posted on May 6, 2009 at 9:04 pm

mr cst coach himself a travel writer
has coughed up a load of canadian dollars
(with a nice pic of her majesty on them all)
and has asked me to write about writing
well ryan my boy, its a pleasure
so i was outside doing yoga yessaday
and thinking how to go about this
and thinking about my favourite writers
of whom i will now make something of a list
in no particular order
lewis carroll
cs lewis
jrr tolkien
michael moorcock
china mieville
andre breton
dylan thomas
mervyn peake
bill burroughs
paramahansa yogananda
and a whole lotta others escape my fuddled brain
whom i shall think of
the moment ive posted this
and go
oh no
i cant believe ive forgotten….
(insert forgotten authors name here)
the first book i ever read or had read to me
was alice in wonderland
i guess
started me off on my never ending quest for something “marvellous”
in all forms of art, writing no less
i am searching for something fucking “marvellous”
i’m not really interested in something real or factual
nor something informative or useful
i wanna read about the weird
the strange
the magical
the otherworldly
if i want real life i got …um..real life
so that eliminates lots of books for a start
i hate westerns
i hate murder mysteries
i hate crime or cops n robbers n political malarkey
i hate spies
i dont mind bio n autobiographies
(if theyre about someone “marvellous” natch)
and ive come to be quite fond of bobby luries
retelling of my own fab story (complete with un-marvellous bits)
and ive wolfed down many bios on
dylan the beatles the stones bowie bolan etc (a predictable bunch)
i used to enjoy rock writers back in the golden age
eg nick kent, charles shaar murray, lester bangs, ian mcdonald
(all who wrote in the seventies mainly about that aforementioned crowd)
i guess its hard to be a great writer about nickleback or britney etc
so you cant be too hard on modern writers considering the paucity
of interesting musicians…..
one thought that always pops into my mind is :
if you really wanna influence people get em young!
get em while theyre still impressionable
get em when their minds n hearts are still open
i have read a million good books
since finishing the chronicles of narnia
loads of weird n wonderful sci fi n fantasy novels
but i cant seem to remember any of em much
even tho they blew my socks off at the time
they go in one eye n out the other, i suppose
ah but narnia
oh narnia….
so solid it seemed…
so well did lewis weave his spell
(a very christian spell as it turns out
but that still didnt ruin it!)
oh cs lewis had everything i wanted
fauns and sorcery and battles and
children from this mundane world…
i’m still looking for my wardrobe
i’m still looking for the portal out of this world
i used to drive the fambley up to the cliffs at watsons bay
and i look out over the stormy sea
and i swear i could see narnia somewhere out there
so many times i been as close as this to narnia
my own portal
my own way out of this world
(steady on there seiogh!)
cs lewis was my haven
my sanctuary
my place to go to hide from this boring world
no film could ever do what the books did
i see theyre making a film outta” where the wild things are”
ive seen the shorts and its fucking awful
because it foists its own version all over yer imagination
thats why i almost choked when the wolves in narnia
spoke with american accents…
lewis not only wrote about marvellous things
but he was a marvellous writer
with many unique stylistic devices
and a really cosy familiar way of telling a story
even tho i go back n read em now
and disagree with some of his stuff
(he bags vegetarians, he extolls pipe-smoking
and the constant christian carry-on)
lewis captured my imagination at age 10
and i never really got him out again
you see greek mythology and narnia n marc bolan
are all mixed up in my mind
and oh
that is the world i yearn for most of all
somewhere deep in my heart
i have lived through the may days of arcadia
i have seen the vegetal n water spirits
n i have gotten drunk with pan…
may lewis long be read by children all over this world
and may it continue to inspire children
to seek the unordinary!
i read many marvellous books as a kid
before the narnia books
i read ” little grey men” by HH
and i read 2 great books about a black cat
whose titles ive now forgotten
and i read all the myths rewritten for kids
i devoured the norse myths too
that also seemed strangely familiar to me
and i quickly identified with the troublemaker “loki”
at school we were forced to read one boring writer n poet
after another
and i hardly enjoyed any of it
i can only ironically remember a book i didnt read
but was supposed to
it was called “green for danger”
and i hated the look n sound of it so much
i couldnt read it at all
and i learned for the first time
to “fake” having read a book or seen a film
(who hasnt lied about that n then been caught out
when someone asks you for a specific opinion ie
what did you think of the ending??)
eventually i found tolkiens lord of the rings
(which i entered via more kid friendly “the hobbit”)
tolkiens scope and his majestic language
was right on for me
having raised myself on the myths n histories of ancient times
and wow!
what a story…..
what an achievement
to imagine the entire history and languages of a whole world
tolkien has the lot : romance, sorrow, valour, evil, magic
a more grown up lewis
a much huger n more detailed scale
not much after this
i stumbled across mervyn peakes gormenghast trilogy
and i set lewis tolkien n peake
as the dylan beatles n stones of modern english fantasy
mervyn peake
oh my god
the richness of his language
the weirdness of his characters
the tiniest murkiest details
the warped nightmarish feeling
oh i was smitten with these stories
much much more idiosyncratic than the other 2
peake was surreal n dark n used the most scrumptious words
he could spend pages n pages just dwelling on a characters reveries
he could suspend time
he could make you believe the unbelievable
youve never read anything like it
so if you aint read it
get thee to a bookstore now
titus groan
titus alone
its a trilogy
beware tho
titus alone was written by peake
in an advanced stage of parkinsons disease
and was partially completed by others
it is a truly strange twilit world
which moves away completely from the first two
robert smith n sting
also fell under the spell of gormenghast
if youve seen the tv series
please dont judge the books on that
nothing visual could ever do these books justice
oh i ran outta time
guess thisll be a 2 part blogge then
see you tomorrow for some more lit

