Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Odessey & Oracle

In the kitchen, to the hissing sound of the burning kettle, Dylan’s “She’s Your Lover Now” was playing again and again. We were discussing the Bootleg Series and laughing about it: the song, possibly his best, was brilliantly misogynistic.

But that was weeks later.

Before that, I was lying on the floor playing ice-hockey with an adorable 9-year-old girl. His daughter. She hated losing and I wasn’t especially keen on winning. Rather, I was keen on The Zombies’ LP from 1968 playing in the background. Out of all the albums we were listening to in those days, Odessey & Oracle was her clear favourite (‘Dylan is too croaky’, she once told me; I think she only had time for “Ballad Of A Thin Man”, and that’s only because of the piano). This time, though, she was all in the game while I could not stop caring for cell 44 and those unfortunate casualties of the First World War.

I was lost in that album, irretrievably. And as for the game, she was winning and I was losing. Also, I enjoyed watching her smile triumphantly and give a little whoop each time the puck hit the back of my goal. Until at some point, score 23:7 in her favour, she gave me a particularly black look and screamed: “But you are not trying, you are losing to me on purpose!” 

So next time I tried. I tried hard. And… lost again. She whooped. “Time Of The Season” was seducing me with its melody and its heavy breathing.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Kill your darlings

Over the years, it has become so much easier to do that. So much so that at this point I almost don’t mind losing words, titles, phrases, sentences, scenes and even characters. It’s becoming a habit or perhaps an act of defiance.

The reason for this blissful cruelty is the fact that as you’re getting older, the bigger picture is becoming infinitely more important. Self-love doesn’t go away, not if it was there from the start, but it acquires new angles.

Suddenly, you can do even better. You can play Abraham until the bloody end. And you can actually find a different darling. Who is more perfect and a lot less suicidal. 

Sunday, 28 June 2015

You're home late...

While ambivalence of reason is a dodgy area to say the least, there’s one particular question that I answer differently depending on day of the week and the time of day. And that is the inexhaustible question of friendship between man and woman.

It certainly does exist since we have all experienced/keep experiencing it to varying degrees of success. Yet equally it’s not hard to see that friendship between man and woman is a completely wrong concept. All but failure and frustration. Without you realising (good for you) the fatal flaw that caused this friendship. 

Flaw. I should have linked a beautiful song instead of using that word.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Stay Free

“Remote Control”, “Rudie Can’t Fail”, “Somebody Got Murdered”, “Safe European Home”, “Train In Vain”… Besides, he had nothing to do with Cut The Crap

Mick Jones turned 60 yesterday. 

Friday, 26 June 2015

Tasteless vulgarity

In the shoddy light of Ted 2 release, one has to make an important distinction. Distinction between The Big Lebowski and Ted. Or, in other words, distinction between vulgarity and tasteless vulgarity.

Or could we just say scatological humour isn’t funny and be done with it? I mean, Ted was funny in places, but Christ Jesus God people laughing at fart jokes? Actually laughing?..


Imagine the Coen brothers doing something like that. Truth is, they never have/had to because they possess enough taste and style to be vulgar and retain taste. I have probably watched The Big Lebowski a million times now, and not once have I winced at a dick joke. It’s because the Coens know how to contextualize it, not just splash (jizz in Ted’s case) in your face in a crude, uncalled for kind of way. 

And that, I believe, is a vital distinction to make. 

Thursday, 25 June 2015

Hitler's art

Whoever sold it – I find you despicable.

Whoever bought it – I find you despicable. 

Whoever faked it – well, there’s something about you that almost fascinates me. But still I find you despicable.  

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Universal Themes

Yet another album by Mark Kozelek, and my questions are as strong as ever. Does he mean it or is he taking the piss? Does he really hate guys in tennis shoes? Does he realise that guys in tennis shoes are the ones who buy his albums? Does he think he is a genius? Are there limits to this phenomenal self-indulgence? Is he Jesus Christ? Does he think he is Jesus Christ? Is his new album any good?

Etc. Etc. Etc.

