This blog would be so much easier if I didn’t have a life that kept on happening and keeping me from writing about what happened to me, my brain and my eyes. I once figured out the proto-problem of the blog when studying the work of Katie “Jordan” Price: her memoirs were being published with increasing frequency, but with less and less raw material to fill out the requisite number of pages. I calculated she will become a Major Avant-Garde Figure in 2015, when she has to start writing “chronologically inverted memoirs” – or “to do lists” as the plebeians call them. The only way she could increase her impressive literary productivity after that is by cloning or schizophrenia.
But anyway, I was talking about me. Mrs McS returned from darkest Devon full of stories about learning how to psych (sorry, I mean “bond with”) a wild horse. She was also staying with a sculptor, Heather Jansch, whose ethical, eco-conscious living has left a deep impression on Mrs McS, of which more later. I went to three fantastic literary events – Writers’ Bloc, Forge of the Wordsmiths and Stewart Home at the Roxy. As I said in today’s newspaper column, the literary reading is dead; long live the literary cabaret. Writers’ Bloc had their usual coyly punning title – “Planet of the Apps” this time – and so the stories all featured technophobia in some form. There wasn’t a dud reading in the whole evening. Andrew J Wilson did a lovely riff on how frustrating aliens find social networking; Stefan Pearson read a very exciting short story on the overloading of digital tagging; Kirsti Wishart took on Second Lifes in general in a piece worthy of the great M R James. Gavin Inglis read a “crap ghost story”, about an on-line spectre, which showcased his talent for uniting the macabre and the hilarious. Forge of the Wordsmiths took over the Scottish Book Trust, and Mrs McS’s students delivered their manifestoes: Hatism, which may be Hattism and is not to be confused with Hateism, Booki$m, Sinsualism, and Mulipotes, as well as examples of work produced by said manifestoes. Hats off to all of them, especially since they all dressed up so wittily. Among the other readings, there was an interesting multimedia presentation by Kirsty Neary, some sly poems by Stephen O’Toole and a fabulous N+15 Oulipo from Alison Summers. Stewart Home is that rare thing, a genuine radicalist in an age of homogenised writing and lit-lite, and to prove his avant-gardiste credentials, he shredded a copy of his new book on stage at the Roxy, arguing that this turned it into “art” and thus quadrupled its cover-price value. He also did weird ventriloquism and read a pugnacious story that twitted the supposedly radical literati of London. Prior to Stewart’s reading there was a psychogeographical film by Sacha Kahir. All in all, a dandy set of events.
But there was also the bombshell. McShandy & Spouse were informed we were being turfed out of McShandy Towers, as the landlord we have never met intends to sell the property. We spent the most miserable week of our marriage looking at variously cramped, damp, eerie, dirty, mentalised, someone-died-here-and-recently lodgings until the Gods of Chance and Chancery took pity and found us a new address. It’s rural and capacious, close to the city but firmly in the country, and big enough for McShandy’s external brain to get a proper airing (i.e. we get a library room). It will also mean Mrs McS can have a garden, a vegetable patch and a composting bin. Can you imagine the machine from the classic film The Fly? OK – imagine putting into said matter transfer and DNA splicing device the following characters: Sacheverell, Osbert and Edith Sitwell, Felicity Kendall and Richard Briers from The Good Life, Hit-Girl, Sinestro, the Hemulen and Little Mo. That equals the new us.