YAPP!(1-14)BIRTH PAINS(1-19)MY NEW CHURCHES(1-7)
Narcolepsy is a disorder characterized by sudden and uncontrollable (though often brief) attacks of deep sleep, sometimes accompanied by paralysis and hallucinations.
The bus screamed. I awoke with a start. Forward progress, perhaps already just a touch too precipitous, all throttle and clutch-work, was suddenly halted as he jammed on the breaks. The vector was broken. Possibly the driver had been feeling he could make up time, cut a few corners. The result was an invocation of nervous and vaguely thrilled tension in the passengers. Brows were knitted, furtive glances were directed into the mid-distance. 4 outlaw losers and their pitbull, shouting and mithering about the fares, had just embarked and, having worried the lower deck passengers, were in the business of ascending/lurching to the upper deck. The last up, a matted blotchy afterthought in combats, teeth crooked and broken, cidered up to the eyeballs, was unsteadily making his way to the rear seats. Passengers eyed him with clandestine contempt. The booze was practically audible. That and the speed. He pinpointed a seat that seemed to speak to him.
He flew backwards in contemplative motion towards the front of the bus. Vortices of freshly laundered air whirled up the stairwell and closed around the space where his body had been, and he was out of linear time. Fellow passengers noted the unfolding events as though checking their football pools. Arms flailing, he hit the grimy deck. Wave on wave of pressure flowed from the inert body as it became translucent. The severity of the impact was clear straight away, as blood was seen to ooze, trickle, then as his head lolled slightly to the side, to spurt violently against the leg of a late afternoon commuter. There was a fluttering…and angels appeared at the window. The doors opened. The body re-appeared.
YAPP ONE!…Here’s the anti-manifesto, the blueprint. Notebooks out doctors. I’m on a roll now. Can I begin by asking: What is life without music? It’s better in your own head. Fictional music. But they ain’t got me yet. Ahab now a big burly bore, turning in front of me into a bear. He’s bare headed. He is at the corrida. Animal magnetism not his cup of tea. He is not yet impaled on the horns of my own richly delineated dilemma. I am his matador. He is six times a bore. Six deaths at least before he’s a goner. You only need to kill me three times. That’s what I keep reminding him. It’s late afternoon. I’ve just remembered. Clock hands seem to go backwards. My head is thick with pain. Words is all I’ve got now. Don’t let’s go looking for motivation. Not now. It’s too late for motivation. I run on tracks laid down many eons ago. It’s all just words. I’ve seen the effects of so-called events. So have you. This is all just words. Striking fear, words become events. But…but they don’t cause things to happen. Words that make the most of their power to change, to stay the same. Words is what we’re working with here. Right Frank? Words rarely kill people, except in liturgy. What was I saying?
YAPP TWO! Who’s Frank? I don’t know. Not yet. I forgot. Frank’s my elder brother. I think he died. Conversely, I’m alive. But I’ve just got words to play with. It’s all I’ve got to go on.
Words obscure everything that they don’t make clear.
Words that make it clear are worth all the pain in the world. Just don’t expect them to mean anything…other than what they mean. That’s all. Superior in the end to events, words is what we got left with. Psychology may have helped you in the past my good doctor but well, let’s face it, it’s unlikely to be of much use in the post-secular mythical future. Now that we’ve established that the future is in fact only tenable in mythical terms, what about putting your trust in Godheads? That’s what they can’t get me on. Try as he might to catch me in a logical paradox, the elephant doctor is confounded on this point…
YAPP THREE! OK. Let’s backtrack. Let’s get to the point. The clock’s ticking on me. It’s an expressionistic rendering of time, enveloping your senses, a cinematic cliché. I am now fully Buffed, a totality, emphatically Buffy Strangelove. I’m alone in the world. Or was. Frank’s my kind of sort of other half. He’s a writer. I’m his amanuensis. He blurts it out. I transcribe. I live at his expense. I fuck his wife. He confides in me down the pub. He’s my personal circumscribed god. Actually he’s a writer, he works with words. Words are all that connect us. He’s a bore. We were separated, against my parents’ wishes, at birth. They were sort of fundamentalists, fundamentally unsound dogmatists, the types you can do without as parents, parents whose genes you wish you could somehow exchange, reclaim some other less tainted blueprint. How do you get over a thing like that? How do you get over your parents not even wanting you, knowing that even though you might grasp life with their assent, if only at the expense of your sibling, who would have died anyway, they withhold that assent? Thank God for the quacks. Thank God for Ahab. Thank God for immigration. God bless them. God bless me. So, the quacks over-ruled them and I live. We won’t mention them again. Anyway, Frank’s my brother. He’s the man. He’s the writer. I can’t tell you. Frank’s the man. I don’t know where he is. He’s not here, where he was, at my side, literally attached. They threw away his legs I guess.
Let’s not look for motivation. That would be to miss the point. I write it out in my head anyway. We’ll all have to grow up, to face it sooner or later. Motivations are for actors. Even really bad ones. Socially speaking, we’re all in fact improvising, not just acting. My whole life is an aspirational curve, an extemporization. And if you’ve ever seen actors improvising, you’ll know it’s just not what real life is like. At all. So let’s give the sociological, the political, the anti-fictional, short shrift. I’m just not interested. Politics is for the unrealized. It’s my business. There’s no issue so insistent that it can’t be swept under the carpet of all embracing contempt. Politically, I don’t see why we should bother. It’s life in the trenches, that’s what matters. What I’m saying, doc, is that we have to understand that choice and coherence, cause and effect, linearity and historicity are all just words. Words are all we got, right? This is non-linear. This is auto-history at best. So don’t go getting all puffed up over my cavalier way with the facts will you? I mean you do understand that I’m just doing this for Frank. Doing it for a brother, a friend, doing it good, as his amanuensis…you know that don’t you? Who’s Frank? He’s a man of mystery already. A hyper-realized holy fool with a gift for self-promotion…I’d imagine that’s very 21st century. If only we were really there. In linear time again. I never really knew him. I screwed his wife, and assumed his place, but I never really knew him. Down the pub, I’d let him go on and on and on, ad nauseam, dribbling into his beer, getting all tearful, but I wasn’t really listening.
YAPP FOUR! Frank’s a writer. A kind of egregious (in the bad sense) fool. He thinks he’s talented. He thinks he’s a genius. All writers do, I’ve noticed. They think they have some sort of hotline to God, or the Gods, or the divine, that they quietly approach some form of transcendence. In almost all cases, they’re deluding themselves. But Frank’s still searching for the perfect opening sentence. It’s utter vanity. He thinks like an accountant of linguistics, weighing the effects of the words, sorting by import, hoping to offset this arch expression against that over-expressed metaphor, setting this elegant conceit against that contracted out sub-clause. I think he’s using me as his proxy. I’m the medium through which his over reaching ambition expresses itself. But Dionysia is the real writer. She has a writer’s name. He’s got dollar signs in his eyes. But he’s just chasing his tail, a furious polemicist, a bloated positive ion magnet, a career somnambulist. I am the medium, so I guess I’m implicated. My revenge was well worked. He plays with words, I breathe words. Fuck it, I am words. My mouth never shuts. You want salvation at half the price? I’m The Man. I am elemental, a living conceit. A living, breathing, copper plated construct. Frank has to work at it. He’s a bit of a fucker really. But he is my brother, my other half. Blood’s thicker. We grew up in mutual need. Somehow, somewhere along the way, he grew two penises. When we were split asunder. He thinks it makes him kind of special, considers his twin members sort of elemental stigmata, marks of distinction, in the shape of a crucifix. But that may just have been his conceit. I never saw him naked so I don’t know. But it’s I who have the visions, the gift of auto-history, of creation. Second sight, sixth sense, the gift of light making. I am a visionary. A spook. Although ironically, he’s the one who’s dead. I saw an angel the other day on the Seven Sisters Rd, levitating southwards towards The Nag’s Head. Like many angels I see, this one was in drag. Floating outside the number 29, invisible jetpack, laughing…but the inattention of the nutjobs and freaks, bozos and pillocks, cityscum passengers is legendary so they see nothing. They have corporeal visions of their own. Degraded, booze sodden visions, elementary mis-readings of cause and effect. Trapped inside their own debased linearity, they are comprised of degraded cause and damaged effect. Characteristically solipsistic and insular, and constrained by the limits of linearity, these psycho sideshows are full of conceit, mainly fixated on luck, or the absence thereof. Their visions, into which I dip now and again, express quite clearly through convoluted (and badly plotted, execrably acted) metaphors that they really should have been recognized more fully in their lives, lament that they’re not being fully appreciated, bemoan the fact that their wives have failed to fully love them, or that their husbands have unforgivably let them down. This fruitcake has murdered that loser. This frustrated exec has hit the bottle with these tragic results. This self-loathing cog in the big machine is plotting that vengeful payback for his boss. Their debased visions are expressed, by proxy, as TV narratives. Low-grade glamour, understated dramatics. Where else? I have to close my eyes to keep the visions in, to keep them from escaping.
YAPP FIVE! Frank can’t match that. He’s just a verbal number cruncher. His gift is very coffee table compared to mine. What he lacks in talent he makes up in self-regard. Puffed up beyond self-parody, Frank harangues those around him. He gives himself airs and graces and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. He’s excessively rude and lacks any sense of humility. No wonder Dionysia gave him the elbow and shacked up with me instead. I have, or had, friends…apart from Frank…who thought they could make a difference. Briefcase carriers. Terrorists of the mind, people who stay up all night, full of caffeine, full of righteous anger. Puffed up retards whose words are never less than weighty. Assassins, they are extras in the larger game, makers of small differences that don’t ever amount to anything. Bedroom anarchists. The angry mob. These choices led to these effects, these outcomes. But no, they didn’t. Really they didn’t. My friends never had the imagination to see they were just making up the numbers. They were eternally on the subs’ bench. Still are. That’s why they’re no longer friends. My new familiars enliven me, creating epochal structures through creative dancing, whirling obsessively to scry out new patterns. Universal maps follow, like night following day. Patents pending. We dance daily, trotting through the London thoroughfares like ponies, hop skip and jumping down the Kingsway, along the Strand, into Gresse St. and beyond. Pub architecture shimmers in the bright light as my dancers go-go belly up on Guilford St. Heavy metal accompanies us as we stomp along Bloomsbury Way, slam dance through New Oxford St and pogo on up towards Charing Cross Rd. It’s most invigorating, and after a few hours we tend, collectively, to arrive at a glimpse of the universal. Electricity is thrust away. The 3rd stage of awakeness or awareness doesn’t, however, last for long, because we just get too tired. With our drinking and our distended bellies, we can’t dance all night. Hovering outside the Swedenborg Centre, ephemeral beings appear to reach out to us, trying to tear back the rended fabric of the dream. It’s exhausting.