We really don’t care how pretentious are favourite artists are. After all, you are not going to slag off Jim Morrison. But I feel like Mark is teetering on the edge here. Last time around, on Benji, he had the tunes and the flow. Last time around, he wrote “Richard Ramirez Died Today Of Natural Causes” (clearly the greatest song of 2014). He almost had subtlety drowning in the sea of seemingly pointless, long-winded narratives. 

This time, with Universal Themes, he is testing your patience. He is patchy, he is all over the place. His self-confidence is unbearable. And yet his personality almost makes up for every flaw and Sun Kil Moon’s latest is still head and shoulders above most of the stuff I’ve heard all year.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Premature burial

And fear, they say, is the price of imagination. It paints with darkest colours, creating a sprawling network of horrible lines from one random dot on a canvas.

Which happened, I guess, in those young & innocent days of watching the X-Files and thinking to death about that final scene where a man is buried alive. The very last shot was him twenty feet underground, knocking against the hopelessly shut lid of the casket. The gravest idea of all. The fear of all fears.

Two 15-year old girls in the schoolyard, smoking. Looking so incredibly cool, we were all doing our best to impress them. Smoking, swearing, dressing up. But nothing ever worked, until one day I started telling them about Edgar Allen Poe’s story called “Premature Burial”. And their eyes glowed. 

They were horrified and amazed in equal measure. And that’s when I knew I got them. And then I had that smoke.

Monday, 22 June 2015

21st century imagination

Sometimes when you see a bunch of big birds messing around in the yard, you can't look away. You see the huge beaks that could split your eye in a second. Those monstrous feathers. Those wings that could break into your open window so easily and so ruthlessly. And just where would you hide?

After which you start thinking of a story, something quirky and quite dystopian. You start imagining those small brains growing bigger and swelling with reckless anger, with unspeakable horror. After all, there’s nothing keeping them from taking down every one of those two-legged bastards. 

It’s only then you think of Daphne du Maurier and realise it’s been done already. Written, filmed, beaten to death. Face it, your 21st century imagination is fatally flawed. 

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Blair Witch

Sometimes there’s just no way you can prepare yourself for what’s coming. However much you read and hear about it. Like The Blair Witch Project which I first saw featured on a list of the greatest film endings ever. Chilling, the article said, horrifying.

At 19, I thought that’s all I needed to dismiss the hysteria and take on the devil himself. But no, it didn’t work out that way, and after all these years I’d still argue that Blair Witch has the single most chilling ending I’ve ever seen. One thought of those final sequences makes it jump out of my mouth. Makes me regret ever agreeing to watch that film. 

And yet with horror films – regret is part of the charm.  

Saturday, 20 June 2015

Au revoir les enfants

You like British films because they are good. And you like American, Russian, Japanese, German films because they are good. Australian, Indian (God help us all) films – the very same thing. 

French films are essentially different because you like them for being French. Of course, they can also be very good – and that’s a bonus. Don’t count on it though. 

But Au revoir les enfants is certainly one of those. A classic for all times. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Ayn Rand

I’m genuinely astonished each time someone tells me they love Ayn Rand. Because these people are often intelligent and rarely lack imagination. Because it’s unthinkable. Because last time I checked – Atlas Shrugged was as unreadable as ever.

Yet I have to admit that there’s something wickedly magnetic about Ayn Rand. Not her writing (she couldn’t write), not her philosophy (let’s not even go there), but the image of this tough Russian lady beating Americans at their own game. Or playing that game in the first place.

Besides, she has always been an odd presence in my life. I couldn’t bother, but there she was, in the articles I read and conversations I overhead. Interestingly, each one of my former girlfriends took some sort of interest in Ayn Rand. One actually studied her novels, quite seriously – which never failed to amuse me. 

While I never really got too close. To me, Ayn Rand is like some vaguely powerful and intriguing wind I can enjoy from my balcony. But stepping down, walking in the street, letting it rip through my skin and my bones – no, never. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Humiliated and insulted

Everybody’s offended these days. It’s like an exciting new hobby, almost a job. I swear, by this point I believe there are people actively trawling the Internet looking for things that would offend them. And in case there’s no Tim Hunt to hurt their feelings so fucking much, they will find something else.

