I took a sick day and went to the movies. I like to go alone on weekday afternoons. People are at work, and the theaters are nearly empty. It was Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino, and he badly wanted some poor sonofabitch to get off his lawn.
I chose a central seat a few rows from the front and glanced around to see just one other person sitting, oddly I thought, far away in a back corner. But to each his own, I decided, and turned my attention back to memories of other Eastwood films I’d seen. Several minutes later, as the previews were winding down, a man strolled down the aisle and sat directly in front of me — as if reporting dutifully to his assigned seat on the second day of tenth grade geometry. After glancing around the desolate theater a few times to be sure I was not the target of a practical joke or the subject of a social experiment, I began to analyze the possible motives behind this man’s most bizarre seating selection. I thought mental illness was plausible — but I finally decided that he was somehow oblivious to the imposition, and I’ll have to admit, this triggered a rage response in me, complete with fleeting thoughts of sudden violence.
But then Clint flashed onto the screen with his trademark technicolor scowl, and returning suddenly to myself, I switched to a more suitable seat a few rows back and let the projector’s pale blue opiate glow sing me down to the bliss of no longer knowing.
Tom Chalmers rested his elbow on the donut shop counter and watched as customers filed through the early morning line ordering coffee, donuts, and bagels thick with cream cheese. No one complained about Tom’s habit of craning his neck for a clearer view of certain transactions — if they noticed at all in the rush hour hustle. Tom spoke to no one, but he did nod knowingly from time to time, occasionally crooking his brow. Only Bill Peterson, seated quietly at a table nearby, observed Tom’s routine with any depth of interest. After months of observation, he had nearly achieved clarity regarding Tom’s behavior and found himself standing on the precipice of a startling new theory that was certain to turn the entire donut industry on its ear.
With Glastonbury taking place next week (which we won’t be going to for the first time since we started attending in 2003 – damn ticket servers), our inbox has unsurprisingly been packed with new music of bands getting set for festival season. Here’s some of the best we’ve heard lately.
Released by our friends at Till Deaf Do Us Party records, all proceeds from this compilation go to a very worthy and deserving cause. Released to promote the fact that mental illness is no longer a taboo and to help people realise there are people looking out for them, it features the likes of The Xcerts, itoldyouiwouldeatyou, Night Owls and Tellison. By downloading it, not only will you have a bumper 20 new songs to listen to but also be helping an important cause.
Bearpark – ‘Distant Fields‘
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The Giants of Diving EP – now available on Spotify:
Here’s a poem I drafted years ago and have revised a number of times since. So far, no publications have been interested, but more than one friend has singled it out as a favorite. It’s not for me to say if it’s any good; I only know it’s true.
a brief examination
of tree or flower
and the way that
any living leaf will
lean toward light
through icy dagger wind
or blinding sand oblivion
into the sun’s embrace
tells all one needs to know
about the way to live
and why the poet sits
before blank pages