Rap must die


 

Rap is now nearly 40 years old. It hasn’t changed. It’s still the “sound of the street” according to some middle class 50 something white guy in an overpriced office who wouldn’t know a sidewalk if it bit him. Rap is about a pseudo-culture which is basically lost in its own bull.

As black music, it’s barely a joke, and very unfunny. A very few artists try hard, and some do good mixes, but the point is that the really good stuff isn’t rap, it’s music. Compare modern rap to any other type of material ever done by any black artist, including jingles on TV. Cole Porter, perhaps the greatest musician of modern times, invented the whole idea of modern music. Holland Dozier Holland took that and created a whole musical business model. Atlantic turned it in to an iconic part of 60s culture, courtesy of Aretha Franklin and friends.

Rap couldn’t create an excuse for buying a Big Mac. It’s an insult to black culture, the Ultimate Cliché of predetermined stereotypes. As for cultural statements – Where? Is anyone actually saying anything new, or worth listening to? Compare Sly and the Family for statements, and sheer talent. With rap, you get the occasional Boom, but no Shakalaka.

It’s also a very good way of ensuring artist failure on a routine basis. Less than 1% of rap artists ever go on to do anything. It’s sure not the road to riches, unless you’re lucky or know someone. It’s a rap sheet for “forget it” as an artist. If you do a rap, you instantly become “one of those anonymous people”. No ID. This is John Doe music, backed up by tired old 1980s patches from Grandmaster Flash and some real singing by chicks who never get much publicity or acknowledgement for being the only things worth listening to.

Somebody told me recently that they were getting rappers to work for free, as “auditions”, i.e. free labor in venues. Another ripoff now built in to the scene.

It’s a soundtrack to a failed society, rattling away in the depths of American despair. Put it this way – Rap started with Reagan, and black America, like the rest of the country, has been going backwards ever since. It’s now the “they’re all like that” image of black America. I heard some kid with a voice like Robeson, doing some useless nursery rhyme. As a singer, he’d be a superstar. As a rapper, he’s just another “one of them”. That’s what’s happening to black music, and it has to stop.

RAP MUST DIE. It should die like it’s been killing whole generations of black musicians. Just think of the music that might be.

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The Dalek job interview


 

DDaleks need jobs, too. The following is an excerpt from the inspiring documentary, “How to exterminate your job interview”.

Dalek voice: You will watch…

Scene: An opulent, almost offensively so, British office. A gentleman with a perfect reflective accent is the convener. Two Daleks, one gold, one black form the rest of the panel. A white Dalek is the interviewee.

Convener (to interviewee): You are a fully qualified Dalek?

White Dalek: Affirmative.

Gold Dalek: You have your extermination badge?

White Dalek: Affirmative.

Black Dalek: How many species have you exterminated?

White Dalek: Three hundred and seven, including Catford.

Convener: Oh, that was you? Thanks.

White Dalek: You’re welcome.

Convener: …And what made you think of the BBC as an employer?

White Dalek: I wanted to mix with people and learn more social media skills.

Gold Dalek: Which programs interest you the most?

White Dalek: The news. I think it should be exterminated.

Convener: No arguments there.

Black Dalek: I see that you were accused of not exterminating Doctor Who female companions.

White Dalek: The Better Extermination Bureau exonerated me.

Gold Dalek: Why?

White Dalek: Because I’m a pervert.

Black Dalek: And…?

White Dalek: …Because it was believed large numbers of men, if deprived of Dr. Who companions, would not bother to complete puberty, reducing the number of people to exterminate.

Gold Dalek: Convener, please note that this is also BBC policy.

Convener: Noted.

Convener: Do you believe you can adequately fulfill the role of BBC producer?

White Dalek: Affirmative. I have degree in procrastination and shallow-minded budgeting with gift certificate from Bank of England.

Gold Dalek: Are you able to relate to public interest?

White Dalek: No.

Black Dalek: When you arrived at the BBC premises, you neglected to exterminate the receptionist, visitors, related medieval serfs, and administrative staff. Why?

White Dalek: I was under the impression that was your job.

Gold Dalek: You’re hired.

They exterminate the Convener.

Gold Dalek: BAFTA Awards will be next.

Black Dalek: Excellent.

White Dalek: Always look on the bright side of life…

Daleks join in, fade.

 

 

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Mimbly Tales


 

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIMimbly Tales is the second book in the Threat-Hamster series. It’s a development of the original Threat-Hamster ideas, evolving the characters and dealing with a lot of quite esoteric things like How not to be Omniscient, Flagellated flapjacks, killing phone salespeople with Chaucer, what to do about an escaped symphony and other essential parts of the well-read person’s ascent to wherever it is that well-read people ascend.

