A personal diary keeping people abreast of what I am working on writing-wise.

Friday, September 30, 2005


I have about 25,000 words now of Have You Seen The Horizon Lately? Around 12,000 are of the beginning of the book, and the rest is of the history of one of the main characters. I stopped writing the initial narrative to spend some time to get to know the characters better. As I've been writing Percy's story in a way that is intended to be included in the actual text, I have also been doing Julia's story as handwritten notes in my moleskin notebook.

Nope, no writer's block here. Of course, we all know I think writer's block is a big lie anyway (as this old post of mine contends; interestingly, Neil Kleid speaks with two other writers on the very subject this week, too). So, it's a little ironic--especially considering the subject matter--that when I watched Fellini's 8 1/2 last month that I would be inspired to do my October video picks for Trilogy as a collection of films devoted to the romanticizing of this bullshit condition:

* 8 1/2, starring Marcello Mastroianni, writer/dir. Fellini

* Barton Fink, starring John Turturro, writer/dir. The Coen Bros.

* Paris When It Sizzles, starring Audrey Hepburn & William Holden, screenplay by George Axelrod

* Wonder Boys, starring Michael Douglas, written by Michael Chabon, dir. Curtis Hanson

* 2046, starring Tony Leung, Gong Li, Faye Wong, & Zhang Ziyi; writer/dir. Wong Kar-Wai

An alternate choice was Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jonze's Adaptation. And if you want to celebrate a writer getting things done, I can't recommend the Danish film Reconstruction highly enough. In it, a cuckolded author takes over his wife's affair, the words he writes on the page playfully changing the course of the movie.

And speaking of blocks, does this new Madonna album cover...

...remind anyone else a little of Kylie, who used to be considered a second-rate Madonna, but who seems more on top of her game than Madge these days? Points for the title, though.

Don't Forget: Stumptown tomorrow.

Current Soundtrack: The Cardigans, "I Need Some Fine Wine And You, You Need to Be Nicer;" Depeche Mode, a shuffle of remixes on my iTunes

Current Mood: satisfied

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


Today is Buddy Rich's birthday, and were he alive, he'd be 98. I once did an interview for some now defunct website where the interviewer thought he'd open with an amusing question that readers of a comic book/sci-fi website were likely not to get, and so he asked, "What's it like to have Buddy Rich for a dad?" I don't recall my answer, but I played along.

Cut to some time later, and one of Buddy's real children stumbled across the interview because he was actually searching for all of Buddy's illegitimate offspring and trying to bring them together. He e-mails me a message that sounds like one big heavy sigh, like he just saw one of his buddies get cut down by a Ratzi machine gun and this kid Private Ryan better be worth it. Apparently, Buddy Rich got around and tracing his bed-hopping was exhausting work. I felt like a Grade-A jerk when I had to write back and say I was not another half-brother coming out of the woodwork, though thankfully I could at least cling to the fact that the joke was not my idea.

Last night, as if channeling the adventurous and insatiable spirit of my imaginary dad, I went over to my friend Lara Michell's house and wrote a song with her. This had been in the offing for a while, an idea I had for my forthcoming Oni series Love the Way You Love (still in need of an artist; seriously, if you know a "manga-style" artist or are one yourself and you need work, e-mail me). The series, as many will already know, is a spin-off from my novels, the story of Tristan, the rock musician from Cut My Hair, after the end of that book. I thought it would be fun to write the title song, which is featured in the book, have Lara record it as if she were covering Tristan, and then we'd release it online, effectively promoting the both of us.

However, I've been very intimidated. I don't feel I can sing well, and I know fuck all about the technical side of music. I don't know a chord in a song from the one that lifts the blinds on my window. Lara is an honest-to-goodness musical artist. Her stuff knocks me out. So, even though I've known her for nine years (a really long time for me), I was a little scared to step into her arena. I imagine it would be the same for her if she came over to my house to help me write a book.

But, I sucked it up, and over her house I did go. I had e-mailed her some provisional lyrics, but really only the chorus and maybe half of one verse was anywhere near set in stone. I had also given her a mix CD of some of the things we should consider going for, playing with the pop formula of happy music, sad lyrics. Also, the Phil Spector influence, the drumbeat of "Be My Little Baby." The disc was rounded out with the usual suspects: The Smiths, Raymonde, Rialto, Gene, Johnny Boy, Keane (covering The Walker Bros.), Sandie Shaw, McAlmont & Butler.

