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Tuesday, 26 November 2013

What Remains

"You don't understand," she said to me, "everything I've loved is gone."

We stood by the still-burning fire. I wanted to touch her hand but felt unsure of myself. The distant peaks of the Rockies retained the brightness of the evening. I felt the chill I often feel in forests, where something is always watching you. The smoke thinned out our surroundings into dark smears, and suddenly I felt like I was standing in a dream with her.

"I'm so sorry this has happened to you," I said.

She looked up, tearfully. "I'm glad you were nearby."

"Listen," I said. "When I moved out here from the east, they must have lost half my boxes. The furniture was all fine, it was just the boxes with the smaller objects in. I lost all of my diaries, my records, books that had belonged to my father. I sent out a bunch of letters, but what can you do?"

I paused, trying to catch her eye. "In the end, you come to realise it's just stuff."

A gust of wind began to clear the smoke from the burnt-out house, and the twilight was deep blue against the glowing embers. She was gazing at her cement doorstep that still stood, untouched.

"Could I borrow some gas?" she said. "I'm going to head back to the city for tonight."

"You sure you don't want to stay at mine? That's a hell of a drive when something like this has happened."

She looked up at me, her eyes black and otherworldly in the dusk.

"Would that be any trouble?"

"None at all."

"Thanks, Sam," she said, the beginnings of a smile in her face.

I saw her shiver, so I took off my jacket and put it over her shoulders. It was then that she noticed the scent of gasoline that still clung to me, like bad memories.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Some people I've known for far too long will come up to me and ask me what I've done since they last saw me. Well, you could say that I tried to find myself, and so I spent years staring at radiators. Then one day I wondered what sort of music was being played on Top of the Pops nowadays, only to discover that it had been cancelled. Wise men, I have this for you: don't try and find yourself, because you'll be blinded by what you're looking for. Remain open to everyone and everything - otherwise you'll find that all you're left with is memories of radiators.

Monday, 26 July 2010


I'm taking my live blog over to wordpress:

However, I'm going to put the best of my posts from past and present here:

And this is going to be my creative journal:

... so I hope to see you all on those blogs instead ... I will of course continue to read you all ...


Friday, 23 July 2010

The Story Of How I Came Here

Little Buddha

I first started a blog in LiveJournal as Little Buddha, on May 3rd 2005. I started it with four school friends, Tasha, Kate, Ceri and Tom. Three other people I knew vaguely in real life supplemented this circle. My first entries were extremely long. I often included what I was listening to, and interspersed humour in the form of recounted stories with often personal diary entries or internet memes. I chose "Little Buddha" because it referenced both weed and Buddhism, both of which I was into at the time, as well as the internet persona I wanted. On January 12th 2006 I first began to stylise my journal: each entry appeared in three separate parts under titled lj-cuts, roughly comprising of a thought, a paragraph about my day and a piece of creative writing. After this failed, I went on my first break from online blogging, of six months. After I returned, I hadn't seen any of my former school mates for two years. On May 8th 2007, I made my first real internet friend, Eileen. By now my journal was barely commented on except for Ceri. On the 7th of June, 2007, I reconnected through LJ with a former classmate I hadn't seen for three years, Paul. I posted often quite philosophical text alongside music videos in order to invite comments. Meanwhile:

Eunuch Dreams

My first writing journal, begun on the 3rd of June 2006, was written as part of a fictional persona named Jonah, who was meant to be precisely half-fictional. This meant that he had a Ukrainian-Jewish mother like me, but a Nigerian father (I lived in Nigeria for three years as a child). I posted pure fiction as well as stories about my friends, using semi-anagrams to come up with names such as Leonard Triffid and Tom Lyrical. I had some idea of turning the resulting journal into a novel. I chose the title from a Dylan Thomas poem about film. My early pieces were extremely dense and stylised, but after criticism from writing communities become more minimalist. On 30th July 2006, I first made a journal private. On 10th December 2006, I first met Mark in a community. He commented on a post to tell me a cut wasn't working. On the 15th of May 2007, Jonah began a series of letters to a whale purportedly from inside of it, which was my way of talking about my depression at that time. On 18th of June 2007, Mark realised through looking at Tom's profile, who read both my journals, that Sammy (Little Buddha) and Jonah (Eunuch Dreams) were the same, prompting me to 'kill' Jonah immediately ...

The End Of Little Buddha

I was devastated by the loss of Jonah, and posted something on my Little Buddha account saying that I would quit it after 39 more entries (39 being what you might call my lucky number). The vitiriolic and eloquent entry itself was the very one that made Eileen become obsessed with my writing. Soon after we talked on MSN, and a romantic internet relationship began to form. Mark joined me on my new journal, and the two were to become my closest internet friends. However, I never completed the 39 entries I set myself, for I frustrated myself by being too precious with which thoughts became entries. I left within a couple of months to start a second personal journal, but from time to time returned to the journal to post, between intervals that eventually stretched to years.

