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Sunday, 25 October 2015

A little textual analysis

I'm no sycophant, so I can honestly say this: List of the Lost is a mess. A glorious mess, but a mess none-the-less. Boston college kids ranting about Thatcher is 1975? The American dero with his accurate but unlikely rant about the British Cruelity Family? "...snoozled in sleepland; a smiling sleep of dreamland." Really? Really? REALLY?

Don't get me wrong, I love it. It will become a cult classic, if it isn't already. It's the "White Album" of novels. Ezra's "bulbous salutation" and Harri's "manly central issue" that Tracey finds "too slight to grip" will be much quoted. And this: “Whoever put the pain in painting had also put the fun in funeral.” It's overloaded with such gems.

But it's not the quality of the (often tortuous) prose that concerns me here. I'm more concerned with matters of identity. Many co-incidences have already been pointed out (but I have failed to find mentioned the obvious FTM reference on page 109: "Edgar Allan Poe couldn't concoct this."). What I'm interested in here is to draw attention to something else.

The writing style of LOTL is baroque, brash and overbearing. It's a wordy tome that's slim in pages, but long in lengthy sentences (woe-betide David Morrissey or whomever else gets the job of reading it into a talking book, should it get that far). There's the wit of Autobiography, but in LOTL it's in overdrive. They share the dialogue in italics. They share the expected Morrissey-esque themes. But what gets me is that, although there's the occasional phrase lifted from a Morrissey lyric, it's very different from Morrissey's well-honed song verses. And if people thought Autobiography needed editing, then we can only assume that Michael Bracewell got the sack after that effort and M decided to fulfill that role himself.

Stylistically, it's quite different from what we've seen on the MW blob and on TTY. The messages are familiar, with the novel's oopart discussions of Churchill and of meat and the college-based conspiratorial abuse cover-up in the novel constantly reminded me of the Skull and Crossbones conspiracy theory played with on the MW blob, but the means are quite different.

Ever since reading the Brazil short story on MW (and re-published in the Blue Rose Society tumblr) I'd wondered if it showed the way to the novel. Thematically, it does; sex and death and the squalid abuse of power and money. Stylistically, though, they are quite distinct.

So, here's what I did. I popped some text samples into the Online Authorship Attribution Tool. I copied and pasted some prose from LOTL (seen in the analysis as Author 1), some TTY statements signed off as being composed by Morrissey (Author 2) and samples from Brazil (this went into Author Unknown field). What is being measured is how Brazil compares to the sample texts from LOTL (Author 1) and TTY (Author 2).

Here's the results:

It's hardly conclusive and this analysis tool may not mean that much. Maybe the prose of LOTL is so overblown that there is nothing in the Morrissey canon that is stylistically analogous, thereby creating a bias that gravitates Brazil closer to the TTY samples through their more familiar conventional prose styles. As the disclaimer says:
This tool is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. No guarantee is given as to the accuracy of the results, and the outcomes are not to be used for commercial or legal purposes.

However, the result is intriguing, as it suggests that when handed to an anonymous, unthinking software tool that wouldn't know the emotional difference between Please Help The Cause Against Loneliness and Mambo No.5*, it turns out that Brazil is more likely to have been written by Morrissey than his debut novel.

* I compared those two song lyrics with Kiss Me A Lot and the Online Authorship Attribution Tool erred on the side of PHTCAL being written by the same author as KMAL, but the result didn't make it into the green.

Saturday, 10 October 2015

Booze-A-Pest in Budapest

Good afternoon. Our beloved Boozelette is on her way to see Monsieur Le Moz in Budapest together with her man-servant/chauffeur/suitcase carrier, and as her Mancunian booze Blue Rose buddy had put it - there's a certain romance to seeing Sir Monsieur abroad, so this time, instead of just covering the day of the show, we're going to report on the whole trip. I for one am expecting loads of pictures of various glasses filled with various alcoholic beverages, but we hope that Mlle also manages to give us an impression of the beautiful city of Budapest aside from the very important research issue of local pubs.

Tickets - passports - blue roses:

On the road now:

Boozey's comment: "En route. I'm allowing dave to drive my car again. Mainly as I got so shitcunted last night I fell down the stairs. Luckily my head didn't split THREE ways, but it hurts to shit down."

UPDATE: Sorry, typo. That's SIT down of course. Stupid fruit.

UPDATE: "Got through security. Rear cleavage wasn't checked." Great, so they haven't confiscated that giant inflatable toothbrush yet. I hope the venue's security will be similarly careless.

First booze pics coming in: "Duty free done very quickly as I needed refreshments. Gate opens in 1hr 20mins from my calculations I should be able to fit THREE drinks in. My eagle eye has noticed the Cocktail menu"

UPDATE: "THIRD drink just bought. DOUBLE southern comfort and lemonade. Also lady sat next to me I was talking to whilst dave went to the bar, had a cat once called Morrissey!"

I really wonder what Morrissey's cat is called. Suggestions in the comments section please.

UPDATE: "Boarding! Just made the final call due to boozing"

"Here is our private jet - of course we will be unable to take pictures of the luxurious inside. Needless to say the champers will be flowing!"