The first thing we did is bop around with the chorus. I had a vague melody in my head, a high-low wave thing, first line up and second down, etc. She began to sketch out the chords, playing them on her acoustic guitar. We found something we liked, and so she plucked around for a melody to go with the verses that might match what we had. As she did, we both hummed, searching for a vocal line, and I jotted a few more lyric ideas, while editing what we already had. I tend to write lines that are real mouthfuls, and I wanted simple, classic pop, not writerly lyrics. I think prose authors tend to get too clever-clever when they try to do music. Look at something like the suspiciously titled As Smart As We Are, where excellent writers like Nick Hornby stumble over themselves to deliver something literary and witty, forgetting everything they know about great 45s. The line we came up with that amused us most came to us in pieces. It started out as "He's nowhere," but it was too short, it needed more. I suggested "He's nowhere, babe," a la Bob Dylan, and that cracked us up enough to stay--and yet, it also made sense in the context of the song, it wasn't amusing for its own sake.

I was thinking in terms of this being a song that, in the comic, Tristan writes and sings specifically to one girl in an audience. So, it's like he's calling her out, trying to make her listen. Additionally, since "Love the Way You Love" is meant to be a hit in the series, we had to think of what kind of song would light up an audience, hit them emotionally. Or, as I ended up putting it, what would make some random dude belt out the tune in his car.

That came in the bridge. I had a couplet for the bridge that was to stand out from the rest of the song, like a momentary interlude breaking away from the rest. "I know girls like you don't normally go with guys like me" was the lead. Lara found a melody for it almost instantly, and we both knew it: that was the part where the dude in his car could no longer resist the urge.

We kept fussing about, refining--which really was me doing a lot of listening and nodding. Lara was having trouble getting from the verses to the chorus, there just seemed to be something that wasn't matching up. At first, she thought maybe the lead verse should be twice as long, give us more time before we get to the first chorus, but we kept coming back to that bridge and how killer it was. Then it occurred to her that it should no longer be a bridge, but a pre-chorus, the missing link. She played it, and we just looked at each other. We knew. That was it!

So, we now have an acoustic rough draft of "Love the Way You Love." Lara is going to do a home demo of it, maybe mess around with some drum samples to give it a little more spine. Eventually, we want to do it as a full production, where I am sure we will play with it more. But so far, I am quite fascinated by the process of how it all comes together. I'm sure it's different when the songwriter doesn't have a specific goal in mind, as well as a story to serve, but seeing Lara jot a handful of letters down on a piece of paper and then hear the sound of them pop out of her guitar was amazing. It inspired the fan in me. "How do they do it?!"

Current Soundtrack: New Order, Retro: Pop Disc; The Dandy Warhols, "11cc"

Current Mood: nerdy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, September 29, 2005


The landscape of my apartment building is changing, but it only serves to illustrate that there are some things about certain aspects of American life that do not.

I live a rather isolated existence. Most people don't believe this, but it's true. I spend most of my days by myself, writing. Now that I don't go to the gym, but exercise at home, I have days where I don't even go outside. I've lived in the same place for nearly four years, I think, and I only know five other residents by name that I can think of off the top of my head. Most of what goes on around here I am oblivious to.

But apparently a lot of Mexicans are moving into the building. I've been hearing other residents talk about it. It's interesting how such things are spoken of. Assume the all-caps are words spoken at a normal volume, and see if this doesn't illustrate it: "THEN THERE IS THAT APARTMENT DOWN THE HALL WHERE ALL THOSE mexicans LIVE." One person said to me that he had decided to start making plans to move, despite having lived here longer than I have, because of the "kind of people" the management seems to be courting. I said, quite honestly, "Oh, you mean all the families who now have kids running around?" He replied, "No, I don't mind them." I didn't really have any idea at the time what he might've really meant, and I still don't know if my suspicions are correct, but it's hard now not to think his comments were racist. (To be fair, he also noted the management's rather slow approach to general maintenance as a factor.)

