Monday, December 21, 2009

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I feel homeless, lost in the haze of empty words. Why must a muse be a woman? I have found love, but with it, didn't come my muse.


Let's start with my biting obsession with words, obviously of the English origin. It's a recent thing. Since I started actually reading to be specific. Until about four, maybe five months ago, I hadn't actually read a piece of fiction, front to back. Hard to believe? It is for me as well. Sure I fought through Bill Shakespear in high school in an out-loud class setting, and before that, even lied through many a book report in elementary school. I would read the first page, and the back cover. Then I would pick a few lucky pages from the middle, and with them, I would formulate the most asinine, but seemingly believable essay. After high school I would read a few self help books, which did little but manufacture a raging inferiority complex. Long after, I would fall into the blind oblivion of creative commitment and the art of story telling. So, I went right to the source. The Novel.


I picked up "Barbary Shore", Norman Mailer's second and relentlessly critically panned novel. I hadn't read "The Naked And The Dead", which separated me from the majority of those who had read Mailer. And thus, I had nothing to compare too. So, as a result of that naivety, I quite enjoyed "Barbary Shore". But, not for reasons one might imagine. In point of fact, I didn't even really comprehend the story, partly due to my limited knowledge of world politics, past and present. But, what I did enjoy were the words. I'll repeat; I enjoyed the words. The way he used words to explain things in such an eloquent, poetic and descriptive fashion. The way he manipulated the English language, as if it didn't own him, he owned it.


Since, I have been through other Mailer books, even read Faulkner and Dostoevsky. And let me tell you, I will never, ever, turn back. At this point, it isn't simply the words of authors that bite at my mind. It's everything. A traffic sign signaling construction, a salon advertising services, a radio personality pitching a new single or even the man behind the counter at the gas bar. Why did they choose the words they did? What drove them to do so? How did those words find themselves in their vocabulary. Do I know these words? Should I know these words? Could I use them better?


Most of the time, when this obsession with vowels and syllables strikes, it's due to, if not Mailer, a film. And not just crazy elusive works of John-Luc Godard or Andy Kaufman. It can be while watching pop like "Definitely Maybe" or "Enchanted". The words they use. It makes me want to use them too. It makes me want to create. I want to have the same fun and the same liberty with the English language that they had. I boil with desire.


And like many artists, I need a consistent vehicle to translate those very desires into works. Or do I? Do I really need a muse? Would Woody Allen survive with Scarlet Johanson? Would Lennon have written the things he did without the presence of Yoko? I have often yearned for a muse and never been given one. Often they are women but such is not the case for myself. I have found the love of my life, she is everything a man could want in this world, but perhaps not everything a writer could want. This has left me searching for a muse. And, in fact, I am infinitely relieved my love is not my muse, because as I migrate further and further down the rabbit hole, she would soon become more a muse than a love.


But, I am left with a sort of disconnect. Every minute of every day I am compelled to write. Not a dream of mine. In fact, I was always a very poor reader and writer, and, in my opinion, still am. I had tutors, special education and even extra curricular 'English-as-a-second-language' courses. But, it's a force I can't ignore, and until it leaves me, I will accept it. The disconnect being, a constant influx of inspiration and content but with no muse to transport it to the fleeting masses. Obsession is the gasoline to which I have no vehicle.


Forgive the grammar and spelling, I am into a few.


writing under the influence,

jeffc

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

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"From The Mekong and On"

NOTE* Written over the course of a three month journey through Southeast Asia in the late summer of 2009, primarily while sailing on the slow churning muddy waters of the Mekong Delta.

We are driftwood floating in a never stopping,
inconsiderate river of water translucent
with time and mud.

The water is old, the water is new and no matter
how much we kick and push we remain debris
in a subtle flood.

We float to the surface and we dip down below,
the tide rises, we kick, we push, the river swells
with tears and fears and blood.

The flora, the fauna it all seems plain as I search
around in vain. There I realize, floating in the mud,
she is the flower, pedal, stem and bud.



We swam rivers of time and chased tomorrow
down the current. We built rafts out of promises
and it's sails our of fear.

We laughed sorrow and cried joy and with every
sob the river grew as if we carried a storm in
every tear.

Our world grew and shrunk at the same time,
we lived in mansions of glory and shacks of wine,
year after year after year.

Our love crawled like wild flowers on the wild
sandy plains. Our knowledge the food that fed
those flowers far and near.



Our relationship was a work of art. The world
was our infinite canvas and our love was the
paint.

We got lost in each other and found our way.
Together we walked the path of reward and
not of complaint.

