Tag Archive: matt dalby


::::The Cold Men::Matt Dalby:::: [ poetry ]


I

Thus have I heard.
Heroes came.
Chocolate men
shiny cocktail sausage men
The Cold Men.

They said aspire
they said inspire
they said perspire
they said acquire.
They said choir flyer amplifier higher.
They said

nothing.

They said lists of verbs.

They ate potatoes on
Thursday, they ate spuds
on Friday. At the weekend they got mashed.
Monday they ate apples.

II

The Lubricator 1

If 8″ vibrators are a little too large and bullets, eggs or buttplugs a little too discreet try The Lubricator.

Partway between a finger and a gel cock The Lubricator will ream you in any hole you like.

And as the name suggests this versatile toy dispenses lubricant through its patented ‘real pores’ system. Cums with 3 capsules of lubricant.

Throw in adjustable girth, variable speed, and both textured and smooth ‘skins’ and The Lubricator will leave you breathless.

The Lubricator 2

Now he’s all tofu and shit but he used to be like doners and curry and that. The first year in Uni he ate a chapstick.

There was the Christmas they drove to the Lake District and got food poisoning from the turkey because they didn’t cook it properly. The cottage was a wreck after, but you’ve got to have fun at that age. The caretaker’d sort it.

III

Like dead men in barrows they throw their arms around you and draw your heat.

They build Lego towers and knock them down.

The write histories of World War II in their bedrooms
on A5 lined paper
in an afternoon
based on a couple of books they have.

From the four corners they
come. The
Cold Men. The
League of Heroes.

First The Lubricator
shiny and smiley but
serious.

Then Fireman. Hollow
eyes and hollow
guts. Everything
he touches flames and burns and
gives no heat.
Leaves crystalline ash.

They meet in pizza
restaurants. They meet in
city centres.
They have been known
to listen to music. But not
when anyone was watching.

Dead Clown remembers.
He knows how life was.
Dead Clown eats brains
and remembers their thoughts.

Sort of.

And last The Secret.
Even his reflection looks
away.

They shop at real shops and have charmingly
inept podcasts. They
once played Jenga in pubs, and saw
awful indie bands before
they were famous
– the bands that is, not The Cold Men. I mean The Cold Men weren’t famous then either, but they saw the awful indie bands before the awful indie bands became awful stadium filling bands for people who don’t really like music much.

IV Fireman

Fire followed where his feet fell.
Grass burned snow burned
soil burned stone burned. But
no heat no heat.

Fireman enjoys
whimsical car adverts.
He collects
taxi business cards.
He sometimes suffers from
insomnia. It’s been
known to make him cry.

His grandmother
in Cumbria
grows pampas grass
in front of her bungalow.
When it flowers she sprays
them red. Still
growing where
they are.

The girl moaned a little in her sleep. Fireman went downstairs to fry eggs and watch the news. When he’d finished eating he fried two eggs and made a cup of tea for the girl.

There was blood on her mouth. Blood and saliva sticking her face to the pillow so she had to peel them apart. She didn’t say anything. Didn’t look at him.

She left. She didn’t touch the eggs and tea. Didn’t throw them or smash them. Fireman watched her walk down the street hugging herself from the cold.

When he made the bed he found three of her teeth. He added them to the jar. 58.

V

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men piss
behind wheelie bins
by Tesco Morrisons Sainsbury’s
Aldi.

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men
have photos of sentimental value
in freezer bags
old school reports.

They make apps
games matching three
apps to manage your budget
wallpapers of
women actors
local news aggregators
buggy video editors
at peculiar prices.

VI Dead Clown

Part 3: Self-image

1. Which best describes your face?
a) Eggplant.
b) Spiderplant.
c) Cheeseplant.
d) Slashed with a broken bottle.

2. Which best describes your personality?
a) Wooden.
b) Kakapo.
c) Velux.
d) Lime.

3. In a crisis you,
a) Piss your pants.
b) Piss on someone else’s pants.
c) Bacon rind.
d) Mallard pederasty.

4. When things are going very well you feel,
a) Hologram.
b) Holograph.
c) Holiday.
d) Bags of dogshit hung in hawthorn trees.

5. Disappointment is to June as vertigo is to…
a) Obviously.
b) Organic Japanese green tea.
c) Hickman line.
d) He has a drawing of a dreamcatcher on his letterhead.

