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  • CRASH! How I Lost a Hundred Billion and Found True Love (Kindle Single)
    CRASH! How I Lost a Hundred Billion and Found True Love (Kindle Single)
    by Julian Gough

    The UK Kindle Single #1 hit.

    Jude lives in a henhouse with no roof, that he bought for ten million euro, at the height of the Irish property bubble. One day, his mortgage is rated the debt in Europe most likely to default... The political and financial elite of Europe arrive, with a plan: help Jude put a roof on his henhouse, stabilize his debt, and reassure the markets. It all goes horribly wrong.

    "This novella is very funny – laugh-out-loud at times…Gough is one of our most talented satirists" — The Irish Independent

  • Jude in London
    Jude in London
    by Julian Gough

    Shortlisted for both the Guardian's Not The Booker Prize, and the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize, Jude in London is an epic, comic exploration of the bizarre love triangle between language, consciousness, and reality. Which is all very well, if you're into that sort of thing.

  • Jude: Level 1
    Jude: Level 1
    by Julian Gough

    Shortlisted for the 2008 Wodehouse Prize for comic fiction.

    The novel's prologue won the biggest prize in the world for a single short story - the BBC National Short Story Prize.

    "Sheer comic brilliance" - The Times

    "The best comic novel I've ever read" - Tommy Tiernan

    "Could be the finest comic novel since Flann O'Brien's The Third Policeman" - The Sunday Tribune

  • Juno and Juliet
    Juno and Juliet
    by Julian Gough

    My first novel, of which I am very fond. The adventures of teenage twin sisters Juno & Juliet, in their first year away from home. Life, love and literature, in Galway and Tipperary.

     

    "Like Roddy Doyle in an extremely good mood" - The Washington Post

    "A modern, at times brilliantly ironic reworking of the classical fairytale, with nods to Shakespeare, Austen and Beckett." - Literary Review

    "Hugely entertaining" - Vogue

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Sunday
Feb042007

Electronic, punkatonic, ultramoronic anthem...

I have just, to my own surprise, recorded a song. Very, very quickly, and most enjoyably. Melanie Houston (DJ, musician) invited me to try something with her. We met up in an improvised home studio in Brunnenstrasse. (Brief description of studio: a couple of doors laid flat on trestles, covered with black cloth, on which lay a tremendously chaotic bunch of, ah, let’s call them "vintage" Korg rhythm boxes, a keyboard with one key jammed down, and a mike with its mesh so bent in that it may have been used as a hammer, or murder weapon, all enthusiastically and incomprehensibly wired together. Everything fed down one wire into a hard drive.)

We spent ages working on a fairly traditional pop song, until we both lost the will to live and abandoned it.

Then, as so often happens after wasting ages on something that doesn’t work, we relaxed, gave up, started to play for the joy of it, and came up with something we loved. In the next thirty minutes, we wrote, rewrote, and recorded a 200 beats-per-minute, electronic, punkatonic, ultramoronic anthem that is almost certainly the first great song of the new millennium. Well, that’s what it felt like, halfway through the first take. I was on my knees, scrolling through stacks of lyrics on the MacBook, rewriting and reciting on the fly into the crunched mike, while Melanie played keyboard, avoided the stuck key, messed with the rhythm boxes and mixed the master live, all at the same time, with no way to go back, cuz it’s all on one track...

It’s called It Makes The Sex Exciting (When There’s Been A Little Fighting), and I’ll try and get it up on the site somehow, soon. Oh, and Melanie will be DJing in White Trash , Schoenhauser Allee, on February 9th, if you’re in Berlin…

Meanwhile, here’s the lyric:

...No, it's not. This is that very rare thing from me, an edit in a post. About a year after posting the above, I reworked a lot of those words into a poem that I rather like, and I want to send it to some people who frown on reading anything that's been published. Yes, I know, cheerfully slapping stuff up on your own blog isn't exactly publishing, but rather than risk confusion I thought I'd pull the lyric from my post. It's been very enjoyable, back-engineering a song into a poem. The words started off, as words do, in my notebook, with no job description (song lyric / poem / aphorism / diary entry / whatever). But, hmmm, they make a rocking poem... I'll put the poem up when all this is over... (This edit done July 29th 2008.)