We raced forward and swore we'd never look
back. We ran towards a golden tomorrow, with
every stride our past grew faint.

It was perfect. We were a silent scream.
A freshwater lake of freedom.
A rebellious saint.

written under the influence by
jeffc

Monday, December 14, 2009

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'Real men drive stick' - the reader will presume I am making an analogy, and the reader will be correct. But to make more sense of this analogy some base definitions must be agreed upon. For a train that travels on crooked rails can't hope to travel straight.

There are two types of cars as far as your author is concerned; manual and automatic. The reader may interject and say that I should rather state that there are two types of transmissions, but, when buying any car, the very first option you have, right out of the gate, is whether your car will be manually or automatically controlled - so I will maintain my previous expression. Now, of course there are different types of manual transmissions; there are 4-speeds, 5-speeds and 6-speeds, old sliding-gears and new cross-mesh builds - but in all cases, the driver is still in complete control. Likewise - there are different types of automatic transmissions; old constant variable transmissions, triptronic or sensonic, pre-selector, semi's and full automatics - but in all cases, the driver's control is limited as compared to any type of manual transmission.

There are two types of men in this world - those in control and those who are not. If a loved one is insulted or attacked there are men who stand with their tail between their legs and whimper like a whipped terrier and there are men who stand up and fight right back. There are men who battle for all they have and all they want on this take-no-prisoners, fast-spinning shit nugget of a planet and there are men who take whatever they are given and cower in a shadow wishing they had just a little bit more. Remember swagger? That almost undefinable spirit that the Paul Newmans, Steve Mcqueens, Marlon Brandos and Pierre Trudeaus exuded from every pore in the days gone by? Well, those types of men are as endangered as a hawksbill turtle - the only difference is no one seems to notice or care.

Men, stand up for what you believe in and fight for those you love. Respect he who deserves respect and fear he who warrants fear. Command the same respect and instill the same fear yourself. Speak to women with honor and kiss them with your eyes shut. Know how to tie a double-windsor knot and don't be afraid to be overdressed at a bar and underdressed at a ball. Don't shave everyday. Make goals and stand by them. Read. Take all of life's punishments, stand them like a man and give some right back. Wear the same shirt tomorrow. Write a poem. Drink rye straight. Be in control of your life and your car, and know how to drive stick.

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Monday, December 7, 2009

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"Ballad Of A Heart So Full"


Some men fear the thing they love,

By each let this be heard.

Not all know what they're scared of,

To know would be absurd.

But those men still do fear the same,

When fear itself says it's name.


Of those men some are kind,

And some men are too rash.

Of those rash all are blind,

And those blind will turn to ash.

For each man loves that thing he fears,

And for it spill the blood of tears.


The soldier loves war and fame,

The priest loves prayer and faith.

Yet each's heart feels the same,

Sure as ninth follows eighth.

And as sure as waves flow to the shore,

These things both would die for.


A man will spill blood and tears,

And not think twice or thrice,

And will not change through the years,

No matter payment's price.

And whether he does pray or not,

Won't the slow wheels of fate stop.


No man loved or ignored

Is safe from such fate as this,

Sometimes sealed with a sword,

And sometimes with true love's kiss.

But both the love and the hate,

Produce the seeds grown by fate.


Sealed are my lips, as with my fate,

As I now feel true love's kiss.

And as my love replaces hate,

There is no sweeter sound then this.

For each man fears what they adore,

For fear it will be one day no more.


Some love to dark, some to light,

Some love the person wrong.

But each falls for one that 's right

If they let time sing it's song.

I have fallen and would die for,

Whom it is that I adore.


When love shows it's ancient face,

Be it with a smile or frown,

It's time to forfeit time's ol' chase.

For a pleasure so renowned.

It's face is old, it's face is new,

In all cases, it's face it true.


Love is to be nurtured by all,

But is botched more times that not.

It's for one not to rise, but to fall.

For true love writes it's own plot.

The author to which all must bow,

And the bow by which all must vow.


Love makes hate but not reversed,

Behold the spot of our fruit;

By this hand the world is cursed,

And is rotted to the root.

You can cut the spot off the fruit,

But it won't stop hate's pursuit.

That hate is a wild dog at hunt,

It bounds with strides so wide,

It must be said, soft or blunt,

With shame or with pride,

That hate burns like a flame,

And like the dog, cannot be tamed.


Some men fear the thing they love,

By each let this be heard.

Even if of this they feel above,

Or digest every second word.

Half the words will serve the cause,

Of avoiding the dog's bloody jaws.


Not one man enjoys full control,

Or can say they have that power.