VII

Children set light to dry grass on derelict plots, by footpaths, in parks.

Fires were started in the ground floors of abandoned buildings.

An unfinished office block sat skeletal at a junction.

Drain grates roadsigns and metal cladding off new buildings were stolen for scrap.

Buddleia hid sites still waiting development.

Men in apocryphal suits waited around outside squats.

Factional disputes carried out on Facebook.

VIII The Secret

He is buried under slate. He is buried under plastic.
He is buried under wheelbarrows. He is buried under a metric tonne of dead butterflies.
He is buried under obsolete technology. He is buried under black pudding.
He is buried under granite. He is buried under owls.
He is buried under Keele Services. He is buried under Amy Winehouse.
He is buried under burning tyre dumps. He is buried under fulfilment centres.
He is buried under solid orange. He is buried under gazebos.

On holiday
aged 16
the sea spoke to him.
Through a hole in rocks
a mighty voice came
carried on spray
and roaring, said,
Listen you are stone
Listen you are my child
Listen you must sometimes break
Listen there is no beginning or end
Listen we are island and society
Listen and trust my beating
The boom and the hiss
The boom and the hiss.
The boom
and the hiss.
And then was silent.

IX

Thus have I heard.
The Cold Men
were called
by divers wonders.

Thus have I heard.
A field of poppies
flowered at midwinter
through frost.

A comet crossed the sky
and a thousand
cranes stopped working, and
were unable to start again.

Thirty schoolchildren
went blind one Saturday
and one by one
regained sight in the month (1).

Thus have I heard.
A boyband singing
for an oil-rich prince
danced themselves to death.

Thus have I heard.
The London Eye
was wrapped in St Elmo’s fire
for fourteen days and nights.

It rained Fuzzy Felt
in parts of Cheshire
drifting at the edge
of fields.

A newsreader sweated
blood and shivered
until someone thought
to cut the broadcast.

Thus have I heard.
All these signs
called The Cold Men
to come.

Thus have I heard.
They were welcomed
then, a League
of Heroes.

(1) Other similar spontaneous incidents of mass blindness were later confirmed around the country. In the largest such incident an entire village of over three thousand people lost their sight for over a fortnight.

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Fire followed where his feet fell.
Grass burned snow burned
soil burned snow burned. But
no heat no heat.

Fireman enjoys
whimsical car adverts.
He collects
taxi business cards.
He sometimes suffers from
insomnia. It’s been
known to make him cry.

His grandmother
in Cumbria
grows pampas grass
in front of her bungalow.
When it flowers
she sprays
them red. Still
growing where
they are.

The girl moaned a little in her sleep. Fireman went downstairs to fry eggs and watch the news. When he’d finished eating he fried two eggs and made a cup of tea for the girl.

There was blood on her mouth. Blood and saliva sticking her face to the pillow so she had to peel them apart. She didn’t say anything. Didn’t look at him.

She left. She didn’t touch the eggs and tea. Didn’t throw them or smash them. Fireman watched her walk down the street hugging herself from the cold.

When he made the bed he found three of her teeth. He addes them to the jar. 58.


I.

Thus have I heard.
Heroes came.
Chocolate men
shiny cocktail sausage men
The Cold Men.

II. The Lubricator

If 8″ vibrators are a little too large and bullets, eggs or buttplugs a little too discreet try The Lubricator.

Partway between a finger and a gel cock The Lubricator will ream you in hole you like.

And as the name suggests this versatile toy dispenses lubricant through its patented ‘real pores’ system. Cums with 3 capsules of lubricant.

Throw in adjustable girth, variable speed, and both textured and smooth ‘skins’ and The Lubricator will leave you breathless.


::::Water Stories:::Matt Dalby:::: [ writing ]


After around five hours walking in the sun I knew my arms, neck and face were burned. The bigger discomfort was my hands. They were not burned. They were swollen, stiff, and when I touched them, unusually dry.

For an hour I’d known what to do. I walked down the bank to the Mersey and held my hands in the water. I splashed each one in turn. I washed them in the water, although I knew it wasn’t clean. I ran them through the current.

The walk was seven hours. Fallowfield to Chorlton Water Park, along the Mersey to Stockport. Then back again.

