Wednesday, June 21, 2006

The Tail Of Ziggy Bitch

It takes a strong shoulder to carry a dead man cross the river
I wonder if that bitch will ever know what hit her
Trying times and the crimes of creation
The reaper beckons to her, her trains in the station
She spent her whole life chained up
But she walked with her head high
She evened learnt to heal in a new life
Breeding brindle bitch called Ziggy
Shake her mane like a lion why
She sho izza preddy big bitch
Ferocious nose
Throw a crow into a black hole
Ziggy Ziggy my Ziggy
Back in the days of the car yard life was hard
Those fuckers made her a mother on the day she could start
Put a chain around her neck and there it kept her
Birthing the finest fightin dogs in the east end, Haramy, the kingthief, demon and maybe sixty others
She was the reason why so many dogs in hackney have sisters an brothers
Her gaolers weren’t stupid making four hundred quid a puppy
Playing cupid, with my dead ridgeback bitch and Turkish mastiffs
coz its with the seeds of illegal breeds like that is where the cash is

One day she done got sick and this is the worst thing
They left her there to die chained to a wheelie bin
I found her on a vivid morning in December it was freezing
Blood was the colour of the puddle she was in
The moment Ziggy and I locked eyes I realized
That this was my dog and together we’d survive
You see life had dealt me a few hard tricks too
There was a boy I loved but he’d passed through
And it was really cool to be able to love another living thing
And there she was I’d found her so I undid her chains

And said ‘Girl I’m Taking You’

Oh yeah that day just happen to be my birthday too.
Ziggy my ziggy My bitch
The toughest damn Dog in the whole of Whoreditch
That dog stayed by side for a year of time

She saved my life in return when one night I almost died
Curled in ball going cold by the lap of the grim reaper
She brought me back by licking me, my souls canine keeper.
We’d go running up the marshes every morning
Chasing balls and sticks just like a TV story
The love I felt for her well there was oodles
Even on the day she bit the head off a poodle
And once a week I’d buy her bones and pigs heart
which she chommed in one go

We’d go to parties on Saturday and be the stars of the show
She left this earth fast on last year on December 31st
Hit by a jag by some ass hole that’s what felt the worst
Buried by my husband King Rock he was shocked
But I can’t think of someone more fit too take my bitch across the styx
And now I’d like to take some time in Ziggy’s memory
The bitch I rescued who then rescued me

Ziggy Ziggy RIP

OH Ziggys Bones Ziggy Bones Ziggy Bones.
Throw a crow into a black hole.
Beatrice Brown

Virtuous Chain Letter


This paper has been sent for your perusal. The original is in Bethnal Green London. It has been around the world thirteen times. Now the luck has been sent to you. You will be blessed with so much good fortune within four days of receiving this letter, but only if you read it carefully, act on its advice, and send it on to twenty people. This letter must leave your hands within ninety-six hours. DO NOT BREAK THE CHAIN.

This is not a joke. You WILL receive good luck. Do not send money. Money contaminates all who touch it. Sell your car. Sell your television. With the proceeds hold a party for your friends.

Sell your car and walk your child to and from school. It is better for you both. You can talk. It is better for your neighbourhood as well.

Sell your television. Time spent watching television is lost time. You cannot even remember what you saw on television six months ago. You will want those hours back when you are dying. Learn to play the guitar or read a book instead. Better still laugh with your family and friends.

Sell your mobile phone. On no account let your children have one. The mobile phone is a fraud imposed on you by rich men. You do not need a mobile phone. You never needed one. Over the years you and your children will give rich men thousands because of it. No one ever said anything worth saying into a mobile phone. Speak directly to those around you instead. We all need times when no one can reach us.

Sell your computer. The computer is an even greater fraud. It can do nothing for you at home and it is a way of controlling you at work. ON NO ACCOUNT GIVE A COMPUTER OR COMPUTER GAME TO YOUR CHILDREN. No child ever learnt how to play with other children, and to laugh and joke, from a computer. Children should be running around the playground with their friends, but they are hypnotised in front of a flickering screen for hours and hours instead. Is this really what you want for your children?

Your children are fat, greedy and insolent because you always let them have what they want. When you buy them an expensive toy because the other children at school all have one all you are doing is making rich men richer and your family poorer. You are doing big business's work for it by training your child to be a fat little consumer. Just like you.

Do not support sports teams. Watching sport is bad for your soul. It is bad luck to will weakness on anyone and you will weakness on the opponents of your team every week. You laugh as they cry. There is no link between the team you think is yours and you. It is all a fraud to make rich men richer. Do not play sport and do not support sports teams. Dance instead.

All advertising is lying. Fight these lies whenever and wherever you can. Turn all the bags you get from shops inside out, or better still take your own bag with you. Why would you want to be a walking billboard? Buy from small shops rather than large ones. The biggest companies are richer than many nations. Big business is a force for evil in this world. Big business corrupts. The people who opposed the building of a nuclear power station ended up working there and defending it because it put bread on their family's table. Do not allow this to happen to you.

Never divide the world into winners and losers. The only winners are those who love and are loved, those who laugh with their family and friends. The only losers are those who think others are losers because they are poor. Forget about money. Just try to be happy and to make others happy by kind acts. People will remember you for what you are and not for what you have.

Be polite at all times. Be kind. Do good quietly. Loud brash boasters are vulgar. Goodness cannot bring you luck, but it will bring you happiness and peace of mind. Do as I say not as I do.

YOU MUST SEND TWENTY COPIES OF THIS LETTER WITHIN FOUR DAYS. The chain comes from Bologna Italy and was written by Marco. See what happens. Within four days you will feel the change occurring. This is true! YOU MUST NOT BREAK THE CHAIN.

NOTE THE FOLLOWING CAREFULLY. Zachary Ryder a bookshop owner in Lancaster England received this letter and ignored it. He died rich and unhappy. James Forster of Auckland New Zealand received this letter and acted on it. He now has great joy always. Andrew Morton threw this letter away. He now wishes he had not done so. Jean Macdonald of Nottingham England received this letter and took it as a threat. She now cries at the very thought of it. Neal Winterburn died in the most excruciating pain after ignoring this letter. But he would have died that way anyway.




Something's Gone Wrong

The New Rock Revolution and the death of rock, revolution, news...

There were five of them, skinny suburban nerds from the seventies, looking like the Modern Lovers, but playing like a dumb-dumb-dumbed down Television: Every song hinged on a boom-clang, two-note beat juggling between the boy-next-door-pretty one with the Beatle guitar round his knees and the gypsy-afro one with the white Strat over his nipples.

The dopey pudding-bowled singer hollered with the most amusical rasp since Poly Styrene hung up her X-Ray Spex. I thought they were gloriously uncool, two scrawny, baccy-stained fingers waved at the joyless moan/thrash dynamic of 'the hit bands of the day.'But I was there to see Rocket From the Crypt.

Soon, the ferocious roar of Speedo's massed ranks of rock'n'soul ninjas was pushing thoughts of this quirky new band from my brain. It was not however, to be the last I would hear of them.What happened in 2001 hardly bears recounting ("I Love Last Week", anyone?): Garage. Punk. Distortion. Lo-Fi. Fashion. Art. Slogans. Graffiti. Denim. Leather. Grease. Fringe. Torn. Pinned. Faded. Primal. Raw. New. Rock. Revolution.Revolution: A sudden or momentous change in a situation.I could hardly wait.
This crop of gawky fashion victims had stripped away the sheeny safety net clinging to commercial guitar pop (or indie as is it's sometimes known) and the scene was set for a horde of wide eyed kids to pick up the baton and build vast cathedrals on the on these tentative, shaky foundations.

