Ice Crackers

We should only read books that bite and sting... a book must be the ax for the frozen sea inside of us. Kafka.

Image of The Seedling StarsImage of Uncentering the EarthImage of MachiavelliImage of The Drowned WorldImage of IstanbulImage of Hollywood AnimalImage of The Inheritance of Loss.Image of Singapore GirlImage of Globalization and Its DiscontentsImage of Story of the EyeImage of The Black Book

Was in the new PageOne bookstore in VivoCity tonight - this is a Singaporean chain (ya learn something everyday!) with visual arts, design, movies, theatre books predominating, although there is an excellent spread of literature and non-fiction as well. I only know PageOne from their stores in HK; one at Times Square and one in Lan Kwai Fong. Some of their selections are a little bit out there, which is good. However there was no Jack Womack - I was hoping to pick up "Random Acts Of Senseless Violence".

The Vivocity branch officially opens on Dec 8th, and this shows. The shelves are a bit of a mish-mash, particulalry around the back in the Sociology/Current Affairs/Religion area. For example I saw some Arundati Roy (or was Rohinton Mistry?) books in the middle of topics about the Gulf War and Noam Chomsky!

The order even in the general fiction section is also somewhat(!) random. Just fill the shelves troops, the people will find what they want eventually!

So lacking something to read over dinner, I bought a couple of these new tomes tonight. The rest of those above are ones I picked up in South Africa or at airports recently.

The Esterhaus autobiography is the least likely of this bunch to crack my ice. I was thinking "Paddy Chayefsky" when I bought it. I read the first eight pages while trying out Shin Kushiya the new volcanic-ash-grill kushiyori(sp)/yakitori place in VicoCity. The food was fine: the temaki large, the skewers definitely small but tasty, but the grilled mackerel maybe not so fresh - a bit pongy, and it's repeating me on even now.

Anyway, this Esterhaus guy is total cunt. He even admits it, and anyone who self-effacingly admits he is a total cunt IS a total cunt. Don't buy his book. I wish I hadn't.

Another book I bought tonight, that won't go up on Anobii for some reason is The "God" Part Of The Brain by Matthew Alper. Even if it turns out to absolute crap, it will still be better than Esterhaus's vapid admiration of his own puke.

There is a famous quote in this "God" book:

Marx - Religion is the opiate of the masses.

I want to repeat something about this quote that I have mentioned before. We must remember that opiates such as laundanum were to Marx's contemporaries what aspirin or panadol are to ours. What Marx meant was that religion dulled the pain of a hard life, not that it made the masses sleepy, leaden-headed and addicted. If he meant that he would have said "opium" rather than "opiate". This was religion's attraction to the masses of the lumpen-proletariat, the reason for its success.


In an ice-cracking moment of personal revelation which deserves much quiet contemplation (at a later date, and not in this blog), E@L discovered that he cannot stay in the 4FoWs by himself. The times he has been there in the past, he has always been with someone; a wingman, some tourists, some neophytes, some desperate people.

But Bruce was unavailable tonight, and an appointment was therefore missed.

It's just so sad to be there by yourself.

Nursing a drink, trying to ignore the girls getting groped and pawed by a variety of unsavory characters, trying to ignore the offers of temporary companionship "I could be your girlfriend tonight", the requests for shooters "and one for me", looking at the door for someone and then the realization that the person you are waiting for is not going to show.

It's an admission of something. It's like drinking alone.

It IS drinking alone.

I passed by the brothel as though past the house of a beloved. Kafka. 1910



Posted by: expat@large on Nov 28, 06 | 10:02 pm | Profile


joe esterhaus...the best bit of advice he ever gave was: don't live in los angeles if you want to be a writer. having lived a good part of my life there, there's some truth in that, IF you're from somewhere else. if you're like me, a native, then you know....everyone has the script, but not everyone gets the new pages...that bit of knowledge keeps you out of the madness of hollywood....and then you move away.
i like the booksharing that appears on so many of these blogs, tis a new thing for me. thanks

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 4:29 am

I wonder why we look with such pity on the man eating and drinking alone...

Why is a casual evening of enjoyment to be such that it must be shared? While I agree drinking alone at home, unless enjoying a vino with dinner or maybe a lazy G&T on the deck as the sun makes it's retreat has it's comforting place, and provided the numbers remain imbibed remain low likewise remains acceptable but why is enjoying a pint at the bar of your favourite local while watching Liverpool fuck it up again considered something odorous?

