Skip to main content

i meant to say


this is probably the most predictable blog post i've written, but that doesn't especially worry me. after all, being predictable in certain respects points to consistency, stability, self-assurance. nothing too bad about that. and besides, i'm writing about something that has been a constant in my life for nearly twenty years.

as many of you already know, on november 24th, the world suffered a loss, unmarked by the vast majority, but tremendously important to a small, devoted group. peter christopherson, member of throbbing gristle, psychick tv, coil and several other music projects, passed away- peacefully but unexpectedly- in his sleep. his enormous influence in underground music can hardly be overstated and it is sad to think that such an important creative force has been stilled.

although his work was decidedly off the mainstream, "sleazy" found his way into more homes than most people realise. before becoming famous/ notorious as a musician, he was a designer at the much-lauded design firm hipgnosis, who produced some of the best known album artwork of the 70s including pink floyd's "animals" and led zeppelin's "houses of the holy". he was also a skilled video director, making music clips for coil, as well as better-known acts (robert plant, ministry, sepultura, yes, paul mccartney). from the outside, he seemed to be one of those people you want to hate, because he was just so good at everything he took on.

i never met or corresponded with christopherson, not because he seemed either inaccessible or unfriendly- as far as i can tell, exactly the opposite was the case- but more out of a sense of awed shyness. i could never figure out exactly what to say to someone who'd had such an impact on my life. and that's no exaggeration. coil, more than any other band i can think of, changed my life. a lot of my musical taste developed because i was lucky enough to meet up with people who knew more about it than i did. coil are the exception to that. i'd heard of them, i'd even heard their cover of "tainted love" (which was played to me as if it were a joke and which i had taken as such), but i'd never listened to them, really. i had started doing a radio show when their album "love's secret domain" came out and, despite not knowing anything about them, i became sort of fascinated with it. there was something about the steven stapleton cover art that spoke to me. for weeks, i would pick up the case and study it, but would never listen to it, because i was convinced that i wouldn't like it and that it would somehow be a let down to the beauty of the art. but finally, one day near the holidays, when i was alone in the station with nothing better to do, i decided that i might as well give it a shot. so there i sat on a stool in the cramped record library, hunched over a stereo set up that could at best be called "quirky" and something just changed.

i've never quite known how to describe it, but there was a definite shift in the angle of my musical tastes during the hour it took me to listen to that album. and yes, rather than just scanning through to get an idea of what it sounded like, i did end up listening to every minute of it, practically without moving. it was not merely that i liked the music, although i absolutely did, but that it was one of the only times i'd found something which fulfilled everything i personally wanted from music at that moment. not having enough knowledge to sort out and imagine the possibilities, i'd never been able to envision (enhear?) what that might actually sound like, but here was a group of eccentric englishman i'd never met who apparently knew what i needed better than i did. no one had ever pointed me towards them as a band i might like (i knew more people who derided them), but, somehow, there i was, in a sort of shock, just me and coil together.

of course, an important aspect of that experience was that the band served as a door to a musical world whose existence i'd suspected, but never confirmed. there were other bands who had a profound impact on shaping my tastes, but the point of genesis was always that moment hearing "love's secret domain". and however my tastes may have shifted in the interim, i never stopped loving coil. they're one of the few bands who i feel managed to have a long career without losing quality, becoming neither predictable nor forcing themselves in an ill-fitted new direction.

i think that if i had corresponded with peter christopherson, i would have liked to have found a way to explain that to him, while trying not to sound like a sycophantic git. (i can sound like one here and feel like i'm not embarrassing myself.) people for whom music becomes intertwined with living take our heroes seriously. they may never meet us, but we follow always at a discreet distance, watching what they do and waiting expectantly for what will come next. we are bitterly disappointed if they choose to rest on past laurels and we can barely contain our excitement each time they give us something new. what we hope in return is that the burden of our expectations is an incentive and not a cage, that they take heart in the fact that around them are unseen others who believe that they are bright stars in an increasingly dark world and who feel our lives diminished by their passing.

anyone wanting to leave a final word can do so here.

Comments

as long as you're here, why not read more?

presidenting is hard :: these people are not your friends

hello mr. president! a while back, i promised that i would periodically be giving you some advice on how to do your job, since you seem a little unclear on how everything works. i didn't mean to go so long between missives, but the fact is that i've been busy and you're administration has been in overdrive giving me things to write about. what i've realised is that many of those things are ones i can't help you with: if you or anyone in your immediate circle worked with russians to compromise the 2016 election, that shit is done. robert mueller is going to find that out, because he's the kind of person who looks like the theme from dragnet just automatically starts playing every time he enters a room. so that's your problem. i'm just here to talk to you about what you can do now that you are, by law, the president. because, while chief detective mueller is doing his thing, we all need to live with your decisions. i'm even less happy about that than…

write brain

i was talking to a friend of mine about coffee, specifically about our mutual need for coffee, yesterday and, literally as i was in the middle of a thought, an idea occurred to me that i felt like i had to note. so there i am, scribbling a note to myself that was really just a word salad of related terms, which i later transformed into a weird but more comprehensible note that i could refer to later. [i don't want another beatriz coca situation on my hands.] i feel like this idea isn't a story on its own, but something that i could incorporate into a larger project, which is good, because i have a few of those.

now, of course, i need to sit down and do research on this, because it's become terribly important to me that the details of this weird little idea that i'm planning on incorporating into a larger thing be totally plausible, even though no one but me is ever going to care. i'm increasingly convinced that the goal of every writer is to find someone who will t…

luck of the irish?

i like st. patrick's day. i like the fact that there is a holiday that celebrates celtic-ness and drunkeness at once (you could argue they were pretty close to begin with). in fact, it's probably second only to halloween as my favourite publicly recognised holiday.

so every year, i have to have my little ritual and that ritual involves visiting a pub and partaking of the cheer. i've made attempts at watching parades in various cities, but i've more recently given up that practice because a) eight out of ten times, it's freezing cold and/ or snowing in canada on march 17th and b) the parades seem to consist entirely of trucks carrying people who are as drunk as i would be, if i weren't freezing my tush off watching them. so i've backed off the parade in recent years.

however, a visit to the pub, the longer the better, is still an important thing for me.

next year, however, i'm going to have to plan things a little better.

first of all, i didn't …