For when each man hits that pricy toll,

Each man's clock strikes the hour.

And when that hand hits that time,

The bells of fate do so chime.


Those bells did chime aloud for me,

And that toll my path did cross.

And to this day I must agree,

What I paid was not a loss.

If I had to pay more to keep that love,

Of fame and fortune it'd be above.


Love makes fame wilt in awe,

And fortune scour with shame.

Love the perfect picture does draw,

And us the perfect frame.

Hang that art with love and pride,

For all you need, love does provide.


I will also mention how love scorns,

And leaves some men behind.

They must wear that crown of thorns,

Until that bitter kiss dost rewind.

Just like the thorns beget the rose,

When love strikes again no-one knows.


I do not believe in Heaven nor God,

Instead I have faith in man's heart.

I shalt not praise a holy facade,

When what I feel in Love dost impart,

A sense of reason not to doubt,

That 'tis a warmth to live not without.


A mother's love is as strong as steel,

A lover's as tough as stone.

A father's love brings him to kneel,

Before love's golden throne.

All strive to be forever true,

And true love's pleasure they pursue.


A poet loves words, a painter his paint,

The writer his plot, the priest his saint.

A pet loves his master, a runner the track,

A general loves his plans for attack.

For each man loves that thing he fears

And for it will spill blood and tears.


Tears love fear and joy the same,

The way blood loves to be craved.

And like a moth loves his flame,

The helpless loved to be saved.

For each man fears what they adore,

For fear it will be soon no more.


If I could share with you one thing,

It would be to follow suit.

Hark! the music of love does ring,

Heed it's savory flute.

Feel it's churn, it's turn, it's mill.

Submit to it's every will.


Love is something to be feared,

And something to be craved.

Love is something to be cheered,

And something to be saved.

Love will seal all men's fate,

When man finds his true soul mate.


written under the influence by jeff campagna

Thursday, December 3, 2009

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His ink-name is J.R. Vassallo but I know him simply as Jon. "The Kingstonians" is his first book and is a collection of short stories dealing with the human condition. I have had the good fortune of reading a few of these gems, but I'm waiting for the book to be delivered to my door step via Amazon.com so I can read it in all its paperback glory.


The nine stories are all easy reads, understated and bereft of any self-indulgent over-writing (for that tripe, you can keep logging into my blog) and are perfect leisure reads that peer deep into the human soul and social landscapes.

Click the image to be whisked away to the literary palace of Amanzon.com and lay down a few shillings to add this debut to your otherwise dusty book shelf.

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Sunday, November 22, 2009

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"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way..."


And so begins one of my favorite staples of classic English literature 'A Tale Of Two Cities', of course referring to the years leading up to the tumultuous French Revolution of 1789. Though it would be too bold for me to even dream of writing a paragraph so simple and yet so effective during the course of my squandered life; the good Charles Dickens has prompted me, nay; has inspired me, with the words aforementioned, with, well, with a singular thought. Applying his description to an all together different concept however very similar, in the machinery of contrast and the presence of two possible outcomes.


Dickens wrote that of the Reign of Terror, which erupted in 1789, seventy years later in 1859 when he could aptly compare the two social and political environments between his native England and that of France. I believe that the same comparison, by context alone, can be applied between Dickens' England and the current global state - some one-hundred and fifty years after 'Two Cities' was authored.


The year is 2009. It is the best of times, it is the worst of times. It is a time of technological enlightenment, it is a time of nuclear warfare, it is the time of political winds of change in the west, it is a time of diseased regime in the east, it is a time of social awareness, it is a time of environmental meltdown, we are at the height of organized religion's reach, we are at the depth of sin, the global village is more accessible than ever, alienation is at an all-time high. My point is, much like Dickens' was, that we are either on the brink of enlightenment or on the eve of destruction.


For every new set of hands that clenches together in prayer another set clenches the warm mag of a machine gun. The popularity and practice of arts is rising as is the popularity and abuse of drugs. The amount of people that believe in war equal those who believe in peace, but very few people, as compared to the past, stand in the middle. We are opening laboratories and creating life and we are opening fire in high schools and taking it - neither of which occurred fifty years ago. It almost seems as if somehow we manage to save ourselves from the crumbling ecosystem around us, we might actually live to see our technological progress usher in a season of hope. The world is so very fucked up and most of it's residents; working and playing and playing and working are in such splendid, self-induced ignorance. Will we still be working and playing and playing and working when the bombs come crashing down? Or when the sky begins to rain fire as it has at least once in the long and winding path of natural history? Will our oxygen one day refuse to come to work and leave us clutching our throats for air. Or will all our diligent working and playing and playing and working create such a dervish that we'll twirl ourselves out of harms way? Could that very same dervish not cause us to spin ourselves into an irreparable downward spiral faster and more vehement that ever before? Will you, or have you ever, taken the time to consider while you are working and playing and playing and working whether you are part of the problem or part of the solution? Where is the line between the two?


