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Jack low res

 

“The heat was so intense that (the hot sun shining all day on deck) they were all naked, which also served the well to get rid of vermin, but the sick were eaten up alive. Their sickly countenances, and ghastly looks were truly horrible; some swearing and blaspheming; others crying, praying, and wringing their hands; and stalking about like ghosts; others delirious, raving and storming,–all panting for breath; some dead, and corrupting. The air was so foul that at times a lamp could not be kept burning, by reason of which the bodies were not missed until they had been dead ten days.”[12]

 §49 As may be surmised from the preceding material, for a boat to be successful in the West Indies it must somehow be in favor with the other world, and it is not surprising to learn that it is popularly believed that a boat must have a soul, a human one, in order to function properly. I was first made aware of this one day when I overheard two seamen discussing a vessel hove down for repairs. “Maybe now she be good vessel,” one said. Thinking that perhaps she had been damaged, I inquired why and learned that while she was hove down one of her crew had drowned, so the vessel now had a soul-something she had lacked formerly.

§110 Although the following belief, which was popular until recent times, could not be called witchcraft exactly, it certainly borders on it. When a vessel had been overlong at sea or the neighbors had special reason for communicating with it, a very strong girl was induced to fall into a deep sleep. While sleeping, her spirit would away to the vessel and return with the desired information. However, it was thought a dangerous practice, for should the wind change before the job had been completed the girl would go mad.

§101-102 Far older than telephone wires is the belief in underwater bells in certain places in the sea. Three such places are off the coast of Brittany off the coast of Cornwall, and in Kingston Harbor, Jamaica. In each case the story concerning these bells is quite similar. The inhabitants of Portobello (in Kingston Harbor) were a miserable lot, being composed mostly of buccaneers, whores and slaves. They spent most of their time drinking, wenching or gambling in this great pirate port until God gave them a taste of what he gave Sodom and Gomorrah. One day an earthquake and a tidal wave struck the place and it sank into the sea and along with the town went the church. For many years the Place was visible beneath the waves, and to this day mariners say that they can hear the church bell ring before a hurricane.

§111 Should the weather fall calm, two ways of many to raise a breeze were either to “scratch the mast and whistle” or to “stick the knife into the mast and whistle.” So great was the power of whistling believed to be that it was forbidden on board ship except in times of flat calm. In fact, there is a saying in Newfoundland about whistling “Whistle to your plough boys, sing to your ship.” Sometimes in Scotland if the wind didn’t blow, a male goat was hauled alive to the masthead to induce a breeze while at Petit Martinique a more humane and less odorous method was employed, namely to hang a wooden cross in the fore rigging.

§360 As a matter of interest, excrement has long been used medicinally by the sailor. Hen and cow manure are thought to make excellent poultices, and I was informed in Maine that “nanny-plum tea is the best kind of thing to straighten you out.”

§364 Almost every item mentioned can fall into one or more of three categories. Most important are the things detrimental to the ship in some way: cards, dice and women can only lead to trouble at sea. Another category includes things that do not normally frequent the sea – for example, crows, pigeons, bluebirds, starlings – and therefore may bring some kind of warning. Some items are connected with the world of the supernatural. Foxes, hares and cats are shapes in which witches can appear. They do unusual things. Hares go mad in March, Foxes are too clever to live, and cats carry static electricity in their fur and are familiar with the devil. Ministers, churches and bells all deal with Christianity (a ship’s bell is supposed to toll her end when the ship goes down). Since the sea is not Christian, it tries to do away with them. The more categories the item fits into, the more viable the belief.

§458-459 The fourth great strand, which is perhaps the oldest and most resistant to change, is found in the ancient belief in the ability of the dead to participate in the activities of the living. This, coupled to the almost universal belief that supernatural beings inhabit the turbulent waters about great headlands, completes the strand and hawser, for it is here, around Cape Horn and the Cape of Good Hope, that the greatest of all the spectre ships appears.

Our story appears in many forms and guises, but three seem to comprise the root of all the others. The first is the story of Dahul (an Arabic name meaning Forgotten One) who turns up sometimes off Cape Finisterre. This man was a pirate and had as his chief consort no less a personage than the Devil, who came aboard as a stowaway. One day he struck the Devil a terrible blow and threw him overboard. Shortly after this he captured a vessel and found aboard a Spanish family and a priest. Dahul ordered the priest to be crucified and cooked the Spaniard’s child. He then laughed at the priest’s final agony. Suddenly the sky darkened and a great voice was on the deep: “You shall wander, Dahul, at the will of the winds, at the mercy of the waves. Your crew shall exhaust itself in endless toil. You shall wander upon every sea until the end of the centuries. You shall receive aboard all the drowned of the world. You shall not die, nor shall you ever approach the shore, nor the ships which you will always see fleeing before you,”

Since that day the vessel has wandered. No one sleeps nor eats. She has no water and no hope. She is seen always before a storm and in the ominous quiet and half-light that precedes a great gale. She drives past under close reefs, her black hull half-buried in a smother of foam.

The second tale concerns a huge, powerful Dutch captain named Bernard Fokke, who drove his ships beyond the power of humans. To make sure his masts could stand the strain he encased them in iron bands. He was hard on his men and given to swearing great oaths. His ninety-day passages from Batavia to Holland were so fast and so regular that sailors believed he had made a compact with the Devil. However time means money even at sea, and his owners loved him. Eventually he failed to return and it was popularly thought the Devil had called him home. He may still be seen before an approaching gale driving his vessel around the Cape of Good Hope.

The final story has two versions The simpler one states that a Dutch sea captain, Vanderdecker (The Cloaked One), tried his best to beat round Cape Horn but made no progress. At last he made a vow that he would never stop trying until he doubled the Cape no matter how long it took. He would “be damned” if he did. This was, of course a direct affront to God and he has been battling for his westing ever since. The old windjammer hands used to see him before storms in the vicinity of Table Bay and when he appeared he knew that trouble was in the offing.

§22 There is an interesting sidelight to the distaste for changing names in Maine. Recently I was told by Ken Baker of Bowdoin that lobstermen name their boats for their girlfriends. When they married, if they did, they added the lady’s last name or its initial. For example, Scott Jones loves Linda Bridges. He names the lobster boat Linda. He marries her, and the boat becomes Linda B. This way, the name’s extended, not changed.

This post was inspired by the original track Trail Song given to A Moment of Eternal Noise by Georgina Starlington, the Jack Hines/Julie Hines duo formally of Brooklyn band K-Holes. The main text is from Folklore and the Sea by Horace Beck, 1972. The first quote is from Documents and Letters Intended to Illustrate the Revolutionary Incidents of Queens County, N.Y. by Henry Onderdonk, 1884. The image features a postcard of the ship Noisel wrecked on Praa Sands, Cornwall, 1905. The ship was bound from Cherbourg to Italy, but was caught in a south west gale.

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Suck & See

 

The parties in the Pines were amazing affairs complete with fanciful themes, Hollywood-like sets, giant sound systems, DJs, booze, and drugs. And in the summer of ’65, a couple of older queens named Sam Hadad and Royal Marks decided they would throw the most elaborate and decadent party of the season, calling it “The Bacchanal.” I was staying at a rented house with my friends Dick Villany, a decorator in the David Barrett mode, but with a less affluent clientele; Franklyn Welsh, the best, though as-yet-undiscovered, makeup artist and hair stylist in the world; Barry de Prendergast, a wily wheeler-dealer and model from Ireland; and Loy Mazor, a notorious speed freak. Loy mainlined methedrine to the point where his skin had taken on a pallor that was decidedly gray,

Franklyn made the most divine toga from one of the lightweight linen bedspreads and did my hair in a curly Grecian updo adorned with baby’s breath from Dickie Decorator’s living room flower arrangement. We were just about ready to leave for the party and already tanked up on pot and God knows what, when Loy asked if I`d like to try some speed. Never having shot it, l was, of course, up for the adventure. Franklyn held the belt tightly around my arm while Loy stuck the needle in my vein. The rush was immediate. I slumped to the floor in a moment of orgasmic ecstasy, pulled Franklyn, a rather shy homosexual to me and French kissed him so deeply he was in complete shock, “That good, huh?” he marveled, realizing how high I must have been. Everyone else was yelling that we should hurry up lest we miss the party. But I was so on fire with sexual desire. I just wanted to fuck somebody, anybody, right then and there before leaving the house. Alas though, it was a house full of homos and none of them were into girls. So I pulled myself together, hit the boards with them, and headed for The Bacchanal.

It was a daytime party, and as we neared the house, we saw legions of scantily costumed boys on the various boardwalks leading to it, their muscular sun-kissed bodies as tempting as Greek gods’ in the afternoon light. I was rushing and so incredibly horny; I just had to find a straight or bi one to fuck me. We were greeted with some magic punch at the door of the party- just what I needed to top up the speed!

Upstairs in the main room there was a huge table, the centerpiece of which was a stunningly beautiful boy, reclining nude except for a laurel wreath in his hair and some grapes covering the lower part of his torso. He poured wine for the guests from an ancient-style urn, and as I offered my glass to be filled, I looked into his eyes and caught the hetro vibe. “Ah, a real woman,” he cooed. And that was it. Within second, his fruit and my toga pushed aside, I was up on the table having sex with him. Suddenly, as if through a fish-eye lens, there were hordes of sex hungry faces looking down at us, their hands all over his ass as he was thrusting his cock into me. I found it all so excitingly surreal, so Fellini-esque and so fitting with the theme of the party. I felt no shame or contrition at all.

But Sam and Royal were outraged and decided I had ruined their party. They intervened before either of us got to come, and they took the boy away before I even got to know his name. He was ordered to stay in a downstairs bedroom until they sent him back to the mainland on the next boat, and I was ordered to leave the party, never to see my sweet momentary Adonis again. The next day I was the talk of the island, and everyone was divided into two camps: those who congratulated and high fived me, and those who scolded and scorned me. But I felt I had taught them all a lesson. You throw a bacchanal, you put a naked boy on the table, and you give out magic punch-what do you expect?

I think the only problem anyone there really had with it is that I was a woman. Had it been two boys going at it, it might have been OK. But apparently, they had hired the boy through an ad in the Village Voice and had no idea that he was straight. Anyway, Sam and Royal should have been eternally grateful to me for my performance and to Loy for supplying the speed. Their party became the stuff of Fire Island legend, not only for that summer, but for many summers that followed.

