Category Archives: writing

Something else, by Rick Moranis


The Man Quote – Clint Eastwood

I shouldn’t even feel the need to say it, but: Clint Eastwood is the sort of man we should aspire to emulate. Courteous, unflappable, no-BS, self-contained but not self-centred. And check the CV – Clinton “Clint” Eastwood (born May 31, 1930) is a film actor, director, producer and composer. He has received five Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Life Achievement Award, two Cannes Film Festival awards, and five People’s Choice Awards — including one for Favorite All-Time Motion Picture Star.

In real life, he has come through a few scrapes without using stuntmen – in 1951, while on army leave, Eastwood rode in a Douglas AD bomber that ran out of fuel and crashed in the ocean near Point Reyes. After escaping from the sinking fuselage, he and the pilot swam three miles to the shore.

Although sympathetic towards her bid for the presidency, Eastwood expressed disappointment with Hillary Clinton for engaging in a duck-hunting photo op, saying, “I was thinking: ‘The poor duck, what the hell did she do that for?’ I don’t go for hunting. I just don’t like killing creatures. Unless they’re trying to kill me. Then that would be fine.”

My old drama coach used to say, ‘Don’t just do something, stand there.’ Gary Cooper wasn’t afraid to do nothing.

If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.

They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning.

I don’t believe in pessimism. If something doesn’t come up the way you want, forge ahead. If you think it’s going to rain, it will.

I’m interested in the fact that the less secure a man is, the more likely he is to have extreme prejudice.
Clint Eastwood

I’ve never met a genius. A genius to me is someone who does well at something he hates. Anybody can do well at something he loves – it’s just a question of finding the subject.

Respect your efforts, respect yourself. Self-respect leads to self-discipline. When you have both firmly under your belt, that’s real power.

In school, I could hear the leaves rustle and go on a journey.

It takes tremendous discipline to control the influence, the power you have over other people’s lives.

We boil at different degrees.

and Clint can sing too:

The Guy Quote – W.E.B. DuBois

“I sit with Shakespeare and he winces not.
Across the color line I move arm in arm with Balzac and Dumas, where smiling men and welcoming women glide in gilded halls.
From out the caves of evening that swing between the strong-limbed earth and the tracery of the stars, I summon Aristotle and Aurelius and what soul I will, and they come all graciously with no scorn nor condescension.
So, wed with Truth, I dwell above the Veil.
Is this the life you grudge us, O knightly America?
Is this the life you long to change into the dull red hideousness of Georgia?
Are you so afraid lest peering from this high Pisgah, between Philistine and Amalekite, we sight the Promised Land?”
W.E.B. Dubois, The Soul of Black Folk (1903)

I came across the above while reading the comments to THIS fantastic article in prospect. Dr W.E.B. DuBois was a contemporary of my great-great-grandmother (Mattie Lawrence, one of the first Fisk Jubilee Singers) and, as well as graduating from both Fisk and Harvard, wrote some incredible, prophetic treatises on civil rights for black Americans, was an activist, sociologist, journalist and much more. The Wikipedia piece on him goes into loads of detail and is well worth reading.

He had a mammoth falling-out with Marcus Garvey. As far as I can make out, the ideological disagreement was over DuBois believing that African Americans could live equally with white people. DuBois said blacks have a “Double-Conscious” mind in which they have to know when to act “white” and when to act “black”. Garvey took issue with the idea that anyone should have to assimilate or “fit-in” in the first place.

It wasn’t that gentlemanly a disagreement. DuBois, fearing Garvey would undermine is efforts towards black rights, said: “Marcus Garvey is, without doubt, the most dangerous enemy of the Negro race in America and in the world. He is either a lunatic or a traitor.”
Garvey suspected DuBois was prejudiced against him because he was a Caribbean native with darker skin. DuBois once described Marcus Garvey as “a little, fat black man; ugly, but with intelligent eyes and a big head.” Garvey, in return, called DuBois “purely and simply a white man’s nigger” and “a little Dutch, a little French, a little Negro … a mulatto … a monstrosity.”

Unsurprisingly, they didn’t talk much afterwards.