Following the embarrassed resignations of Thom Yorke and Chris Martin, an alternative future would blossom where Morrissey took Tony Wilson's advice to become a novelist instead and the history-be-damned musical, unleashed after the rude awakening of punk, never retreated into pop classicism and self-conscious everyman casuality. Where primitive sounds heralded the future, limited only by their imagination, Dionysian boy-gods and golden-eyed nymphets would build rocket ships to the stars out of sticks and mud: The fastest, wildest, rawest, funkiest, loudest, craziest, euphoric, newest, best music ever heard and not a reverb tank or Pro Tool in sight.Instead we got Jet.

Punk could never happen today, because the pre-punk trickle – Eddie and the Hot Rods, Dr Feelgood and Johnathan Richman and the Modern Lovers et al would all get signed for massive advances, get hyped as the greatest thing since sliced bread, be lumped together into some sort of non-existent scene and then release mediocre second albums, while pale imitations were signed in their wake to cash in and the whole scene would be written off by the very people who invented it before the Pistols, Clash, Ramones, Buzzcocks, Slits, Televsion, Fall or Joy Division could even pick up their instruments.

That's basically what happened with the Strokes, Hives et al...if the tastemakers of the day had scratched the surface just a little they would have found a lot of better bands. They took the quick fix and blew our last chance of ousting the whinge brigade. I've no doubt there are legions of kids who've picked up on the punky thrills that did slip through the corporate safety net and right now are forming bands which are miles better, pushing the raw garage sound into twisted reaches fat ol' Julian Casablancas could never dream of. But I'm just as sure they'll be completely ignored by the media/music industry at large. Because they will have 'moved on' to something else superficially new: Reviewing The Strokes, the NME singled out a moment as an example of Julian's snotty brilliance: a roadie picks up a wayward microphone stand, so he sweeps it to the floor again. That's their idea of rock'n'roll: A fat kid in a leather jacket knocking a mic stand over.

Hopefully our lost boys and golden girls will be smarter than that and embrace the genuinely exciting bands in their local scene. Maybe we'll see a new Dischord or Factory emerge to sweep up the tasty morsels trampled underfoot by the majors in their rush to feast at the McTrough Of Infinite Dreariness – where putting two and two together and getting one is hailed as some sort of giant leap forward!I think the problem for the most part is the increased importance the media/industry has in dictating the changing trends in music/fashion. Music journos have always got over-excited about bands who didn't really deserve it. It's their job to write something eye-catching and 'well, they were alright' doesn't shift units. What seems to have changed is the increasing influence the music press (and by proxy, record label PR) has over individual tastes.

For example, when the NME tried to force Campag Velocet on an unwilling nation a few years back, Pete Voss was promptly spat back onto the dole queue by unconvinced music fans, but you don't see the same happening with The Vines or The Libertines, who are admittedly alright; if you went past a pub and they were playing, you'd probably go in if you had nothing better to do. But eight bloody pages on a glorified sixth form band like The Vines, while there are, well, good bands out there is frankly taking the piss of your readers.

Contrast the Garage Renaissance to the last real revolution in pop music: Rave/Acid House. Raves and house music and ecstasy took people out of themselves and showed them a different way of life. It changed culture and not just pop culture - graph the rise of E versus the decline of footy violence and you'll find a neat little intersection - it spilled over into both the gimmicky world of the hit parade and the tight-arsed heterowhite world of rock, spewing up brilliant bands like the Roses and the Mondays, teaching previously clubfooted indie kids to dance, it put a club in every town, it brought naive young kids up against an anarchic hippie element, it attracted the wrath of the government; ignorant and terrified, John Major's syphilitic Tory party spat out the Criminal Justice Bill, effectively bringing the party to an end. It was a revolution in the truest sense, a defiant refusal to succumb to the turgid torpor of the eighties. I was a child at the time and some 15 miles outside Manchester in the decidedly anti-revolutionary Wilmslow, but you could still feel that something was happening. Manchester went from being the place daddy works, to the place scallies come from.

The New Rock Revolution by contrast was nothing of the sort; a business/media driven packaging of a few disparate bands playing music of varying quality and pedigree, linked only by their reluctance to employ acoustical guitars, and frankly that was all it took at the time, someone to distract us from Elbow, Coldplay, David Gray et al.("I'm a sad witless fucker and I'm gonna cry about it with my acoustical guitar”) and Limp Bizkit and their knuckle-headed ilk ("I'm a sad witless fucker and I'm gonna shout or even, god help us, rap about it with my beatbox and sheeny-shiny billion dollar guitar riffs”). It was good for a while to hear guitars that went clang and drums that went thump and trousers that went tight. But that's as far as the so-called Revolution went before spiralling in ever decreasing circles: BRMC's dourness, Jet's risible Shed Seven-isms, The Darkness' studied campery.I really don't know if there will ever be another 'paradigm shift' in music like rock'n'roll, The British Invasion, punk, electro, house or even, goddammit, Britpop.

There is no one pop scene these days, music has become fragmented into a million different sub-genres, the tendency seems to be for a few mavericks taking a particular type of music and pushing it subtly in a new direction, rather than a collective rebellion against the mores of the day. The process of making and promoting music is also more self-aware and referential than ever before. Example: Even though many punk bands played and dressed in what was, even then, a 'retro' fashion, there was, those in and around the scene had a genuine conviction that something so new and radical was being created that it would destroy the status quo and indeed Status Quo.

The vast majority of bands today, by contrast, either choose visual and musical motifs which refer directly to previous trends, or simply lack the iconicity to catalyse a change in fashion, displaying an anti-fashion 'it's all about the music' attitude, which is at once noble and futile.So, if we can't have a revolution, then, to paraphrase Alan Partridge, let's have evolution. There's a lesson to be learned here: Go back to the source for inspiration by all means, but don't bloody stay there, hanging around pretending it's 1979 again. I don't just mean with music either. Strip away all the bullshit and seize the raw, the visceral, the essence of what you do that makes it great. But don't be afraid to fuck around with it. Bend it, twist it, fuck it up completely and get in a big hissy tantrum, smash it up and start all over again if you have too. Do whatever you can think of and do it all. Just don't be too precious about it. Being a purist's one step from being a Nazi.At the start of the last century people were rushing dizzily towards the next one. I think they'd be very disappointed if they met us going the other way.
Tommy Mack

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where Did You Sleep Last Night?

Grey plastic Brer
sitting on your headstone
where it comes from
nobody knows

Was it put there
by your bit on the side
returning to your resting place
40 years
down the line?

The countless women
you fucked loved and dumped
whilst happily married
to the shrieking bird
that never let you forget
who was the boss

No wonder you took
so many floosies
when your wife
turned to God
as a replacement
for you

Your film star looks
like Montgomery Clift
on a cabaret night out
were a magnet to
stiletto heeled
canary frocked
big band beauties

Arm in arm
dancing classic tango style
putting your brick dusted spans
round their
21 inch waists

as the green eyed
black haired
miniature tyrant
would watch you in the wings

and make your life hell
until the day you were buried
6ft underground
when the guilt, nagging and
furious pecking
finally stopped
to give you respite.

In The Mustard Seed Sun

Ah, Mr. Thomas let us, indeed ramble through the midnight fair. You, that poet that fostered in me the love of language, with a crystal set under the covers circa '59!

Hearing Burton's voice with your words, celebrating the night sky as 'star-less and bible-black' and knowing of your last instruction, in New York, to that veritable cast for your 'play with voices', Under Milk Wood.

Arriving, drunk as a skunk and taking the 'lorry driver's nap', you woke, ceremoniously, and finished the play, instructing your cast to 'Love the words. Love the words', one simple instruction, but apt.

