posted on July 30, 2007 at 7:12 am

jrr tolkien
what a writer
what a genius
now i see everytime i mention him
some silly american readers have commented about “nerds”
get this absolutely straight
this aint harry potty we talking about here…
i regard lotr as a western classic/epic
and i hold it in the kinda esteem that i reserve for homer
or dante(of whom i am a partial incarnation(some say)(ha ha))
tolkien is not for nerds
nerds may enjoy tolkien
but nerds may enjoy hustler magazine
the movie is not lotr
its just a movie
a good movie
but justa movie nonetheless
now youre thinking
too much nz for olde sk…
well i bought tolkiens “new” book yesterday
the children of hurin
at auckland airport
and i looked up as we landed in sydney
only cos they turned off the lights
oh what wonderful wonderful stuff
i was crying
i had the goosebumps
i couldnt put it down
the scope
the grandeur
the sorrow
like a norse saga
the tragic heroes
starcrossed lovers
the evil villains
now this book
a collection of stories
set thousands of years before the lotr action
the main bad guy
is a fallen god
morgoth
incarnate in a suit of flesh
you see sauron was merely his servant
and morgoth…oohh hes a nasty one
and the “hero” turin
wow what a fucked up cat he turns out to be
a heavy doom laid on him
the conversations in this book are incredible
morgoth and hurin, turins father
they go back n forth trading insults
hurin says you can kill me
but you cant follow me outta this world
and morgoth says my man..
there is no outta this world…this is all that there is
and he dooms hurin to have the power of hearing n seeing
just as morgoth has
to see n hear almost everything that happens
chained to a chair in a deep pit of hell
and morgoth lays a curse on all his family
that everything will go wrong
that every pleasure will turn to horror
every joy to terrible sorrow
and hurin has to sit n watch n hear…for eternity
its worse than guantomato bay fiendss…
now there are a billion tolkien imitators out there
writing their watered down versions of the real thing
dont confuse em
tolkiens language
the incredible linguistics behind the names
the hugeness of his world and its histories
is breathtaking
a genius
no doubt about that
i 1st read lotr in 1966
before it was at all fashionable
i loved it at 12
i love it at 52
i will love it at 102
if i should live that long
the children of hurin is so good
i cant wait to finish writing this to read some more
a genius of western literature
conceiver of immense gigantic things
jrr….i love you
sk

57 Responses to “tolkien about ya”

  1. avatar
    paul lightfoot | 30 July 2007 at 7:50 am #

    How did you manage to hold your reading glasses on tho? One hand on book and one on the glasses? 🙂

    (He broke his glasses at my place folks)

  2. avatar
    JUNIOR PAINKILLER | 30 July 2007 at 7:52 am #

    me love him too me esskay…
    mjnjr

  3. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 7:54 am #

    the only good thing bout my whole catholic school experience …ltr..that and the fear ruthlessness and an almost fanatical devotion to the pope….damnit ! cardinal fang!

    cdbz

  4. avatar
    athanasius pernath | 30 July 2007 at 7:56 am #

    > immense gigantic things

    my second fav part is the appedices (i’m a lingo nerd), but the immensity is what stroke me most since i first read it… the bad things are so utterly fucking depressing bad, and the love is, vice versa, so overwhelmingly breathtaking. he’s got that succinctly grandiose language that makes you feel the dimensions of things. when there’s no place to hide, when you just have to throw away your life for a while (like my grandfathers had to), but on the other hand, how precious it is when you face friendship and help.

    Looking forward to the second part.

  5. avatar
    Faye | 30 July 2007 at 8:08 am #

    Maybe you might like to do readings of that,as well,at the Brisbane Poetry festival?

  6. avatar
    fantasticandy | 30 July 2007 at 8:09 am #

    steve,
    YOU are ‘up there’ with JRR.
    and i don’t mean just in a ‘plane’.
    luv,
    andy L.

  7. avatar
    turlogh dubh | 30 July 2007 at 8:13 am #

    An analogy:

    Tolkien is to fantasy what Agatha Christie is to detective fiction.
    Robert E. Howard is to fantasy what Raymond Chandler or Mickey Spillane is to detective fiction.
    “There is no hope here or hereafter…all human hopes, dreams and endeavours are destined ultimately to defeat”
    (REH, 1934).
    You can have Tolkers, Steve. I’m with Bob Howard.

