I had to do a presentation thingy at my German course today. We were supposed to find a German-language article that we thought interesting, and summarise it and explain the themes.

I chose a couple of book reviews of the same book – Nick Flynn’s Bullshit Nights. That’s actually the German title – and the original English edition is called Another Bullshit Night in Suck City, which is a favourite expression of Nick Flynn’s father. The reason I read the reviews was that the name of the book had a feel somewhat related to the title of this blog, and, in the accompanying photo, the author had a nice little beat/punk thing going on that I found interesting.

This book is about Nick Flynn and his relationship with his father. Since his parents’ separation when Nick was six months old, he had only seen his father twice. Then, when he was twenty-seven and working at a homeless shelter, he met his father, now homeless. Apparently the book is almost as much about places as characters as it is about these relationships. Nick’s relationship with his father can be summarised in Nick’s statement in an interview that he doesn’t want to live with his father, because he is afraid to turn into him.

I read the German reviews (of the German translation), and then, because I found the whole thing interesting, I also read reviews of the English edition. I still haven’t read the book, but now I realize it has become one of those things which you love without actually having experienced it (a bit like Nick Cave’s book And the Ass Saw the Angel, which I have an immense theoretical love for, even though I am fairly sure I’ll probably find it fairly boring). Perhaps if I actually do read Another Bullshit Night ..., I will be underwhelmed. So maybe I won’t.

You can find three of Nick Flynn’s poems on this page. His poetry is very, very good. Not quite brilliant, but gorgeous is, I believe, enough. The third poem on the page – ‘Cartoon Physics, Part 1’ – is rather lovely. I read it in class to give ... er ... ‘my audience’ an experience of this writer I was reviewing without having read. I’ve got the first poem tacked on to the wall behind my computer as ‘Poem of the Week’ (I’ll probably forget to change it till next year, when it will be crackly dry and brittle, but that’s okay). The last few lines are the best part of it:
... I have

a friend who everyone warns me
is dangerous, he hides
bloody images of Jesus around my house

for me to find when I come home — Jesus
behind the cupboard door, Jesus tucked

into the mirror. He wants to save me
but we disagree from what. My version of hell
is someone ripping open his
shirt & saying,

look what I did for you.

The preceding stuff was because I wanted to write the following, and I thought maybe I should have some content to accompany it.

This blog turned one year old last Thursday (the 11th of May), and guess what – I forgot. I had it in mind till about the 7th, but then, whoosh. It’s not quite been a year, though, because I took two or three pretty long breaks in between. But dates do mean stuff (‘mean’ as verb, not adjective).

I had a nice long post planned, with a nice story to follow. I was going to make a very obscure joke and point out that it was no coincidence that John Constantine has his birthday on the 10th of May. It was all going to be very nice. But I was too busy for all that, and now I feel very guilty. I will try and post something next week, to make up.

So now, I am going to place a candle and ask the blog to blow it out. To help it along, I will surreptitiously put on the fan. Of course, I like my blog – it has introduced me to many intelligent and wonderfully nice people – so I will also have to give it some sort of gift. So I hope to either post a bit more frequently, or tinker with the design a bit. Let’s keep our fingers crossed, shall we?

Current music: Neko Case – Fox Confessor Brings the Flood (I am sort of in love with her music right now. Do take a listen.)