(Dedicated to the memory of John E. Graves III, without whom I doubt I could have come to express my natural love of weirdness to such an extent. Let live his legacy through a humble "Purveyor of the Weird Arts"...hey, weird art at least beats the roiling tar-muck out of "alternative" -- and is somewhat humble!)
Elvis is out. Many of us have spotted Elvis and Jim Morrison, flitting by as ghosts in spandex and pink tutus. Some of us were even impressed enough by such visions to send reports of them to the Weekly World News(tm). I hate to say it, though, their time has passed. Abraham Lincoln is the new thing, turning up everywhere in many different guises. I first noticed this when I received a fiction submission (from the illustrious Christopher Morris) about some true dudes trying to reenact a scene from a horror flick. After arguing about whether or not David Lee Roth was dead and could be summoned, they finally settled on Abraham Lincoln. An unhappy to be disturbed Lincoln who no doubt came back in a blaze of righteousness to lop the heads off of those...hmmmm...probably damn near all of us actually. We've warped. After that the sightings were reported on a regular basis, particularly here in Denver.
Jim Bob Cook (who lives in a lovely giant green Halloween house, on the outskirts of downtown, where he can sit on the front lawn sipping beer and watching the hospital escapees parade by in their gowns) had a running four day plague of Abraham Lincoln. It began with a package of six by ten glossies of Abe that arrived in his mail box. The next day, on his way to work, he passed a transient who was yelling "Who do you think I am? I'm not Abraham Lincoln!" at a woman. Two days later he was startled by the sighting of a man who looked exactly like Lincoln, right down to wearing a black suit, crossing the street near him. Was the woman accusing the transient of being this wandering Abe? Was the man crossing the street truly our civil war instigator in the flesh? Were the glossies sent to alert Cutthroat Jim Bob and Paul about the undead lurking in the city? Does it really matter? Lincoln's back, he's prowling, the world had better get ready for him. (And now I'm gulping after seeing a photo of an Abe Lincoln impersonator shaking the hand of Pat Buchanan. Wouldn't putting him in a stranglehold have been more suitable after Buchanan's affiliated rag called him a liar?)
I have little doubt that Lincoln's return was a result of too many years of rolling over in the grave at the state of our country's devolving politics. It could only be a brief matter of time before Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin also see fit to rise from their graves and lead the militias into an overthrow of tyranny and one-world totalitarianism. In Bush's reign we had the dictates of Sununu, the growth of the Religious Right-wing. We then averted Perot's (just look at those ears, we don't need no Dumbos here) house to house raids and drug boot camps by electing Clinton... and frowned when he promptly issued a "Fuck you too, bullies" missile blast on Iraq (be careful lest thou raise Leviathan through scorched black earth of Ancient Sumer). Momma never taught young Billy to simply ignore the bullies in school.
Now we find ourselves getting ready to pull the levers for a re-election when faced with the fascism of (Sieg Heil!) Pat Buchanan and his offer from Zhirinovsky -- who also claims that aliens have given his country enough advanced space tech to fry the U.S. -- to unite Russia and the USA against the Jews of the world should they both be elected. And not to even mention Pat's support from the venerable David Duke... Ah, Billy Boy might not be good at handling bullies but at least he'll let us be gay, get abortions anyway and then smoke medicinal marijuana to numb the pain. Just don't talk about abortion on the net, oh ye liberal-minded willy wagglers and leg spreaders! Freedom of speech is a long dead thing of the past, even the corpses of our Founding Fathers could get the electric chair for saying "The (generic) President is a confounded prick\moron" courtesy of appendages to the Anti-Terrorism Act. If Jesus chose to visit us in this day and age he would be put down for saying such things as "It would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to Heaven" (after all, God only praises and saves the sinners who drop the largest wads of cash into the coffers of evangelists. Saying otherwise would be heresy even from the son of our Holy Father.) and charged with cannibalism, or the encouragement thereof, by suggesting that we feast of his flesh and blood. The Cult of Jesus would be watched, condemned, and eventually raided (with a hail of automatic gunfire replacing the splinters of crucifixion) for their subversive activities against the elite.