After the Scientocracy’s reformation by Insipidia Threat-Hamster and her faithful stock cube, Jollity McRorsarch, the young Celtic immortals try to figure out what to do about being immortal. This isn’t simple, and a series of events show exactly how far it’s possible to digress from any sort of objective view of eternity. Carruthers decides to explore the possibilities of Ultimate Comfort, while Young Couthwindow, fearless rectangular cow and fighter of evil, pursues his heroic dream.

Naturally, they’re dragged off elsewhere by reality. The young immortals arrive on Dana’s Child, a Celtic world, to meet Gwyn, a genius 8 year old who happens to be running the planet. Gwyn is sent to Mimbly by her parents mainly because the planet is too dependent on Gwyn, and they think it’d be best for her to go somewhere else and develop her unique skills. Gwyn’s arrival also coincides with the discovery of Hunter, a Scottish wildcat. Carruthers has decided that the only people who know anything at all about real comfort are children and cats, based on the observation that a cat will always find the most comfortable place in any environment.

Hunter turns out to be a bit more than a simple, hedonistic cat. He becomes a good chessplayer, an excellent diplomat when on Mars surrounded by glassblowing ducks, and Gwyn’s accomplice in their various adventures including their encounter with the escaped symphony.

New characters are introduced, notably:

Thunder- Venom’s father, 4000 years old and trying to do things properly. Make the logical association between those two facts and you’ll get the idea.

Mad Dog’s Bone, (yes there are multiple interpretations of that name),a sculptor/ceramicist/creative Celt.

Tir Na Nog, the Celtic heaven and place of eternal youth and all-round good idea.

Laughing Light, one of the Sidhe.

You're looking sane todayThe Man of Weeds, a recluse who wound up owning his own country accidentally. The Man of Weeds lives in a place where the use of anything but the present tense is considered treason, which will tell you something about his reasons for being a recluse.

The Woman of Vibes, who climbed a volcano in heels to get away from her banal suburban life in the Valley of Dearth

Flo Fleur of Flo’s Flagellated Flapjacks- Cause of terrible doubt in Florida, as though such a thing could happen.

The Fountain, now happily living at Mimbly after the events in The Threat-Hamster Papers, becomes a wandering investigator and discovers how the wheel wasn’t invented.

The book rattles on-

Madge, impressed despite herself at Carruthers’ idea of Ultimate Comfort, builds a Comfort Bastion using Carruthers’ methods in the Recent Hebrides, where she encounters Clancy, a supernatural toaster, a much too-well educated fungus, and receives a visit from Carruthers after he somehow becomes a word.

Reggie continues his desperate attempts at teaching the world How to be English and drives his parents, Madge and Thunder up the wall being so earnest.

The creative process coverCarruthers, Reggie and Young Couthwindow arrive in a world of compulsive snacks where they meet Hibiscus Tarantula-Brighton and the mysterious Brie.

578 words later- No, of course I’m not going to explain a thing. The reader is thrown bodily into the books and flounders around nobly until becoming allergic to any sort of literature or achieving sainthood. There are digressions, dissemblances and ducks. There are fabulous places, fun, flapjacks, immortals, antique shops, Sidhe cider and all sorts of things and explaining them would only get in the way of reading the book.

You’re a reader. You’re entitled to expect certain things from a book. Much good that will do you, with these books. The idea of the Threat-Hamster books is the unexpected with eternity as a stage and infinity as the range of possibilities. Expect? Not bloody likely. Even I have absolutely no idea what’s going to happen when I write these books.

This is part of my idea of Reader’s Rights. It’s not up to writers to tell readers what they should get out of a book, fortunately for all involved. It’s the reader’s prerogative to get what they want out of a book. Call it literary democracy, call it strangely/unreasonably optimistic, it’s your book as much as mine, when you’re reading it.

Just one more thing- These books have no end. I didn’t want to stop writing this one, and wrote Wanderlaugh immediately afterwards.

 

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Equal rights for non-existent people!


 

The art of being a Somebody front coverWith all the talk about human rights, what about the non-existent people who tirelessly recommend products, provide spam, and add so much to the sciences of fraud and frustration?

If you click us, do we not provide you with torrents of useless crud?

Do we not get ignored, like the public?

We too are non-people, just like you.

Consider the case of famous non-existent person, Dipee Quasisomebodyorotherthan.

For years, Dipee has slaved mindlessly in his New York hut, producing the finest of non-existent recommendations. Like the sainted accounting entity that he is, he has delved the very depths of direct marketing, recommending products which could be said to be the greatest thing to happen to humanity since the Black Death.

Fearlessly, he recommended the Faux Toenail Clipper of blessed memory. Not only was it not a toenail clipper, it was not even Faux. It didn’t exist at all. It was designed to be a merchandising hallucination, so people worried about their sanity would buy the real products, SUVs, in self defense.