 "Here are my admin bods and staff boarding"


There were some drinkles consumed on the plane and they are now being checked into the hotel by someone named "Gabor." One can only assume they mean Zsa Zsa?  Oh, and the hotel room number is 304, by the way!

Upon their arrival, it appears Dave forgot his toothbrush! Good thing the inflatable wasn't confiscated.

UPDATE: Never fear - the flight hasn't worn Boozey out in the slightest.  "Making up for lost time!" in Budapest now!

A moment of tension when it wasn't clear if a bar was open after the hotel bar closed... but found one - Phew!... more drinks at a lovely Hungarian bar:

Also there's been a sighting of two lovely cats - perhaps a THIRD will make an appearance.

UPDATE: MORE DRINKS - I've now lost count of the total but here we clearly see THREE beers. Boozey says: "My man servant is doing his job well!"

And here we have the lovely Boozelette and her fantastic husband and man-servant Dave, "Boozed in Booze-a-pest!"

Late night Update: There is more booze back in room 304! It's inescapable! Not that anyone seems to be complaining...

UPDATE: I've been awoken from my red wine hangover (are we sensing a theme about our 'staff' here?) just in time to update about Boozey's travels in Budapest. So far today... a lot of rain and...


Which soon turned into:

And these X 3!

Current view (it's quite rainy!):

Current drink consumption update (the little glasses are something called Palinka raspberry (fire water):

Friday, 2 October 2015

SomeFruit's Frankfurt/Cologne experiences (part 1)

This will be very difficult. And, lacking BBN's genius, Marianne's eloquence, or Boozelette's charm, probably the most badly written review ever.

The night before Frankfurt was spent in happy anticipation, packing my bags while simultaneously checking Twitter DM for BBN's updates on the progress of his Hull review. I had planned to go to bed early, but I had already been treated with a sneak preview, so you will certainly understand that I couldn't wait to read the whole thing. Around midnight, I silently started cursing Monsieur Bob Le Bitter for keeping me glued to my screen, and about thirty minutes later I wanted to hug him for the same reason. I was too excited to sleep anyway. Eventually I managed to doze off for about three and a half hours, and headed for Frankfurt around 8 o'clock in the morning. Few things are better than getting into your car to drive to a Morrissey show. Spontaneously, I'd say the only thing that beats that is a Morrissey show. Arriving at around 11:30 a.m. at the venue, and after figuring out how that weird parking garage system worked, I got a nice spot at #16 on the list. Neu-Isenburg isn't LA, obviously. The queue was full of familiar faces, and the day was spent mostly with conversations about where we had last met, watching some guys kicking a ball around, and convincing concerned citizens that we're neither homeless nor refugees. Around 5 p.m., I got ready for the show. I was slightly nervous when I stepped out of the parking garage, because this time, I held not just my ticket, but also a mutant monster blue rose.

I was prepared for any reaction, but there was no reaction at all. No strange looks, no questions; that blue flower that is said to cause a bit of disturbance amongst Morrissey's audience members caused nothing here, it was simply ignored, which was fine for me, although I had hoped beforehand to gain some insight into the question what is the reason for the animosity towards BRS, but in the end I was there to see Morrissey, and felt no need to discuss.

Doors opened, and I found a nice spot at the barrier quite far to the right. One guy of the venue's security came to me to inspect my rose - was he suspecting that I had hidden a gun in there? It surely was big enough... I chatted a bit with the people behind me; a guy who had been to Morrissey shows since the 90s and who got very excited when I told him that Boxers might be played, and the girl with the huge sunflower. It was her first concert, and the anticipation in her eyes was no different to mine. Then I heard a female voice with a Scottish accent. "Is that a blue rose?" a woman to my right asked, and I was prepared for any snarky remark, but instead she said what I had least expected: "That's great, I'm in that club too!". I have no clue what kind of face I pulled then (I never have!), and I suddenly felt really weird, because two worlds were about to merge. I wasn't sure anymore if I was a Morrissey fan in a fruit costume, or an incognito fruit dressed as human. Luckily, Mme wasn't really in the loop and had never heard of TWoM, which spared me from an identity crisis, but she gave me her Twitter handle, and I knew that name only too well. I couldn't believe that this was the person who had filmed Morrissey when he arrived at the back door in Hawick in 2011, which had been my first show, and I remember very clearly how I excitedly waited with the others for the tour bus to arrive. Seeing Morrissey with my own eyes for the first time had been a very special moment for me, and I was so happy to find footage of that moment on YouTube later, and now the woman who had filmed and uploaded it stood right next to me. How odd, and how lovely.

Pre-show started, and I was pleased to see many new videos. With the New York Dolls, the usual routine that will never be a routine began. Hearts beat faster, eyes widen, Lypsinka's madness, the curtain falls, Wayward Sisters, a flashlight illuminates the path to the stage, and there he is - appears. It doesn't matter how many times you've gone through these moments, the excitement is always the same.