This post was a collaboration with artist Julie Verhoeven who donated the image Suck & See. A Moment of Eternal Noise selected the music and the text from Lick Me, How I Became Cherry Vanilla by Cherry Vanilla based on the image.

Excerpt from The Telephone Book : Pentatonia – Paris Smith : How to die with style – Quentin Crisp : Coke, Suede and Waterbeds – Sopwith Camel : Goodbye Emmanuelle – Serge Gainsbourg & Jane Birkin : Afrian Reggae – Nina Hagen : My name is trouble – Keren Ann : James and the Cold Gun – Kate Bush : Liquid Gang – Marc Bolan & T Rex : Ladytron – Roxy Music : Art-I-Ficial – X-Ray Spex : Bored – Destroy all Monsters : The Mating Game – The Monochrome Set : D’Ya Think I’m Sexy – Hybrid Kids : The Model – Big Black : Sex unter Wasser – D.A.F. : Strawberry Fields – The Runaways : Unemployability – Quentin Crisp : 52 Mins

 

“The tradition of all the dead generations
weighs like a nightmare”

The message of the death°s head also calls for a historical examination of the subject-object dialectic: the dead are not yet ready to receive you. Those who have died, the dead generations preceding you, do not want you yet. Through a death’s head, the dead declare they have no room for the subject and have nothing to say to the living except that the past is off-limits to them. The object is the effigy (the skull) of a totemic ancestor who rejects his descendants: the newcomer is not wanted. What lies behind the subject-object dialectic in the collection (and particularly in an antique shop where all objects are an appearance of the past) is a historical divide between the subject and the past.

Certainly the vision of “the entire known world” and of “the philosophical dunghill from which nothing was missing” is sure to induce a modicum of historical weariness in the subject. One does not stare at an overwhelmingly comprehensive “panorama of the past” without feeling the dead collectively weighing down on one’s puny presence at the end of history: “He felt smothered under the debris of fifty vanished centuries, sick with this surfeit of human thought, crushed under the weight of luxury and art, oppressed by these constantly recurring shapes which, like monsters springing up under his feet, engendered by some wicked genie, engaged him in endless combat”. This is not the utopian vision of a place where the whole of history stands at attention, but rather the awesome image of riotous legions of historical objects trampling over the living. In the museum, history condenses into a crushing authority. There the historical subject suffers the epigone`s fate. The historical stock is replete from the start (“nothing was missing”); I am left with no option but to wither away in the shadow of a fulfilled past.

Raphael groans under the weight of history. Nothing is left of the amicable handing-over of the past to the present once carried out under the aegis of tradition. The past, as it crystallizes in the museum, is an edict passed against the rights of the living: its motto, for Balzac, is that of epigonic modernity: “All is already said and we have come too late, for the last two thousand years of mankind.” The museum is a treasure trove under the authority of the dead, not the living. The latter must fight dearly for whatever breathing space they can wrest from history. In fact the past appears to be the actual place of the living (“constantly recurring forms”) pushing aside an ailing present (“sick”). The story of the Ass’s Skin squeezing life out of the hero is already implicit in the museums overpowering historical authority. The object crushes the latecomer with the weight of history:

The visitor… came to a fourth gallery, where his tired eyes were greeted by, in turn, a number of paintings by Poussin, a sublime statue by Michelangelo, several enchanting landscapes by Claude Lorrain, a Gerard Dow canvas which resembled a page of Sterne, Rembrandts…; then ancient bas-reliefs, goblets in agate, wonderful pieces of onyx! In short, works that would discourage anyone from working, so many masterpieces brought together as to wear down enthusiasm and make one hate the arts.

Clearly the museified work of art is not the comforting gift of the past handed down by avuncular tradition. The past is no longer a fount of wisdom and a repository of example. It is a poisoned well: everything shrivels in its shadow. In the museum, the subject is scrutinized by the evil eye of history and slowly wilts away. In that Sense, Balzac’s museum echoes the distant report of the historical clash of modern consciousness with the past- clash that, to some extent is handmaiden to modern consciousness. The Balzacian gallery is an image of how uprooted things must have been for Marx’s verdict, terrible in its implications, to be true. “The tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brain Of the living.” Marx’s sentiment shows how far modern consciousness has drifted from the tradition based world where ancestors were an auspicious, benign presence. The past now hangs over the present like a censorial threat. For such a conflict to arise, a wedge must have driven itself between past and present. A walk through the museum does not bring one closer to the ancestors; instead it so estranges one from them that they appear hostile to one’s existence. Here, Balzac’s museum reads like the historically alienated consciousness of modernity itself.

In the museum, the subject encounters objects that serve as historical lessons. In being abstracted from its original background, the museified work of art in fact becomes more historical. On the one hand, the statue taken out of the temple may lose its symbiotic relation with its historical home. On the other, it acquires a mythical veneer of pastness once it is relocated to the historiographic sphere of the museum. It takes on an aura of absolute historicity. ln the same way that one’s nationality is highlighted when one is abroad, but is also reified into an abstraction, the object°s historicity comes to the fore in the museum but only as a precipitate of abstract pastness. Qnce removed from its historical context, the work`s historicity becomes a given. Indeed history becomes aura, something almost mythic Which takes on an absolute, overbearing character. The past is no longer something that grows old among the living, handed down by tradition; rather it is something remote and aloof, untouchable and hostile an angry father, Saturn devouring his children.

Balzac’s museum lays out the place of conflict between the domineering dead and the beleaguered living. Conflict is conceivable only in the two parties stand in mutual alienation. In order for the past to be inimical to the present, as it is to Raphael, it cannot appear to be integrated with the the present. Historical consciousness must have gone from an integrated, homogenous sense of historical continuity to a splintered state of separation. What used to flow into the present like a generative stream of age-tested wisdom (and likened historical knowledge to soothsaying) is now dammed up as something alien and threatening. The museum piece is a bit of historical consciousness that has cut itself off from its source in traditional time. It embodies the rootlessness of modern consciousness behind Raphael’s fight to the death with the collectibles-a fight that comes to a head in the Skin-stands alienated history. History is ready to become a science because it has become an object standing over against consciousness. The development of historiographic science in the nineteenth century can be conceived only in an age which, because it experiences itself in severance from tradition, can turn an objective eye on the past: to it the past is a thing, at once removed and alien. The museums philosophical paradox is the alienation of history in its very preservation: indeed that history is nothing but the product of estrangement, that is, of our inability to penetrate time.

Didier Maleuvre, “Museum Memories: History, Technology, Art” 1999

The video ‘For Teda’ was created by Neon Dance for A Moment of Eternal Noise with an original soundtrack by Ólafur Arnalds. The video is made from a combination of found and new footage. Neon Dance took “a piece of incomplete archive footage of a dancer, the author lost to time, and deconstructed/re-imagined 55 seconds of new content into an artistic statement that has not only been informed by the past but responds to a digital future.”

 

We have heard a story, indeed, of a painter in France who, when he wanted to paint a sea-beach, carried realism from his ends to his means, and plastered real sand upon his canvas (writes Robert Louis Stevenson. He continues:) Thus his scene was less a depiction of a thing and rather was the thing in itself, not transmuted into any artistic convention; or at least was an extension of the thing, made up of the very stuff of real life. (Stevenson breaks off writing at this point, smiles to himself, runs his fingers through his beard.)

 

One suspects – writes John Gardner, almost a hundred years later – that Stevenson may simply have made him up, this unnamed French painter. Stevenson’s purpose – Gardner continues – was to point out that literature exists on a continuum between poles, which he called ‘objective’ and ‘subjective’; and in order to give an illustration from the visual arts, he compared the French painter’s beachscapes with the effect of early- and middle-period Turner, whose landscapes were like vivid scenes seen through a window. Stevenson himself, of course, like most nineteenth century authors, occupied the subjective end of the spectrum, what we would now call ordinary, “realistic” fiction, where the writer’s intent is that the reader fall through the printed page into the scene represented – and, at this sudden point in Gardner’s essay, you can sense the seductive power this idea holds for him, his longing to be able to fall in precisely this way, to move freely through a language that is weightless, pure, utterly transparent.

 

Not so for Raymond Carver. For him, words have weight, solidity. Building a sentence is like building a wall with stones, Carver says, paraphrasing Flaubert. The stones have to be the right shape, he continues, the right size and heft to be wedged into place tight against other stones – he is fond, certainly, of metaphors to do with outdoors. Fishing, famously, is his favourite hobby. That, and drinking – something which John Gardner, his writing teacher at Chico State and a similarly prolific drinker, warns him about. Carver listens, nods his head, takes account. He hangs on Gardner’s every utterance, at this stage in his career – before, really, he even has a career. Later, in ‘Fires’, he will describe Gardner’s influence on his writing: “Telling me over and over how important it was to have the right words saying what I wanted them to say. Nothing vague or blurred, no smoked-glass prose”. But one day, following Gardner’s lead, he reads Robert Louis Stevenson’s preface to the complete works of Victor Hugo: no mention, despite what Gardner has claimed, of middle or late period Turner; no theories of objective versus subjective art. The unnamed French painter throwing sand onto his canvas is there, yes. But that is the only point that Gardner seems to have got right. And though it is not really all that important, though it is only a small, niggling thing, it is disappointment that lingers. Not that Carver ever mentions it to his former mentor, instead letting him go on making the same arguments about Stevenson and Turner and subjectivity in various interviews and lectures, letting him make a fool of himself. Eventually, Carver thinks, he’ll get round to telling him – right up to the day Gardner is killed horribly in a motorcycle accident. And so the thought always remains, jabbing at Carver like a splinter: was Gardner simply mistaken, perhaps misremembering what Stevenson actually wrote, or mixing up various different essays; or did he just make it all up?

 

As for myself, I don’t particularly care either way. Or so I tell myself, sitting at my desk in my small, functional apartment in New York. All these hermeneutic concerns seem a world away – all this business of literary accuracy, of reputations waxing and waning, of writers writing about writers. It’s just a distraction. It’s decadent, in fact, when you consider what else is going on in the world today.

I push my chair back, swivel around to the window, put my feet up to rest on the lip of the frame. I like that my desk is by the window. I like leaning back and looking out, across the huddled rooftops, and taking a moment to think things over. Through the single glazing, the sounds of the city rise up to me – all the usual morning sounds. Some unusual ones too. Bagpipes. But mainly traffic, rush-hour crowds, the buzz and chatter of voices. I imagine it all taking place, far below me – a typical slice of New York life. The sound of yellow taxicabs – beeping, revving, yelling. You know what I mean, you’ve seen it all before – a scene straight from a movie. The yellow sound of taxicabs – bright and piercing in the cold morning. You don’t need me to describe it all.