Something very monumental lies in the thick fog of time before us, and we cannot see it, nor predict it or even prepare for it - which unfortunately doesn't alter the looming fact that it's still there. That fog will lift and make visible to us the road ahead, however, whether it will be paved with years of peace and awakening or set a blaze with the fiery licks of penance and ruination is a question that even those that say they can indeed answer it; cant.


writing under the influence,

jeffc

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

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I met him on the set of Kill Shot. Back then - it was a year or two ago - I was making a futile attempt to, at once, supplement my miniscule revenue stream while learning a thing or two about professional filmmaking. I would do this by enlisting in the shameless and dream crushing army of movie extras. At that time, Joseph Gordon Levitt, to me, was but another actor in the seemingly endless sea of moderate on-screen talent. It wouldn't be for another year or two that I developed a true and fair appreciation for him as an artist and thinker.

At the time I had longish hair. Greasy and intentionally wavy, it hung in the awkward space between the bottom of my ears and the top of my shoulders. Joe also had a similar hair cut as well as similar stubble and body size. Thus I was hired to be his body double. I was to be wrapped in a blanket and uncomfortably tossed into the black-hole that is a Lincoln's trunk by six large assuming mobsters - also extras. My face was unseen much like the rest of my body. Why they didn't use a sack of Idaho potatoes I will never know. It would have been more cost effective. Not only would it not have to eat, it would provide others with food (after it was wrapped of course).

Lunch was served. I ate on the bench across from Joe who was engaged in conversation with his co-star Mickey Rourke. The spread was generous but contained too much seafood - I hate seafood. After lunch I jumped in a crew van heading from the lunch building back to the set. Joe jumped in the same van. We shared minimal conversation. Small talk at best. He was a nice fellow. He was newly single so we humored the idea that he would hook up with Avril Lavinge while we was in town north of the border. I imagined, in more of a casual intimate environment he would be, at the same time, funny, caring, bright and amusing. Arriving at set, he jumped out, as did I. That was that. I would have no further interaction with the Cobra Commander to-be outside of glances back and fourth on set.

Days ago I was at a friends house, actually working on the post production of a music video I am helping out with. Somehow, now a mystery, we drifted into the topic of Joe. My friend, we'll call him Elvis, went on to tell me about a video on YouTube where our man turns the tables on the ol' faithful Paparazzi. I went home, watched it with thorough enjoyment and began to think slightly more in depth about this character that I had such a fleeting exchange with so long ago.

The Paparazzi video, affectionately called "Pictures of Assholes" can be seen here:


Once completed, sealed was my fate to begin the wonderful and vicious time wasting activity that is "Related Video" surfing. After a few views, all of which are included in this blog so you can see for yourself, my unexciting and average opinion of Joe had been replaced by a new one. I saw a very bright light inside Joe. A light i wish I had and hope one day I will have. After "Pictures of Assholes" I saw "HitRECord" and a new side of Joe became as clear as a summer's day.

HitRECord:


Express Your Self:


and the inspiring and haunting "Escargots"


In Joe, I now notice a man who we will see a lot more of, thankfully. A true artist, independent thinker and trail blazer. He exudes a passion and eccentricity that repossess any doubt I may have had that he will, in no uncertain terms, show us the meaning of art and expression in the years to come.

For once the capriciousness that is the modern day actor has led to a fruitful reward. A tree that has many bad apples, which are often times at the forefront of the public eye, has dropped a ripe specimen sure to seep it's nectar into an industry that is facing imminent death.

Keep inspiring Joe, fuck you're cool.
(support him and his posse and visit http://www.HitRECord.org)

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Friday, July 24, 2009

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"Home Is Where The Art Is"


One's home is a complex notion,

whether one is at home or not.

Can a home follow one's constant motion,

or is it anchored in one spot?


Is a home where the heart is, or,

is a home where one rests their head?

Can one have two homes, three, or more,

or does one's home have to house their bed?


If one lives abroad is their home the world,

or is it the hotel, the suite or plane?

Is it the house from which they long ago hurled,

and, at that point, is one's travels in vain?


Perhaps one lives where they were raised,

but finds more solitude in some him or her.

