Monthly Archives: February 2010

SpeedPoets Feature Poem #1 – Brooke Linford

This is the first of what will become a weekly post, featuring a selection of the poems from SpeedPoets Zines past, present and future. First up is a poem by Melbourne based poet, Brooke Linford, which will appear in the April 2010 issue of SpeedPoets. If you are keen to submit work to the Zine, please send me up to 3 poems in the body of an email to geenunn(at)yahoo.com.au.

NB: As SpeedPoets is a not for profit organisation and the Zine is distributed free at the monthly event, I do ask that interstate and international contributors who would like to receive a copy of the Zine send me stamps or well concealed cash to cover the cost of postage.

And remember, SpeedPoets returns for 2010, with a new home! That’s right, they have packed up eight brilliant years of gigs in Belushi’s, The Royal George and The Alibi Room and are heading over to West End to call InSpire Gallery Bar (71 Vulture St, West End) their new home. To kick things off, the first event will host the official launch of the Brisbane New Voices chapbook, featuring micro-collections by Jonathan Hadwen (Night Swim) and Fiona Privitera (Peep Show). And as always there will be live sounds from the SpeedPoets engine room of Sheish Money, raffles/giveaways and the SpeedPoets Open Mic section. So come along and help us celebrate the start of our 9th year and and our 4th home… we want you there to set your words on fire! Doors open at 2pm – along with sign up for the Open Mic section.

SpeedPoets, Sunday March 7, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, InSpire Gallery Bar – 71 Vulture St. West End. Entry is a gold coin donation

 

 

The Bakery
          by Brooke Linford

In the corner the girl
hums for her soup
like she wants nothing else at all

I’m going home
to a family dinner
in a bad bra
dodging fire-season trees
painted orange

I’m going home
pocketing my entitlements
wiping off their DNA

I’m a dark head in a bakery window
whoring for pastries

this force of ego
showing more teeth than I usually would.

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Songs of Defiance

Defiance is a personal characteristic that often gets a bad wrap, but let’s face it, there are times when we need to stand strong in the face of popular opinion and hold our ground. Lately, I’ve been feeling a little defiant, wanting to bare my teeth at the world and some of its inhabitants; wanting to lower my horns and meet the day head on. So here’s a clutch of songs from three men who aren’t afraid to make a stand… each song, shiver-inducing in its own way. Hope they help you carry the fire.

Room at the Top – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Tom Petty is one of those rare artists, unflinchingly honest in his approach and able to tell it bullet-straight, while still sounding sweeter than sugarcane. When Petty sings, I’ve got a room at the top of the world tonight and I ain’t coming down, he does so with a quiet ferocity. Petty, the perpetual outsider, stakes his claim and is prepared to go down swinging in its defence.  This is the sound of a band, who never once believed rock was dead…

Hurt – Johnny Cash

While the NIN original is brilliant in its own right, Cash owns this song, his dying body and thinning voice giving these lyircs an otherworldly poignance. Cash stands at the threshold of life and delivers the closing lyric, If I could start again/ a million miles away/ I would keep myself/ I would find a way, with such certainty… there is no resignation here, just a man and the knowledge that everyone goes away in the end. And this is quite possibly one of the greatest clips ever produced.

Atlantic City – Bruce Springsteen

Everything here is stripped back to the core… the line between an honest man and a criminal blur, as does the line between life and death. Springsteen’s voice is at its harrowing best, but at the same time defiant, triumphant in its declaration, Everything dies baby that’s a fact/ but maybe everything that dies someday comes back/ Put your makeup on, fix your hair up pretty/ and meet me tonight in Atlantic City. This is the truth told simply… and death, theft, loneliness are part of that truth.

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We Must Love Each Other or Die: The Death of Bunny Munro

My world and the debauched world of Bunny Munro have recently intersected… and what a trip it has been!