Tom and Ben, you good old boys, come back to show Elizabeth Clare Prophet the light and lead the way through revolution. Peace, Love, and light, new age bliss, Prophet's endless book sales going into the funding of her own private army (who can die and die again and always return via reincarnation). Bunkers and stockpiles and she can do it like Koresh couldn't because she has PRESTIGE and fame. Of course that isn't an automatic requisite for militias and death cults, it simply helps them avoid being shot up and burned down by overly zealous Feds. Our modern day militias (happily flocking to states like Montana, Michigan, Colorado, and even Florida) cover a wide range of interests: anything from bible thumping to constitutional-intent preserving. The right to remain armed against the government. Things are getting tense here in the Uptight Status of Armageddon and everyone either wants to be able to fully defend themselves, or have nothing to defend themselves from (let us ban the cucumber lest one be used for whacking someone over the head during a bar brawl). The fact that the OKC bombing trial is being moved to Colorado, home of the head of the Branch Davidians, has to say something for Governmental planning. Maybe it'd be a nice recompense for the fire disaster... "We burned you down, now you can watch us fry someone who burned us down". Though I personally think that would be more likely to resound of "We can bomb whoever the frick we want, but God help anyone who bombs us".
Just beware of black helicopters swooping around exploding DEA buildings in Oklahoma City, and dissecting cattle to learn new methods of mind control through radars and transmissions into your own home (which, of course, they can look into with spiffy scanning devices while zooming overhead). Beware the Hypno-Ray as TVs fixate you and pry into your deepest thoughts to transmit them to the NSA. Huh? Good thing the average couch potato can't efficiently use more than two brain cells while reclining in their holy throne with a propped up remote control and a flipped beer tab. Even a top-notch agent might be hard- pressed to persecute such thoughts as "I use Snuggle because teddy bears are cute". But of course everything I'm typing here must be getting scrutinized by the boys who can fly their choppers at night, in dark sunglasses, without crashing (no wonder we fear them. That's downright subnatural!) so I should probably just let my jaw go slack, drool, giggle, hum, and ramble endlessly about how I'm the reincarnation of Queen Tiye and I definitely do NOT wish to be buried alive.
While many people see fit to argue over whether cattle mutilations are the fault of UFOs or governmental agents in black helicopters, I choose to combine everything and predict that the moth men have made a comeback. The original Moth Man sightings were in the early 70s in West Virginia. Five men were digging a grave in a cemetery in Clendenin, WV, on Nov 12th, 1966, when something that looked like "a brown human being" fluttered from nearby trees and flew over their heads. It didn't look like a bird, it looked like a man with wings. Further down the Ohio River, a year earlier, a small boy had been running around saying he saw an angel -- a man with wings. Another lady saw what she thought was a giant butterfly that Summer. On Nov. 14th, 1966, one fellow witnessed two glowing red objects in a field, then his German Shepard ran into the field and disappeared (could Rin Tin Tin, and maybe even Morris, really have fled our world to assist aliens in research?). The next night two young couples were driving through an abandoned WWII ammunition dump near Point Pleasant, WV, when they saw a winged figure. "But it was those eyes that got us, two big red eyes like automobile reflectors." They left immediately, doing more than one hundred miles per hour, and it followed them. It flew low overhead, its wings spread to ten feet, kept up with the car effortlessly well, and was squeaking like a giant mouse. It followed them to the city limits, where they noticed a dead dog by the side of the road. When they decided to come back a few minutes later, the corpse was gone. A police officer went to the site and his radio began making sounds like a speeded up phonograph record, but he didn't see anything. In the months ahead there were many more sightings.
