Beware of Darkness - In All Its Forms

It seems like a lifetime since I found a new band that I thought was worth a damn - let alone one that I thought the whole world should know about. I guess the world might know already about these guys but they only crawled across my radar this morning - there's every chance that the next time I go out, I'll be met with a hundred t-shirts proclaiming me stupid and slow in hindsight. Beware of Darkness. This is their site - jump onto youtube and you might find some video clips there. This is the album cover for 'Orthodox' and hellfire, it's wonderful for all the right reasons. If you're feeling lazy, you could fire comparisons of Jet hooking up with The Black Angels at them, but that still wouldn't hit the mark:

Beware_of_Darkness_Orthodox_Cover.jpg

Why did I not know about this before this morning? Cross at self... but satisfied.

•••

I know I spend far too much time in the bookstore. Maybe I'm soaking it up for when it's no longer there. They have these cards on the counter at the moment: "The book that made me." The idea is that you fill it in (I guess about the book that changed your life) and then drop it in a box never to be seen again.

I thought hard about this. That's a tough call - but the universe has a way of giving you a good shake every now and then. Many times I've gone on record that since the day it came out it was always Clive Barker's Imajica, until around fifteen years later, I picked up Susannah Clarke's Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. Both are large. Both suffered the same fate - from the second they were begun, I barely moved or slept until they were finished, though I suspect I smoked a lot and ate far too many packets of crisps.

Weighing them up against each other, I still can't pin it down. I guess it's no big deal really. I hear a rumour (a decent rumour) that Jonathan Strange is about to be become some kind of TV show - and I don't want to watch it. I will, but I don't want to. Imajica on the other hand has largely been forgotten about by the masses - apart from those of us who have read it of course. We will never forget it. Couldn't if we wanted to.

I was kind of leading up to making a decision there wasn't I and it looked like I was headed for Imajica. It sits comfortably. See, if I say Imajica, that's OK. I can live with that. If I say Jonathan Strange, my heart always says "yeah, but what about Imajica?" So I guess I have decided. I don't like it though. Good job nobody is making me choose really.

I was actually leading up to something here - last night, I noticed that Clive Barker had posted some words about Imajica - being as I must have sold about 1000 copies of it over the years simply from talking about it non-stop, I'm going to paste it here with a clear conscience for you to read too. Enjoy it even - if it makes any sense:

I never came closer to giving up like I did with Imajica, never doubted more deeply my skills as a storyteller, was never more lost, never more afraid. But never was I more obsessed. I became so thoroughly immersed in the narrative that for a period of several weeks toward the end of the final draft a kind of benign insanity settled upon me. I woke from dreams of the Dominions only to write about them until I crept back to bed to dream them again. My ordinary life - what little I had - came to seem banal and featureless by contrast with what was happening to me- I should say Gentle, but I mean me- as we made our journey toward revelation. It's no accident that the book was finished as I prepared to leave England for America. By the time I came to write the final pages my house on Wimpole Street had been sold, its contents boxed up and sent to Los Angeles, so that all I had that I took comfort in had gone from around me. It was in some ways a perfect way to finish the novel: like Gentle, I was embarking on another kind of life, and in so doing leaving a country in which I had spent almost forty years. I do not discount the possibility that I will one day return there, of course, but for now, in the smog and sun of Los Angeles, the world seems very remote.

There's something about this paragraph that says I'm not the only one who thinks it's as close to perfect as a novel will ever get. Unlike many of his books, there was never any talk of a sequel and despite rumblings, there's never going to be a movie of it. Not in a million years. It can't be done. I would put an awful lot of money on the fact that not even Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro could pull it off properly even working together with a bottomless pit of money.

Then again, Susannah Clarke has played a good game by not even having a website - if you want any information about Jonathan Strange, you're just going to have to read the book - that's all there is.

Still... it's one war that's not worth fighting. Not really. Sooner or later, maybe something will come along and join them.

•••

Talking of great things, I've just started to watch Torchwood: Children of Earth again. Quite easily - and by a long, long way - the best television sic-fi show of all time. Yeah - even better than Doctor Who - apart from the Family of Blood storyline. As a five episode story arc, I've never sat through anything better written or more enjoyable. Seriously... I could watch it over and over for days on end and not get bored of it.

•••

Meanwhile, work continues. Never had something in my head that's wanted to move so fast onto paper and into the real world before. I'm not quite being Barker-esque about it, but I can see how that could happen to a man. If you're hankering for something quick but very cool to read, try this from Doug Crandell. It's really very good...