The fuck? I was banging my Best of Jay Elec playlist just yesterday thinking, sheeet, shame he gave up rap for a Rothschild or whatever the fuck happened, weird how all he ever released since he signed with Jay-Z was a fuckin’ soda advert. Now this. And this. Pow.
I woke up a few hours later still drunk, immobile beneath the weight of a Galactean and only just emerging hangover. Vegas sunshine poured over me quite torrentially, like twin Niagras from two of the room’s four walls. I felt pinned to the bed by unseeable forces, like in that dream I once had at my mother’s house that I’m not entirely sure was actually a dream, where I awoke next to my brother completely paralysed, as long, rubberflesh fingers clawed at my face and prised open my mouth and I screamed, silently.
My eyeballs stinging in the hotel air, eyelids fleeing jaw and scalp-ward, dragged down by a foul and magical combination of gravity and dehydration, I mused that perhaps I needn’t have flung myself so hard into the arena of Party last night. A slideshow of barely connected flashback spat past my vision, like those He-Man binoculars you used to get in The Past (my Twitterpeople tell me they were called VIEW MASTERS). Eventually I fell out of bed and dragged myself into the shower room, like that girl coming out the telly in Ring, and lay beneath the beatific godlike mercy of The Water until the VIEW MASTER inside my head stopped flicking through slides, and I could utter some words to myself.
“Fuck,” I said.
I felt panicky. I knew that I was doing a panel with Grant Morrison on the subject of, well, many heady subjects of great interest to me and presumably those who’d paid $1000 each to attend MorrsionCon at the end of the day. I wondered how I’d get there.
I forced myself into some fly clothing and staggered off down the hallway, fell into a lift, and was washed out ashore in the Kubrikian Kirby kaleidoscope casino carpet corridors of The Hard Rock Hotel. I wandered, as if in a dream through a parade of bikini clad, bossomy young females, slot machine grannies and inky-fleshed football players, signed autographs for a cluster of comics kids hanging outside the tattoo parlour, air-fived the excellent Day One movie panel host and 2011 Penthouse Pet of the Year Runner Up and Saints Row The Third star Ryan Keely and nearly tripped over Tiggeresque Chronicle scribe Max Landis, who was lost and looking for The Morrisons. I failed to be of any use to him and aimed myself at the Mexican restaurant, where I heaved myself up onto a stool and attempted to force down a bucket of water and eat tacos for an hour, until my hangover arrived properly and violently in the manner of a Cylon Baseship Plus Fleet, and there was nothing else to do but launch myself back down the swirling corridors, back up the lift, down the hall and into bed. The whole thing was like slow motion giant sized pinball machine, with I the Pinball. I Skyped my pregant wife from my bed and summoned all my remaining energies.
An hour or so later myself and my remaining energies were at one of the many little bars that peppered the MorrsionCon convention area, trying to work out what had happened last night with the help of a revolving cast of helpful humans including J.H. Williams III and Kristan Morrison and Gerard Way and Jason Aaron and James Sime, all of whom seemed in much better shape than I. Mr Sime was particularly amused and considered the whole thing BALANCE and payback for when he took me out on the razz in San Francisco earlier this year and we crashed in his comic shop and he woke up with “the worst hangover in a decade.”
I wasn’t functioning as well as I’d like. I’d been forlornly gripping the same banana for about an hour, unable to deal with its overripe, sloppy end, until Grant Morrison’s agent advised I break the end off and eat the rest. That, I mused, is why they you the big bucks. A very tall young man who I’d been chatting with the previous day approached me with a screwdriver. “Please have this,” he said, with a concerned expression. “No thank you very much, I am on water,” I said, firmly. “Oh,” he said, forlornly, “Well I don’t know what to do with it now.”