American Valhalla page 28Nor did Dipee stop there. His alter egos were many:

****Thad Whowhatmenoreally, garden gnome addict of Albany- Testimonials to the value of interbreeding with household cleaning products

****Denise Hyperbolica, Quad 40mm knitting enthusiast of FLA, ferocious advocate for arming sheep.

****Vacua Drab, home renovations expert and guillotine collector of NJ, supporting the entire renovations industry single-handed with passionate pleas for forgiveness.

****Turgidia Flan, survivalist and walk in robe, of various addresses, campaign activist for mass grovelling to anyone or anything.

Did this holy spreadsheet of a person get recognition, you ask, frantically waving money at me?

No.

This epitome of everything of a non-existent person never gets recognition. Never mind the billions of dollars of money he’s attracted in lawsuits alone. Never mind the valuable custom for therapists. Forget the brave non-existent consumers he’s championed.

This injustice must stop!

Non-existent people are as valuable to the economy as real people.

Find a non-existent person now and give them money, shelter and support!

After all-

It might as well be you.

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Make more money with your inner intellectual hypochondriac


 

Wasp2Intellectual hypochondria is chronic. It’s basically a sort of self-serving self-pity as a result of being proven to be an idiot.  All shock jocks suffer from it. Everything is too much for their pointless little brains, so they consider thinking as a sort of disease and worry they might get it. Nitpickers and micromanagers fear mental lapses. They worry that their agile, if extinct, minds may have missed some point that other nitpickers will use against them and any instance can set off a severe attack of intellectual hypochondria.

With these examples to work with, you’d think real intellectuals (Those who can claim to have a working brain without being shot on sight by others with working brains) would be relatively hardy souls, immune to intellectual hypochondria on principle. You’d think that they wouldn’t want to equate themselves to jocks and nitpickers. The irony is that they do in this case, and for much the same reasons.

An intellectual, (hideous, useless term for a person; you’re supposed to have a brain, remember?) self-proclaimed or otherwise, confronted with a mystery and the risk of discovery of a weakness, will react to this terrifying situation in various ways, all of them wrong.

A_Career_in_Characte_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIYou can see this process illustrated in the typical reaction of an academic pedant to a new idea. The pedant, secure in an unassailable position of superiority, is threatened by something it knows nothing about. The threat is that it may appear ignorant, or even fallible.

As all good, dead, conformists know, this is a terrible blow to their social status. What if one’s peers were to discover that one were but a simple creature after all? What if being a fat, insane, idea-less moron suddenly became some sort of personal liability?

For people who hide behind virtual geological strata of carefully learned quotes and the accepted theories and teachings of others, the claim to being an intellectual, ironically, is their social status. People who’ve never had a thought in their lives are those most determined to impose their intellectual superiority. The mind may never have done anything for itself, yet the claim to fame is as an intellectual. To be challenged could mean the death of this sacred, if entirely fictitious, persona.

This is where the fiendish intellectual hypochondriac emerges. It responds savagely, like a chipmunk with a chainsaw, to the threatening new idea. The idea is wrong, the person mentioning it is wrong, and only fat, insane idea-less morons know the real truth. Citing yet another epic of other people’s thinking, it proceeds to prove its credentials as an intellectual.

Freelance_writing-_C_Cover_for_KindleThe intellectual hypochondriac sees others as the diseases from which it suffers so bravely. Its self-admiration actually considers even basic conversation as a symptom of the diseases. The intellectual hypochondriac wants to be worshiped as a messiah, in fact. Only then can it be sure that it’s disease-free and that everyone else is sick.

Relatively intelligent people who aren’t fat, insane, idea-less morons have a less dramatic form of intellectual hypochondria. It’s based, pathetically enough, on a form of honesty they apparently don’t know how to avoid. Where jocks are delusional by nature, these pure if far too simple souls simply trip over their own mistakes- And actually notice them.

That’s the problem. The intelligent person, who really should know better, expects their intellect to work. If it doesn’t, or makes a stupid error, they worry about their intelligence. This unintentional form of intellectual hypochondria, fortunately, is easily curable by giving oneself a swift kick wherever it will do the most good.

Most people have had the experience of getting up in the morning and by the time that they’re going back to bed thinking, “Well, I wasn’t an idiot yesterday….” Many will put it down to misplaced optimism, even thinking that they weren’t idiots being so obviously a weak point in the argument. Others will dwell on the issues, remembering being an idiot at other times, and forming a picture of a lifetime of wholesome stupidity that they’ve somehow overlooked.

The creative process coverThese people are what could be called a dwarf species of intellectual hypochondriacs. Their intellectual hypochondriacs are surprisingly unambitious. They simply want reassurance that they’re not idiots, and will scurry pitifully after any confirmation of this rather unassuming wish.

The most intelligent people are those who can make the most intelligent mistakes. They can make mistakes most other people can’t even understand and which those of the same level of intelligence would rather not understand. These people have for want of any literary or linguistic restraint a condition of intellectual hypochondria known as Intellectual hypochondria elegans, or the elegant form.

