Wait Long By The River…

I’m watching a poodle out the window of Some Velvet Morning… she keeps squirming to find a more comfortable spot to rest her head. Every time the elbow-pillow moves, the dog looks up at me as if to say, “on my deathbed I will reflect and only then will I realise it was the search for success that brought be true fulfilment. Success itself is a shiny bauble.”

Actually, the waitress went out and gave him a good, long scratch. Now he’s just blissed out.

I’m still only up to the bit where you fuss with elbows, but I’ve launched a new project, and there’s a touch of the waitress-scratch feeling left over from an extremely successful first night. Kayla and I moved here to Melbourne more than a year ago, and I just keep meeting people with extraordinary stories… so I’m going to try to get some of those stories out there in the world! With any luck they’ll compete with the glut of scripted, self-serving ‘revelation-as-marketing’ anecdotes that A-listers spruik around, and Australia will start to get a little bit of that magic that Americans have been getting from Marc Maron, Duncan Trussell, and co for the last five years.

The show’s called Wait Long By The River and I’m in this cafe waiting for web-genius Remy Coll, who’s going to help me get the website up and running. Shows are going to start going up this week, with any luck, so have a look at the link if you’re interested and let me know what you think on twitter, @LongByTheRiver, or on the Book of Faces.

Finding a Poet

When someone recites poetry without palm-cards, it’s hard to restrain my admiration. It’s a charismatic act, one that relies very little upon the natural charm of the orator. You could be the sports fan at a goth-bar, or the Tory MP in a union meeting, and reciting something topical from memory would still bring down the house.

I’ve been trying to overcome my extremely poor head for lyrics by memorising poetry. It hasn’t gone well. In part, I blame a lack of natural talent – my good friend Andrew Stojanovski recites an outback lyric with such clarity and such an honest tone that you’ll forget your own skin; then he’ll shrug into his beer and say ‘Anyone can do it!’ My other oft-repeated excuse is that I haven’t been naturally drawn to poetry in the past. Visit the house of Jeff Thompson (of Jason Recliner fame) and he’s as likely to pluck a volume of John Donne from his well-stocked library as he is to put Ry Cooder on the vinyl player.

Well, I’m the first to redirect the former charge away from someone else’s talent to my own laziness. But the latter has resisted all sorts of efforts – Jeff’s library, Allen Ginsberg’s collection in the bathroom, a few New Year’s resolutions. I always believed in the back of my mind that the right poet would shake that hoodoo. I think I’ve found him, or he’s found me.

He writes under the unlikely moniker of Adonis. He’s not new; apparently, to the Arab speaking word he’s as familiar as Wordsworth. Everyone in the Arabic-speaking world has studied him, or feels a little guilty when admitting to not having read him. So I have been led to believe by the foreword to a newish collection translated by Khaled Mattawa.

I forget how I stumbled across it, but I know he’s the right one for me because I keep finding lines of his wrestling against my habitual phrases. When I tell my usual Millenial woes of indecision and the tyranny of opportunity, it has started to come out, “I thirst for an hour/ for which I would bet all my days.”

Everyone is getting married, and I want to read for them:

She holds my fingers and stares
and ponders,
rummages through caves,
unearths alphabets.

Won’t you laugh, won’t you frown?
Won’t you whisper?
This is my hand, take it,
take my tomorrow.

And I am reminded daily of this extract, as the endless articles and must-reads fill my day like water flooding in to drown Batman:

An impulse makes me wonder, was this new companionship a celebration of childhood or a desire to celebrate it? Was it a way to tap into the imagination of our ancestors hoping for more than the poetry they left behind? Perhaps I longed to attach myself to the body of the alphabet, as it had been imagined by that wrongheaded Phoenician who invented it and suffered the consequences of his invention. I say wrongheaded, and I ask him across the distances that separate us and unite us, why did you not let us write with the bodies of things, the things themselves, and not these letters steeped in abstraction? Isn’t matter closer to man’s nature, more deserving and expressive than these signs and symbols? And can you prove, that you and your offspring who improvised upon your invention in this city of Beirut, that the writer who inscribes letters and words and writes in bundles is more reasonable and understanding than another who only sings words and runs them between his lips? You yourself can see that those who took up your invention made a swamp of the world with noises that pollute everything, while the other transformed sounds into musical chords where the voices rising from the throats of nature intermingle and soar.

