Smokin’n’chokin’

Working Title/Artist: Louis Hine (American, 1874-1940): Newsies at Skeeter Branch, St. Louis, Missouri, 11:00 A.M., May 9, 1910  Department: Photographs Culture/Period/Location:  HB/TOA Date Code:  Working Date:  scanned for collections
Stretch here. I have been not smoking the smoking cigarettes since August 1st 2014. I feel healthy, my lungs are full of air. I go for long and boring runs now and sorta see the point of it. Sometimes, I cough and enjoy the lack of a wheeze and that little bit of phlegm that would jump out in to my munki mouth. Despite years of abusing these little wonder sticks, I can now look forward to living maybe five to ten years longer and see my family and friends flourish into old age. Ahhh.

BUT, Jesus, fuck that, I fucking miss them. Here’s why:

  1. Travel: Standing at a bus stop or train station, occupying your time with your own thoughts is generally boring. Smoking a cigarette fills time. It fills between 5 and 8 minutes. You look at the board and it says 18 minutes until your travel device arrives. That’s two lovely, enjoyable cigarettes. You don’t want to be thinking about stuff like how to be a better munki or solving the world’s problems. That’s none of your business. Smoke. Also, in Winter it keep you warm and safe.
  2. Tramps. The majority of conversations I have had with people of the streets have occurred around cigarettes. In fact, on one holiday to San Francisco, I spent most of my holiday money passing out cigarettes to the homeless, causing petty tramp-fights due to the queues forming around my person. I felt like Jesus did when he smoked, I did.
  3. Accentuating a shit situation: You have a row; lose a job; the car won’t start; you get clamped; a piano falls on your sister; Christmas Day; Salman Rushdie keeps hanging around you; Lupita Nyong’o says you have no talent and you’re not funny; fucking Ryan Gosling actually has young geese (fuck sake); you pay your TV license and they give it to Ryan Tubridy to keep up his sense of self-worth; you find out there is a God, but vow to continue to trust the tenets of nihilism etc… With the aid of a cigarette you can stop, regard the situation, shove one in your mouth and take a timeout. Without cigarettes, the only option is to revolve and revolve and revolve quickly until dizziness makes amends.
  4. Funerals: Socially awkward, uncomfortable, cold, long, boring…. Stand outside and smoke. You’ll look anxious and people will forgive the chain-smoking, thinking you’re working through issues. You’re not. You barely know the deceased. You are just ignorant, but y’know content.
  5. Social occasions: See above. Smoking areas are now the only places in bars or clubs where people are actually having fun probably. Be careful though: outgoing people tend to use wild hand gestures to add to their boring stories. Smokers will burn you real good. You’ll make friends, fall in love, sway… anything you want and you ARE getting the night air. What could be better? The downside is the cancer and the smell of ya. Also great for getting away from the desk at work. Well except when getting to the spot and the most boring person in the company is there. Bullshit conversation about their social life and then you avoid eye contact for years. YEARS!
  6. Life expectancy: How fucking long is long enough? Do you want to live forever? I’m not sure I can afford to live until a ripe old age. I’m skint. At a certain point, the onset of old age will make my remaining munki years slow and cumbersome. Naturally I would be okay if I had an optimistic outlook, but fuck that, that hasn’t happened and tumblr_ndm5w7gn2p1tjsogwo1_250isn’t going to. So now I’ll have to endure a healthy, broke end of days. Sounds great. But, if I go back on the smokes, I can shave off a number of those painfully boring years, despite suffering a terrible painful death coughing phlegm on everyone. Hmm…what to do?
  7. Cause of death: So, yeah, If I don’t smoke, I will die from something else, right? What if the thing that kills me is really stupid, like being run over or being eaten by penguins or falling in the shower or being assassinated accidentally by a secondary terrorist organisation or choking on rocket or choking on asparagus or choking on a Pharmaton or choking on yoghurt or falling off the Eiffel Tower or falling out a bungalow window wrong….grrr? Instead, a persistent cough, breathing apparati…later.
  8. Non Smokers: Hey I don’t smoke but I’m not a non-smoker, right? You can fuck right off if you think that.
  9. They taste fucking wonderful and go so well with booze and LSD. In fact if you are doing acid, I recommend about 60 cigarettes (80 if microdots are your thing) and of course, breathing. Breathe, Shirley, breathe! Who do you think you are, Tom fucking Cruise?
  10. Finally, remember, we are all alone. With a cigarette you are never alone. You have a sense of purpose. That sense of purpose is to smoke a cigarette. It is one of the simplest things you will learn in life. This and the knowledge that most humans you encounter in life are straight up conservative assholes and they think the same of you. Family, friends, confidantes, your religious entity, doing good deeds, receiving praise? None of these things will ever give you the same feeling as the first optimistic 30 seconds after lighting up a beautiful stick of dried out leaves. Inhale, exhale. Life is good. For now.