And then, later, in the Chelsea Hotel with your mistress, Lizzie Reitel, you said, and the last words you were ever to speak, oh my Bard of Cywmdonkin Drive (Swansea), '18 double whiskies this must be a record'!’ before the doctors killed you, not realising that morphine and diabetes don't mix. The 18 double whiskies were consumed in 90 minutes, however!

And you flew above America 'like a damp and ranting bird'. Now comes Caitlin, one loyal wife, railing, ranting, roaring from her own particular Irish heaven, stomping up a storm and beating the crap out of the doctors, ignoring Lizzie and getting herself sectioned into Belleville Mental Hospital with some ease.

Eventually released, she accompanied the body of the Bard back to Laugharne, out there in the Gower Peninsula, on the estuary of the River Taf where you had sat in the bath with your boiled sweets and was the 'rhymer in the long tongued room', actually a shed with a photo of W.H Auden pinned to the wall. On the boat journey back from America Caitlin went down to the hold and found the sailors with beer bottles, playing cards on the coffin, initially horrified she suddenly realised what a tribute to the poet that this actually was and asked for a 'hand'.

Under and round him go
Flounders, gulls, on their cold, dying
Doing what they are told,
Curlews aloud in the congered waves
Work at their ways to death,
And the rhymer in the long
tongued room,
Who tolls his birthday bell,
Toils towards the ambush
of his wounds;
Herons, steeple stemmed, bless

Back there in Laugharne, where, at Browns Hotel 20 years ago they tried to get me to settle Thomas' bill, the wake was proceeding. One woman of that parish decided that a tribute to the poet was appropriate - open doors and open legs - the queue was round the block! The Scottish poet, Louis McNiece, fey in the
extreme, was filing past the open grave, preceded by mourners throwing their flowers onto the coffin, he had his flowers in one hand and his sandwiches in the other - the sandwiches were buried with the Bard!

Four elements and five
Senses, and man a spirit in love
Tangling through
this spun slime
To his nimbus bell cool kingdom come
And the lost,
moonshine domes,
And the sea that hides his secret selves
Deep in its black base bones,
Lulling of spheres in the seashell flesh

'Poem on his birthday' this short sample above, written in Laugharne when Thomas was 35 years old and subsequently sent to his agent in New York, John Malcolm Brinnen with an accompanying note saying, ' Here is 'Poem on his birthday' it has taken me 3 months to hone and perfect, I would appreciate a fat cheque from an over-monied illiterate!' It is now fifty years since Dylan Thomas died but his Celtic 'stream of consciousness' poetry lives on and in the words of the Incredible String Band's Robin Williamson,

As bacon wafts through hungry streets,
your ghost pervades
Just like an old ex-boxer
aged twenty two
Staged up like Falstaff or the
wild welsh Rimbaud
You'd laugh to see these monochromes they make of

Up there, buried on the Druid's hill 'you made of the cock's quill the right of language and the pricking heart a sword against the hours' (RW again).

Dylan Marlais Thomas is regarded by many as the greatest poet of the last century. To others he was the consummate writer and broadcaster for radio. Many remember the myth that has developed around his private life and early death. The importance of Dylan Thomas as one of the great figures of literature cannot be overstated. Thomas achieved world wide acclaim for his work and even after his death continues to inspire generations of people from artists to musicians and even former presidents.

What marks out Dylan Thomas' work is the university of his themes. The human emotions played out in his "little town by the sea" of longing, desire, venomous hatred and prim conformity are re enacted daily in apartment buildings and office blocks across the world. Poems such as "Do not go gentle into that good night" and "And death shall have no dominion" speak directly of the human condition itself.

“One:I am a Welshman

Two: I am a drunkard

Three: I am a lover of the human race, especially of women"

Cultural Virus

The Tail Of The Boat And The Bird

King Rock wondered what he what he would do
The girl he loved was so skinless and boo
And lo he sat down by the light of the full moon
Made a mask from the wings of a jay blue

The birds face was carved from the lightest silver
And he fastened it with redemption and a desire to heal her
And he’d found the blackblue wings rotting in the woods
It's eyes were two black realities and they saw it was good
Oh he knelt down and stared into the black water
And he whispered a sweet song there to protect her

The girl lived in swamp city with a pack of hyenas
And sure they were bloodthirsty for something she had in her
She could tell of other worlds with a flick of her tongue
And her dreamy worlds flew in words like a bullet from a gun
Those vampirous creatures well they couldn’t get enough
So came the eve of the night of All Hallows
And the swampy streets filled with ghosts and ghouls and weird animals
Now was the time for the girl to wear her mask
and tell them a story which they’d be scared to ask.
Her tail was so bright that night dwellers went blind
And the lasses and fellers that had lived so fake and unkind
Well they still couldn’t vision the truth in their minds
And the girl she just scared them
they went home to get high.

Then the girl came possessed by a strange frequency
Ended up in her stilettos in the gutter crawling around on her knees
She spread her wings out and squawked about like a blue jay
And people said she lost her mind, they’d always predicted this day
She put the mask on the head of her black haired brother
and he too squawked around in the gutter
He got his dick out and he battled the demons with the babble he uttered
And suddenly the mask was nowhere to be seen

Oh what came out of her throat ?
what came out of her throat ?
But the King Rock found her and whisked her away on a boat
How they fell down surrounded by black water
They disappeared down a well of dreams
All the birds flew in the dark skies of their entwined minds
And suddenly everything was how it should be

How he loved her and all the love made her cry
For she had only known true love that was born to die
Oh she loved him he was her king
and on that boat sailin
She swore that she’d give her blood to love and protect him
And they'd sail away for a year and a day

Beatrice Brown

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Father Was A Tailor

he cried aloud, and said thus, Hew down the tree and cut off his branches, shake off his leaves, and scatter his fruit: let the beasts get away from under it, and the fowls from his branches:
Nevertheless leave the stump of his roots in the earth, even with a band of iron and brass, in the tender grass of the field; and let it be wet with dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts in the grass of the earth:
Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast heart be given unto him;
and let seven times pass over him.

Luke & Delaney

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Green Hell

watching the strippers
with IV bruises
and black meth-hole eyes
lifting dollars
from the mouths of bikers
with their clenched
ass cheeks

some kid has a seizure
and fearful of the law
the bikers toss his ass out
for the bums to strip bare
and the coyotes to eat

in the toilets
the stink of poppers, sex,
bleach, cocaine fumes
and shit:
shoveling Riverside speed
into bleeding nostrils with Randal
who lives on neon-diesel
belched from motorcycles
that roar past LAPD prowl cars

Randal, dear dead Randal
Who introduced me to Green Hell
where the drunks flash teeth
and barely concealed blades,
and the daylight
seems like some distant
mysterious and forgotten
Tony O'Neill

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Well Hung.

Joel Dever effortlessy encapsulates lo-fi minimalist aesthetic with the slapstick humour of Bas Jan Ader.
It's Hemingway meets Dawn French.


put me
over your
Ill know
the reason
Yen Li

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

We Are Gods

A bird woke me at 4:39am. It's song was beautiful but very loud.

Why do so many people believe they are right and it is right what they believe?


Break down the two words, what do they both mean? Both change as we mature and grow. The boundaries on either extremity are set by an individual’s conscience or by a leader of a group, community, political party, family, or religion who feels his/her view is superior to others.

Catholic or Protestant, Islam or Christianity, Allah or Jehovah, Krishna or Isis, hetro or homo, white or black, brown or yellow, separation or integration, left or right, right or wrong, blah or blah blah.
The correct way to live. The only path to salvation. Infinite names, possibilities, philosophies and also interpretations. Maybe yes to all the above, equally maybe no. Who knows. Who cares? All just hypothesis. Each to their own.

Am I now intruding into your space? Preaching my views, telling you to accept your fellow human whatever lifestyle choice they make. Maybe. But I’m not going as far as to say love each other, love thy neighbour, love people of all races, backgrounds and religion, make love not war, all you need is love. Naive, unattainable. Sure, possibly. But it would be nice.