Bunny Munro is a salesman who knows his days are numbered. His lust is of comic book proportions and there is almost always a rampant tee-peeing in his leopard skin briefs… particularly when Kylie Minogue’s ‘Spinning Around’ comes on the radio (Bunny proclaiming, I can’t believe that song is legal) or when a vision of Avril Lavigne overtakes him (in Bunny’s words, she has the Valhalla of vaginas). In fact, Bunny spends more time obsessing over genitals (his own and those of just about any woman that walks down the street), than just about any other character that has graced the pages of a novel. On the surface he appears an oversexed, on-the-make, chain-smoking, hard-drinking, coke-snorting monster, living out one deliriously long wet dream, but it is the depth Cave brings to Bunny that really makes him endure.

Much of this depth comes from Bunny Jr., who quite simply, loves his dad. Bunny Jr. is a beacon of hope in a world that has forsaken his father and robbed him of his mother. Together, they hit the road to sell beauty products, Bunny Jr. taking charge of ‘the list’ and the A-Z (the street directory) as his father’s life unravels in a series of sexual mishaps, beatings and a serious deranging of the senses. Like The Road (which Cave recently wrote the score for, along with Bad Seed & Grinderman collaborator, Warren Ellis), The Death of Bunny Munro is essentially an exploration of the father/son relationship. And while there is a moment at Libby Munro’s funeral where Bunny tries to offload his son, the two seem, for better or worse (the vulnerability you experience as Bunny Jr. is continually left in the yellow Fiat Punto, with nothing but his encyclopedia and Darth Vader figurine is at times truly nerve-wracking), inseparable.

The supporting cast of characters that Cave introduces are worth the entry alone… there’s Geoffrey, Bunny’s disturbingly overweight boss, who has a knack for the jokes – What’s green and smells like bacon? Kermit’s finger; Poodle, another of Eternity Enterprises sexual predators; the Horned Killer, who is working his way toward Brighton, leaving a trail of beautiful but very dead women in his wake; and Bunny Sr. whose sexual appetite and unbridled rage makes Bunny look like a samaritan.

The Death of Bunny Munro has all of Cave’s trademark gallows humour and sexual perversion, but it is his eye for detail that really shines… from the individual sunsets painted on a prostitute’s fingernails to the water stain on the hotel ceiling that looks like a small bell or a woman’s breast, Cave gives us all of the finer detail, whether we want it or not. ‘We must love one another or die,’ quotes Bunny from W.H. Auden, but there is no love on this earth that can save this tortured salesman.

And Canongate need to be applauded for releasing this as an audio book read by Cave himself. This for me was the ultimate way to experience the psychotic poetry of Bunny Munro. Cave’s voice captures all the madness of Bunny and the tenderness of Bunny Jr. and the soundtrack (composed by Cave & Ellis) kicks in at all the right times to transition you from scene to scene.

If you haven’t already, discover the world of Bunny Munro… to get a taste, head over and  listen to Cave reading select chapters on the book’s website (there is also some very cool video footage on the site).

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Enter: Ghostboy with Golden Virtues

Brisbane’s children of the night, Ghostboy with Golden Virtues are just about to let their debut album out of the box to make love to our ears at the Hi-Fi Bar this Saturday night… So I threw a few questions at vocalist/lyricist/spoken weird artist Ghostboy and this is how he hit ‘em back!

Your debut album Enter is now signed, sealed and delivered (and ready to be launched I might add). How are you feeling about the album? Does it capture the wild and whirling nature of your live show?
 
Ghostboy: We feel extremely proud (and very hard) about our first aural infection Enter – it is a great document of where the act was at last year…being both magical & flawed. It has some killer tracks on it – we are about to make a second video for our next single Love Me  – and overall there is only a few things I would change. It is getting great reviews, in that they have clearly been listening to the album without blowing smoke up our arse (there is enough in mine already:) In terms of capturing our live show energy – that is a really huge challenge given the theatrical and intense nature of what we do live / and the feeding off, constant dialogue I have with every audience. If I Were a Rock”N”Roll  girlfriend – an old track which has been severely overhauled in the arrangement by Skye & the band – best captures the visceral raw nature of GBGV. I am personally really proud of the vocals as I did them handcuffed in a room alone direct through a guitar amp, so really let Ghostboy fuck me  to get across the line. That’s the thing – the album was recorded over 5 days in total, lots of late crazy nights, lots of wine and strange silences, and I wouldn’t change a thing about the experience, even the bits I can’t remember….
 
