Sunday 31 October 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 31/10/2021

I'm back now, after my Grand Progress, thank you, ishmaelites, for your good wishes for my journeyings. The Mighty Mercedes Benz enjoyed its outing, only regretful that it was confined to 70mph, and not even that, most of the time. It's not just a matter of road miles, you know - to get anywhere, first I have to embark on this:
M.V. Hjaltland
Or this:
M.V. Hamnavoe
And hang on for hours while the sea does this:

Remember the call centre operator lad who had problems in organising an engineer's visit to the manse one year? "Did you know you is livin onna Is-land?"
Yes, I had noticed.
The Hjaltland route between Kirkwall and Aberdeen is particularly painful: embark at 4:00pm in Aberdeen, depart at 5:00 pm and arrive Kirkwall at 11:00pm. Get off sharpish, or you'll be taken onwards to Lerwick, arriving at 7:30 am the following day. That's why the Shetlanders spend the crossing pished.
Whilst I've been off enjoying myself, it seems there's been another outbreak of the Fish Wars. Macron's lot have been threatening to blockade British ports, fire up the red tape machine and cut energy supplies to Jersey unless we dish out licences to French fishing boats to scoop up British fish.
Scottish fishermen have particularly sore memories of their Government failing to stand up to the EU to protect their industry and their livelihoods. Back in 2004, fishermen were paid to cut their boats up into tiny pieces so that they could never again take fish from British waters in competition with the Spanish and French fleets. A colleague fed her Aga for  two winters on the pieces of her brother's boat. Did you know you is livin onna Is-land? And the British waters surrounding our island nation are teeming with fish. Not easy work, pulling fish out of the sea. Least you can do is Eat More Fish. Patriotic Duty. 
Not salmon, though - well, farmed salmon. Don't believe that rubbish about crystal clear Orkney waters and strong currents so the salmon have, like, a gym workout every day. They don't. They have cataracts from peering through water thick with uneaten food, salmon shit and their fellow fish. Confined in a netted circular enclosure that looks like a big hula hoop from above,
the salmon are overcrowded and eaten alive by sea lice. The lice can't be controlled, not even by irradiating the waters in the sea pens. The flesh is greasy and flaccid, the maritime equivalent of battery chickens. Shortly after we moved to Orkney, a more than usually ferocious gale breached the integrity of some salmon-farm pens in Kirkwall Bay, and the poor monsters were washed up on Scapa Beach by the wheel-barrow load. The lieges were sternly warned by Radio Orkney not to take them home for dinner as they were dangerous to eat.
Oh, yes, don't eat fresh fish. My friend opened his parcel of fresh fish to find the fillets crawling with maggots. At least freezing the catch at sea kills the maggots. And worms. Maybe vegetarianism is the way to go.

Anyway, back to my road trip. Swooping down from the North like a big white swan, the Mighty M-B was a little worried by the new Edinburgh bridge, 
built since it was born, so the satnav advised me that I was off-roading in the river. Overcoming that little difficulty by finding a road that the satnav recognised, the Mighty M-B and I continued with the swooping down to Durham, the land of Prince Bishops (honest, not invent).  
Have you come across the Museum of the Moon? 
It is a touring artwork by Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, The Moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. Each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon's surface.
It is on progress itself, travelling from place to place, indoors and out. Currently, it is in Durham Cathedral and well worth visiting. 
If you can't make it to Durham, have a look at its website to see where and when it will be on display.
More of my travels in future posts, but here is Mr Ishmael's 
Music Page:

You don't take many painkillers, said the doc, hardly any, looking at my notes, don't you like them? I like them too much, I said,  that Tramadol, doesn't do hardly anything for the pain but it levels my head and eases my mind,  and it's easy to get habituated. Too right, she sighed, knowingly,  like a ninety year  old junky; OK, try some of these, Diclofenac, they're an anti-inflammatory, although I need to do a blood test to see if you have inflammation, but while we're waiting for that to come back, take them anyway, they'll really get you off your face and if you take a couple of Tramadol with them, at night, you'll be able to chill. Honest, not invent;  she's a bonny lass, doesn't fuck about.

The Diclofenac pills do actually relieve the pain quite a bit but they, too, are a bit what we used to call spacey and I was up all night, between here and watching the telly.  It was a wee small hours, musical interlude, on Channel Four,  firstly a film of Liam Gallagher's new ensemble, Beardy Eye, playing their new album in the Abbey Road studios.  Liam is the truly neanderthal, younger  brother from Oasis, a thick, grunting Manchester-Irish fuckpig, dumb as shit, you can hear the wind whistling between his ears, if he was any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week; makes Manchester United's Wayne Potato look like a full Mensa meeting, does Liam.  Nothing wrong with stupid.  There's lots of people like Liam, their oil just doesn't reach the dipstick.  He's not as stupid as he looks, mind, because he looks like he was beaten with the Ugly stick and then ate it, ugly as fucking sin, is Liam Gallagher, ugly as  a hatfull of arseholes;  if your dog had a face like Liam's, you'd shave its arse and teach it to walk backwards. Stupid, ugly and nasty, that's Liam Gallagher, a truculent moron, charmless, graceless and entirely without discernible musical talent, a sign, in fact, of Ruin's corrosion.

