Giant Minds And Sniper Strikes is a collection of work written by poet and writer, Mark Gilroy who tragically died a year today. He was brother to Cold Lips’ associate editor, Gil De Ray, who recorded Giant Minds and Sniper Strikes in 2012, but it was never released, until now. A Bandcamp page has been set up for you to hear those lost recordings. Profits will be used to fund the publication of The Doorals, of which an exclusive excerpt follows these words from Gil. Mark Gilroy’s writing is hard, funny, and full of hidden scars:
Most of the recordings were done around 2012, and sadly, they’ve never seen the light of day ’til now.
Tragically Mark passed on to another dimension, a year ago to the day, 19th April 2019.
Like many artists he lived his life fighting to get his work seen and read.
In 1998 he set up a publishing venture with his best friend and lifelong collaborator, Jim Monaghan. Single Cell Press was an attempt to find a wider audience for his debut novella, Thugs And Thieves, 64 pages of undiluted poetic madness. It’s a deranged tale of drug addled wasters trying to navigate the bigotry and bile of West Coast Scotland. Sadly at the time it fell on deaf ears.
In 1999 his short stories adorned the inner sleeves of Come On Die Young, an album by Glasgow Gangster Funk. Polaroidage included in the Giant Minds and Sniper Strikes recordings was one of those stories.
Post 9/11 Mark and Jim set up a blog / website called Brigade Verdi, pre-Green Brigade, the Celtic Ultras.
The poem he wrote of the same name was a paean to the Provos, a Fenian love song. I made a video for it:
The site published a fictionalised blog entitled John Simpson’s White Lies, and tracked the war in true gonzo fashion through the eyes of an ageing whisky-loaded Irish journalist Tadhg McAvellie. His missives rubbished the whitewashed stories being perpetuated by the mainstream media.
As the war dragged on to Iraq and beyond, the writing continued, as did the drudgery of trying to make a living as the financial crisis hit in 2008 and crushed the population with austerity.
Time split between working as a taxi driver and a political activist might have slowed the creative flow but it didn’t dampen his desire to write and create. Most of this work has sadly remained unpublished. A slew of poetry, a couple of novellas, a film script, co written with Jim, all sitting on hard drives. Heartbreaking.
Its hard to explain why these recordings took so long to release. I recorded these with Mark in 2012, on one of his rare trips down to London. They appear here, unmixed as they were when we did them.
There’s also 2 tracks here that he did with Ross Gilchrist around the same time, that Ross has very kindly allowed to be used here.
Lastly, an excerpt of the last finished work Mark sent me, The Doorals is here to read. The idea was that these short vignettes inspired by Gerard Locklin’s Case Of The Missing Blue Volkswagen would be accompanied by illustrations. Again for whatever reason it didnt happen. The album is free to download but any donations will go to finally publishing The Doorals, complete with illustrations as was the original intention. Help make it happen. Your donations will be much appreciated.
I hope you enjoy and share Mark’s work. He was the biggest influence on my life. He was a beautiful soulful man that strongly believed in community and helped other people as much as he could. He was a poet, in the truest sense of the word. The writing came straight from the marrow of his bones. No filter.
This is his testament. Too little too late, maybe. May his voice live forever here in this little corner of the internet.
Mark Gilroy 12/02/68 – 19/04/19 RIP Brother.
An excerpt from The Doorals by Mark Gilroy
If you take a rizla sized bomb of outstanding sulph, several lines of decent cocaine and a half gram of pure mdma and mix it up with a healthy imagination. Then you too maybe able to see and feel yourself as Anakin in the podrace while driving a car.
We built this City
We built this City on Rock n Roll
No you didn’t. Workers with too short lives, never enough time or resource and a succession of ailments fucking did.
The Age Of Stupid
Through my angry teens people would often say to me, “Don’t worry, it’ll pass. Age will mellow you.”
Maybe those people mellowed because of the luxuries bestowed upon them by previous generations. Like affordable housing, decent work, a respondent welfare state and a world famous National Health Service.
I’m forty fucking five and the only fucking reason I don’t go on like I fucking used to is because I’m fucking done in.
Dodgy Drug Dealers
It was a routine visit to the Doctors. A check up and a flu jag and a pneumonia jag and would you like to try this new pill?
I’ve always been game to try new drugs. And I’ve always trusted Doctors in general.
But then, on the back of the new drug I developed a nasty choking cough as well as head pains and cramps. Five days later I stopped taking the pill. I left it a week but still no improvement in the cough. The other side effects stopped but the cough went on.
Over six months I have been back half a dozen times. Each time they told me to increase the use of my inhalers. Then at the last visit the Doctor looked in an industry book and began to write a prescription for another pill. When I said I wasn’t confident about taking any more medication, she washed her hands of me.
“Ideology is dead. It was the ism’s that killed it.”
“Surely you mean schism.”
“No. I know what I said and meant.”
“So you think a number of differing ideologies colluded in the death of ideology.”
“Yeah I do.”
From the Lochside to Dumfries House
“Taxi for Jackson!”
They were right there in front of me. He, a beachball disguised as a penguin. And she, mimicking a dishevelled pile of fur coats and silk scarves.
“It’s Lord & Lady Jackson.” He said by way of correction.
In the motor I asked, “What’s with the titles? Is that part of your get-up?”
They huffed and puffed. So I continued. “So which of the Home Counties do you reside in?”
I never caught the bit before Shire but I did hear him say they’d relocated to Switzerland. That had been his touche as they say in fencing (sword) circles. I tried to fightback. “Anywhere near the Eiger?”
“Yes, in fact we live in its shadow.”
Quick as I could I said, “In Grindelwald?”
“Yes. Do you know the area?”
“No, but I hear it’s full of tax dodging degenerates and other robbing bastards.”
I worked away and in-between times found Sebastian Horsley and Henry Baum cracked me up.
I didn’t have worries. I was scared of fuck all. And I had nothing which is what I started out with and was most definitely what I’d finish up with.
For Fuck Sake!
While a warm heart can turn cold with the shift of events, a brain can run dumb all of its life.
Note to self: Do not engage in debate of any kind with people who insist that opinion trumps facts.
“In the 80’s
Dogs fucked in the streets
That was the first thing the long haired Alsatian said to me. I hadn’t noticed him standing beside me. Too engrossed, was I, with the Junkies that were fighting in the square.
“We’d never carry on like that now. I mean, what’s that all about?”
The Flid kid Grows Up(kind of)
“You’re like me and so and so. We’re all mental.” The dude had never uttered a truer line.