 
You have been working together collectively for some time now… how has the writing process changed over the years?
 
Ghostboy: I first worked with Golden Virtues in 2005 when they were a folk rock band accompanying my poetry and I was an upstart poet with this “other” raging inside trying to find a medium for “its” voice. Back then we just did it very quickly and probably to respectfully in terms of holding the poetry up as something not to be altered or responded to as part of the actual music. Over time, this has changed enormously – as has the sound – and is still evolving. A couple of key things have happened: we started to add more of a cabaret theatre aspect that required central pieces to carry a show; Ghostboy with Golden Virtues became much more than a side project / now a band in its own right separate and informing each other and it’s art lies in the point of kissing in between;  Skye and I started to write songs together including me writing far more in a lyrical form rather than just poetic – sometimes I bring a piece like Crimes already written and describe the sound / nature of the music needed…other times like Wolfish  she has a song and I work a spoken word bridge out. Skye describes what I do as “spocals” and the thing is I have had to own that I am a lead singer in the act – in the tradition of acts like  as well as a spoken weird artist. The music and words are now the same thing rather than separate entities – we are even going to try some GBGV jams in the studio with me writing improv words – got to keep pushing the mule or it will kick you.
 
 
Ghostboy with Golden Virtues have been likened to legendary artists such as Nick Cave, Bowie & The Velvet Underground. How do you feel about such comparisons? To what extent have these artists influenced your writing and performance art?
 
Ghostboy: I am not much into comparisons – they are great for bios and in reviews for reference points and for approaching venues & festivals because that is the constant language of music & writing – context to what has already been. Those three are all amazing and have done it – we are just starting by lighting the fuse.  Nick Cave has been a big influence for his fierceness and integrity and style of singing (particularly the way he has developed his voice) – Henry’s Dream was the album I thought of alot when writing Crimes (lyrics below / based on truths and myths within the GBGV community). Bowie is a massive influence on me – his sexual ambiguity, “otherness”, performance art, literary and spontaneous approach to writing lyrics, his willingness to think grand when so many want to think small & smaller, Lodger is an album that really gets me but Diamond Dogs is probably the one that I think of the most in terms of our live show. Other key figures along the way have been from so many different art forms: noir cabaret act Mikelangelo & the Black Sea Gentlemen, New York performance artist Taylor Mac, Iggy Pop (the album The Idiot was and still is a soundtrack behind the past year – we interpret Sister Midnight on the album) & The Cramps, spoken word punks Emily XYZ, and of late seeing Peaches live had a huge impact on Skye & I in different ways: for me it was confirmation that punk is still alive and for me to keep pushing it and going with live primal instinct and for Skye…it offered her a vision of the lead lady she can be, wild and unapologetic while knowingly referencing what has come before.
 
 
What can people expect to take home in their backpocket after the launch show?
 
1. A copy of Enter if said pocket is big enough and they want to sleep on something that will wake them up in the middle of the night.
2. A very small girl if they have big soft hands and a very handsome smile
3. A light in their right eye for every time they realise that Brisbane is a little looser for having us in it
4. Three great sets by GBGV, the amazing James Cruikshank solo (The Cruel Sea) and The New Jack Ruby’s  plus poems by MC Pascalle Burton & some special guests that overall will remind people that the true artists never die, they just go to sleep one day. 
 

CRIMES

Innocence is over-rated /  Blake and his lambs taken for granted
We’ll back the lone tiger, guild the girl and her white lily
We admit to the following crimes (but we don’t feel guilty)

Girls, you don’t have to fear me
I’m average in all the right ways
When I get my hands behind your bars
we’ll separate night from day                        

I ADMIT TO THE FOLLOWING CRIMES
(BUT I DON’T FEEL GUILTY)

We’ve danced on the roofs of your well parked cars
double parked in the heart of the handicap spaces
masturbated in the shrink’s secret lair
come in the hair of those pretty boy faces

Boy, even the tap doctor
can’t stop those tears
your fears / your fantasies, they’re lovers
they’ve been doing it for years