Perhaps he won’t be your poet, but there’s every chance he could be. Have a look at this free extract I found somewhere or other. Or forget the written word for a day and speak to somebody.

http://www.worldrepublicofletters.com/excerpts/adonis_excerpt.pdf

 

 

 

 

Oliver Hayes is a genius.

Ollie is super excellent

So I know this guy Ollie Hayes, and he’s designed and created album covers and posters for Fun Machine and also Smoky Seas and I love not only his style but also him. I asked him to create something for me, and he asked me what my ideas were. I said I wanted something outside of my personal control, something from an outsiders point of view, to which he replied: “You’ve gotta give me something!” So I asked for autumnal, as that’s a palette of which I’m never going to tire. Then I asked for neon, to make this difficult for him and to contradict myself a little.

Moral of the story is, Ollie nailed it. Here it is in in a ridiculously detailed format so that you can zoom right in and see the fantastic details like the textured paper and the swishy colours.

If you want to steal some of his talent for yourself, drop me an email at james m fahy @ gmail dot com and I’ll hook you up!

PS. The show is going to be really special. There’s a facebook group here.
Ollie is super excellentJF Poster

Local Gold Concert this Sunday!

I’m going to be joining the hallowed ranks of Canberra geniuses on Sunday afternoon at 5pm, somewhere north-side, for the Local Gold concert series. It’s a guerilla gig, and it’s hosted people like Hashemoto and Julia & the Deep Sea Sirens (!) in the past, so I’m pretty chuffed.

They announce the location on the morning of, so key into the Local Gold webpage: http://www.localgold.net.au/
or listen to ABC 666 radio that morning because I’ll be spilling the beans myself!

I’m playing with the Cashews as well! So excellent.

 

 

Back in action

Well, I was locked out of this website for a really long time. I’m back in, thanks entirely to Radu Suciu of McGill University, Montreal. He is a wonderful person, may the love of the universe rain upon him endlessly.

I’m going to change the format of this site as soon as I am able, but until then, gigs will be updated properly and I will keep you in touch.

Thanks be to Radu,

J

The Baker

Last night was Hashemoto’s last gig in Canberra for a while, and they asked some people to read poetry. I was one of those readers, and this is one of the poems I read for the crowd:

 

The Baker

 

Every night I bring the moon along the hall

Into the room where she lays, waiting for me

Sleeping soundly, but the latch will wake her

And we’ll couple gladly.

 

In the morning, frozen sheets, and ruffled

I awake alone, and stretch. The sun is risen

And so do loaves; in every corner of my house

Expanding t’ward the ceilings.

 

I will not lift the covers, to check the grain

Or break my fast; the scent will fill my lungs,

And today like all my days, I fill myself with

All her giving.

Published Author/Sub-Machine Queen

It’d been a long time since I felt excitement  as a stomach-oriented thing. I spent all of  yesterday toeing the line of giddiness, and then last night alongside a glass of (free!) red and a few poetry readings it all came up good: I’m now a published author in a literary journal! It’s only a very, very short story but the thing about dreams coming true is that that truth can reveal itself gradually, like a Polaroid (read: Instagram on primitive Wifi). Thankyouthankyouthankyou, Burley.

I’m taking a long time to learn that really finalising something and watching it sprout or wither is so much more motivating and rewarding (either way) than piling more half-finished ideas into the hothouse, hoping they’ll bud in my absence.

Genuinely surprising were the responses of people reading my contribution, which doesn’t exactly possess Swarovski-clarity. When people responded immediately to the situations and what my bizarre protagonist was thinking – some even guessed where I’d written the story? – I really felt a bit like the Queen of England firing a sub-machine gun. Or at least like a writer of bizarre really-very-short fiction.

Post-script: there are chalk-pens at Smith’s that, rubbed off a little, look exactly like afterimages. I keep looking down at the keyboard and catch a glow ringing in my periphery, only to realise that it’s a real image. I’m sure something excellent could be done with this.


	

New shows coming up & Tom Stayner

The Tom Stayner, at the You Are Here Newsroom after dark

Two new shows in the upcoming shows list, which is pretty great because I was worried for a week there; the first week in years where I haven’t had a gig in the immediate future. finding that feeling not to my liking, I obtained a pair of music opportunities:

May

On Wednesday the 23rd I’m going to play at the Front, which is currently populated with the exceptional art of Paul Summerfield. He’s an exceptionally nice guy, an adorable family fellow and such an artist. Had I the some ready cash (dream on, I know) I’d be knee deep in Summerfields right now. Just you see if I wouldn’t. I’ll be playing with Cameron McLennan, who’s an ex-Melbournian who unexodised himself and plays acoustic music that I am unfamiliar with. It’ll be a learning experience for us all!

