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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

 

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

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