There’s an old-running TV show in Britain called Midsomer Murders. Basically, it’s an idyllic and imaginary county somewhere in England that thrives on serial killings. Think of a most preposterous murder weapon – and it’s been done already. By now, the show has sunk so deep into shameless self-parody that I can’t see why people would bother. And yet I do, once in a while, just to feel that one-millionth of excitement I got when I first saw the pilot about a hundred and fifty years ago.

It’s season 17 now (incredible, I know), and 3 episodes in I realise that something has changed. I can’t quite put my finger on it, it’s something vague and uncertain, but there’s no way to shake off the feeling. It takes me another thirty minutes to realise: from now on, they insert at least one black actor into each episode. It had all been fine for 16 seasons, and then someone wrote an angry letter claiming offence. I just wonder how these actors feel about the situation; after all, they are only making up the numbers. 

Really sad. ‘A disaster’, as Norman Mailer put it. Like there’s no middle ground between racism and insanity anymore. Like it’s feminism or irony (remember that excellent Hitchens interview). Honestly, political correctness offends me. It’s just that I don’t know who to complain to…

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Empty frames

Perhaps it’s me not living in Portland, Oregon, but I really don’t mind hipsters. They are a bit like Noel Gallagher: pointless but harmless. I see no reason why in a world of savage terrorism and hysterical political correctness anyone would choose to hate hipsters. I mean, if that’s what they want to do with their lives, then who really cares?.. 

Honestly, I’d rather hate a bad painting by Matisse. Or a stupid joke. Or warm beer. Even though God knows – people should be hanged for wearing loafers with no socks. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

June 16

A man I barely knew shouted to me from the other end of a very long hall:

‘Hey, do you have Ulysses?’

Stunned (this was hardly the place or the time), I shouted back:

‘Yes, which language?..’

We were still fifteen metres apart, swiftly closing in on each other. The man was a distinguished old professor and I admired his pace. 


‘Sure. You want it?’

‘I do’.

We exchanged a few courteous words, briefly discussed Irish visas and, seven minutes later, went our separate ways. 

One hell of a conversation, up there with the very best. Today is the 16th of June, and a good day to remember. 

Monday, 15 June 2015

On reviewing

It’s my absolute conviction that you have to write objective reviews. Because your opinion is the one that counts. Otherwise, why bother expressing it? All this ‘humble opinion’ bullshit has never turned me on. 

Because when I read a review, even if that’s a review of something as divisive and taste-related as art, I need to see the personality of the one behind it. I don’t need his goddamn subjectivity.

Ah you might say. But everyone is subjective and you can’t just walk around believing that you are some sort of guru, prophet, messiah. Indeed. Your job is to make people trust your opinion. So even if you can’t be completely objective (tastes differ, to each his own, etc.), give your all to try to make it look as if you really are. 

I suggest listening to what Woody Allen had to say on the matter.     

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Boys You Won't

It’s mid-June. Some people don’t even realise that one-sixth of the summer is gone, so there you go.

It’s June. The rumours of a Meadowlands follow-up are in the air (where would we all be without the rumours of a Meadowlands follow-up?), so it’s time for my annual Wrens-related post.

Evelyn Waugh, a classic English writer I admire but not love, has a rather interesting essay about style in which he praises the writing technique of Ernest Hemingway but also mentions its one vital downside. It spawned so many bad parodies, it produced such a number of worthless imitators and hapless writers that you might start questioning the original source. Simplicity is too easy to simplify, and nobody cares to notice the subtlety of Hemingway’s writing.

I fully realise how far-fetched my analogy might seem, but that is how I feel about The Wrens’ album from 2003. The album itself is brilliant, I see no reason why anyone would want to put it down (unless you get caught up in a silly anti-hype game), but other than these 13 lush, intense, heart-bursting songs – it has not done much good for the world. Hordes of hapless indie bands and worthless emo fakers fucked it all up and released so much musical twaddle that you might want to listen to a song like the one linked below and wonder how it could all go so horribly, horribly wrong: 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

Amanda Palmer

I remember exactly the first time I heard that name. A friend who went to see her show somewhere in Scotland told me about how great Amanda Palmer was. How physical. How much work she’d put into her performance. How she gave it all. How intense the show was. How exhausted she looked afterwards.

Mind you, not a word about the music.

