All Christmas Music is Wrong…

…except for the non-shitty Christmas music which I do like.

Okay, so Sharks Took the Rest, whom I saw earlier this evening, weren’t really a Christmas band, but the fourth Sunday in Advent is as close to Christmas as “damn-it” is to swearing and they were utterly awesome. Three quarters of a string quartet, a guitarist, pianist and Becky Owen singing her heart out and banging a big bass drum – this band had me grinning ear to ear, almost crying, and going ‘hmmmmm’ within the space of a couple of songs. They claimed it was only their fourth real gig – on the strength of tonight’s performance, we should be hearing an awful lot more from them.

Last year, Glasvegas recorded a Christmassy EP. ‘A Snowflake Fell (and it felt like a kiss)’ is a wonderful little recording – a fragile, ugly, beautiful, angry and (ultimately) hopeful piece of miserablism, it begins with the (very sweary) story of a relationship breaking down irreparably, and moving through the consequent homelessness, it climaxes with the final verse of the title track:

The ringing from the bells keeps screaming out love
As snow fell from heavens above

Directionless no more
Emptiness no more

Now I don’t feel so all alone in the cold – wondering where I’m going today.
Then a snowflake, and it felt like a kiss.
Now I’m OK

Christmas at its best brings healing and wholeness where it is most needed, and I would argue that that is the whole point.

Oh, and ‘Fairytale of New York’ is still one of the best Christmas songs ever.

Four Short Stories

A story about a jealous ex-lover, the blackmail he perpetrates to get his woman out of an abusive relationship, detailing the long journey to a new place together whilst she faffs about and struggles to come to terms with the idea.
It ends with him opening the door for her and the girl hesitating just outside.

A story about somebody who creates his perfect bride (for reasons that are never fully made clear), of her stealing from him, the subsequent breakdown of their relationship, her moving out, and several attempts to put things right.
It ends with them settling back down together and him fading into the background of her life – almost forgotten, but always watching.

A story about the preparation for the wedding of the millennium, old debts must be paid, threats dealt with, their old, run down homes demolished, and a fabulous new palatial residence erected in time for the wedding.
It ends with the wedding – the bride and groom will finally consummate their relationship their relationship. Nothing can go wrong now.

A story about the exploits of a series of chaperones for the beloved as they struggle to keep her on the straight and narrow, and of her wavering between complete wantonness and almost comical obeisance.
It ends with the beloved left to her own devices and doing exactly as she pleases.

The 31 Deaths of Evelyn Johnson

Number 31 – Blogged

Sunday turns Monday – three minutes into the working week and Evelyn de-beds, boots her Mac, visits her blog c.p., creates a new post and starts typing.

Half twelve she posts her first entry in all of forever.

One a.m. she posts her second, half past – her third.

All night she’s writing – every thirty another post:
The grand design
Shopping lists
Ideas for films, plays, and TV shows
Oxford Commas
6th Century Hebrew woodcarvings

Time for work. Ignoring alarms and typing merrily, Evelyn writes:

I couldn’t sleep last night, I was ever so tired, but couldn’t sleep. As I was lying there, still, calm, trying to empty my tiny little mind, all of a sudden I thought how wonderful it would be to be writing again, and now I can’t stop. I’ve been writing some of my best material ever all night, and work can go hang, I’ve never felt so good…

About lunch time, word spreads: “Crazy Evey – yes, Crazy Evey from Accounts – well, she’s finally flipped, stayed at home and is writing this odd, blog-thing…”

From: “John Waterman”
Date: Mon, 23 Sep 2004 13:13:49 +0100
To: “James Waterman”
Subject: Hi

Hey Kid Brother o’mine,

How’s it hanging? Not much going on here, but the staff have been distracted all morning by one of their number who seems to have lost the plot a little bit, has stayed home from work without letting anybody know, and is writing every half hour in her blog. Some of it’s actually not that bad – your kind of thing, I thought, but needless to say, she’s finished here – a shame, we had high hopes for her.

Looking forward to seeing you and the kids at the weekend,


Evelyn writes, and writes and writes.

Thanks for all your comments, everybody – I’ll try to respond to them when I get a moment, but I don’t want to distract myself from the writing – it seems that I’m ‘in the zone’. One strange thing I’ve noticed is that I’m not tired or hungry and I’ve been awake since before breakfast yesterday. I’ve not needed the loo since I started writing, either. Very odd.

Still, that’s not what this entry’s about…

Home time. And Evey’s going viral, over the ‘net like a hood on a klansman.

Teatime, Tuesday. TV news shows chez Evelyn, as voice over drones about the new star of the small(ish) screen (18″ TFT) and how there’s no answer at the door, but they’re expecting the next entry any minute now.