  8. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 8:20 am #

    Dante think Mr.Tolkien would hesitate for one moment,if asked around for a cup of tea with Mr.Kilbey! you could both be cast as “Jack’s magical beans”…and for that company……..”I’d trade an ox for what I got”….but I’d be quiet and awestruck,and let the beanstalk…..love as always,genx xxxxx

  9. avatar
    captainmission | 30 July 2007 at 8:56 am #

    hey there apologies for being absent for so long, i fell in love with a beautiful girl from adalaide and rode a roller coaster into some weird emotional places, wow love can be amazing and terrible all at the same time. i’m nursing a broken heart right now but feeling like the healing process has begun.
    nice post today steve, it’s the first one i’ve read in a while and i’m feeling inspired to read the book.
    I’ll catch up on earlier entries later but i hope you and your tribe are in good health love and spirit.

  10. avatar
    mattdavison | 30 July 2007 at 8:57 am #

    Tolken, Blyton, S E Hinton…
    love em all, they were my favorites

    Matty Davyddson – Might be gone for a while….. i have seen him brused and battered..
    Kinda feel for him a bit he never had a chance with the killer.

    I did want to meet him myself
    but than again…

    Thanks Killer

    md
    (Film Director & mortal man)

  11. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 9:01 am #

    (bruised and battered….his curse is still on my spelling thou.

    mattdavison

  12. avatar
    don joe | 30 July 2007 at 9:25 am #

    Yeah, I can remember my 5th grade teacher reading the whole book to the class. I can still recall the mental image pictures I had whilst listening. I read it again about 15 yrs later and it still got me. It is an epic and a timeless one at that. Glad things picked up in NZ and that your “equilibrium” centered. Am waiting earnestly for the recent talk of wolves to appear magically in my CD player..(after paying for it of course:)

    ML,
    don joe

  13. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 9:25 am #

    here’s one for the lingo nerds{snobs}{like me}…….{am a massage therapist}was giving a treatment to a young man a few months ago….he was “blissed out”…but the way he expressed that to me,made me chuckle…..he said”I’m gonna be unconsciencious in a minute”….my rollercoasterhead nearly replied”don’t worry,just plead literacy!”……he was a kind hearted galoot so i didn’t correct him….but it was very funny…..xxxxxx genx

  14. avatar
    rhythm | 30 July 2007 at 9:37 am #

    Yes well Tolkien DOES remind me of shy earnest types playing dungeons and dragons circa 1987….Just want to say that you Steve Kilbey rock my world you handsome devil…playing to all those Keewees…such gentle folk compared to the Aussie male much default types…if you are ever down Narooma way (just down the road from the infamous Broulee) come and walk our labyrinth……….the pink moon is full tonight…the planetary angels need more of you sageness….

  15. avatar
    GAM | 30 July 2007 at 9:42 am #

    Hi Steve, Delighted to see your also a fan of Tolkein. When I saw the post title, I didn’t know whether you’d be positive or negative, so, it was a nice suprise. But you’re right – it’s his passion for language that gives his work such depth. His description of the riding of the Rohirrin led by Theoden to Gondolin’s aid is just incredible – makes me cry just thinking about it.

  16. avatar
    the gallon the tal | 30 July 2007 at 10:19 am #

    oh!sorry …….wrong blogge…was lookin fer hustler

  17. avatar
    donna | 30 July 2007 at 10:59 am #

    Just had to get on and comment today!!! I was incapable yesterday after getting only 3 hours sleep! Still getting over the Auk gig on Sat night…it was just mind blowing and an experience that will stay with me for a very long time. I met some interesting characters in the audience who didn’t know that much about SK, but after being spellbound for the entire show, they were absolutely blown away with the performance…
    Thanks Steve, for the amazing night (nights rather).. you are such a giving man and I really enjoyed Matt and I being able to spend time with you. Thanks for the book (and not guessing my real age – that made my year!) and I’m gutted that I forgot to take photos!! At least I have fantastic memories and I will be buzzing for a while yet. I hope you are back VERY soon…