Am I trying to change the world view? I doubt if I will even change yours and I don’t want to, that’s the point. Everyone is their own god and should be free to have their own beliefs. I am going to force my opinion once again. I feel there are too many extremists. Don’t get me wrong I’m an extremist (agnostic fundamentalist). But I would never go as far to kill. War and genocide are out of control, psychopaths and religious fundamentalists rule our world and the fire is continually stoked by the media, hungry for the next atrocity to keep them in work and stoked up.

I have some simple life guides, an amalgamation of teachings and views. One is to treat people as you want them to treat you. I wouldn’t behead someone because they didn’t like Freaks, the 1932 cinematic masterpiece by Tod Browning. In like manner I hope the Madonna lovers the world over will never form a lynch mob and come after me.

You are with us or against us, good or bad, evil doer or Amerikkk, God or the Devil, Palestinian or Jew, life or death. No sitting on the fence.

Have you sat on a fence lately? It’s not so bad, a bit hard to balance. That’s why I sit on walls, benches or on the grass. In parks, in fields, by the canal or river. In the summer, relaxing, smoking a joint, with a beer. Drawing pictures, reading a book, playing harmonica. On my own, with a friend, talking to strangers, hypothesising, having heated discussions. Living my life and letting others live their's.


Monday, June 05, 2006

You Can't Put Your Arms Around A Memory

It doesn't pay to try,
All the smart boys know why,
It doesn't mean I didn't try,
I just never know why.

Feel so cold and all alone,
Cause baby, you're not at home.
And when I'm home
Big deal, I'm still alone.

Feel so restless, I am,
Beat my head against a pole
Try to knock some sense,
down in my bones.

And even though they don't show,
The scars aren't so old
And when they go,
They let you know

You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
Don't try, don't try

You're just a bastard kid,
And you got no name
Cause you're living with me,
We're one and the same

And even though they don’t show,
They scars aren't so old
And when they go,
They let you know

You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
You can't put your arms around a memory
Don't try, don't try

Johnny Thunders

The Divine Marquise

Marchesa Luisa Casati – was the muse of muses! Like some Siren with spells behind her bush-baby eyes her one-time lover, Augustus John, said of her, ‘The Marchesa ought to be shot, stuffed and displayed in a glass case’, a fate that would have immensely fulfilled this exhibitionist who was the muse for so many of the creative souls of her time.
These included Diaghilev - who she fascinated. T.E. Lawrence - who she intimidated. Poiret, Fortuny, Bakst and Erte - who enshrouded her in their most wondrous haute couture. Arthur Rubinstein - who she frightened. Epstein - who cast her head in bronze. Martini - who scratched her legacy in ink. Jean Cocteau - who was inspired by her extravagance and, being the Grand Master of the Order of the Priory of Sion, he knew all about extravagance. Man Ray - who surpassed his own brilliant self in his photos of this notorious libertine with her ‘bush-baby from hell’ appearance, interest in the occult and a menagerie of increasingly exotic animals.

Her leisurely walks down the Piazza San Marco consisted of two African cheetahs in turquoise leashes, held by 2 shaved and oiled Nubians who held lighted torches aloft. At the centre of this urban tableau – The Marchesa Luisa Casati, her very self, stark-naked except for sables and stilletoes!, Of course, at home, snakes prevailed!
Sometimes entwined around her neck at lavish dinner parties, at other times slithering through her hair. In attendance at her palazzo the ‘Belle Epoque’s’ most wondrous idol of perversity surrounded herself with gilded youth, who catered for her every whim.

That dissolute rake of a poet, Gabrielle D’Annunzio, who was her lover for many years, said of her, ‘She was the only woman who ever astonished me’. Praise indeed from this particular profligate who renounced his fabled anarchy for Mussolini’s Fascism!!

Her hair, like an inferno, her face of pallor, kohl-eyed, her skeletal form glowing, icily and moonlit, she strode nude through the night in Venice and attended the ballet in Paris dressed in a gown of egret with peacock feathers in her hair and streams of blood from the slit neck of a chicken trickling in rivulets along her snow-white arms!!!!
This Muse intrigued and captivated the world-shakers of the day in some strange, spell that was impossible to either resist or shed. Having spent a vast fortune and achieving a debt of $25 million, she came to London to live in a tiny bed-sit in Knightsbridge surrounded by beautiful young men and a pack of Pekinese dogs.
The world must not forget her – this Muses of Muses, glimpsing out of the halcyon dark, who died in 1957 and is buried in Old Brompton Cemetery. All pilgrimages welcomed. Her grave reads,
Age cannot wither her, nor custom stale her infinite beauty’
Cultural Virus

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Out The Blue

There are those for whom moving house is all so many pennies in a jar. It'll all amount to something. I am more the alchemist; slowly, but not surely, making the mundane something precious. Just as it is several floors above the street, my new flat is in nearly every way better than my old ground floor one, all except for the cheap plastic toilet seat that wasnt even bolted to the bowl.

I took a dislike to it even before I'd started sliding left, right, and front and back every time I eased myself; sat there a-flipping and a-flopping in some kinda kooky Pans People routine. No big deal; I now live amidst a jangle of pound shops and determined to purchase and attach a brand new model. I spotted a real bobby dazzler; clear resin filled with silver glitter. I liked it, it had a certain 1974 gay bloke in a glam rock band quality but, on reflection, did it give the message that I wanted to send, to ladies especially so? So I got plain wood. No mistaking that. However, this soon broke; too much cheesecake too soon?

Of course there'd been second thoughts, and my framed portraits of Ingrid Pitt and the sheer amount of reggae singles would surely choke any doubts about my dance moves raised by this, admittedly, exuberant toilet seat. I returned and purchased the glitter that could, perhaps, handle the weight of my pretensions. The bathroom is the one place where we truly relax, it hangs out, baby. We are confronted with the true selves we love, loathe or try to avoid. Both seat and lid moulded stardust! My life has plopped into the plush. I've taken to hot, foamy baths with Roxy Musics Greatest Hits pumping on the stereo. Lathered with scented foam I wonder about Brian Ferry looking through an old picture frame. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, Thane of Bathwater. Us skinhead types arent known for our decadence, Desmond excluded that is. Even now Im more coal tar than Imperial Leather. Citrus mouth wash has appeared on my bathroom cabinet. Ive even started using it twice daily, according to directions.

Outside, Ermine Street walks backwards to the gilt and butchery of Londinium, then as now, my manor blinged up vermin. My street is a busy one, a dirty one, a loud one. Police cars freeequently scream past, sirens forcing themselves in. Its not the noise I object to. Its the urgency. Im all for the fight against crime but surely it can be done in a more Sherlock Holmes and gentlemanly languid manner? Iniquity is a mire, into which we are sinking, or a briar catching at us with thorns. I forget which, although I note that these encompass both descent and ascension.

The road to hell may be paved with good intentions but the road to Whitechapel, is laid far less savoury. The Commercial Tavern once a trysting place for East End homosexualists is now frequented by artists and the like. I work around the corner and am there for the lock in. For all its bustling traffic Commercial Street crawls slower than most of London. Painters whine, beer flows, brasses ply their trade; much the same as in the Rippers heyday. I am introduced to and shake hands with the new landlord; tall, louche, pastel open-necked yet masculine shirt, sovereigns all heads, blonde flipped hair no less than Brian Ferry in negative! The police speed past, the prostitutes splash.

