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A Piece Of CROOKED LITTLE VEIN [Jun. 20th, 2007|05:39 pm]
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SIXTEEN


I found that I had to kind of limbo into my car, leaning back and almost heaving my hideous genital weight in ahead of me.

With the car door shut and my scrotum on my lap, I sighed, switched the car radio on, and settled down to wait for Trix. Looking at my watch. Looking out the window. Wondering exactly how long it took to inflate a woman’s labia until they passed as gonads. Minutes crawled.

Pressing buttons at random found me something that sweetly declared itself to be “Ohio’s Liberal Voice,” but what followed appeared to be nothing but a recording of someone screaming at a very high pitch for a very long time.

I stabbed the deck some more, cycling through a soft-rock station, some weird broadcast of a woman doing nothing but reading numbers very slowly, and what I guessed was a local church channel. A man was explaining in a very loud voice, as if speaking to a child, that everyone in California likes anal sex. “I like churches. They like anal sex. I like families and children. They like having abortions. No, it’s true. They are all secular Jews who hate Jesus and America. And they call me a Nazi when I say this. But let me say this. Hitler was always very respectful of the church. And he hated cigarettes.”

A presenter’s voice came in to tell me that I’d been listening to Proinsias Kernahan, president of the Catholic League, and to ask me to wait until after these messages to hear the rest of the evening news. Dear God, but it was time for a cigarette. I punched the search button again, fished out a half-crushed pack of Dunhills and lit up with relief. The radio scanned around a bit and landed on something that sounded oddly amateur. Listening and smoking, I came to understand it was a micropower radio station. A couple of kids broadcasting out of a back room somewhere. And somewhere close by, too. The kids, only one of whom sounded hopelessly stoned, explained that their signal didn’t reach more than a couple of miles, and only that if the wind was behind it and you were standing downhill with your arms out and a wire coathanger stuck on top of your head.

The unstoned one was pretty smart. In between the music – which apparently was all by local unsigned bands, and some of it wasn’t bad – he talked about what they were doing and why. By playing local indie music, they were both supporting his community and broadcasting donated content that didn’t require a royalty payment. They weren’t, they insisted, pirates. They were even observing band adjacency, he said – this one, the guy who hadn’t smoked a field of weed, was obviously the Head Geek – broadcasting on 94.2, clear space between two “lite”/soft rock channels. And that was the point, he figured – most of Columbus’ dial was all eaten up by soft rock, country and Christian radio. All the major monolithic radio entities ran stations in Colombus, but they all broadcast exactly the same kind of material. They all had a Christian station, they all had anaesthetic adult easy-listening rock stations playing the kinds of records we used to lift out of our parents’ collections and use as ashtrays when I was a kid.

It suddenly occurred to me: I didn’t remember the last time I went to a gig. Couldn’t remember the last time I heard live music. Or went to a club to hear a DJ.

They played something by another local group, that had the real thump and clang of live music. The drummer started up on the toms, and collapsed into a glorious mess that sounded like he'd kicked the drumkit down a flight of stairs. The bass walked in and made the back of the car rattle. The lead guitarist went screaming down the strings and I laughed out loud, it sounded so good. And then there was a fuckload of static, ten seconds of silence, and a fight. Someone had entered their makeshift recording studio, and one of the kids, probably the smart one, had put the microphone back on.

"We are the FCC," a loud voice proclaimed. "Take off your clothes and put these orange jumpsuits on."

"The fuck?" said Herb Boy.

"Pirate radio operations have been reclassified as Broadcast Terrorism. You're going to be wearing dogs in your asses at Abu Ghraib for the next five years, you dirty bastards."

"This is community radio!"

"If we wanted communities, we'd make Clear Channel pay us to run them. Put on the hoods too. No more devil music for you, radio bin Laden."



(c) Warren Ellis 2007 All Rights Reserved. This is a chapter from CROOKED LITTLE VEIN, published in hardback by William Morrow in the United States July 24 2007.
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[User Picture]From: fionn_mac_lir
2007-06-20 04:43 pm (UTC)

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That was the craziest, weirdest, most upsetting piece I have read in a month of God-fucking Sundays. Absolutely wonderful.
[User Picture]From: tnklb
2007-06-20 04:50 pm (UTC)

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That was brilliant...

and not just the bit about supragenitals.
From: ddextereswer
2010-11-02 08:39 pm (UTC)

great

(Link)

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[User Picture]From: glaucorocco
2007-06-20 04:52 pm (UTC)

Broadcast Terrorism

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I love it. Really love it.

