from a dead man’s gut. Eventual Justice Will Prevail. I can’t express this too often. Some of you here today will be clawed by bird-men till you are but bleeding wrecks – raw carcasses yet still alive.”

At this point in the sermon Ern blushed, thinking of his poor old dad at the mercy of those unusually savage ostriches. Defying the lay-worker’s despising glare he hastened to the door and looked out to see his father struggling to get in, a mass of blood and feathers. Although one could not make out much of his face he seemed to cast a reproachful glance at his son through the small glass square. Ern repented. He opened the door. The lay-worker loomed up behind, slobbering with rage. Ern’s dad, now a vicious fighter, jumped on this rather pompous little individual.

At first Ern was quite amused to see this little runt take a beating, but then he noticed the scissors in his father’s hands.

“How the devil did he get those” he thought.

It was already too late – the sharp little blades had gone straight through the shirt that had been white, but was now reddening, and split the lay-worker’s abdomen open.

“You fool!” shouted the angered official.

No-one paid much attention, for meanwhile the ostriches had invaded what was now a cathedral. Some could fly and defecated on the choir and congregation from above. It grieved Ern’s heart to see such desecration.

La Flèche Sympathique

Eventually Kast and Ern never returned to their home-town.

Edgar felt lost without them. He mooned around the quayside where he had so frequently welcomed them in past years. One afternoon he sat on a backless metal bench facing a light dredger of dowdy appearance. To his left, by a rusting capstan, an unkempt mongrel was spewing up a dark red (almost russet) mixture that reminded him of something he had once seen on the floor of a Parisian public convenience.

This only added further to his irritation. Back home, his landlady would invite him to a game of chess, but both she and the game itself he found boring – he preferred to watch the dog.

“At least out here some adventure might befall me” he thought.

His wish was granted. Perhaps Ern or Kast had something to do with it, but after all, who cares – an adventure’s not to be scoffed at.

Later that evening he had returned to his apartment and was intently studying a cup of tea, when someone climbed in through his living-room window – open as it always was at this time of the year. A smartly-casual clerical type with a bulbous nose and a complete lack of eyebrows walked briskly across the room towards Edgar, seized him by the wrist and led him back to the window.

Most people would have resisted, but Edgar’s present lethargy and ennui induced him to succumb. One must admit, however, that he did begin to have serious misgivings when he found himself on a narrow ledge some thirty feet above the concrete yard at the back of the house. But there was no need to worry – they jumped and both started flying through the air.

“How peculiar” mused Edgar. It was certainly an unexpected twist to the day. They followed the widening channel and then reached the sea. As Edgar watched the beach and cliffs fade into the distance his thoughts turned to Ern and Kast – lost friends drifting in a void. Probably eating hamburgers. He, too, was hungry and rather cold by this time. He looked towards his companion for some sort of explanation, but the clerical character would not look at him. In fact, he strained his neck away, searching in the distance.

Gulls glided below complaining to the wind of the hardness of their life. Or so it seemed to Edgar. Actually he felt like complaining himself. I mean, an adventure is something, that’s true, but there must be limits, after all.

Eventually they reached another coastline. Highlands rose steeply from sea-level. A few miles inland they reached a pass between two craggy mountains. A medium-sized office block reared up on a grassy plateau. The two aviators came close to the building, hovered down and entered through a window just like his at home.

The room was a rather dreary office. At last his abductor spoke,

“You have been chosen as one of the few here in Arsanda – the few given the chance to marry the King’s daughter and rule at her side when he dies. This is a magical kingdom and the perks and benefits are unbelievable – I cannot begin to explain them to an uninitiate like you. Yours could be a life of luxury. But in order to win the Princess you must work here for forty years. She is but two years old, the King is twenty-four and has a good many years left. You must in the meantime prove yourself worthy of the Princess’s favours. You or one of the fifty like you – it matters not which.”