: : : : More Water Stories : : : :


Woke up to find this on facebook linked by Matt Dalby. I found it a really striking and effective performance, its deconstruction of language and repeatition having somewhere between a hypnotic and broken tapeplayer kinda vibe. My advice? Play it whilst getting on with whatever you’re doing and let the rhythms and words tug you about.

Rebecca Cremin lives here.

The Other Room lives here.

::::did the morning?:::: [ music ]


Something my mate Matt knocked together this morning.

A quiet, sparse, and hopefully intimate comedown song.

Womb LIVE @ EAR WHACKS


The glorious cacaphonous Improvidocious dronelicious Womb! Now with gig review!

dear diary….


Why Matt Dalby should never keep a journal

possible futures [fiction]


31

Lady Margaret’s daughter Alice heard but appeared to ignore people. Her mother’s funeral was on a hot sunny day. There were only a few attending.

Alice didn’t care that they thought she was strange. They already thought that.

Alice was upset but couldn’t cry. She tried to upset herself. She imagined her mother in the coffin beginning to decay. She still couldn’t cry.

8

Walking on her own Alice saw something white, an animal struggling in the bushes. She went to look more closely. Not an animal but two people fighting.

A woman she knew. An old woman with a mark on her cheek. The other person looked at her. Her father.

Simultaneously it seemed he was shouting something at her while he fought the old woman, that Alice stood staring at him, that Alice was running away through the woods to hide somewhere, that her father stood heavy hairy and white.

13

Alice talked to a boy she knew called Henry. They wondered what it would be like to be disfigured or die in a fire. Henry watched her face closely.

Henry’s eyes looked strange. The way they had a month ago when he had talked with Alice about marriage. He knew that he would marry. Alice said she would never marry and never have a child.

Henry touched the back of Alice’s hand. She moved her hand and walked away. He apologised but she ignored him.

56

Alice swam in circles in the river. She felt the water hold her body. She felt light. Especially so in comparison with other women her age.

Later she sat naked on a large slate at the edge of the water. It was already warm from the morning sun under her arse. Water trickled and gathered and ran back to the river as though she’d pissed.

Alice felt just as free as when she was a child. In some ways more. She had obligations to nothing and no one.

tamlyn 11

Matt Dalby @ Hiss Heads launch


Check out Matt Dalby’s set at the launch party/mini-fest for soundart/noise zine Hiss Heads. I woulda embedded but messr dalby is using a service that isn’t compatable with wordpress.com. Damn You Dalby!


This is the essay by Matt Dalby which appears in the latest issue of department poetry magazine, reposted here with kind permission:

the relationship of sound poetry and noise

This is the text of my paper delivered at “Bigger than Words, Wider than Pictures”: Noise, Affect, Politics, the conference organised by the University of Salford Research Centre for Communication, Cultural and Media Studies and School of Media, Music and Performance that took place from Thursday 1 July – Saturday 3.
I delivered a slightly truncated, and more informally delivered version of what you read here, but there is no significant difference between the two. I may write more about the conference in the coming days. Briefly, the embedded audio below are samples I created, the audio samples of Bob Cobbing and Henri Chopin can be found at the links provided. An illustration of non-linguistic sound poetry I performed as part of the paper is provided only as a score. I may add a recording at a later date.
My paper was called Resonant Frequencies: The Relationship of Sound Poetry and Noise mainly because it had to be called something I had no better ideas.
Resonant Frequencies: The Relationship of Sound Poetry and Noise
My intention is to demonstrate areas of similarity between sound poetry and noise. I believe that they are on a continuum of practices that also contains what’s often referred to as sound art, and share a number of important characteristics. This is a purely personal perspective, and I would like to emphasise from the beginning that I am not a musician but a sound poet. My background is more literary than musical, essentially I am a partly-informed layperson.The first characteristic I see sound poetry and Noise music sharing is their heterogeneity. By this I mean primarily the heterogeneity of materials and approaches. Or approached the other way, they are united in their avoidance or subversion of traditional techniques and tools. So in noise music, as in sound art, a guitar for instance can be treated not as a guitar – an instrument freighted with history and with an accepted range of ways to play it – but as a sound source that has no need to sound like a guitar or any instrument. Similarly in sound poetry, if we decide to assume for the moment that it is based around the voice, the poet can not only ignore traditional ways of ordering language, but ignore language altogether. The poet can reduce their utterances to phonemes and other vocal sounds. But as already hinted sound poets are not limited to the sounds their own voice or body can produce. Even just making use of cassette recorders significantly broadens the palette.