Which, to be honest, doesn’t really stretch all that far. All balls and no tunes. The Dresden Dolls’ first record is decent enough, but memorable melodies? Sorry, no, we don’t write those. We put cabaret into punk and punk into cabaret, ain’t that enough? Again, imagining beats reality, even if I do appreciate a few of those songs.

What I absolutely can’t appreciate is Amanda Palmer, and I’m always happy to hear the voice of agreement. Seeing a four-star review of her recent show made me burst with righteous indignation. I mean, look at those fucking pictures. 

Apparently, though, she gave it all.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Love Letters to Richard Dawkins

I’m only posting this video because some of you may not have seen it – and that would be a crying shame. “Love Letters to Richard Dawkins” has to be the most hilarious thing on the Internet. Lovely background music, soothing aquatic life, sleek British accent, and the righteous eloquence of those letters. I could watch this till the end of times. 

For the record, Dawkins is my second favourite atheist. Ahead of Stephen Fry but behind Christopher Hitchens.  

Thursday, 11 June 2015


“If you don’t like this album, you are either a lobotomized eunuch or a British restaurant critic”. Indeed. It would be hard to improve on Luke Haines’ review of this album, so let’s just say FFS (for fuck’s sake or, alternatively, Franz Ferdinand + Sparks) have released one hell of a pop record.

Catchy and inventive, like all things Sparks – and, of course, completely insane. They even managed to get the best out of Alex Kapranos, whose melodies here are reminiscent of whatever it was that he did so effortlessly back in 2004 and 2005. FFS is eccentric pop music with deliciously quirky lyrics. They do try to appear normal and semi-serious in a couple of places, but I guess that’s where Franz Ferdinand came in. Not every song here is a classic, granted, as “Things I Won’t Get” is a little low on musical imagination and the chorus of “Save Me From Myself” is way too straight-faced for Mael brothers – but even those beat your best. 

This is a great album. They blend together so well, these people, it pains me to say that collaborations are not in fact completely worthless.  

Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Experiment #12: Judy and Birdie

Judy’s in the sandbox. She is building castles, she is digging holes. It’s like little Judy has a plan: to create a sand city or at least some place to live. She doesn’t really want to go home, even though it’s getting late now and all other children are shouted down from windows and balconies and summoned indoors. At some point there’s no one left except for Rachel who is standing by the sandbox, sternly surveying Judy’s work and licking candy the size of her head. Rachel hates her parents, or at least that’s what she says. Nobody believes her. There’s also Birdie, a small dog that lives in the yard. Dirty but hopelessly cute. When adults suggested throwing her away, the kids stood up for her and promised to think of a name and look after and bring food. Presently, Birdie is lying just outside the sandbox, half-sleeping, half-watching Rachel. 

Suddenly, the wind starts and sweeps Rachel away. That’s what Judy thinks: because now she has the yard all to herself. There is no sign of Rachel. Birdie is gently snoring, occasionally breaking into sudden whimpers caused by bad memories.

In the meantime, Judy’s work is over and she claps her hands in delight. The place, a combination of huge sand walls and a deep hole, is ready. Judy calls Birdie and Birdie looks at her in surprise and disbelief. Judy invites Birdie to follow her and crawls inside. There is enough place for both of them, and they enjoy the warmth and the secrecy. They stay inside, and when the night is over and the morning breaks they are still there. And then the next day and the day after that. They like it down there, Judy can feel for herself and for Birdie. Sometimes there are voices outside, but the voices are getting quieter and more and more muffled with each passing day, week, month. Sometimes they can hear the sound of rain outside as it falls down and thickens the walls made of sand. Sometimes there’s a cozy feeling of terror as the thunder strikes. Sometimes they can feel the snow covering them. 

And then Judy wakes up one day (it’s hard to judge when it’s morning and when it’s night) and decides that they should leave. They should go out and see what’s going on outside. Slowly they crawl outside and the daylight blinds them. Judy stands up and looks around. She can’t recognise what she is seeing now. It all looks different and new and hostile. All these people running around: they seem pointless and a little insane. They are both scared, but they can’t stop looking. Birdie barks something, and Judy whispers, almost silently, almost to herself: “Yes, it does look like that. It does look like a dog’s life”.