Is home to them then where their parents praised

or in the arms of the person they prefer?


Is a home where one's majority of time is spent,

if so, is the cell to a prisoner that prisoner's home?

By that calculation, after all the years that went,

Most of our homes would be over a desk or tome.


I look around and see less homes than houses.

If you have the ladder, the former with it does not come.

Just as I do, I see less love than spouses.

As with the houses, one can be bought, the other must become.


It is this irony that causes me to question so.

Is the idea of a home that of a fleeting one?

Excuse my pessimistic manner of speaking though,

From a broken home I do come,

but of a broken family I am no son.


Can one be alone is one's home,

or must one have a crowd?

And do we only ever have one place,

that we can call a home aloud?


I have a family and I have true love,

but for a home I still do look.

When or how or if or what of,

are but answers only found in a book.


So my book I continue to search and write,

and it's page's I slowly fill.

But it's up to me to turn them in spite.

of the emptiness that haunts me still.


written by jeff campagna

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

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I had a medical appointment today-nothing crazy- just an ECG to investigate the hole in my heart still lingering from my childhood. I walked from a nearby plaza to the medical building, as to avoid paid-parking, thus, entering through a different door than usual. It was out front of this door that I saw a sign that shot a jolt of discomfort through my viens and into my murmur-ridden heart. "Credit Valley Medical Arts" it read. I had never before seen the words Medical and Arts used together so proudly and everything about it seemed wrong.


Art, I thought, was something that had no set rules, only guidelines and standards set by those who practiced it in the past. Art, I thought, was something that one could never perfect and always possessed that existential and creative progression. Art, I thought, was something that one could enjoy if they wanted and ignore just the same. Art, I thought, had varying degrees of quality and experience but could never be 'wrong'. It was this set of personal definitions that furnished such discomfort. Medicine should have a very defined set of rules that are clear to all who work within it. Medicine should have a finite point where one is educated enough to practice it. Medicine should be something that can't be ignored and all who need it receive the same care. Medicine should have a large straight in between the banks of right and wrong.

Obviously this got me thinking deeply about 'Art' as I filled out the necessary information on the chipped clipboard in the waiting room (which, by the way, failed to reassure me in my state of concern). In art, to require perfection is to invite paralysis, and, in medicine, to require perfection is par for the course. In art, vision races far ahead of execution and the works we have yet to create almost always seem more real that the works that we have already produced. Whereas in medicine, vision and execution should always be, one would think, in league and sync. And in art, expression and self are such vital and valuable contributors to the work - it is, ultimately about the artist. Medicine is about care and precision and should always be about the patient, not the practician.

So what exactly do they mean by 'Medical Arts'? Perhaps I don't want to know. I have always thought one's 'craft' is the visible edge of one's 'art' and makes it an actual tangible experience.
So maybe this sign would have bared a slightly less worrying message if it read "Credit Valley Medical Craft". At the end of the day, art that deals with ideas is much more interesting than art that deals with technique - a statement where to replace art with medicine would manufacture panic in all those that pass through the hospital's revolving doors.

Monday, July 13, 2009

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Singer/Songwriter Robyn Hitchcock recalled: "I remember going to the Hope and Anchor (a pub where many folk punk acts played in London). The Pogues were all on stage and ready, it was a full house, but they hadn't started yet. Then this character shambled in through the door and shambled downstairs. I thought, 'Jesus, you're not letting that guy in are you?'. Then he walked on stage. That guy was Shane MacGowan."

If there is one thing that close friends know about me it's my unhealthy fascination with self-destructive artists and their aloof behavior, which, parenthetically, I believe contributes greatly to their creative endeavors. While these artists that fascinate me never intend such behavior it is their trend none-the-less, almost as a substratum throughout their entire life. Perhaps the poster-boy for such a character is Irish singer/songwriter Shane MacGowan; best known as the lead singer and songwriter for the prolific and influential Irish Folk/Rock/Punk band The Pogues. As you investigate their music further it will become increasingly clearer that The Pogues are to bands like Flogging Molly what The Beatles are to Coldplay.