Pale Shadow Girl

On the 18th of June 2007, the day that Jonah died and the Little Buddha account gained a sell-by date, I created a new writing journal. Whereas Jonah's layout had been tasteful, and his avatars moving black-and-white icons from symbolically apt films like Jekyll and Hyde, my new character was different. Initially she was meant to be an emo, hence the title of the journal. Emma's layout was girlish, with a simple photo icon of Jared Leto, and her style was initially more naive and less verbose than Jonah's - her critiques of other writers less aggressive, and I forced myself to be more accepting of criticism in turn. I was to sporadically continue putting pieces up until February 13th 2010, but produced little of interest, and was not interested by Emma as a character enough to write about her life as I had done Jonah's.

A Word Child

'A Word Child', my second personal journal, was started on August 2nd 2007. The title of this journal, and its sub-title, The Inner Circle, came from a novel by Iris Murdoch. Its meaning for me was mainly that I am hyperlexic, and find it easier to communicate via the written word. The Inner Circle was the people from my past journals I took with me, including Paul, Ceri, Eileen and Mark. I posted three types of posts, The Spider, The Bee and The Cave - each had their own icons, and were inspired by passages in the Koran. The Spider posts were analysing the outer world and its web, the Cave analysed my own thoughts, and the Bee was for entertaining posts including videos and occasional memes. Just as the late Jonah period was my creative zenith, so do my early Word Child posts represent the height of my blogging powers. On my birthday, in 2007, Masha, who was to become the last of my significant LJ friends, left me her first comment. On January 1st 2008, I changed the journal's theme into the Bar, in which I would re-edit posts to include the comments I received and so turn each post into a conversation: however, I soon found this restrictive. On July 9th 2008 I attempted to post as the Leadman (a near anagram of my surname) and talk in a cryptic and fictional way about some hard times. This failed, and I stopped posting in frustration.

The 98th Cent

Created July 21st 2008. My final blog on Live Journal was inspired by a comment that the human body was worth 98 cents in minerals. It was intended to be a record of my physical movements as opposed to my mental ones as A Word Child. Coincidentally it was the first journal in which every one of my readers was not known to me in real life, the ones who followed me from previous journals including Paul, Eileen and Mark. I struggled at first to get comments, which was significant later when I decided that every entry that received under two comments was probably boring and should be made private: most of the 98th cent entries are as such now visible only to me, another unique part of my blogging experience. On September 27th 2008 my journal adopted the new theme of imaginary letters, mostly to real-life acquaintances - this was inspired by Saul Bellow's novel 'Herzog'. However this dried up comments altogether, and I struggled until December 2008 when the theme was dropped. I briefly attempted to comment on my own journal using my previous four journals, pretending to be Jonah, Emma, the Buddha and the Word Child, but having to log in and out of different accounts proved tiresome. On February 3rd 2009, Aubyn first commented on my journal. On February 4th 2009 I produced my first 'mixtape' of my favourite past entries, foreshadowing 'Memories of Radiators' on here. On September 18th 2009 I made a special two part entry with all of the most significant events from my life in it. On January 18th 2010 I dedicated several entries to mourning the break-up of the romantic aspect of my relationship with Eileen. On February 16th 2010 I began a new theme, of breaking my life and thoughts down according to seven sins, each with their own demon and icon. This lasted a while, during which time I rejuvenated my old Word Child account ...

The Break-Up Of The Inner Circle

When I began using the Inner Circle after two years on April 7th 2010, it was to post more personal things, including video blogs. The members of the Inner Circle were the dream-team of my LJ friends, including Eileen, Mark, Masha, Aubyn, and Paul. I introduced the friends to each other, thus creating a 'circle'. Although some of my blogging was lazy, I can say that this brief period was the happiest time in all my blogging years. No other of my blogs was so consistently commented upon, and often discussions would happen on my entries between a group of people who now knew each other. However, I soon criticised Mark for what I perceived as repetitively blogging about the girl he was seeing. He vowed to leave LJ, and I too was upset and closed down the Inner Circle on April 25th 2010.