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Come rain or come shine

My first exposure to B.B. King came in 2000, with the last song on Riding With The King album – a rather generic if totally innocuous affair with Eric Clapton. It just sounded out of time. Or timeless – at that point, I could not see the difference.

B.B. King was a landmark without meaning too much to me musically. Basic blues, reasonable and well-played. But the man himself was a landmark. He was born in 1925, he had to be. In my mind, B.B. King’s cotton-picking childhood made him close to the writings of John Steinbeck, and that would keep history flowing all the way to the modern times. He was that link, that vital connection that tied it all together. Eras and generations. 

And now that he is gone – this link seems to have disappeared. Almost a month since May 14th, and it’s only now that the void has become so apparent. Somehow, things no longer seem as inevitable as they did in the lyrics of the old standard he performed with Eric Clapton fifteen years ago. 

Monday, 8 June 2015

It Follows

This is what great cinema can do to you. At the beginning of this wonderful and disturbing film there’s a scene where a teacher reads out The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock to the class. As ever, it sounds phenomenal (I’m afraid I will never grow tired of it). But then something terrifying starts happening, and watch the tone of the poem go tense and morbid – if not unsettling. Suddenly, T.S. Eliot’s eloquence is pure relentless horror.  

Whereas five seconds ago… 

A great horror film does not necessarily mean a great film, but It Follows manages that with ease. 

Sunday, 7 June 2015

You just haven't earned it yet, baby

There is no point in saying that “Like A Rolling Stone” is your favourite song by Bob Dylan. Even if that happens to be true. No one cares. Because – and this is very important – you have to earn the right to say that “Like A Rolling Stone” is your favourite song by Bob Dylan. Until you earn that right – you might as well not say anything.

Take a Saul Bellow idea about how you should never sin against love. Sentimental, pathetic, soppy? It might be all that and more – if you say it. But when John Niven builds sections of his last novel around this idea, it does not sound tasteless or sentimental. It sounds beautiful. Smart. Witty. Because it’s John Niven and his novel. The man can get away with things. He can even say Citizen Kane is the greatest film of all time – if he wishes so. 

And you have to earn it first. You’re a blank space, in most cases, so there’s no point in saying that black holes are black. Everyone knows that. And no one cares. So for now, try “Queen Jane Approximately”. It would make so much more sense. 

Saturday, 6 June 2015


One life is not enough, so you have to give yourself to traveling as often as you possibly can.

George Harrison’s “Inner Light” had a lovely tune, but philosophies always get it wrong (philosophies, remember, don’t expand your mind – they are merely a distraction): you can only experience things by seeing them. By kissing them goodbye. That is the way it works.

There are places, however, that drag you back. You don’t just think to yourself: ‘Hey, this was good – so what’s next?’ As soon as you leave these places, your mind starts searching for ways to go back. This does not necessarily depend on objective arguments (good museum, good weather, good food) – this could all be down to a number of memorable scenes or, indeed, one such moment. Like a thunderstorm started and you had to hide inside an old church. Or maybe there were four girls playing violins in the street. Or you heard an Italian tenor sing “Una Furtiva Lagrima” in circumstances so intimate you went back to your hotel exalted and a little insane. Or you just lay down in Piazza del Campo for two hours doing nothing. 

So while people may choose their Romes and Florences and Venices and Veronas – I will find a way to go back to Siena. It may stand in the way of more expansive traveling and something I have never yet experienced, but it’s a plague I’m willing to contract.

Friday, 5 June 2015

Totally wired

There’s something inherently attractive about sentimental people. Something incorruptible and disarmingly simple.

Watching the final minutes of Man On Wire, certainly one of the greatest documentaries in recent years, you notice how one of Philippe Petit’s friends-cum-associates breaks into uncontrollable sobbing. Past becomes overwhelming, you can see it in his face. Words get smeared by tears, and you can feel your own heart break a little. It does not even matter if the man felt somehow betrayed by Petit (he had every reason to be) or that was the case of post-cathartic devastation. What matters is the past, as past always does. 

I pity the person who feels ashamed of his voice cracking, his eyes welling up. Be it a song, a film ending or even a sudden memory. No tears are ever unjustified. I applaud the author. But even more so – I applaud the person who felt it.  

Thursday, 4 June 2015

People from Portugal

‘Excuse me?’