Tim Wells

Friday, June 02, 2006

King Of The Ridge

“So, when you go out, do you think maybe I could come along with you, you know, introduce me to your mates?”
Lisa was a friend who decided to come along for the ride.I decided to take her out to a house party up in Meanwood, Chris the Bare Knuckle Boxer was having a party in his double glazed, tarmac carpeted semi near the ridge. He was a big bastard, would kill you without thinking twice. Nice bloke though. He grew massive amounts of skunk in back to backs that he’d bought around Beeston. Hooked up generators in the houses, and insulated the lofts so nobody would know any difference. Chris was a real rough Pikey, but reckoned he was a Romany (‘A cut above the rest’).He was a constant source of affordable drugs and a plentiful supply of high grade Acid – of course, we were like flies round shit when we got the invite to go and hang out.
The sun was dipping below the ridge skyline when we set out that night. Between us both we were carrying half an ounce of grass, and 20 speckled elephants, in anticipation of her first Gypo Party. As we walked down through the estate we popped into the post office on the edge of Meanwood Rd. Our stoned giggles were broken as soon as we stepped through the door;
“Get down on the fucking floor, GET DOWN ON THE FLOOR!!”
In Mr.Soft slow motion my eyes peeled open and my gaze settled on a sawn off shotgun that was placed at my temple, digging in to my skull and twisting my blue black hair around the end.Lisa was already on the floor, I put my hands up and fell to my knees, my paisley sari getting tangled in my bag as I collapsed on the floor.Two men wearing grey army jackets and balaclavas had long rifles and were pointing them at the pair of us. We had disturbed an armed robbery – there was a small Indian man behind the counter handing over bags of cash.
As I cramped into a ball under the stationary cabinet my monkey teeth bracelet fell off from my wrist and rolled towards the Cat boot of one of shotgun men. He bent down, put his gun on the floor and picked up the pieces one by one. Walked over to me, dropped the teeth into my palm and whispered;
“Yer wanna get yerself out of here love. Pigs are coming. You’ve not got long”
We scrambled out of the door, and ran like screaming banshees for about a mile until we reached the ridge. Lisa cried. When I got my breath back I laughed my head off. I didn’t care about what had just happened, didn’t care one bit. Live each day as if it’s your last.The police sirens were racing down the hill, and we were the only witnesses to a firearms incident – we were on CCTV, and our assistance would be greatly appreciated.Like hell. We slipped down Meanwood Ridge towards the party, rolled a fat blooter and spent the next two days cowering under the kitchen table. I kept looking across the room from inside our den. Chris was more attentive than usual. He knew what I knew. It was our little secret.
Welcome to Leeds. Fuck forever.

Last Chance Disco

Victorian Underworld

The great Henry Mayhew’s inventory of the Victorian underworld was noted for being both an intrepid and exhaustive account of the poor: he shied away from nothing, left no stone unturned. A steadfast, ideological contribution to the “pauperization of the poor”, Mayhew the crusading journalist rendered this taxonomy with relish. There is a whole section dedicated to “Those That Will Not Work,” the Fourth Volume of the 1862, “London Labour and The London Poor”. It comes under the heading: “Beggars and Cheats”; the introduction to, “A Compendium of Thieves, Cheats, Beggers, Scoundrals [sic] etc., Their Methods Revealed, Socital [sic] Causes Examined, and Preventive Measures Explained.”
Transgression between the poor and those above them, so popular a theme in the novels of Dickens, is made unthinkable as Mayhew reinforces the “otherness” of an entire thriving biomass within the rookeries and lays of the city of London. Hogarth’s “Gin Lane” attributes the same untouchable status at the edges of society, where liberal humanism posits the beginnings of an Enlightenment: the civilization necessary for capital markets to keep control.
Mayhew has become cannon fodder for new left cultural theorists. His account of the poor keeps them at a safe distance from classed society; he creates ‘them’ in relation to us which is a strong un-transgressible ‘otherness’ to society. Mayhew’s voyeuristic observations subjectfy and subalternate the poor so that ultimately there can no case against keeping them stripped of any assets and their oppression.
Philanthropy, directed at home and abroad, reached a fever pitch during the Victorian era. Utilitarianism: the promotion of the largest net amount of good within society, was mercilessly applied to issues such as the problem of begging by philosophers; in particular John Stuart Mill. Giving alms directly to beggars makes us feel better, as well as them. We enjoy the ‘John Stuart Mill effect”. The good we create is driven in part by selfish notions and it remains to be seen how much it contributes to the overall good. We have not moved on so much. Today the moral question surrounding begging must be balanced against the self-harm done though alcohol and drugs. There is a well-organised, government-backed campaign called “Killing with Kindness” which discourages the public from giving money to beggars, and appears to have sprung from the borough of Camden. The facts and statistics are overwhelming: about 80 per cent of the money given to beggars goes on alcohol or drugs; over half of those who ask for it are not homeless. Shelter, the main homeless charity, hit back anti-begging campaigns, claiming that this targets the most vulnerable people within society, people who really don’t need negative publicity generated about them. Chris Holmes, director of Shelter said: "However carefully communicated, this initiative could increase the stigma of homelessness and make life even worse for people who are already subject to high levels of abuse and violence." Quotes on the website begin by trumpeting the commonsense ideal of the scheme but then begin to betray a subtext of straightforward revulsion. Jane Roberts, leader of Camden Council says: “giving directly to beggars only makes the problem worse. Street beggars are not necessarily homeless.” A representative of the University of London, then voices an opinion: “ULU are firm supporters of the Anti-begging campaign . . . For the local business community and the student population in Bloomsbury begging affects our trade income and detracts visitors from out facilities.” How inconvenient for blessed Bloomsbury.

There is more of the same; more malicious, further from a sentiment which is ostensibly to care for people. It seems that a beggar can “single-handedly clear a shop or restaurant” and “provide a disincentive to customers especially at those al fresco establishments which give our area so much of its character.” These are the words of Kim Gordon of the Covent Garden Business Forum. She continues: “Known begging areas are actively avoided making business an unattractive proposition in those areas – it is especially galling for smaller businesses when beggars can earn more than they do by their honest endeavour.” Miss Gordon obviously knows what she’s talking about; she states that, “Begging is an affront in a society where genuine hardship is an extreme rarity and in an area where so many agencies for its elevation operate.” This woman should be made to suck a tramp’s cock. Out of sight and out of mind would no doubt suit many of the upstanding voices who have thrown their weight behind this campaign.
The London Poor accepts that beggars will not go away. We set out our stall to help them with a cheap, easy to access and sell on, alternative to the Big Issue. We believe there is room for such a paper: for a start there is a shortage of suitable pitches. It makes not sense for more than one vendor to sell the Big Issue outside the Tesco on Bethnal Green road, for instance, and yet it is a place begged by at least three individuals. The London Poor also takes issue with the generous donation of anti-social behaviour orders (ASBOS) dolled out to beggars. These are a waste magistrate’s time and public money. We will look at the continuing disenfranchisement of the homeless, destitute and addicted because they are unable to attain bank accounts, they have no identity, they are powerless apparently valueless within our accelerated culture. This is not necessarily the case. Consider for instance the idea currently slated for a reading in parliament about carbon emission vouchers. These will have to be purchased b y those who choose to emit more harmful gases into the atmosphere by gas-guzzling vehicles. These could be traded.
Homeless people may be guilty of harming themselves, but what other damage do they do to the environment. They should be allowed to trade their allocated quota of non-harm to those who need so badly just to get around. We think there is a prevalent belief that individuals across society are powerless to make changes, but you are not. In addition to the donation you made to the needy when you bought this paper, you can take par in the Starbucks campaign and in doing so return some money to homeless charities, and help get more beds, hostels and help directed to them. A new conception of trading and philanthropy is needed. The John Stuart Mill effect can still dive a utilitarian agenda, but from all sides, benefiting everyone. Perhaps, with the sad exception of Starbucks, but in this case, we sincerely believe, your kindness will not be misplaced.
Ian Allison