They can become basket case intellectual hypochondriacs on the basis of problems which only a true masochist would consider problems. They’re the sort of people a grain of sand in the wrong place on a beach can drive to despair. They should know why that grain of sand is there. The predictors of global economics are a case in point. They dive into the machinery, spend 20 years researching and analysing, speaking and recommending, and emerge to find a different world working on different principles. They think it’s their fault the world isn’t matching their models, so they must be sick.

Are we poor enough yet page 8Then there’s the kind of thinker to whom syntax and context are obsessive things. They will sail, Magellan-like, into brave frontiers of unknown information, and get hopelessly lost on a subject about which they knew nothing in the first place. They think they should be intelligent enough to manage the situation, can’t, and wind up considering themselves idiots, both correctly and incorrectly.

If the above forms of intellectual hypochondria seem at least understandable and deserving of some qualified if not effervescent sympathy, now consider a truly unforgivable form of intellectual hypochondria- The Thought Leaders.

These utterly useless individuals, who in their swarming, sweaty millions have yet to achieve anything of note, infest human thought and debate. They’re quoted like scripture, on every subject. Like the less functional academics, they take a position of unchallenged supremacy- And do nothing useful. They produce volumes of selective information and sophistry which some would say were unethical at best and criminal at worst, respectively. No situation on Earth, apparently, can escape their inputs. No situation on Earth has yet been solved as a result, but that’s not their fault, is it?

Job page 18Thought Leaders, by definition, are intellectual hypochondriacs par excellence. If right, they’re heroes. If wrong, they’re “misunderstood”. They’re never wrong, simply ahead of their time, or their expertise goes beyond that of simple-minded PhDs and other critics.It’s called “scripted self-martyrdom” and is much less strenuous than other forms of martyrdom. All you have to do is simply prove yourself right, sigh deeply, and get a publishing contract for the various ravings you can fit in to a book or a movie.

This type of hypochondria goes further than the limited form. It also decides that others are sick, and decides to cure them with more verbiage, preferably patronizing, inaccurate, and off target. The world, in fact, has got it wrong if it thinks they’re wrong. That’s the real problem, according to this syndrome. The fact that the world isn’t a better place as a result of their thought leadership is nothing to do with them. The fact that it seems to have become a far worse place with the benefit of their brilliance is also irrelevant.

Mass Media page 3The solution for a cure, therefore, is to attack those suffering from the problems, rather than bother to address the problems. People needing medical care, therefore, are more of a problem than the various pandemics raging around the world and dysfunctional health systems. The unemployed are the problem, not inefficient economics and cheapskate employers. “Why can’t these people understand?” cries the intellectual hypochondriac, nobly accepting a few more awards from those who making the most money by not solving the problems.

It’s a truly moving sight, as the intellectual hypochondriac staggers under the huge load of issues which have expanded exponentially in ratio with their involvement. Parkinson’s Law of issue management, in effect – The more thought leaders, the bigger and more expensive the problems get.

Yet, they’re criticized for this selfless non-achievement. Bravely, they cite their records of passionate involvement in poverty alleviation, crime management, pharmaceutical ethics, and other major issues, but to no avail.

The fact that their epic tirades of spun, usually paid for, information obstruct timely or competent handling of any subject is also not their fault. They can’t express things simply, because if they did, they’d be underselling their personal status. People might think that they could understand these things for themselves without the help of hordes of self-promoting idea recyclers. They also can’t express things in mere practical terms, because that would imply some level of involvement in worldly things, quite inappropriate for Thought Leaders.

Their hypochondria is based on survival values- They’re right, everybody else is stupid, which is why they should be paid so much to achieve so much less than those actually managing the issues in the front lines. This form of hypochondria, and its endearing refusal to discuss or listen to other logic, prevents the deadly onset of self-doubt so dangerous to those who have the basic sense to question their own thinking. To Thought Leaders, doubt is death. They must be the authorities. They must have that invulnerable position of power.

Yes, they’re intellectual chickenshit, but with this poultry-faeces-based perspective, they can dictate to the world. Without their intellectual hypochondria, they’d be dead.

Get in touch with your intellectual hypochondriac today. Engage it in conversation, and shoot it. Replace it with a brattish, selfish, moron and start looking for work as a Thought Leader. You’ll feel much better. You’ll probably make a lot more money, too.

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DVD review – The Rise and Fall of ECW


 

ECWThe Rise and Fall of ECW is a tale of media, as much as wrestling. This article is only just barely about the video, which is a minor miracle in itself, given the sheer amount of material they had to work with. It’s about the business end of wrestling and the much wider context of entertainment.

The original ECW was unique. It achieved a level of pure mayhem that few forms of “entertainment” including Hollywood have ever even approached, and did it on a regular basis. It was also one of the very few authentically fan-driven media products ever to have existed. That’s one of the things that made ECW so special, and why it deserves more than a cosmetic look.