The Facebook event is there –> http://www.facebook.com/events/219526958164361/ 

June

Monday the 4th – the Phoenix, First Bootlegs of June! Hurrah. I absolutely love playing the Phoenix.

To close, here’s a poem I wrote to Tom Stayner of Housing Co-op* fame today on my phone:

“Tom: Don’t think of an elephant.
Me: Done
E
EL
ELE
ELEP
ELEPE
ELEPER
ELEPERA
ELEPERAN
ELEPERANY
ELEPERANY ESSTY YOOVEE
wxyz fm all the best from the 80s, 90s and the persistent illusion
that time exists at discrete moments rather than
all at once which is what’s
actually going on. Now,
all the songs we will
and have ever played.
You Listen To wxyz
Tom: Holy shit that’s great
Me: Is was and al Hasbeen,
once the pride of the Egyptian World Cup squad
before a brief and ill-starred
political moment. He endorsed a candidate
and votes flooded in
from a populace that basically thought al Hasbeen
hung the moon and
made it shine, but the shine he took to
said candidate’s daughter
ended pelagically for the folk hero.
More on this story always on wxyz fm news.”

*the housing co-op is the realisation of a dream brought over by Leah Ginnivan from sweet Berkeley, and at the helm as it
found its perfect berth was the indomitable Tom Stayner, one of those people you know and admire for who they are, not
what they do, even though they then insist on doing excellent stuff like the housing co-op, probably as a function of
being who they are. You know the ones.

The Tom Stayner, at the You Are Here Newsroom after dark

Food Reviews, April 10, 2012

 

 

 

 

 

Food Reviews

 

Grape: A sack of colourless fluid that exudes a sweet smell. Once opened with the teeth or the fingernails, some fleshy pulp and (in certain varieties) a bitter seed will be felt upon the tongue. The tearing sound heard within the head as the fruit’s skin is chewed is one of the great pleasures of the grape. A heart attack is the first sign of an overdose of the soft silvery-white metal, potassium, which is contained by grapes.

Water: An extraordinarily basic compound, water is experientally void unless crunched as ice, causing the nerves in the teeth to ache. Thickened with cream or butter, it provides the foundation for a fulfilling winter warmer. As an ingredient in cooking, the force of any flavour or texture may be reduced by the addition of water, giving rise to the phrase: ‘weak’. Water is as versatile as an empty room; it is recreationally entered by visitors and those who live nearby for the purpose, but remains itself uninhabited.

 

Chocolate: Wiped from a child’s mouth, sweet brown chocolate lacks appeal. Nevertheless, the Aztec remnant is consumed throughout the day in well-to-do countries. Chocolate melts at the temperature of skin, and a scientific inquiry was launched during the second Great War by the military of the United States to prevent this. Proportionally, only a tiny amount of the resulting product, M&Ms, is consumed generations later. Chocolate has a profound softening effect on the hormonal (endocrinal) system; this biochemical quirk is exploited to reduce the every-day person’s distaste for day-to-day living.

 

 

 

Updating my Life

I’m going through my internet-life and fixing up the broken boards, the loose change, the leaking joists, and fixing up a nice bed for the possums.

This means a couple of things:

– this website will change soon, which is exciting for everyone except people who aren’t me.
– I have finally fixed my mailing list, which is here: http://eepurl.com/jJ0Sj and will be the most reliable way to find out about shows and things, as well as keeping up with a digest of the interesting things I find to read
– I always have been a twitter aficionado, but now it’s really out of hand : ) follow me at #jamesfahy
– my youtube channel is relatively up-to-date, and will grow to be actually interesting in the coming months. It’s here: http://www.youtube.com/user/teamofrivalsart?feature=guide

I’m going to bury myself in bytes again, Happy Autumn everybody!

PS. Want to read an interesting New Yorker article about how Revelations might have started as anti-Christian propaganda? I thought you might.

http://www.newyorker.com/arts/critics/books/2012/03/05/120305crbo_books_gopnik?currentPage=1