Robert Johnson

"the blues the b l u e s blues

the blues ain jus what some people think it are
it ain no lot of foolishness and foolish things
it MEAN sumthn

b l u e s

it mean sumthn
it searches the heart
goes from one heart to the othern
male and female
when one is deceived by the othern
that hurts em
and sometime some kills one another bout it
and some go to the river and jump over and drownd eselv
and some do a lot of thing
when they really take the blues
", Son House
Sure you know robert johnson pretty baby smallfeatured brownskin man sold his soul to the devil at the four points of the road in a field on the bonnie blue plantation near clayton mississippi as some folk do say just so as he could play the blues was poisoned by marybeth thomas pa jonas at the three forks store outside greenwood close on seventy year ago

We’ve all heard the story but it’s not the story that counts. What counts is the music. The music tells you everything you need to know about Robert Johnson. His life is all laid out for you in his songs. There are 29 of them, 12 recorded twice. Cut in San Antonio and Dallas over five days in 1936 and 37. None more than three minutes long. An hour and threequarters in all. That’s the deal.
The things Robert Johnson sings about are the deepest things in the world: good and evil; life and death; love and lust; anger, betrayal, remorse. There’s fear there and there’s even terror – and being the blues it’s all shot through with pain and sorrow – but you’ll be hardpressed to find any malice. Just listen to love in vain: all you hear is tenderness, sadness, resignation.

Some music is smart but the blues is wise. That wisdom and that pathos are born out of slavery and suffering. If I ever got to the place where I could feel all old Crudup felt, Elvis said when he started out, I’d be a music man like nobody ever saw. It’s hard to see how Elvis or any other white man could ever reach that place. Just compare his version of that’s all right with the original. Elvis is good and he’s got something but he just ain’t got the blues.

The blues is a lowdown achin’ heart disease. You ain never had ’em. I hope you never will.

"one day back when hoover was president i was driving my cart down beale street and i seen a rat sitting on top of a garbage can eating a onion crying" Furry Lewis

Robert Johnson sings about deep things with a touch as light as can be. That’s one of the things about him: the way he mixes delicacy and depth of feeling. It’s as much in what he doesn’t do and say as what he does: and that requires discipline and skill.
He’s a rhythmic master. At times his guitar pulses and throbs and at others it’s driving, urgent, insistent. He can switch between a heartbeat and a drumbeat in the same song. When Keith Richards first heard him he couldn’t believe there wasn’t someone else playing along. Who’s the other guy? he asked Brian Jones.
The way his voice works with his guitar is just incredible: its intensity will rock you. He moans and groans and mumbles as if caught in a whirlwind of anguish and desire; he whines and screams and whoops and hollers like a man possessed. One moment he’s muttering to himself, the next he’s whispering to his lover.
Baby you know what I’m talkin’ ’bout.
He loves women: sings to them and about them. Sometimes they mistreat him, othertimes he’s the one who does the mistreating. He cries and complains, seduces and implores. Running through it all is this tremendous erotic charge. It’s the same fixation you find in the Elizabethan poets. Johnson can sexualise a handgun, a lemon, a shrimp, a Hudson Terraplane car, milk. His lover can be a cow, a playing card, a dresser. Her cunt is a phonograph, a fiddle, a fishpond.

Nothing in these songs is ever what it seems: telephones and kitchens, stations and trains take on a supernatural significance. The road is a metaphor for the journey through life: Johnson searches for his good girl, flees from a hellhound, walks with the devil. All the way he carries a heavy burden of guilt. What evil have I done? he asks, I been dogged and I been driven ev’ since I left my mother’s home. His conclusion is stark: sin was the cause of it all. The blues walks with him like a man; it falls down on him like hail. Evil floats in the air. He falls to his knees at the crossroads. The devil is coming and he begs God to save him.

The lightness and fluidity that mark Johnson’s life and work show a man that’s free, not tied to one particular place like a slave. And it’s because he needs to feel that freedom that he’s got to keep changing, moving: he’s a restless rambling man who prizes action above place.
I don’t care where you bury my body when I’m dead and gone.
Whichever way you come at him you just can’t tie him down. He could be Robert Leroy Johnson: he could be Dodds: he could be Spencer: he could be Willis. One moment he’s playing with Son House and Willie Brown in Robinsonville, the next he’s gone the Lord knows where. Then before you know it he’s back, looking different somehow and playing the blues like he’s just made the deal. It’s not long before he’s gone again, and you hear word he’s out playing every jukejoint on the Mississippi from Friars Point to Vicksburg.

"you could wake robert up at two three oclock in the mornin
robert i hear a train man
yeah what about it
lets catch it
he never say what way it was going
he didnt CARE what way it was going
it could be going right back where it jus come from
it dun make him no difference

somebody come along in a car
if you come along in a car
an anna tell robert you wan him to come an go some place
they have the good time there
all the drink
and all you can eat
and theres plen of women there
robert didn say nuthn about no money hardly
he jus take right on off you know
and go"
Johnny Shines
no slave an no sharecropper neither a bluesman a steadyrolling rambling man getting up in the morning dusting my broom keeping moving rolling into friars point into rosedale into this strangemans town headcutting on streetcorners with johnny shines looking for the good time for the houseparty for the jukejoint for someplace you can barrelhouse all night long looking for liquor for womens for beatrice bernice idabelle bettymay williemay womens in vicksburg clean on into tennessee

If you’ve heard of Robert Johnson, you’ve probably heard of Son House and Charlie Patton and Leadbelly, of Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker as well, but there are countless others you should check out: Memphis Minnie, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Willie McTell, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Bukka White, Mance Lipscomb, Frank Stokes, Furry Lewis – the list goes on and on. None of these musicians should ever just be judged against Johnson: no one man is bigger than the blues. Each is an artist who speaks out clearly in his own voice. We should cherish and respect them all for making music which has the power to defy time in moving us so profoundly.

Some people say the blues is simple but then so is the blank verse used by Shakespeare. The basic framework may be simple but it’s capable of infinite and complex variation. With Shakespeare they dress it up and call it iambic pentameters. Again some people say Johnson isn’t so great, he’s just the summation of a particular tradition. Once again you can say the exact same thing about Shakespeare. Those Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatists were no different from delta bluesmen: sharp as pins, stealing from one another. When it comes down to it, it isn’t who does something first that matters, it’s who does it best. That’s not to say Johnson doesn’t nod sometimes: sometimes he leans too much on Son House, sometimes too much on Lonnie Johnson. One song at least – they’re red hot – is great fun but just plain hokum. If it all sounded like that you wouldn’t get many people listening to it now.
Robert Johnson isn’t Dido or Norah Jones or Coldplay or Eric Clapton: you won’t hear his music piped through shoppingcentres. When he sings hellhound on my trail he doesn’t give a damn what anyone else thinks: he’s playing for himself and no one else. Seventy years on and there isn’t anything in the charts as uncompromising. It’s music you either sit down and listen to or you don’t listen to at all. It’s not for talking over at dinnerparties: it’s far too important for that. Truth is it either moves you or it doesn’t, and if it does move you then boy are you moved. If you’re lucky enough to hear Robert Johnson’s music – really hear it – it has the power to change your life.

Stuff I got it gon bust your brains out baby whoohoo it’ll make you lose your mind.

Take Eric Clapton. From what he says Clapton has loved Robert Johnson for more than 40 years. And so he should. Johnson has helped to make him (and Keith Richards and Jimmy Page and a host of others) very rich indeed. Unfortunately he doesn’t love Johnson enough to leave him be.
But forget the man Clapton is now. He’s described how when he first heard Johnson’s music in the early 60s it called to him in his confusion. Everything he’d heard before had merely prepared him to receive Robert Johnson, almost like a religious experience. Up until the time I was 25, he says, if you didn’t know who Robert Johnson was I wouldn’t talk to you.