It's funny, because in California, I wouldn't have thought anything of seeing non-Caucasians everywhere. Yet, it's hard not to have this kind of thinking infect you, even while railing against it. I have new neighbors on one side, and they introduced themselves by staying up late and heartily (read: loudly) enjoying themselves. I haven't actually seen them, but I think they are of some kind of Latin persuasion judging by the music they listen to. Never mind the fact that last night I was up as late as they were, and at the volume I had my music at when I went into the bedroom to read, I could no longer hear the beat of theirs. I was still agitated by them.

Then I remembered the overweight white guy who was in that apartment two tenants ago. I used to have to turn up my television all the time to overcome the explosions in his action movies (I think we had our TVs against the same wall), and he watched porn every Saturday morning at the crack of dawn, the moans bleeding through the plaster. The truth is that I find the existence of other people abrasive to mine--in general, not in specific. Why do people have to assign some sort of meaning to the color of someone else's skin or, even if you look above, why did I have to say "overweight" when my point was about race? The man who lives on the other side of me, who may be the building's oldest resident both in terms of age and length of stay, regularly sits outside and chats with his Mexican neighbors, so he doesn't seem to mind. (This gentleman also likes to sometimes blast Notorious B.I.G., Eminem, and I kid you not, the Dixie Chicks at full volume, so there is no common profile to those of us with big speakers.) And did no one notice that the only crime and vandalism that I've seen here, which happened just in the past couple of months, was perpetrated by a white woman? Should I be more afraid, then, if they admit more residents with big, fake breasts who like to post Democratic bumper stickers in their windows and run from their apartment to the vending machine in her underwear in the middle of the night?

It's all ridiculous and disheartening. I guess my duty from here on out is to maybe make a point to say hello more often when I pass my neighbors outside and cultivate a friendly air. And next time I hear someone else drop the word "Mexican" in a barely audible whisper, say, "YOU KNOW WHAT REALLY FREAKS ME OUT...oregonians."

Current Soundtrack: Paul Weller, "Shine On;" Kate Bush, "King of the Mountain"

Current Mood: uncomfortable

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, September 26, 2005


I stayed up until 4:30 a.m. this morning finishing off the first three chapters of a new project that I am not going to talk about much more than this, as I don't want to jinx it. This was a big part of what I worked on from Wednesday through Friday of last week, when I was getting my "head screwed on." (Bonus points for those trainspotters who know the reference.)

The other thing I was working on was the new installment of "Can You Picture That?" -- a detailed study of several films of Kim Ki-Duk. It was nice to dig my teeth into something lengthy like that.

I'm not entirely postitive what this week will hold. Likely I'll be getting back to Have You Seen the Horizon Lately?, and I do have to do Honey Mustard vol. 4 in the coming weeks. Hopefully there will also be more than these informational updates, as well.

Plus, as posted to the Oni site, I will be at the Stumptown Comics Fest this Saturday. And as Oni has approved my karaoke partner to be my comics partner as of today, I will be in good spirits. In fact, I'll likely be going out in just a little bit to let her know the good news.

Current Soundtrack: Faye Wong & Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Loving Kindness & Wisdom

Current Mood: lethargic

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


Remember when I spread the truth back in 2002 at the Alternative Press Expo? Here's a reminder:

You needed this refresher, because this comical storm hit again last night and I want you to be prepared in case it comes to your town. That's right: after seeing the thumbnails for the first four pages of 12 Reasons Why I Love Her, I was convinced to pick up the mic' yet again. Spandau Ballet made an encore appearance, now three years older and no wiser. I also wailed out Gene Pitney's "Town Without Pity" and butchered, by request, "Can't Buy Me Love."

My mystery artist did Al Green and David Bowie's "Modern Love."

This graphic novel is going to slay.

Current Desktop:

Current Soundtrack: The Concretes, "Under Your Leaves" & "You Can't Hurry Love"

Current Mood: on the prowl

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I'm going to spend the day working off campus becaue I haven't had my head screwed on for the last 48 hours. Maybe a day away from the internet will sort me out. So, if you are looking for me and can't find me, now you know. (The chances of anyone being in dire need of talking to me actually seeing this are slim, naturally, but as we all know, I do so enjoy empty screams in the face of the universe.)

I would be remiss, though, if I did not send a happy belated birthday wish to Maggie Cheung, who doesn't know me at all. But this is the internet, so I'll pretend.

Happy belated Birthday, Maggie Cheung!

And congratulations for being in a film that made a Martin Scorsese Top 10 list.