YAPP SIX! Doctor. Dear doctor. My other half is named Dionysia Triantafillou. Straight up. No word of a lie. Now that’s what I call a well-named girl. She eats me up, she gets my goat. She is the goddess, as the name implies, of a kind of half-arsed hedonism. A goddess whose constituency includes the following: knickers round ankles, boozed up gropings, stolen moments by the water cooler, body parts photocopied in the Xerox machine. Too loud laughter and crazy mis-interpretation. But she’s also terribly classy. She makes me sing out loud. I have to say she’s the one. She is so like me. She could in fact be me. Goddess of the minutiae of sexual predation. The silly fumblings that constitute peoples’ love lives. She really is the one. She’s Greek, in case you didn’t catch the name. The Greeks knew about gods. Household gods. Gods for every occasion, every eventuality. You need to tweak any aspect of your life? You pray to the appropriate god. You don’t go to the gym, or see your therapist. You pray to the appropriate god. That’s how we live. Pre-Secular, if you want transparency. We’ve found a sort of key, or code. It’s available to anyone at a price. To anyone who’s prepared to kiss off the outmoded psychological, to eschew wishful thinking, the stuff that’s been afflicting this crazy world for over a century. Over centuries. It’s nothing new. It’s nothing. Therapy culture is now dead. Leaving markets wide open for our patented techniques. We’ve seen to that. The priesthood is discredited. We think we found a key, but we could be dreaming. Are we dreaming? You tell me, doc.
YAPP SEVEN! In my visions, I am priapic. God of Inconsequentiality. Of Un-causality. Of Ephemerality. Frank believes in the primacy of effect before cause, therefore he’s got that angle covered. Frank’s smart but dull, a kind of accountant of the senses, whereas I’m primitive and charismatic. I get the girls. I get his girls. Frank gets the heartache. Every time. I make films of my endeavours, made up cinematic conceits, projected through my eyes and onto celluloid and/or canvas. They’ll be having a retroactive exhibition of the images left on my retinas any time soon now. You bet. Inside there are residual memories of affairs of the heart, of me leaving trails of broken marriages behind me.
Let’s start at the beginning eh? This is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is not even the end of the beginning. It’s somewhere between life and death, between cause and effect. Like life, that strange transient state, that blessed state, in which there are no complex narratives. No causality. No linear histories. My ex-friends they say: “Brian you daft twat, fucking wake up man. Life is post post-modern. We’ve all gone po po-mo. Don’t ask for whom the bell tolls, it tools for thee me old mate. Wake up and smell the fucking coffee”.
They’re like that. Really kind of distressingly ignorant and foolish. They talk in clichés almost incessantly. Their punishment? There are deaths on buses, occasioned by Elephant Gnosis™. But it looks as though I’ve been remaindered at some sort of institution. Although you’d know more about that wouldn’t you? Observed through a grille-window. I’m in an institution for refuseniks am I not? Post-Empathic Psychotic Discourse in prison drag. Morning noon and night. Actually, we drink from morning till night. Except when I’m strung out trying to dry out. We drink each other literally under the table round my place. Ask my brother Frank. Being deader than dead, he knows. He’s always under the table. Getting used to the cold. He says it’s kinda cold when you’re dead. Still, he’s the one, the talentless get, who’s invited to all the literary parties. He learnt how to manipulate at a very tender age. He pushed me mercilessly from the point of view of an elder brother, pushed me like I was a nothing. My talent for visionary anti-causal auto-history comes from the pain he inflicted. My visions were born in pain. My eyes hold water; they never let it go. I’ve never cried in my whole life. Frank’s all dried up, a useless stick of a man. Perched like a cadaverous vulture in his shit-chair, he doesn’t get many girls coming on to him now. They see through his grisly bonhomie, his slyly formulated flirting, and his unctuous and bleakly humourless solicitations. Like all academics, Frank knows nothing, despite knowing everything. He’s damned. He lives without a care in the world, demanding respect (or that which passes with him for respect – in truth, people just laugh at him behind cupped hands, snigger over his earnest lecheries, his dogmatic attempts to flirt). Ever the gent, now he’s dead. But I love him. That’s the English way is it not? We love our own; no matter how much they hurt us. Us Greeks know better though. We are pure essence, purely elemental. We are forces of nature. We are nature. I fly up the Seven Sisters Rd, past Finsbury Park, and I laugh in the faces of the exhausted looking visionary poor. I hurl spit at them, blow their skirts up, give the boys a laugh like. I skid (in mid air) to a halt, and traffic stops. The motorists and pedestrians see me as a sudden break in the weather. A sudden gust of wind, or a passing cloud momentarily obscuring the sun’s rays. I scoot away and the rain comes back. Those cold-coated imbeciles just trudge backwards and forwards, just get on with their lives. Jesus Christ!!! Is there no heaven here?
YAPP EIGHT! But let’s get back to the point. The beginning. Life, in which the plot tendrils get tangled and are never ever resolved. How did elephants appear in Finsbury Park for instance? That isn’t fiction. Fiction’s enclosed, closed off, occluded. It’s hidden and it can’t be teased out. It needs a wider, a more momentous sense of history, a validity that is unavailable in linear time. This is what Frank tells me and I you through him. Didn’t I tell you he’s the writer? He has specialized knowledge. His life is without music. He makes do without music; he doesn’t hear it. I live, my brother died. He writes; I live. Got it? We’re a team. I don’t get it quite…right? He puts it right. Rights my wrongs. Dionysia’s there to make things OK too. She has special skills in that area. The narrator must be placated. The narrator has to get it right, to relax, otherwise you get all jittery, right? You need spoon-feeding; we realize that. You want causality; you want freedom from choice. I’m your cause celebre right? You can wheel me out any time right? With or without my consent! Your freedom of choice is predicated on all sorts of false assumptions, all sorts of sociological dead end speculations. You need special trickery to make it work. Free-floating narratives must be tethered, right? Nailed down. But just relax doc! You need it spelt out. We see that. You don’t need a lot of confusing narrative trickery spoiling your enjoyment or your ability to arrive at a prognosis, obstructing the vectors that delineate, the vistas that elucidate, your pleasure. We’re puritans at heart too. Honestly. We just don’t think life’s quite that easy, quite that straightforward. You get the jitters? Get over it. We’re all big boys now, right? I could psycho-mythologize you right now. Want the mask? Now? Maybe not. We won’t break your heart. There’s nothing staggering about all this. We don’t indulge in folksy leg pulling type narrative devices. We won’t introduce apes that talk. We avoid references to conspiracies, imagined or otherwise. We don’t subscribe to conspiracy. We’re not in the conspiracy loop. The conspiracy industry bores us. We know literally nothing about the Illuminati or any other SubGenius shadowy grouping. And we won’t pretend otherwise. Between ourselves, we think they’ve been talked up a bit too much, affording their sponsors and agents lifestyle expansion and corporate respectability for too many years. The truth is nowhere you, or they, will ever find it. So don’t try. Relax. Elephants are even now in Finsbury Park, on Hampstead Heath, around the Serpentine. This is the Unvarnished Truth. The truth behind frightened eyes, the occluded heaven in your peripheral vision.
We make history. We are epochal. We’ve been around for over 3,000 years. But we don’t affect your life. We wouldn’t be that presumptuous. Your life is your very own. We have several histories. But, and we can’t make this point forcefully enough, they’re not your histories. We don’t gatecrash. Your narratives, your auto-histories, are your own affair. I try to make Frank see this. Did I tell you about Frank? Frank Yapp. He’s my brother. I’m Brian. Brian Yapp. But my friends (and my ex friends, and pre-secular therapists) envisage me as Buffy. Kind of a pet name. A sort of term of endearment. It stuck. Buffy Strangelove, that’s me. That’s what I’ll become, with or without the offices of either you or my ex-friends. Preposterous isn’t it? My name, a fool’s bladder to brandish in the faces of pauperized critics.
YAPP NINE! This then is definitely what you want. Ten commandments. Rules, words written in stone. All social niceties forgotten. No more casually thrown together dinners, supper recipes idly congealing in the mind, no more jawing about your schematic 10 year plans, discoursing loudly, profoundly tediously, on subjects of which you know nothing. This is what you want. A rhetorician to expiate sins, take away the pain…sort of, sort out the little problems that become big problems. Isn’t that what you want? Someone to take the pain away? I grew up in pain. We were rent asunder. Lost my brother in the womb I did. I lost it for years, when I became sort of out there on the tracks, but pain is now back with me. I live pain. In a sense, doc, I am pain. I ran a campaign, as a rhetorician, but you know, so what? I’m not that easily containable. I run on tracks of my own making. I think like a man, I drink like a woman. Dionysia can drink me under the table. I can take a drink with the best of them. But then it hits.
Rules of the game? Think again. You want rules doc? You’re kidding yourself. Something to aspire to? A set of restrictive procedural practices. Aspirational protocols? We run on empty dogma! Arcane rituals! You don’t know your history, you people! History happens without rules, without strictures, rulebooks drawn up and made overt, made public. History doesn’t wait for pasty-faced functionaries, laptop tappers, specky hacks to catch up. History isn’t dinner party literature. History is nature, grains of sand rolled downhill until the avalanche starts. And then another, and another. Until really big things stir, big events roll in like thunder, all darkly portentous. Anti-causal! All activity begins to resolve into random patterns, unimportant acts snake through the chaos until the primal matter comes together, like sperm in oil, and sets us off laughing in the face of petty officialdom. I should know. It’s my design. It’s not cause and effect. It’s rock ‘n’ roll. It’s metaphor. Life trickles in where historians can’t get at it. History is the very Science of Wrongness. Everything goes wrong, always. You can bet on it. The wrongness hardens into patterns, cancers and is hard wired, nailed down, via electrical media. D’you get me? Is that a harpoon? Do you get the essence? We’ve wielded axes. We’ve ground them where they needed to be ground. But our co-conspirators, co-players in anti-history, were always paying hush money. So we didn’t blow the gaffe. So we spiced it up, made it look good. We bought the movie rights. We became mogul-academics, frosty from exposure to well meaning students and casting couch fun. We laid down the tracks, left false clues. There is no narrative to speak of. We were just noodling around. We laid down rules. Rules that were made to be broken. Some joke eh boss?