It’s astonishing, writing this in London, watching people of all races walking around in the street outside – and making up the small team I work and play with here – that the fathers of civil rights, lionised by poets and politicians alike, should talk about one another that way. Astonishing and a little sad. Perhaps it was just symptomatic of the times, and their language is out of context in my modern, politically-corrected lexicon. Most conversations I have about civil rights and race are exactly that – conversations. I wouldn’t be able to do that had it not been for the likes of Garvey and DuBois. Given the scale of the fight for equality before them, and the – to my mind at least – utterly unimaginable unfairness of daily life and the basic rights they were fighting for, the fire and passion, the sardonic anger of that first quote, are more than understandable.

And, as promised, some words from W.E.B. DuBois (1868 – 1963):

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity.

To stimulate wildly weak and untrained minds is to play with mighty fires.

When you have mastered numbers, you will in fact no longer be reading numbers, any more than you read words when reading books You will be reading meanings.

If there is anybody in this land who thoroughly believes that the meek shall inherit the earth they have not often let their presence be known.

The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression.






Warren Ellis’s cat died (on my birthday), so he wrote this:

Our three cats were basically rescues: we bought them to get them out of a shitty garden centre that was storing them on cold dirty concrete with an upturned rabbit run over them and no food that we could see. The smallest of the three ended up being rushed to the vet the next day, who told us that if we’d waited another 24 hours he’d be dead. I was writing a character who was small and crap, at the time, and so this small crap cat got his name: Anton.

Anton lived a little over sixteen more years. Today, while everyone else was out, I got the vets to come and see him, and they told me that it was sudden kidney failure and he was beyond treatment. So I sat with him, and thanked him, and told him we love him and that he was a good boy while they carefully gave him the injection, and as I stroked him he gave me that half-lidded look that meant it was good, and then he was asleep. And I’ve just finished burying him in the back garden.

And I’m getting these notes down now because first he was my friend who travelled around the house in the palm of my hand, and then he was my daughter’s best friend for very many years, and because he came out into the back garden with me three evenings ago (he was a housecat who didn’t go outside) and stood at the edge of the path, facing the garden, and gave five or six loud shouts into the twilight, as if to say “I was here. Know me. I was here.”

And he was, and it was good. And he deserves for someone to know he was here.

And now comes the hardest part, of waiting for everyone to come home and telling them. But my little man is asleep in the garden now, next to my late father’s poppies, and so with that, and this note, I have taken care of him as best I can.

The Guy Quote – Al Green

The songs of my life

When I was thrown out of home
Lonely Teardrops, Jackie Wilson (1958)
We moved to Michigan when I was nine, but when we still lived in Arkansas, all I heard was gospel. My brothers and I had a gospel quartet and that was the only music people listened to. But I was already gravitating towards songs by Sam Cooke, and then one day I put on a Jackie Wilson record and, baby, I was thrown right out of the house. When I was allowed back in my mum said: ‘You really like that stuff?’ And I just went ‘er… er…’ ‘Well, if you really like it,’ she said, ‘go ahead and do it.’ I took her advice, and I guess I did the right thing.

When I first began to sing
Cupid, Sam Cooke (1961)
I must have been about 14 when I was working on a lathe in a woodwork class at school. The machines were all going, and I was singing to myself, but I knew nobody could hear me. Then I turned the lathe off and continued to sing without thinking about it. The whole class was looking at me. Somebody said, ‘That kid can sing!’ I hadn’t even considered the idea of singing at that point. All we heard in the house was Mahalia Jackson, and besides, I had a squeaky little voice, like a rat or a mouse. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do.

When I found my voice
Live At The Apollo, James Brown (1963)
I would copy all these great singers, like James Brown and Sam Cooke. Willie Mitchell [producer and songwriter at Memphis’s Hi Records] told me: ‘You’ve got to be your own man, Al.’ And I replied: ‘But how am I supposed to sound?’ He told me to just figure it out. Next thing I know I’m in the studio, and the sight of that red light popping on scared me to death. And before I knew it I was singing ‘I’m so tired of being alone’, and that’s Al right there. From then my attitude was: let Otis be Otis and James be James. I’m not going to emulate them any more.

When we went into battle with Stax Records
Hot Buttered Soul, Isaac Hayes (1969)
Ann Peebles lived down the hall from me in Memphis and if people said she sounded like me on ‘I Can’t Stand the Rain’, I took it as a compliment. We were on Hi Records and we had one enemy: Stax. We got real competitive. When I heard Isaac Hayes sing ‘One Woman’, I wished he would take those damn chains he wore and hang himself with them. Otis [Redding] would sing ‘I’ve been loving you too long’ and before you know it I would sing ‘I’m still in love with you’. Everyone was pitching against each other: it brought out the best in all of us.