Current Soundtrack: Saint Etienne, Travel Edition 1990-2005

Current Mood: quixotic

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, September 17, 2005


I spent the rest of the week getting the rough draft of the Ai Yori Aoshi vol. 13 script done. Deadline is 9/26. I think there are only two volumes after this.

Mason West has given me another plug on the NW Portland blog, this time a post-mortem of my reading. Mason also held a rather cool housewarming party where everyone was trying to hork all my Yazi ginger vodka and tonic. Nasty people!

Pete Townshend decided to steal some inspiration back from me, and he's going to be serializing a novella, The Boy Who Heard Music, on a special blog starting next Saturday. I can't wait! (Yes, I know Pete didn't steal the idea from me. I just wish he had. I'd love to have inspired him.) On that note, I can't believe I missed an obvious bit of comedy in "Yoga Girls"! There needs to be a scene where Lance actually has sex on a yoga mat! I'm thinking spread across the backseat of a car....

Current Soundtrack: The Warlocks, Surgery

Current Mood: lost

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, September 15, 2005


So, as those of you who realized my post yesterday was some kind of coded message have already cottoned to, I was freaking the fuck out. I had spent Tuesday and Wednesday preparing for my reading, and all three of the run-throughs I had done at home sucked in the worst possible ways. I was stumbling, I had no rhythm; my voice sounded horrible, the words sounded horrible. I had two selections from I Was Someone Dead and one from The Everlasting and an overwhelming desire to get the hell out of this commitment.

Now, you have to understand, I'm not that nervous about speaking in public. I was a Speech & Debate nerd in high school. I even went to the state finals once performing one of my own short stories. It wasn't a fear of the act, the act just wasn't working. It had been five years since my last public reading, and I had clearly lost the touch. I had originally Googled for any pictures of F. Scott Fitzgerald or Truman Capote's corpses, and I was going to post those, but thankfully I didn't find them (and if they are out there, please don't send them to me, I don't really want to see them). Then I flashed back to all the overwrought dramatic interpretations of "The Tell-Tale Heart" I had heard at all of those forensics competitions, and the words, "True, nervous" kept ringing in my head--and so I acted out online. It was all I could think to do. (I looked to the cat for advice, but her only complaint was that her character only got a passing mention in my Everlasting section, and surely there was a more suitable passage to be chosen.)

As the hour drew near, I tried to distract myself as best I could, just forget that it was coming. I showered, shaved, dressed all in black, got out the suede-topped Hush Puppies, put on the red-and-black tie. I was pumping the Pet Shop Boys. And yet, I was still jittery as hell. At that point, I was relying on faith that something would click, even if it was just getting lucky and no one would show up.

That wasn't going to happen. I think at James Lucas Jones' count, there was 25+ people when everything go underway. A lot of them were familiar faces, my co-workers and customers from the store, the Oni guys, Colleen Coover, Lara Michell, Brett Warnock from Top Shelf, my lovely 12 Reasons collaborator, author Bart King and his wife Lynn, Dead copyeditor. A few I didn't recognize, and others I hadn't seen in a while. I had an audience. I was going to have to deliver.

And I did. That thing happened, that thing I knew so well, where it does click, where whatever was blocking your way before just disappeared, and when it's showtime, you rise to the occasion.

Granted, I Was Someone Dead was a little slow going. I had never road tested this material, but it’s a little too dense and repetitious for a long reading. I had chosen the scene where Hieronymus Zoo returns to the beach for the first time after Nadya's arrival (starting on page 33), and I seemed to have to labor to get to the emergence of The Thing and the bad dream that followed. Once I did, it started to work better. I followed with an anecdote about how my father had read the book and had told me how a moment of lovemaking between Hieronymus Zoo's parents reminded him of a time with my mother, where in the middle of the act she had pointed out he had missed a spot when he painted the ceiling, and how this story ooged me out. It got a laugh, and lead into my explaining my various projects and introducing The Everlasting...

...and The Everlasting killed, if I do say so myself. I picked a humorous sequence at a party, where Lance is both caustic and also slightly romantic as he first becomes smitten with someone. A lot of the lines got laughs, and I could just feel a shift in the room. The material had taken over. It wasn't about me or what I was doing at that moment, but the work I had already done, a testament to the writing.