In one house not too far from the ammunition dump, a family was walking home and saw a funny red light in the sky. They couldn't figure out what it was. They later took a drive and parked the car in front of their house. A strange grey thing, larger than a man, with glowing red eyes, stood up from behind their car as if it had been lying there for some time. The wife went into shock, everyone ran to the house in a panic, the creature shuffled onto the porch and began peering in windows. They said it made a weird noise like a woman screaming (though I can't say why that is weird when we all know from watching horror flicks that women can't do much more than scream, twist their ankles (damned high heels), and fall down to shriek some more until they get either eaten or rescued). The wife would later be plagued by mental problems (can we have the film An Ambush of Ghosts and strap her down before she kills the kids? Have the only happiness be hallucinations?), and kept hallucinating that the thing was still in the house when others didn't see it. Much later this couple, the McDaniels, were hearing the same speeded up phonograph sound the cop had heard on his radio, then they began to be plagued by poltergeist activity. They were also followed by a brand new 1940s Buick, vintage (yet looking and smelling brand new), driven by a young man who was suntanned, wearing no jacket, and dressed in black mod clothes. The new smell of the vintage car is a detail that crops up in most "men in black" cases. This man tried to abduct one of the family members, but they fought him off. They kept finding threatening notes slipped under their door, and then several other houses started having all of the same problems.
The sightings were becoming too numerous to mention, and kept being reported throughout the entire Fall. Tourists thought they saw a man dressed as Batman take off straight into the air like a helicopter. Another moth man appeared on a lady's front lawn. It was described as having a funny face and no mouth -- just big red poppy eyes. One fellow saw it flying over his car when he was doing eighty-five miles per hour, he said it reminded him of the Superman TV show and that the way it flew was strange. Several of the people who witnessed it got eye burn, which is a common occurrence with UFO sightings as well. There were four people who saw a group of giant birds flying around trees, but they didn't see any glowing red eyes. "They looked as big as a man would look moving around in the trees." Two other men saw them from afar and said they stood four to five feet tall and had wingspreads of at least ten feet, and five to six inch bills that were straight like a sparrow's rather than curved like the beak of a hawk or vulture. The moth man with the red eyes, a week later, was seen by five different pilots in planes. People were finding weird footprints in the mud everywhere, they looked like huge dog tracks but were bigger than a dog would be -- it would've weighed two to three hundred pounds. The spacing of the tracks was very peculiar as well. They didn't seem to start or lead anywhere. One weekend several people saw him flying sideways down a street, floating upright, approximately a foot off the ground. More poltergeist cases began around then. Bumps were heard on walls, several people heard the sound of a crying baby but couldn't locate the source. All of this went on from 1967-68, and many of these people sold their houses and moved to other cities.
At a court in a local town, a strange little man randomly appeared. He was about four feet tall, his eyes were described as being disturbing and hypnotic but covered with thick-lensed glasses. He had a black bowl hair cut, was seen wearing short sleeved shirts in -20 degree weather, and had his right hand in his pocket at all times. He was usually asking for directions but people said he seemed to have some strange speech impediment and that he, for no known reason, terrified them (it couldn't possibly have been a variation of the human inability to look at a person who seems crippled or different. Not with that proud stature and perfect dialect!). Despite his asking for directions, people noticed that he knew WV better than they did. He was often seen getting into a large black car which would then drive off and disappear.
At 5:05pm Dec. 15th, 1967, several people saw twelve UFOs, but there was no point in trying to call police because a seven hundred-foot span had collapsed carrying forty-six vehicles into the Ohio River and the police were too busy with rescue operations (time out for the jay walkers and pot smokers, Amen). While they were still looking for bodies during Christmas week, another short strange man started poking around at the post office and court house. He looked Oriental, spoke in an indefinable accent, and wore a thin black suit with a black tie. He was not interested in the bridge disaster but was extremely concerned with UFO sightings (though not with UFO clippings) and each person who met him felt very uneasy about him. Probably his most striking features were his so-long-as-to-be-freakish fingers. He identified himself as Jack Brown from Cambridge, OH, but when a more observant and learned individual talked to him it became apparent that the man had no idea where Cambridge even was. He expressed rage over various magazine articles that were written and kept grumbling that the UFOs were not hostile.
Throughout 1968 there were series of reports of tall, hairy, man-like creatures with luminous red eyes. They were reportedly six to seven feet tall, and were often seen pointing their arms straight up. There was another winged giant and several more UFO cases, then many dead dogs were being found in proximity of the sightings. They were always found with an extremely tidy hole in their sides, their hearts lying next them, and no other marks were apparent on their bodies. To this day there have been a lot of bizarre UFO and monster sightings in that area, luminous red eyes being a common theme.