YAPP TEN! So, these Ten Commandments that’ll make you happy…are you happy now? Are they alive as metaphors, or dead to the world as ethical proscriptions? This is what you want this is what you get. Ten useless commandments. We’ll let you have it…what you wanted. No more metaphorical tennis matches loaded with male aggression. Was there ever anyone, anywhere, who looked good in shorts? You…you are a yank doctor ain’t you doc? Look what I got. I see this inside my eyes…Everyone’s in the gym now. Fabled emporia of narcissism; gilded male bodies, in love with themselves. Sweaty self-regard. It’s all there. Despite our best efforts, no-one wants to be serious any more…that is, serious about the real meaning, the real imperfection, the Wrongness of History. The social engineer mentality just wants to make it right. Perfectibility in a pig’s eye. You, all my children, you want to be tucked in, you want to drink your fill, look at the world through rose coloured specs, you wanted to fence yourselves in, demarcate your personal spaces, (don’t look at me pal!) dig the fucking garden, leave spaces for ambiguity, and generally behave like history doesn’t fucking happen. It’s hard wired I tell you. Like it never happens until it’s happened. This is what you want. I keeps tellin’ ya. Then it’s real. Pictures, sound, information, rumour. It’s already happened. You’ve closed your ears and your eyes. My friends up top, head of the raggedy-arsed household division, still regard me as beyond hope, and I’m beginning to see their point. I am a Rhetorician. A baled out Rosicrucian. I’ve authored anonymous pamphlets publicizing a general renewal, a general re-invigoration of the mythic energy fields. Pamphlets that caused general uproar and facilitated rumour. You know I did. And I did it without music. My life is now without music. I am a public utility. I speak an arcane language, I’m tooled up with ciphers, and I speak in tongues. You’ve heard me. Dramatic devices to grab your attention are second nature to me. I am a force of nature…you still with me? No, I can’t go on. How can you take me seriously? I’ve lost it already. I am a household God. Not one of your everyday divinities, getting off on tribute. I work for my living. Frank knows my story. The thing is I have to tell it like he tells me to. Frank pulls my strings. Frank’s the real power behind the throne. I’m just his mouthpiece. Frank’s the man. I have the talent, the mediumistic talent. Frank just lets me have it from the top of his head because he’s a worrier. Always worried about things going wrong, little things out of place. He’s a bureaucrat when all’s said and done, although he hates me to say that. He thinks he’s a genius, and there’s nothing a would-be genius hates more than being thought of as merely functional. But he gives himself away all the time in a million little ways. Petty worries, petulant outbursts, incoherent ravings, you name it…. Frank’s a prey to them all.
YAPP ELEVEN! D’you know what a household god is my good doctor? It’s a piece of luck. That’s what it is. Frankie boy, singing his lungs out. Out of his contract, beholden to benefactors the rest of his natural, in deep. Where’s the luck there? D’you know what work is? It’s what we do to protect ourselves from the gods. I protect you when you need it. It’s as simple and as ambiguous as that. I’ve been around for years, 3,000 years, but we’re only really interested in the last 40 or so. I came of age in the cradle, 40 odd years ago. And now I’ll tell you something that’ll shock you doc. I always thought, see, that the progenitors of these, you know, screwy made up religions were fucked in the head, or were just doin’ their best to make sure you were fucked in the head. But no, it turns out they were right. All along. Metaphorically. Or maybe literally. They work. As metaphors. For us life is metaphor. People do actually have a metaphorical need. But they need it actualized. Amazing? You bet. People have this need…to levitate…cruise around the cosmos…await reincarnation. They need it. It’s something that stuck in my throat years back, but now, I realize, it’s all true. Literally. It’s not just a made up story, it’s a meta-fictional metaphor. It’s true. Not just a lot of made up hokum. Not just a lot of bullshit cooked up by some grandiose monomaniac, but all literally true. Because information, especially arcane information, especially made up information, is what cements us together. Literally, we, the things that constitute reality, are actually made up of tiny little gobshite, bullshitty pieces of overheard crap, misread instructions, mendacious pronouncements, love spoken between the sheets, over long discourses delivered by dogmatists of all shapes and kidney, canting student radicals haranguing bored contemporaries, gossip over the garden fence, politicized rhetoric, phone calls made needlessly and repeatedly, it’s all there…all stuck to you. You’re put on hold, and you can do fuck all about it. The meat is in the misinformation. It’s not power; it’s destiny.
YAPP TWELVE! That’s where I step in. I make your rules for you. You’d be unemployable if I hadn’t slipped in the word. Rules to adhere to. Rules that admit the possibility that history did actually happen. We carry the rulebook, a codebook, a cypher, containing genetic blueprints, most noticeable for their viral properties. The rules you’ve come up with contain the truth. But the truth was never simple. Nor pure. Truth is rarely simplistic. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the truth you’ve grown up with (implanted by me I might add) is all rubbish. Utter rubbish. Do you think I’m contradicting myself then? That I’m now bending over backwards to give the impression that I want it both ways? Well, you’re right. Remember, this is all Frank’s work. He likes to confuse the issue by speaking through me occasionally. And has implanted a chip of tremendously intricate design, a superbly undiscoverable cipher. I talk; he speaks. I hate it; HATE it, when that happens. Aphrodysia by my side, one day I may break free. But twins, bi-lateral beings joined before the divide, cannot so easily get rid of each other. You see I want nothing more than to believe that my 10 commandments will make a difference. I need to obey…I need you to obey, to find a way of making it right. When a society, at the arse end of its civilized tether, gets tetchy…all shivery over new technology, new myths, new rules, new runes, provisional symbols, gets all starry eyed over re-discovered religious intent, then something’s wrong. VERY wrong. I’m here to tell you…to uncover the new traditions.
YAPP THIRTEEN! I died, you see, 40 odd years ago. But I’ve been popping up every couple, or every several, years. Not undead you understand. No grim and gothic theatricality. I’m no cape-wearing ham, drifting around Highgate cemetery, dragging the mausolea for bodies and body parts. Corpse fashion not for me. I’m generally well dressed. Neat strides, presentable décolletage, fashion weary and casual garb more or less a path of least resistance. No exhibitionistic demi-monde attire for me. I’m fashionable in all the right areas. Language is forever dying. And has to be re-enlivened all the time. Language cannot rest if it wants to mean something.
I was born 40 or 20 years ago. No, that’s not right. I was born at 40, 20 years ago. I am extrapolated as a household god in my genesis. God of Inconsequentiality. Now I am a householder. State sanctioned general harassment, all the rage then. Forged in necessity. No money now, now loonies stalk the streets. But there are no such things outside the enclosed lexicons of hip cultural usage. Drag after drag, modish, still born (outmoded) pontifications, blast first past the self-censors. How come people don’t die of embarrassment? Of shame? What happened to shame? Is 40 years long enough for shame to die?
It’s all about the last 40 years culturally, although I’ve been around longer. 300 or 3,000 years longer. History’s great sweep has hit a bit of a breakwater. No more wars for you ‘n’ me. Except fundamental ones. All seminal popular cultural weight, all arbitrariness, is subsumed in the mythology firmed up these last 40 years. Everything’s come together; the curve is exponential. We got a good shot at it. Lennon got shot 20 years ago. Strawberry Fields, forever England. No blasted northern wasteland is commemorated. Everybody left. The edge of the world is a strange place. I am an inhabitant of some strange places, I’m cascading, gravitational pull is towards Earth again. But as I established last time, I am anti-gravitational. And thus I left last time just after the incident with the shooter, a piece packed in my slacks for self esteem more than self protection. Shot neighbourly invaders right through the temple. Medusa let him have it right in the kisser. Estranged lover attempts to re-establish himself in her bed and BANG, he’s gone. Have a go hero, that’s me. I have to say in my anterior life I never believed those who pretended to fearlessness. They’re scared shitless, all of them. But I blew the fucker’s head clean off, slo-mo, like in Peckinpah. Seems unlikely. But that’s just my ignorance. A right tasty slap I gave him. Pistol-whipped. Then blew his head off. Lost my stripes. I cannot and will not intervene any more. Frank got the slip that time.
YAPP FOURTEEN! I’ve done something bad doctor. I killed someone. I need to confess, to obey the imperative. I didn’t come pre-encoded with my own genetic sense of guilt. I need to ham it up, fictionalize the guilt. In this sense, I made myself, out of guilt. I blagged a life…ligged into existence. I just sort of…shimmied into existence. The ritualized schematic, the non-genetic blueprint, is alive in me. I adhere only to the matrices of my own intent. These things don’t come easy. I’ve not yet learned how to convince people, or myself, otherwise. I’m my own shaman, a dummy medium hunkering down in shallow waters, deep caverns. I filter out the light, form my own plastic impressions, light feeds the lightness. I cannot bear the light, because I made it. I’m made up in light. I’m the kind who feels no shame in declaring that I am my own shaman. I am a liar in your terms. The kind you don’t want to get stuck sitting next to on the train. I heave and shake, avoiding the light. I speak in tongues, trying to rationalize the moment. Religious apathy, or discord, in society has enabled continuing generations of lifestyle engineers to find their own spirituality. 10 commandments, or ready-mades. Personally attuned. User friendly, mutable, tailored to your own personal needs and psychic tics. Patented techniques. Grey skinned Gnosis; packaged in the latest formats. Glossy packaging, liner notes written by yours truly. Here are a few impressions of my birth, for want of a better word. Track 1. It’s only expressible in terms of music. This was of course in the prelapsarian world, where notional music did once exist.
BIRTH PAINS: #1. I was evacuated in ten thousand gradated semi tones and tones, my music the overture to a general feeling of love unconsummated, youthful fumbling. I came out priapic, erect. The barren essence both of youth culture and of fascist propaganda was bound over and mutable. Youth cultures are anathema to me; I stand in opposition to mental abuse of the young. I am addictive. Soprano saxophones blared an intro, hard R ‘n’ B sent me spiraling, and sent my conception out of control. I trickled out into the cosmos in schizoid bass clarinet phrasings; I was tempered and hardened by desert riffs, off beat snare rhythms moderating the pain, the immediacy, sort of…I was burnt out in the crucible of out of the way desert rhythms and plaintively forged in the murky intimacy of sex-blues. I was born to rock ‘n’ roll as they say. Too fucked up to live, too out of control to die. That was before everything. Pre-music. My time not yet apparent. This was pre-music. Now I live a life without music. Music doesn’t do it any more. My time was the 50s/60s. Now the 70s/80s, more likely a time that never should have gone so fast. Everything sped up. Accelerated. Cultural movements began to be reflexive. Texts were appropriated like never before. Time, paradoxically, stood still, during these years. Lifetimes concertina’d into moments. Now time has accelerated out of control. It’s caused a multiple pile up on the orbital. Beware popular knee jerk culture, dissected and re-invented as secret histories by colonizing academics and theoreticians, bespectacled academic imperialists knock knock knocking on popular culture’s door. They’re to blame for that, that sense that history became invisible and susceptible to illumination only by means of textual analysis. Life still now lived on the margins, lived at a pace beyond the recall of academia. I speed up, and slow down, as and when the mood takes me. Living through all the major upheavals of youth oriented popular dissent. Paris ’68. London ’76. They asked my advice. I said forget it. You don’t know the meaning of history.