Fans- There needs to be a preamble, because I need to spell some things out to clarify the message, so excuse me if I get a bit Spinoza:

Paul Heyman – Arguably the wittiest, most mentally agile guy in US media on a weight for age basis. If you can work well with this guy, you have both a brain and talent. The Ed Sullivan of wrestling, finding more talent in a few years than the industry did in decades.

Entertainment industry– A place of sudden and almost certain death. You, your product and even your memory can disappear in a single corporate decision. Very few entertainment industry products survive for more than 5 years.

Television industry– Collection of suits dedicated to the wellbeing of themselves. Totally uninterested in audience input of any kind. These guys want documentation before they even admit to eating breakfast. They do not take risks of any kind.

Pro wrestling– Physically murderous performance, in which only the extremely good ever rise to the surface, let alone make names for themselves. These guys take career risks that even gambling addicts wouldn’t consider.

Risks in pro wrestling– Even the most basic moves carry with them a range of risks. If you weigh 200lb+ and do any of those moves, you will get hurt, sooner or later. When you’re working with one or more other people, the risks go up in multiples. The sheer wear and tear factor is almost unbelievable.

Branding- In this industry you either stand out a mile or disappear. A wrestling brand is defined by its wrestlers. The success rate for most wrestlers is low, unless they’re truly exceptional. Consider Hogan, Undertaker, Kane, The Rock, Austin etc. Living with these images is damn near impossible. It’s an inhuman environment, but the top talents can do it and remain sane-ish..

This was the environment in which ECW got started. I’m not going to plod through the startup phase, just focus on the business side of the process:

Paul Heyman started ECW in its revised form as a massive evolution of Eastern Championship Wrestling, a second-tier operation with a following of sorts locally. From the Eastern Championship Wrestling materials and some early ECW stuff it’s pretty obvious that this was very much an old style wrestling business with some talent, but not much capital and limited resources.

Yes, money matters. Capital makes entertainment industry product pay. It attracts the people prepared to fund it. ECW didn’t have that sort of capital support. It did, however, have a lot of ideas, and parlayed those ideas into one of the few true urban legends of grassroots entertainment.

ECW had a list of talent which are now household names:

  • Mick Foley/Cactus Jack/ Mankind
  • The Sandman
  • Eddie Guerrero
  • Dean Malenko
  • The Dudley Boys
  • Tazz
  • Chris Jericho
  • Stone Cold Steve Austin
  • 2 Cold Scorpio
  • Terry Funk
  • Raven
  • Tommy Dreamer
  • Rob Van Dam
  • Sabu
  • Pit Bulls
  • Way too many others to list, and they all deserve listing.

Those are names, right? Wrong. They’re the working elements in a total departure from the previous body slam/signature move/good guy/bad guy wrestling clichés. Talk about branding; there was actually too much talent, a virtual reservoir of it. (How many times do you expect to see that statement in a review of anything, ever?) They were a revolution and a half. These guys were nuts, and they could prove it.

If you take “normal” wrestling as having a risk factor of 1, they were doing a risk factor of about 25. The pool cues, Singapore canes, crutches, frypans, toilet seats, Leonard Cohen albums and various other audience-supplied weapons provided the extra ammunition after the wrestlers had used their own.

The result was a viewing experience which had absolutely no parallels.

Case in point- Sabu. This guy takes risks most other people wouldn’t know how to spell without a degree in physics. He’s incredibly athletic, takes real hits and gets up like a super ball, and he’s been doing it for decades. That’s one thing which tends to get overlooked in the casual dismissal of wrestling as a scripted process. Sabu does more dangerous moves than ten people do in their entire lives, per match. Few pro athletes would survive one Sabu match. None would sign up for a second match.

The other wrestlers had a lot of strong points and knew how to use them. They could handle things most people wouldn’t do in nightmares, show after show. This was the basic strength of ECW, and it simply had no equivalent.

Result- A “product” which was always more than just a product. The fanatical audiences were fanatical for a good reason. There was absolutely nothing like it, anywhere else.

ECW had talent to burn, and people with the real skills to do a lot more than other shows had to offer. Whether it was brawling or just top quality wrestling, they did it, and did it well.

Problem- The “entertainment” industry. This mindless quagmire of stale thinkers was incredibly slow on the uptake with ECW, and true to form, didn’t want to take risks. Heyman was dealing with people who were cast in the Early Disney mold, and that was the crux of the cultural divide. The trouble for entertainment executives was that ECW didn’t look like the others. They would buy proven formulas, like the good little wannabe accountants/lawyers they were. Bambi could have got a job, but not ECW.

God only knows how, but Heyman got ECW on Turner. That was a success, but came at a price- Working with suit-think. This was the exposure ECW needed and it became a millstone. The network then proceeded to trash ECW. Heyman said at the time that they wouldn’t even advertise the show. His fury is still evident, years later, on the DVD.