“OK,” I said, and took the screwdriver. He looked relieved, and scurried off to watch whatever panel was occurring. I drunk my screwdriver and felt much better, thank you. “Science,” I thought. Soon I was being scooshed into a room at the side of the convention area, where serious men with vast video cameras were recording interviews with people for a forthcoming documentary about the proceedings. Naturally when asked how I’d gotten into Grant Morrison I completely forgot that it was in fact his early run on Spawn that had first grabbed my attention, instead remembering Arkham Asylum, which I stole from WH Smiths not long after, and I spoke about The Invisibles a lot and completely forgot that it was Doom Patrol that had most affected me. I did mention that I’d been reading bootlegged torrent CBR files of The Invisibles on my Nexus 7 tablet on the plane, and had burst into tears, awash with a mighty and all encompassing hiraeth when I got to page 7 of A Solder’s Tale, as if a button had been pushed. Just like every time I’ve read it, in different years, on different continents – on trains, planes, in bars… on different surfaces – paper, laptop screen, tablet… Science, I explained, science and magic and art and science and magic, all the same thing.
I’m not sure that I completely explained the magical gravitas of the situation either. I mean, there’s been a great big GRANT MORRSION /FRANK QUITELY Batman & Robin poster hung above my desk for years now. Now here I was in Vegas going on magic carpet rides with them. Science. Art. Magic.
I ran into Jenn Ocide outside the interview room, who is a lovely person and very appreciative of the music I supplied for her glass munching staplegun performance last night, and we went and watched the JH williams III talk - J.H. WILLIAMS III’S SUBLIMINAL WORLD - which was enlightening and inspirational. Dude’s work looked glorious up on the projector, with him humbly and excitably explaining the fascinating process behind its alchemical creation. I thought I felt like poor people in the middle ages must have felt like when they went to church and looked up at those stained glass windows. Sipping on another screwdriver, giddy with art and hangover and the potential significance of it all, I proceded to trip the fuck out.
The earthy, gritty realism of Frank Quietly’s BUMHEIDS sketches (funny cos it’s true), revealed during he and Grant’s FRANK QUITELY’S UNSEEN WORLD OF WONDERS talk, bought me back into the moment. I was sat on the floor near the front of the stage and I wasn’t sure how I’d got there, so I scurried off to get another magical screwdriver an sat down at the back behind Lady Quitely, who radiates Dope Happy Human vibes which are super useful when one has an entirely unprepared closing panel to sit on in half an hour.
Grant and I had fully neglected to discuss what was about to occur. Indeed, all I knew was what it said on the programme:
5:00 pm: THE INVISIBLES AND THE PRE-APOCALYPSE
As the Mayan’s Long Calendar comes to an end on December 22, 2012, will the acceleration of invention, technology, and environmental disruptions bring about a long foretold ancient apocalypse and is humanity ready for the transformations that awaits us? Exploring The I-Ching, McKenna’s Timewave Zero Theory, Native American mythology, The Sekhmet Hypothesis and 2012 predictive technologies like Clif High and George Ure’s Web Bot Project, Grant breaks it all down and explores, demystifies and examines what it all means. Has his vision for this next stage of existence changed since he penned THE INVISIBLES? What advice can he offer for fellow prognostinauts in apocalyptic times?
Featuring: Grant Morrison, Akira The Don
Suddenly the BUMHEIDS were gone, and I heard my name and the resulting applause (science), and I was hurtling stageward in the manner of a bowling ball, smashing into Grant and Frank like pins, kissing the latter on the head high fiving the former (art). And then the hangover evaporated (magic), along with any worry I’d had about what we were going to discuss and whether I was well informed enough on the topics, leaving me, Akira The Don, appreciator of the work of pop magician and universe creator Grant Morrison, and Grant Morrison, appreciator of the work of pop musician and reality creator Akira The Don, talking about shit we’re interesting in with a room full of like minded humans.