In The Golf Club

Scene IV

(The golf club bar. It is dingy and dimly-lit. The 4th Trombonist is acting as barman. Pious and unrelenting he pours lager over the heads of the customers. Whilst the following exchange is advancing, the customers throng, jostle and joke incessantly. Gordon and Firtree are sat on stools some ten feet from the bar. Each has his drink. The juke-box plays Amarillo Zippodder’s “Crazed ‘Bout You” as many times as necessary.)

Gordon: Nice whisky.

Firtree: You think so? Not a mixture?

Gordon: No, not on my nelly.

Firtree: Your nelly?

Gordon: That’s what I said.


Gordon: Been playing?

Firtree: Praying, actually.

Gordon: Preying?

Firtree: No. Praying. To Jesus.

Gordon: I say, really?

Firtree: Well, no, just my little joke.

Gordon: You’ll never believe what happened to me on the fourteenth. I was trouncing old Thompson, the building chappie, by a clear seven points when we were interrupted by a balloon race. One of the blighters landed on the fairway.

Firtree: Gawd, did you chase them?

Gordon: Tried to, but they turned on us with empty propane canisters. Smashed up our clubs, too. Spoiled the game completely. You know – it’s impossible to go on when you’ve been put off your stroke like that.

(A bunch of drunken young men lurch backwards knocking Gordon and Firtree off their stools.)

Gordon (still on the floor): Have care, you swine.

Firtree (rising painfully): Oh my ribs – something’s smashed.

Gordon: See what you’ve done, you bastards, my friend’s haemophiliac.

1st drunken youth: We don’t care if he’s made of delicate china or fine cut glass.

2nd drunken youth: Or built like Humpty-Dumpty. Eggshell surface – a bag of wind inside.

(The lights fade. A whistle pierces the stillness. A single beam of light returns – directed on a solitary drunk.)

Solitary Drunk (thinks): We burnt his feet, by the side of the fishpond. The wind blew backwards, rushing repeatedly through two silver tree-trunks. A renegade ice-cream van careered through the undergrowth, an ominous green light within. He staggered up, his feet peeling and blistered, and crawled off to look for his mother, on her way home from the supermarket. But she had run off with her new boyfriend – Cyclops. They had taken a taxi to the station and were already arguing.

“Do you always wear blue socks with brown shoes?”

Cyclops began to stammer an excuse, but kept silent. They passed by a huge red-brick factory which caused the very air to stink of rotting carrots discovered under one’s mattress on a winter’s night.

Then, the station. The taxi pulled up, but neither mother nor boyfriend showed any sign of stirring.

“I’m bored” said Maria (the mother, that is).

“I’m not going to cringe before you any longer, you toadthug.”

“What a cheek! You frisky cad!”

“Don’t ever ask me again. Come on, let’s get the train. Pay this citizen.”

“Don’t talk to me like that. My father was a foreman, my mother was a nurse, and I was made to swear, I’d never end up worse.”

An Only Child

Sebrana rose – she’d had enough. The kettle was left to boil as she slipped through the Judas trees, her eyelids pinned to her cheeks.

Night it was and fine, bright one too. The wind sounded like rustic pipes, blown by a dolt.

She walked head-down across the clodded meadow, pretending to be with Gordon, her imaginary lover, who whistled a tuneful waltz in her ear. They were in the desert – on a sand dune – it was jolly.

Back in the forest, as tall as trees, Sebrana sobbed on Gordon’s shoulders. Now they had grown even larger and used mountains as armchairs in their cosy apartment.

In truth she was alone. Even the little animals seemed to avoid her. If she had carried a knife in her bag she could have stuck it in her heart. Kept it there as a souvenir. Of Gordon, vanished, running into the night, lost in the forest.


Gordon eventually reached the house and entered by the conservatory. Once inside he ran upstairs into the bathroom and removed his sore eye. In the next room he could hear a hungry baby wailing for attention.

He slipped his plastic clammy fingers over the door-handle, pushed the door open and took a step inside.