I ADMIT TO THE FOLLOWING CRIMES
(BUT I DON’T FEEL GUILTY)

CHORUS:

I admit to the following crimes
Won’t do no time
Won’t pay no fine
I think you’ll find
I’m clear of conscience and there’s nothing on my mind
I’m looking forward to the next time
I take the law and make it mine
Walk to my own beat
March along my own fine line
Oh I admit to the following crimes…

And the judge said
How do you plead?
Not Guilty!

he lost both kidneys as a teen
spleen a bible / black washing machine
shot seven men just to get too sleep
there’s a bullet in his prayers
but he still can’t weep         

your name wasn’t important at the time
we married because we could and down that street
I put the ring around her throat / but I didn’t ever squeeze
no I didn’t ever squeeze, unless she said           please!

I ADMIT TO THE FOLLOWING CRIMES
(BUT I DON’T FEEL GUILTY)

there’s a body rotting in this mangrove
there’s a dog with a bone in its throat
they didn’t come home from the night before
and the bloated lovers they float

she stole her mother’s car as a teen
took a junkie to bed but he didn’t get far
buys quarters from the ex-wife’s boyfriend
he writes the name on the bag, like their gonna forget!

I ADMIT TO THE FOLLOWING CRIMES
(BUT I DON’T FEEL GUILTY)

CHORUS

we bought hash cookies / sold stolen gear
disappeared from jobs to the faraway places
been at large on your credit card
freed the wild books from their library cages

the pink moon is arising, and so are our teeth
the keys in the lock , gonna hear us breathe
we ain’t no lawyer, we ain’t on trial
we’re at large in your closet
better turn and smile

I ADMIT TO THE FOLLOWING CRIMES
(BUT I DON’T FEEL GUILTY)

the undesirables, the jack of spades, the arse bandits,
who’s gonna judge where we go,  the lights won’t find us
the pills and trips, torn slips, the midnight stashes
who’s gonna judge what we take, who’s gonna chase us

and if the punishment fit’s the crime                  then it’s my  turn  to cry
and if the punishment fit’s the crime                  it’s your turn to say goodbye
but if punishment is the crime                              then both of us should do this time

 

Links:

http://www.myspace.com/ghostboywithgoldenvirtues
Buy ENTER: http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/GhostboyWithGoldenVirtues
Launch tickets: http://www.thehifi.com.au/events/ghostboy-with-golden-virtues–7664/

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Bright Star – keeping Keats alive

Tomorrow is the 189th anniversary of the death of John Keats, and to help commemorate the occasion, I will read from his works at the first Poetry on the Deck event at Riverbend Books alongside, some of Brisbane poetry’s Bright Stars – Bronwyn Lea, Pam Schindler, Betsy Turcot & Jonathan Hadwen.

One of the poems I will read tomorrow night is the epically beautiful, Bright Star! would I were steadfast as thou art. When Ben Whishaw recited this to Fanny in Jane Campion’s recent film, it was enough to send a shiver down the spine of this Lost Shark. The film is a glorious portrayal of Keats and Fanny Brawne’s relationship and their individual relationships with Charles Brown; so visually stunning, one viewing was not enough.

If you have not yet discovered Bright Star, here is a trailer and for those of you who cannot make it along tomorrow night, here is another of the poems – To Sleep – I will read.

Dead at 25, but still as vibrant as ever… it is a great rush of life that Campion’s film brings to the words of John Keats.

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SpeedPoets has a new home for 2010

SpeedPoets have packed up eight beautiful years of history in the New Farm/Fortitude Valley precinct and are heading on over to West End to make InSpire Gallery Bar their new home in 2010. InSpire is already the home of Poetry Smack which runs every second Tuesday from 7:30pm and was the venue for the last Small Change Press launch, so it is no stranger to the live poetry scene…

To kick off the 2010 year, SpeedPoets are hosting the official launch of the exciting Brisbane New Voices chapbook featuring Jonathan Hadwen (Night Swim) and Fiona Privitera (Peep Show). And as always there will be music from the SpeedPoets engine room of Sheish Money, giveaways/raffles and plenty of space for you to breathe life into your words in Brisbane’s hottest Open Mic section.