(You really have to wonder what a dialogue between Heyman and the “whiter and brighter” cretins would have sounded like. Did he actually use a crayon? We’ll never know.)

This no-sell approach is a standard practice when trying to kill a show and it was also a ridiculous example of how little the network understood its audience. A 15 second plug from existing materials with no production costs would have got more viewers. They didn’t even do that.

ECW, meanwhile, was going from strength to strength, thanks to massive inputs from all involved and a fan base which still watches, to this day. The risks went up for the wrestlers as they put on fantastic shows using any damn thing they could think of, and it has to be said that this all-out effort also produced more creativity than anyone had ever seen before. The wrestlers were also helping out with the behind the scenes work, sending out T shirts and doing everything else.

They weren’t even getting paid, and the risks weren’t exactly trivial. Tazz mentions in the Rise and Fall story that he broke his neck, walked to the hospital, and was told he couldn’t have walked there. Just get a copy of Gray’s Anatomy and you can guess what was going on in the wrecking yard.

Interestingly, a lot of the wrestlers, notably but not only Foley, understood the idea a lot better than the industry plodders. A visual medium can do a lot, and these guys knew how to do it. They also knew how to sell the message, as Austin later proved so thoroughly. The trouble was that the network simply didn’t want to get that message.

The competition, however, did. WCW and WWF were paying attention. Heyman bitterly, and understandably, complained about talent poaching as a major issue in ECW’s hard road. The guy put together arguably more talent than ever seen before in one place, and the wrestling experts recognized it.

That happened just as the wheels were starting to get wobbly. Capital problems came back to haunt ECW as a result of the network’s pissy treatment. The wrestlers needed money. A show that should have been raking in millions in merchandising alone was cash-strapped. The departures didn’t help. Attracting new talent wasn’t going to be easy, particularly with a reputation for being cash-strapped.

WWF tried to help with the famous raid by Jerry Lawler on the ECW arena. McMahon said later that he respected the show, even if he obviously knew in detail the issues affecting it. That’s believable. McMahon, in fact, works better with other ideas people- He synthesizes and expands ideas. He declassified wrestling from a niche market into mainstream. (Getting out of a niche market is supposed to be impossible.) There was a certain natural fit in ECW’s wildness that made sense in relation to WWF’s move to the Attitude Era and beyond.

But ECW was in real trouble. Heyman is also obviously an ideas person, but the problem with being a person with a lot of ideas and not enough money is making them work. He was dealing with idiots who didn’t want to get his ideas, and stuck with idiots as the source or in this case non-source of capital. The result was ECW’s premature, unnecessary, idiotic demise.

When watching ECW videos, just allow for the trip to take hold. This is “The Return of the Sandman to ECW. The Sandman is the anti-PC icon of ECW, and a show in his own right. If you don’t like strong language and violence, this isn’t for you. The crowd is singing along to Enter the Sandman, by Metallica.

There are a lot of theories about ECW, Heyman’s management and business sense, but the real answer is the bottom line. You can’t make TV with no money. You can’t keep talent with no money. The obvious fact is that ECW was murdered in a business sense.

That’s also a true reflection of the state of the industry. The other companies lost major products to McMahon, simply because he was a better player. Where they were making pennies, he was making an empire.

If there’s any vindication of Heyman required, you don’t have to look too far to find it. It’s a matter of opinion how much money the “entertainment” industry lost for itself by handing over wrestling to McMahon, but it really does tell you a lot about the IQ levels of US media. The upshot of the networks’ lack of understanding was like giving away Apple to someone for a few bucks over the phone. God only knows how much money that cost them.

McMahon took over ECW and WCW, a move which was very well dramatized in the famous Invasion sequence. Heyman and WCW’s Bischoff found a much more sympathetic market for their babies. McMahon outmanoeuvred the market completely. It was a fait accompli. It’s also largely thanks to McMahon that the industry wasn’t buried under the comatose mindsets of the industry. The talent was saved, the medium lived on. It’s also hard to imagine any scenario where wrestling could have survived in its present form.

ECW’s legacy is ongoing. The reborn ECW is still fanatical. John Cena’s famous appearance at ECW One Night Stand with the fans throwing back his T shirt remains a classic of working with live audiences. “EC Dub!” is still screamed, the names that people knew are still around.

So – Watch the Rise and Fall of ECW and learn. When you watch the other ECW videos, just think about one thing, when you’ve got a moment- This could never have happened at all, without the ideas that made it. Listen to the interviews, in particular, because you’ll get an idea of how these guys survived the world’s least intelligent working environment. Every single one of them has a bit of a tear in the eye for the glory days of ECW, with good reason.

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The Threat-Hamster Papers


 

Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverThis was the first book I wrote, back in 2000. The idea was to write a book like one I’d want to read myself. The basic idea of “read anywhere” was the original general idea, and the entire book was based on a single name- Insipidia Threat Hamster. The actual character was nothing like the original visualization, but that’s writing for you- Ideas evolve and drag you along with them.