One day, in the Caucasus Mountains, a goatherd had a dream :

He was in a red polystyrene beaker in a turgid canal – floating whichever way the wind blew. From this vantage-point he saw the moon, with a face, bend down and kiss a mad dog. Marching past, a military band were playing a foxtrot, but stopped and drew swords. The dog was slain. He saw tears on the eyes of the moon-face.

Back in the bottom of the beaker he found a handful of salted peanuts – and, shortly afterwards, woke up.

Back in the house, Gordon side-stepped into the corridor. The lights began to flicker incessantly in the umbrage, causing his thoughts to flash back to the freak meteorite storm that had occurred in his bedroom when he was nine years old. The next day he had found a smooth, rounded pebble in a clear mountain stream. His mind and indeed his life was full of such irrelevancies.

Suddenly he cried, “Yike!” as an enormous jellyfish, crimson with purple spots, plopped off the glass roof onto his neck. As it slipped down his shirt he sat on the foam carpet, sobbing.

Another door opened. Gadfly, the boy jockey, appeared with a handful of radishes.

“What’s up?” he queried.

“I need your help, I’ve been the victim of a vile ambush” said Gordon, opening his shirt-front to let the jellyfish slop out over his lap onto the foam. It scurried down the passageway towards the stairs.

Gadfly sniggered. “That’s Tony. He loves his little joke”

“Tee hee” thought Gordon.


Nonsense & NF Simpson

To leap from Alfred Jarry straight through to NF Simpson in the late 50s is to leave a lot out in terms of nonsense theatre otherwise known as the theatre of the absurd and possibly other sub-categories. But when you’re writing you can jump around in time and so I do. Because in the late 60s Simpson was my introduction to that sort of thing. My brother was keen on drama and he had some of his plays which I read. Part of the powerful pull they had on me then is obviously to do with the fact that these plays had been a very strong influence on a lot of the popular innovative comedy of the mid to late 60s, in particular the work of Peter Cook and then later Monty Python.

Simpson claimed that he didn’t know much about the work of earlier dramatists such as Ionesco and I can believe him. He mentioned Lewis Carroll as more of an influence. The plays haven’t aged too well in that the humour now seems dated. They created an effect which was of the moment and somehow was an opening which allowed something new to emerge.

The usual premise of a Simpson play is to use a banal everyday setting, a suburban middle-class home or an office, and people these with unexceptional individuals whose dialogue is at times a series of inane non-sequiturs. In The Hole a man-hole on the edge of a street or pavement is used as a central point which draws a small crowd of onlookers. There is a solitary messianic character, The Visionary; 3 men whose dialogue is somewhat more rational and 2 housewives (Mrs Meso & Mrs Ecto) who are a bit of a Greek chorus though most of their exchanges are off the point, endlessly discussing their husbands’ whims. Eventually a workman emerges from the hole. He immediately disappears, his only words being,

Cables! Junction box! Electricity! You never had any of this ruddy caper back in the Ice Age

The fantastic imaginative arabesques of the 3 men are dashed against reality.

SOMA: And this word “junction box”. Does it mean anything? Or is it just a new name for something we’ve been looking at all along?

CERBERO: It does have a meaning – a very definite meaning. Though it doesn’t make a great deal of difference to what’s down there, whether you call it by that name or another one. We call it a junction box because that happens to be a useful and convenient term for it – but any other name would do almost equally well. We know quite a lot about it, too. We know what its function is and we know what would be the immediate and the long-term effects of removing it. We could fairly easily – if you particularly asked us to do so – find out who put the junction box here and when. We can tell at roughly what date the modifications incorporated in this type were adopted as standard, and we can tell you to what extent they represent an improvement on the old type.

At the centre of the play a creed is recited by the 3 men in unison. I think it fits well with some of the Nonsense excerpts I have included in earlier posts. See the links at the end for the details of these.