When I returned to secular music
You’ve Got The Love I Need, Al Green (2008)
When I was ordained as a pastor I walked away from secular music for seven, eight years. It took me that time to learn that God is love. He is? Yeah! If you’re singing about love, you’re singing about compassion. ‘You’ve Got the Love I Need’ is about the family unit. The message is, ‘I don’t need anyone else, baby, I just need you. Let’s do the best for the kids. It’s going to be all right.’ These are good songs; sanctified songs. God told me, ‘I gave you the music, Al. Sing the music I gave you – all the music.’ So I did.

Strange and possibly true

1 In 1975 Jackie Wilson had a heart attack on the Dick Clark TV show, leaving him in a vegetative state until his death in 1984. One of the only artists to visit him regularly during those eight years was Green.
2 Interpreting the death of an old friend as a message from God, Green was ordained as a pastor at the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis in 1976. He preaches there to this day.
3 After falling from a stage in Cincinatti in 1979 and taking it as another sign from God, Green gave up secular music for eight years.
4 He played a minister in Beverly Hills Cop III
5 Green’s music is a favourite of hip, violent films and TV shows, featuring on Pulp Fiction, The Sopranos (twice) and The Wire

Don’t let the reverend business scare you. I’m a nice Reverend Al Green. I’m pretty down to earth.

The best thing about being a reverend is the chance to get down to the nitty gritty on what love is. Love is care, compassion, concern – I’m infatuated with being concerned about you. If you let that grow it will get to be everlasting love. From there you get to God is love.

When I was a boy I wondered why they sang so mournful in church. The teacher told me: “Mr Green, if we were singing to try to get your attention, we’d sing it the way you want it sung. But we’re not trying to reach you. We’re trying to reach a little higher.”

My daddy drank liquor. He would always leave me in the truck when he went to the liquor joint. He’d come out sloppy drunk and say: “Don’t tell your mama.” I’d be sitting in the back laughing. I didn’t have to tell her. All he had to do was try to get out the truck.

I was born again in 1973, when I was just getting started in music. I looked up at the sky saying: “What are you doing? I just had a song on the radio and now you gonna give me religion?” They were saying from upstairs: “Al, we want to save your life.” I thought: “Oh yeah, maybe I should at least help.”

I was hooked up on jet planes, good times, fast women. Everything of mine was fast.

You can’t compare a congregation to a crowd at a concert. A concert crowd does what they want. A congregation’s got rules and regulations.

I’m not trying to fool anybody. I’m a Christian, but I’ve lived a life that’s full. I’ve been married a couple of times, been up and been down, been right and been wrong. These are the things you go through in this life.

Life is more than snapping your fingers and having on a fine suit. Life is about devotion. It’s about family, it’s about the kids, it’s about school. It’s about going on a picnic with the boys.

As featured in The Guardian


[[ps – please check out some of my other quote collections here – The Guy Quote]]

Best letter ever

This came out of some FOI research. It’s genius.

Oh god… (or at least some of them)

Some British, Scottish, Irish, Welsh Gods & Goddesses:

Amaethon (Welsh) – God of Agriculture, Master of Magic

Arawn (Welsh) – God of the Hunt and the Underworld

Arianrhod (Welsh) – Star and Sky Goddess, Goddess of Beauty, Full Moon and Magical Spells

Badb (Irish) – Goddess of War, Death and Rebirth

Caillech (Scottish, Irish, Welsh) – Goddess of Weather, Earth, Sky, Seasons, Moon and Sun

Cliodna (Irish, Scottish) – Goddess of Beauty and of Other Realms

Creide (Irish, Scottish) – Goddess of Women and Fairies

The Green Man (Welsh) – God of the Woodlands, of Life Energy and Fertility

Morgan LeFay (Welsh) – Goddess of Death, Fate, the Sea and of Curses

Oghma (Scottish, Irish) – God of Communication and Writing, and of Poets

Rhiannon (Welsh) – Goddess of Birds, Horses, Enchantments, Fertility and the Underworld

Skatha (Welsh) – Goddess of the Underworld, Darkness, Magic, Prophecy and Martial Arts