Of course, the fact that a local TV Station was taken off the air here on Venezuela because of supposed terrorism, participation in a coup and stuff like that makes the joke a very black one.
From: tthero
2007-06-21 12:13 am (UTC)

Re: Broadcast Terrorism

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They did participate in a coup against the federal government and then refused to show when the public support changed back to Chavez. They were also not taken off the air as such, the government merely chose not to renew their liscence. Can you imagine if an American tv-network was that openly aggressive toward the government? They'd be off the air in seconds.
[User Picture]From: gdwessel
2007-06-20 04:52 pm (UTC)

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Well, I'm sold.
[User Picture]From: ronebofh
2007-06-20 04:53 pm (UTC)

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I thought you said this was fiction.
[User Picture]From: fubar
2007-06-20 05:04 pm (UTC)

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That was my thought, too.
[User Picture]From: dextradawn
2007-06-20 04:57 pm (UTC)

It's like a well-deserved brain spanking.

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Thank you, sir, may I have another?
[User Picture]From: dangermouse82
2007-06-20 04:59 pm (UTC)

Glad to see some things don't change...

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...like your fascination with genital modification and the American disdain for non-corporate culture.

For what a largely-anonymous internet opinion is worth, it looks good, and I've already pre-ordered my copy. I won't jinx you by offering wishes of success or predictions of mass appeal, save to say I hope you end up wealthy enough to bathe in Red Bull and whiskey for the rest of your days.

Any chance you'll write something that examines the process of writing a novel and getting it published in the way Come In Alone examined writing/publishing comics? Because you should. In those ten or fifteen seconds each day that you aren't working.
[User Picture]From: melissagay
2007-06-20 05:07 pm (UTC)

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This is what all of America looks like to you Brits, isn't it?
[User Picture]From: bulletproofheeb
2007-06-20 05:13 pm (UTC)

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It sorta looks like that from the inside as well...
[User Picture]From: vrbtm
2007-06-20 05:12 pm (UTC)

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Oh I'm so excited to read the whole thing!

Is it OK to repost this and link to the books Amazon page?
[User Picture]From: warren_ellis
2007-06-20 05:13 pm (UTC)

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Link to the post, link to the book.
[User Picture]From: lost_in_my_room
2007-06-20 05:16 pm (UTC)

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I fell asleep last night reading Stormwatch and now i have this to look forward to. you do some great work, sir. thank you for the inspiration
[User Picture]From: autodidactic
2007-06-20 05:25 pm (UTC)

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Impregnate my brain with your evil techno-homunculi.

God damn I can't wait for this book.
[User Picture]From: victoria_lane
2007-06-20 05:28 pm (UTC)

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...........................................


You are such a tease.
[User Picture]From: jadedsquirrel
2007-06-20 05:38 pm (UTC)

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God, that chapter depressed the hell out of me when I read the press copy last week.
[User Picture]From: rthetg
2007-06-20 05:45 pm (UTC)

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FUCK. YES.
[User Picture]From: lorisz
2007-06-20 05:53 pm (UTC)

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Do you mind if I link it at the blog? I put links directing here and the amazon's book page.
(Deleted comment)
[User Picture]From: warren_ellis
2007-06-20 07:44 pm (UTC)

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This is off the original manuscript -- it's been through four proofs since then. I just don't have those as handy Word docs to cut and paste from.
[User Picture]From: enamon
2007-06-20 05:59 pm (UTC)

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Reminds me of Steal This Radio. It was a community radio station here in the gut of NYC. They got raided a couple of times. So much of ye olde and goode is gone now. God, I hate this city.
[User Picture]From: fatfred
2007-06-20 06:00 pm (UTC)

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Counting down the days...
[User Picture]From: porphyre
2007-06-20 06:24 pm (UTC)

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I suppose I'm actually going to have to go buy this thing, aren't I?
[User Picture]From: josienutter
2007-06-20 06:25 pm (UTC)

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The first paragraph made me think of Tanukis...
[User Picture]From: t3knomanser
2007-06-20 06:28 pm (UTC)

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I am erect. At work. Because that was hot. We're talking the "transvestite too-fat-to-pass-through-a-door-fat" kind of hot.
[User Picture]From: sagan_fox
2007-06-20 06:34 pm (UTC)

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That was simultaneously one of the most beautiful and most disturbing things I've read in a while.

I cannot WAIT to own this book.
From: outsidethesun
2007-06-20 06:36 pm (UTC)

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From the outset of these few paragraphs, it seems this will be the kind of book you'll want to respirate, inseminate and regurgitate after consuming.

Hail King Ellis, crown prince of black humour.
[User Picture]From: tr2a
2007-06-20 06:57 pm (UTC)

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think i'll pass
[User Picture]From: y2kdragon
2007-06-21 01:15 pm (UTC)

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Throw it to me, I'll go long.
[User Picture]From: peanut_toast
2007-06-20 07:35 pm (UTC)

Wow

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That was amazing. I can't wait to read the book in it's entirety.
From: jezkhalidz
2010-12-29 10:58 am (UTC)

Re: Wow

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I am really loved with the piece of crooken little vien will buy jerseys
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