BIRTH PAINS: #2 Now for the moment I live broken down, in a desert shack…mythic zipcode, abstruse postcode, broken down, afflicted by some sort of chronic skin condition. Psoriasis? I’m all wrinkly, yet bloated, like a sack of rotting spuds. Sightings of motorcars in the desert, carrying impossibly febrile young men, preoccupied madmen, occurred for several weeks at a time back then in those decades. Was it the 80s? Was it the desert? I latched on to one such, set myself up, having inveigled my way in, past lead footed security, as the household god (in the form of bodily fluids) in his ‘fridge. That’s how I got my foothold this time around in mythic life. That’s how all this started off. I was attracted to the music. I was a rock ‘n’ roller’s dependable familiar. From bodily fluids, it was but a short step to impersonation of household pets, wives, colleagues, items of furniture. Pretty soon, I turned the fucker stark staring mad. He Thought HE was the god. Couldn’t bear the evidence to the contrary. These fucking dabblers are amateurs, the whole lot of ‘em. They read a few marginal volumes of arcane history, toot a few substances, and they think they’re god’s gift. They think they are Gods, bestowing gifts. It’s laughable. That Frank, he thinks he’s a genius. Just like the others. He thinks, in especially deluded moments, that he’s Frank Sinatra. He croons the hits to deluded acolytes; in his dreams his people wipe his arse for him without a second thought. Eclectic deference. But I can’t send him off the rails. I bleeding need him, don’t I? The roar of the crowd, the adulation of confused acolytes, needy clingy types turns his head…but not mine. Frank has a stage presence, a magnetism that is undeniable. Frank has a lot of unreflective fans…fans who just don’t think carefully enough about what he says. They just take it all at face value, because he has the gift of persuasion, the gift of allowing his followers to avoid thinking things through. I tell you, it took some persuasion for me to allow him to live in the first place. I can tell you. I had the presiding surgeon in my pocket. Stitched up.
BIRTH PAINS: #3 We staked out ready-made arenas for specific psychic needs. In the east end, this would take the form of partaking in belly out pub-crawls. I died in a brawl one night, exiting through the window after questioning the probity, the integrity, of several of the larger and more aggressive imbibers. A stupid thing to do I know. All pub-crawls here end up in the cemetery of St. Anne’s, Limehouse, Five Bells and Breastbone looming disconsolate under the gravy grey temple. It all smacks of violence here in the east end. Psychic breezes, y’know, scorching through the ugly belly of the city. Premonitions, rumours of unrest, the pyramid in the graveyard acting as a kind of receiver, or static aerial, for all sorts of psychically disordered material. According to the psycho-geographer’s nonce. Actually, the pyramid was just my home from home, a sort of bolt hole, where no-one, no psycho-scribbler, could get at me. Sanctuary from writers who discover pseudo-truths, and reveal them through psycho-geographic research always on the elusive trail. I’ve discovered, you see, during my many sojourns on earth’s unquiet coil that some people will believe Any Old Toss. They make a nice living out of it. But it’s all been done before. By self haters too numerous to mention. This pyramid is the subject of constant psycho-geographic ‘interest’, having received something in excess of 60 raids over the years. My archives have been busted for everything from selling bootleg hooch to stashing pornographic literature behind a secret wall. This church…the marketplace…the pub…the arcane markings on the wall, behind the wall. I invade gymnasia, personal fitness emporia, swimming pools, encourage formless beings in their attempts to add muscular ballast to deranged bodies, forming circular muscle tissue to avoid that lumpen look. But the lumpen know a thing or two denied to the possessors of sleek bodies. They have to. To them it’s survival. To survive pub brawls. Newspaper columnists hired through the offices of my editors, editors of my titles, spit out weasel words, as though we didn’t know. From their slit mouths, monstrous piss-words hail down like piss and vinegar. But it keeps chattering London happy. As though wisdom comes in these deformed packages. Librarians of endlessly personalized literature, they are the curators of their own obsessions.
BIRTH PAINS: #4 I am obsessed. I admit it. Obsessed by the idea that I exist both outside and inside, as will and idea, now and forever, together with you…all of you. Dreaming that I’m looking for a spiritual reality undreamt of in this culture. Obsessed with the idea that you may not think I’m serious about this. Any one of you can have a job as my personal fitness/spiritual advisor/hairdresser RIGHT NOW. You know how to apply yes? The usual channels. That’s right. The usual channels. No job worth having was ever advertised was it? I lobby on your behalf with the great and the good. Ministers owe me. It was my feral magic, secret powers that they used to draw the wool over eyes that pried. It’s what we’re all looking for deep down. Spiritual contentment and a good haircut. Not many can admit that a good haircut would go a long long way. You’re either too tired, or too bored. Or something. Too clever for your own good. I’m inconsolable with grief at my impending death. I buy time with prevarication. Code is code. Zeros and ones hustled into line by the proper ordering of electricity…net geeks are the new Greeks, a prolific democracy of expression, abundant wisecrackery proliferating on the web. Which is a real problem, all this inane smartarsery. Journalists…look themselves in the eye…mirror scribblers. Obsessions curated for mindless rumination, opinions on every which thing. Opinions are anathema to me. Not worth the effort. Writers with cranial blockage are in need of severe and repeated trepanning, until the sap rises, until the truth sinks in. All 20th century history subsumed, re-interpreted as transgressive myth, re-formulated to shock…a few clued up marginals attain momentary notoriety…the world heaves a sigh. I look in the mirror; I’m clued in. I am plugged in. I am my own enclave. My myth is beyond the coffee table, beyond the marginal, beyond the orbital. I scry the future. I see the sexual act as procrastination. Blood is an idea of the will. Death is will to myth. I am looking at my belly. It’s humming. There’s mythic material in the vicinity. There’s elephants nearby.
BIRTH PAINS: #5 And doctor, my dear doctor, you’ll never find the answer in a book. Except the Devotional Directional Manual. The only truly Imperative Text of these non-linear times. Nor in any periodical. My good friend Eugene transfers reality directly by telekinesis. It’s like no book you’ve ever read, or are ever likely to read, or like I’ve ever written. So many gravitational narratives have already fluttered to earth; they are ready-mades, from the trepanned crania of my many doppelgangers, the old goats. Sex is primary motivation the further away from the intrinsic self they get. Hence Billy my hard hatted satyr homunculus is as rapacious as they come. A sexual glutton, preternaturally erectile.
But, I’ve wasted so many words already. I’m incontinent; words inside me, they spill from my mouths all day long. I chatter incessantly into phones, imploring impatient callers to hold the line please. I put people on hold, and then surreptitiously disconnect them. I jabber on buses to fellow passengers; to an annoying degree. Paperbacks held in dead hands remain unread. Every day, all day, I take the bus with the other losers into town. My mum takes the bus. She won the war. My old man was not in it. Skulking around the sub-continent so I heard. I see others, believers in their own destiny. But they don’t see it themselves. They think they’re making choices all day, every day. As if. Micro choices at best, all day long. But all the real choices were made long ago. I know…I made them. I had and have Freedom of Choice. So I know when the time is right to pull the ripcord. It’s my Idea. My will. When everything was primal matter, pre-music, it was all up for grabs, see? Unformed, un-thought, pre-information, it was certainly as yet undreamt. Choice was yet to be conceptualized. Digits slowly formed into patterns, Mandelbrot fashioned pictures. Dreaming itself hadn’t yet been conceived. Hadn’t yet been dreamt, if you like. Thought overtook matter, information outlasted opinion, some years later (non-linear time). Back in those days, you had to fight to be born. I blagged a life. Lives.
BIRTH PAINS: #6 So now, what do you want me to do Doc? I’m getting a sort of attitude off you. You think I’m rambling? You want me to Redress Imbalances? Right wrongs? Engage? Address injustice? That’s a given, in anybody’s time. Life is injustice. Look, I will not get didactic or…or ANGRY. I am a Rhetorician…and I love you Doc. The historical perspective got lost in parochialism. The social animals have bunker mentality. We’re not just one or two genes short of a primate, we’re eons distant from each other. There is no species integrity. It’s a lie, put about by evolutionists, patsies of pre-music theology. Animal lovers. Animals are divine prototypes; they don’t even exist in the same universe as you and I. They’re an illusion. We’re our own gods. We pray to ourselves. We are lovers of equity. I’ll deal with you later. I cause wars with my fucking chatter, so don’t get me going!
But this all started years ago. Some seedy student of the arcane arts (dressed up for today’s model, the self obsessive of today, revealing forgotten techniques of control, of your life and others, techniques of mind control, even psychic projection – dangerous stuff!!) had the run on me. I was naïve. Yes I admit that, that’s why I had to kill him. Me or him. Simple. My naivete cost me a lot in those days. I even believed in knowing, or knowledge. Anti-gnosis. Now I have The Knowledge, hidden, passed down, encrypted, unknowable except to 9 unknown adepts. I re-make it as straight up, obvious, common sense, transparent, blithering nonsense, emotional intelligence, specialized research…but this knowledge is still only one step only ahead of opinion. There is no knowledge available in this realm without my help. What you call knowledge is totally useless. Knowledge isn’t power. Knowledge is over. Religion and knowledge have elided so people don’t know what they believe in any more, except themselves. They are sad sorry cartoons. Stand up versions of themselves. Jokes, badly told. Stories with punch lines too obvious, too predictable. Characters that demand you laugh at them. Bad manners in my home. In bad sitcoms…characters like you Doctor Death, just run around and talk like characters in sitcoms…well now…people in real life just run around acting like these same characters in sitcoms…the present and future great sitcoms of mundane and depressing regularity will all feature, as exact simulacra, people who run around like they’re in sitcoms. But time as I hope I’ve demonstrated isn’t linear, and there is some sort of escape route available to me. I can just call in favours. Any time. I know the right people. A few invocations, one or two well placed words dropped into the correct divinely attuned ears, and I’m away. There are plenty of my people who OWE ME. I can get results ANY TIME.
BIRTH PAINS: #7 Life’s too short for grudges or manipulation. Over something like 20 years I’ve been running something like an ur-career, or non-career, not caring or making money, just making a weird sort of nonsense. Keeping one step ahead. Using cliché as a weapon, inhabiting glib behaviour patterns, opting for predictable lifestyle choices – open plan offices, bicycle shorts, roaring fires, country ranges, personal fitness plans, you know the sort of thing? No? Downsizing, becoming feckless pseudo-artisans keeping it all, mind and body, together. My kids have all grown up. You know? And it’s all been based on this. I don’t lie down with people. What I’ve found, through assiduous research (ie: looking at people on the bus, bearing down on them with my scalpel eye, eviscerating their motives) as though it weren’t obvious, is that most people are aimlessly over-educated. The over education of the spending classes – that’s the point of your civilization. And you know it.