There’s nothing left to say. I suppose I could put in an abrupt ending, some unexpected, oddly poignant event – like the legions of Carver copyists out there. A sudden crash, perhaps, out in the street. But in fact there’s no need to make anything up. It’s all right in front of me.

There must be a building site nearby, some construction work a few blocks away, though I can’t see any cranes on the skyline, but how else do you explain it – because, there: carried by the wind, in little muddy heaps on the windowsill, and rain-etched swirls on the glass: sand.

I continue.

 

This post is based on the above sound work made by Seb Patane for A Moment of Eternal Noise from field recordings made in the Summer of 2011 in New York. Responding to the sound work Marc Hundley created the photograph and Gabriel Coxhead the text.

 

“I sense a confusion of means. Not that I’m criticizing. It was a daring thing you did, a daring thrust. To use him. I can admire the attempt even as I see how totally dumb it was, although no dumber than wearing a charm or knocking wood. Six hundred million Hindus stay home from work if the signs are not favorable that morning. So I’m not singling you out.”

“The vast and terrible depth.”

“Of course,” he said.

“The inexhaustibility.”

“I understand.”

“The whole huge nameless thing.”

“Yes, absolutely. “

“The massive darkness.”

“Certainly, certainly.”

“The whole terrible endless hugeness.”

“I know exactly what you mean.”

He tapped the fender of a diagonally parked car, half smiling.

“Why have you failed, Jack?”

“A confusion of means.”

“Correct. There are numerous ways to get around death. You tried to employ two of them at once. You stood out on the one hand and tried to hide on the other. What is the name we give to this attempt?”

“Dumb.”

I followed him into the supermarket. Blasts of color, layers of oceanic sound. We walked under a bright banner announcing a raffle to raise money for some incurable disease. The wording seemed to indicate that the winner would get the disease. Murray likened the banner to a Tibetan prayer flag.

“Why have I had this fear so long, so consistently?”

“It’s obvious. You don’t know how to repress. We’re all aware there’s no escape from death. How do we deal with this crushing knowledge? We repress, we disguise, we bury, we exclude. Some people do it better than others, that’s all.”

“How can I improve?”

“You can’t. Some people just don’t have the unconscious tools to perform the necessary disguising operations.”

“How do we know repression exists if the tools are unconscious and the thing we’re repressing is so cleverly disguised?”

“Freud said so. Speaking of looming figures.”

He picked up a box of Handi-Wrap II, reading the display type, studying the colors. He smelled a packet of dehydrated soup. The data was strong today.

“Do you think I’m some how healthier because I don’t know how to repress? Is it possible that constant fear is the natural state of man and that by living close to my fear I am actually doing something heroic, Murray?”

“Do you feel heroic?”

“No.”

“Then you probably aren’t.”

“But isn’t repression unnatural?”

“Fear is unnatural. Lightning and thunder are unnatural. Pain, death, reality, these are all unatural We can’t bear these things as they are. We know too much. So we resort to repression, compromise and disguise. This is how we survive in the universe. This is the natural language of the species.”

I looked at him carefully.

“I exercise. I take care of my body.”

“No, you don’t,” he said.

He helped an old man read the date on a loaf of raisin bread. Children sailed by in silver carts.

“Tegrin, Denorex, Selsun Blue.”

Murray wrote something in his little book. I watched him step deftly around a dozen fallen eggs oozing yolky matter from a busted carton.

“Why do I feel so good when I’m with Wilder? It’s not like being with the other kids,” I said.

“You sense his total ego, his freedom from limits.”

“In what way is he free from limits?”

“He doesn’t know he’s going to die. He doesn’t know death at all. You cherish this simpleton blessing of his, this exemption from harm. You want to get close to him, touch him, look at him, breathe him in. How lucky he is. A cloud of unknowing, an omnipotent little person. The child is everything, the adult nothing. Think about it. A person’s entire life is the unraveling of this conflict. No wonder we’re bewildered, staggered, shattered.”

“Aren’t you going too far?”

“I’m from New York.”

“We create beautiful and lasting things, build vast civilizations.”

“Gorgeous evasions,” he said. “Great escapes.”

The doors parted photoelectronically. We went outside, walking past the dry cleaner, the hair stylist, the optician. Murray relighted his pipe, sucking impressively at the mouthpiece.

“We have talked about ways to get around death.” he said. “We have discussed how you’ve already tried two such ways, each cancelling the other. We have mentioned technology, train wrecks, belief in an afterlife. There are other methods as well and I would like to talk about one such approach.”

We crossed the street.

“I believe, Jack, there are two kinds of people in the world. Killers and diers. Most of us are diers. We don’t have the disposition, the rage or whatever it takes to be a killer. We let death happen. We lie down and die. But think what it’s like to be a killer. Think how exciting it is, in theory, to kill a person in direct confrontation. If he dies, you cannot. To kill him is to gain life-credit. The more people you kill, the more credit you store up. It explains any number of massacres, wars, executions.”

“Are you saying that men have tried throughout history to cure themselves of death by killing others?”

“It’s obvious.”

“And you call this exciting?”

“I’m talking theory. In theory, violence is a form of rebirth. The dier passively succumbs. The killer lives on. What a marvelous equation. As a marauding band amasses dead bodies, it gathers strength. Strength accumulates like a favor from the gods.”

“What does this have to do with me?”

“This is theory. We’re a couple of academics taking a walk. But imagine the visceral jolt, seeing your opponent bleeding in the dust.”

“You think it adds to a person’s store of credit, like a bank transaction.”

“Nothingness is staring you in the face. Utter and permanent oblivion. You will cease to be. To be, Jack. The dier accepts this and dies. The killer, in theory, attempts to defeat his own death by killing others. He buys time, he buys life. Watch others squirm. See the blood trickle in the dust.”

I looked at him, amazed. He drew contentedly on his pipe, making hollow sounds.

“It’s a way of controlling death. A way of gaining the ultimate upper hand. Be the killer for a change. Let someone else be the dier. Let him replace you, theoretically, in that role. You can’t die if he does. He dies, you live. See how marvelously simple.”

“You say this is what people have been doing for centuries.”

“They’re still doing it. They do it on a small intimate scale, they do it-in groups and crowds and masses. Kill to live.”

“Sounds pretty awful.”

He seemed to shrug. “Slaughter is never random. The more people you kill, the more power you gain over your own death. There is a secret precision at work in the most savage and indiscriminate killings. To speak about this is not to do public relations for murder. We’re two academics in an intellectual environment. It’s our duty to examine currents of thought, investigate the meaning of human behavior. But think how exciting, to come out a winner in a deathly struggle, to watch the bastard bleed.”

“Plot a murder, you’re saying. But every plot is a murder in effect. To plot is to die, whether we know it or not.”

“To plot is to live,” he said.

I looked at him. I studied his face, his hands.

“We start our lives in chaos, in babble. As we surge up into the world, we try to devise a shape, a plan. There is dignity in this. Your whole life is a plot, a scheme, a diagram. It is a failed scheme but that’s not the point. To plot is to affirm life, to shape and control. Even after death, most particularly after death, the search continues. Burial rites are an attempt to complete the scheme, in ritual. Picture a state funeral, Jack. It is all precision, detail, order, design. The nation holds its breath. The efforts a huge and powerful government are brought to bear on a ceremony that will shed the last trace of chaos. If all goes well, if they bring it off, some natural law of perfection is obeyed. The nation itself is delivered from anxiety, the deceased’s life is redeemed, itself is strengthened, reaffirmed.”

“Are you sure?” I said.

“To plot, to take aim at something, to shape time and space. This is how we advance the art of human consciousness.”

We moved in a wide circle back toward campus. Streets in deep and soundless shade, garbage bags set out for collection. crossed the sunset overpass, pausing briefly to watch the cars shoot by. Sunlight bouncing off the glass and chrome.

“Are you a killer or a dier Jack?”

“You know the answer to that. I’ve been a dier all my life.”

“What can you do about it?”

“What can any dier do? Isn’t it implicit in his makeup that he can’t cross over?”

“Let’s think about that. Let’s examine the nature of the beast, so to speak. The male animal. Isn’t there a fund, a pool, a reservoir of potential violence in the male psyche?”

“In theory I suppose there is.”

“We’re talking theory. That’s exactly what we’re talking. Two friends on a tree-shaded street. What else but theory? Isn’t there a deep field, a sort of crude oil deposit that one might tap if and when the occasion warrants? A great dark lake of male rage.”

“That’s what Babette says. Homicidal rage. You sound like her.”

“Amazing lady. Is she right or wrong?”

“In theory? She’s probably right.”

“Isn’t there a sludgy region you’d rather not know about? A remnant of some prehistoric period when dinosaurs roamed the earth and men fought with flint tools? When to kill was to live?”

“Babette talks about male biology. Is it biology or geology?”

“Does it matter, Jack? We only want to know whether it is there, buried in the most prudent and unassuming soul.”

“I suppose so. It can be. It depends.”

“Is it or isn’t it there?”

“It’s there, Murray. So what?”

“I only want to hear you say it. That’s all. I only want to elicit truths you already possess, truths you’ve always known at some basic level.”

“Are you saying a dier can become a killer?”

“I’m only a visiting lecturer. I theorize, I take walks, I admire the trees and houses. I have my students, my rented room, my TV set. I pick out a word here, an image there. I admire the lawns, the porches. What a wonderful thing a porch is. How did I live a life without a porch to sit on, up till now? I speculate, I reflect, I take constant notes. I am here to think, to see. Let me warn you, Jack. I won’t let up.”

We passed my street and walked up the hill to the campus.

“Who’s your doctor?”

“Chakravarty,” I said.

“Is he good?”

“How would I know?”

“My shoulder separates. An old sexual injury.”

“I’m afraid to see him. I put the printout of my death in the bottom drawer of a dresser.”

“I know how you feel. But the tough part is yet to come. You’ve said good-bye to everyone but yourself. How does a person say good-bye to himself? It’s a juicy existential dilemma.”

“It certainly is.”

We walked past the administration building.

“I hate to be the one who says it, Jack, but there’s something that has to be said.”