Grant started the thing off by talking about my ZION 2012 mixtape, which he says he’s had on loop since it came out. That’s the sort of thing that will put you at ease, sitting around with one of your biggest inspirations talking about one of your own records. From there we proceeded to discuss most of what was outlined on the programme and a whole lot more. It was easy and fun. Relatively early on in the proceedings we opened the floor to questions from the audience, a big long timeworm of a que formed behind the audience mike, and like Jack Kirby used to say, the questions were terrific. It was easy and fun and enlightening and heartening and everything I’d hoped and more.
I look forward to seeing the video of it. Comic Book Resources have posted a pretty thorough recap of the talk over here. A week later, it’s all pretty hazy by this point. I clearly remember one nervous young human, worried that his life wasn’t something worth writing about, that to do so would just be foisting yet more unnecessary crap on humanity. A crime. I said that to not give us his take on existence would be the crime. We need that. That’s all we have. That’s why we all came here. Shout our Harvey Pekar.
“How can we bring about the new age?” pleased another human. “How can we change conciousness?”
“We’re doing it right now!” cried someone in the crowd, to cheers of agreement. It was true. We were.
Eventually, the audeincemiketimeworm grew shorter. Every question was answered. And it was over. We were joined onstage by Grant’s wife Kristan and those heroic organisers, the creators of this very beautiful moment in time, James Sime, Kirsten Baldrock and Ron Richards. The room on their feet, roaring and smashing their palms together. We took a bow.
“Don’t forget!” cried Grant, “All time is simultaneous, so this moment lasts forever!”
“Bill and Ted were right,” I said. “Be excellent to each other.”
Afterwards I signed a great many books and spoke with a great many beautiful humans, and Grant sat down in the corner of the convention hall and signed every single thing that came his way until the place was empty.
Pressure off, responsibility fulfilled, that night we celebrated. It was a joyous time. I saw a man bite the cap off a beer bottle, chew it up, swallow it down, they bring it back up again, as if it was the easiest, most normal thing in the world. Charlotte had suggested I take a small pile of CDs, and I gave them to the first people that asked for them, a random sweet bearded human, a beautifully tattooed amazonian painter, The Quitelys, Gerard Way and the barman who’d poured me my first Vegas 2012 drink way back in the long long ago of Thursday night.
Grant gave me a hashcake. I haven’t had a hashcake since I was wee. We were eating $50 steaks and talking about Jilted John and making records and I felt like a great light was pushing out from the inside of me, throbbing outward from a fiery liquid core. Eventually I couldn’t talk properly anymore, so I bid everyone a very fond farewell, and floated off down those Kubrikian Kirby kaleidoscope carpet casino corridors, up the great glass elevator, along the Michael Jackson hallway to my suite, where I lay on that big-ass bed repeating over and over, “lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky, happy, happy, happy, happy,” until I fell asleep.
I didn’t sleep a wink on the journey home, which lasted a full human day. I pondered the flood of hiraeth that Invisibles comic had triggered on the way out, that sudden awareness of everything I’d ever felt, that flood of empathy, of a vast cosmic love for my Wife and my Unborn Child and Mum and my Dad and my Brothers and my Family and my Friends. Every song I ever heard, every book I ever read, every person I ever met, and every person I never.
Magic is real. Dreams come true. Life’s what you make it. Every precious moment exists for always, and it always did.
“Planting their seeds of fear in/Genetic engineering/interfering with the crops/and now the bees are disappearing”
It would appear that, after an absence of seven years, dead prez are finally releasing their long awaited Information Age LP this month. And here’s the first single – a spoon full of sugar, with which to help The Medicine GET DOWN…
I have been devoid of wife for a week now. It’s no big deal. I’m doing perfectly well, thank you. I have no idea why people keep sending me messages like, “have you eaten a meal?” and “set yourself on fire yet lol”. The cheek! I’d already left home by the morning of my 16th birthday and I survived perfectly well on my own for a whole decade (despite all that pesky near-prison and near-death), before a chance encounter with a sexy lady on some stairs at a Super Furry Animals concert lead to my current state of marital bliss.