    Bet you are very glad to be back with your lovely fam..
    Luv and Hugs 2 u.XXD

  18. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 11:06 am #

    Loved Tolkien’s books when I was growing up and have tried to pass that on to my own kids, having read “The Hobbit” a few times to them. (Glad to hear I’m not the only one who gets emotional while reading a good book. I’ve yet to get through the final conversation between Bilbo and Thorin, all banged up on his deathbed, without losing my composure.)
    Definitely going to get the latest one.
    Right now we’re plowing through the last Harry Potter book. I drove down to my parents’ place yesterday while my wife read aloud to the two kids in the backseat. Say what you will about JK Rowling, but it’s a marvelous thing to have kids take such a shine to reading. (I couldn’t stand the first few books but I’ve come around.)
    -z

  19. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 11:07 am #

    you know, it doesn’t matter how old or young you are, people have a need to get lost in a damn good story…isn’t it a great feeling just to get swallowed up by an unreal book and you almost mourn when you get to the end of it and there’s no more left to read…i got totally lost and smitten with watership down when i was a kid…i read and read and read it and i still have this tattered book 29 years later…
    A NEW CHURCH ALBUM???? OH SHIT OH WOW!!!!
    i must be excited because i used upper case letters and lots of punctuation…
    hiya jenx…you said you were making a pudding or something a few days ago (120 year-old recipe, am i right)…how’d it go…my mum makes the best steamed golden syrup pudding with home made custard that you have ever tasted…not to mention baked caramel apples wrapped in home made short-crust pastry…YUMMY…
    love always
    -The Hellbound Heart

  20. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 11:18 am #

    Tolkien based the story of Turin on the finnish national epic Kalevala, and it’s tragic character Kullervo.

    He loved the sound of finnish and read Kalevala out loud to his kids in finnish, though he did not master the language.

    – Lebrinho

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kalevala
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kullervo

  21. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 11:37 am #

    H.Heart….haven’t tasted the pudding…..it’s gotta be hung up for a few months to mature{cant go off…not possible…..theres half or more of a bottle of v.lush brandy and maybe a bit more,or less coz i had to check that the brandy was ok }have to make it earlier coz if it hangs in the summer humidity it gets mould on the canvass{could be interesting to eat{hallucinations?}its always a cracker though…Im famous for my xmas pudding! did you see the movie of watership down?mike batt,did the soundtrack to that,and the wombles{he’s my step brother in law}family tree’s resembling a lop sided gnarled weeping willow….kisses to you and family…..xxxgenx

  22. avatar
    An American | 30 July 2007 at 11:57 am #

    jeez, you really hate Americans, don’t you?

  23. avatar
    restaurant mark | 30 July 2007 at 12:10 pm #

    big tolkien fan…way before the movies…which i love too. read it all as a kid. the 60’s or 70’s animated shows by ralph bashki ( is that right?…early…brain not quite on yet ) were my introduction. then it was straight to reading! american or not…nerd or not. love lotr!
    take care

  24. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 12:39 pm #

    We had to do The Hobbit for our school play when I was 12. Put me off Tolkien for fuckin life, that did.
    Refuse to even watch Lord of the Rings films on tele.
    Fuck the fuck off, Bilbo!

  25. avatar
    sean bean | 30 July 2007 at 12:43 pm #

    Here’s one for yer:
    When the final instalment of the Lord of the Rings trilogy was released, Sheffield had a special premier for it where – for a price – you could be in the first audience to see it.
    So all the Hobbitheads in Sheffield paid through the nose and sat there ready for rapture.
    But this was Sheffield, nothing is EVER going to work properly in this shithole.
    And it didn’t:
    Halfway through, the film ground to a halt, flipped upside down and then started to play backwards.
    The cinema couldn’t fix it and the premier showing was igniminiously cancelled.
    I laughed my bollocks off when I heard.

  26. avatar
    Symon | 30 July 2007 at 12:52 pm #

    nice blogge Steve.

    Your passion for literature…good literature….is obvious. This world is filled with too many people who lack a passion for anything of real substance. It is inspiring to see the continual depth of your true passion for the arts.

  27. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 1:01 pm #

    this is a boring blogge

  28. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 1:48 pm #

    name dropper

  29. avatar
    CSTCoach | 30 July 2007 at 1:55 pm #

    i read lotr when i was 15 or 16 i think. i remember coming home every day after school and locking myself in my room to read. i’d emerge for supper, then go back for the evening, every day until i’d read it all. when i finished it, it was like someone had died. i’d spent so much time looking fwd to that every day, i was at a loss for what to do when it was finished.

    its a nice feeling to be so wrapped up in a book for a while.

    ryan

    – btw, very exciting news as reported in the comments re: a new Church album in the planning. hope it doesn’t take as long to release as ultc!!