“What?”

“Better you than me.”

I nodded gravely. “Why does this have to be said?”

“Because friends have to be brutally honest with each other. I’d feel terrible if I didn’t tell you what I was thinking, especially at a time like this.”

“I appreciate it, Murray. I really do.”

Don DeLilloWhite Noise,” 1985

Image – ‘Yuri Pavlovick Gidzenko,’ Test Cosmonaut of the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center, Russian Federal Space Agency

Kaivue – Vladislav Delay : The Decline of Western Civilisation – Tru West : I0 – Klangwart : Twasidich Wurde – Kleefstra/Pruiksma/Kleefstra : King of Clubs – Apparet : Dream II – Leafcutter John : Adikia – Ekkehard – Ehlers : Visible Breath – Eyvind kang : Stadich Lit Ik Dy Kalder Wurde – Kleefstra/Pruiksma/Kleefstra : Stilleben 187-88 – Kaija Saariaho : Henki – Vladislav Delay : Farnsworth House – Efdemin : Sixteenth – Autistici : 91 Mins

 

I must have been eight when, in a storeroom of our country house, among all kinds of dusty objects, I discovered some wonderful books acquired in the days when my mother’s mother had been interested in natural science and had had a famous university professor of Zoology (Shimkevich) give private lessons to her daughter. Some of these books were mere curios, such as the four huge brown folios of Albertus Seba’s work (Locupletissimi Rerum Naturalium Thesauri Accurata Descrqnio…), printed in Amsterdam around 1750. On their coarse-grained pages I found woodcuts of serpents and butterflies and embryos. The fetus of an Ethiopian female child hanging by the neck in a glass jar used to give me a nasty shock every time I came across it; nor did I much care for the stuffed hydra on plate CII, with its seven lion-toothed turtleheads on seven serpentine necks and its strange, bloated body which bore buttonlike tubercules along the sides and ended in a knotted tail.

Other books I found in that attic, among herbariums full of alpine columbines, and blue palemoniums, and Jove’s campions, and orange-red lilies, and other Davos flowers, came closer to my subject. I took in my arms and carried downstairs glorious loads of fantastically attractive volumes: Maria Sibylla Merian’s (1647-1717) lovely plates of Surinam insects, and Esper’s noble Die Sehmetterlinge (Erlangen, 1777), and Boisduval’s Ieones Historiques de Lépidoptéres Nou-veaux ou Peu Connus (Paris, begun in 1832). Still more exciting were the products of the latter half of the century – Newman’s Natural History of British Buttefflies and Moths, Hofmann’s Die Gross Sehmezterlinge Europas, the Grand Duke Nikolay Mihailovich’s Mémoires on Asiatic lepidoptera (with incomparably beautiful figures painted by Kavrigin, Rybakov, Lang), Scudder’s stupendous work on the Butterflies of New England.

Retrospectively, the summer of 1905, though quite vivid in many ways, is not animated yet by a single bit of quick flutter or colored fluff around or across the walks with the village schoolmaster: the Swallowtail of June 1906 was still in the larval stage on a roadside umbellifer; but in the course of that month I became acquainted with a score or so of common things, and Mademoiselle was already referring to a certain forest road that culminated in a marshy meadow full of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillaries (thus called in my first unforgettable and unfadingly magical little manual, Richard South’s The Butterflies of the British Isles, which had just come out at thattime) as le chemin des papillons bruns. The following year Ibecame aware that many of our butterflies and moths did notoccur in England or Central Europe, and more complete atlaseshelped me to determine them. A severe illness (pneumonia,with fever up to 41° centigrade), in the beginning of 1907,mysteriously abolished the rather monstrous gift of numbersthat had made of me a child prodigy during a few months(today I cannot multiply 13 by 17 without pencil and paper; Ican add them up, though, in a trice, the teeth of the three fitting in neatly); but the butterflies survived. My mother accumulated a library and a museum around my bed, and the longing to describe a new species completely replaced that of discovering a new prime number. A trip to Biarritz, in August 1907, added new wonders (though not as lucid and numerous as they were to be in 1909). By 1908, I had gained absolute control over the European lepidoptera as known to Hofmann. By 1910, I had dreamed my way through the first volumes of Seitz’s prodigious picture book Die Gross-Sehmetterlinge der Erde, had purchased a number of rarities recently described,and was voraciously reading entomological periodicals, especially English and Russian ones. Great upheavals were takingplace in the development of systematics. Since the middle of thecentury, Continental lepidopterology had been, on the whole, asimple and stable affair, smoothly run by the Germans. Its highpriest, Dr Staudinger, was also the head of the largest firm ofinsect dealers. Even now, half a century after his death, Germanlepidopterists have not quite managed to shake off the hypnoticspell occasioned by his authority. He was still alive when hisschool began to lose ground as a scientific force in the world.While he and his followers stuck to specific and generic namessanctioned by long usage and were content to classify butterfliesby characters visible to the naked eye, English-speaking authorswere introducing nomenclatorial changes as a result of a strictapplication of the law of priority and taxonomic changes basedon the microscopic study of organs. The Germans did theirbest to ignore the new trends and continued to cherish thephilately-like side of entomology. Their solicitude for the ‘average collector who should not be made to dissect’ is comparableto the way nervous publishers of popular novels pamper the‘average reader’ – who should not be made to think.

There was another more general change, which coincidedwith my ardent adolescent interest in butterflies and moths.The Victorian and Staudingerian kind of species, hermeticand homogeneous, with sundry (alpine, polar, insular, etc.)‘varieties’ affixed to it from the outside, as it were, like incidental appendages, was replaced by a new, multiform and fluidkind of species, organically consisting of geographical races orsubspecies. The evolutional aspects of the case were thusbrought out more clearly, by means of more flexible methodsof classification, and further links between butterflies and thecentral problems of nature were provided by biological investigations.The mysteries of mimicry had a special attraction for me.Its phenomena showed an artistic perfection usually ‘associatedwith man-wrought things. Consider the imitation of oozingpoison by bubblelike macules on a wing (complete with pseudorefraction) or by glossy yellow knobs on a chrysalis (‘Don’t eatme – I have already been squashed, sampled and rejected’).Consider the tricks of an acrobatic caterpillar (of the LobsterMoth) which in infancy looks like bird’s dung, but after moltingdevelops scrabbly hymenopteroid appendages and baroquecharacteristics, allowing the extraordinary fellow to play twoparts at once (like the actor in Oriental shows who becomes apair of intertwisted wrestlers): that of a writhing larva and thatof a big ant seemingly harrowing it. When a certain mothresembles a certain wasp in shape and color, it also walks andmoves its antennae in a waspish, unmothlike manner. When abutterfly has to look like a leaf not only are all the details of aleaf beautifully rendered but markings mimicking grub-boredholes are generously thrown in. ‘Natural selection,’ in the Darwinian sense, could not explain the miraculous coincidence ofimitative aspect and imitative behavior, nor could one appealto the theory of ‘the struggle for life’ when a protective devicewas carried to a point of mimetic subtlety, exuberance, andluxury far in excess of a predator’s power of appreciation. Idiscovered in nature the nonutilitarian delights that I soughtin art. Both were a form of magic, both were a game of intricateenchantment and deception.

This Exquisite Corspe started with the original piece of music ‘Don’t Pet the Slugs’ by Steven Mykietyn, Zuriel Waters and Takafumi Kosaka, Gabriel Hartley then made the painting ‘Slugs’ after hearing a section of it. A Moment of Eternal Noise picked the text by Vladimir Nabokov from the book Speak Memory‘ given to us by Benjy Keating from Palimstry.

(About the size of a Book)

A Unitych is a unit made up of two identical parts. Each part is about the size of a book. It comprises a unit when both parts are separated and disseminated. If presented as a pair – casually assembled on a window ledge for instance – it would merely exist as a sum of components. Entirely dependant on each part’s separation, a Unitych is unique in requiring two persons to own it. One could have both parts in their possession of course, but in order for Unitych to function, the ownership needs to be split, 50/50 with another person. A Unitych unit dissolves if there is too larger distance between the componential parts. There is no actual yardstick, and different Unitychs behave differently. Many come into being by accident and each one behaves relatively to its owners’ predicaments.

In a meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up on a chair staring at a wall. An object (about the size of a book) rests on a table. Should her gaze turn directly towards the object, she will not perceive a Unitych but only a componential sibling. She cannot stare at both at the same time, because the other part is in another meagre room, in another house, somewhere else. To see hers, she has to look away from the object, but too far and she’ll miss it. She might stare at the wall and only perceive the wall, or she might be staring at the wall but perceive a Unitych. If this were the case she does not see the wall at all and only perceives the Unitych.

For a Unitych can plunge surrounding objects and other matter into darkness. To see her own, she has to capture a distance, if she manages to capture this, then she can perceive her Unitych. A Unitych works very much like an old optical illusion. You know the type; you run your eyes over a grid of black and white squares, and a mesh of grey ones appear. You stop to focus, stagnantly, to deconstruct the trick, only to find as you do there is a slight oscillation anyway, and the little grey fuzzy squares break free and career all over your visual field.

In another meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up on chair facing an object (about the size of a book) on a table. Her eyes are closed and her womb aches. Three small tears emit from dormant tear ducts and fall onto her lap. The drips fall with the same amount of time between each one and hit the same spot on her lap. On the third, she opens her eyelids. Two empty eye sockets meet the wall and at this point she sees her Unitych. Her mouth opens; her tongue tightens to reach the roof of her mouth. She squeezes some air from the depths of her lungs to make an O, a C, a U, and an L, a long A, and a quivering lower lip attempts an R.

In another meagre room, a barefooted woman is curled up staring at an object (about the size of a book) on the table. Her belly begins to ache, and the pain travels further down her abdomen to her vagaina, and into her anus. The pain in her womb intensifies. Paralysed in agony, she feels movement in her womb. The pain between her thighs is unbearable, and she feels a rush of fluid. She dares not look down, as two spherical objects, as soft and white as lychees emerge from her vagina. Drooling in fluid they fall neatly on to the chair. The woman clenches her eyes, and they begin to stream; one, two, three drops. She opens hers eyes on the third. Staring at the table, the object has vanished. She remains frozen, but she looks down between her thighs at the dribble around her lap. Two eyes stare back at her, and as all eyes meet, an object (about the size of a book) shifts into focus. Her stare darts over to the tabletop but the object has disappeared and by the time her glance returns to the set of eyes swimming in fluid, the object returns. Fixed still on the set of eyes, her mouth opens, and her tongue tightens to reach the roof of her mouth. She squeezes some air from the depths of her lungs to make an O, a C, a U, and an L, a long A, and a quivering lower lip attempts an R.