Doesn't it seem obvious to you now? The moth men are aliens. They hunt us down with their UFOs, then collapse our bridges and mutilate our animals. The Sasquatch sightings: obviously these are descended from humans that the aliens captured long ago and bred into a suitably useful, red-eyed, species. At some point the moth aliens grew tired of mutilating dogs and switched over to cattle. Government agents have been tracking them in black helicopters, hence those being sighted near cattle mutilation scenes. I suspect that, since black helicopters were on this scene as well, the moth men also had a grudge against a certain federal building in Oklahoma and bombed it. How does that link into the babbling little man saying the UFOs aren't hostile? Well, gosh, I suppose the moth men must've thought they were doing us a favour by blowing up the DEA. Maybe they think we need to use more drugs (though the concern over industrial hemp provided the truth about the DEA. They are ever so frightened that hemp will be sold as marijuana and customers will get ticked off about not getting any THC. The DEA is out there to protect the quality of our street drugs for us. Hurrah!).
Who's on drugs? People who see moth men? No, everyone's on drugs. Be it caffeine, chocolate, nicotine, prescriptions, acid, heroin, or endorphins (ok, so that's natural body chemistry but it is our form of morphine). That's nothing new or weird. About the only thing that changes is the way people use drugs. You used to have folks main-lining heroin and nodding off in their humble abodes. Now you have kids chasing the dragon with tar before going to raves. Sounds good, eh? Head out to the dance space, smoke a little H, sit on the sidelines nodding and scratching your crotch with all of your junked out buddies. It made sense when everyone was taking XTC for raves. Pop some E, feel exhilarated, dance your toosch off to the stagnant electronic tunes, maybe have a few smart drinks here and there -- particularly ones that raise your serotonin levels so you don't get sleepy. It isn't an opium den. Drugs are designer now. It used to be easy enough to simply enlighten yourself with LSD-25. Those days are gone, replaced by LSA which cuts a few steps off the manufacturing chain. LSA gives you more of a body high, you can still see trails but you avoid the full-blown hallucinations. Shall we try MDT for that? Everything has changed. You used to be able to watch buses explode, or see your friends grow extra heads, with X. Now you dance. Dance on X, dance on LSA, dance on heroin. Eh? Either that or you go to your doctor for Valium, Imipramine, Prozac, Paxil, or Ativan. Raid the health food store for valerian, passionflower, or the herbal Lithium. Half of us wants to be active, the other half wants to be stunned. Both levels of activity are good for forgetting. What? Everything. The world. It keeps you from doing the new death trend of shoving your stash up your rear or your twat and going out in a blaze of high-flying glory.
Not that enemas will always kill you. Wine enemas are used in sex and can get you so drunk that you won't be able to hold onto the floor. It can also give you alcohol poisoning but it isn't as likely to kill you as masturbating with a wad of cocaine is. And enemas can even be used for pain, rather than highs. Slightly soapy, or cold, water will induce painful cramps. Using a teaspoon of salt per quart of warm water will provide a pleasantly full sensation, and some people even believe it's good for you. Though I'm not sure why I'm being reminded of legitimate cop video tapes I got exposed to in my early teens... of a woman who had a heart attack with 3 pickles up her vagina, of a man who used a rope for going down on a rake handle until the rope broke and the handle did a Vlad move right up into his neck. I suppose that could lead us to the next topic.
Romance(tm) has become the territorial domain of Hallmark. Given the ever-intensifying pressure cooker and kids being forced to grow up before their time, romance and chivalry became critters of the long dead past. Now the race is on to see who can get laid and/or married first, and the challenge is to see who can keep their love for more than a one-night stand. Examine your choices. Join the Hallmark Hall of Fame and Romance(tm) your sweetie with a candlelit dinner and a dozen roses to ensure your chances for getting laid. Of course that only lasts for one night. Buy her a diamond ring and hope she'll stick around in case you buy more? Possibly. But...there is also cocooning.