The signing afterwards went well. You could tell how much I was running on adrenaline, though, by the way my hand was shaking when I held the pen. Thankfully, it was pretty easy to calm down, and people bought some books and everyone had some kind words to say. I was on cloud nine-hundred and ninety-nine.

So, thanks Twenty-Third Avenue Books and to everyone who came down (and to everyone who listened to me mewl and cry in e-mail earlier). I had a blast. I hope I can do this more often. Even if I have to turn into a stuttering freak before every performance!

Current Soundtrack: Suede, Suede Japanese edition (because I'm that kind of guy)

Current Mood: bouncy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


TRUE! nervous, very, very dreadfully nervous I had been and am; but why WILL you say that I am mad? The disease had sharpened my senses, not destroyed, not dulled them. Above all was the sense of hearing acute. I heard all things in the heaven and in the earth. I heard many things in hell. How then am I mad? Hearken! and observe how healthily, how calmly, I can tell you the whole story.

Current Soundtrack: Timebox, "Beggin'"

Current Mood: losing it

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


1. Open up the music player on your computer.
2. Set it to play your entire music collection.
3. Hit the shuffle command.
4. Tell us the title of the next ten songs that show up (with their musicians), no matter how embarrassing. That's right, no skipping that Carpenters tune that will totally destroy your hip credibility. It's time for total musical honesty. Write it up in your blog or journal and link back to at least a couple of the other sites where you saw this.
5. If you get the same artist twice, you may skip the second (or third, or etc.) occurrences. You don't have to, but since randomness could mean you end up with a list of ten song with five artists, you can if you'd like.

1. Oasis - "Force of Nature (Coachella 2002)"
2. Bloc Party - "Compliments (Shibuyaka Remix)"
3. Luna - "Cindy Tastes of Barbeque"
4. The Cardigans - "Hold Me (Full Version)"
5. Traffic - "Rock & Roll Stew Parts 1 & 2 (single version)"
6. Low - "Step"
7. Trash Can Sinatras - "The Safecracker (Fez)"
8. The Who - "The Rock"
9. Luke Haines - "A New Life, A New Family (BBC Session)"
10. Scott Walker - "Bouncer See Bouncer..."

And, dude, I didn't even cheat...

You are Suede. Youre quite introverted and
reserved. You dont like to draw attention to
yourself, which is a shame, as youre very
talented and unique. You enjoy film and
literature for the glamorous characters and
plot lines, which means you can sometimes be a
bit of a romantic.

Which Britpop Band Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Current Soundtrack: Saint Etienne, "Sylvie" (#11 in the shuffle)

Current Mood: nervous

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


What the future of my alcoholism looks like:

Holy smokes!

Current Soundtrack: Morrissey, "My Life is a Succession of People Saying Goodbye," Trash Can Sinatras, "Easy Read/Freetime (2005-05-14 - The Casbah, San Diego)"

Current Mood: drunk

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, September 12, 2005


A nice surprise showed up in my inbox today, courtesy Eric Searleman: Bookslut has put Cut My Hair on their list of Rock Novels ones should read. A snippet:

"It's beloved by those lucky enough to have heard about it; the Willamette Week called it 'a lyrical elegy to lost youth, the death of modern rock, and the search for something authentic.' Very highly recommended."

I prepared two agent queries today and have printed out candidates for my reading selections for Wednesday (also plugged yesterday by Mason West on the OregonLive.com blog for Northwest Portland). I Was Someone Dead will certainly be on tap, but there is a good chance you will hear a little bit of The Everlasting, too. The morning's accomplisments are all an impressive effort when you consider that these old bones were up past 3 a.m. last night, after a meeting with the new 12 Reasons Why I Love Her artist turned to drink and karaoke. I will tell you that performing a song I know as well as Morrissey's "The More You Ignore Me The Closer I Get" is a lot harder than I'd have thought, as I couldn't divorce the harsh tones I heard in the monitors from the Mozztonic warble I heard in my head. I fared better on "I'm a Boy," but my partner put everyone in the dirt with a gutsy take on Bowie's "Life on Mars?" For that we'd have to adore her, even if her initial sketches of Gwen and Evan weren't the cat's pyjamas. All that's left is to arrange a meeting between her and Oni and she'll make an honest writer out of me.

Current Soundtrack: Franz Ferdinand, You Could Have It So Much Better With...