Invisible – Jean-Claude Risset : L’Imparfait Des Langues – Louis Sclavis : Armadillo Death – Rancho Shampoo : Mon Histoire – Michel Cloup : Cette Colere – Michael Cloup : Chat Noir – Le Pas du chat noir- Anouar Brahem : La Partition du Ciel et de l’Enfer – Philippe Manoury : The Hospital (The Eye of the Beholder) – Bernard Herrmann : The dance of the tutuguri – Antonin Artaud : String Quartet No. 3: III. Epilogue / Lullaby – Jefferson Friedman : Cave Song – Meredith Monk : Invisible – Jean-Claude Risset : Pictures of Matchstick Men – Status Quo : Espaces Inhabitables, I. – François Bayle : Dj la nuit – Anouar Brahem : On Top of The World – James – 65 Mins

This is an Exquisite Corpse. The music was selected by A Moment of Eternal Noise, an excerpt was sent to Simone Gigles who made the image ‘Kitty.’ The text was written by Cameron Irving based on that image.

 

1) Marburg. Project Harlequin. 03.11.39

In 1939 at the General Electric labs in Schenectady, New York they discovered the ability of dry ice shavings to convert supercooled water droplets (those existing as water at temperatures colder than freezing) to ice crystals and thus to water, with the addition of elements such as copper oxide the water could be colored. This combination would be injected into clouds using a convectional heating process that would manifest itself in the paths of jet streams propelling the clouds to Germany. When they reached precipitation point the rain would permanently stain any exposed skin.

2) Cuxhaven. The Badische Committee. 05.05.39

The communist organization Young Czechoslovakia proposed fake German fashion houses. Here gangs of secret Jewish tailors would make special low cost Nazi uniforms which would fit perfectly when first worn but would then inhibit the movements when the wearer ran or lifted their arms above elbow height. Each garment and accessory was designed to inhibit a specific task such as a belt which would tighten when loading a rifle or a smoking jacket that constricted blood flow in the right arm making writing an uncomfortable and difficult procedure.

3) Wartburg. The Salar League. 14.08.42

The Dutch created vast animal hospitals and developed animal training centers in Ireland. Using rigorous advanced techniques they hoped to combine several instincts into one animal. Echolocation from bats was taught to rats. The sensitivity of a spider’s legs was taught to horses. The hibernation habits of bears were taught to owls. In the Rhine a salmon and a tiger shark were cross bred, implanted with organic sonar amplifiers. Bombs were mounted onto and sometimes into their bodies. They attempted to combine the salmon’s homing skills with a shark’s instinct for detecting noises and electrical signals to create living weapons. Boats have large electrical ‘footprints’ which they assumed could easily be taught to the fish. It was hoped they could be trained to hunt and destroy specific targets.

4) Berlin. The Red Ribbon. 12.10.43

In the outer Hebrides a farmers collective was approached, they favored using special sheep breeding techniques and the meat sent into Germany disguised as Red Cross packs that had accidentally been dropped in the wrong areas. The meat contained massive amounts of untraceable hormones that would cause mass impotency.

5) Kassel. League of Biblio-Terorism. 22.04.43

The Russian’s had their sights set on the Nazi education system. The National Socialists completely changed the schooling system in Germany, aggressively vetting teachers, encouraging pupils to inform on them, rewriting history and adding anti-Semitic and anti-Marxist twists to historical accounts. Large amounts of new text books, learning materials and teachers had to be found. The short time frame needed to create this new system created many loop holes that the Russians wanted to exploit. They focused on hiding secret messages within the books using subtle diagrams and compositions they believed would effect the children’s development. Subliminal messages would be hidden in the educational films. Colors the Russians believed would effect the children’s sub-conscious were especially favored. Secret backward chants and messages were hidden in the gramophone records of marching bands. In physical education which comprised 15% of their total class time the children where made to run in shapes and patterns that would create indelible mental symbols of anti-Nazi propaganda. The Russians believed the arrangement of these positive mental symbols would effect the children’s subconscious in such a way as to make identification with the Nazi’s graphic symbolism impossible.

6) Soest. The Zeuss Factory. 30.03.44

In occupied France the Brittany Resistance were interested in the factory owners and managers. They infiltrated these Nazi owned business and secretly proposed a radical redesign of everyday objects. A bathtub that was so slippery the user could almost never get out of it. Concrete made so impure that it would disintegrate in the rain. A special bicycle cog set based on the concept of half-step gearing was created by altering original blueprints. Here a simultaneous front and rear shift change was necessary to move through the gears. At the lowest gear the chain was designed to fall off the cog just at the point the rider reached top speed in the hope of causing a fatal accident.

7) Schwerin. The Quinton Study. 19.11.1945

The Quinton Study in Schwerin was a group named after the famous canine sea water experiments conducted by René Quinton in the late 19th Century. The American animal laboratories had found a way of teaching dogs excellent tracking skills and homing instincts from pigeons and coyotes that they would use to triangulate their position on targets. The canines were flown in and parachuted about 10 kilometers from the desired target. The dogs would live off the land while they slowly closed in. When they got within a kilometer they could communicate using coyote calls. Then at a specific time they would attack. Even the actual method of carrying out the assassination was an instinct taken from another animal. The dogs were taught to copy the feeding habits of crocodiles and their jaw muscles operated on to promote extra muscle development, their teeth removed and replaced with ceramic blades. Their coats would be washed daily in a chemical mixture created to streamline and camouflage the animal. Finally the dogs were taught to entirely eat their kill.

This text by A Moment of Eternal Noise features an original score by Paul Gulati and is edited by Kelly Kludt.

 

I live alone. I’ve got enough money if my rich mother keeps forking it over. She’s sorry for me cause I’m a cripple.

It’s better to be a cripple in this world than just a plain ugly creep who writes books.

Every night I lie on my bed and am miserable. I look at the empty spot next to me. When I want to put my head on someone’s shoulder, I … When I want to I find out if I possibly don’t look like an ugly cripple, I ask… When I want to feel someone’s weight pounding into me, bruising me, naked flesh streaming against naked flesh naked flesh pouring wet against naked flesh, I … When I ache and ache and ache; I always ache; every day I ache; I … I need a man because I love men. I love their thick rough skins I love the ways they totally know about everything so I don’t need to know anything. They don’t really know everything, but we’ll forget about that. They take hold of me; they shove me around; and suddenly the weight of my own aggression’s off me. I can go farther out. I can explore more. They’re masculine which means they know about a certain society, this polite-death society which is their society, with which they know how to deal. So I don’t have to deal with it. I don’t want to. They provide a base for me in a society to which I feel alien. Otherwise I’ve got no reason to be in this world.

I can’t get a man unless money’s involved. I found this out in the brothel.

Maybe this is only cause I’m so ugly.

“Should I bother seeing people at all?” I ask Poirot.

Poirot’s stumped.

“Whenever I see people, I can’t stand them. They make my nerves snap. I can’t stand seeing them cause I know they hate me.”

“Did you murder the young girl?” Poirot asks. “I don’t like my friends anymore. I don’t want to see anyone. I want to sit by myself, and play chess.”

“I’ve got to paint. I’ve got to paint more and more, make something beautiful, make up for make away with this misery, this dragging .. ”

“You lack the analytical mind. You’re too emotional to have planned this murder.”

‘The cops finally got Norvins’ brother,” Bethe exclaims. “They gave him the death sentence, and all he was doing was stealing.”

“All I ever do is play with myself. I don’t care about politics. ”

“When the cop arrested Clement, Clement hit him over the head with the end of a bottle. What d’you think of that? At his trial Clement said: ‘The policeman arrested me in the name of the law; I hit him in the name of liberty.’ ”

“Berthe, do you think it’s better to fuck a man for money, or just to fuck for free?”

“Then Clement said: ‘When society refuses you the right to existence, you must take it.’ ”

“I’ll fuck any way I can get it. I love to fuck so much”

“The other day the cops arrested Charles Gallo.”

“Huh,” says Giannina.

“The anarchist who threw a bottle of vitriol into the middle of the Stock Exchange; fired three revolver shots into the crowd, and didn’t kill anyone. When the cops got to him, he said, ‘Long live revolution! Long live anarchism! Death to the bourgeois judiciary! Long live dynamite! Bunch of idiots!’ ”

“That stuff doesn’t concern us. We’re women. We know about ourselves, our cunts, not the crap you read in the newspapers. Who’d you think murdered the girl?”

“Maybe a person who lives in the same hell we live in. Sure we’re waitresses. We’re part of the meat market. We’re the meat. That’s how we get loved. We get cooked. We get our asses burned cause sex, like everything else, is always involved with money.”

“I don’t like to think and I don’t trust people who think.” Giannina kisses Bethe on her right ear.

“If we lived in a society without bosses,” Bethe says seriously, “we’d be fucking all the time. We wouldn’t have to be images. Cunt special. We could fuck every artist in the world.”

“I’d like to fuck all the time.”

“My heroine is Sophie Perovskaya.” Giannina’s slowly licking the inside of Berthe’s ear. “Five years ago March first The People’s Will, a group she was part of, murdered Tsar Alexander II. As she died, she rejoiced, for she realized her death would deal a fatal blow to autocracy.” Giannina blows into her ear. “I’d like to have the guts to follow that woman.”

“I want to be a whore.”

“Don’t you understand the world in which we’re living?”….

…..his other hand tore off the red silk pajamas. His eyes were glazed and drool was coming out of his mouth. He looked cruel and he was hurting me badly.

“I kept struggling as much as I could, hoping, hoping for anything.

” ‘Baby, that’s the way I like you. The more you move, the hotter you make me. You’re so little and delicate, I just want to feel you all over me.’ Then he started to pant His breath was hot and fetid. I was about to faint. His demanding mouth bit down on my tongue and then on my unformed breasts. He was hurting me.

“His right hand unzipped his pants and he lowered himself into me. Lowered his hardened manhood into me so that I thought he was tearing my skin, thrusting an iron-hot cleaver into the most secret part of my body. He kept forcing himself into me until he began to shudder, and shudder harder. Finally he bore into me so hard, some part of me, burning, gave way. I felt no relief.