I believe in one aquarium which was and is and shall be; in which shall be comprehended the sprat and the Black Widow; in it the sole and the carp shall swim together, the swordtail and water-flea; with the gudgeon shall float the mackerel, with the roach the guppy; duckweed shall be there, and foaming moss; neither shall the water at seventy-five degrees Fahrenheit be at variance with the water at forty degrees Fahrenheit, or eschew it. And the freshwater shall be salt and the saltwater fresh, and no distinction shall be made between them, for all are of one aquarium and there is no other aquarium, but this.

Edward Lear
Nursery Rhymes
Lewis Carroll
Erich Kästner
Alfred Jarry
Edward Gorey



Here’s a bit more about Eric Thacker and Anthony Earnshaw’s under-appreciated Musrum books.

Unlike most love stories the lovers in Wintersol never really meet. If you can call them lovers. There are 2 protagonists, Christmas and Bella. They inhabit a series of interlocking spaces within the musroid world, i.e. the world devised in Musrum.

The musroid world is a headstrong replica of the world we know constructed on the principle that all conceivable and inconceivable things persist within reality, and that myth is the true history of this or any other world.

Christmas and Bella don’t need each other except as a reflection of themselves and their solitude is generally inevitable – intimacy is just a dream. For a short period they exchange letters which is the closest they come to the dream, but you can’t help feeling that anticipation is more quintessential than consummation.

‘Rotabella, my pretty silver wheel,’ wrote Christmas, ‘I want you to spin the fortunes of my journeys, and carry me hither and thither with the speed of starlight. There are so many places to go, so many sights to see!’

‘Warden of the Snow, Rubicotta,’ responded Bella, ‘I feel already the blizzard of your beard. Red-garbed, white-haired, wooly-mittened, jack-booted, sack-bearing, chimney-creeping, kindly burglar, you are my Garibaldi sprung from the grave.’

‘The laggard postman is no friend of lovers,’ wrote Christmas. ‘Enough of paltry scribblings! I shall dispatch myself, a living letter, for you to open and read. Be ready!’

‘Fly down, gaudy robin, and perch on my finger,’ implored Bella. ‘Sing me the thin song of winter. If you want me to believe in you, do not disappoint me or disregard my final request.’

Eventually Christmas descends the chimney, but the bed is empty, Bella plays a trick and disappears.

On one level the book is a joke which proposes an alternative origin to the Santa Claus tradition, but of course it is mainly a procession of surrealist nonsense with ingenious and skillful illustrations. The book was first published in 1971. Here is the frontispiece

here an excerpt from Christmas’s diary

and this one’s not for children of a nervous disposition

gigs literature micromuseum music nonsense

What will be and what’s gone past

This is just an interim post to jot down a few things that may be coming and a few that may not. A few follow-ups and advertisements where the 3rd syllable sounds like eyes and is stressed accordingly.

There will be a Neureille gig at the Kingsdown Vaults in Bristol on Saturday 3rd December. Proposed line-up will be Paul Wigens on drums & percussion (small kit), Everton Hartley on bass guitar & guitar as well sometimes probably, Tom Ranby on whichever saxophone he fancies that night. I will be playing my Spanish guitar rather than my Strat. Laura Lambell might make it too to do some vocals. We will be playing songs from the 2 albums, disparue & amanogawa plus possibly doing some other things. And I hope to have a few guests to do some cameo appearances plus some sets. I will provide more details when I’ve worked that out. Unfortunately Ant Noel won’t be able to make it as he’s playing a solo gig that night.

But I will be doing a couple of things with Ant over the next couple of weeks – Sunday 13th November at the Somerset House in Clifton Village and Tuesday 22nd November at the Merchant’s Arms in Hotwells. I’m not sure exactly what sort of thing the session on the 13th will be, but I’ve done a couple of the Tuesday night sessions already with Ant and my contribution has been as a quartet with Everton and myself on guitar, Ant on mandoline and James Stallwood on clarinet as we did at the event I described in an earlier post. It’s a great line-up. We’ve only played 4 songs so far but we could easily do a 45 minute set at the drop of a hat because there’s a lot of freedom and improvisational possiblities there.

