Spaghetti For Brains Newsletter & Podcast

Hey folks. Hope you’re keeping safe out there.

In lieu of putting physical copies of SFB publications in shops, we’ve started a podcast. Follow the link to subscribe, or listen on Spotify, Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

The first episode features me reading from ‘Rough Sleep’, the latest essay in the Spaghetti For Brains catalog. Have a listen and let us know what you think (you can leave voice messages on the Anchor.fm website where we’re hosting the pod from).

We’ve also started a Spaghetti For Brains Newsletter that you can subscribe to. It comes out weekly, and so far we’ve been following the Bernie campaign and the issues surrounding the primary, but as the COVID-19 crisis deepens, we’ll be expanding the newsletter’s remit to include news and commentary about the lockdown here in the UK, and the left perspective on what comes next. You can subscribe here to receive all future newsletters, and you can also read all the previous newsletters in the archive whether or not you subscribe.

The newsletters are being translated into Spanish by Anna Ferrer of the online bookshop Libros De Guayama. We’re very lucky to have her on board.

That’s all for now. Stay safe out there, and look after each other.

Music, Zines

Some Things Run Wild

This is an album I made, with a group of hard-working and committed friends, under the moniker <Herons!>. I put pen to paper 10 years ago, beginning the composition of the songs without any grand scheme or fixed idea of what the result should be. The motivation was simply to create a piece of work that challenged me, and the listener, to do our best. I wanted to make something really human. I think of being human as a challenge: you’ve got all these unusual parts, so, make the most of them. The challenge is figuring out what the hell to do with all these unusual parts. I’m not too good at it. Judging by the state of the world, neither are you.

Since that first ink stain 10 years ago, I’ve lost a lot of friends. Some of them died, some of them stopped calling or writing, and some of them simply keep away. Some of them I’ve had to decide to keep away from. People are full of contradictions. I spent years smoking cigarettes, and there’s nothing better I’d like right now than to light up. But smoking kills you. Why would I want to kill myself?

The older I get, the more I realise that I don’t know diddly-squat. I know about five things in total:

  1. People are capable of untold cruelty
  2. People are capable of untold beauty
  3. If you push people hard enough, they push back
  4. Sometimes they push one way, sometimes another

The fifth thing I know is more like a suspicion, so I left it off the list. I suspect that there’s some kind of interplay between these above four things, and that a really clever person could work out exactly what it is, like in mathematics. But maybe that would be terrible. Maybe if someone or something knew the ins and outs of those four things, we’d be in even bigger trouble than we already are. I don’t know. And that’s why I don’t believe in God.

I used to believe in God. Now I don’t believe in God. I think to believe in God you have to accept a fifth addition to that list, a kind of certainty (even just a potential certainty) that undermines and deflates the dynamic of the previous four. God, as a notion, is like a black hole that sucks all possibilities into itself. One of the unusual parts of a human is that we can function dynamically, enduring these contradictions and uncertainties and turning them into something else. Like using shit to grow flowers. Or vegetables. Whatever you prefer. Everybody sees something different when they see a pile of shit.

Anyway. This record is free, if you want it to be. You can pay for it, too. Either way, I don’t mind. Its production was made possible by the generosity of strangers, so I’m hoping I can pay that forward. Personally, I mistrust the process by which goods and services (including art, which are just flowery goods and services, and flowers come from shit) are denuded of their use value, for the purpose of applying to them an exchange value. I don’t mind it so much as long as the goods and services remain intact for the people using them, as opposed to the people selling them. With art of any kind, even throwaway pop culture, I think it sparkles a little brighter when it’s a kind of community project. So here’s my little community project. I’m not really selling it. It’s yours.

If you like it, share it. If you like it a lot, share it a lot. If you want a physical copy of the zine that goes with it, buy it through the Herons bandcamp merch page, and you’ll get a download of the album with your purchase. I’m only charging for the zine because paper, printing and postage cost money. Any money I make from this record will go to making the record more available.