“He rolled off of me, Suddenly he began to see me. A look of horror replaced the dazed grin on his face.

” ‘O my god,’ he gasped. ‘What have I done?’

“I grabbed my clothes and ran, I locked myself in my bathroom and turned on the bathtub. Frantically, I kept trying to clean myself.

“Later that night I learned that Ted had rushed out, taken the car, and driven off a cliff.”

When I finished talking, I realized that Bill was still in the room. He was shivering.

“What have I done to you, Claire? I should have known. Look,” his hand-gently took my hand, “do you think you’ll ever be able to trust me?”

“Yes,” I said. “But I’ll have to go slowly. I’m still very scared of men.”

“It’ll take a long time,” Bill said, “But one day you’ll want me to touch you and hold you and do all those other things. As for now, I love you, I love the real you because I know everything about you.

“Everything else will happen.”

This is A Moment of Eternal Noise Exquisite Corpse. The text by Kathy Acker from the adult life of toulouse lautrec was selected by A Moment of Eternal Noise, an excerpt was sent to Susanne Oberbeck who selected the music featuring a new track Do The Dog. A section of the music was given to Clunie Reid who created the image The Piss Factory.

Off White – James Chance & The Black Stained Sheets : Connection – Nervous Gender : Lazy in Love – Lydia Lunch : Emotional Rescue – The Rolling Stones : Do The Dog – No Bra : I Hear Voices – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins : Can we go Inside – Blood Orange : Money to Burn – James Chance & The Contortions : P**s Factory – Patti Smith : Who by Fire – Coil – 45 Mins

 

The shadow I had lost in the streets could not have been as far off as the registrar had led me to believe the Omega was. Time passed. The lines crumbled into heaps of confetti that blew away when I slipped the map from its frame and held it to the open window.

Under the blank marquee. The ticket booth stood concealed in an octagonal pillar of imitation marble whose blue glaze was dulled by a layer of soot, its window facing the entrance. No one there. Through the pane, behind its metal air vent, I could dimly see the calendar print of a wintry forest hanging on the wall, a wooden stool. an empty cash drawer to the right of the ticket slots. The telephone receiver was off the hook. It must have been dangling below. Silent, out of sight. The last one to inhabit the booth had not bothered to draw the curtain over the window or to empty the ashtray, which held a half-smoked cigarette with lipstick traces. By one of the entrance doors a poster in a cracked-glass frame depicted, in garish colors, a statuesque blonde clad in a negligee, the outline of her body a vague silhouette behind a muslin window. Farther into the room, a man was standing. His face, dull yet oddly menacing, lit from the side by a weak night-lamp near an unmade bed. I’d expected a line of ambulances (at least a paddy wagon or two) to be parked by the curb.

There was nothing. The mist, which hid less from me than the shadow I had lost, shrouded the opposite walk so completely that, for all one could tell, only abandoned excavations were to be found there, or vast asphalt lots jammed with cars that were no longer allowed on the streets, some perhaps holding those who had gone to sleep behind the wheel and been left to rot. I hadn’t seen a car all morning, not even close within the precincts of the roundhouse. What kept me out there? Obviously another dreadful miscalculation. With no landmarks to follow, I had hoped for luck enough to stumble on the Omega theatre. This couldn’t have been the one. The letters, lost in fog. Markings of where the sleepers were kept. I tried the door by the poster. It wouldn’t budge. Then the one next to it. My hands on the iron crossbar, pushing through to the darkness.

The foyer led up a carpeted ramp between two ranks of posts strung together by velveteen ropes. My reflection leapt from one wall panel to the next. A mottled blur, caged on both sides by netlike veins, seemed to flit through dim pools of yellow light across mirrors that reproduced its shrinking image to infinity down their endless corridors. The stale odor of popcorn and threadbare upholstery almost reached me. I made my way past humming soda machines-luminous buttons, glittering cup-wells in shadow-to the vacated counter which stood in a nook by the ingress, its shelves emptied of all but a few gum-drop boxes, some scattered candy bars and a bag of half-crushed salted peanuts. I went slowly, softly, after having trod so many unfamiliar pavements. Tufted swirls of orange and black flowers muffled my footsteps in a purple ground. Another more muted hum began to filter from the wormy umbra beyond the counter and the soft-drink machines. I slipped through the archway, turned right down a narrow passage, groping the inside wall for vague glimmers, and came at last to a water cooler in an alcove of mosaic tile. The light shifted over it in irregular pulses, from silver to black. A section of partition had been taken down behind the last row of seats, giving an odd view of the screen through a maze of silhouetted tubes and flickering bottles that left evansecent afterimages as my eyes moved over them. The hum I had caught faintly in the lobby was the dry sound of all those open mouths, those slumping heads with phosphenescing numbers, dashes of glowing paint, scattered over the middle section of seats in a dense clutter of hanging glucose bottles. Puddles of sick-sweet urine trickled out of the occupied rows into the aisle, where the floor took a sudden tilt, and widened the stains in the carpeting. The screen fluttered its half-light onto the sleeping audience, throwing off black-and-white images of what may or may not have been scenes from the movie advertised. Facing the sleepers, alone at its desk, in the limbo between the first row of vacant seats and the black matting under the screen, an egg-shaped head, completely bald, lit from beneath by a lamp that cast a liquid glimmer in its eyes, seemed to beckon me. Above the head, an old car with spoked tires and a running board sped off down a winding country road, crossed by shadows that writhed in a cloud of dust.

The head was reading, arms folded on the pages of a dog-eared magazine, bending to decipher the last few lines in the haze of print. This was the caretaker. There were no other guards in the theatre. For all one knew, the projection booth had been left untended between reels. The sound was off. The caretaker closed his magazine, rolled it up, tossed it into an otherwise empty wastebasket, and rubbed his bleary eyes with ink-smudged fingers, speaking in a loud voice whose echoes rang off the distant walls to the corners of the balcony, at which he stared from time to time, as though preoccupied with the contrast of that wide, black recess to the light-box which sucked the dust in a beam through its little window.

-Please. No need to stand on ceremony. We’ve still got plenty of seats left, but I wouldn’t want to predict how long that’ll last. I was told to expect you.

He let out a booming yawn which died all around us, shaking his head rapidly like a dog trying to dry itself, as he began to rummage through his litter of papers, whistling under his breath. His eyes fell on the luminous hands of the desk clock.

-Shit. Half an hour, is it? Then the alarm goes off and the two of us will have to start replacing the bottles.

The two of us?

-Oh! Don’t get the wrong idea. I was talking about the man up there. He likes to sit it out in the balcony between reels. Can’t take the heat in the booth. Can’t say as I blame him, either. It’s hell up there. Hope he remembers to set another one going before he has to come down. We could have used a blank white projection, you know, but it’s too hard on the eyes. And since we were told to keep the electrical expenses to a minimum, we had to settle for this old movie. Never seen the thing all the way through, myself. It was either that or shut off the coke machines. Can I get you something? It’s free. We do get some concessions.

He opened one of the drawers and pulled out a dime fixed to the loop end of a copper wire.

-You could probably use a cold drink after all that walking. I know. I can. How about it? Orange? Grape?

Can we get on with it?

-Yes. Well, I’m working overtime. It had been my understanding that the registrar was to arrive here three hours ago. But I could always be mistaken. He’s the one who handles all the paperwork and tends to the fine details. What could have detained him? No matter. Since you’re here, you’ll want to look things over. Isn’t very much to see besides this, really. Except the projection booth. We could go up there now, while there’s still time. The screen makes it easier to see if anyone sneaks in and tries to have his way- you get my meaning?- with one of the women.

The roundhouse was full of bodies, but there will be more than enough left over to seat this place to capacity. It’s merely a question of time. There aren’t enough of us left to police them properly, hence the delays. The interminable delays. The screen is only a fair deterrent without guards. Please make note of that. Tell them that, under present conditions, I cannot accept responsibility for any foul-ups that may have occurred in the past, or will occur in the future. Do you know what we’re up against here? The problem of false or “pantomime” sleepers is an ever-present one, and has plagued our operations from the very beginning. Men and women alike! But mostly men. They usually have the presence of mind to strike an attitude of complete oblivion during the search-and-examination procedure. We’ve even had to resort to tickling all the new arrivals, and managed to catch a few of them out that way. But there are always some with more than the usual amount of self-control who get through. They’re not above taking small doses of a soporific to help them along! Later, they wake up here in one of the seats with a tube in their arm and a number painted on their head. Then, when I’m looking the other way, or if I go to the can- what am I supposed to do, anyway, isn’t there enough muck on the floor here without my adding to it?- the pantomime sleeper crawls from row to row, on the prowl. I tell you, it’s disgusting! I caught one raping a woman in one of the back rows, right over there. He’d stuck his IV into the armrest, taken off his jacket and folded it in such a way that, from a distance, it looked like just another slumped-over head. What finally gave him away is that he got so worked up his foot tipped over the woman’s rack: bottle, tube, and all. Hell of a mess. Others are more discreet. If ever we find an empty seat between two occupied ones, we know something’s up. Often the crime is committed and the culprit is long gone when we come on the victim. That’s off the record! Don’t say anything. It’s one hell of a lot easier to get away with it here than it was at the roundhouse. The rows of seats and all these goddamn tubes make excellent camouflage. But I ask you, where are we going to find another roundhouse? They say at least two other theatres have been commandeered for future use.

The owners were glad to receive a fee for them. No one goes out anymore for fear of dropping in the streets. Just wait a while longer. We’ll have this place filled, standing room only! Soon, when the space runs out, we’ll have to start burning them alive in the streets! That’s the rumor, keep it under your…hat. Identification has always been something of a problem. About a third of the sleepers have remained anonymous. I’m not talking about the derelicts and the “old horns” we pick up in the gutters. Pantomime, pantomime. But that doesn’t explain all the cases of sexual molestation. We’ve been finding plenty of women, just in the last few days, without a stitch on. It’s being blamed on the one they call the Narcolept. But one man? No, I can’t believe it! There must be pantomime sleepers that haven’t yet been taken into account. One man couldn’t possibly be in so many places in so short an interval of time! Certainly there are lacunae. Unaccountable gaps that must forever remain a mystery to us.

But what if someone dies?

-No one has dies.

Maybe the father wasn’t putting on an act after all.

-What?