I’m a bit behind at posting things here, but I’m working on a demo of a new song which will make a nice post with some more artwork from The Adventures of Tintin. Too much day-work right now is slowing me down, but that is due to finish at the beginning of December. Other posts I have promised are

  • Wintersol – sequel to Musrum (another one for the Nonsense category)
  • Edward Gorey Part II (again Nonsense)

One that I promised which I decided not to do was on the wreck of the Medusa. I found that this had been covered pretty extensively in a work by Julian Barnes. There’s something a bit plagiaristic I find about that sort of thing. Borges was able to do it ok and Umberto Eco also does it in a way I find acceptable, though I must admit I can’t call myself a huge fan of either of those writers. In other words, I think covering the Medusa raft story is ok for a blog post but to me it shows a lack of inventiveness to rewrite the narrative in a novel, however nice a style you have. So sorry about that.

To conclude the Fool’s Gold saga I will be putting up the track that I recorded back in 1983 or so which uses random snippets from the text. This easily ties in again with Nonsense as does another post which I’ve been meaning to write based on the work of NF Simpson who died earlier this year.

I’ve mentioned Kafka in the last two posts and so I’ve just made that a run of 3, but at the moment I’m simultaneously re-reading The Complete Short Stories and also The Diaries. After that I’ll re-read the Walter Benjamin essays and then maybe write further on the writer who I feel in many ways made me write the way I do. All this takes time and creative energy so may not happen until next year.

On the micromuseum front I should like to do another postage stamp set + I took some photos of some strange Chilean artefacts which need to be manipulated and I also need to think what possibly I can write about them, for they are mysterious and very difficult to research. Other micromuseum things I planned were a post on Alfred Wainwright’s book, Fellwanderer, some of John S Goodall’s illustrated small books and probably some other things, but now it is late – gone 3am and I must be up soon after 7.

I couldn’t be bothered to put the usual links I put in, in this post. Occasional sloppiness can only lead to perpetual sloppiness, but the excuses are there.

nonsense prose

Fool’s Gold Part 4

This is the last part of the Fool’s Gold travesty. Here are the links to the other parts.

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3

And now here is Part 4.

Tired and embarrassed as usual, but he still stayed up until everybody else went to bed.

He found her reclining on an antique dresser. When he asked her of her intentions she simply pointed out of the window towards a clump of laburnums.

Do you know what this means? Have you any idea what’s going to happen now?! Have you no shame?!!

Will you tango? Just this once? Go on.

A day-charge, a day-charge. Six day-charges.

Off the greasy coast a boat slipped round towards the crude headland. We followed them slurping over the dunes, dragged down by weights. And still we got there before them. As we were digging they creaked up behind. But most of us had hung back under cover. And so they had no chance.

Let’s improve things. Come on, react for once, dare you?

Take these overalls and sleep on them.

What about our government?

There is a problem – don’t worry though. It can be sorted out.

Let’s harness it – try to focus on what’s real. What is real? Spotty – you should know the answer to that.

Do you want to eat some of this giant cucumber? Look at it, in my hands, isn’t it enormous. Here, I can push this knitting needle right through it.

If you’re really indifferent don’t pretend to be otherwise. It’s a posture you put on to fool people. Come on – admit it.

Pepper and salt.

Felony is only permissible when performed by more than one person. It’s a curious ruling which we believe to be unique among all other current nations.

Oh the epitome.

Is there a fifth trombonist or is it a mistake in the programme?

He thinks it’s a burden. Just look at him. Have you ever seen anyone so affected? He should watch himself.

Caught in an eddy.


There’s a strong bias to the left. The motor’s slowing down. Do something.

Slurp it once, slurp it twice. Slurp it down it tastes so nice. Slurp it when you’re feeling good. Slurp it like you’re slurping blood.

The most crushing defeat – but fear not. Wherein the simplest faces were turned now all is turned to gibberish and the moon – planks of the deepest ocean are nothing to the ever-present trustees.

Variably so, increasingly.

Single breathedly.

Pip pip per paska. Hiss hiss sun mink.

Vermicelli, please, and plenty of new pegs too.