I admire Shane. I love his music and what his music has done. I enjoy his personality and the magic that he posses and emits. I also find it interesting when fans love an artist so much more than the artist love's their fans, and for that matter, their music. A tale comes to mind, A Fairy-tale of New York if you will. It was the night of The Pogues sold-out Madison Square Gardens show in New York. Leading up to this, Shane and his band had started to drift apart, driving a wedge in the bands touring success - mainly caused by Shane's abuse of drugs and alcohol. Backstage before the show Shane was nowhere to be found, unless that is, you were putting down Guinness and polishing the bar with your sleeves at a local Irish pub. Shane had no intention of playing that night, as he grew sick of his band and his fans (I am reminded of the modern example of Kurt Cobain and song's like 'In Bloom'). Long story short, fifteen minutes before the show was to commence, a few hard-core Pogues fans, on their way to the arena, spotted Shane stumbling through the streets completely self unaware. He might have been a stray dog. Needless to say, they pulled Shane into their cab and made haste to Madison Square Gardens. The show went on and some lucky fans had a story for to tell their children (what entertainment those children find out of the story is another question. I'll get to that in a bit)

What has really begun to bother me, and is the stimuli for this entry, is the reputation that Shane is falling victim to as videos of him, at his lowest, become more popular on YouTube. Kids and teenagers poke fun at him, joke about his obvious intoxication and look up to him for his ability to consume alcohol, not his ability to write music and change the face of the industry. In fact, in that, they are probably completely unaware. I suppose this is the nature of the beast that is aging celebrity. As the previous generation that appreciated and grew with someone like Shane either dies off or moves on, Shane is still left in the boat that everyone has bailed out of. And as younger generations are ushered in they see a man like Shane for what he seems to be now and not for what he surely was then. It is impossible to recognize the arch and relevance of man when one's perspective is only that of the second half of their life, and not the first. Imagine watching only the second half of "Gladiator".

Hopefully, people who admire and respect Shane MacGowan for who he was and realize that these videos circulating the net are horrible inaccurate representations of who Shane's really was, will start to out-voice the drunkard youth. For a good read, check out a feature MAXIM did on Shane a few issues back. I forget the month, though somehow, I remember Shannon Elizabeth was on the cover;)

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Shane Singing In a Pub In Ireland


Shane's Music Video for "That Woman Got Me Drinking" Starring and Directed by Johnny Depp

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

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So Tania turned me on to this wicked video which, at first, feels like some low-quality fan video but packs itself full of mesmerizing surprises.

I don't think I have posted a music video since that wicked-ass Coldplay puppet video, but I must say, "Fuck You" by Lily Allen is the perfect off-the-wall follow -up.

enjoy.


writing under the influence,
jeffc

Thursday, June 25, 2009

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A poem I wrote this evening inspired by the life and death of Michael Jackson. It may be a cliche and even a bit tacky to write a poem for such an event, but unfortunately it's my only form of expression.  When I came home and opened up my facebook home page every single status update, link, post and comment was regarding Jackson and his life, controversy and contribution to modern music and dance - One can't ignore such a widespread effect on mankind, and so, using my only tool; words, I have created somewhat of a narrative poem in tribute.




"The Boy With The Glass Eye"


A boy lived once, with glass in his eye.

    A delicate soul rich in force and care.

No one could spy and always wondered why,

    The boy refused to share his obvious despair.


Many brothers and sisters he was born into,

    and close with them he was.

Though all who had their very own view,

    would commonly applause.


The boy with the eye had talent and spry.

    and certain magical flare.

He could sing and dance and with ease supply,

    all the villagers with a joyful affair.

 

Though his siblings with him would take the stage,

    it was always commanded by him.

It was impossible to gage or ever wage,

    on how a bright future could be so grim.


Older the boy grew and more fragile the glass,

    and the villagers began to crave,

More singing and dancing which led to, alas,

    A life less his own and more of a slave's. 


His family stood by and watched the boy cry,

    and supported him best they could.

But, when a beast wants to be fed a feast,

    there's little account for common good.


So harder he danced and louder he sang,

    and the thinner the glass eye got.

For but a boy the bell of manhood rang.

    and to cling onto his boyhood he fought.


The boy was now caught up in the middle,

    of boyhood ignorance and manhood bliss,

Always would his real dreams play second fiddle,

    To the biting paranoia and fear of remiss.


His voice got louder and his feet more swift,

    but the villagers began to grow tired,

Of his singing and dancing so he began to drift.

    Into a world where to be inspired was not required.


The people of the village started to wonder,

    if perhaps there was more to know.

About the boy who was torn asunder

   and who had shown them only his show.


Poked and pried and snooped and dug,

    the villagers would not give up.

When they found nothing swept under the rug

    the villagers would make things up.


Within a short span it came to village vs. man,

    and they forgot he could sing and dance.

The stage went empty and a witch hunt began.

    He hadn't a chance nor second glance.


He influenced some and changed lives of more,

    he became one of a kind.

Passion in his projects he'd always pour,

   and love in his art you'd find.


After years of torment and endless critique,

    his heart began to grow weak.

