Saturday, April 21, 2018

Threats from the Elderly

I enjoy being threatened by the elderly
They have a singular playful charm.
I always defer to elderly aggression.

There was this little old woman in Carnerby street

and she passed me once and stopped and informed
me that she had a heart condition and that if she
were to have a cardiac arrest then she would stop
breathing and that would be very serious
and was I aware of that?

She passed by an hour later to inform me that she

had been in touch with the police.
I never heard from them.

I-ve had woman swing their shoppingbags

into my crutch.
I love it.
I block it then milk it
I have elastic trousers
and can safely inspect the damage (mock)

I am aggressive and welcome reprisals.

A review and my response..


By Joe Bennett
I was bribed last friday. I can't remember being bribed before. The organiser of the modestly named World Buskers festival offered me free booze and a reserved table at the Dux de Lux if I were to go to watch the buskers and perhaps write about them.
I succumbed--I never could resist the lure of art--but I did worry about the reserved seat, since it would mark me out as privileged.
Busking is proletarian theatre and buskers love to mock privilige. I expected that we in the roped-off section would suffer. As it turned out, we hardly suffered at all, but other people did and that was lovely.
Because it is hard to tempt people into theatres, buskers make theatres of the places where people are. Dressed only in optimism, buskers parade the routines they have polished in solitary flats and run-down tenements and in the hopeful hallways of their heads.
Buskers busk to avoid a proper job, but also to be loved. Like all theatre, busking is vanity, but it carries more risk than the ordinary stage.
A buskers audience is standing and is restrained by no conventions. The people have homes and shops and offices to go to. They are moving with the ticking of the clock.
The busker must arrest them with a sight worth stopping for.The world, says the busker, has more to offer than the errand you are running now, the routine that shakles you.stay to watch and I will show you things you've never seen. I'll yoke the ordinary to the extraordinary and I shall make you laugh.
The audience, of course, can choose to ignore the invitation. Then the busker finds himself playing to the sky and hope lies shredded around his ankles. Busking takes guts. Its a game for the young. All the performers I saw on friday were on the flexible side of thirty.
A bad busker dies quickly. For a while he'll blame the place, the weather, the ignorance of audiences, but in the end he'll have no choice but to accept failure and a job in an insurance office.
But if he succeeds, he taps the sap of joy. He knows the power of making people laugh.
At the Dux I saw the top and bottom of the busking graph.Two woman bombed. They did a flamenco routine that may have worked at other times in other places, but didn't work that night. The audience grew bored and started talking. Had there not been other acts to come, the people would have left.
The woman perservered with their routine, growing more desperate for a tinkle of laughter amid the growl of conversation, but their cause was lost. They should have stopped. As I watched them flounder, I felt an uncomfortable mixture of malicious pleasure and sympathy.
The man who followed them on stage, an American whose name I cannot tell you because I woke the following morning with the cheapest hangover of my life but no notebook, had the job of regaining the crowd. To do so, he rode a sort of zebra over a miniature showjumping course. The image startled you into laughter.
What you knew--the way people ride horses over jumps-- was wedded to what you had never seen: a man strutting in a skirt with a stuffed zebra head at his groin and two floppy rubber legs draped from his waist. If that makes no sense, catch the man in the street some time this week. You will laugh and the world will seem full of comic possibility as heady as oxygen.
Whenever I stop to watch a busker in the street, I hover at the back because I do not want to be asked to join the act.
The other night the american sought a volunteer and when he looked my way I folded my arms, hunched my shoulders, and looked at the ground. But once he'd found his man, a shaven haded character called Dane, I spread out again and prepared to watch Dane make a fool of himself. He didn't. He stole the show and I wished it had been me.
At the end of the show, the performers came round with big red buckets. Asking for money is a good way to clear a path through a crowd. People parted in front of the bucket and then regrouped behind it. Some men slunk away to the bar or toilet , but others gave abundantly.
Buskers conduct a strange form of trade. They give their goods for nothing. If you choose to pay, you get nothing more than if you don't. Buskers rely on benevolence and conscience.
That there is a waiting list of performers who want to take part in the Buskers Festival shows not only that vanity is common, but that benevolence and conscience are commom, too.
A good busker can make good money, but it is hard money, harder than a bribe. ..............................