Current Mood: goofy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Sunday, September 11, 2005


I've put up two more items at the Bendis Board charity auction for Hurricane Katrina:
* A signed copy of "Yoga Girls," bound in a notebook
* Four Letter Worlds printed book with my original script

If you haven't got either, here is a good chance. And thanks to Denny for posting them.

And congratulations to Laurenn McCubbin and Kelly Sue DeConnick, they of the double letters, who completed their first triathalon yesterday!

Current Soundtrack: Shuffle: The Smiths, "Work is a Four-Letter Word," The Dandy Warhols, "Cool as Kim Deal," John Wesley Harding, "Sluts," The Warlocks, "Come Save Us"

Current Mood: hungry

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Thursday, September 08, 2005


In 1995, the Warchild charity organization--set up to do exactly what its name suggests by helping children in war-torn areas--undertook a revolutionary endeavor. Borrowing their mission from a quote of John Lennon's about how much time it should take to put out a record, they had twenty bands record an exclusive track in the same 24 hours, and then the CD was released five days later. It broke sales records, and shocked people further by being incredibly good. (Read a more detailed history of the event here.)

In many ways, it was like a crystallization of what was happening in British music at the time. It was the height of Britpop, and here was a group of their biggest bands joining together under one banner for one cause. There were new songs from Portishead, Stereo MCs, The Boo Radleys, KLF, Blur, and Radiohead (a debut of "Lucky;" the same version as the one put on OK Computer a year later); some bands did covers, including The Charlatans teaming with The Chemical Brothers on Sly Stone's classic "Time for Livin'," Suede performing Elvis Costello's "Shipbuilding," the Manics doing "Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head," and Sinead O'Connor's haunting "Ode To Billy Joe;" and a few bands did new versions of their old songs, such as Oasis' stripped-back redo of "Fade Away," The Stone Roses tearing through "Love Spreads," and Massive Attack giving "Karmacoma" to Brian Eno to remix. Topping it off was a supergroup: Paul Weller, Noel Gallagher, and Paul McCartney covering The Beatles' "Come Together" under the name The Mojo Filters.

It was a rare compilation album that could be listened to as a complete record. In some strange way, by working towards a common goal, the groups forged a common bond. In an effort to get the album out under deadline, Warchild had the sleeves printed before they knew what songs would be turned in, so no names were printed on the actual disc or booklet. It added to the sense of community, and when you first put Help on, part of the fun was not knowing what you were about to get. Plus, the cover was by John Squire from the Roses, so it was cool anyway. Only Terrorvision and The Levellers dropped in a duff track, but they were easy to skip.

That album has long been out of print, but you can download the full thing here, since Warchild is now online. You can also look into their other excellent albums, Hope and the amazing 1Love: contemporary artists covering past #1 hits.

But, more importantly, Warchild is doing it again. Today, September 8, 2005, twenty bands have once more stepped into the fray, and with the advances of digital technology, we can all get the songs tomorrow! A full tracklisting is already posted, including details of where all over the world the bands will be recording. It's another great line-up, reflecting the current sunny climate of British music: Bloc Party, Elbow, Kaiser Chiefs, Keane, The Coral, Belle & Sebastian, Razorlight, Gorillaz, Magic Numbers, Maximo Park, The Zutons, and more. Adding an international flavor are bands from other countries, like Australia's Go! Team and New York's own Antony (from & the Johnsons), who is duetting with Boy George on John Lennon's "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)." Also, returning for a second go are Radiohead and Manic Street Preachers. [Edit: See Marc's post in the comments feature to show where my lack of research failed me in reference to where Go! Team and Antony are from.]

I know right now our charity is been understandably being directed towards relief for Hurricane Katrina, but we can't forget about the other problems that are continuing around the world. Plus, you get to be part of a musical event. Why not buy an album that can make a difference?


Current Soundtrack: the original Help, naturally

Current Mood: hopeful

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich


The leader quote is from the Pet Shop Boys track "Miserablism," which in its own odd way--right down to the arched eyebrow--wouldn't be bad as a retroactive theme for Hieronymus Zoo, he who was Someone Dead. And the point of picking the quote is that The Portland Mercury printed a review of the book today that is a bit mixed. Sample:

"Through it all, Rich's prose is pleasant and amiable. He makes living alone on your own island with an attractive stowaway seem pretty nice. For all the pain Rich's protagonist has allegedly endured, I Was Someone Dead is about as painless as, well, a comic book."