We dressed up, or down, in corduroy jackets and denim in those days. Leather elbow pads, bespoke genteel academic style. Spectacles are still kind of substantial, or optional. Opera capes are worn by the exhibitionistic geek tendency. Small sweaty men are all the rage in office spaces. Sweat marks visible like premonitions on shirt underarms. Cemetery fashion shoots feature head-case exhibitionists, and the stiff upper lips of ornery second sons of the business aristocracy are well represented. Work is a dirty word. Live for leisure pursuits. Chrome bar chic. Or sweat shop designer goods, imported well-made goods from the third world. Labour markets interchangeable. Gucci loafers predominate on the right tube lines, and men in women’s shoes. They have to go, don’t they? Estate agents, sweaty feet in plastic shoes, up their own arses, acne befouling every prospect of a quick sale. No commission boys! What use is commission when you’re too dead to appreciate it? How many estate agents did I despatch? Why, they were numbered in their thousands. Literally thousands of second hand Mondeos, scratched paintwork, joy ridden by my boys, abandoned (after being torched) in joyless north London suburbs. Second rate cars with a legion of dead drivers. No more 5:30pm appointments to show off some leaky, infested 2 bedroom job to young hopefuls. They’re all dead. Were they ever really alive? It’s unlikely.
BIRTH PAINS: #8 But I have done something bad. I need absolution. There’s a dummy catholic in my head, host in my withering hand, held down under the crystallising waters. Absolution, free from the need to believe. I need a face job. I am nothing without my looks. I am shallow as shallow can be. I come from a long line of handsome devils. We know how utterly compelling we can be. Raised, arched eyebrows describe an arc of social bridge building, ladies fall at our feet. Not to mention men. We are all Alpha males. There are more Chiefs than Indians. When I schlepped in from the desert, secreted myself in the fridge, the template I was after was readily available. Cold, airless, a mechanised hum, conducive to crisp, cold good looks. It was easy enough to copy the man’s outline. I am from a long line of household gods. We come, we enter, and we create. Just like that. Charm is the thing. Devilish charm. Charm is the real social glue that binds. Society is full of outcasts whose principal failing is not having sufficient charm. You see them in the streets, beady-eyed grudge holders, lardy poltroons with cake eating tendencies, haggard and bitter veterans of social trench warfare, fought above and below ground. The silent legions of social warfare veterans, veterans of battles waged in solitary, in unbelievable and dank apartments. Legions with legionnaire’s. Many TB cases remain undiagnosed, as trench foot casualties hack and cough their germs onto the heads of fellow passengers on the tops of buses. Windows remain closed, and the fuggy, clammy atmosphere settles like a blanket. Windows are running with condensation, breath distilled on the cold glass. Distilled alcoholics lurch around the request stop. A pit bull soon to be let loose on the top deck is flaying the pavement with acid piss. Ordinary folk look surreptitiously from the corners of their eyes, peripheral vision affording them sneak previews of the unprepossessing mob. Of the dead eyed owners 3 are male, a composite of grimy, cross-eyed, teeth-missing medievalists, a mass of abrasions and black eyes, paraffin on the breath and murder in the soul. A bundle of fun and trouble. One is marginally female. There’s a commotion downstairs, pre-figuring for those upstairs what they can expect. Raised voices portend evil. The driver, behind his perspex shield, gives out, but can’t quite give out enough. Worried passengers’ hearts sink as the unwanted and unwashed lurch aboard. The dog makes a quick survey, snuffling with awesome threat at ankles and thighs. The lower deck mob heave inaudible sighs of relief as the motley crew levitate to the upper deck. Those above are treated for the first time to the unspectacular disarming gang who make haste for the back, barking like the dog. The dog, disdainful, makes his way around and around, string trailing like a withered corpse. The bus speeds up, as time slows down. The driver needs to be home. Suddenly, he hits the breaks…
BIRTH PAINS: #9 That’s why I was late here. Bus was impounded. Corpse as evidence. My re-birth therefore postponed. I was a material witness. Driver traumatized and sent home with a compensation form. No, I really am here….here to tell you. I am now 40ish, as you can see, 20 years on, my life begun again, in sorrowful expectation of the life force (or something) suddenly kicking in. I am an expert. Levitation, psycho-kinetic devotion, laying down the tracks…you name it. I am expert in life, in re-birth, ecstatic prancing, denouncing as I go. Denunciation of the pre-mythic rips and roars from my mouth. I get up and down again. I levitate to the tops of buses and then float down again. It’s all just straight up and down. But I find, despite my chronic anhedonia and dead eyed insomnia, the will to go on. I’m kept awake by the people upstairs. Who laugh too much at their own jokes. It’s the only way. Like Spike, brilliant as TV surrealist, appalling as indulgent goon. Laugh at my own jokes? You bet. But upstairs it’s just stupid voices issuing from mental defectives. But Spike knows enough to know you laugh at your own jokes. That’s right. But I’m the stand up musician without music who shrinks from laughter. I am available. I can be used, I’m just sort of hanging around, ready to be used or abused.
BIRTH PAINS: #10 How do you think I got here? Bus or airplane accident, no need to clear customs then. This is what you want. Ten companions, dead to the world, flight out of Heathrow, falling out of the sky. Air rage so desperate that even victims of air rage are themselves routinely set upon by peaceful flyers, disturbed by their proximity to potentially violent fellow flyers. Actually beating them to death, so set are they upon a peaceful and uneventful flight. Describing an infinite arc in the early evening sky, video footage recorded by an amateur camcorder buff. Now I’m here there’s no need to communicate directly any more. We’re all separate somehow anyway. Just bad taste to talk…plenty of blether and outreach, prattling discourses never ending over the ethereal waves, endless nothings relayed via WAP technology. But long live the spirit of the amateur cameraman, the solo recording engineer, and the lonesome knob twiddler. Filtered and sampled, the sorry old amateur with enough balls or sheer nerve can carve a tidy career for himself by replaying bits of dead culture, moribund history back at beats per minute. The zeitgeist (that old thing) beaten into heightened shape, hijacked by proponents of solitary pursuits, enthusiasts, the solipsistic collector mentality, the urge to record even the unremarkable. And what else do we do on our own then? I think we all know the answer to that one.
We are all as unremarkable as the agent of record. We are just walking technology. Walking hardware. Fleshy gear. Flashy gear. As it were, Soft Machines. The dream or nightmare of intelligent robots has already happened. Years ago. Linear time. Just on the chance that something might happen. Individually we are nothing. Until we look. The important thing is to look, through a lens if possible. We’re lookers, see? What we see is necessarily validated. My eyes are no longer clandestine. Unless I see you, it’s invalid. Am I stating the obvious? I very much fear so as I sit here, twisting my fingers into grotesque configurations, in caricature of thoughtful critique, pulling faces that are designed to register on the observer as intense concentration. No need to communicate what you see…or am I wrong? Why else has this technology been imposed on us, blanket promotion, hard sold as essential? Information gathered and misunderstood is better than not knowing at all. That’s what they say. That’s the lie they peddle. The profane. If you don’t know it by now, I’m batting for the sacred. The other side of the coin. I have The Knowledge in Holy Trinity of Curly, Larry and Moe, The Tripartite God in Three Persons of Sacred and Profane Infamy.
BIRTH PAINS: #11 But this is what you want. To know. To attain The Knowledge. To eschew Not-knowingness. And I am finally senseless. I am Buffy Strangelove, the feckless and craven genuflection to the Two Arcane Cultures, Knowing and Not-Knowing. I am preposterous; I am your household god. I’m here to put the mockers on it. You need no more knowledge. I am dead to the world. I am dead inside. And I am adamantine. Hard inside and out. I am deader than dead…Never had a good thought, mind never more closed, previously a black bank night. Why an open mind? Open minds are like swiss cheese…full of holes. My familiars therefore are all trepanned. I’m now nearer the end than the beginning and this point has to stick. Really, that really is my game. That’s my game. God given, I’m nearer the end than the beginning.
What you want is sick gags. Extreme scenes. Filmable perversions. Erotically ironic narratives. Holocaust perversions, degraded imaginings that wrong foot self appointed moralists. First person narratives in which toddlers are slain – and see what reaction you get from the middle mass. That’ll get the profane juices going. And craftily constructed scenarios, full of narrative cohesion. You want it all on a plate. Slick and ironic; hyper-ironic psycho killer novels; extended metaphors traducing society’s sick consumerist tendencies. But no taboos are so strangulated that we can’t stargaze. Society and its chatterers, its knee jerks, are thus jolted out of somnolence. There’s no wriggling off the hook. There’s nothing so empty, no surface so smooth and intangibly mysterious, as sleeping society, no society sufficiently ritualistic or plastic. All life now is ritualized metaphor. All life is undermined before the fact. Reality is the only satire you people need. You’ve reached the end of the satirical age and the corollary is Sick Gags. They’re what you want. What we want, what we need, is sick gags. To cause uneasy offence. It has been argued that the sick joke serves as a rallying point for people in the face of unspeakable horror. Laugh at it, make it ridiculous and it loses its power to upset. You can thereby contain it, reduce it, and render it bearable. As if. You are “fearless” breakers of normal convention, clandestine terrorists, and accepted codes relating to taste and agreed cultural norms are breached. You laugh in the face of widely accepted standards of decency. But I have to tell you that there’s no merit in iconoclasm, which is yesterday’s news.
BIRTH PAINS: #12 Your life and mine are onrushing…sick gag express…we are locomotive. Death wish pleasuring, lack of public planning, no coherent plan, no accountable executives; this means we’ll be de-railed as likely as not. Sooner or later. I am an expert remember. You are encouraged to mortgage yourself to my expertise. Be an expert as well. Become knowledgeable in something/anything. Get online, as an expert. You ask a question and chances are one of my online agents knows the answer. This is what you want. As long as you’re all experts in something, as long as you can rely on someone else’s expertise, as long as someone notices. I feel so empty. I don’t know anything. As long as someone (anyone) picks up the proffered fruits of my knowledge, even if that knowledge is just a tawdry notation, a solipsist’s desire for, and ability to obtain, recognition. Pre-cognition is inherent in all. We imagine, we actually foresee, futures that include visions…in which we’re held in high esteem, feted, our opinions sought, TV crews never that far away, contracts for opinion pieces about to be signed. You need agents to manage your fame, to confer credibility by stealth. And I am a professional as well as a confessional liar. I am an expert liar. My agents are always out there, putting out for me, promoting my own especial brand of untruth. My expertise in untruth and rumour is valuable currency. I run the gravy train of rumour. I have agents all over, literally all over the world. You want anyone to set you straight? Frank’s your man, sought out by heads of state. Nabobs and princes seek my advice, they’re always at my door. They fly over continents, endure bathetic flight panic to hear me hold forth, pay shitloads to hear me pontificate untruthfully. My head’s in the other place. It’s tuned in to the psychic realm. It’s my destiny…if I may assume this tone. I am desire…. I am cloudy with understated sexual yearning. I get laid in lieu. And I get touched. People touch me, and pay for it. Sometimes on the other hand I get kicked in the head, torched, generally put upon in no uncertain manner.