It’s fading – so hold on – we’ll have to come through backwards. Now slowly.

I’ll give you jagged.

Her scrutiny. It pleases me. Won’t she look again. Will her to. I demand it.

Make preparations by all means. It will be the pilgrimge of a lifetime – that I can promise you.

Slowly, inexorably, soon to plough overfield.

Stavitz again. Just as if it was raining.

When it’s warm enough – climb inside and sink like earthbound sap along the tree’s bark until that which you once remembered as a few moments ago is lost in a labyrinth of meaningless egg-formations. Or in other words – fall asleep. I’ll keep watch.

Press on it. Here. And over here… Harder.

Chewing. Labouring. Festival raising. Parsley-sauce making.

Jamboree. That’s J..A..M..B..O..R..E..E…

Go to Fleet St. as fast as you can. Tell them there’s an interesting story that may not be too amusing for their readers.

This is my studio. What do you think? Take a look around. Do you like these?

Yes thanks. What’s this?

Put it in this giant brazier. Now watch it burn. I’d give all the world for just that.

Scandals on every page. Take this peat-dropping incident – have you ever heard anything like it?

Tis an unfair thing to pry where you are not wanted – where no good can be done – for it is a hopeless case.

I spent twenty-three minutes watching men working. Digging a trench.

I don’t often make jokes.

We went through the Suez Canal with a religious maniac.

He’s had too much today. Too much brilliant sunshine and a flat tyre and sherry until it flowed from his navel.

I always look for a letter, whenever I come in. At dusk I switch on my front room light – check – then switch off. At night I push the door well open to cast streetlight on the entrance – make sure that no envelope has been shoved through. I usually expect her to be waiting for me – alone in the dark. I don’t dream such things – I laugh at myself as soon as I have turned the light on.

Shuffle away.

Slurping machines lunge out of misted-up windows.

People talk such tosh – I specialise myself.

She still haunts me. I don’t know what speaking to her will do to me.

That’s nothing new.

Scale the fortress and then ask me that again.

She’s almost cured. Sometimes it still hurts.

Lohengrin, Lohengrin come here and have a breakthrough. Dismiss this dull depression and despair.

Look at his little tootsies.

Dance, dance your legs off my little Louisiana chicken. You certainly have made an impact on me. You must visit me up the bayou one day. Hetsy can show you which way to come. Bring your dancing shoes. I have lots of different seeds for you to chew.

Afterwards the sky was stained red in the west.

Thus in a tent, before ten yards were gone… the ptarmigan all hunched and incumbent…

Hello sweetie, belabour, do you hear. Be labour and a quick about it. A quick about it too. Be labour.

What about Crème de Menthe?

It’s symbolically cold – the ice. Here cop hold of this. Fungus. Beetroot-coloured fungus. Thick and slimy. With a nose like a butcher’s scalpel.

It doesn’t take a pigeon’s leg to make a good man happy.

Why do you torture me? Surely you’ve had enough of a good time already.

Enlumpen yourself. Tout de suite. A l’adverserie. And then melt surreptitiously away.

As you wish.

Here’s the crumble. Betray it at your peril. Wake up sleepily and pour gravy on your belly. Then take saucepan with frying grease and unwax it on the ceiling. Have you got that?

Whaahh ugh, whauoogh stersplosh tra-tra-tra-aaaaaaaaaaaaaaarghhh. Minsha minsha – triiiiiiiipe saplatz saplatz

What d’ya take me for? A passport to exotica or sumting?

Does this tempt you?

Listen just listen – it might happen now.

Solitary trudger, answer me this, how far have you travelled this night and wherefore do you aim?

For instance there’s this one. Here take it. But be careful. Only use it when you absolutely have to.

Bashful they say.

I repent, I repent. For once and for ever – I will not gloat again. Not next time – not never.

Manicures at 50 pinkers a session. And not much else. Still what do you want for 50 pinkers? Have you got any change?

Zippodromes. So they say.

What a way to carry on. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.