A character of mystique had always been meek,

    his life began to grow bleak.


One day before taking the stage,

    his heart finally failed him.

It was impossible to gage or ever wage,

    on how a bright future could have been so grim.


The glass in his eye shattered not,

    though it always showed its flaw.

Of a wrong doing he was never caught,

    But it's as human to err as it is to awe.


written by jeff campagna

June 25th 2009, 9:04pm

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

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There have been two songs to steam-roll the pop music world recently that caught my ear; one of them being "If You Seen Amy" by Ms. Spears and the other being "Love Game" by Lady Gaga. Now, when I first heard these songs in their entirety and fully noticed their tongue-in-cheek nature I became somewhat irritated. Why you ask? I'm not sure really. There was just something about their innuendoes and sexual aggression that rubbed me the wrong way. (mind the pun). I am, of course referring to Spears' hidden acronym 'All of the boys and all of the girls are begging to if you seek Amy' = 'All of the girls and all of the boys are begging to F.U.C.K. Me' as well as Lady Gaga's constant references to taking rides on men's 'disco sticks'.

('If You Seek Amy' or F.U.C.K Me, Britney Spears)

('Love Game', Lady Gaga)

That's when I really got to thinking about it. The conservative consumer in me was disgusted that these camps had resulted to songs very clearly about sex to sell records. I thought - don't these artists have anything better to sing about or any integrity regarding their content? Why must these people exploit and feed the sexual restlessness and tension of target audiences? Why does modern music have to live and die in the gutter?

Modern music I thought? Are they the only ones guilty of this innuendo riddled music? Well, my fairly comprehensive knowledge of classic rock from the 60's and 70's allowed me to take a few steps back and investigate and, well, what I found surprised me.

Brit and Gaga aren't doing anything new, nor are they any dirtier or provocative than some of my favorite classics. Now, I want to clarify something here (before I become known as they guy who thinks Lady Gaga is as good as Led Zeppelin): I am in NO WAY comparing the musicality, quality or technical skill of classic rock and modern pop - I am simply pointing out the similarities in lyrical and symbolic content.

Have a listen to "Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap" by ACDC, or "Feel Like Making Love" by Bad Company. And if you aren't convinced yet, give "Lemon Song" by Zeppelin a gander (the real meaty parts of this song aren't even Zepp's, it's actually borrowed from an old Arthur McKay blues joint from 1937 called "She Squeezed My Lemon". It has lyrics like "Squeeze me, babe, 'till the juice runs right down my leg...the way you squeeze my lemon-a, I'm gonna fall right outta bed..." 
('Lemon Song', Live from Dancing Avocado)

or "Whole Lotta Love" with lyrics like "Way down inside, woman, you need love. Shake for me, girl, I wanna be your back door man..."
('Whole Lotta Love', Live from Knebworth, 79)

So, what I used to love, the so-called 'classics', are okay, but these new tracks with the same level of sexual marketing aren't? Clearly I am just getting old and my ability to keep up with pop culture is fading fast.  Soon, any vestiges of the man who was once on the safe side of cool will be washed away leaving a grumpy, old, turn that music down cranky pants. Shoot me now.

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Friday, June 19, 2009

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For those of you that read my blog who are interested in the literary end of things, this link may please you. For those of you that have no interest in novelists, playwrights, poets or the like, I suggest you steer clear, for it may bore you to death.



If you proceed and complete it, come back and leave a comment and let me know how you did. You won't find this in any facebook quiz or chain email....

writing under the influence,
jeffc

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

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"Advice Given, Patience Taken"

People oft' tell me things that I already know;
  like always tell the truth, and you reap just what you sow.
    But they never seem to care too much about my current woe.

Instead they try their very best not to undergo,
  the same position they see me in that effects me so.
    For, to them, I serve the purpose of a cautionary foe.

Once I was told, in matter of fact, bet high and sell low.
  Then when my money disappeared they said go with the flow.
    Both phrases hold the same weight as don't eat yellow snow.

Whether the sun will rise tomorrow or the rooster crow,
  are happenings that are nothing more than nature's status quo.
    So with every small piece of advice does my patience thinner grow.

written by jeff campagna

Sunday, June 14, 2009

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"For A Man Has To Age"

The summer breeze blows with despair,
  and what often blows back to,
are more stronger gusts with darker musts,
  that lack every bit of fair.

It is these summer days and nights,
  that fill my mind with sorrow.
And they come and go with little flow,
  and leave little lust for tomorrow.

When I was a younger more eager man,
  and my heart was filled with hope.
My days and nights and aft's and fights,
  were also lacking scope.