Whips and chains and ropes and shackles have all become cliche. There are several different ways to enforce the complete immobilization of your sweetie through cocooning. Short on cash? Saran wrap is relatively cheap and becomes virtually inescapable after only a few layers. Add a few more layers, then a layer of duct tape, to make it completely inescapable. Or, if you want to get fancy, use a heavy duty black "pallet wrap". You may think this would render your love slightly useless. Heavens no! Simply use bandage scissors to cut away strategic areas (mouth, nipples, anus, genitals) so you can play with piercings, vibrators, enemas, etc, to your hearts' desires. The next two steps up in cocooning are industrial shrink wrap, which creates a nearly rigid cocoon, and full body casts. Ever had a plaster cast done of your face? If so, you get the gist. To strategically trim and/or remove plaster casts you need heavy duty shears or tin snips for thin casts (less than 1/8"), or a cast cutter for thick ones (over 1/4" thick). Unfortunately cast cutters aren't cheap so that takes us straight into the realms of the ultimate, and pricey, cocooning methods: fiberglass body casts. These can be molded from a positive "statue" made from a plaster cast of your partner. They can be polished into a smooth and shiny sculpture that would be aesthetically pleasing while not in use. They can also be made with hinges and hidden catches, as well as with vibrating inserts and silent shocking devices. Sadly these things aren't made by any companies so, if you aren't talented in making this type of thing, you might have to pay a few legs and brains to get one constructed. Don't bother if a weak heart or claustrophobia runs through your intimate relationships but, otherwise, go for it. We all know that cocooning is a much more guaranteed method of keeping your sweetie with you than marriage is.
Naturally some people simply choose to remain alone and take out their frustrations by whacking off to the latest form of popular erotica: erotic horror. What is this? Simple. Love = burying an ice pick in someone's chest while screwing them (and, of course, orgasming to the sight of their spewing blood). It's being a touch overdone (even in the real world. Lorena Bobbitt became old and useless news when some men began to willingly have their penises removed and testified to how much better their sex lives were for it -- as you can see for yourselves in Joe Christ's documentary film Sex, Blood, Mutilation). Around here, our votes for "Best Erotica" went to (movie) Tetsuo: The Iron Man and (novel) Crash by JG Ballard. This indicates that we have a thing for technology and machinery. Tetsuo (which also has a less appealing colour sequel entitled Tetsuo 2: The Body Hammer) was a lovely little black and white film about man conforming to his environment... ie becoming a junkyard. How is that erotic? Um, well, there are some interesting scenes about roto-drill erections, serpentine metallic tubing performing full-body enemas, the stimuli of running down pedestrians, etc. Crash, as you probably know, is a quaint story about the eroticism of car crashes. Much of it is back seat sex, but it does have its fair share of injury climax.
I can't recommend using car crashes or roto-drills for good sex, though, so I might be able to offer a few safer avenues. Electricity can be played with safely and is actually used by people for both "torture" and pleasant stimulation. It can also kill you if used improperly so get advice from an expert and do not connect your stereo amplifier to your nipples. Medical TENS (Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation) units are used in physical therapy to induce muscle contractions, and to alleviate pain. Likewise they can be used to tense up muscles in all of the appropriate places. They are only available by prescription unless you stumble across one at a garage sale. Fortunately a man named Dante Amour curbed that problem with his Las Vegas company Paradise Electro Stimulation. Not only does he make "shock boxes" that have the same effects as TENS units, he also makes various attachments such as butt plugs (we all know the best way to make an impotent man ejaculate is to give him some good shock prodding up the rectum), vaginal dildos, cock rings, labial stimulators, etc. Reportedly, these feel very good at lower settings when you get used to the sensation. They can cause pain or muscle cramping at higher settings.