That mention of tape recorders is a reminder that perhaps some of this heterogeneity of materials and approaches in both noise music and sound poetry is technologically enabled. With tapes (and now with digital technology) any sound is reproducible and manipulable. The sound of someone going ‘Ssh!’ can be repeated:

Shh! repeated

It can be slowed down:

Shh! slowed

It can be speeded up:
It can be layered:

Shh! layered

It can be re-recorded repeatedly, as with Alvin Lucier’s I am sitting in a room until the original recording is lost, until only the resonant frequencies remain:
As with musique concrete or with concrete poetry the materiality of the sound, of the object generating the sound, of the physical circumstances in which the sound is created become part of the piece. They are no longer obstacles to be overcome in pursuit of some Platonic ideal. Obviously that mention of Alvin Lucier is not accidental in any way. It is part of my argument that there are no clear boundaries with these sorts of exploratory practices. That I could just as easily argue that in places sound poetry overlaps with music composition, or with improvisational practices. That in some cases perhaps what distinguishes the work can be where it started rather than where it has ended up.
Although I am not going to debate terminology, despite the fact that I am aware that some people contest terms like ‘sound art’ or ‘sound poetry’, I would like to make one mention of it here. The artist Dylan Nyoukis in an interview published in The Wire magazine for March 2010 is quoted as saying, ‘I can’t emphasise how bummed out it makes me feel that still, since 1993 or 94, I’m having to add an ‘s’ on. Not Noise with a capital N – a small n and a small s.’
To me he is not just querying a vague descriptor, but he is also emphasising the heterogeneity, the diversity of materials and techniques available. To say ‘noises’ with a small n takes you away from any school or preconceived idea, and back to the notion that anything can be used in any way. Whereas Noise with a capital N instantly has a lot more baggage.
The second characteristic I see sound poetry and Noise music sharing is a contradictory character where on the one hand they are regarded as contemporary exploratory practices, partly perhaps because they are unfamiliar, while on the other hand they reject or misuse refined recognised techniques and materials. And where refined recognised techniques and materials are rejected or misused the work can be not just unfamiliar but abrasive, seemingly crude, unsophisticated, or primitive.
So for instance in a sound poem I might use pre- or non-linguistic vocal sounds:
Gurgle.
Gurgle shifts to squawk.
Squawk changes to throaty blow/roar.
Blow changes to tone that climbs and alters to scream.
Screams collapses to sneezes.
Roar/bark while shaking head.