In response to the busking editorial of the 26th of Jan.
In a word, sad.
Unless you are a gonzo journalist, (and a good one) I might suggest meeting deadlines while hungover might be stretching your capabilities just a tad.
Excruciating metaphors, transparent padding and naive admissions that you got so legless on free beers you somehow lost your notebook, might impress others in your support group.
But we, the buskers concerned, the fodder, from vague memory , you masticate tastelessly, must take exception (albeit merely mildly) at being subjected to the obvious projection of your own indulgent self pity. You, a fellow performer of sorts, failed us.
Your condescension, with its innate brittle superiority, marks you a sad provincial wordsmith at best.
"Dressed only in optimism, Buskers parade the routines they have polished in solitary flats and run down tenements and in the hopeful hallways of their heads."
We can only guess you grew up with some sort of crying clown archetype brought on by an excess of biscuit tin lids.
"Then the busker finds himself playing to the sky, and hope lies shredded round his ankles."
Please take all attempts at pathos and write a sad novel for your immediate family. Maybe even consider throwing away your old adolescent poetry, its starting to leak into your work.
We don't like your tone Joe.
Your admission that you tentatively inhabit the very edge of crowds can, we're told, be cured by chemicals. There's the difference between an opinion and a symptom, much like the difference between opinion and pontification.
Things to consider.
If you have to be bribed to do something, like write an article, do think twice. Its no big thing to admit you don't like something or know nothing about it. Its what separates professionals from others.
Bear in mind the next time you have a cheap hangover and a 800 word deadline that you yourself have an audience, they expect to be entertained by your work. It's not enough for just you yourself to be entertained . Unlike buskers you cannot hear people cringe at your work.
We cringed Joe.
Unlike you we have nothing against people who work in Insurance offices . Some are our best customers,(and yours!) Ever considered a job in one?
And if we did somehow miss the point and it was a parody, were you parodying us or yourself as a writer?
Finally, given your occupation we must still insist on your opinion...we suppose...eventually.
Did you have a good night out Joe?
Martin Ewen

Wood Grouse/ or the natural death of youths idealism.

He had spent most of his life leaning back watching with detached amusement the passionate fumblings of others. His contentment, once solid and self supporting began with time to shift the outer surface to crumble. 
He began to doubt and never having flirted with doubt before found himself seduced and shattered what was once a delicious form of wry self criticism came to be a ravenous devouring black cloak shrouding his every thought. 
It was in this state that he began to investigate the possibilities of artificially inseminating wood grouse.
His hands, a lifetime idle, evolved through blisters to callous mats between his fingers. 
He built cages and stocked them full of fertile wood grouse.
His income he secured by conspiracy He would be paid by host hunters To lie concealed in their path clutching his trembling offspring flinging them to their short term freedom up up from the grass where they would flutter in the time it took the nearby hunters to train there guns and send them tattered from the sky.

Dundee & Aberdeen

Ha, finding some old classic written stuff. This was written at the end of a long day.

Dundee & Aberdeen

I drank no beers on the train
I got off the train, I caught a taxi, I went to my hotel then left.
I went to one pub and then I went to another pub.
then I went to another pub and then I went to another pub
then I went to another pub then I walked all the way through town
and all the way back
and then I passed all the pubs that I'd been to before
and then I drank at another pub
and then I drank at another pub
and then I went back to the hotel and I met this strange guy
and we walked up the road
and we went to another pub and then we walked to this nightclub
and I had some more drinks there.
and then I caught a taxi home.
And I go to work tomorrow, I really like Scottish people
because they're thin
I really like thin Scottish people
I love them to death.

I am the sum of my discontent

I am the sum of my discontent
I am the naive radiance of youth
a stockpile of redundant iron lungs
a squirrel looking startled to the sky
A bundled baby roaring
A train screeching to a halt
A collection of sperm tears and mucous
Odd tales, well worn cul-de sacs of conversation and a disquiet
my thoughts tend to zoom off at great velocity
making their way towards a dream of a destination
In the absence of any tangible
World weary yet curiously beguiling
I'm an all incompassist from way back
riding alone a white charger, tonto-less
A heart the size of all outdoors
master of all I purvey
limbfull and rudderless
Striding with a purposefulness that teeters on the rim of comedy
Its true about the world laughing with you
On occasion anyway
I am a humble potato
a man of stodgy ambitions
constantly asking
am I realised.

I Went To Clown School And Found Unhappiness

I went to clown school and found unhappiness.
I went to clown school to perhaps set free an inner voice.
I emerged a mime.
After 15 years I emerge with an alternative persona, which I inhabit almost daily, unhappily and almost without pity.
A primitive ceremony by a primitive technician Lurk is spiteful, cruel, untrustworthy, deceitful, completely silent and hilarious.

The ultimate niche marketing.
I hide behind corners and submit pedestrians to indignities. Its my premise of choice. Richly comic as I am a clown. A rare clown as my character "Lurk" Is deeply unhappy, massively resentful, wholeheartedly selfish and thoroughly dissatisfied with himself, his audience, passers by and life itself.
I am still shocked and intrigued by the content of my show. On paper my interactions could be judged cruel, abusive, sociopathic, disturbed. I, after all simulate strangling the public for a living. I also unsexually (as only a clown could) push old ladies faces into my crotch.
Still we keep coming back to Richly comic as I am a clown.
"Watching my show is like sitting on a crate of beer near an icy corner, watching car after car creep around, lose control, and slide slowly off the road or into the car that has crashed before it."