Monsieur takes the stage sporting the très chic Larry King blazer, greeting the audience in German - "Danke, guten Abend, blahblahblahblahblahblahblahblah..." and the crowd is instantly drawn in by the magical opener Suedehead. I'm afraid that I can't give a detailed review of the complete show, because whenever I stand in a Moz audience, I just perceive, admire, enjoy the moment. A few mental notes is all I can write about. The usual "Thank you" or "Gracias" is replaced by "Danke" and "Dankeschön", and, early in the set, a "Bitte", followed by "Bitter, bitter, I am so bitter", which I took as an obvious nod to BBN's genius Hull review. When the first chords of Reader Meet Author resound, I don't even realise right away that I'm about to hear a huge surprise in the setlist, as that song is a regular on my daily Morrissey playlist and therefore most familiar to my ears. It took me a few bars to get aware that this was the Southpaw song that Boozelette (and me too) had been waiting for, and I couldn't help chuckling when a silly thought crossed my mind, about who was Reader and who was Author here - assuming that Monsieur occasionally takes a peek at our blob. People Are The Same Everywhere was a highlight, as it contains one of Ch*ck's favourite lines. Staircase threw me into a bit of a struggle, because I couldn't help looking at him during "three ways", but on the other hand that's one of the lines where I usually close my eyes to reduce all sensory perception to my ears. Many Morrissey songs have such a moment, where an already great song offers you a few seconds of absolute perfection, either through words, or vocal melody, or both. The band was introduced in German too - well, "here is" was replaced by "hier ist", but it was still a delight. If you imagine how NOT cute it sounds when Germans try to speak English (ze horror), the opposite is true for Brits speaking German. During Far-Off Places, he repeatedly pointed at the stage, which I found funny as Neu-Isenburg really seemed like a far-off place; to call it a Frankfurt show makes as much sense as playing in Wigan and label it a Manchester concert. I was so happy to hear Boxers, that one I had most anticipated. Time passed too quickly, and Monsieur left the stage after What She Said to reappear for the encore in a brownish shirt with turquoise sp*rkly inlays. He came over to my side of the stage, and I stretched out my hand - not the one that held that quite frankly ridiculous blue rose monster. It wasn't important to me at all if he accepts it or not. The stage was so close that he easily could've reached to grab it if he had wanted to anyway. As I already texted to Boozey, instead of taking my rose, and much to my amusement, he cheekily went for the massive sunflower from the girl that stood behind me (how absurd really that the only two people with big plastic flowers managed to coincidentally stand together), and tossed it back into the audience. It was so typically Moz. There was a slight moment of shock when someone next to or behind me pulled him; for a second it seemed like he lost balance, and I grabbed his wrist and tried to push him back, but maybe the moment wasn't at all as dramatic as I perceived it. I hesitated to throw my rose on stage, as the stem wasn't exactly flexible but more like a steel wire with a sharp end, and it also had quite spiky thorns. That plastic flower thing was perfectly appropriate for a mechanical Orange, a bit like a parody Blue Rose member holding a parody Blue Rose, but I really didn't want to put Monsieur into the awkward situation of seeing it landing in front of his feet and having to decide what to do with it. So I gently placed it on the edge of the stage in front of me, where it didn't disturb anyone. Shirt toss, he said something along the lines of "You've been very kind, but... Cologne, here we come", and it was over. Too soon, much too soon, as always, but having in mind that I still had another show to look forward to, I was feeling absolutely fine. I watched out for the two girls who had asked me for a lift to Cologne earlier in the queue, had a short chat with them, and while they went to get their luggage, I couldn't resist walking back to the stage to see what had happened to my rose. It was still lying there where I had put it, neither picked up nor kicked away, and I didn't really want to know about its fate, so I left.

Setlist Neu-Isenburg:

Alma Matters
Kiss Me A Lot
Reader Meet Author
Oboe Concerto
One Of Our Own
People Are The Same Everywhere
The Bullfighter Dies
World Peace Is None Of Your Business
I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
Everyday Is Like Sunday
Staircase At The University
I Will See You In Far-Off Places
Meat Is Murder
What She Said

Encore: The Queen Is Dead

I soon found the other girls and we headed for Cologne. There was little point in staying in Frankfurt, as I had no hotel there, and I couldn't check in to my hotel in Cologne at night either, so the obvious thing to do was to camp in front of the Palladium. When we arrived, we were surprised to see that only one other car had made the journey from Frankfurt, so we opened the queue (I skillfully avoided the dreaded top spot), and while the others decided to sleep half-upright in the car, I preferred to stretch myself out on the stairs of the Palladium. If Neu-Isenburg had been a far-off place, then this was certainly even more far-off. The venue was in the middle of an industrial area with neither residential buildings nor gastronomy around, and my only company was a little spider crawling back and forth over the floor and my sleeping bag. After a while, a security person appeared, and I was most delighted that he promised to turn off the floodlight-like illumination of the stairs I was trying to sleep on. It didn't really help my cause though, as there were still five yellow street lamps shining bright on me. Instead of lying in a football stadium, I now felt like sleeping on a Belgian motorway, but I just hid under my jacket and dozed off - not for long though as the place got busier soon. After saying hallo to the usual suspects, I got some food out of the car and crawled back into my sleeping bag to spend the day happily isolated from the world around me. And I started thinking.