This 1976 text by Eric Basso from the book ‘The Beak Doctor,’ Short Fiction 1972-1976 was given to the artist Mick Peter as an inspiration for the drawing ‘The Popcorn Variations‘ and words from the text appear in a new composition ‘Time past – Lipstick traces’ made for A Moment of Eternal Noise by musicians David Barbenel and Johny Brown.

 

FOR A SAXIFRAGE OF PROMETHEUS

What is reality without the dislocating energy of poetry?

God has lived among us too powerfully. We no longer know
how to rise up and go. The stars, which had been sovereign
in his gaze, are dead in our eyes.

It was the questions the angels had that provoked the invasion
of demons. Once again they fastened us to the rock in
order to beat us up and love us.

It is only in the shadows that the struggle takes place. There
is no victory except on those borders.

Noble painting, my neighbor’s pretext and his struggle, in the
faint dawn I guard you as I guard my hunk of bread, waiting
for what I envision as a day of high rain and of green loam,
which will come for those who burn and for the stubborn.

René Char ‘The smoke that carried us: selected poems,’ 2004

This is A Moment of Eternal Noise Exquisite Corpse. The Music was selected by A Moment of Eternal Noise, an excerpt was sent to Ester Partegas who selected the text. The last paragraph of the text was sent to Philip Allen who selected the image and then the title was chosen from a corner of that photograph.

Theresa Screams – The Melvins : Amazon – The Melvins : Opening (A Nightmare on Elm St. 3) – Angelo Badlamenti : The Duke Arrives – John Carpenter : Night Drive – Giorgio Moroder : Waiting for the Man – Orchestral Manoeuvres In The Dark : Oxygene Part III – Jean Michel Jarre : Christine/Car Obsession Reprise – John Carpenter : One Minute to Midnight – Justice : Puppet Walk – Angelo Badlamenti : For Your Love (Todd Terje Rmx) – Chilly : Chase – Giorgio Moroder : Eat The Rich – Motorhead : Magic Journey (Todd Terje Rmx) – Rogue Cat : Driving This Road Until Death Sets You Free – Zombie Zombie : Gathering Dust – Cocteau Twins : No Remorse – Cannibal Corpse : Theme from the Comfort of Strangers – Angelo Badlamenti : Demoniac Possession – Napalm Death – 92 Mins

Photograph by Helen Thompson

 

The Crystal Land

Ice is the medium most alien to organic life, a considerable accumulation of it completely disrupts the normal course of processes in the biosphere.

P. A. Shumkii, Principles of Structural Glaciology

The first time I saw Don Judd’s ‘pink-plexiglass box,’ it suggested a giant crystal from another planet. After talking to Judd, I found out we had a mutual interest in geology and mineralogy, so we decided to go rock hunting in New Jersey. Out of this excursion came reflections, reconstituted as follows:

Near Paterson, Great Notch and Upper Montclair are the mineral-rich quarries of the First Watchung Mountain. Brian H.Mason, in his fascinating booklet, Trap Rock Minerals of New Jersey, speak of the “Triassic sedimentary rocks of the Newark series,” which are related to those of the Palisades. In these rocks one might find: “actinolite, albite, allanite, analcime, apatite, anhydrite, apophyllite, aurichalcite, axinite, azurite, babingtonite, bornite, barite, calcite, chabazite, chalcocite, chalcopyrite, chlorite, chrysocolla, copper, covellite, cuprite, datolite, dolomite, epidote, galena, glauberite, goethite, gmelinite, greenockite, gypsum, hematite, heulandite, hornblende, laumontite, malachite, mesolite, natrolite, opal, orpiment, orthoclase, pectolite, prehnite, pumpellyite, pyrite, pyrolusite, quartz, scolecite, siderite, silver, sphalerite, sphene, stevensite, stilbite, stilpnomelane, talc, thaumasite, thomsonite, tourmaline, ulexite.”

Together with my wife Nancy, and Judd’s wife, Julie, we set out to explore that geological locale. Upper Montclair quarry, “also known as Osborne and Marsellis quarry or McDowell’s quarry,” is situated on Edgecliff Road, Upper Montclair, and was worked from about 1890 to 1918. A lump of lava in the center of the quarry yields tiny quartz crystals. For about an hour don and I chopped incessantly at the lump with hammer and chisel, while Nancy and Julie wandered aimlessly around the quarry picking up sticks, leaves and odd stones. From the top of the quarry cliffs, one could see the New Jersey suburbs bordered by the New York City skyline.

The terrain is flat and loaded with ‘middle income’ housing developments with names like Royal Garden Estates, Rolling Knolls Farm, Valley View Acres, Split-level Manor, Babbling Brook Ranch-Estates, Colonial Vista Homes-on and on they go, forming tiny boxlike arrangements. Most of the houses are painted white, but many are painted petal pink, frosted mint, buttercup, fudge, rose beige, antique green, Cape Cod brown, lilac, and so on. The highways crisscross through the towns and become man-made geological networks of concrete. In fact, the entire landscape has a mineral presence. From the shiny chrome diners to glass windows of shopping centers, a sense of the crystalline prevails.

When we finished at the quarry, we went to Bond’s Ice Cream Bar and had some AWFUL AWFULS- “awful big – and awful good… it’s the drink you eat with a spoon.” We talked about the little crystal cavities we had found, and looked at The Field Book of Common Rocks and Minerals by Frederic Brewster Loomis, I noticed ice is a crystal: “Ice, H2O, water, specific gravity-.92, colorless to white, luster adamantine, transparent on thin edges. Beneath the surface hexagonal crystals grow downward into the water, parallel to each other, making a fibrous structure, which is very apparent when ice is’rotten’….”

After that we walked to the car through the charming Tudoroid town of Upper Montclair, and headed for the Great Notch Quarry. I turned on the car radio: “…count down survey…chew your little troubles away… high ho-hey hey…..”

My eyes glanced the over the dashboard, it became a complex of chrome fixed into an embankment of steel. A glass disk covered the clock. The speedometer was broken. Cigarette butts were packed into the ashtray. Faint reflections slid over the windshield. Out of sight in the glove compartment was a silver flashlight and an Esso map of Vermont. Under the radio dial (55-7-9-11-14-16) was a row of five plastic buttons in the shape of cantilevered cubes. The rearview mirror dislocated the road behind us. While listening to the radio, some of us read the Sunday newspapers. The pages made slight noises as they turned: each sheet folded over the laps forming temporary geographies of paper. A rally of print or a ridge of photographs would come and go in an instant.

We arrived at the Great Notch Quarry, which is situated “about three hundred yards south west of the Great Notch station of the Erie Rail road.” The quarry resembled the moon. A gray factory in the midst of it all, looked like architecture designed by Robert Morris. A big sign on one building said, THIS IS A HARD HAT AREA. We started climbing over the files and ran into a ‘rockhound’, who came on, I thought, like Mr Wizard, and who gave us all kinds of rock-hound-type information in an authoritative manner. We got a rundown on all the quarries that were closed to the public, as well as those that were open.

The walls of the quarry did look dangerous. Cracked, broken, shattered; the walls threatened to come crashing down. Fragmentation, corrosion, decomposition, disintegration, rock creep debris, slides, mud flow, avalanche were everywhere in evidence. The gray sky seemed to swallow up the heaps around us. Fractures and faults spilled forth sediment, crushed conglomerates, eroded debris and sandstone. It was an arid region, bleached and dry. An infinity of surfaces spread in every direction. A chaos of cracks surrounded us.

On the top of a promontory there stood motionless rock drills against the blank which was the sky. High-tension towers transported electric cable over the quarry. Dismantled parts of steam-shovels, tread machines and trucks were lined up in random groups. Such objects interrupted the depositions of waste that formed the general condition of the place. What vegetation there was seemed partially demolished. Newly made boulders eclipsed parts of a wire and pipe fence. Railroad tracks passed by the quarry, the ties formed a redundant sequence of modules, while the steel tracks projected the modules into an imperfect vanishing point.

On the way back to Manhattan, we drove through the Jersey Meadows, or more accurately the Jersey Swamps-a good location for a movie about life on mars. It even has a network of canals that are chocked by acres of tall reeds. Radio towers are scattered throughout these bleak place. Drive-inns, motels and gas stations exist along the highway, and behind them are smoldering garbage dumps. South, toward Newark and Bayonne, the smoke stacks of heavy industry add to the general air pollution.

As we drove throughout the Lincoln Tunnel, we talked about going on another trip, to Franklin Furnace; there one might find minerals that glow under ultra violet light or ‘black light’. The countless cream colored square tiles on the walls of the tunnel sped by, until a sigh announcing New York broke the tiles’ order.

Robert Smithson,The Writings of Robert Smithson,” edited by Nancy Holt, 1979

Attica Frederic Rzewki : Low Speed – Otto Luening overlaid by Cricket Music – Walter De Maria overlaid by The Mathmatics of Resonant Bodies – John Luther Adams overlaid by Lifespan: IV. In the Summer Terry Riley : Glass: Tissues (From Naqoyqatsi) For Cello, Percussion & Piano – Tissue #2 – Wendy Sutter/Philip Glass : Coming Together – Frederic Rzewski : Liquid Strata 3rd Movement – Morton Subotnick : Pastoral for Clarinet and PianoElliot Carter : Aract Graham Fitkin : The Fifth PlagueLaurie Anderson – 78 Mins

Image – ‘This alchemical wheel with a crank is supposed to have been the mark of the Danzig monk Koffskhi. Like Dee’s Monas Hieroglyph it is assembled from the seven metals, on the basis of an inverted glyph of Mercury: “For quicksilver is a mother of all metals, and the Sun (…) it is also Sulphur.” Father Vincentius Koffiskhi, Hermetische Schriften (1478), Nuremberg edition, 1786, “Alchemy & Mysticism,” Alexander Roob

Elements of this post were inspired by Smithson’s text which was selected by the artist Douglas Park. Douglas chose it based on the last word in the title. He then gave Dick Evans the last paragraph and he created the music selection, after that the image was chosen.

 

…Do you despair?

Yes? You despair?

