Graham Higgins Illustration - Literate Graffiti Dept.

Archive for February, 2016

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February 15, 2016

THE BRAINWORM IN THE EARBUD

To the British, these three descending notes:
Aa-Ga-Do
will be as Moses’ staff upon the rock.
Those three notes (Aa-Ga-Do)
fanfare a folk tradition, mummery and chanting
to call to mind those lost in the dreamland circle of purgatory: Empty[v],
a place for those accurséd dwellers in perpetual fatuous euphoria,
packed inside the prison-ship the Channeling-Trunk
gathered, watchful, waiting for their turns at the shiny window
grinning, mugging, miming; pointing in obvious panic, using heads and fingers, knees
and Those: linked fingers – raised and wrung in a Pie Jesu
around the clowns’ facades: the aching cheeks,  eyebrows all fol-de-rol
All covert, coded pleas to please please see those stifling confines
One Shiny Window
This short Slot In The Schedule
Spirits of a Costa Brava stag-do long ago: fruity cocktails as they party party
no bar-tab; no sleeep; no hangover
and no respite.
Until next time my friends – be nice to Mum and
As They Say – Be Careful What You Wish For!!!

I wish I were there now
with them, up and loving’ it
far from the daily grind, the roundabouts, the treadmill of the same ol’ same ol’

Is how he story goes, so I’ve heard.

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February 11, 2016

The Discard-Pile

We’re clearing up, clearing out, sorting out the stuff to keep from years of boxes, piles and shelves of stuff we’ve just kept because there was no need to make decisions. Stuff comes to light that might’ve been important at the time.
This sketchbook found beside the bed, say; a page of notes from that post-op twilight that now feels more of an event than I knew at the time. I can’t remember writing any of this nor why it should’ve been something to do at the time. Not something I had to do or felt compelled to do, just something that I now find I did.
I guess it’s natural to go back, to try to edit meaning or purpose into what we do, to make it consistent with someone we think we are or want to be. Let yourself off that hook. Some of it is no more significant than a reaction to a bit of angular grit in the eye. Don’t waste time introspecting about why that particular grit, that particular time, whether there was any great meaning in the impromptu pantomime “Oh SH**!+?*//!!… No, No. it’s just a bit of grit” Carry on everyone. It’ll wash itself out.
Cough; sneeze; gag; hiccup; wince; write. Don’t give writing more importance just because you had to learn to do it.

coma fragments

*

Something happened
I hardly noticed
until nothing happened after it.

*

Through the glass I can see such vaults of space
I can nearly feel them
and if I tilt my mind just so
it’s easy to imagine I can hear them.
Words won’t bridge that gap.

*

That thought I just had
did I think it
or was I only here by chance to notice it?

*

I count to ten and then begin again
time after time to tire this brain to rest
apart from this part here
that wonders if I’ve reached the thousands yet
and where I left off 1-10 last time.

*

I observe me even in the dreams my brain makes in my sleep
I watch him being me
a character you see
there, after I disappear.
The door sighs shut and he is gone
into that room where you observe me.

*

The mind’s I
The Inner Here
The white noise of electric jelly

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February 5, 2016

Sitting

It was sometime late. The rest of the house and the people in it were asleep and we sat. I maybe had some drawing going on. She was flicking about with her phone. I mention that only because otherwise there was silence.
“Know what’s nice about this?”
I was surprised. I hadn’t noticed it was nice. We’d been sitting a while, drawing, flicking about, those quiet dents in the silence. I knew anyway that it was a question she had a mind to answer, so I waited.
She must have thought about this before but it sounded like she was knitting the words together, listening to the out-loud version.
“You know, it’s quite a thing to have a friend you can sit with.”
I think I stopped drawing.
“I mean really sit with.”
Really sit with.
I like this way she has of keeping a thought so that when it’s smoothed off a bit, comfortable in her hand, she’ll rummage in wherever she’s kept it and hold it up in the light like a pebble pocketed on a shoreline drift, turn it around to look again at its form, its colours and textures.
“Knowing that you have a friend you can sit with and if you have something to say you can say it and you won’t be interrupted and you won’t be misunderstood because they’re listening to you saying it, not what someone might mean.
“About anything, and that’s OK too. Safe. And they may have something to say about it but you know they don’t feel as if they have to because they know that you know they were listening.
“Or you can sit as long as you like and nothing’s said and that’s OK too, because friends can do that.”
It made me smile, and I didn’t have to explain that either. I was glad I’d had the time to listen and that she’d thought it and said it, and I might have said something like “Mmmyeah. Thanks.”
I’m writing this here now because I was listening then there.
She knows that. Sometimes even now I’ll sit mute with nothing that much to tell myself and remember that and the smile seems to be attached. I find I’m smiling and realise what I’ve just been thinking about.
Because I know what’s really nice about it.