Ignoring that last dreadful slam at comics, I'd say the writer, Justin Wescoat Sanders, is extremely fair in his criticism. Obviously, I'm not in agreement, but it's not one of those reviews where you wonder if they mixed up the book you sent them with another book. I can see where he's coming from. It does prey on some of my insecurities about being a shallow writer, if I'm being perfectly honest, and naturally I'd have preferred a whole-hearted endorsement, but this is the gamble one takes.

And points for using the word "allegedly," which has been my favorite sarcastic tool recently. I love sticking it in sentences just to be a bitch, which, allegedly, I am quite often.

Incidentally, in reading the very essential liner notes that are included in all the Pet Shop Boys reissues from a couple of years ago (the indispensability of which makes the artist commentary on their otherwise fantastic compilation DVD all the more disappointing for its near total lack of substance), I am reminded that "Miserablism"--along with Electronic's "Getting Away With It"--were written as Neil Tennant satirically adopting the point of view of Morrissey. He was also skewering shoegazing, which was popular at the time, and in that regard, he says, "What bugged me about the shoe-gazers always looking really miserable is that people thing someone like that is really serious. It's something that endlessly bugs me in pop music--that someone with the style of being serious is always accepted as being serious. And also that anyone being playful is then not taken seriously, whereas actually being playful is actually more difficult than being 'serious,' and possibly can end up being a lot more serious at the same time."

Hear, hear. [Edit: Fixed because Maryanne said she thought I had it wrong, and sure enough, I did. I'm still waiting to see if I messed up "whoever" below and will get a lecture from JdG.]

The B-side that leads the "Further Listening 1990-1991" disc in this particular reissue, Behaviour, is one I've been putting on quite often in the last month or so: "It Must Be Obvious." I doubt it would be any great surprise to anyone that I have a thing for unrequited love, and so gravitate to songs about that (some time in late July, I think, I had an intense week of listening to The Divine Comedy, including my fave A Short Album About Love, with the similarly excellent "Everybody Knows (Except You)"). The winning lyrics here:

"We're meant to be friends
That's what it says in the script
Is it really the end
If, sometimes, I stray just a bit?
Oh no,
It should be poetry, not prose
I'm in love with you
Do you think it shows?

And everyone knows when they look at us
'Course they do, it must be obvious
I never told you, now I suppose
That you're the only one who doesn't know."

Read into this what you will. I'm usually in love with so many people at one time (allegedly), even I lose count, so pick whoever you wish and pretend I am sending a secret message about him or her.

Current Soundtrack: Pet Shop Boys, Behavior 2001 reissue, disc 2 (it appears to be a synth kind of week by my soundtrack choices)

Current Mood: melancholy

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Wednesday, September 07, 2005


In a turn of events I thought I'd never see, I actually liked a graphic novel by Jeffrey Brown, AEIOU : Any Easy Intimacy. So much so, I was compelled to review it for Amazon. Here is the meat of it:

"So, it's with no small surprise that I will now saw I really enjoyed ANY EASY INTIMACY. The emotion of this book clicked with me in ways I would have never expected. Brown tells a disjointed, autobiographical story of his relationship with Sophie, a somewhat neurotic graduate student. It's a warts-and-all confession, chronicling their ups and downs as a couple. With no substantial outside narration, there is no blame dropped at anyone's feet, only the reader's reaction to the characters' actions. One feels for Brown as he is repeatedly jerked around, but we also grow frustrated with his often inappropriate responses. Which isn't to say ANY EASY INTIMACY is some kind of downer. Things are good for the bulk of the book as Brown lovingly details the pair's idiosyncrasies and how their relationship is defined by the way those quirks fit together. It's romantic in its own odd way."

The rest is in the link. I'll reserve judgment on any future Jeffrey Brown publications until they are here, but this one, at least, is a winner.

Another current read: Salamander Dream by Hope Larson. The entire graphic novel was serialized online, but that shouldn't keep you from buying this sublimely illustrated dreamscape.