Smoke if you got em’!

Hold the psionics, these sick babies is ah-screamin

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As Stephen Colbert says in the cursed video below, “I’m not sure what I’m about to see, but I’m pretty excited about it.” Badly judged quip or terrifying insight into a depraved man’s mind. Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! These three teenage gothlings,¬†Moametal, Su-metal and Yuimetal are the scariest thing to come out of Japan since that little fucker, Sadako Yamamura, crawled out of my TV set and scared the shit out of me nearly 20 years ago.

What seemed to be a bit of a joke has turned into a phenomenon. Their sweet voices exude childlike charm which is then meshed with metal and dark Japanese iconography. Musically, everything from Speed metal, drum’n’bass, Maidenesque guitars and even a bit of Ska is thrown at the pot. It’s all very interesting and slightly terrifying. The ultimate Eurovision group but they’re too good.

They could be a passing fad or as my better munki half says, “they could be the perfect house-band for Blade Runner.” Or maybe they possibly come from the imagination of William Gibson. Indeed, possibly forged from the depths of a room Bill Murray didn’t enter in Lost In Translation while he was leching on Scarlett. These psycho-brats are hanging around my brain like the tail end of a particularly stupid episode of Bell’s Palsy (goddamn Bell’s Palsy). The songs are so so catchy; catchy as when you catch yourself worrying about the fact that you are a grown munki listening to children screaming but of course the heavy guitars and furious drums makes it okay, yeah?

There’s an element of it that makes this munki think that they exist in the aftermath of Aphex Twin’s “Come to Daddy.” The creepy children of the creepy children of those creepy children of that creepy thing which shouted at the creepy lady for a little too long and little too creepily and she was only trying to get home, put the messages away and have a cup of tea and maybe a Jaffa Cake. Nevertheless, the fact that she was a survivor of Jonestown never entered the narrative.

Anyways or I mean what the fuck is going on when some kids from the Sakura Gakuin can’t take the normal route of just being in J-Pop, of just being into professional wrestling or just being (short) lifetime members of a horrendous death cult that live in a rainy but lush green forest. Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death! Babymetal Death!

Instead some creepy management group takes these cutesy girls and locks them into a 900-year contract, presumably ending with a fight against an ancient evil witch who can run up and down walls like a cat with dodgy anal glands AND a song or two or maybe even some Christy Moore or Richard Clayderman covers, I dunno.
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Meanwhile, Su-metal endures being crucified on-stage four thousand times, always wondering to herself why the other two fuckers prance around the stage in a state of non-tied-to-a-fucking-crossage. Fuck you Constantine she thinks. A hooded cast of thousands surround her chanting their bizarre incantations while drunk Billy Dumbfuck and Mary Vomitonhertrousers prance around in the crowd and think they are having great craic and that this is probably wholesome and that everything is going to be okay, isn’t it? Isn’t it? A wailing crowd expects more and these kids sell fucking tickets. They play to bigger audiences than most, grimly being crucified every night and having uncomfortable conversations in another language with the worst humans on earth (music journalists). Sounds horrible, but fuck it, it’s better than my fucking job, so suck it up children of Oni!

Su-metal thinks she knows how this dude feels

Su-metal figures she knows how this dude feels

 

I try to put this out of my mind and sleep, but disturbing dreams have overtaken me where scary little schoolgirls in cctv videos make kitsune signs with their hands while standing over me flashing torches, turning my world quickly into a manga nightmare. Wow! This munki is now on a fast motorcycle hurtling through the streets of rainy, downtown Kyoto, dripping red and black ink behind me. Terrifying Moametal shouts at me,
“Stretch-san, we need help (in Japanese, obviously, duh)”
“What? Why? I’m trying to get some sleep.” I help.
“Stretch! Look! (in Japanese, obviously)” says the other one.
I look out over the city and see through the blinding sunset thousands, no, millions of tiny godzillas (not Godzuki thank christ. Stupid Godzuki) slowly heading toward us, at the speed and creepy movement of Rex from Toy Story.
Yuimetal shouts, “I’ll take care of this (in Japanese, obviously, duh).”
Su-metal agrees to help and so does the other one, whatsername. They start throwing shapes and send giant clouds of hallucinogenic dust toward the army of little green godzillas. In unison the beasts let out a terrible scream and immediately start shuffling around looking for cigarettes, asking each other are they okay, fiddling with their jumpers, and completely overestimating the size of their tongues until they all die from panic attacks (something that could never happen, just in case any anxious gojiras are reading).