His new band, anyway, consists of four competent but unimaginative player-songwriters, and him. And the album's a turgid lukewarm brew of reworked Oasis numbers which Liam's brother Noel, every bit as ugly, every bit as unpleasant but a fraction less stupid would have rejected;  the  band switch between a dazzling selection of Rickenbaker and Gretsch guitars - funny, isn't it, how a fiddler will manage with one Stradivarius, Robert Johnson played only  a two-dollar guitar, Rory Gallagher the same battered old Strat and yet the current lot switch from one expensive instrument to another between songs, maybe even during songs, the rock'n'roll of Consumerism -  to produce the  same sounds, the same chords, the same figures over and over, to sing the same harmonies,  the same shouty, angry,  miserable, hateful,  retarded adolescent drivel, tripe, every fucking bar of it; Liam, stooped inside his ugliness,  howling and frothing his whining, meaningless  doggerel; forty year old men,  there oughta be a law against them doing this shit. Liam, rock hero  caricature posturing, grunts at one point that this is whaditsallabout knoworramean, fucking keeping on playing and touring, selling the albums, to the kids, otherwise I'd end up working in fucking McDonalds, knoworramean;  setting his sights way too high, there, overestimating his personal qualities,  I mean, Billy Bragg might get a job in McD's, on the mop bucket, Paul Weller, maybe,  but they wouldn't let Gallagher within a hundred yards.

The next show was the Manic Street Preachers.  From Wales.  They are, look you. Steeped in Dylan Thomas, they are. Probably Max Boyce, too, the grinning, leek-waving pansy. Read a lot about them, over the years, but never seen or heard them.  Supposed to be original, independent, antsy is it? ....feisty? Out of a profound  sense of something or other they were preaching their new album in a working men's club, not that they'd know anything about working, unless it was working their way up their own arses. Working men's club or not, the band sported a string section, sawing laboriously away away at those Electric Light Orchestra riffs. You can do all that stuff on a fifty quid keyboard, wouldn't make a scrap of difference to the sound  but it would lack the pretension to Art  of a real-live string section.

The singer-guitarist and the bassist are obviously the creative  pulpit of the Preachers.  Jesus, they're like Men Behaving Badly, the Musical.

One of the original line-up disappeared.  No fucking wonder.
 Editor mr verge has hit a gold seam of comments by mr ishmael about the following music videos. The responses of the outraged fans are hilarious, but omitted here for reasons of space:
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jackson Browne, These Days 16 Sept 2015 
Why do people employ Jerry Syrup and his ghastly, overbearing guitar; he smothers everything he approaches. If he comes round here I’ll break his fingers. All of them.
America - Paul Simon live in Hyde Park @ British Summer Time 2018 16 Jul 2018 
Dismal, vain, silly old man; why do they do this, clawing at the entrails of their young genius; him, Dylan, Keef‘n’Mick? Why do people go, to this geriatric community singalong, this obscene, pitiful spectacle, this discordant drivel, mewling and puking? They wouldn’t know a really great performance if they ever saw one. This is absolutely dreadful, as though the players were let out of the loonybin especially and had thrown all the charts in the air and were each playing from a different one. Simon has, over the years, given some perfectly excellent concerts, exquisite, unparalleled by any of his generation, meticulous, virtuosic, usually he never played or sang a wrong note, usually his band was talented but restrained. This gang are half-wits and as for you lot drooling over this dogturd of a concert, well, better that you’re dribbling and farting on here than out amongst the grown-ups. 
dead link, text survives : Richard Manuel of the Band did the only good version of this song, and he hanged himself. You people, here, you would applaud if you heard Bob Dylan’s kettle boil. This is trash, an old man doodling. He hasn’t given a good live performance since 1965/66, and they really were something extraordinary. You really should develop some critical faculties, instead of wetting yourselves, like teenyboppers, at every shitty, contemptuous outing of a man trashing his own creativity, merely to be in the spotlight. If you compare this tripe with his masterly ‘64 Newport performance of Tambourine Man or with the train-wreck rock‘n’roll of Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, live in Liverpool, ‘66, with parts of the Band, you will see that this really is an awful embarrassment. Doesn’t he now sing Frank Sinatra songs to people who don’t know any better? I bet they make you all cry, too.
Mark Knopfler -- Restless Farewell 16 Dec 2011 These comments are so juvenile, worshipful of millionaire conceits; this is tripe, ill-sung, overarranged, not as bad as Dylan’s own innumerable fucked-up versions but alien, nevertheless and incongruous. In a very limited fashion Knopfler was an exciting but repetitive guitar player and singer of his own increasingly bombastic songs but he is no interpreter. The original, album recording of this song is unsurpassable, magical, and swooning over this drivel is well, just nonsense. In ten years Mark’s voice will be...what, exactly? You need treatment, mate, long treatment and profound. 
Jerry Garcia Band - Positively 4th Street - 4/24/93 9 Apr 2012 If proof was required that acid is bad for you, well, here it is, this is awful, embarrassingly so. Mr Garcia’s singing is almost beyond his range and his legendary playing is meagre doodling, the rhythm part would not tax a seventeen-year old playing in a folk club and the lead stuff was lacklustre and uninspired. As for his reinterpretation of young Dylan’s song, there isn’t one, this is note-for-note as Dylan phrased it, while the rest of the ensemble lack the caustic stridency of the original studio musicians; this is pointless, save, perhaps, to underscore the pungent juxtaposition of the words grateful and dead. So he should be. 
John Martyn with Kathy Mattea - May You Never 5 Feb 2007 All you wasters should stop seeking part-time jobs as obituarists, Man. Be better for everyone if Martyn had got a grip of his addictions, Christ, it’s not hard; instead he died a rotten, protracted death, too young. As for this performance, Kathy Wotsername is entirely superfluous, as is that awful, oily slide guitar which dominates everything on Transatlantic Sessions. And while we are at it, despite the charm of some of his recordings and performances he wasn’t in the same virtuoso league as, just for instance, Richard Thompson or Paul Brady, both of whom manage to both play and stay alive. It is the midnight ghoulishness of you people that is so hard to stomach: “Thinking of you always, BigMan.” Jesus wept. …
There's more from mr ishmael and his young friend Stanislav in the two books: Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack from Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow our link; a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed. (If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box - found at the bottom left by scrolling down - has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.) 
 The full title is "Vent Stack love from stanislav" by ishmael smith, and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of Buster the Previous Blog Dog having a green thought in a green shade. 

