Friday, December 21, 2012

Song of the Week (12/16/2012)

This will be the new segment on the Outer Channel!  That's right!  It's Kurt Weller's Song of the Week!

This weeks gem is 'Feel My Ubiquity' by the ill-fated 'Jesus Twins'.

The above image is from the Jesus Twins website, it was manipulated by me using Gimp software to create an album cover for the single.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thoughts on 'Environmental Description'

The new architecture is not necessarily based upon the natural laws of physics or spatial relationship; it seems to be solely based around the imagination of the individual. The new architecture exists within the mind, which translates it onto the computer, television and cinema screens. It is my goal to translate my inner architecture into the written word.

The great expanses of space that exist within my mind, especially when I dream, are seemingly endless. They consistently aim downwards into the earth that lies beneath the unspoiled beauty of the sylvan utopia above. The descriptions are not necessarily stories unto themselves, though there is a narrative that has to be based upon the temporal and the spatial in order to give the reader the bearing needed to find his or her way around the environment.

It is not necessarily poetry; Poetry imparts a sort of snapshot of emotion during a specific time and place and while this enviornmental writing does indeed create mood, or at least strives to, it does so in a prose style so I am hard pressed to call it poetry and the term prose poetry has always felt somewaht nebulous to me at its best and trite at its worst. Ihave never especially liked it and really don't want to fall back on it too easily.

I strive to write these pieces in a neutral manner, letting the reader take on the role of the explorer wandering the grounds. Sometimes, however, a character may develop naturally as the environment exerts a will of its own upon the person trapped in the words and if the writing is strong enough, hopefully the reader as well. 

It is for these reasons that I struggle with a label for these pieces. I find it somewhat uncomfortable in that I do not really like labels for genres, especially since the last twenty years have created such a ridiculously large amount of labels in an attempt to clarify when they do nothing more than confuse. Do we really need to call electronically generated music 'electronica', 'house', 'intelligent dance music', 'ambient' or 'industrial'? Maybe we do, but anyway, as usual, I digress; One could argue that we don't really need to label anything at all but we continue to and this process will most likely not stop, especially not due to any antipathy on my part.

I am reluctant to call this an exercise or an expirement because these terms usually lack focus or craftsmanship and add up to little more than the conceit of the young writer struggling with the frustration of not being able to express his or her thoughts and feelings onto the written page.

However, in an attempt at honesty and literary confidence, I must commit myself to some sort of term and that is why have chosen, until a better one comes along, 'Environmental Description'.  I hope that the reader will find it fitting for this project.

"Hell Bank Note Arcade": New Environmental Description by Kurt Weller.

Hell Bank Note Arcade

There is a hallway that's long...  Straight.  It's hard to make out its colour mostly because of the lighting.  Sometimes it appears that the hallway is different colours based upon the light source as you walk down it.

And there are skid marks on the floor from tires where electric carts drive up and down this hallway.  One wonders how there could be skid marks as the carts never seem to travel that fast; and there are also bump marks on the walls: black and rubbery where the same carts have obviously run into the delicate painted surface.

You wonder if it is dry wall on the surface of the wall covering up brick or block and you just keep going down this hall and you can't see the end of the hall.  It just keeps on going and going and there are no markings on the hall.  And the lights are the same.  The only thing that seems to change the coloration of the lights is the plastic shades and their level of filthiness:  if they are clean the light is pure white which effects the walls, but if the plastic shades are filthy the light is more yellow, more brown, more orange; and there seems to be a light every ten feet.

These ceiling lights are the only thing that give you any bearing as to how far this tunnel goes.  Every hundred lights or so there is a bench.  The benches all appear to be by the same manufacturer: they are wood and metal and vinyl.  The sides are metal with in-laid wood veneer.  Real wood is used as the base of the cushions which seem to have a piece of squared off foam beneath the perfectly squared-off vinyl.  These are all a dull gray.  They are also, like the lights, in different states of disrepair.