Clapton couldn’t be more successful but he lost sight of Robert Johnson long ago: he must have or he wouldn’t be where he is. In gaining the world he’s lost his soul. His success has killed him by degrees. As someone once said, the only way you can truly succeed in life is if you keep on burning with a gemlike flame, keep on feeling that ecstasy.
And that’s the point: you don’t sell your soul to the devil by playing the blues like an angel, you do it by forgetting how to feel. God only knows how many ways there are of dividing up humanity, but there do seem to me to be two kinds of people in this world: those for whom things really matter, and everyone else. It’s as simple as that. If you’re lucky enough to belong to the first group – if for example a work of art can touch you and move you like a religious experience – then you’ve been granted a very great gift indeed. But that’s no reason to be smug: just remember Eric Clapton and stay on your guard. One day through success or depression or just plain laziness you may find you’ve loosened your grip and sidled over to the devil’s side without even noticing.

If we know anything about Robert Johnson it’s that he never forgot how to feel. And we do know quite enough about him. We have enough songs, enough pictures, enough anecdotes, enough myths. We have enough to allow us to preserve forever the image – illusory no doubt – of the rambling bluesman, ladiesman, whiskeybottleman: a pure image of a man whose life and artistry are perfectly integrated, untarnished by success or compromise. Considering the changes it would have wrought in our view of him we’re lucky he didn’t live to play at Carnegie Hall – so lucky in fact that we can with a clear conscience join in Son House’s doublebourbon toast


I’m talking all out my head. You can think too much about things and that’s another way of forgetting how to feel. Best just to sit back, listen, enjoy and be grateful. Keith Richards is right: all you can do is tell people to check this cat out. Why? Because if you do you’re in for something extra in your life.

This is hip pretty baby.

I’m booked: I gotta go.
Mark Chivers

Shall It Be Paws Or Claws Today?

Aleister Crowley was born on October 12th, 1875 in Leamington Spa, England. His family were very strict members of a christist cult named the Plymouth Brethren. This cult was, in fact, so restricting that an intense hatred and repulsion developed towards the dogma of the christists. Aleister Crowley was on genius level. Such unique features in the karma of his life led Mr. Crowley to look closely on what path his life was to take. What began as boyish rebellion against his restricting religion started a career on the Path of Magick and Initiation.During this Search for enlightment he was introduced to an occult organization named; THE GOLDEN DAWN. In 1898., Aleister Crowley received his first Initiation in the Golden Dawn on the Path of Western Esoteric Tradition.

A letter to Aleister Crowley from Cultural Virus:
This letter is intended to be apocryphal and humorous (I hope) and looks at some of Crowley's legacy without recourse to acolyte's hyperbole or society's condemnation.There is a pantheon of literature about Big Al - the self-styled Great Beast 666 and Messiah of the Age of Horus - and a suggested reading list is provided at the end of the article.

Dear AC,

“Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole of The Law”I thought that as it is now 100 years since 'Liber Legis' was dictated by Aiwass, channelled through Rose, and written down by you, out there in the desert air as the Gate of the Aeon, it was time to drop you a line, out there, through the Bardo.Well your 'Great Work' has had quite an impact since you checked out of Hotel Earth (as I was checking in), although perhaps not in the way you had hoped. I first encountered your 'Magick in Theory and Practice' when I was 13 years old and was enthralled and intrigued despite the, sometimes, pompous tone which grated in the modern world.
My first woo-woo encounter in connection with you was in 1973, driving past your birthplace in Clarendon Square, Leamington Spa, in an old Morris Minor (it would have looked very modern to you) which had been round the clock a couple of times. By chance, I glanced down at the mile-ometer and it read 666.
Following the birth of 'Liber Legis' you announced to the world that you were the Messiah of the Aeon, the Age of Horus. Somehow this message has not translated too well into these times and your behaviour, so outrageous to your own era, would not be much noticed today, if anything you would have been outshone by Ozzy Osbourne. My Uncle Frank was one of the crew who sailed back with you and your heavily pregnant Scarlet Woman, Leah, on the SS. Sirius from New York to England and it may be of interest to contrast his view of the voyage with yours.
In essence it would go like this;-

You;- “On this voyage I was asked by the wretched purser to lecture on Freemasonry in return for a better cabin but, encountering fierce demonic opposition, I had to go on deck in the midst of a violent storm to make Invocation and Offering prior to my talk, in order to dispel these goetia.”

Uncle Frank;- “I remember shouting at this big, bald bloke wearing plus-fours to come off deck as it was dangerous and then realising that he was wanking with two hands, more for balance than length, I think, and shouting for 'eyewash' and 'an oobis', whatever that is!!??” (Note;-I think he meant Aiwass and Anubis but I could be wrong.)

You; “Before my lecture the storm had wrecked the radio mast. There was also little lighting left except for the glorious Soph Lura, the Astral Light, out of which emerged my Holy Guardian Angel coming towards me, her eyes not leaving my face and sitting elegantly in one of the many empty chairs. I knew then that I must abandon the planned subject of the lecture and declare my appointed Role as Messiah of the Aeon.The goetia returned and the lights went out, I naturally blamed the purser and created a Magical Offering which Leah placed in his jacket to ward off these dark forces

Uncle Frank;- “The purser told me that this pompous, doped-up wanker had taken a shine to a Russian banker's wife who was in one of the best staterooms of the ship - right posh totty. He had just announced himself as the founder of a new religion to supersede Christianity, when we got hit by a wave - which brought the chandelier crashing down, and everyone fled the room. The bastard blamed the purser and put a turd in his jacket pocket so him and his missus got moved back to the worst room on the ship”

You; “Eventually I traced her room and in my utmost finery knocked gently at her door. Her maid was just leaving and said that her mistress was not present, I strode in nonetheless, and said that I would wait. Turning my magical powers upon the wench she had no choice but to leave and carry on her duties. I made a copious offering of Most Sacred Essence as a calling card into the central pages of a copy of my excellent erotic poetry book, 'White Stains' and placed it the centre of her large white bed. My Holy Guardian Angel returned and I emerged, resplendent, from her dressing room (where I had been bathing in the aroma of her feminine finery). 'Do What Thou Wilt Shall Be The Whole Of The Law' I intoned and 'Holy Guardian Angel I await your Instruction'. ' Oh!!! the lecturer, please leave', she said. I obeyed naturally, it was Her Will.”

Uncle Frank; 'So he's only stalked this woman to her cabin and scared her so much she didn't sleep for a week. He was dressed in a kilt, with a red jacket that was too small for him and reeked of too much perfume, tobacco, opium and spunk. He staggered out from amongst her clothes and she told her maid later that she suspected that he'd been sniffing her knickers and shoes. He had brought her a book that she immediately threw out of the porthole without reading it. Her maid told me that there was something slimy in it”

A fair summation, methinks!!?? Basically, Baldilocks, you had a keen intellect, wrote some damn fine poems (including 'White Stains' and climbed some awesome mountains (although I would not have wanted to be amongst your crew - the complaints are still coming in form Kangchenjungra). You, no doubt had developed some significant mastery of the Magical Arts so why screw it all up by an almost adolescent desire to shock?

Losing your father early and being bullied through your teens by Uncle Tom, coupled with your Plymouth Brethren upbringing, all must have contributed to your behaviour. However, looking at your legacy it seems a pity that people only really remember you as 'Wickedest Man in the World' and 'Black Magician'- and neither epithet is true. Looked at in the light of these times your manifestation would have raised few eyebrows.