  30. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 2:41 pm #

    the silmarillion – read it @ 12 (& countless times since) – fell in love with it instantly… discovered the church the same year & found that same magic in the music…

  31. avatar
    daniel12 | 30 July 2007 at 2:59 pm #

    Hmmm, ‘MORGOTH’
    It’d be a great name for a Swedish death metal band.

    I used to like Tolken as a teen but nowadays i have no interest in fantasy. I find the real goblins and black magicians of our times much more scary.

    Also I cant say I approve of you punching someone in the head ,no matter how odious they may be.
    Holy Jebus of Bondi I thought your carpark argy bargy tale was a joke.
    Brains are delicate precious things and you can do someone real damage.
    I was king hit in the head by a total stranger 7 years ago and i’ve never quite been the same. The scans showed nothing but I’ve experienced momentary mental blanks and confused abstract thought ever since.
    I definently feel my memory and intellect were reduced by it and I wasn’t all there for a couple of years..

    And this was just one right hook to my left temple !

    If you really must punch someone for gods sake dont punch them in the head.

  32. avatar
    dean9000 | 30 July 2007 at 3:02 pm #

    You could not be more true. Tolkien was a genius… i haven’t read the new one yet but will pick it up after your glowing review…. this is one American who would be proud to be called a Tolkien nerd…. now star trek conventions….hmmmmm… not to sure about another one of those films….

  33. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 3:11 pm #

    Tolkien- LTR books were brought into our house by our father who tore through them in no time. He didn’t recommend them for children, so I read them at age 12 and thought they were on the violent side…the motto was great tho. I don’t remember much about it now all these years later; only to be reminded by the films.

    About Saul Zaentz studios, the one that had something to do with the first LTR. I hope the copryright battle is over- haven’t heard much lately. What’s the story nearer to the source? My sister is trying to sell Pam & Al’s (producers) share of the building. They also put on a LTR play last year in Toronto (my sister attended opeining nite). I had to ask her about Viggo Mortensen, I think he’s so %**#*$!!!. The same studio just released “Goya’s Ghosts”. The other Architect I ‘work’ with said it was good and rough about the Spanish Inquisition. The critics say it’s not so good?! I should really see it in theatres. Any…back to J.R.R.- he’d probably be a much better read now than age 12.

    Amused in CA

  34. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 3:38 pm #

    ha ha! xxxclear eyes

  35. avatar
    mandn | 30 July 2007 at 4:02 pm #

    Orpheus and his books. 🙂

    I read lotr as a child as well.
    I did not enjoy the movies and am thinking it would be good to read them again.

    Currently though, I am reading “Jupiter’s Bones”
    by Faye Kellerman.
    It’s about a once famous and brilliant cosmologist
    who joins/starts a “religion” based on laws of
    the universe. He dies mysteriously and it starts
    from there. Pretty good so far.

    Cheers!
    Mary

  36. avatar
    Thomas Irvin | 30 July 2007 at 4:13 pm #

    Makes me happy to hear you talk about the Tolkien, Steve. I loved his stuff from the moment I read it 30 years ago, and I loved your stuff from the moment I heard it 20 years ago.

    In both cases, it’s the LANGUAGE. Every word is the right word.

    (Well, I like the dreamy guitars, too.)

  37. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 4:24 pm #

    yes yes yes

  38. avatar
    poke the rope | 30 July 2007 at 4:47 pm #

    Tolkien wrote this strange line in LOTR, “their joy was like swords” or something which is a bit weird.

  39. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 4:58 pm #

    you should really check out his dark materials, it is amazing, brings the tolkien totally up to date has the same feel as a lot of the stuff that you do.

  40. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 4:59 pm #

    Ok,my older brother and father were the Tolkien heads…I tried, but found them plodding…And you know what, I’m one of the literati !!! Say what you want, and I’ve studied JRR plenty- yes I’m thoroughly impressed with his genius philology(?)…really amazing…but- I dunno…the movies really stink!!!!! all that schmawk and absurd battle scenes. More like a video game. Don’t chide me on history, i’ve got it in spades…I understand very clearly what’s going on. And as far as Harry Potty goes…its bland and poorly written. Man look how much money and attention it garners. Amazing. But you know, I’m so used to magic and archetypes, it takes a very special connection to move me. Call me Iconoclast, whatever…I aint a part of that racket. Though I love the Man.