Back to work: Is it ironic that right now I am listening to Violator-era Depeche Mode to get in the mood for Have You Seen The Horizon Lately?, when for the most part I have bannded pop music from that book? It's being used in conjunction with tales of high school Percy, whose favorite band was Depeche Mode. My regular playlist for the book is a bit more melancholy and scattered across genres than usual. In fact, in keeping with my challenge to myself to not rely on my usual tricks, I bought a five-slab vinyl recording of Wagner's Parsifal as performed by the Berliner Philharmoniker on Deutsche Grammophon. But that's for later...

Current Soundtrack: Depeche Mode, "Personal Jesus" CDS

Current Mood: surprised

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Tuesday, September 06, 2005


The update on the leak is that they found it. Looking for it involved me having to pull nearly everything out of my bedroom closet so they could get in the crawlspace. I am looking at it as a chance to reorganize and discard. Not sure when I can put things back together, though. It turns out that the leak is somewhere in the wall behind the sink of the apartment above me, so those people will have to endure some inconvenience as they are barred from use of that sink and the wall is torn out. But in purely selfish terms, it's a lot less of a hassle for me for it to be up in their place and not mine. Plus, in the "small slivers of the bright side" category, it's kitchen water, which is way better than bathroom water.

I am currently doing a huge load of laundry so I can actually have towels again. I had to dry myself with old T-shirts this morning. Again, I am maintaining perspective. I am not even experiencing an atom of the giant body of misery Hurricane Katrina brought to the other side of my country. Having to cancel lunch with Sarah Grace McCandless today, doing a little laundry, lugging around some long boxes full of comics I edited is nothin' by comparison.

Only a little work on Have You Seen The Horizon Lately? yesterday before the rain came, and none today. If I never get the Nobel Prize, we'll blame this, okay?

Current Soundtrack: Erasure, "Rock Me Gently" promo 12"

Current Mood: nowhere

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Monday, September 05, 2005


Remember a month ago when I complained about that drip in my ceiling? No? Well, check it. Paragraph two.

I hesitate a bit to make light of this, but it's almost like the cosmos is telling me I don't care enough about what is going on in the world and maybe I should get a teeny-tiny taste. Suddenly, multiple streams of water just started pouring out of my kitchen ceiling. I, of course, am nowhere near feeling what the hurricane victims felt, but geez, this sucks. Thankfully, it's in the best possible spot to avoid damaging anything, though I will be moving some books just to be safe.

Luckily, one of the on-site managers was home today. He said he refused to go to a barbeque because every time he leaves on one of these types of hoildays, something horrible happens. This year, I am something horrible. Given how long ago I put my complaint in, though, I'd say these guys would fit just fine in the Bush administration.

And I'm locked in heated battle with my Protestant work ethic, which says go to work today anyway. I've already put a call in, though, to see if someone can cover me. I'm too nervous to leave and have the whole roof cave in with no one to notice.

SERIOUS LINK: John Roberts was a questionable Supreme Court candidate at best. For Chief Justice? Don't even try! The internet makes speaking out easy.

Current Soundtrack: Silence as I listen for drips, the cat complaining

Current Mood: pissed on

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich

Saturday, September 03, 2005

PEOPLE JUST AIN'T NO GOOD (humorous edition)

Girl: He's in love. I'm just there.
Guy: That's horrible.
Girl: No, it's not. We have an agreement.
Guy: How long have you been together?
Girl: Three years.

These were employees in a Starbucks embedded in a supermarket. From here, they proceeded to talk to the girl about how pathetic she found said boyfriend, her excitement of going to see Nine Inch Nails, and then her age, which she refused to divulge, instead making her co-workers who were much younger than her guess. She was the ripe old age of 27. I was tempted to walk over there and tell her, "You're the reason men hate women." But at least twice during the conversation (I was looking at magazines), I looked in her direction with disgust and she saw me, so I think I got my message across. (And don't freak out. Women rule.)

I also saw the greatest name for an apartment complex ever. It was out front, a white sign with big pink letters that said, "UNTHANKFUL PLAZA." The building didn't look that bad, but apparently it houses a bunch of ingrates.

Current Soundtrack: Nas feat. Quan, "Just Another Moment (Remix);" JJ72, "Coming Home (Mix by Joe Barres)/Take From Me"

Current Mood: you gotta be kidding

golightly@confessions123.com * The Website * Live Journal Syndication

[to leave comments, click on the time-stamp below, then scroll down on the new page] – All text (c) 2005 Jamie S. Rich