Connecticut is woody

Connecticut is woody-very very woody You could search your life in vain throughout the fair state of Connecticut without ever escaping its leafy omnipresence.
I don't mind trees, even in great numbers I am unintimidated by their stoic slow moving cycles, I fear them not. They speak to me of time beyond me and usefulness beyond my ken.
Their character bleeds into the human inhabitants that live amongst them, the people of Connecticut are close grained, they have visible knots, they endure and take time over things , if it were not for the abundance of labour saving devices and swollen throid pickup trucks and garages full of power tools they may well have been hobbits.
Hobbits that keep Harleys to ride helmetless on fair days (through the trees).
So I find myself on the back of a powerful motorbike, roaring through winding forest roads and contemplating as one does, as the wind rushes past and the sun dapples and vistas emerge and are replaced in turn by others much like the inner workings of a dough mixing automatic bread maker that wakes you with its aroma in a Connecticut kitchen which is itself located inside a beautiful converted church in the country with a large river murmuring by outside and a boxer puppy demanding attention, affection and more than prepared to give in kind.
And as the road lulls you and your mind wanders you remember past, not so distant times where your mind was shrouded with a dark dank pitiless mindset and there seemed no future worth what little stamina remained and all the past served only as a lens to focus all that was pointless futile and meaningless on the shriveled husk of your deceased self worth.
You transpose these clotted thoughts with the sensations brought about by being on the back of a motorbike traveling aimlessly and joyfully through the forest and you have to wonder about lifes vast emotional topography.
Don't you?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Freight Train Elizabeth Cotten

This video is pre 1987 as that's the year Elizabeth Cotten died. Born in 1893, she wrote it around age 11 but didn't record until she was in her 60s.

She is playing the guitar left handed and upside down. That means she is playing a regular guitar, just rotated 180 degrees. Most left handed guitarist restring the guitar so that the low E is on top, just like a regular guitar. This is completely unconventional. 

Monday, April 2, 2018

My friend Andy

Andy was about 5/5 or 5/6 and had come from a military family so joined the NZ Army after school and one of the early exercises involved camping out and having the SAS infiltrate the camp and pretend to cut peoples throats in their beds and other tomfoolery.

Andy was the first to organise counterattacks which was the purpose of the exercise, to find leaders. But he refused promotion and stayed in the minimum leaving after a few years.

He went to Indonesia and studied Pencak Silat or Kuntao under some village Guru for a couple of years. Then he went to Papua New Guinea where he was a doorman in a country where most doormen carried submachine guns. He was a small white guy surrounded by big natives but he had presence.

Something indescribably violent happened and he ran away, took a boat and eventually made it to the north of Australia where he trekked through harsh places until he found a road, eventually making it to Sydney then back to Auckland where he crashed at his mums, who fed him because he was very thin after his wee walk.

He stayed in bed and let his mum feed him until he got fat like a baby. Once recovered he decided what he wanted to do next. He wanted a couple of thousand a week, a boat, and a woman 5 foot 2 with eyes of blue. Within a week he had those things.

Where other people might feel fear he felt curiosity.
I was walking round Sweetwaters with him and we must have strayed into a bikers compound. This 6+ foot dude walked up and told us bluntly to fuck off. I spun on my heels as instructed but Andy just kept walking, I saw him about an hour later, he’d had a nice chat he said.

One afternoon at the performance cafe, it was closed but the door unlocked, 8 Maori martial artists filed in and formed a wide circle around him on the floor. I was witness to this. They said they had heard he was good. He stood surrounded and said nothing. They then asked “May we?” He barely nodded.
One attacked and he simply wasn’t where he should have been and the energy moved past him and was spent on nothing. It was a bit embarrassing for the dude concerned.
The next attack was a ground level leg sweep from about 5 o’clock.
It took Andys legs out but it was like he was made of compressed rubber because he bounced back to his stance instantaneously only now there was a slight edge of malevolence to his calmness.

It ended there, they nodded and filed out.

I'm Dying Here

I've posted on a closed group of performer friends a few weeks back but I have a larger world than that and so it is I tell you gently....
I'm very ill and the chances of recovery are slim.
I'm back in NZ and happy and with family and have all the medical help I need.
Take whatever time you need to digest it. Otherwise we'll both drown in reflexive platitudes and no-one wants that.

150 000 people die each day and just over 100 every minute, one and a bit every second of every day of your life until it happens to you.

My Hawaiian walls contain drama and death

We had Stoats in NZ

We have Mongooses in Hawaii

The difference between Stoats and Mongooses is that Stoats are fundamentally rabid trotskyists whereas Mongooses are more meth and bath salts and trailer park influenced.
Nature is so diverse.
Mongooses were brought to Hawaii to counter the Rat population however due to their sleeping habits they rarely meet and when they do they often form circles and laugh at Victorian forms of land management.
Mongooses bond and often explore in pairs but if hubby gets totaled by a car those entrails aren't going to eat themselves.
Stoats were introduced to NZ, smuggled in hamper baskets by weak willed 19th century folk beguiled by the intense trotskyist stares of certain wanderlustful British Stoats of the time.
I think I have a Mongoose in my wall.
It just killed something else in my wall.
I heard the death squeak 
I guess a mouse

So Yay no mice.

Not scared, that Frank Zappa thing was Weasles.