Sophisticated, and expensive, use of electricity and technology in stimulation. From a small company in Illinois (and with a tip o' the dildo to Robert Anton Wilson) come the Venus-II and Sybian machines. The Venus-II, or "ACE", is an artificial coitus device for men which comes as close to reproducing the sex act as mechanically possible. It can cause orgasm even if the man isn't erect, and can be used in bondage to force him to have sex, repeatedly, for as long as you like (oh the strain, the soreness, the temptation...!). The Sybian is a vibrating, twisting, dildo machine that has been known to make frigid women orgasmic and to induce multiple orgasms in women who generally have a hard time achieving one. Most women who have used these machines say they want to marry it. I would deeply (and shudderingly) appreciate it if you would all pitch in to buy me one. Chastity belts are enjoying a resurgence in popularity as rape protection. Many women now wear cheap versions over their jeans. A more pricey version is made by Tolleyboy of England: stainless steel padded with neoprene, available for both men and women, fitted for the allowance of personal hygiene, and suitable for being worn during showers and over long periods of time. But what does this fashion statement have to do with sexual technology? Not only can chastity belts be used for enforcing celibacy, they can be used as forced stimulation devices. Some have been designed with radio controlled shockers and vibrators. Isn't technology a blast?
Fashion tip: perhaps people who are into body modification should give up their ampallangs and reinstate the practice of trepanning: removing a section of the skull with stone or bronze tools. Obviously we used to have something going for us medically if our "primitive" ancestors could survive such a process (and have their hydrocephaly headaches cured, or their brains cleaned). One man even lived with thirty square inches of his skull removed. How about it? Should soft heads become a new trend? It shouldn't be any worse than penis removal unless you have a tendency of getting your head bashed (like I do) and need your skull for protection.
While "Violet Wands" (a medical device -- basically a hand-held Tesla coil with a partially evacuated glass globe at the end -- from the 1920s through the 1950s, claimed to cure anything from Athlete's foot to cervical cancer, currently being manufactured again and running for $300-$350) are now being used by fetishists for electro-stimulation (mild tingling from the purple-glowing bulb as they are, get a real charge when you attach such metallic implements as combs, bulbs, rods, and metal handles), other people are still giving up on finding salvation in our own technology and are waiting for the UFOs to save us. One of these years they'll truly land and give us cures for every ailment. I don't mean only our medical ailments. Sure, they'll cure cancer, AIDS, old age, and insomnia. But (!) they'll also cure loneliness, lack of ambition, restlessness, hopelessness, give us the design for the perfect Vibrator that can satisfy anyone's desires, you name it. As soon as they land we'll be breathing water, walking on air, and having multiple orgasms while using the toilet. Ah the grandness and pure splendour of life and destiny...
This would lead one to think about religion. Or at least the hopeless fantasist concept of omnipotent beings from beyond bringing our salvation makes me think of it. It isn't only the surface intents. Those would seem to be whether or not the Druids get to preserve the internet for the working of positive magick, or if that right will go to the Chaotes/ Chaosians for implanting chaos ritual-bots everywhere they go. At least one thing in religion never changes: black and white bickering over "good" and "evil". As if either extreme could truly exist anymore! Let us take it into any terms. The basis of most "mythic" systems -- the old Sumerian religion -- held that the original Gods were of the destructive demonic sort. These Ancient Ones were rendered catatonic and thoroughly impotent by the younger human pantheon of Elder Gods. Humans were made from the blood of Kingu. The world was made from the body of Tiamat after it was cleaved in twain. You probably either know the story from Lovecraft's bastardized versions, or from the Lovecraft inspired Necronomicon (which, of course, has some lovely research into Sumerian mythos but everything else to it is pure fiction. Any self-respecting Chaote will giggle deliriously at you for trying to perform the rituals therein.). As Lovecraft portrayed, people were endlessly warring over whether or not the Ancient Ones should be raised. Naturally the antagonists who wanted to raise them were quite insane as they would have been just as flattened into goo or drowned in slime as the people who didn't worship these critters. Either that or they had a serious lack of respect for life on Planet Earth (who could really blame them?) and figured their best chance for true death would be the summoning of a two hundred foot tall, and very ticked off, demon. Whatever works, eh? Due to the minor detail that the Ancient Gods would destroy all life here, they have long been deemed as evil. Why? They were here first. They got slaughtered, had their mutilated bodies sunken into comatose stupours, they were used, their homes were stolen, etc. Wouldn't you be a little bit miffed if that happened to you? I should think so. Hence they only appear as evil because we kinda like being able to rape their blood and steal their property. It's quite likely that we squishy little cockroach-level humans appear just as evil to them. It's all perspective and purpose. So let us not argue about good and evil. Let us get down to the true basis of any religion: Death.