In case, I’m posting the Ring the morniquet. To the morniquet. He went to it up in case, I’ll the will the switched on when doing the rounds foolishly left left his now if so to hush it’s been half his keyboard half his, but just thing just his woke up in this keyboard, but just his lower leg it’s bits. Something, I’ll know so top of the morning just his now – since wirelessor bed on what it’s believe the batter fore I just was even he was a made. My computer where’s bed Lunch. To to be strugg

Words on screen

Use these links to finish item:

The 31 Deaths of Evelyn Johnson – An Introduction

It is a truth universally acknowledged* that amongst the almost-infinite number of parallel universes each of us will be born only thirty-one times. Generally, our parallel selves lead similar, if not identical, lives and although there may be some variation between parallels (freak accidents killing off two or three out of thirty one, for example), most of us will die old and in our beds.

Research has thrown up some anomalies.

Take the case of Bernie Rollins (b. 19th-24th August 1942 d.2nd November 1980-2003). This, otherwise remarkably dull, man is the only person in all history to have been killed by a falling, solid-gold piano thirty-one times. Once in each of thirty-one different cities, always on the 2nd November but never on a Monday.

Or maybe that of Catherine Smith (b. 31st December 1977, d. 31st December 2008) who merits attention only for having been born on exactly the same day and having died on her thirty-first birthday in all of her thirty-one parallels.

However, my favourite of all the life and death studies I have come across so far, is that of Evelyn Johnson b. 8th-21st April 1953, d. 5th June 1970 – 29th February 2028. Although not much is known about her early life, the stories of her widely varying deaths – collected here, and available to the public for the first time – are known. They make interesting, sometimes sad, sometimes humbling, sometimes entertaining reading. I hope getting to know Evelyn enriches your life as much as it has mine.

– Professor John Rollins, International Parallels Research Centre, New Stafford

*universally, that is, by the select small few who have done research into this matter and those who have read their papers. It’s generally agreed that quantum and probability and (possibly) quantum probability have something to do with it.

edited to add a missing word

The 31 Deaths of Evelyn Johnson

Number 7: Deus ex Machina

On the day Evelyn Johnson decided to kill herself (June 5th), the sun was shining, the birds were whistling (needless to say, in the trees), and, all around her, the world radiated a sense of all being well. Four weeks later, on the day she went through with her plan, the conditions remained pretty much as they had all summer.

She’d spent the month putting her affairs in order and had even changed her will to better represent her current relationships and favourites amongst them. All her belongings were packed up and ready for distribution to various worthy causes and named individuals. Her fridge was empty, turned off at the wall and its door was open so that the world (with which all was well) could see the freshly-cleaned sparkle. Evelyn had paid her utilities bills until the end of the month, and informed her landlord that she would moving out and that somebody would along to pick up her stuff by the end of August. She’d even sent out a letter to all her friends, which explained, clearly and succinctly what she would be doing and what the practical consequences were likely to be.

Evelyn walked calmly out of her flat, locked the door behind her and sealed the keys in an envelope which she posted to her solicitor at the first post box she passed as she went her not-so-merry way. After about a mile, she came to the highest bridge in the area, walked half way across, climbed over the side, and after a brief pause, leaned outwards and let go of the structure. Whereupon she began to fall.

And falling is where we must briefly leave her.

Somewhere in the Amazon, God commanded an unseasonal butterfly to flap its wings twice as fast as it usually did for a moment or two. Chaos theory was kind-of validated, and we now return to Evelyn.

A very strong wind blew the falling would-be-suicide into the branches of a nearby tree, the branches broke her fall, gradually slowing her down until she tumbled gently from the lowest branches onto the ground below. Besides a slightly twisted ankle and the bruising sustained in the first impact with the tree, she was completely unharmed.

A voice rang out from the heavens, “Evelyn Johnson. Know that it is for God, not you to choose the moment of your passing.”

As Evelyn repented, vowing to make amends, God commanded a bolt of lightning…

Later that afternoon, council workers, investigating the unusal weather discovered Evelyn’s body. The lightning hadn’t even touched her, having naturally struck the tallest object nearby – the tree. The tree had been split from top-most-tip to root, and then fallen both due east and due west. It was the half pointing towards Jerusalem that had fallen on Evelyn and squashed her flat.

A Story I Once Heard

I can’t remember where I first heard this, but it’s been doing the rounds for a good few years now – since well before any of the Ring films got made. There’s not much to it really – just that a struggling young writer foolishly left his word-processor switched on when he went to bed having just watched Naked Lunch. He woke up in the morning to find that his keyboard had eaten half his lower left leg in the night. Some variations of the story say it was a wireless keyboard, but I believe the version which claims that the keyboard used its cable as a make-shift tourniquet.

It’s nearly time for bed now. To top off a day of film watching, I just watched Naked Lunch. My computer was switched on all the way through. In case it’s got any ideas, I’ll be switching it off at the wall and taking the batteries out of the wireless bits. But just in case, I’m posting this now so that you’ll know if something happens to me tonight, so you’ll know what it was even though the authorities will try to hush it up.