Link for the paperback:


shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:

 Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :

Link for Paper Back

At checkout, try PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or TREAT15 in the coupon box, which  takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89



Anonymous said...

One of the funniest of those abusive YouTube comments mr ishmael provoked said he needed a lobotomy - the implication being, presumably, that only by means of surgically precise brain-damage would he become stupid enough to agree with his naysayer. One particularly rabid Knopfler fan even took time out from anointing his Dire Straits poster with wanks to call ishmael a cunt half a dozen times, with twice as many exclamation marks. stanislav would have been proud.


Mike said...

Mr verge: I totally missed those exchanges. Any links? - I need a laugh.

Oh, and welcome back Mrs I. I know its difficult to completely isolate, but I find that on a trip abroad, away from "news", it has a cleansing effect on the soul.

Mike said...

Mrs I: Durham Cathedral is one of my favorites. Dark, sombre, standing on top of the hill. Very moving. The last time I visited England, and the Cathedral it rained. Somehow appropriate. I walked along the river side in the rain. I remember it was a thoughtful time, spiritual.

mongoose said...

I doubt that you got the Merc out of second gear at that sped, mrs i. Very disciplined. Well done.

I don't know what mr i had against some of those poor musical lads. Ok, they weren't as good as St Richard Thompson. Who is? Excoriating stuff though.

The nearest the moon thing is coming to me, mrs i, is Bath Abbey. I may junp on a train and buy mongosling1 a pint and a pie afterwards.

Mike said...

Mrs I: looks like they served up your farmed lice infected salmon at COP26. I hope they choked on it.

mrs ishmael said...

St Richard Thompson, that chap with the beret, utterly failed to entrance me. Morbid stuff by and large.
Do jump on that train, mr mongoose - the Moon thing is amazing. And after the pie and pint, get a taxi to the American Museum. mr ishmael and I visited it in 2019. Fascinating stuff - you will be told the origin of "sleep tight" , see reconstructions of early American rooms, but our focus was the stunning antique quilt collection. We were there for the Kafe Fasset exhibition - modern quilt art inspired by the permanent exhibition - an explosion of colour and pattern, but the gardens alone are worth the visit. I may get around to posting some photos.

mrs ishmael said...

Mr mike - the power of Call Me Ishmael has surprised me - on Sunday I warned Ishmaelites to have nothing to do with farmed salmon. This morning, Radio Orkney announced that a local veterinary business - Northvet - has been tasked with safeguarding the health of Orkney's salmon: monitoring the purity and clarity of the water in the pens, pulling out individual fish to assess their condition, and prising the lice off them. Still think they are best avoided, though.
Further evidence of the influence of ishmaelia - in addition to painting his red box green, I see that Richy Sunak has bought himself a new suit that fits him.
Thanks for the link.