Monday
Jan292007

A quote for the end of the January sales

"Fashion is that which goes out of fashion"
-Jean Cocteau

Friday
Jan262007

Robert Anton Wilson reduced to an essence

Last entry, I recommended some books by the late Robert Anton Wilson. But who the hell has time to read books? CERTAINLY NOT ME. This is the Inter-Web-Cyber-Net, baby. We are Futuristic, Highly Stressed, and Time-Starved. Our Hair Is Falling Out. So here's the vital essence of all the books of Robert Anton Wilson, condensed, filtered, distorted and traduced through my consciousness, with added Faulty Memory Mangling:

We don't experience the world. We experience tiny, tiny hints and glimpses of incredibly limited and local aspects of the world. And even those hints are viewed down a Reality Tunnel of prejudgements (evolutionary, cultural and personal) that blocks out most of what we're potentially capable of seeing and hearing. Our Reality Tunnel tries, in particular, to block out any information that would conflict with our view of the world.

This has consequences. For example, a US, Yale-educated, Protestant, neo-conservative female politician sees a different world to the world seen by, say, an Iraqi, Karbala-educated, Shiite, conservative male cleric. They live in different realities. Their private universes are quite different. And communication between those private universes is difficult, because each has a set of unspoken assumptions that the other does not share. (Wittgenstein would say that, when they talk, they are playing different language games: many of the words they use have quite different meanings in each language game, therefore communication is not really happening. A guy is playing tennis against a guy playing golf.)

If they don’t even realise that they are not really communicating when they speak, that they are neither understanding nor being understood; well, the misunderstanding can get very messy very fast.

(Wilson would also say that all that I have written is essentially meaningless, because I'm using big abstract words ["conservative" "Protestant" “male”] that don't map onto specific things or actions in the real [objective, outside-us, difficult-to-know] world. And I'm using the "is' of identity ["He is black" "I am rich" “She is crazy”], and such statements are never true.)

Given that all beliefs are based on faulty and inadequate information, we should not give too much weight to them. In particular, we should not mess other people around, or kill them, on the basis of our beliefs.

We should question all beliefs, including our own belief in questions.

And given that we are prone to look at life through an ever-narrowing tunnel, it’s good to try to see the world through other people’s reality tunnels now and then. Read a newspaper from the other end of the political spectrum to your own. If you’re pro-life, browse a pro-choice website, and vice versa. Check out a different religion occasionally. Read some economics. Sit up a tree and pretend to be a bird. People’s (radically different) world-views work for them. There’s often something useful there, that you can use to broaden your tunnel, to see a little more of this astonishing universe.

But don’t fall in love with any world-view. Even Robert Anton Wilson’s.

Saturday
Jan202007

Robert Anton Wilson is dead

When I finally finished writing Jude, after seven years of work, one of the first people I wanted to send it to was Robert Anton Wilson, because he had helped create the mind that wrote it. When I was a teenager, the three novels he co-authored with Robert Shea (The Illuminatus Trilogy) had changed my idea of what the novel was capable of. Later, his non-fiction books, especially Cosmic Trigger: Book 1, and Prometheus Rising, had changed my idea of what I was capable of.

I was about to send him a typescript of Jude when my friend and agent, Charlie Campbell, discovered that Wilson was terminally ill. I decided not to send it. A man busy dying does not need five hundred loose leaves of someone else's book sliding off his knees and across the room.

But I wish now I'd sent him a short note instead. I wish I’d said hello. And thank you. And goodbye.

He died on January 11th 2007.

It doesn't make sense to mourn him: his life was long, and filled with achievement on every level. His books changed lives (often for the better). He had a tremendous marriage, to Arlen (who died, I think, in 1999.) He seemed to get on great with his three surviving children. (The fourth, his wonderful daughter Luna, was murdered in the 1970s). He had a heck of a lot of friends. He was loved.

I’ll write more, on another day, about Robert Anton Wilson, and his work. There’s much, much more to be said. For today, all I want to say is something like…

Hello Robert. Thank you. Goodbye.

Friday
Jan122007

Testing, testing...

I'm rather enjoying setting up a website from scratch. (Yes, I know, using Squarespace's modular system is to building a website what assembling an IKEA bookcase is to carpentry. But I want the darn thing to function, and if I were to code it myself... well, you should see the toast-rack I made in woodwork class when I was 15. In fact, you can. It's currently on exhibition, as an instrument of torture, in the mediaeval section of Madame Tussaud's Chamber of Horrors, London...)

I think I'll wander off and create a News section now... Or maybe a Forum...

What larks!