Godzilla

“Man, I lost my keys, my phone, wallet, everything”

Su-metal goes Yay; freaky Moametal shouts cha; the other one just squeaks mad-loud like.
They raise an arm each and grip hands in a ceremonial celebration, or high-five. The crowd, arms aloft, roars. Lots of gigantic small lizards are sitting around, head-in-hands waiting to be collected. The rain stops. Night drops. Neon breaks out. Smoke raises from the grates. A dark moody man with three-day-old stubble drinks whiskey from a street bar. The happy girls squeal and wave at him. He does a wry smile, toasts the girls while internally wondering how much he would get for each.

I look on bewildered and they face me, after throwing a few more shapes. A naked gojira runs past screaming “AWESOME!” The scary schoolchilds close their eyes and bow. I uncomfortably begin to bow, when bang, they clap hands, and throw their ancient magic powders colouring me red, yellow, pink and in-di-go.

Blinded, tired and mildly irritated, all I can say is,
“So, you didn’t need me after all then.”
Poof, I disintegrate into a billion suns and wake up sweating and tripping major, major balls.

Did I learn any lessons? Yes, in terms of pubescents, leave well enough alone and if it doesn’t taste like tea, it’s not tea.

"I can tap dance and can kinda play guitar but more bass. Ah nevermind"

“I can tap dance and can kinda play guitar but more bass. I can sing a bit and….Ah nevermind”

I love Acid…I love Acid, for the way it makes me move 2

I miss Acid. Now, that was a place that made sense. Except around dogs. That didn’t make sense.

Jack Russells and high grade LSD! A lethal combination. Small dogs don’t appreciate idiots trying to communicate with them via megaphones. It was his fault anyway, chasing me for hours.

A beautiful light in the mist inspired Stretch to do a post about hip hop in the 80s, and learn more about this badass…

disko Stu, how do you do? Word up

but more about that later. Now, some acid

getting higher and higher

Stretch say hi… bees are necessary until one of them stings you and then you say “Fuck”

“Exterminate the brutes!”

Ah, an entire generation of journalistos will constantly reference Joseph Conrad, much to the bemusement of a fickle public, fed on a diet of amateur dramatics and folly.

Thinking a lot about drugs lately. Wanna but don’t do nowt now, life is weird enough. Back in the way back when, the choices of music I would put to different drugs were very odd. When I smoked hashishash, I had a ritual of bathing and listening to Mazzy Star’s She Hangs Brightly, then splaliff two would be

"How could they make that mistake? They're obviously completely different"

Slint’s Spiderland , watch some TV and then Nick Cave’s Your Funeral My Trial which would send me off to sleep with my last joint on my lips, only to wake minutes later with enormous burns on my skin. I lived in a crypt.

While doing speed, I couldn’t listen to anything but the theme tunes to annoying Nintendo or Sega games. It was ridiculous. Ol’ Mama and Papa Stretch used to wonder why a rapid child jingle was playing at 9,000 decibels from my room. They would walk in to find me jogging furiously (like Ian Curtis) in a circle screaming, “Next level! Must reach next level!” Destroyed our relationship.

Acid was a difficult one. Nothing really worked, until I tried movie soundtracks. There was always an evocative moment in a movie which would suit my disposition. In Jackie Brown, the bar that Jackie meets Ordell is one of the places I will want to go in my life. Not the Grand Canyon, not Machu fucking Picchu, but that bar. The same goes for the bar in Repo Man where Circle Jerks play.

Essentially it was bars I wanted to go to. Although, there seems to be a qualification. The bars must have low lighting and red velvet chairs or little tables with lamps on them. If possible with a barman like in Pulp Fiction who says,

“My name is Paul, this is between y’all!”

Ohm splutter, spit,  speaking of Repo Man, click here. The laziest piece of journalism (apart from my own) I have come across in a long time. Fucking morons. When I heard Repo Men was coming out, I knew this type of stupid mistake would be made, but I thought journalists could go on to IMDB and do two seconds of fucking research. Stupid Stretch. The two movies have completely different plots for the love of the baby Buddha!

I did ecstacy once, waited for five minutes, fell flat on my face and never did it again. Friends tried to get me to do it again, but you learn your lesson. Whatever makes your face and the floor copulate should be avoided at all costs. Listening to Art Attacks right now and drinking a vat of rum, later to the big town to see the Fall. Now, how to get there.

Anyway, the greatest songs of all time usually sound a little like this…