Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Chewed up by the machine & smoking fag ends

I hate my computer. It's official. Not only did it eat up my last post, but it's slow, crap, and even when I speak to it lovingly, it still fucks me over. However, I did prop up my monitor on a biblically-thick handbook I got from an old job and it's stopped that constant flickering that was about to send me over the bend. I just finished reading In the Miso Soup, by the Japanese writer Ryu Murakami. The quote from the Guardian on the front cover read: "Reads like the script notes forAmerican Psycho - the Holiday Abroad", and I knew it's pushed my friend's literary taste into the horror genre, so I was expecting a big dollop of ultra-violence and non-stop grim ripping up. This it was not. What we have is a likeable narrator, Kenji, a 19-year-old sex tour guide in Tokyo, a man who sees the seedy side of life yet has a sense of ethics. We follow the tale as he takes on American client, Frank, a man with a near mask of a face and a dark taste for murder. Whereas American Psycho bombarded our sensibilities even when he was not torturing call girls and debutantes, In the Miso Soup is a detailed journey into the lingerie clubs, peep shows, and red-light districts in Tokyo. The goriest slasher scene only lasts a few pages and the rest is Kenji's philosophical and interesting insights into loneliness, character, darkness and the latent murderous tendencies in us all. I was a little disappointed - the back of the book cliamed that we, along with Kenji, would descend into an "inferno of evil". Where was it? Did I miss it? However, part of me was relieved. I couldn't stomach a lot of the descriptions of torture in American Psycho & it's not really possible to shut my eyes. But also, maybe I'm a different reader to when I was 19, and perhaps I've grown a little more accustomed to reading things that aren't that palatable. I think not, but if you want a good easy 1 day read, the book's put out by Bloomsbury. Shit - look at the time. Am now descending into the strange world of Toby Litt, who I saw speak on Saturday at Sussex University, where he was speaking on "Fiction vs Film". I bought one of his books Exhibitionism, so he could sign it. When it was my turn to speak where he was holding court, I told him I liked that he slammed the old writing credo "Show don't tell." It's the motto of every writing teacher, and as he put it in his lecture, "It's the guidelines for writers like Hemingway & Carver (Raymond), who were idiots." Ouch! "I'm glad you said it," I told him. "It's been a straightjacket for me recently." We were pushed for time. He'd just signed my book & we were being asked to sit down with the group. Before I fled, he smiled nervously and gave me a direct look. "Whatever you do, don't worry about writing crap." My thoughts exactly. Off to my writer's group. I WILL NOT GET DRUNK TONIGHT. The truth of it is I probably won't (lie). I'm broke til Thursday, which is why I've been smoking fag butts. Sick isn't it?


Blogger Gabs said...

Nice, fag butts - I'm still managing to avoid cigs, by gnawing my own arm off and stomping around at work being horrible to my poor little underlings. Actually I think I've been quite amiable considering the management bullshit we've been slapped with today, fuckers.

...and two j2o's in the (smoke filled) pub this evening and one at lunch - what is going on?

sure it wont last. wanna get drunk now dammit.

writing crap is a way of life, it can always be Noble crap. or Glorious crap...

11:55 AM  

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