Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Clockwork Spraytan and my Family Folk

So I've had this piece of music playing in my head all day.

It's called the Funeral of Queen Mary by Purcell, and is used in the classic Stanley Kubrick film A Clockwork Orange, based upon the blood-chilling epnumous novel by Anthony Burgess. The book and film tell the tale of Alex, a psychopathic teenager, and his gang of Droogs as they nightly wander around on drug-laced milkshakes in an orgy of 'ultraviolence', rape and burglary. The book caused a sensation when released because of its violent and sexual language, its graphic depiction of rape and murder, the invented argot (a mixture of slavic, pigdin russian, gypsy and street slang) of the main character, and the perceived strong anti-societal message. It is obviously one of my favourite books. Alex, the charming psychopath, reminds me of a younger (albeit less murder-n-rapey) version of myself.

As I sat in work today, back hunched and sweating towards my targets before the quitting hour, a message popped up on my screen and I was informed that all my work for the day (finding, interviewing, referencing and taking documentation) with a candidate - about 7 hours worth - was now ENTIRELY useless because his safety tickets were expired. I felt a bit like Alex. I wanted to go on a bit of an ultraviolent rampage myself (again, without the old rape part) and kill lots of people. I can see how people go on killing sprees. The problem is though, that my psychopathic side (and it does exist) doesn't have the stamina for relentlessness. It's only good in short bursts or periods of mania. Not always and forever. Therefore it's a fake clockwork orange I am. A clockwork spraytan.

When I got home however, I had received a card from my granny and granddad. They're the best old people in the world, and it cheered me up completely to get it. My granny (Mamo you can read about here) is a wickedly funny and cruelly intelligent person. She once gave a police officer a dressing down when a bomb was suspected to be near her house, just because she hates the Po-lice. My grandfather is a writer, and he's written a lot, over 100 books at this stage (the links only shows some of his publications apparently) in his own name and with psuedonyms. I'm not sure how many, but's it's LOADS! He calls himself a hack, and told me all about the story of Ned Purdon when I was younger, the character of the Oliver Goldsmith poem:

Here lies Ned Purdon, from misery freed, Who long was a bookseller's hack;
He led such a damnable life in this world, I don't think he'll ever come back

He's an amazing man, and a phenomenal writer. Every time we chat we talk about writing and he always tells me that to keep as busy as possible is the key. When he asked me how much I write, I told him that it could alternate from 200 to 2000 words in a day, depending on the day. He told me that the best trick was to polish off 500 words that were almost perfect if you could. It cuts down on the edit, and makes for a speedy process. Of course when I seriously get down to writing, I'll try to do double that, but it probably wont be near as good. He also tells me that no writer worth his salt is published before he has a collection of shoeboxes filled with rejections slips. He's not wrong, I fear.

My grandad - Séanie, we call him (sha-nee) - can also sing a song for almost any word you can ever come up with. When he was a teacher he used to write librettas and musicals for the boys he taught. His office, in my grandparents place, is like a museum. The entire house is full of books, and his study has a huge bureau, with wall to wall bookcases and two huge cabinets stuffed with the pieces he's written. We've all had dedications I think; mine was in a book of childrens verse that he compiled and dedicated to my broheim and I, and it's such a source of pride in the family. Him and I are very similar in ways, and we have this running joke about the books I borrow (he has 1000's of them!) from him and never give back. All books in his house are 'our' books, so I can take them at will.

So now I'm going to go to bed thinking of the many stories and words he's written, and dreaming of those that I'll write myself someday.

Goodnight folks, keep writing.


  1. I think that some of the best dreams are those of a writer. =)