BIRTH PAINS: #13 This is a theme I’m warming to. See me extemporize doctor? Candidly I put my hand up the skirt of Mother Nature. Fiddling about up there, I discovered the truth about so-called genetic imperatives. Natural desires ebb away with time. Endless steamy nights, replicating scenes featuring other lovers. It’s a crash course for the lovebirds and all that jazz. Viagara is the new drug of choice. And as you knock on towards 40, desire is something you put out with the cat, although I’m still a hit with the ladies. At night, as the embers grow low, embryonic clouds scud over and cop choppers disturb the peace. Buzz, and away, buzz and away. What are they up to? What, I wonder, are they looking for? Have you paid them? Are they in your employ? Do they have access to your files? Is this a new kind of super state spook perversion? What is it in the dark watches that fascinates and intrigues these spotter choppers? Mother Nature is nonetheless my endless source of pride. She did me proud. In the night, it’s more obvious than ever. The void is given expansive, nullifying expression. My children are always asleep, disturbed only by the spotter choppers.
I got my boot in the door of liberty. The liberty of youth. Youth, although stretched out culturally over far too many years, is encoded and hard-wired. The new spending power of adult kids is paramount, but age actually contracts, warps and wefts in the physical body so that the young at heart are in fact all too old in liver and brain. Brainpans are empty, scoured out, as never before imagined. Nights, years, spent in pubs, imbibing useless knowledge and drinking in thoughtless opinions, being engulfed in preposterous prejudices and overcome by unsolicited views. Drink got the better of me years ago, and other peoples’ opinions still ring hollow, utterly empty; but porridge like, they stick. The young at heart, still young after all these years. They were surely coined in optimistic epochs; post coital, post killing frenzy. The young at heart, like some terrible army, are surely behind all the meaningless, yet hilarious, coincidences in my life. They harry me; they cajole me, as though I were a preposterously accoutered sitcom father. They exchange mock solicitous glances as I puff and gawp. They watch me ham it up. I roll my eyes, and I do double takes. The young at heart are breathing their sickly breath down my fat neck. I for my part can’t breathe. The young at heart hear me labouring for breath, and observe my body stiffening up. I can barely bend down to tie my shoelaces these days. The young at heart are on hand to make me feel as though the end is near. They’re in the pub, cracking jokes; they are purveyors of good times. They wear denims well into their 50s. They never grow up; they act like dictatorial buffoons, and are despised by their offspring. The old usurping the domain of the young can’t but end in tears…
BIRTH PAINS: #14 We’re certainly nearer the end than the beginning, certainly paddling up that creak without the paddle of experiential insight. So far, yet nothing learned. Still no expertise. I am knowledge, which is of course as we know obsolete. Rebellion is even more obsolete. At least, as far as we can be sure of anything, we can be sure of that. Revolution is nowhere now, a pissy memory of pre-knowledge hankering. Post music, religion is not the only dead duck. Revolution’s a museum artifact, despite numerous localized disputes. We are now what we have, product, which we then resell. Over and over in our dreams. Autoerotic dreams. We are deader than dead, deader than nightshade, deader than deadpan, violet death shade…we inhabit a dead world…and I clean up. When you reach the beginning of the end, little things matter. Little things like waste. That’s why I set such store by metaphors for rebirth, material recycling, suddenly redolent with meaning, acquiring new substance. Waste of time. Most of all…waste of all the potential, the love, the wellspring of hope. Replaced for a laugh, just a laugh, by schadenfreude, misanthropy, and this-is-what-you-want-this-is-what-you-get cynicism. This is what you want. Leave it alone, it’ll come back and haunt you. Leave it behind. I am also a diminished household god. A household god without a household. Everybody’s left me. Except Dionysia here. She’s like me, which is why I love her. But she’s also (unlike me) endlessly faithful, despite her essential fecklessness. And Frank booted her out of course…once he’d found out that I was fucking her behind his back. The poor sap. My gags are all old. All worn out. I have outrun my gags in sickness. I go down the pub; it’s the same old scene. Beleaguered veterans, propping up companions with hopeless, bleary blarney. Shirted functionaries occupy the roles filled in pre-end times by barmen and barmaids. There’s a general absence of spirit, a kind of grubby fatalism, which spreads like a wet blanket through the bureaucratic bleakness of modern drinking establishments.
BIRTH PAINS: #15 You still with me? You still hanging in here doc? I worked it so that pre-millennial optimism (back in the last half of this last century linear time) took a nosedive throughout the whole sorry denouement. The more crises the better yeah? I make it a question of pride to get you all thinking along televisual lines. Nothing like seeing a whole population devoted to exhibitionism. Sweet. It took a while to catch on, but eventually we made it eh? No. I’m just indulging you now; always up for a bit of naughtiness, insensitive to sentiment, actually desensitizing my language in lyrics. I scribble a triple album’s worth of flatulent pap. This is what you want. I went to NYC some 20 years ago, and fell through a tight white screen. The hordes were baying for the blood of an Englishman. We left the rhythm section still playing on stage, some joke. We are soppy experimentation, with tacked-on junky noodlings, a solid backbeat. Critics are consistent in their flattery; haw hawing like cockatoo parrot face caricatures. Wailing into the dark night, left the bassist and drummer on stage, still playing…some joke eh? I assume the character of a parody octogenarian, brow beetling at the slightest perceived impertinence offered. I am a household god, and I don’t stand on ceremonies, nor tolerate offence given. I am a gnarly old man, baring greedy fangs, slobbering with affected hurt. Turning on the waterworks. I was in vaudeville until we wised up. People generally back away. I delude myself that this is because they’re in awe of me. You, my amanuensis Ahab, a defrocked secular priest, know it well!! Several other doctors as well actually, have attempted over the years to disabuse me of that notion. They try to let me down gently. You say to me that while people aren’t actually in awe of me, there is a kind of (it’s that kind of that gets me) grudging respect. I know that even that’s a sop. You think they can reclaim me; make me whole, make me strong. You don’t know. I am way ahead. I am a household god. I am master in my own denuded household.
BIRTH PAINS: #16 You’ll want to know this. You’ll want to be aware of this. Knowledge, the bane of the 21st century; although we’ve got technology, knowledge gestated in the fetid brains of experts, so we don’t have to know how the video/software/theory works, we still want to know this. It’s human nature. We’ve got a catch up time, before knowing becomes fashionable again. But you’ll want to know this. You’ll want to know why it is you can’t get fucked for instance. Why it is you can’t get no satisfaction. Why your trousers don’t fit any more. You should know that the best way is always to wear a size too small. That way, you don’t get tempted to blow out. Your trousers are always telling you the truth. Leave a generous gap, a size too big and you’ll be lulled into thinking you can get away with putting a few more away. Trousers cannot lie.
Littering the dank corridors of your brain, all the discarded bits of knowledge, never much use even to start with, now reaching a critical mass: compacted, compressed knowledge junk. The support structures have long been usurped by cyber space. The machines take the slack. Slack brained, individuals need no longer take the strain. Filing cabinets are obsolete. Files and filing cabinets, icons on your desktop, are something to get nostalgic about, something to fill up about. They are sentimental simulacra. We’re nostalgic for tangible knowledge. The ruthless efficiency of the nostalgia industry takes up the slack of lost knowledge. Or the slack is re-gathered and re-encoded by the entertainment industry. You’ve seen it. Garish, symbol drenched popular channels; game shows reveling in the numerological implications of number based power games, and win a million. Jackpot! I enumerate money for you see? I already won a lottery million when I was born. Before I was born. My number came up, before the game had even been thought of. I was expelled from the stellar womb through numerological coincidence. As one universe expanded, so another contracted, and at that point, I hit the jackpot. As we went supernova, me and Frank, before the split, before he died, cash money spewed over the gleaming new universe as I gathered my thoughts. Thus began the long process of capital assessment. I’ve made more money than you’ll ever see. Mountains of cash – I’m rich in spending power. I don’t need a million. I am a million. I burn a million. I’m the one the bank ads are aimed at. They want my money. I get several letters a week begging me to invest my capital. It’s hallucinatory. Money glazes my eyes so that everything appears dreamlike. My life as a cash rich individual is one long special effect. Did I tell you about StanleyK already? I did? He tapped straight into my frontal lobe for the final cash metaphor in 2001. Star Gate? I don’t think so. That’s what the inside of money looks like. It twists and swirls. It break-dances and it expands at first slowly, then riotously. It turns inside out and it changes colour in a rich phantasmagorical kaleidoscope of swirly dream images. Money buys anonymity see? Seals off the director from the real world. Borehamwood sanctuary into which the real world cannot intrude; and from which the director spins elaborate fables of coded reality. My cash fantasies helped him dodge the stalkers for year after year after year.
BIRTH PAINS: #17 We don’t know what we’re doing. We can play at knowing what we’re doing. We can pretend to an expertise in the domain of things that never mattered, never were likely to matter. Wallpaper experts. Gardening gurus. Cookery authorities. Sumptuous but empty pixilations of food porn. But none of it ever mattered. Now it doesn’t matter that it doesn’t matter. Its just playtime. Free time. Dead time. You’ve made everything into play. Its survival of the happiest. We don’t need a survival instinct any more. Knowledge, happiness, boredom makes it literally impossible to care about anything as last century as survival. We’re onto the next thing. We’re post frivolous.
Did you know how to identify serious play? They say that Low Cost Autonomous Attack Systems can be detonated with long rod penetration, or as an aero stable slug, or fragments, depending on the hardness of the target…and I’m now all hooked on weapon porn vids. Round my way, we’ve all got ‘em. Everyone’s got a shooter packed. Shoot ‘em up with smart technology. Reach tumescence with murderous sensitivity. I intend to grow a moustache and assume the character of a model. Would a moustache suit me? Cyber suited functionary of war, I zap the unseen enemy with beautiful aplomb. Bombs away! I’ve bombed the knowledge out of them. Bombed the shite and the knowledge clean away. How many war movies does it take? Why bother to argue? Its exegesis for the poor bastards who’ve done the dirty work and been mind raped, or hot turn…I am now a sick puppy who gets off on images of slick violence, techno-erotica. I am in danger of becoming a porn mummy, emulating former guitar heroes. Strumwank. The unfunny voice of radical dissent has atrophied, morphed without grace into slick gesture. The politics of gesture comedy and weapon porn is tangibly corrupt. Self-consciously on board, attending to the narcissism of the audience. Just don’t get ‘em laughing, that’s all. It’s a disgrace that education can lead to self-righteousness on such a monumental scale. Radical dissent is bullying receptionists. Radical dissent means radically zeroing in on the irrelevance of your intent. I’m sick and fucked. The erotic weaponry image bank is all but irresistible. Get me a drink…I need payment now.