35 Responses to “this blogs for ryan :on writers n writing”

  1. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 May 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    Steve, Have you read “the dark is rising” and the other books in that series by Susan Cooper? She is not dissimilar to CSL, but uses Merlin as her starting point.
    Peace to you

  2. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 May 2009 at 11:50 pm #

    i,once was offerred a million dollars,for real,by an unorthodox greek gazillionairre grandfather of a dozen children,whose name,literally translated from greek to english,literally transcribed as “tight-arse”{his surname,;D}if i could read the front page of the newspaper to him…………..unfortunately,for me,twas all ironically “greek”ta me.”hands up if ya dont want to be tickled,;) haha}absolutely fabulous.{twas still much more rivetting than “of mice and men”{even the movie was a dragge,haha,;)}good morning,:) xo

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 6 May 2009 at 11:55 pm #

    Steve. Now you’re a word whore. Toss you some dough and you cough up some sentences.
    Well I guess its a step closer to a job.

  4. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 May 2009 at 12:44 am #

    yep Ive heard smitty mention gormenghast a few times through the years and now you…might just have to finally check it out…something to accompany the listening of Blue Atlas (Charles jenkins). Do yerselves a favour kidz, and go buy Blue Atlas….it’ll blow yer proverbials…of course, get #23 as well…ya know…


  5. avatar
    fantasticandy | 7 May 2009 at 1:04 am #

    a two-parter?
    lucky coach,
    now there’s value for money!
    you appear to be going through a most generous phase mon ami, and it is greatly appreciated.

    first ‘real’ book i read was h g wells’s ‘war of the worlds’.
    i was four years old.
    soon after…everything started going wrong.

  6. avatar
    Brien Comerford | 7 May 2009 at 1:16 am #

    Four Great books for people of all ages.

    1) Benjamin Zephaniah-Talking Turkeys.
    2) Benjamin Zephania-Little Book Of Vegan Poems.
    3) Benjamin Zephania-Funky Chickens.
    4) Benjamin Zephaniah-Face (This book is poignant and sad).

