To be in any real-time proximity must be wearing as all hell.
First there's the writing. His seven-part series 72 Hours Raw in Dublin was like a Red Bull and cigarette-fueled collaboration between Jack Kerouac and Patrick McCabe holed up in the Talbot Street Comfort Inn with nothing but Shane MacGowan and Pete Doherty songs on the mp3 playlist. When I first read it, I actually thought I was encountering someone with decades of writing experience behind him. Not so.
Then there's the website, linked above. One guestbook visitor said "My favorite amateur website ever." It does read a little dark on my own workstation screen, but that screen may be a thing of the past now, so whatever. The design, layout and graphics are -- again -- something you'd expect from someone with years of experience. And it is loaded with essays and rants, sound files and pictures, and god knows what else. I haven't even visited the Asia Extreme section.
And then there's the podcasts. Here, for the first time, we have a chance to hear the early forays of inexperience. Mondo Irelando Podcasts 1 through 3 are worth a listen and probably hold up against 95% of the other podcasts out there. Also, my drop-jawed admiration for anyone who would play a Charles Manson composition (indeed creeping out the audience with the actual recording of Manson singing it) and then follow it with one of their own songs! But I'm getting ahead of the story.
With Podcast 4, there's something more that gets started. And the way that he handled "the following program contains obscene language that may be inappropriate for some listeners" in Podcast 6 should have Stan Freberg crawling out of the grave and dragging his bones to Belfast just to shake the Duke's hand. Podcast 13: brilliant. Simply brilliant.
I've got the gap between Podcast 8 to 12 to cover, and there's apparently a Podcast 14 on its way.
Okay. What else? He's some sort of bigwig at www.blogcritics.org.(The Bubba Ho-Tep review picked at random there.)
And on top of that...he's a songwriter. Because none of that other stuff is apparently enough.
I mean: damn!
I came on this with 120 Removed (April Songs), which I thought was a breakup album with his muse Sinead. Indeed, I still haven't figured that one out, but the first song "I Do Believe You Are the Devil" seemed to be the cathartic release of inviting your buddies over and trashing some poor person from a past relationship. The lyrics described the sort of thing people in San Francisco will pay top dollar for in certain Folsom Street establishments:
I do believe you are the devil,
Got me bent naked for the lash,
Those 120 days of Sodom heading up this way,
Twisting and writhing in the ash.
I'd been listening to buckets of Nick Cave at the time, so I wasn't immediately impressed. Did appreciate the Soggy Bottom Boys chorus of the other guys in the background.
But then there was Chicks Dig Whinin.' "Ah HA!" I thought. I just knew this would be some misogynistic piece of male superiority laughing at female sentiments that I could download and post to the good ladies of Guerilla Girls, who would, in turn, administer a post-feminist cyber-pounding on his ass. But the song did not play out as expected. Instead, it revealed an understanding of female psychology that I'm not too pleased to know is in the hands of the opposite side in this eternal battle of the sexes we've all got going on.
Taken as advice, the song could help a lot of guys get a lot of action:
Chicks dig whinin’, this I know,
Their sympathetic eyes say so,
And whispering to friends – “It’s true,
Man, he’s so cute when he’s so blue”
Chicks dig guys who fantasise,
Bout helping dry her weeping eyes,
And guys who choke on hateful lies,
“I’m sorry! I apologise!”
Chicks dig songs bout loneliness,
And songs bout life that sound like death,
And pausing for to catch my breath…
And cough the shit from out my chest
Chicks dig talk of Jesus from a fella’s not a preacher,
Just some fool left to make sense of senselessness,
And all my senses,
They are dragging me towards her and I’m scared I’ll never reach her,
Chicks dig weary resignated sighs…
Chicks dig when a man can’t help but cry
And it is sung to the tune of Jesus Loves Me. Again: brilliant. Just brilliant.
But he's got a new album out now, and all that's going to happen is everyone who is already a slavering online fan of his hyper-creative output is just going to download it and praise it and pass it along to their friends. (I haven't had a chance yet, but the one track on Mondo Irelando Podcast 13 was pretty damn good.)
What he needs is some new, impartial listeners. Listeners steeped in the full five decades of rock music and not easily swayed by clever graphics or streams of prose. I believe a few Horslips fans should get in there and make their opinions known, certainly, but I encourage any and all to check out 75 mg.
There! Thank God that's finished. It makes me tired just writing about him.