The first gig of the year will be held on Sunday March 7 with doors opening at 2pm – along with Open Mic sign up – and the live action starting at 2:30pm. So make sure you are there to bring in the new era and christen the new venue as the 2010 year takes off!

InSpire Gallery Bar is located at 71 Vulture St. West End… and we are looking forward to calling it home!

SpeedPoets, Sunday March 7, 2:00pm – 5:00pm @ InSpire Gallery Bar, 71 Vulture St. West End

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Carrying the Fire

Last night I saw John Hillcoat’s (The Proposition, Ghost of the Civil Dead) latest film, The Road and like all great art, it has left me feeling different. The story, shifting parts of my very being around to open me up like a can of fish and expose my own vulnerability. And it’s a story that is more important now than ever before… a story that is at its heart about the unbreakable bond of father and son, the struggle of being a man and the importance of carrying the fire.

Forget the term post-apocalyptic that has been used to describe the world of The Road… this is a world that has moved beyond that. It is a world unable to create new dreams, new memories; those left to survive have only their past to nourish them… the fire that burns inside. Scarily, the breakdown of family structure and the bond between father and son in our very own world is as bleak as the landscape Hillcoat realises in The Road and it is this that haunted me most throughout the film.

The fire on screen between Mortensen & Smit-McPhee was unflinching, their sense of hope, never once delusional, despite the savagery of the land and ‘the bad guys’; those who had forsaken their fire and roamed the road in gangs, searching for food, which more often than not was the flesh of other survivors. I feel that same fire; born into a family where our bond is everything… but it is a fire that our society is quickly extinguishing. I see and feel its loss daily in our schoolyards and streets, but as McCarthy’s story shows us, as long as some of us carry the fire, there is always hope.

The Road will challenge, will hurt and haunt, but my own fire is burning brighter for the experience.

Here’s a great trailer I have found and a track (Memory) from the sparse, plaintive score by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis.

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Night Swimming with Jonathan Hadwen: Riverbend Feature Poet #4

Launching a book is an adventure… and debut author Jonathan Hadwen is about to take the ride with his collection Night Swim which will be launched at the first Riverbend Books, Poetry on the Deck event on Tuesday Feb 23. I fired a few questions at him recently to get his thoughts on publication, readings and how he approaches a poem.

 

 

The Riverbend Books reading will be the launch of Night Swim, your micro-collection released as part of the Brisbane New Voices series. What does it mean to you to put your work out into the world for the first time in book format?

I definitely got a kick out of seeing the chapbook.  I’ve been leaving it out in obvious places around the house so visitors will stumble upon it.  

How do you approach a poem?
 
I wait for it to approach me.  I have never had any success trying for force myself to write poetry.  The only things I have found helpful are reading lots of poetry (something about getting your mind into a certain rhythm) and long rides on public transport (maybe there is something in the rhythm of a train clinking over the tracks too?).  Once I have that start there is always work to be done – typing up, editing, collating, sending stuff off and maybe practicing delivery if I plan to read it somewhere, but I have to wait for the first part of the process.

Who are the people who have influenced your work and what is it about them (and their work) that has had the most impact?
 
E. E. Cummings was one of the first poets I started reading of my own volition and he released me from the misconception that poetry was about using as many big words as possible.  I remember catching my breath when reading the poem where he compares loneliness and heartbreak to hearing “one bird sing terribly afar in the lost lands”.

I love Charles Bukowski because he told it how it was.  I like poetry that is unashamedly personal and dislike poetry where I feel like the writer is trying to hide behind a riddle.

One of my favourite poets is Bruce Dawe.  That is how I want my own poetry to be – uncomplicated and honest.

The local poetry scene has also had a huge effect on me over the last few years and I feel lucky to be a poet living in Brisbane right now.

What excites you most about presenting your work to a live audience?

It’s great to be able to read my work to people who haven’t heard it before – probably the best chance a poet has of winning some new fans.