It was these nights and longer days,
  that made the man I am.
Though none to proud, I say it loud,
  for every and all to exam:

Here I lay, for you to hear me say,
  that I've had very little success.
And though to speak at all seems far to tall,
  to write it out seems best.

When we are young and dream of old,
  we seem to think of light,
All the places and faces that make it hard,
  to ever win a fight.

And when we grow we come to know,
  that wrong indeed were we,
For now we must with a summer's gust,
  commence to beg and plea.

Our grand dreams and lofty schemes,
  begin to give great way,
To what we became and the lofty shame,
  that shadows us every day.

If aware were we, and ready to be,
  something we'd come to hate,
Perhaps with tact and matter of fact,
  we'd have changed the course of fate.

The shadow now rests and follows me best,
  when my mind is weak and frail.
And however I fend or try to comprehend,
  the shadow must always prevail.

So to read this with youth might bare some truth,
  and save your life it may.
For when it's to late, sealed is your fate,
  and help it wont to pray.

written by jeff campagna

Friday, June 12, 2009

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So, it has been eleven or twelve blogless days while I have been traveling around Scotland and Ireland. Sorry to say, I am now back and with a certain refreshed outlook on the literary world and those who reside in it.... or have resided in it more specifically. 

There was one thing I really appreciated about Edinburgh and Dublin and that was their loyalty and gratitude towards the writers than were born in their cities and their talents that were born out of them.  It was never hard to find a monument, statue, bastille, museum or plaque that had been erected in their names. And for good reason, the class of writers that I am referring to were sick with talent, technical skill, originality, swagger and most of all paved the way for the literary world as we have come to love or hate it today.

Robert Burns
One of the worlds most famous poets, Robert Burns lived in the mid-late 1700's in and around Edinburgh and truly did posses a way with words.  He is a pioneer of the romantic movement and his works embody the beauty and elegance of his homeland.  He has taught me that true poetry should have a flow and rhythm and not always just appear as a collection of words that may or may not have some remote meaning to their author - something I am guilty of myself.

Sir Walter Scott
Another 1700's writer hailing from the land of Scotts, Walter Scott was the talented, intelligent and ballsy  author of classics such as "Waverley", "Ivanhoe" and "Rob Roy"... to name a few. There are many things about Scott that intrigue me, beyond his apparent literary prowess. One is the fact that he wrote the first many of his major works anonymously, even after it was obvious that there would be no issue with claiming the authorship. Apparently, he kept up this facade out of fun, which is just plain cool. Secondly, he has the largest monument in the world ever erected for a writer, you should see this thing, it's like a damn war memorial.

James Joyce
Yes, we all know James Joyce. Or at least we all know of James Joyce. What fascinates me most about Joyce, aside from his great work, is the fact that he seriously disagreed with the literary movement that was happening in the city of Dublin at the time, around 1904. Because this movement seemed so false and unmotivated to him, he went into self-imposed exile first in Zurich, then on to Trieste and Paris. Yet, Dublin still treats him as his own. His works include "Dubliners" a series of short stories, "Ulysses" and "Finnegan's Wake" which took 17 years and is written in an idiosyncratic language making it a hard read.

Oscar Wilde
The most quotable man in the world... Yes, more quotable than the movie "Dumb and Dumber". Wilde pretty much revolutionized the notion of the celebrity. He fast became known outside of artistic circles in Dublin and began writing plays, many of which are still celebrated today. Later in life he was imprisoned for two years on 'gross indecency' charges relating to his homosexual behavior. He had more than enough time to flee the country before his jail time, still he stayed, willing to do his time. Later, after his imprisonment, he would flee to Paris where he could live the life he chose. Can you say Roman Polanski? Anyways, if you want a great example of Wilde's poetic skill read the poem "The Ballad Of Reading Goal" which is one of the only pieces he wrote after his prison sentence. 

Brendan Behan
One of the original Bad Boy's of literature, it isn't so much Behan's writing that fascinates me, but why he started writing in the first place. As a young man he was part of the IRA and served lots of prison time because of it. It was in prison that he started writing poetry and published it in the IRA news letters. It is rumored that he began writing pornography to pay the bills once out of prison. His drinking problem worsened throughout his life, and as the fame came at him harder, harder to the drink he went. Notorious for drunken public episodes on television and stage, the people began to love and crave his escapades - a love that would soon diminish and leave Behan as a lonely drunk who could no longer write. "There's no bad publicity except an obituary" - Brendan Behan

writing under the influence of greatness,
jeffc