Basics

Threat-Hamster is associative. How threatening is a hamster?

Intolerabilia was a word used in my family to describe almost anything.

Rilando is a visualization thing. The guy plays underground polo, and he’s a gel mousse. Self-explanatory, really.

Madge- A name used as a misleading and chronologically atypical for the Late Bronze Age.

Hao Lao- Means Good Old in Chinese. Joke is that “good old” is pretty much typical of Chinese culture, including ancient dynasties which harked back to the good old days.

Scientocracy- Global scientific bureaucracy. God knows where I came up with that idea.

Breds- Organically reproducing creatures.

Growns- Artificially reproduced creatures.

Domos- Domestic machines/creatures addicted to seven card stud poker.

Herr Doctor Arschwunder- Name means more or less “anal miracle” in German.

Sark- Short for sarcastic, leader of the Scientocracy.

Fnah- Contraction of For Now, friend and associate of Jollity McRorsarch.

Auntie Reality- Obviously. Reality, personified. How hard could it be?

Jollity McRorsarch- McRorsarch means shapeless thing of Scottish descent, derived from Billy Connolly’s Scots pub hairstyle on a Not the Nine O’clock News sketch.

Carping Nag- The global leader and purveyor of Certainty. Self-explanatory, again.

Plot line

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPI

Second book in the Threat-Hamster series

The idea of the book is to totally trash as many literary conventions as possible. There’s a “What dun it” scenario in which the need was to come up with a motive and method that couldn’t possibly work at all. I also added 100,000 or so words’ worth of possible risks to the English language while I was at it.

Character plays

As many as possible. These characters don’t have any boundaries. One of the “positioning” elements in these books is to have eternity as a stage. It works. These characters can interact with anything.

Reggie, Vixen and Carruthers are “learner immortals”. They’ve eventually been told they’re immortal, and have to deal with it.

Footnotes

The footnotes are gratuitous extra information which any sane reader could probably, if not definitely, live without. I don’t want sane readers. I want real readers. Simple symbiosis.

Character physical descriptions

There aren’t any. One of the women is ash blonde, but I don’t say which one.

Visualization

The book starts with the line “The fungoid looked pleased with itself”. What does a pleased fungus look like? The following three books are based on the visualization principle.

Result

A book I was very pleased with and still am. Got a note from the publisher saying “Paul, you maniac!”, which is exactly what I want to hear from publishers. I’ve also got feedback from readers who all have different takes o it and aren’t sure what they’ve read. All in all, a perfect result.

Book review – Hermann Balck – Order in Chaos


 

Hermann Balck Order in Chaos, University Press of Kentucky, 2015.

BalckBalck came to prominence in F.W. von Mellenthin’s classic work Panzer Battles. He was von Mellenthin’s commander, and fought as a Panzer commander at various levels in the tough, appalling, endless battles of Army Group South, Army Group G in the West, and the final struggles in Hungary. He’s considered, with considerable reason, to be one of the war’s finest senior tank commanders.

The significance of Balck’s military achievements is unique in many ways. Balck’s tactics were studied intensively by the Americans during the Cold War, as an antidote to the “sea of armor” of the Soviet armies. His 11th Panzer division stopped an entire Russian Guards army in its tracks at the Chir River, and his victory at Radomysl destroyed another army in a Sherman-like march in to the void. Von Mellenthin covers these battles in some depth.

Balck, however, doesn’t do that, at least not to the same depth, in Order in Chaos. This isn’t a “military text” in the conventional sense. It’s a soldier’s story, told by an exceptional soldier.

This book is a combination of biography and anecdotes, studies and thoughts about situations, and above all, a unique perspective in to the working principles of modern war. Interestingly, Balck has provided some insights in to the thinking of the battles and the war as a whole, as much as history. Continue reading

Don’t read my books!


 

Wasp2One of the major issues for me as a writer is this necrotic global cheese dip of a “literary audience”. How do I reach out, and establish contact with this collection of failed suppositories?

Why don’t I just kill them, as I’d much prefer?

I think this skateboard of logic started in a bookstore, when I found a truly unimpressive-looking thick book, called Storylines, or something like that. In 8 point font there it was, about the size of War and Peace, “how to manage storylines”.

Oh, you cunning enema, you, whoever put that obscenity together. For those wondering, “creative” means doing something new and different. Not rehashing some damn story formula written by a fucking pedantic cockroach.

Ad hoc Threat-Hamster coverThe next event was the Sydney Writers Festival, about 10 years ago. A herd of writers. “Now, girls…” Honestly, take one look and you can tell every book they’ve ever read. To me, boring women are a contradiction in terms – Or should be. It was appalling. A few guys turned up, and were of course duly ignored. Everyone was urbane to the point of needing taxidermy. I’ve seen more personality in a palette of cinder blocks.