  7. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 May 2009 at 1:59 am #

    great blog today steve, a steal at whatever price Ryan paid Im sure…
    just out of curiosity, is that you on facebook…I just get the impression its an imposter, but could be wrong…would you say “thank you fans” the way he does…mmm…


  8. avatar
    linjo | 7 May 2009 at 2:23 am #

    Thanks for the great read Steve. I suppose being a lover of fantasy separates the artist from the err non-artist, like me, a lover of reality stories (as long as they are more interesting than my life!)
    I say Andy you are a well rounded diamond to be sure! If I didnt know you had a missus I would come over there and cook you up a big spotted dick or a toad in the hole!!!

  9. avatar
    Wiley Strafer | 7 May 2009 at 4:22 am #

    Listening to #23 for the first time. Thanks, Steve…(and co.)


  10. avatar
    heyday2day | 7 May 2009 at 4:47 am #

    i was never really exposed to those kinds of stories when i was younger. my reading interests as a kid were limited to books about bands or musician biographies. my daughter has opened a door to alot of similar stuff (tolkien in particular, some lewis) for me to read. when she was 5 she was diagnosed with perthes disease and placed in a wheelchair for 3.5 years. while other kids were riding bikes, swimming, etc.. my daughter was reading books. (theres a blessing coming from a curse) she has a voracious appetite for fantasy/sci fi/medieval historical fiction and is constantly talking about things she has read. when she was 12-13, she took it a step farther and began writing her own stories (she’s 17 now). it was thru that love of imagery/wordplay that attracted her to the church. we were on a long trip a few years ago and “myrrh” came on. she listened to the words and was intrigued enough to investigate more of the bands music. i turned her onto the church and she turned me onto reading the lord of the rings trilogy and narnia. fair trade, both are always giving.

    hey anon at 9:55, piss off. why do you come here if it’s just to be a shit? nothing wrong with commissioning a piece to be written. i don’t have a problem with it, apparently you do. instead of throwing out words like whore and trying to bait folks/sk with your end comment, why not enlighten us intellectually with what exactly you find wrong with it?

  11. avatar
    princey | 7 May 2009 at 6:36 am #

    I enjoyed this one sk, I can tell you could write pages’n’pages’n’pages about this stuff and great stuff it is! Good topic choice Ryan, got ya moneys worth 🙂
    love Amanda

  12. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 May 2009 at 6:46 am #

    oh,….the newspaper was written in greek,haha,!;/

  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 May 2009 at 7:33 am #

    I was recommended the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Phillip Pullman, and took the first book with me when i went away pre-Xmas last year. Swiftly read the other two hen I got back. Recommended.

    MUSIC recommendations from the last few years:
    Port Royal…Flares, in particular, and Afraid to Dance…(visit
    John Foxx/ Harold Budd…Translucence/Drift Music
    ‘Dark was the night’CD Compilation (some great music supporting a worthwhile cause)
    Most of the above are probably classed as kind of ambient atmospheric, but that’s where my head’s at mostly nowadays

    Pan’s Labyrinth
    Let the right one in

  14. avatar
    EDD | 7 May 2009 at 9:05 am #

    Write some funny nonsense. All this talk of god and death and humanity…I guess I’ll have to koff up some cash fer that one.
    “You’re still beautiful” is a funny song to me.

  15. avatar
    EDD | 7 May 2009 at 9:07 am #

    When you say you ran out of time…is there a time limit to compose a blog or your personal schedule didn’t allow. Not sure how that works….

  16. avatar
    eek | 7 May 2009 at 9:44 am #

    no film could ever do what the books didThat is so true!

    I’ve learned to never watch movie adaptations of favourite books, even ones that are generally considered well done. It just spoils them for me.

  17. avatar
    Hellbound Heart | 7 May 2009 at 11:09 am #

    …books are a wonderful escape when you’re young… first book was an unremarkable little book called the moffats…my parents would start screaming at eachother and i would start reading it yet again because it was about a happy family…..children need some kind of exit, some kind of escape….
    love always….