I dropped the Seven Sins theme and returned to blogging normally, and at first managed to keep the large amount of comments steady. Mark and I reconciled, and all seemed well. However, I changed my theme to 'Nulla Dies Sine Linea', or not a day without a line, and started to include creative posts on my personal journal, and for the first time, on May 29th, without people being able to comment on them. Although my audience enjoyed the posts, I believe it got them out of the habit of commenting on my material, and within a month my personal posts began to be met with silence. I posted two posts about depression without much by way of response, and perceiving also that my friends were posting rarely, I decided that LiveJournal was in decline, and swore never to post again. On June 16th I made my last entry. After that I was to continue commenting for a while. Around this time Paul went on an extended break from LiveJournal. By now I was friends with him in real life, and he was working as my producer. Aubyn disappeared, deleting her journal, her facebook and ceasing our letter correspondence, and only last week wrote to me explaining that she had found she was being stalked by someone and dropped everything. A few weeks after creating my Blogspot I phoned Eileen, telling her I couldn't speak to her again since our up and down relationship had ultimately left me with bitterness. This bitterness had caused me to attack Masha concerning the legitimacy of her depression, although I was really attacking Eileen, who had in the past frustrated me with her method of dealing with moods. Masha and Eileen had initially actually followed me over to Blogspot, before my self-destructive behaviour alienated them both. Mark told me he couldn't follow me over to Blogspot due to his concerns over its transparency, and my self-induced isolation was complete.


I came over to Blogspot, and named myself Pure Tones, since I now longed for unstylised simplicity in blogging. I titled my journal Everything You Say Will Destroy You, after an Auteurs song. I also created Memories of Radiators, and She's Got A New Stage To Go With Her Stage Fright, both referencing Mclusky lyrics. MoR chronicles my favourite past entries, and Stage Fright is a new creative journal. I made friends with Maundering Mutterer and Pamo, but was I think excessively aggressive in debating with both, as well as there being a general decline in my content, something that often happens when I don't have enough readers to bounce off. I miss my former friends terribly, and the format of blogspot still seems alien to me - I most hate that comments don't automatically prompt email alerts, something that has stilted my interaction with others. I am only comfortable making such a long and self-indulgent entry now that I am conscious of no longer being read. For the first time in five years of blogging, I am writing for myself.

No-One Is Watching You

The government doesn't care where you go on your little shopping excursions. No far-ranging conspiracies will ever frame your mundane life, no spies will betray you nor anything be stolen from you that has an exterior worth. Shadowy omnipotent corporations do not know when you sleep. Sexual deviants do not lurk behind hedges admiring the way you move. There are no terrorists in your neighbourhood, no skeletons in your closet, no monsters underneath your bed.

God and the Devil do not debate over your actions, which are neither predestined nor measured, but fall as leaves from the branches of your lives. Nothing will ever happen to you that will make you notable, although if a headline lands heavily you will share in a "nation's grief". If you're lucky the name on your grave won't be worn off after a few hundred years, nor your bones dug up to make way for the myriad new dead. No-one is watching you: because no-one cares what you are.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

The Bigger Picture

Today on the train there was a technical failure while we were at the platform, and then a railway worker accidentally directed us to the wrong train. When we were ordered to leave this second train, there was the whole thing of catching other people's eyes and exchanging grumbles. At which point, I said: "if you think about it, we're basically evolved monkeys, and it's amazing we can drive a train at all." This did not have the desired effect on my fellow passengers.

Saturday, 17 July 2010

OK, so this is a bit more readable than what I just posted, so here's my fucking thought of the day for you:

words destroy you. That's the idea behind this journal. Words are too strong. They overbalance things. My mother's family thinks talking about everything makes it better, but it just makes things more strange.

When you give something a word you invest it with the alien properties of that word. If you really want to express something important, do it with a gesture. You can say the most beautiful thing and it is still nothing compared to what's there in your eyes already. Sometimes you can say exactly the right thing, and it's the worst thing that can happen. "I'm sorry for your loss."

We don't realise how powerful language is because it's everywhere. We can't see how it shatters things and then reforms them into constructs, or groups a billion separate things under a single term. It's so powerful that it becomes trivial to us, like the concept of infinity. If there was a gesture that signified love, it would brutally reduce it. It's the same with the word. We shouldn't have a word for love or need to define it. The word love can vitiate a relationship or one can say it casually of a film. Words shatter You and make You into a Friendly Calm Relaxed Person.

I try and create a facade for myself with words. Not just words, but all of the money I spend goes into my facade. It's the same with you. Your house, your clothes. The clothes need words, which are free, to justify their expense. Equally the things you worked so hard to pay for can only truly be reduced by the things that cost nothing, like opinions. Repo men can take your house, but a thousand of them could never take your pride - which is the real house, the thing you live in all the time. Four words can, however. So this Self, that we created with words, is perpetually destroyed by that which it consists of. The only true things in themselves are the wordless, like animals. The self, if it exists, lies in spontaneity of gesture. The final paradox, then: words are too powerful, but they can say nothing important - the most scintillating thought will never break human skin. 3 billion people are looking at each other absently, and there is more in their faces than a library of books. Sit back and watch this entry eat itself.