Last night over at SKYLIGHT BOOKS, our dear friend John read from his book "The Inertia Variations." For those of you who have never had the pleasure of an intimate evening with the poetry of Mr. John Tottenham- - you are missing out. Perhaps it's all in the dead pan delivery, or the English accent, or maybe even the way he continues reading til you can almost feel the energy leaving your torso, whatever the case you're hooked. You can almost picture a marigold room with barely any light and tattered doilies, furniture with a human dent formed from hours of listless lounging. The magic of Mr Tottenham's words are created from years of experiencing "nothing" I can almost hear the soundtrack to his sonnets with music by the FUGS... "Monday- nothing, Tuesday -nothing Wednesday, Thursday Nothing --Friday for a change a little more Nothing....nothing nothing nothing."
His book was put out by Kerosene Bomb Publishing- and is the perfect gift for pals who have a hard time getting something accomplished everyday.
The Inertia Variations are currently being adapted into song form by Matt Johnson of The The.
here are some fine examples of his poetry:
I do not know the meaning of hard work.
But I do know what it means to adhere
To a schedule of diligent work-avoidance
As if it were a regular job: a strict routine
Of wandering around and lying down,
And brooding over wasted time.-
I don't like to mix business
With anything, least of all pleasure.
When I ask someone what they are doing and they tell me
They are doing nothing, they are, in fact usually doing
Something. Whereas if someone asks me what I am doing
And I tell them I am doing nothing, I am, in fact actually doing
Nothing. Few people, outside jails or hospitals, have spent more
Time lying on a bed looking at a wall. Or on a sofa, or in a chair,
Or on a floor. Or looking at a floor, or a ceiling.
Or with eyes shut.
I only take consolation
In other people's failure
In order to feel less lonely.
It is not that I am afraid
Of success. What scares me most
Is the work itself, the required effort:
Of what it will take out of me
And what it will leave me with.
Take some initiative...
Do something with your life:
I get up from the sofa,
Walk across to the table
And write these words
Down on a piece of paper.
Then I return to the sofa and
After John made some new fans laugh til they felt sick in the stomach, and better about their own apathy, we made our way to the Dresden for a drink. The intriguing thing about John Tottenham is that he is forever a mystery. You will never know where he spends his days, who he visits on his travels, or what he is truly thinking. His answering machine message is a mere mumble- and if he actually picks up the phone at all to talk, you feel important.
If you're really lucky- he'll invite you into his home and show you his amazing postcard collection and photos of him at seventeen. London school boys with curly hair--wow.
Speaking of LUCKY--check out the this morning photo of the tree that tipped over at the roots right next to my car. Imagine if that would've crushed by Benz. ouch