  18. avatar
    skylarking | 7 May 2009 at 11:14 am #

    steve, i can’t see jeanette winterson in your list.

    i don’t read alot, but i’ve usually got one of hers with me. it’s the sort of writing that sounds so much better than it makes sense. there’s lots of quotes in every chapter, and i think you would like if you haven’t already sampled.

    by the way… thanks for the solo gig in newcastle the other nite. we really enjoyed your set. i was pretty chuffed to be there seeing it was your first time playing there.

    cheers mate

  19. avatar
    iseult | 7 May 2009 at 11:45 am #

    marvy sk

    I have a collection of fave bloggers in my reader as a result of hanging out here one of whom is ryan who has a travel blog this is his latest

  20. avatar
    frostatmidnight | 7 May 2009 at 11:54 am #

    I could go into raptures discussing C.S. Lewis. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe and The Magician’s Nephew especially were just….delicious. Delicious, delightful and magical. The wood between the worlds is forever calling me.


  21. avatar
    veleska1970 | 7 May 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    i really enjoyed this one today. you have some very interesting choices in here. great blog topic, ryan!!

    lotza love….

  22. avatar
    mahatma kane jeeves | 7 May 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    are you still moderating blog comments – guess i’ll find out when i submit this – if you are then why include unpleasant fuckers like anon 9:55 AM – i think that those of us who read this daily know what the blog is and isn’t about and the comments of imbercile of his/her ilk are worthless – do you feel you have to be even handed and publish the good and bad equally?…fair enough but y’know – removing twats like that isn’t censorship, more like putting the kids to bed before settling down to watch post watershed telly

  23. avatar
    Galamor the Wizard | 7 May 2009 at 1:05 pm #

    Now I know this is gonna sound like some dippy pathethic fan thing but…. I couldn’t help but say “yes” out aloud when reading what you don’t like reading SK…and what you do like. Will have to investigate Mervyn Peake though. Tolkien is so great. I used to read it every year for about a decade! When I was in Oxford, the guy at the B and B I was staying at told me where his grave was and I went. All I could say, standing above a headstone enscribed “Beren and Luthien” was thankyou. Will probably be the same way for you one day ( I am younger than you).
    Still loving “my” song “Wolfe” and “Happenstance”. The last sounds like you timewarped back to the Remote Luxury period – totally one of the best Church songs ever!!

    Peace and Love

    Galamor the Wizard

  24. avatar
    CSTCoach | 7 May 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    A very cool read – thanks druid!

    That reminded me of Henry Miller’s book on reading (The Books in My Life). Miller rambled on (as he was prone to do) about all these books he read as a child, and it really felt like you were exploring them with him. He captured that sense of childhood wonder and discovery so well. Just as you have here.

    You mentioned Miller and Anais Nin a few weeks back. Did you enjoy their stuff as well?

    You’ve provided us with a very cool reading list here, and a great insight into some of the stuff that shaped your worldview. A breadcrumb trail in the development of the writer, in a sense. That’s a fascinating read for someone like me, who has scoured your lyrics and poems so closely.

    Some of your picks were favourites of mine as well. I read a lot of sci fi type stuff growing up – cs lewis of course, and i still remember how deeply tolkien impacted me. i loved anything that gave me a sense of plunging into new, previously unexplored worlds. and homer of course. i consider the odyssey the greatest travel story of all time. and Ionian Blues is among my favourite of your songs. you nailed so well that melancholy longing, the feeling of return.

    i read a lot of old school adventure stuff too (rider haggard, etc) – imaginary worlds set in the unexplored spaces of our own dark continents, where mayan priests and hidden civilizations still thrived. i guess that’s why songs like Dome and Myrhh immediately hooked me. I love the way your lyrics sometimes paint that hazy veil where the mythical and surreal meet the mundane modern world. and i guess that’s why i travel too – i’ve learned that such places still exist, if you go far enough to find them.

    i’m gathering together a list for a big amazon book order this weekend. looking fwd to digging into the stuff you mentioned that i haven’t yet read.

    I’m also going to look up Gerard de Nerval, which a fiendd mentioned in the comments a couple days back. Thanks! No doubt today’s blog will spark many great recommendations from everyone.