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February 2, 2016

Bringing people together in a controlled environment

TV programmes, as we know, are the fillers between the adverts that inform a culture. If you’re at home during the daytime you’ll be sure to need a broad selection of on-line bingo-options to collect and keep on your mobile-phone to play responsibly, and easy access to friendly loans at three-figure interest rates in case you accidentally play irresponsibly; everything you need to make full use of those drab hours when you’re otherwise forced to watch replays of Emmerdale and documentaries about routine police chores involving abusive drunks and drivers who haven’t quite worked out the difference between transport from A to B and Playstation stock-car demolitionathons.
I’m going to mention the name that’s already hovering over this stretch of media tundra. Yes, that name. I feel I ought to issue a caution because the name Jeremy Kyle alone is close to an emetic for many. Duh! Sorry. Yes, that name. Even with a bit of detachment, deliberately picking his show from the channel listings is too close to moral self-harm to be comfortable.
But if you automatically shudder simply because of the hours of scheduling occupied by this tacky, sensational, shallow, sanctimonious, exploitative, hypocritical freak-show, you miss some real insights into a culture that regards those qualities as necessary stepping-stones to T-shirt slogan celebrity.
Study the man. He’ll remind you who he is in case you’ve missed the continuity announcement, the mention from the show’s sponsors – FoxyBingodotcom – and the widescreen shiny MGM logo of the credit title. He wishes us, his friends, a bigbig welcome to the Jeremy Kyle Show, announces his ‘guests’, today on The Jeremy Kyle Show; asks them to tell us why they’re on The Jeremy Kyle Show; advises them to Shut Up! It’s called The Jeremy Kyle Show! And he has a stock gag about ‘are you all right? Well obviously you’re not all right or you wouldn’t be on The Jeremy Kyle Show’
This is always good for a chuckle from the audience, along with well-worn favourites like his reassurance to nervous guests not to worry about them – ‘They should be at work!’.
When any of the guests storm off the stage – just one of the points of Kyle Show etiquette – he, knowing the score, will bustle off after them with his camera and sound technicians to continue his harangue in one of the lounge-areas or backstage corners where custom dictates the guest is to be found sulking until the Kylester delivers another of his off-the-cuff clichés, ‘I don’t know why I ‘ave a bleedin’ set; I spend all my time running around…’ Again, equally spontaneous audience laughter. He calls this bit The Kyle Olympics. The audience shrieks… the man is a comedy legend.
The walk-off is often connected with lie-detector or DNA test results, which are always ‘all-important’ and will be revealed ‘after This Break – You won’t want to miss it!”
You will already have gathered that those parts of the show not occupied by guests discussing their dilemmas at high volume, relieved by moments of post-production modesty-silence and careful blurring of expressive hand-gestures, are already accounted for by a click-and-select menu of Things Kyle Says.
He’s very often so embarrassed by by these low-jinks that he’s obliged to yell in the face of an offender that he won’t have them on The Jeremy Kyle Show (sponsored by Foxybingodotcom) if they come on Effing and Jeffing like that. Here at home on the ancestral sofa, I’m rather impressed that he doesn’t actually say Fucking, but I must confess to a sneaking curiosity regarding the Jeffing. I’ve tried it on occasions, working through a basket of ironing with the show on for company – Aah JEFF! Jeff off, you jeffing jeffer! -but maybe it’s lack of practise; I can’t get it to sound quite as mortally offensive as I’d like.
In fact, his entire spiel could be loaded into your sat-nav and still leave room for maps of Western Europe. “The Thing Is, right, hear me out – look at me – forget what you want for a moment and concentrate on what’s Really Important; be quiet, I’m speaking, it’s called The Jeremy Kyle Show, what you should be doing right now is taking the third exit off the next roundabout!”
You could even have his Court Counsellor, Graham, “The Genius”, to penetrate to the very heart of your perceived problem, Though. extended. use. of. this. plug-in. is. not. advised. for. long. journeys.
One of the frequent promo-montages often used in the show itself has the Monotone Man advising a guest that his problem is ‘You’re using one of the most addictive substances known to man… and that means…’ See, now we’re getting to it; this is the calm voice of authority… “…it’s going to be really difficult to give it up.” This is the quality of support you can expect from The Jeremy Kyle Show.
A certain body of opinion might say that Kyle, this extremely shrewd weasel-faced barely articulate approximation of human form stretched thin over a molten core of self-serving ambition has hit upon a very efficient way to upcycle old rope. This is made possible by the dismal carnival procession of Breughelian grotesques gagging to get a night in a Manchester hotel with en suite mini-bar and that seam of Celebrity bestowed by the achievement of getting on the telly.
I return to my original proposition, that by the principle of unexpected consequences Jeremy Kyle may be the prurient Henry Mayhew de nos jours, offering us brief glimpses of the poverty of language and education, the cultivation of need, that surrounds us wherever we are. More of that all-important evidence after this break… Trust me my friends, you don’t want to miss it!