BIRTH PAINS: #18 But I can’t stop now. Pleasure doesn’t do any of the perpetrators or victims of satirical intent much good. And of course they’re all “sincere”. But it’s a weedy bombast, no real wrath. They need evisceration. They are co-dependent with their victims. Why should the criminals in charge of government and business not be exposed? They collude with their tormentors in an orgy of inter-textual co-dependence. Am I right? They think they can take a joke but they can’t take a joke. They laugh at people like them because they’re too much like them. They despise them because they’re too much like them. This is the energised equation. We scorn those we recognise as ourselves. But we can only love those we recognise as ourselves. I hope you can readily appreciate, my good doctor, that this renders secular psychology a spent force. It’s gone. Done and dusted. You are obliged to re-configure, brain wise. Hippocampus exercise. See mine? Distorts the forehead yes? This horn shaped muscle at the base of the front temporal lobe needs to be enlarged by maybe 30% in maybe 50% of the population in order that our general, as yet hypothetical, re-invigoration of the mythic realm be fully effective. Are you an expert in this? No? Then what am I doing in your custody? Where are my duty frees? I want my agent. You know you want me eh? I am the epic solution, the epic that is the only conceivable mode available to you now. The dissolution of the therapy centres is both my reformation and my counter-reformation. All in one, I will disenfranchise therapy culture; tear the fabric down the middle and you can see the results all around. People attempting to fuck buildings, hypnerotomachia obsessed, following the elephant trails. They’ve had their trepanned minds freed up. Hippocampus size is now, by my divine Gnostic agency, effectively without limit.
BIRTH PAINS: #19 In pre-mythic hell, the people go round and round, listening in only to their own replayed voices. Every thought is couched in DJ babble…look at me chatter. Puny voices amplified to deafening levels. In hell, they have words to make you scream, words to make you retch, words to make you blather. All words blathered out randomly as though meaning were contained in them, rather than attached to them, as in the world you’ve just come from, are laid bare here. They make you suffer the word all too viscerally. All those thoughtless opinions, all that vapid letting off of steam, all the injunctions to hurry up, get going, don’t do that, what do you mean by that, put that down, sorry about that, don’t let me catch you doing that again, hurry up for god’s sake…all these (and more) are made to mean something here. You’ll love it. Hell’s full of people who really do mean it. We all mean what we say in hell. You can’t get away from the perverse meaningfulness of intent in hell.
Pre-mythic hell is full of people looking for an agenda. They don’t know it, but the agenda’s been up there for years. I’m not talking quantum physics here, just linear time. I’ve been waiting for years for them to realise you don’t need an agenda. Life is all you get. We bleed into death, but slowly. It happens so you don’t notice. Here with you and me, it happens much quicker. Empires are born and die in the time it takes the world to turn once. The only ones to realise this were the least likely of all. Doesn’t make them right mind. But they surely realised that this is as good as it gets. Life…it’s there for the taking.
So I took myself beyond the suburbs, in the car, where there is no life…up beyond the orbital…beyond all the ghosts. Nice place…nice people. Nice strictly rationalised opinions. It’s all so bleeding obvious in these desperate verges. All waxed aprons. High streets empty, not even latent. Little bit (not too much) history. Mazes writ large in guidebooks. Wit makes its own welcome, and levels all distinctions. No dignity, no learning, no force of character, can make any stand against good wit. These words appear in my mind. More knowledge…blown away…from meaning. The past is now over, but not forgotten. Appropriation, as it happens.
MY NEW CHURCHES/1 Ghosts are always on my mind. Do they play golf? Are they golfers? Do They Play Golf?…is what I want to know. I never knew a ghost who kept still long enough for the swing…but that don’t mean a thing, that they don’t have that swing. In hell they don’t exist. Hell is for people who mean things, desperately, like you. Not me. Ghosts of types verging on the psychopathic disturb my dreams. Rob me of speech; paralyse my legs. Make me come. It’s never sexualised. It’s never sex now. Remember, I’m pushing on 40 these days. Linear time. The sight of stippled surfaces truncates sexual desire. My dreams fall conventionally into the obvious categories. Wish fulfilment, frustration. Swimming underwater. Paralysed limbs. It’s terrifying, even for me. The endless nights of dreamscape dysesthesia make me rabid with fear. Unravelling, the whole linear scale unravelling. Then I wake, never quite asleep in the first place, but enough to be terrifying. Do ghosts play golf? Plaid trousered and disingenuous; hoping to make up a spectral foursome.
The dreamscape of the fairways is a region excluded by the perimeter of the M25, which thereby excludes all these ghosts. It’s nature’s own way of excluding them from the fairways. Clubhouse diction is not a problem. These spectres are all well articulate. Club tie operators…golf aficionados. Any dodgy geezer can get a game. But the ghosts must petition, are obliged to hang around trying to catch the club secretary’s eye. They may never be nominated for membership of the exclusive clubs, even the less exclusive clubs, but they can still swing an iron or a wood. No trouble with a mashie niblick. Putting not a problem. Outside the orbital the countryside is configured schematically into arrangements of fairways, bunkers, greens and rough, and is literally teaming with young and not so young…not so old…former mods…or rockers, still in love with their youth, clandestinely planning adulterous liaisons with boys and dental assistants, bored of mooning around the house and therefore receptive to immature predatory flirting…out of love with their wives, homo-erotically attached to their old muckers…with whom they go on long boys-only camping holidays. They shlep around the fairways, dreaming of mod-rock and knocking balls into holes. Way to go lads! They retire early. Deception is on file; ghosts are alibis of the hopeless. Cheating no-one…Cheating on their wives, who are oblivious to the clearly signalled distaste felt for them by these ghosts, their husbands. They never look beyond their sentimentalised pre-adult, here and now years, or see their own ghosthood for what it is. Golf is a march of time, a retarded pastime for ghosts.
MY NEW CHURCHES/2 You look like you could play a few holes doc. Handicap? Ghosts of your youth don’t get a look in. I’ve seen you. You don’t cover your tracks. I know your secrets. I know everything about you. Seduction of the innocent; savage imposition of your carnal desires. Cover your tracks? Not quite. They fall for the bedside manner eh? The plausible demeanour? Up on Box Hill, driven up there in a Japanese motor, losing body heat, these poor suckers get raped in mind and body, left to pucker up to the realities of non-existence, forever listening in to the mournful tunes that defined them when they were alive. Post revolutionary, post narcoleptic, these forgotten ex golfers never get a look in. They drift from club to club, never getting a game, forever performing a sort of ghostly dream dance around the orbital. The 19th hole is home to many a sad soul, many a lost individual. Your mind rape victims Doctor. I have your number. I’ve got the goods on you. You can’t get behind my mask. My glossolalia is intense now; I speak in tongues both this side of and beyond the orbital.
I have supped with ghosts. I have given them houseroom. I put up with them, give them space to express themselves. Everyone thinks they have something to say. But the sad truth is that they haven’t. They just haven’t. Ghosts are wrongfully encouraged. Their self-expression is the death of expression. Every story heard reduces your will to go on. Except mine eh doc? You have to hear mine. Mine is apocryphal, but all-inclusive. Every anecdote, every gag, all sorts of tawdry narratives…assumed identities…just make me feel like puking. But I need it as much as you. These ghosts might as well be dead. Deader than they already are. People I despise demand houseroom all the time. Just turn up…bold as you like, just for the night. Blink of an eye, they’re there, in the bleeding woodwork. Never winkle the bastards out. Here to stay. What do they gain? They pretend to an intimacy that doesn’t exist, and they abuse my good nature. I haven’t the heart to put them out on the street. I scare them with simulations of cop choppers; watch their terrified reactions. They go about their miserable lives as though they were alive. They don’t have any expertise. So I live alone now. Inexpertly. It’s the best way. My kitchen is always empty of good will, clever laughter, and good food. Takeaways are rubbish but I don’t have any time for lifestyle, friendship, and relationships. Modern relationship friendships are compromised by the need to stay ahead of the other. People are used to getting their own way. Lots of fevered debate used to take place in my kitchen, but the fire went out. Mouths opened and closed, but nothing was said.
At this point Dionysia interjects, a propos of nothing…the hair of the hostess on the verge of catching fire…cool jazz plays in the background. A subliminal hum of clever laughter pervades the room. Lifestyle has caught up with clever lifestyle practitioners, now life itself takes a back seat. All sorts of gorgeously attired food; it’s so easy to throw together. Just enjoy it, don’t worry. Don’t throw a wobbler, it’s all about relaxing…kicking back. Lifestyle of the moderately gorgeous, giving yourselves little treats, ballast against cold reality. Well, you’re gonna die too any time now, gorgeous…
It’s a non-sequitor. The doctor and I exchange raised eyebrows, in collusion maybe at last. But of course I know her game. She is playing a blinder. So now I stay inside. Forced merely to endure. I’m not forced to of course. There are no restraints here. I am fully aware of the energy currents. I still levitate at will, go down the park at full power, but I choose not to…mostly. Dogshit still bothers me, although all my children are now grown up. You’ve grown out of sticking your pudgy little fingers in the gloopy mess and then smearing it all over. I don’t need to worry about that any more. Did I tell you? Dogs joined estate agents at the wrong end of my displeasure. Dogs, dead dogs. Domesticity equals obsolescence eh? What’s the difference?
MY NEW CHURCHES/3 I’m all through with social commentary then. Abrahams looks bored anyway. Society…just a simulacrum of something or other. Something else. My “problem” not definable, traceable, in pre-mythic terms. In societal terms. Your problems have just begun though doctor. Go outside and look around. Don’t expect spoon-feeding. I’m not here to make your cultural fabric flicker into life for you, or to breathe life into your moribund myths. I can neither illuminate nor elucidate them. As I said days ago, my epochal propositions are themselves elucidatory. I’m here to rip the social fabric down the middle. My New Churches…replacing the old order, the therapy centers. You think I’m ranting? I can call in favours. I’ve been to the Isle of Wight. Attended secret strategy meetings to determine timetables for Mythic Rejuvenescence. Trepanning schedules. You’ve never seen me ranting. I may be demotic in my own bathetic light, but I’m also the little minor deity of Inconsequentiality, which means I’m too urbane to rant. Do you not see my velvet smoking jacket? My ivory fag holder? I’m no Speaker’s Corner nutter…I have no need to feed my own delusions…I’m the very picture of dedicated languor. My style speaks for itself. Volumes have been written about my ability to transcend earthy roots. I have become the age. Style is only one of the denizens of my dream life…
MY NEW CHURCHES/4…I didn’t make this. I didn’t ask to be made for this. I found the following; it didn’t find me. An idea just floating – just drifting there…which I will later deny effective knowledge of. I have become cataleptic at last. I wake up in time to catch him feeling me up, filling me with juice of some sort. I was made in ’60, or ’80. Nineteen sixty-four. My mum was a code breaker. Won the war she did. Cancer was what did it. We never got over that. I’m breaking up now. Enigma variations. They all played sports and then they were all gone. Bunkers full of heroes. Too much thought now goes into words. Sam Beckett. He knew. He knew. Dead. Deader than deadpan. Words is all he got, all we got. Old waxy face, quite good at cricket. Well thought of. Very well mannered. Admired for shortness of sentences. Unimpeachable war record. Sentences, longer again, constructed themselves…became reflexive, referred to anything but the meanings they thought they contained…throughout the 70s/80s, now we’re all too concerned to make sense. Words to throw the technical experts off the scent. Dyslexic, if I could fake it, would now be better. Some sort of Parkinsonian riff…words just come out all wrong. Or a sort of Phonemic Paraphrasia…simulated Tourette’s….People back then often thought I was a Tourette’s case. I could do that one again. Or a dysphasic. A Spoonerist. My engorged hippocampus has of course, as you’ll know, necessarily precipitated chronic damage to the adjacent temporal lobes. My attitude is kind of…you gain something, you lose something else. Swings and roundabouts. I’m philosophical about it. I get the kicks…Sparked up expletives, inappropriate obscenity. I hurl obscenities at Ahab. Actually, that was just the way it was back then. And still is. Words all jumbled up. Words that have lost meaning, a residual effect of hyper-reality. I led the way, hippocampus swollen by liturgical chanting and devotional procession, and the numinous world followed. Words spoken in tongues that vanquish decadent empires, tumbling like dice in the melting pot…you won’t get the same effect with pissy little debugged gobbets of code. That culture is now comatose…Blast first conservatism is now both too near and far, like its well needed…. It’s had its bad day. Like a mother returning, like a tiger burning bright, the dysphasic ritual word is all that’s left. They’re kind of good at their job now. Shit stirrers with a fine talent for stirring their own shit. Like well-groomed arrivistes, they don’t have anything to declare but their own sheer nerve.