For instance, in your times there were salt cellars full of cocaine on the tables in Café Royale and it was freely available for purchase in Harrods till 1926.Now it is illegal, plentiful and easier to buy in London after 11.00pm than alcohol.Thus taking cocaine and heroin is not considered a Magical Act anymore. Anyway we can get the much more effective magic mushrooms delivered to the door like pizzas.The hashish these days is not as good as your time though, oh, and heroin is now called Smack! Onomatopoeic don't you think?

Your legacy rolls on through your published works and some strange offspring.OTO, the Magical Order that you ran from 1924 till 1946 is still active in America and UK and Kenneth Grant, who you bequeathed it to, is writing wonderful tomes, significant developments of your work on the Dark Side of the Sephirothic Tree, and in some ways surpassing it.

The weirdest spawn of your work in America is Scientology, which is a very wealthy religion that you would have loved to run and includes many famous people in its ranks. This is inspired by Little Ron, Jack Parsons' apprentice, who you berated when they attempted to create a 'Moonchild' in imitation and homage of your own work in that area. (I am sad to inform you that your very own Magical Son, conceived in ritual to be a 'Moonchild', still languishes in an American mental hospital where he has been for many years.) Jack was a devoted servant to you and 'The Work' but what with spying, building nuclear programmes, and initiating L.Ron Hubbard he has a lot to answer for! The most popular sport in USA now is stock-car racing - I kid you not! Come to think of it Scientology is probably the mass religion that they deserve to replace born-again Christianity.Many interpreters of your magical endeavours have arisen, ranging from the loopy to the cogent, however, because of your neurotic behaviour people still remember you as the man who killed Raoul Loveday at the Abbey of Thelema. The truth being that he should never have drunk that cat's blood, it's a sure way of getting enteritis.

It is also still mentioned how you turned the poet, Victor Neuberg, into a camel but after a buggering like you'd just given him I am sure he would have believed anything you told him, particularly as the opium hadn't worn off. Your provocative quote about 'killing thousands of children every year' has now been surpassed by the late Bill Hicks' remark about 'every morning, wiping out whole civilisations off my belly with a greying gym sock'. He was much funnier than you, Al. You still have your admirers though.

The famous musician Jimmy Page bought Boleskine House, Loch Ness, apparently you stilled owe rent from your time there. He also visited your old amanuensis, Gerald Yorke in the Cotswolds some years back. He came down on the train, humbly, for instruction and told Gerald how he had purchased your famous Egyptian Wand (not the other more famous Wand of the Aeon that you were always waving about). Gerald suggested that he looked behind his sofa where the real one resided. So, a black-market in fake Crowleyabilia! You would love that. Jimmy plays Rock Music which I am not going to attempt to describe or explain as there are no cultural meeting points for us, other than to say that it is Dionysian. If you were here you'd probably have been fronting one of these bands - Throbbing Gristle, perchance?
Anyway - all the best Big Al. Better luck next time!
Love is the Law. Love under Will.
Cultural Virus.

The Art Of Julius Zimmerman

One of the less well appreciated differences between men and women is this : men get turned on by cartoons, women do not. Two stories to illustrate.Couple of years back, we were on a narcotics-fuelled Simpsons all-nighter, - me, D, K, and A, - and there was this one bit where Marge Simpson was stood a certain way, and the camera just caught the curve of her hip, and, well, she looked maybe for only a second, you know, hot. Oddly, - but undeniably, - hot. A discussion began between the boys on cartoon heroines we have fancied. The list was long and the debate somewhat involved. We called on A for the girly equivalent, - "cartoon hunks I have" - oh, I dunno, - "moistened to." She couldn't come up with one name. Not one.Unless you count Peter Andre.
Another time, a few of us lads (me, Dave, Mat, Bendy and D) were watching The Little Mermaid (with Dave's kids, you understand; give me a break...) and you should have heard the anticipatory whooping and hollering when Ariel was about to emerge dripping from the waves wearing only - praise be! - a couple of scallop shells for a bra. But, then, inevitably, there followed the pitiful groans of male-menopausal disappointment when a not-even-wet A-line dress appeared magically from godknowswhere to cover her pert toon-poon.
Heartbreaking. Dave's wife did not find this display amusing. In fact, she thought it rather immature. Indeed, I suspect this was the main reason she decided to leave Dave the following month for the joiner who fitted their new kitchen cupboards.Anyway, women it seems are not erotically transported by saucy reveries on Shaggy or Fred from Scooby Doo, Spiderman, or Peter Perfect. Men on the other hand spend a lot of their adolescence trying hard to come to terms with indefinable erotic feelings for Daphne from Scooby Doo, Wonder Woman, the goddess that is Betty Rubble or, for a later cybergeneration, Lara Croft. This tendency was tapped into most effectively / graphically / cynically, of course, by Disney in the form of Jessica Rabbit.
Jessica was just a comic-loving geek's fantasy. Big eyes. Big tits. Big ass. Big gob. And to cap it all, when she could have had any man/toon in the whole wide world who did she settle for? A goofy-toothed, idiot rabbit who, wait for it, "made her laugh", that's who. Ha! Women never go for men who make them laugh. Not in the real world. "Must have g.s.o.h.": this is the cynical lie of womankind. If it was true, my mate Tim would be continuously wielding his shitty stick. Alas he is not, and indeed has not done so by my reckoning since a house-party in about 1993. The thing is, Roger Rabbit IS every adolescent, comic-loving geek who never kissed the girl. Only a few such geeks go on, like Robert Zemeckis, to direct Disney blockbusters where they are given millions of dollars to enact their revenge over the jock-gods and cheerleader goddesses of their miserable schooldays. But the adolescent geek never leaves any of us; he's in there somewhere. We still love comics, we still love unattainable girls, we still collect, you know, stuff. And, of course, the porn industry being the clever souls that they are has registered the power of the geek-pound. It has given us cartoon porn. Tons of it. That's the stuff we collect.It says a lot about the current state of art, - or maybe it says more about the economic muscle of pornography, - that so many of the best illustrators in the world are earning their dollar drawing hardcore porn.
Top grade artists like Francisco Solano Lopez and Ignacio Noe from Argentina, Milo Manara, Giovanna Cassoto (the exception that proves the rule?) and half a dozen other Italians are all at the top of their game. And the game is toon porn. There's even the odd Brit out there. But of all the artists at work in the field, the one who has tapped most obviously into the vestigial adolescent male psyche where Judy Jetson is the pinnacle of phwoar is the American artist Julius Zimmerman.Unlike the other artists named above who have made their name and money from rather glossy, mass-produced $13 a pop comic-books, Zimmerman draws individual cartoons in pencil on 11½" x 9" paper, and makes his money auctioning the originals over the net (at, if you're interested). He draws four or five a day and the drawings sell for $20 and up, an average being about $40. So he's earning an okay wage and we have access to some pretty affordable original art. He sells 100% of what he draws. You can get quality reproductions over the net too, but why bother when most of the drawings end up as okay scans somewhere on the net anyway. There are thousands out there. You don't need to look hard.
The beauty of Zimmerman's art is that it's dirty and funny and clever. You don't often see these three things together. You'll find a lot of your favourite heroines doing things you didn't expect to see them doing. So if you're the sort of chap who can't get the idea out of your head of Bugs Bunny and Roger Rabbit double-teaming Jessica, then Zimmerman is for you. If you ever wondered if the forces of lesmosis could really get Wilma and Betty licking the bean, Zimmerman's for you. If you've ever woken sweaty from an indistinct dream where Popeye is tail-ending the Little Mermaid or Snow White is ball-gagged by the dwarves, - and, sorry, I know I have, - then Julius Zimmerman is the man for you. Julius Zimmerman is the artist, in fact, for every man who comes over all strange when Bugs Bunny puts on a dress.
Women, of course, won't get any of it.