 

Jonathan Hadwen is a Brisbane poet who has been published in Southerly, Overland and Page Seventeen as well as other publications in Australia and overseas.  He is inspired by public transport, office politics, the ocean, cute waitresses and the merciless summers of his hometown.  On the first Sunday of each month he can be found at the Speedpoets poetry event at the Alibi Room in New Farm, and his first micro-collection “Night Swim” is to be released in 2010 as part of the Brisbane New Voices series.

More of Jonathan’s work can be found at: http://www25.brinkster.com/jkhey/poetry/index.asp

 

Route 199

You can fall in love
on nights like this
delayed and distracted
on your way home from work
too long since you last ate

sitting in a daze
crammed on a bus 
next to a girl with Scandinavian skin
a girl so beautiful you might think
she floats across the top of life

There are nights when you expect strangers
to throw kisses not punches
those kisses buzzing in the air
in your ear
filling the space left by non-existent conversation

There are nights
saved for cities and crowds
and bus rides
in which you might fall in love
and then out of love again
before you’ve even reached
the next stop.

 

Poetry on the Riverbend Books deck

Queensland Poetry Festival, QLD Writers Centre & Riverbend Books are proud to present the first Poetry on the Deck event for 2010. Join us on the Riverbend deck as we showcase an exciting mix of local poets to kick start the year. Our first event will feature the seductive and award winning words of Bronwyn Lea (The Other Way Out, Giramondo Press) reading along side debut author, Jonathan Hadwen (Night Swim, Brisbane New Voices vol. 1), Pam Schindler and recent finalist in the QLD Poetry Slam, Betsy Turcot. And as the event falls on the 189th anniversary of John Keats’ death, there will also be a special reading of some of his best known works.

Date: Tuesday 23 February
Location: Riverbend Books, 193 Oxford St. Bulimba
Time: Doors open for the event at 6pm for a 6:30pm start
Tickets: $10 available through Riverbend Books and include sushi and complimentary wine. To purchase tickets, call Riverbend Books on (07) 3899 8555 or book online at http://www.riverbendbooks.com.au/Events/EventDetails.aspx?ID=2237

These events are always hugely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment!

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Put Some Fizz in your Valentine

This Sunday, I am kicking it up at the Woolloongabba Antiques Centre as part of the first Ruby Fizz gig for 2010, and with it being Valentines day and all and the brief being to read from the works of a dead poet, I couldn’t go past Pablo Neruda. I mean, Neruda knows his way around a love poem! I believe the gig this Sunday is sold out, but you can shoot Zenobia an email (see the poster for details) as there is a second gig planned. For those people who can’t make it, there’s a little slice of Neruda to light up your synapses below the poster…

 

I want you to know one thing

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me.

Well, now,
if little by little you stop loving me
I shall stop loving you little by little.

If suddenly
you forget me
do not look for me,
for I shall already have forgotten you.

If you think it long and mad,
the wind of banners
that passes through my life,
and you decide
to leave me at the shore
of the heart where I have roots,
remember
that on that day,
at that hour,
I shall lift my arms
and my roots will set off
to seek another land.

But
if each day,
each hour,
you feel that you are destined for me
with implacable sweetness,
if each day a flower
climbs up to your lips to seek me,
ah my love, ah my own,
in me all that fire is repeated,
in me nothing is extinguished or forgotten,
my love feeds on your love, beloved,
and as long as you live it will be in your arms
without leaving mine.

Pablo Neruda

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Giorno Poetry Systems: the dial-a-poem-poets

I was over at the Outlaw Poetry and Free Jazz Network this evening and came across this absolute gem… they have posted the complete audio of the first dial-a-poem-poets album (complete with that warm vinyl crackle) released by John Giorno in 1972. The album features poetry and experimental writing by legends such as Frank O’Hara, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, John Cage, Jim Carroll, Robert Creeley, Diane Di Prima and Philip Whalen. This is seriously transcendental stuff and very hard to get your hands/ears on the actual item, so it is great to be able to hear this amazing body of work.

This post also lead me to the UbuWeb Sound page, where you can download the complete Giorno Poetry Systems catalogue. For me this was like finding pirate treasure… all 12 albums waiting for you to unlock their mysteries…

I hope this provides you all with hours of literary kicks.

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