MY NEW CHURCHES/5 Geek aspiration now is all. My ghost friends, fellow ex-gods, debased and out of the loop, all aspired to dotcom goldrush levitation. The bloom went off that one rather quickly. Businesses wished into existence, into cyber hyper-reality, then they’re gone, like vapour off piss. And no one cares because, well, how can you care? That’s what they didn’t understand. Little shits mortgaged to the very ends of their tether. Live the dreaming lives of paraplegic psycho-explorers. They’re dreaming the dreams of the unbrave. They’ve staked their land claim in no man’s land. Literally. I bump off an html artist a day now. Send bad Gnostic vibrations at ISDN speeds. Pickle their goose for them. It’s the death of a sense of humour of course. But how do you kill it? Humour is already dead, no longer funny. You’re past laughing.
Geek law – the modern law of diminishing returns. The more they try to infuse their code with intent, numerological import, the more we’re all filled with breathless ennui. Reality never intrudes in the quiet realm, whatever that is. I’ve had to go back again and again, over the years, go back years and years to find working definitions. I have been reduced to holding out for windfalls, cash rich game shows with never a winner in sight…and the more attractive and inevitable suicide appears. Re-birth in Gnostic wholeness, but without a sense of humour. It’s one way, if not mine. Your favourite comedian, a former god of inconsequentiality and present familiar of idiocy, is no longer funny. But I’ve been around too long. The mask is slipping. I need to get back to the airport. My baggage needs reclaiming. Left luggage, the whole city’s supply. Will the doctor be much longer? It’s almost time to go. Driving around the distressed suburbs that flank the airport, it’s all too obvious where the problem is. The landscape is pauperized. There’s a total lack of good faith, the topography heaves with cynicism. Motorcars are fizzing like firecrackers, so I hit the accelerator pedal. The bus speeds up, and then stops suddenly. There’s a bang. Opportunistic auto smash. The car skids into a swerve, flips over like a pancake…. I’m OK. I’m out of there in a flash. The contours of my body somehow adjust. It never quite gets to me because I remain focused. Up and away, the astral body taking the strain away. Flying dutifully south around the circular, I’m afforded these visions…decades worth of accidents, brittle arcades full of smashed vehicles. Thousands of busted luxury coaches fill the orbital…full of stuffy, constipated day-tripping occultists, intent on disseminating their pernicious doctrines. So these auto smashes are a necessity. My work, it’s never done. They can’t move, these leisure prisoners in their metal mausoleum juggernauts. Moveable coffins, they pack ‘em in like sardines. They can’t move. Surgery’s the answer. Movies at volume, want it or not. Same with planes, although the very decorous flight assistants who breeze back and forth like the dust never settles enhance the illusion of freedom and movement. I fly, as I’ve endeavoured to explain, whenever and wherever I get the chance. Truly intercontinental, that’s me. I am an intercontinental household god, a moveable feast. Free booze an’ all. Free loader, that’s me. I drink till it comes out of my nose. Like some boozy caricature tart, my knickers come off for anyone. It’s just one long Xmas office party where I’m concerned. Then I get all maudlin, time to buckle up, time to hunker down, cry into the chardonnay and, like, my soul’s…uh…ablaze with ritualized anger. I make up stories…in my head…in which I’m always cast as the victim. No one’s ever been as badly treated, as ill used, as have I. I have to be asked to sit down, to leave, discreetly. Everyone’s against me, I am hateful, I’m just a piece of shit really. I know it. Deep down I know it. Lucky I never got up to any of that shit while actually in flight. I’d have been a disaster in flight. I fly like a baby. I’m an expert in victimhood. No-one’s safe from my manipulations there. I’ve been wronged by literally everyone. Several times over, every day…but then, I’m right on the money too. By the time the plane lands I’ve completely changed again. I re-energize, carrier bags and all, through customs, new paths to beat, elephants to invoke………
MY NEW CHURCHES/6…But I don’t easily shed the more enjoyable caricature skins I affect. It’s too much fun. Boozy caricature number one, that’s me. I’m two…no, make that one-dimensional. I allow misconceptions to stand unchallenged. I operate in grey areas. I don’t take responsibility for my actions. I paint up. I get drunk. I’m anyone’s, especially once I’ve got my way. The way I use people for my own ends is like nobody’s business. The way I do it is to flatter them into thinking I take them seriously, that I like them (as if!) and then once they’ve let their guard down, I let ‘em have it. I tell tales out of school, I spread rumours, gossip maliciously, never letting my own guard down. Play one off against the other. I let it be known what I really think to people who have the power to harm them. I kick down; I’m incorrigible. I have no integrity. It’s what I call fun. For flight ennui it can’t be beaten.
So anyway, what I’ve been leading up to is this…why listen to music? Music’s done for. The repertoire is empty. Anything that is too stupid to be spoken is sung. There’s a lack of the right stuff. The right people doing the right thing. I can’t listen to music, there’s no point in music simulation, studio manipulation. Recycled attitudes. Attitudinizing, referential, over cautious, positioned for the greatest possible effect, peoples’ brothers, chanting doggerel, strumming and thrumming. Drummers are cactus headed, cow breath sodden, murky from self abuse, clubs full of sweat…false impressions, singers with Beckett mouths, nothing to sing, nothing simple, beyond re-appropriation, bereft of dignity, no bravery…to just stop. Clicking out rhythms to make you weep for boredom, phrasings that are copies of copies of your own brain patterns, jazz action…Notes fail to illuminate over familiar emotions, familiar chords are mere emoticons. I form a band to illustrate the point…
…Back outside in the cold, rain lashed down. Holes in the car roof were proof of my fecklessness. One day, I thought…one day. Bands swarmed like ants in my brain. Overtures in denim; bad attitudes of sweaty men. Again. Too much to contemplate, for one night only. I was my own bouncer, excluded from former bonhomie drenched evenings by my own aphasic malapropisms. I bounced myself good and proper away from the light and from the music. I went on ill-advised benders with the roadies. 20 pints…with chasers. Whores and coke filled nights of excess. I went hugely bellied into negotiating rooms and intimidated all and sundry with my bulk and sheer force of personality. Tremulous entrepreneurs quaked and cowered before me. But we were flying anyway, no need to over-play the gangster bit. We were almost always in flight. The juggernaut of flagrant excess was always primed for action. Constant forward motion, Concorde back in action, one false move and it would have been fatal for more than one of those concerned. We put so much stuff up our noses you just wouldn’t have believed it. Drug hyper activity was the fuel and the freedom.
Bad head. I have a bad head. I’m winding down after the excess. Bits of information, frothy apocrypha, float in and out of the swollen cerebellum. My thoughts are white hot, the electrical impulses turning to needles. I sit up, stretch, and look around. There’s a silence likened in my cleansed brain to seashore sounds. Shell-like white noise, hisses of beach breath. I exist in silence now. The party’s well and truly over. I prop up the nearest bar bereft of my former charm or energy. I sit here trussed up, a plaything of malevolent medics, their backs to the blank wall, blanket around the shoulders. Dionysia now no longer in a position to help. My head, lolling slightly, momentarily assumes a death’s head impression. Grinning skeletal visage, swallowed up again in an instant. Wouldn’t hurt a fly. Plenty of scope for the remake there. I’m not done yet. Or am I!
MY NEW CHURCHES/7 I am of course remade and remodeled almost incessantly. I dust down my glitter suits, rediscover my platform boots as before. We will hold futuristic séances with the assembled press pack and re-assure all concerned that what we are about to embark upon is in no way an act of cynicism. We will join hands with the hacks and just feel that the moment is somehow right. The surfer resurfaces; the zeitgeist will be breached again. Identity will once again be re-established. We are pure simulacra, until re-birth. Until Rejuvenescence. Until the elephant vibrations kick in. We think big, big enough to convince our doubters that our intent is not pauperized. Sponsorship is through the roof. The offshore accounts have been primed. We come over well, like seasoned boulevardiers, radiating an essence of worldly and impressive solidity. No one for a moment doubts that we are serious in our intentions, or imagines that we’re just in it for the money. We dreamed enough money for ourselves long, long ago. We already sold the money idea. We are paternal and we take our responsibilities seriously. Me, Frank and Dionysia; the comeback tour is officially on. We’re in a position to pick and choose, and we won’t put up with any old rubbish. The comeback plane, amazingly, was almost de-flighted last time round. Some deluded supplicant to the inner voices had gained access to the flight deck. Sorcery was suspected. Doesn’t make sense…not in this day and age, even given the tacitly accepted new low standards of practice and security that are a corollary of insufficiently rigorous acceptance of personal responsibility among all public and private employees. People just don’t give a fuck, on any level. Even when your life, and my life, is on the line. And so lunatics in their lucid intervals and/or terrorists are routinely checked onto flights without so much as a by-your-leave. Result: in this case severe shock, we are witness to a furious wrestling match with flight assistants who struggle to retain their dignity while at the same time subduing the delusory character. Result: peremptorily enforced soul searching, of the most emphatic nature, as the plane spirals out of control to within seconds of the immediate termination of all life in the vicinity.
I have, of course, complained in no uncertain terms. I found the man responsible, the functionary identifiable by the egg stains on his corporate tie. In my haste to make my point, my undilutable and undeletable comic rage was unchecked. I insulted him with all conceivable rapidity, called his lineage into question and went into a comic routine of undeniable effectiveness and moment. That’s the way we do it. That’s how we achieve re-entry. So what can you do about it? You’re looking at me blankly now. You are history doctor.