    Can’t wait to see what you write in part two! (i’m off to the airport to pick up scott – doing an event this weekend in toronto, but will check in tonight).

    Fiendss, i encourage everyone to take advantage of the may madness sale and commission a blog of your own – get the answers to your most buring questions, and support the arts. People for centuries have commissioned paintings, plays, and poems. Why not a blogge, especially one of such quality and depth? It’s a noble tradition.

  25. avatar
    John Garratt | 7 May 2009 at 1:39 pm #

    “one thought that always pops into my mind is :
    if you really wanna influence people get em young!
    get em while theyre still impressionable”

    This could explain why I heard the Church when I was ten years old and haven’t let go since.

  26. avatar
    Freddie | 7 May 2009 at 1:42 pm #

    You’ve got superb taste in literature M’ Lord. 🙂

  27. avatar
    restaurant mark | 7 May 2009 at 2:26 pm #

    good one today…ryan even gets a sequel!
    i’ve had trouble getting the comments section to work right the last few days…seems ok now???
    just wanted to wish nk a late happy b-day!

    take care sir

  28. avatar
    matthew | 7 May 2009 at 3:32 pm #

    Wow, compelling! …ok gonna seek out Peake (pardon the rhyme) …I could certainly do with some more otherworldly reading like that.

  29. avatar
    Cee | 7 May 2009 at 3:42 pm #

    This is delightful!
    Great topic, Ryan.
    Thanks SK.

    Gormenghast – sigh!

  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 7 May 2009 at 5:40 pm #

    Kilbey liked narnia and lord of the rings like the majority of other kids. Stop the presses. Refund his money kilbey, that was shit.

  31. avatar
    davem | 7 May 2009 at 5:44 pm #

    I will be checking out mr peake at the weekend.
    I know it’s a tad sad but I’ve been a huge fan of Wodehouse for decades. Ten minutes with Bertie or at Blandings and I’m howling.

  32. avatar
    fantasticandy | 7 May 2009 at 6:32 pm #

    linjo….oooh..err missus!
    sounds rather yummy….
    and yes!….i am a bit well-rounded, quite literally though i’m afraid.
    but what a lovely offer…

  33. avatar
    stealthblue | 7 May 2009 at 6:36 pm #

    Right, on, Ryan…good topic!

    Steve, it is really cool of you to do this special version of your blog. Not sure how long the offer is good for, but I hope to contribute enough one day as well to be honored with a special request blog. I mean how many artists really do something like that for their fans/friends? Certainly it would be money well-spent, if you can afford it, right? Apparently it upsets “certain people”, for whatever reason.

    [Seriously, Anon 9:55 (or any other “nasties” for that matter)…WHY??? Why must you be such a contemptuous, nasty, cowardly person? It really doesn’t make sense that you’re still here, skulking around…just waiting for a “reason” to attack. Sorry, but it just doesn’t seem like something a true fan or friend would do. Surely if this isn’t your cup, there has to be something else that you could spend your time doing, perhaps something a little more constructive and fulfilling. I truely hope one day you can find happiness in your heart.]

    BTW, SK, the new record is just on constant rotation lately. I love it. It is interesting to hear a record like that on different formats/environments. The difference between my car system vs. the home theater system is incredible. I listened to it last night with the lights out and just sat there, eyes closed and litereally felt the music rush through me(it even made our “money plant” sway around-with the help of the subwoofer!)…one of the best moments I’ve had in a while. It is one of those recordings that just grows and grows on you, and I love discovering new elements each time you hear it.

    Anyway, peace and love to everyone(including the “malicious anons”),


  34. avatar
    davem | 7 May 2009 at 9:21 pm #

    No Church this year, but Spiritualized tomorrow night.

  35. avatar
    catchow | 7 May 2009 at 9:38 pm #

    good writing,once again,steve!
    interesting to know about your fav
    writers and what kind of book you like…and don’t like…
    books talk to us,go through our mind,give us some advices,books
    are refuge and way out…Right:
    much impact for a young mind…

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