I’ve since been told by a friend that Sydney Writers Festival isn’t that bad, but those antihistamines are expensive, in big quantities. This was literature, middle class suburban style. Repulsive.

Then there was my interesting phone conversation with a literary agent. The minute this person found out I was a writer, I was spoken to like an unusually stupid doormat. In person, that agent would have been turned in to confetti, not necessarily metaphorically. I don’t tolerate disrespect from industry people.

Mimbly_Tales_Cover_for_Kindle(1) 300PPIDuring this wonderful series of sprinkles of brilliance, I was also reading bits and pieces in the literary media. My god; what a pack of babbling and dribbling theoreticians have come out of the sewer of hangers-on land in recent times. Everyone agrees with theory. Nobody notices actual text. It’s reading between the lines, where the actual words aren’t. This is literature? What’s the point of reading about an infinitely predictable moron who lumbers through a stale vocabulary?

A Kleenex would have more idea of the issues in writing than these Big Book of Quotes bozos. Consider 50 Shades of Grey. Anyone count them? These guys would, and say it was nice that there were 50 of them, and that they’d never have guessed, and it was wonderful to see a new writer making money for them. People make good livings producing crap like that. (And here am I hoping people get jokes…)

If you don’t write yourself, don’t pretend you know what it’s like. Theory, schmeory. The books that created the theories were written before the theories existed. Anyone tell Homer how to write? How about Shakespeare?

Wanderlaugh_Cover_for_Kindle 300PPIMeanwhile, the market, and apparently the “readers”, have turned into spuds. Apart from a few good bios, it’s Brand X all the way. “…She (adverb) grasped his (adjective)… and… (qualified verb) with a (entomological baseline physical mesalliance involving unprovoked cosmetics.)”.

Yes, entomological, not etymological, you schmuck.

So here’s the issue – To write good stuff, or just tell people where to go and cash in their evolutionary possibilities using a claw hammer and a rabid rat? The good news is that my books are far less abrasive than I am. They hardly ever exterminate populations or deliberately talk them to death.

The bad news is that I don’t want my books to be read by people like those described above. I don’t write for subhuman, backward, whimpering consumer conformists or pitiful academics hiding behind style like it’s their mother. Why would anyone?

Ads_Cover_for_KindleI’m quite used to pseudos, from ridiculous, fraudulent no-talent-no-balls “rock stars” and bacteria-like Australian “celebrities”, to media trash, and online effluvia. I’ve been meeting people like that all my life, quite literally, since I was a very small kid. I despised them at age 7, let alone now.

This “culture” and its babbling bores are a whole new level of banal, so inferior to the minimal standards of humanity, that I have to ask this question of myself –

“What if these pack of substandard corpses read my books?”

The thing is that I like my books. I don’t want them hanging around with people like that.

A psychologist might make sense of this.

  • Do I resent the idea that my books might be exposed to people who can’t tell the difference between real creative writing and accountancy? Of course.
  • Am I simply acting on my encounters with this flock of God’s mistakes and their equally enchanting associates? Probably.

Live_Lazy_and_Love_I_Cover_for_KindleSo what are the options?

  1. Write a book which is so incomprehensible that nobody could possibly survive reading it? Well, I’ve done several of those, actually. Excellent sources of compost and screams for use in game shows they are, too.
  2. Write a book as per market formula, with the last word as “Suckers!”? Only if I get to nail the book to readers’ heads. Nothing like giving septicaemia to people you don’t like, to show them that you care.

Take my word for it that a second generation freelancer never avoids any possible source of income, but – It’s a real problem.

Do I actually have to seriously consider this issue? What happened to intelligent, thoughtful readers who actually enjoy reading and get something out of it? Where did all the avant garde, try anything, writers and readers go?

Ah, good. A decision. Just write for myself, and if you bastards don’t like it, ooze back to your evolutionary dunghill. I feel better now.

 

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Gutless enough?


 

Wasp2Gutless enough to live a life made of clichés? Gutless enough to look at the corporate corpses like messiahs? Gutless enough to worship the trash? Tell me, humanity, is this flabby god of nothing yours? How many excuses can you fit in to a life and still call it a life?

If life calls, can you hear it? Can you simper enough to keep out the call? Can you grovel enough? Can you hide behind a set forever? Not really. The truth is looking for you, can I give it a message for you?

Break this farce. Make it beg. Or take your whimpering damn fraud and screw yourself to death with it. Too weak or too shallow, what a choice. How much bull does it take to make you feel like you’re alive? If you bleat loud enough, does the mint sauce go away?

Wanna buy a sneer? Pretty expensive, these days. What would you do with it, take it to a museum or wear it as a hat? Pretend it was your idea? There’s a first.

Do you know how to make a sneer? You take a dose of nothing, and mix it with your tears of all those years. You heat it up, add a few words, and make it super sharp.

Or keep on running away, if you’re gutless enough.

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