In praise of monoliths

A friend says the internet and poetry have meshed/blended/overlapped
Where do i fit?
I struggle with this ‘my password is password’ approach to art
With sharing
I struggle to unpick sharing from ego
But what other motivation is there for putting anything out there?
And what’s the harm in ego?

[extract from online conversation with said friend]

This week I read the worst book I’ve read for as long as I can remember.
A terrible terrible science fiction book by a Welsh author who was flogging it from a table in Waterstones…
I’d had a chat with him because I respected that we was putting himself out there….
Bought his book even though his description of it made it sound bad….
(I was in that politeness phase where you’ve talked to someone about their product for so long that you can’t not buy – farmers market syndrome)
And he signed it ‘Andy – enjoy the action’….
But I didn’t enjoy it, it was awful. Boring, directionless, horrible prose, 2D characters. Awful.
But do you know what, [friend]?
It exists.
It is finished.
It is out there in the world.
That terrible author has written and published six more novels than I have.
And that is what [your art page is]. A thing that exists and cannot unexist.
And that’s what my music is.
So we are happy and we are successful.
The End.

[end -also of extract]

Except it’s not
I still believe in monoliths
large immutable works intended for posterity
even though I’ve adjusted to the idea that my own work won’t last
will probably only ever mean anything to me

When I talk about it
When I explain it people seem to like it

Why is it so hard to admit I want it to mean something to anyone?
When did I become embarrassed and apologetic for wanting to make something fun and unique and inspiring?

Is social media really the antithesis of depth and meaning that I often kneejerkthink it is?
No obvs

It’s getting easier to catch myself thinking negative thoughts
I used to think people who tried to banish them were wrong
and I was right
but you do have to notice them and decide what you use them for

Perfectionism vs. pragmatism – both are useful

But I’m going off art now

I was going to describe this as an online poem, but it really isn’t
I don’t know what an online poem is
I only just heard of them today and they look fun
Maybe it’s another one of those tables that I keep feeling like I’m not invited to
Except those tables don’t exist any more
It’s like Yo Sushi – anyone can just rock up and grab whatever passes (as long as they can afford it)

[moment of guilt as my eye caught the box with all my unfinished blog post drafts – sorry Huw!]

That was a lie actually my eye didn’t catch it at all, it just worked better in poetry terms to say it did

A song is a beautiful lie

that’s an idlewild lyric

I used to just write all day

Now I’m obsessed with building monoliths. You should only build the monoliths that are fun to build, not worry about building the ones that will last

I write a twitter account about dubstep – except it’s about so much more than that – it’s about being young and naive and in love with music and wanting to understand it

that period when music is magical – before you understand EQ’ing and song structure and chord progressions
And now it’s tempting to think ‘oh i’ve killed music for myself by understanding it too well’
But I haven’t at all
What do children think when they see a magician?
They say “I want to be a magiciain”

Well guess what? I am a magician (musician)!
What the hell is this:

More music than most bands write in their whole career
My life

I’m a magician. I am the guy in waterstones. i’ve made my monolith. And when I die it’ll be just as gone as every other monolith I could fly to egypt and kick while I’m alive

Is this an internet poem?
Who the fuck knows
I enjoyed writing it


I’m happy. I really am happier than I’ve been for a long time. There are still bad days BUT THERE ALWAYS WILL BE. It’s obsessing over ‘ever after’ that detracts from the ‘and they all lived happily’.

So yeah. Thanks.

Q: How do you end an internet poem?

A: by posting it without proofreading it


3 thoughts on “In praise of monoliths

  1. Explaining a joke is like dissecting a frog: you understand it better, but the frog dies in the process. – Mark Twain

    I wrote a haiku, once, while drunk on a beach in West Wales, about the fact that the tide seems just a little less magical when you understand how the moon does it.

    Is the same true for art? I don’t know.

    The only art I regularly produce is computer code. There are those who’d argue that programming can not be considered art, and I’d agree that it doesn’t *necessarily* – just like painting a fence is not the same thing as painting a landscape. But it can be art, and therefore, sometimes it is. To many, I’m sure, it’s as meaningless as trying to read a poem in a foreign language, but they’re not my audience anyway.

    Next time you try to build a monolith, ask who you’re building it for.

  2. I don’t know what an internet poem is either. And I don’t know how making things and showing them to people and them thinking about the thing etc. works any more. But I put your song, ‘God in his wisdom…’ on a mix tape for my best friend earlier this year, and when he came to stay last weekend he told me it was his favourite song he’d heard all year.

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