And having said that, why is going to a Brothel without a wingman such a "sad" thing, I mean it's not like you need a wingman to run interference, and while you both may enjoy the scenery you are hardly taking your wingman onboard with you...mmmm,

I guess I am wondering why these "activities" are regarded as making someone appear "sad" when conducted alone?

Posted by: Indiana on Nov 29, 06 | 5:01 am

Read my very early posts (2004) about dining alone!!!

I meant to say "AS a wingman", which is my more usual role. Even in a pickup joint like the 4FoW where the girls come up to you, some guys like to pretend they are playing The Game and doing some genuine cruising... Their Charisma goes only as far as their credit card however. They are living in a Rugby Tour.

The 4FoWs is sad because, while solitude is a fine and noble thing - particularly with a G&T in hand - the loneliness of the long distance hooker is not. Truly the men are just horrible creatures, the disgusting way many of them behave, groping for a flash of tit or a feel of pussy... And by being there with these guys, you know you are seen as one of them... The women play up to this because they need the money; their stories are pretty much all the same. You know what I am talking about. And then they get hooked on hooking for the cash! Hence you feel sad. You are exploiting their vulnerability, their greed. You haven't lived up to your own James Bond-like expectations of an evening's night out at the Bacarat tables. You are a low-life, failure, a leech, a blood-sucker, causing the destruction of the hopes for enlightenment of the entire human race... It's all your fault: because you are here, the cycle keeps turning... At least that's what you (I) feel when you (I) are (am) there by your(my)self.

Then you (I) write transcendent stuff and become Charles Bukowski!

I guess it's really what Mercer was talking about with his comments on the self-degrading aspects of casual sex - but to me it's not the sex act itself (or the getting naked part), it's these seedy tacky environs of women enslaved (maybe not always directly, though some are, but by their circumstances) that rankle and debase.

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 9:54 am

one of the best commentaries i've read regarding one is better for it in the long run.

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 10:05 am

Savannah, I wish Esterhaus would take his own advise and shut up. Barton Fink he is not.

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 10:06 am

Savannah, also thanks for compliment. It's one of the topics I've studied most...

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 10:08 am

*still working here, but taking a break*

i've watched the scene you described in so many hotel bars, restaurants around the world and it never changes... i always wondered if men really believed they were being flirted with because they were so charming.

and you're welcome...i'm enjoying the male perspective on life.

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 10:29 am

"i always wondered if men really believed they were being flirted with because they were so charming"

It's called 'the willing suspension of reality'... The older experienced guys usually DO know the girls are teasing, the girl know the guys are just after sex, and it becomes a game... A bit of tempting teasing, you buy me drink, I'll let you fondle this that or the other for a few minutes, tell me something funny and I'll laugh if you want, tell me something true and I'll beleive you for five minutes, buy me another drink...

Sometimes the girls put on such a good show that guys DO fall in love. Some severe short circuit in the brain there that really needs to be investigated more scientifically. And the girl thinks as well him as anyone else, at least he's rich, funny, not too fat. Let's play this out as long as I can...

Still, it is not always as gross and seedy as I paint it. Sometimes you do need a bit of good humoured sexual teasing, with a back/neck-rub followed by a nice shag, and if there ain't no-one at home to give it, where do you go?

If there is someone at home, however...

And sometimes the GIRLS do fall in love. Noticeably the Filipinas - they are in love with being in love.

It is an old, old story. In fact it's the oldest.

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 11:02 am

it is, i know...

i guess there is a part of me that just misses the simple pleasure of talking when i'm just strike up a conversation...a bit of flirt is delish, but not as easy for a woman alone...
i am's late here...

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 11:25 am

Don't worry, after you've been hooking for a while longer, I'm it will become easier...

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 11:42 am

i KNEW you'd have a smartass we say in the south *bless your heart*
thanks for the conversation *S*

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 11:49 am

Smartass is what I do. It's ALL I do.

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 12:36 pm

*biting my tongue*

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 9:12 pm

"You still don't get it. He'll find her. That's what he does. It's all he does..."


Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 9:39 pm

the terminator

"You can't stop him. He'll wade through you, reach down her throat, and pull her fucking heart out."

..and so it goes

Posted by: savannah on Nov 29, 06 | 10:19 pm

you da gal!

Posted by: expat@large on Nov 29, 06 | 10:52 pm


Notify me when someone replies to this post?
Submit the word you see below:

Powered by pMachine