Those sort of sounds are easy to mistake for crude, primitive, childish, or downright silly. I would agree actually that childish or silly are good descriptions of what I just did. But to say it was crude or primitive for me would miss the point. I mentioned earlier that within Noise music and sound poetry there is no need for a guitar to just be a guitar and tied to that specific history, and that there is no need to pursue a Platonic ideal of melody or harmony, or whatever it happens to be. Both of those statements prefigured this argument.
Although there is a place for refined recognised techniques, for a guitarist for instance to spend years learning and rehearsing, to try and use the best instrument, to play in the best acoustic environments, to choose a demanding and diverse repertoire, and always attempt to improve, I think it is a mistake to imagine that is the only legitimate route available. I would also like to make clear that I do not see these routes as exclusive. Clearly you can have mastery of technique and your instrument but choose not to play it that way.
At the same time I want to draw attention to the fact that I talked about the rejection or misuse of refined recognised techniques and materials. By which I mean that there is no requirement to ignore the traditions that have built up around the guitar, or around the idea of a poet performing their work. They can still be referenced and played with. So Bob Cobbing’s Variations on a Theme of Tan has echoes of sung liturgy, and of the way some poets, like WB Yeats, have approached performance:
Bob Cobbing, Variations on a Theme of Tan (link)
The third characteristic I would see sound poetry and Noise music sharing is important for my justification in linking the two artforms. It was also alluded to in the first section when I referred to Alvin Lucier, and my belief that there are no clear boundaries between exploratory practices using sound. It is just that, that this continuum of practices including sound poetry, Noise music and sound art blurs the boundaries between otherwise quite separate forms.
For instance the tape work of Henri Chopin would seem to bear an obvious relationship to Pierre Schaeffer’s musique concrete, and to Lucier’s I am sitting in a room, mentioned previously. This is a section from Chopin’s Les Pirouettes Vocales Pour Les Pirouettements Vocaux:
Henri Chopin, Pierre Schaeffer, and Alvin Lucier in I am sitting in a room all make use of recordings to create something quite unfamiliar, and something that meets Dylan Nyoukis’ description of small n noises, rather than large N Noise. Perhaps their use of collage and a more obvious playfulness links Chopin and Schaeffer more closely. But the three artists are very different, and looking beyond perhaps neither Schaeffer nor Lucier are likely be linked to Bob Cobbing for example, who is often linked with Chopin, and who we have also encountered in this exploration.
There may be several reasons for this blurring of boundaries. Perhaps the most important, referring back to the example of the guitar, and to the Platonic ideal that much music perhaps strives for, there are simply not the same rules and limitations in place with sound poetry or Noise music. Or sound art for that matter. As already discussed, refined recognised technique can be rejected or misused. Because of that the actual sounds become more important than the familiarity of how they are arranged.
For me, although I can see why some people do get exercised by vague terminology, or terminology they see as misleading or inaccurate, this is why I am not especially concerned about what particular sound practices are called. I think that once you start narrowing definitions you start to close off possibilities at the same time. Of course there is a whole separate argument about working within limitations. My view is that there is a lot to be said for artists using arbitrary self-imposed limitations for particular pieces of work, rather than shutting off possibilities altogether. So for instance I would be happy to create a piece of sound poetry using only my voice with no technological intervention. But I would not want to then argue that sound poetry should never use field recordings for example.
Late in my writing of this paper I heard an interview with Bob Cobbing, I believe his last broadcast interview, with Martin Spinelli for Radio Radio. Around halfway through the interview Spinelli says to Cobbing, ‘One of the words that has been used to describe your work is noise, do you think that’s accurate?’ Cobbing’s reply is:

Oh certainly it’s noise, yes. It’s somewhat organised noise, but noise is definitely the basis of it, yes.
Now I do not think either Cobbing or Spinelli are using the term ‘noise’ in quite the way it has been used through this conference. Except that perhaps it is a term that can be applied from outside with pejorative intent, and then adopted in defiance by the artist.
Which brings me to the final characteristic that I think sound poetry and Noise music can share. That is that there is often a conscious retreat not just from mainstream practice but even from the possibility of being embraced by the mainstream. These are niche interests with seemingly no desire to explain themselves. Sound poetry, for example, is arguably a niche of a niche of a niche. Within literature is poetry, within poetry there are a variety of innovative practices, and within those there is sound poetry.
Ultimately I am not sure how convinced even I am of the link that I have drawn between sound poetry and Noise music. But the four characteristics that I have defined perhaps provide one way of looking at how these forms might be related, and some basis for debating that further.
As a brief reminder those four characteristics were: first, the heterogeneity of materials and approaches used; second, that they have a contradictory nature in that they are contemporary exploratory practices that reject or misuse refined recognised techniques, which can lead to them appearing crude or unsophisticated; third, that they blur the boundaries between otherwise distinct artforms; and finally that we can detect in them a conscious retreat from mainstream practice.




The fiend!

Photobucket


” A magazine in print for innovative poetry & poetics, for cultural theory & social performance / cultural performance & social theory. A magazine dead set against the dead hand & deadly hands of instrumentalist reason & the banalisation / terrorisation / commodification of everyday life. A situation. “

Department Poetry Magazine


From the latest issue of Department Poetry Magazine, in which my friend Matt Dalby has an essay, I bring you….

bar code blues
by Catherine Hales

absurdly held together spare parts surgically con-
noted in various discourses & ultimately dispensable

adverbial constructs to die for my tongue explore
your taste of freedom beyond these tracking motion
across oceans hollowed out random noise in the
data what’s yours & do you I’ll buy you

one & maybe often that’s the predictable car-
ded into the till & waiting for christmas enhanced
& altered allowing for migrations in line my
place or yours pinned down in the crossfire
of contradictions a radical overhaul lip-sych
simulation produced & processed according to

chipped bone teeth perfectly aligned immobilised


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