Music, Lyrics and Wisdom

I can’t remember if I’ve written before about my fondness for the romantic comedy Music and Lyrics, starring Hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore, but I will now.

Grant of course plays his typical screen persona of the diffident, occasionally-clueless Brit twerp — it works for him, and clearly works for pretty much everyone, so why not? — this time, as a has-been 80’s pop star who can write a lovely pop tune, while Barrymore is a ditzy girl who just happens to have a soaring, but unrealized talent as a lyricist. The movie shows how they meet and fall in love, and that’s all we need to say about the romance. But that’s not what interests me about the story.

You see, the movie is filled with all sorts of insight into the creative process. Anyone who wants to make some kind of living at being “creative” should watch this movie a dozen times, because there is so much received wisdom in the script that it should be used as a college text. A sample  is when Barrymore professes to be unable to write a couple of lines because she’s “not feeling inspired”, and Grant excoriates that nonsense by shouting explosively:

“Inspiration is for amateurs!”

No truer words were ever spoken. If you earn a living at anything, Rule #1 is that you have to show up for work every day — and not just show up, but produce something. It’s as true of the creative process as it is for an assembly-line worker.

I’m often asked how I can write something new for this blog each day, and my answer is quite simple: I sit down at my computer, and don’t get up until I’ve written at least two or three posts. Not all of them will get published — I’m very harsh towards my own writing — but I do this every single day, circumstances permitting. Note I use the word “circumstances” and not “inspiration”, because if you are truly creative, as Grant reveals above, you don’t need inspiration to produce something.

When I’m writing a novel, by the way, I spend at least ten hours a day writing. It could be new content, it could be research, or it could be editing; all of that is part of the creation of the work, and all of that is productive.

I remember fondly that when Jack Kerouac revealed that he wrote On The Road in one, long continuous explosion of creation, Truman Capote aptly commented: “That’s not writing; that’s typing!” And he’s absolutely correct: On The Road is a long, muddled and ultimately incoherent tract, and if it can be used for any “teaching moment” it shouldn’t be for its brilliant writing, but as an object lesson in how not to write a novel. Kerouac wrote a lot of other novels, and most of them are better than On The Road because he actually worked at them, rather than relying on creativity (fueled, it should be said, by booze and amphetamines: not the best of influences).

I know, I know: writing a pop song is not the same as writing a novel; but the process is the same.

Incidentally, Music and Lyrics also features a couple of other star turns: Haley Bennett is quite astonishing as a pop diva, and Kristin Johnson equally so as Barrymore’s middle-aged groupie wannabe sister. Come to think of it, there are no bad performances in this movie — and how often do you get to say that?

Oh Hell

Ever since Part 1 of my Britishland sabbatical and my horror at seeing what looked like a heavily-pregnant old man shooting clays (pic below), I’ve become very conscious of what I eat [diet details redacted because nobody wants to read that shit*].

As a heretofore-lifelong chocolate eater, however, I can honestly say I hate Charlie Martin. Why?

Fortunately, I’m not studying, the only tests I face are of willpower when confronting my fourth or fifth pint of 6X, the only test I want to “pass” is a police blood-alcohol test, and I’ve had enough “new information” to last me several lifetimes, thank you. So I won’t be hitting the Aero or Milky Bars (my erstwhile choco-drugs of choice) anytime soon.

Unless, that is,  some scientist discovers that eating chocolate will make me irresistible to 55+ year-old women (and as we all know, another medical study will then “prove” that eating chocolate is linked to geriatric leprosy or something).

*Yes, I’m on a diet, for the first time in my life. No, I’m not going to talk about it because dieters are more boring than first-time mothers or even vegans. If it works, you’ll see pictorial proof at some point; if not, I’ll just go back to eating chocolate and drinking 6X to wash down my fish & chips / steak pies, and nobody will be any the wiser. And finally: all dietary advice in Comments which includes the words “paleo”, “crossfit” and other such foulness will be summarily stricken. In fact, don’t bother with any advice at all. You have been warned.

5 Worst Pieces Of Advice

Ranked in ascending order of awfulness:

  • Cops like it when you playfully wave a gun at them during a traffic stop
  • If you don’t like the Republican candidate, vote for the Democrat as a protest
  • The Second Amendment will protect you from arrest if you’re carrying a handgun in New Jersey
  • Not all women are like that
  • Swipe right — hey, you’re in Bangkok; what could possibly go wrong?

Your suggestions in Comments.

Neither Here Nor There

Okay, remember how some study or other said that 21 orgasms a month lowers prostate cancer rates? Surprise, surprise, nobody knows the truth:

According to a 2016 study in European Eurology, men who ejaculate more frequently are less likely to develop prostate cancer, compared to those who ejaculate less often.
The research from 2016 was a follow-up to a 2004 study, which came to a similar conclusion. Both studies found that the risk of prostate cancer may be reduced for men who ejaculate 21 times or more per month. This was compared with men who only ejaculated 4-7 times a month.
Other studies uncovered some conflicting evidence. Researchers disagree whether ejaculating more often makes men of all ages less likely to get prostate cancer.
A 2008 study found that frequent masturbation was only linked with a decreased risk of prostate cancer in men over 50. Researchers in this study found that men in their 20s and 30s who ejaculated more often were actually at an increased risk of prostate cancer.
In contrast, a 2003 study from Australia found that men who frequently ejaculated as young men had a reduced rate of prostate cancer.

In other words, nobody knows what the fuck [sic] is going on. So in the absence of any other alternatives:

Of course, if you can have 21 orgasms per month with a woman, then by all means go ahead, you lucky dog. Me, I’m going with the 2008 study because it gives me an excuse, so to speak.

And now, if you’ll excuse me…


As Seen On My Screen


LOL… that’s the whole point of my using AdBlocker, you fucking morons. And a pox on auto-play videos on any website.

As for the article itself: apparently, there’s been bribery and corruption in the college athlete-recruiting business.

In other breaking news, the Russians just put the first man into space.