You run away? You want to hide?…November 3. This morning, for the first time in a long time,

the joy again of imagining a knife twisted in my heart…

… The onlookers go rigid when the train goes past…

…In the newspapers, in conversation, in the office, the impetuosity of language often leads one astray, also the hope, springing from temporary weakness, for a sudden and stronger illumination in the very next moment, also mere strong self confidence, or mere carelessness, or a great present impression that one wishes at any cost to shift into the future, also the opinion that true enthusiasm in the present justifies any future confusion, also delight in sentences that are elevated in the middle by one or two jolts and open the mouth gradually to its full size even of they let it close much too quickly and tortuously, also the the slight possibility of a decisive and clear judgement, or the effort to give further flow to the speech that has already ended, also the desire to escape from the subject in a hurry, one’s belly if it must be, or despair that seeks a way out for its heavy breath, or the longing for a light without shadow- all this can lead one astray…

…To be pulled in through the ground-floor window of a house by a rope tied around one’s neck and to be yanked up, bloody and ragged, through all the ceilings, furniture, walls and attics, without consideration, as if by a person who is paying no attention, until the empty noose, dropping the last fragments of me when it breaks through the roof tiles, is seen on the roof…

…I fell asleep in the underbrush. A noise awakened me. I found in my hands a book in which I had previously been reading. I threw it away and sprang up. It was shortly after midday; in front of the hill on which I stood there lay spread out a great lowland with villages and trees and ponds and uniformly shaped, tall, reed-like hedges between them. I put my hands on my hips, and at the same time listened to the noise…

…I can’t understand it and can’t believe it. I live only here and there in a small word in whose vowel (“thrust” above, for instance) I lose my useless head for a moment. The first and last letters are the beginning and end of my fishlike emotion…

…I occupied myself chiefly with the whore whose head was hanging down, Max with the one lying beside her on the left. I fingered her legs and then for a long time pressed the upper parts of her thighs in regular rythem. My pleasure in this was so great that I wondered. That for this entertainment, which was after all really the most beautiful kind, one still, had to pay nothing. I was convinced that I (and I alone) deceived the world. Then the whore, without moving her legs, raised the upper part of her body and turned her back to me, which to my horror was covered with large sealing-wax-red circles with paling edges and red splashes scattered among them. I now noticed that her whole body was full of them, that I was pressing my thumb to her thighs in just such spots there were these little red particles -as though from a crumbled seal- on my fingers too…

…The millionaire in the motion picture “Slaves of Gold.” Mustn’t forget him. The calmness, the slow movement, conscious of its goal, a faster step when necessary, a shrug of the shoulder. Rich, spoiled, lulled to sleep, but how he springs up like a servant and searches the room into which he was locked in the forest tavern…

…December 4. Viewed from the outside it is terrible for a young but mature person to die, or worse, to kill himself. Hopelessly to depart in a complete confusion that would make sense only within a further development, or with the sole hope that in the great account this appearance in life will be considered as not having taken place. Such would be my plight now. To die would mean nothing else than to surrender a nothing to the nothing, but that would be impossible to conceive, for how could a person, even only as a nothing, consciously surrender himself to the nothing, and not merely to an empty nothing but rather to a roaring nothing whose nothingness consists only in its incomprehensibility…

…10 o’clock, November 15. I will not let myself become tired. I’ll jump into my story even though it should cut my face to pieces…

…In the bank I immediately telephone Bohemia. I want to give them the story for publication. But I can’t get a good connection. Do you know why? The office of the Tagblatt is pretty close to the telephone exchange, so from the Tagblatt it’s easy for them to control the connections as they please, to hold them up or put them through. And as a matter of fact, I keep hearing indistinct whispering voices on the telephone, obviously the editors of the Tagblatt. They have of course, a good deal of interest in not letting this call go through. Then I fear (naturally very distinctly) some of them persuading the operator not to put the call through, while others are already connected with Bohemia and are trying to keep them from listening to my story. “Operator,” I shout into the telephone, “if you don’t put this call through at once, I’ll complain to the management.” My colleagues all around me in the bank laugh when they hear me talking to the operator so violently. Finally I get my party. “Let me talk to Editor Kisch. I have an extremely important piece of news for Bohemia. If you don’t take it, I’ll give it to another paper at once. It’s high time.” But since Kisch is not there I hang up without revealing anything…

…The broom sweeping the rug in the next room sounds like the train of a dress moving in jerks…

…These predictions, this imitating of models, this fear of something definite, is ridiculous. These are constructions that even in the imagination, where they alone in sovereign, only approach the living surface but then are always suddenly driven under. Who has the magic hand to thrust into the machinery without its being torn to pieces and scattered by a thousand knives?…

…The anxiety I suffer from all sides. The examination by the doctor, the way he presses forward against me, I virtually empty myself out and he makes his empty speeches into me, despised and unrefuted…

…The tremendous world I have in my head. But how free myself and free it without being torn to pieces. And a thousand times rather be torn to pieces than retain it in me or bury it. That, indeed, is why I am here, that is quite clear to me…

…I’ll write down all the relationships which have become clear to me in the story as far as I now remember them. This is necessary because the story came out of me like a real birth, covered with filth and slime, and only I have the hand that can reach to the body itself and the strength of the desire to do so…

…I , only I, am the spectator in the orchestra…

Franz Kafka, Diaries 1910-1913,” 1965

Soundwork by Richard Evans with words by Franz Kafka spoken by Mac and PC speech readers from his diaries and sound created by manipulating samples from works by György Kurtag.

May. The Feeling. – Scene at the Station
October 9. I occupied myself – Adagio, Con Slancio, Risiluto, Jelek (Signs) III
July 9. The invention of the devil – Hommage à Domenico Scarlatti
July 6. Began a little – Triosonata in E-Flat Major, BWV 525: No. I
July 21. Don’t Despair – Thistle : May. His gravity – Hommage à Christian Wolff (Half-asleep)
July 9. Nothing written – Furious Chorale
November 14. It seems so dreadful – Study to “Hölderlin”
February 27. In the bank – The Carenza
October 30. This craving – Vivo

24 Mins

Image – ‘Brod,’ college by Richard Evans, paper, guitar string, wax, nail, 2011

Image - 'Defeated by the mosquito and abandoned to the jungle' from The National Geographic Magazine, February 1922

 

This marble punch was a snowball,
And it starred his heart
And it starred the victor’s jacket,
Starred the black victor whom nothing protects.

Stupefied he stood
Barelegged in the lair of solitude,
Beneath the gilded walnuts, mistletoe and holly,
Starred over like the blackboard in the classroom.

Often this begins at school,
These punches that fill the mouth with blood
These hard snowball punches,
That beauty jabs at the heart in passing by.

Saint-Cloud, February, 1929.

When I hear one of these phrases I close my eyes, I see again the boys’ berths on board the X., one of the largest steamers on the Marseilles-Saigon line. The X was waiting to get under way. The purser, one of my opium-smoking friends, had suggested the escapade to me. At eleven o’clock at night we crossed the deserted docks and climbed up the ladder on to the deck. We had to follow our guide at full speed and avoid the watch. We climbed over cables, worked round columns and Greek temples, crossed public squares, labyrinths of machines, shadow and moonlight, we mixed up the companion ways and the corridors so much and so well that our poor guide began to lose his head, until, softly, that powerful strange smell put us on the right path.

Imagine enormous berths, four or five dormitories, where sixty ‘boys’ lay smoking on two tiers of planks. In each dormitory a long table filled up the empty space. Standing on these tables, and cut in two by a flat, unmoving cloud half-way up the room, the latecomers were undressing, tying up the cords where they liked to hang up their washing, and gently rubbing their shoulders.

The scene was lit by the dim lights pf the lamps, and on top of them burnt the spluttering drug. The bodies were wedged against each other and without causing the slightest surprise, or the slightest ungraciousness, we took our places where there was really no place left, with our legs doubled up and our heads resting on stools. The noise we made did not even disturb one of the boys who was sleeping with his head against mine. A nightmare convulsed him; he had sunk to the bottom of the sleep that stifled him, entering into him through his mouth, his large nostrils and the ears which stuck out from his head. His swollen face was closed like an angry fist, he sweated, turned over and tore at his silken rags. He looked as though a stroke of the lancet would deliver him and bring forth the nightmare. His grimaces formed an extraordinary contrast with the calm of the others, a vegetable calm, a calm which reminded me of something familiar. What was it? On those planks lay the twisted bodies in which the skeletons, visible through the pale skin, were no more than the delicate armatures of a dream . . . In fact, it was the olive trees of Provence which those young sleepers evoked in me, the twisted olive trees on the flat red earth, their silver clouds hanging in the air.

In that place I could almost believe that it was all this profound lightness that alone kept this most monumental ship floating on the water.

Jean Cocteau, “Opium, The Diary of his Cure,” 1930

Jim’s Intro : You, Appearing – M83 : Sunset (The Death of Thumbellina) – Current 93 : Girlfriend’s Interlude : Past, present and future – The Shangri-Las : We Ask You To Ride – Wooden Shjips : Yellow Elevator #2 – The Black Angels : Striking a match : Purple Haze – Dion : Vibrating Ruler : Can I get it from You – Dave Berry : Omens And Portents I, The Driver – Earth : Lauren at the beach : Prepare for the End – David Thomas and Two Pale Boys : Pammie’s On a Bummer – Sonny Bono : Alone, Jealous & Stoned – The Secret Machines : Car Chase terror! – M83 : Rain on 22nd July 06 : Orange Country Suite, a Paris bootleg – Jim Morrison – 71 Mins

Image – ‘Defeated by the mosquito and abandoned to the jungle‘ from The National Geographic Magazine, February 1922

 

I moved the picture from my pocket again when I was outside, an action that had taken on a ritualistic feel, like making the sign of the cross. I did not look at it this time, but began tearing it in strips, lengthwise. Then I walked, and bent down at street corners, depositing each strip in a separate sewer along Fourth Avenue.

He’d told me that he’d broken his arm in a car accident, pursuing two black kids who had robbed a jewelry store.

As I released the strips of paper through the sewer gratings, I thought of the hand in the subway tunnel, and my father’s assertion that there were many body parts undoubtedly littering the less frequently traveled parts of the city. Arms legs, heads, torsos; and perhaps all these bits of photo would find their way into disembodied hands. A dozen or more hands, each gripping a strip of photograph down in the wet slime under the street. Regaining a history, a past, that they lost when they were dismembered, making a connection that I never would.

Tim McLoughlin, “When All This Was Bay Ridge,” 2004

Kalakuta Show – Fela Kuti – 15 Mins

Image – Cadavre Exquis, Pen and pencil on paper, André Breton, Man Ray, Max Morise, Yves Tanguy, 1927