  41. avatar
    Cee | 30 July 2007 at 5:59 pm #

    Thanks SK, I’ve requested it from the SF Public Library!

  42. avatar
    JJ | 30 July 2007 at 8:05 pm #

    Jackson made lovely use of those dramatic New Zealand landscapes in the films, though some compression on the endless battle scenes would have suited me. Long, long time since I’ve read any Tolkien – might have to take your recommendation. I’d love to visit Kiwiland someday, though the cost and distance would have to be surmounted.

    New album – I’m Tantalized. Always the expectation to savor.

  43. avatar
    davem | 30 July 2007 at 9:15 pm #

    I love LOTR.
    I must have read it 6 times in the last 25 years. The films were ok, but LOTR without Tom Bombadil…….
    Must go have to head off to my second job (stacking shelves at Waitrose) so I can afford all the goodies coming our way soon. SK solo, Shallows, New Chrunch.
    Thank-you Lord.

  44. avatar
    Anonymous | 30 July 2007 at 10:08 pm #

    what a beautiful thing to read,first thing in the morning!i love this writer{s} as well.such purity of design,and enormity of depth…thank you

  45. avatar
    the dean | 30 July 2007 at 10:13 pm #

    We’re all nerds here. If you’re not then you not having a go.

  46. avatar
    Nerd | 30 July 2007 at 11:20 pm #

    Yes Indeed Dean, This bloggspot is nerd central.

  47. avatar
    Thelonious | 30 July 2007 at 11:25 pm #

    sorry, nothing to add. never read the books, not even close. Love the passion though. All good.

  48. avatar
    Olde Amps | 30 July 2007 at 11:26 pm #

    Hey peaceniks,

    Can someone explain the new Church album rumour and where it came from? I can’t find anything in today’s blog nor in the comments…!?!?

    What’s going on??

  49. avatar
    zebob | 30 July 2007 at 11:29 pm #

    Looks like the SK show at Music 101 will be put up soon. Sarah just sent me this message:
    “We should have it up on line later this week. Check at http://www.radionz.co.nz – Music – Live
    Cheers
    Sarah”
    -z
    P.S. olde ampes: It’s in Tim’s blog on MySpace.

  50. avatar
    CSTCoach | 30 July 2007 at 11:57 pm #

    thanks zebob 🙂

  51. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 July 2007 at 12:57 am #

    Dear Steve,

    I loved this entry on Tolkien and “the Children of Hurin.” Tolkien’s writiings, like your music & poetry, have meant alot to me throughout the years. Both you and he are a big reasons why I got into poetry/literature and why I’m pursuing graduate work in philology. Glad to know you’re a fellow devotee.

    Thanks,
    Matt Bowen

  52. avatar
    Gandalf | 31 July 2007 at 1:35 am #

    this is my grand presence and awakening.J.R.R. has brought me to be.and yes,I am a nerd,peaceniks!*

  53. avatar
    Olde Amps | 31 July 2007 at 1:38 am #

    Thanks Zebob!!!

  54. avatar
    Grant | 31 July 2007 at 2:30 am #

    I just went into an art shop here in AKL trying to claim the AKL gig
    poster in the window and met ‘Mortal Matt’. Had a good chat about the AKL gig et al – strange how things happen sometimes.
    Thanks for playing “Just For You”
    on sat nt (it was my birthday) and comes from perhaps my fav album.
    Would be great to see the band back here some time – you’ve got a stack of fans over here!
    Cheers,
    Grant

  55. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 July 2007 at 2:55 am #

    was that a metaphorical punch-up in the car park?Can someone enlighten me.
    there has been a distinct lack of comment about this.
    why?

  56. avatar
    A Fiend | 31 July 2007 at 3:14 am #

    Dante?{?}that would be the first thing that I read,as a coming of age.Read more last night,can’t seem to get past the exquisite intricacies of pure genius.Should probably put it down and get to work……..

  57. avatar
    Anonymous | 31 July 2007 at 3:23 am #

    SK,

    Remember how many weeks ago I imparted my sorrow and frustration with the workaday world and begged thee for an uplifting blog…?

    Well, today is WORSE. Can I re-double my order? I am drained and done in by it…and it’s only lunch time.

    Sorry all, you know I am not one to whine (or give advice), but some days get the better of one, no?

    B.Bon


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