Sometimes there will be a stain on one or a cigarette burn.  You wonder who would smoke down here because it is such a long hall; such a long way to go.  But someone must want to smoke down here.  So as you continue walking you reach into the breast pocket of your jacket and you pull out your cigarette case.  It is a gift from your partner.  I have decided not to establish the gender of your partner or your gender for that matter; However, we do establish that you are wearing a unisex outfit.  A suit with a tie.  Close cropped hair cut, slowly faded down the neck, a little longer on top.

There isn't a non-smoking sign so you light your cigarette, have a seat at the bench, and then you start wondering if one of those electric carts is going to come by and if one does come by you wonder if the driver would be kind enough to give you a ride down the hall.

When you entered the hallway from the main building with its beautiful concrete and glass atrium which actually encloses a whole third of the eastern end of an older building built in the nineteen fifties and connects it to similarly dated buildings creating a closed in space over what was once an outdoor courtyard.  You start to miss the atrium with its store fronts and people and as you looked to the north away from the entrances of the three buildings you saw the beginning of rolling hills and a lush forest further out.  The entrance to the hallway you are now walking through which at some point in the north disappeared into the side of the hill.

You assume that you are underground because you have been walking for several minutes.  so you finish up your cigarette, you look down and see that there is an ashtray between the two vinyl cushions of the bench, you stand up and you continue walking north, you assume, though it is hard to tell:  If the hallway was built at an angle and due to the length of it even the slightest angle could take you on a northwestern or northeastern track without really knowing it.  So you keep walking and then when you turn around you see that the bench is on your left hand side when before it was on your right so you are confident that you are going in the right direction.

You walk about 250 more feet, you base this on the number of lights that you started counting and you begin to hear a sound coming from up ahead so a little spring adds to your step and a few feet down you look to your right and there is a fully carpeted room.  Gray carpeting covers the floors and a sort of aqua gray, dark grayish blue carpeting covers the walls and the ceiling is covered by a black grid of mirrored lights which are quite dim.  Inside this room, which is about fifty feet by fifty feet, are several video arcade game cabinets.

There is a large cabinet with its back towards you.  Its wiring disappears into the floor through a small carpeted hatch that you are sure if you were to open would reveal a crawlspace where different internet and electric sources go.  When you get to the front of the game you find that it is your favorite Japanese fighting game.  A game that you have been playing for several years. so you walk over to the token dispenser, swipe your debit card, and request twenty Hell Bank Note slips and then you realize that you don't have your gold access card to the game so you have to purchase one of those as well, which costs four dollars.  So to make it an even twenty five dollars you add an extra credit.

The slips come out, printed Hell Bank Notes, and you didn't notice before but the back wall is decorated with a giant blow up of the Hell Bank Note so common in Chinese funerals as ghost money.  You place four of the bills into the bill feeder of the game, you push your gold card (and when I say gold it is not shiny gold but just the basic colour of gold.  Matte finish.  Almost mustard yellow/orange in colour) and embossed in it is the strange symbol of the game.

You are then asked if you want to format the card you push "yes" on the touch screen.  The game cabinet has a very large 40" screen.  You touch it "yes".  As it is formatting there is an animation of a more cartoonish version of your character running in place.  Your character is a tall androgynous looking female, black pinstripe slacks, a bustier pushing up very small breasts - almost completely flat-chested, a long trench coat, a red and black scarf, a shock of black hair that rises out of a red and black lined headband.  You only get access to this character during the formatting after you typed in your user name and password.

You slide in the rest of the Hell Bank Note credits and you power up all of the attributes of your character by tapping on the 'plus two' symbols next to each pictograph depicting strength by a fist, health by a cartoon heart, agility by a foot, marksmanship by a rifle sight and you start the first bout.

You easily wipe out your opponent because you have jacked up your stats so quickly, somewhat taking a short cut because you have paid so much money.  And after you beat the first bout the game tells you that it has to do some calculations which could take up to twelve to thirteen minutes so you lay down at the foot of the game on the carpet, running your hand along the base of the game, following the seems of the carpeted floor.

The other games in the room, games that you are not familiar with and have no intention of playing have their access panels to the crawlspace as well and as the game is calculating it makes a soothing tinkling sound like coins being dispensed by a slot machine or like pachinko balls and this sort of soothing din slowly puts you to sleep.