I mean, I was coming down with something, then I did make myself sick with booze, then I did only eat Pringles and Haribo and cashew nuts for 24 hours, then I did stay up for 21 hours watching dystopian movies and weird shit on youtube researching ATD27, then I did smoke fucking shitloads of ganja and it didn’t cure my already violent illness and I did retreat to my bed for 24 hours only emerging to vomit etc., and I did somehow break the washing machine and flood the kitchen and the shop downstairs…
But I am great now thanks and full of health and vitality and speak and my coat is shiny and I’m juicing and everything. I had flipping beetroot and carrot and apples and celery and broccoli and cabbage in a goddamn pint glass yesterday and I am about to do it again, in the exact manner of the head of a company. And you know what else I did? Sorry, what else I achieved? I killed Alduin. Level 13. Yeah, you heard me. Fucking AK Dovahkiin merked the boss of all boss dragons on level 13.
I also negotiated rent increase with my landlord - he said he wanted £15o a month more, I said that seemed like quite a lot, he said that would still mean our place was considerably cheaper than the going rate for this area, I googled a bit, and was forced to agree with him. I also got a plumber-slash-handiman round. The plumber, a hairy, squat eastern european gentleman with an omnipresent smirk and flickering eyes like those of a hungry newt, took one look at the washing machine and declared it dead for ever. “No good, get new one,” he said. “Are you sure?” I demanded, “you haven’t even touched it!” “I know,” he smirked, newtishly, “I know it is gone.”
That sort of stumped me rather (alongside filling me with existential dread) and then he shrugged away the lack of hot water in the shower, a very recent development and one not mirrored in any of the other rooms, by running the warm but in no goddamn way hot water on his hand and smiling, “it is OK, yes, it is OK”.
“It isn’t OK though,” I protested. “It’s not hot. A shower is supposed to be hot. It was hot last week. It’s hot in the kitchen, I nearly burn my bloody hands off every time I try and wash up. Why isn’t it hot?”
“Boiler,” he smiled, shruggishly. “No good. Get a new one. It is gone.”
He couldn’t fix the hole in the wall by the door that happened when some gypsy fellows knocked next door down with a massive pice of metal on a chain swinging off a crane either. In fact he claimed an inability to do anything whatsoever, apart from smell weed. “You smoking eh?” he grinned, shit-eatishly. “How much you pay? I get you good shit. Many smokes. Fifteen pounds.”
Presently I was alone, and aware that I had somehow been sold drugs by the plumber-slash-handiman yet had nothing plumbed nor handied. I kicked the washing machine in frustration, BANG, a nice proper painful kick that hurt my foot and made me go, “MOTHERFUCKER!”
The machine sputtered back into life, and hasn’t stopped since, as I had about three weeks worth of washing to do and I was terrified it would stop working again.
So there you go. I learned a thing! Violence is sometimes HEALING and MOTHERFUCKER is a magic word. Amen.
See? I am fine! Stop worrying! No more messages like, “have you tried to bleach your hair with toilet bleach again lol” or “want me to bring you round some food fam”! I AM A MIGHTY SLAYER OF DRAGONS AND A FIXER OF WASHING MACHINES USING ONLY VIOLENCE AND MAGIC WORDS!
I also made a roast dinner on Sunday and I’ve still got potatoes left goddamnit.
I also have Saint’s Row 3. Tonight, I am going through my files, sorting out potential LP3 songs. It is very exciting. I have XXX songs for LP3. I know what it’s called. It know what it’s about. I always have.
When I have completed my tasks, I shall play some celebratory Saint’s Row 3. If you;re on Xbox, my handle is AK Donovan, let’s go shoot up a petrol station or something.
Thank you Jennifer Starr, Holly Sellors, Kody Tryton and Daniel McKnight for answering my Facebook call and making all the great ATD washing machine artwork. You all have very majestic names.
This post, and this song goes out to Bill Jones from Bristol, who’s surfing the cosmos with Bill Hicks and Anna Nicole Smith.