Ah fuck it, I think. I don’t get it anyway. I don’t get them – these Portuguese people.

We are sitting in a Spanish restaurant, as close to Portugal as you could get here, and it’s all mussels and duck’s legs and mushroom croquettes. Spanish wine, too. Lots of it, and I’m getting tipsy from the glass or the question that this young man is asking me. Young man: ungroomed sort of Italian. Not a flattering description, but I like him. I just don’t get his question.

‘Can I buy graffiti in a frame around here?’

‘Excuse me?’

‘Graffiti in a frame’.

‘Say that again’, I ask.

He repeats that, and I just keep drinking from my glass. Cartuxa, they say, is the best Portuguese wine. 

But I like him, I do. I like all of them. They have the lightness in their eyes that is both freewheeling and a little wistful. Depressed Spaniards they are not. The young man is in the process of losing his playful identity to gruesome destiny. It’s a family business, and he is bound to be the manager one day. He has a pipe fitting trinket hanging from his rucksack, for Christ’s sake. The lady is his mother. She doesn’t talk much and she isn’t doing any business herself (she owns the company, so she doesn’t have to), but she might buy a painting of a local artist. A hobby. A habit. And the top guy, of course, who is having an octopus with mashed potatoes. He looks like a giant turtle who is friendly but can also bite. I hope it does not come to that. 

We are so far away. In fact, it’s intriguing just how far away we are. The lunch table is only a metaphor. Any subject we touch, from graffiti to health care to literature, we are never too close. I like that. Might be the thing I like so much about them.

And then, of course, there is football. Football fans everywhere, one likes Sporting FC and the other supports Benfica FC. Who do I support? Not Porto FC by any chance? No. I shake my head. I don’t support anyone because (and I’m quite serious here) football destroys the soul.

I don’t say that to them, though, and instead we talk politics.

‘No’, I say. ‘I hate the son of a bitch’.

They smile.

‘What about yours?’ I ask tentatively.

‘We don’t like him either’.

Ah. At least on this we agree. 

By this time, the ice-cream is gone and the lunch is almost over. 

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Sometimes all you can do after a long and hard-fought day is pour yourself a glass of white wine, lie down on the floor and play “Hoppipolla” by Sigur Ros at full volume. 

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Kafka's Metamorphosis

Whatever your mother is going to tell you about Kafka when you are 12 years old, you will never forget it. That was a very thin book with a bizarre picture of a giant bug with a human head. “That”, my mother told me, “is the only book that really frightened me and caused one whole week of nightmares”.

All forgotten, of course, until three or four years later I opened Metamorphosis (it was a damp, dusky day) and started reading. To this day, it remains the only work of fiction longer than a short story that I read without ever looking away from the page. I don’t think I moved an inch, either.

And I had a chance to think of it just the other day as I was discussing the most disturbing reading experience I’ve ever had. And believe me, I’ve had many.

Metamorphosis is a singular book, and it’s the serenity of Kafka’s style (I’ve always questioned people who call him complicated or incomprehensible – who, Kafka?!?!), the natural way in which he confronts the unnatural situation, that makes it so unsettling and so unlike any other book ever written. I guess it won’t work for every imagination out there – but if you do get it, and get it you should, it won’t ever leave your head.  

Not such a bad place for a book to be. Who knows, you might even tell your kids about it – when they are 12 years old or something.

Monday, 1 June 2015

Summer mixtape

Perfect sound of summer?

Comet Gain.

There can be no argument here. No other band manages to convey that ecstatic summer feeling as effortlessly and with such beautiful desperation. The dizzying optimism, the self-forgetful melancholia, the total fucking triumph of a great melody.

This, then, is my perfect Comet Gain mixtape for the summer:

1. “The Fists In The Pockets”
3. “Draw A Smile Upon An Egg”
4. “Fingernailed For You”
5. “Why I Try To Look So Bad”
6. “I Close My Eyes To Think Of God”
7. “She Never Understood”
9. “Clang Of The Concrete Swans”
10. “The Weekend Dreams”
11. “Some Of Us Don’t Want To Be Saved”
12. “Sad Love’ And Other Short Stories”
13. “Wait Til’ December” 

To be played on repeat, obviously.