Over the course of millennia we drifted from (to quote British comedy series Black Adder) "The God who killed Cain and squashed Sampson" to Gods that we are encouraged to kill, courtesy of the fine money-grubbers at the Church of Subgenius and their ever-resurrectable deity J.R. "Bob" Dobbs (the SubGenii also took us to a new religious extreme of churches admitting to wanting to save us from the weight of our wallets, this was one of their incontrovertible pieces of evidence RE why SubGenii are better than Scientologists). If you see Bob, you are heartily encouraged to shake his hand and kill him (which might possibly have been derived from gunning for the Buddha, though). The Church of Euthanasia is another death approach to religion, as you could see by reading their periodical entitled Snuff It. Their motto? "Save the Planet, Kill Yourself". Yes, a batch of tree-huggers. Of course this was rivaled by (well, yes, Eris' pineal gland and the Discordians, but also...) our own Our Blasted Lady of the Jellyfish which pays homage to the Almighty Cnidaria that kindly ruled this planet and left it as a nature preserve while they trekked out beyond the stars. How does this involve death? Easy. We screwed up their planet. They're pissed. They're brain-washing people through the Bermuda Triangle and warning us that we must repent or suffer the Fiery Rain of Cnidocytes. Imagine being flayed by tentacles that measure thousands of feet long, drifting down from the dimness beyond our atmosphere...
This wouldn't be the only space related religion. I find it deeply bizarre that the Cult of Star Trek is still going as strong as ever, especially when you consider the slight lack of originality behind Voyager. Oh, hell, it started unoriginally. Look at the initial characters and premise, then look at British SF comedy show Red Dwarf. Then catch my drift. Personally I avoid the entire Star Trek mess and turn into a drooling idiot before Babylon 5. Yes, even absolute haters of the Hypno-Ray, like myself, have our weaknesses! What can I say... It has endless plot convolutions. It has conspiracy. Its over-all religious essence hits closer to the realms of Sumerian (and all spin-offs from Assyrian to aspects of the Tanakh such as "Be careful lest thou raise Leviathan") than the generic one-world, one-God, pap of Trek. Ahem. The pap of Trek in my humble opinion. Of course I wouldn't presume to claim it sucks simply because I think it does! Bab 5 isn't in the least bit PC. Nor does it have any qualms about killing off major characters (maybe they'll all die before the five-year run of the show wraps up), or entire races of space critters. It's cynical and nihilistic. Thought-provoking, depressing, frightening, infuriating. It makes tips o' the hat to George Orwell's 1984 with its Mini Pax, Night Watch, and totalitarian government. It does the same for one of the only good TV shows in history: The Prisoner. And the weirdest damn thing about Babylon 5 is that it hasn't yet been cancelled with all of this going for it. The bummer about it is that it is so convoluted in plot that it would just confuse and annoy anyone who hasn't been following it every damn week for the past two and a half years. Find video tapes or tune into TNT when they get around to syndicating it. I don't want to see it die before it is supposed to wrap up like Twin Peaks did. Sniffle. Praise Joe Michael Straczynski for bringing such nihilistic and cynical insanity, with its rays of active hope, over our generally idiotic and shallow airwaves.
That'd be about all I have to say in respect to broadcast Hypno-Ray. I've truly adored five TV shows in history: The Prisoner, Red Dwarf, Black Adder, Twin Peaks, and Babylon 5. Most of what is out there makes me think "mind rot". Since I still have the same tendency as anyone else of staring at snow if it's on, I try to treat my TV as a monitor for videos and leave it off when the VCR isn't running. Actually, though, I think I would rather have bee TV installed in my brain. Ever seen the film Wax or The Discovery of Television Among the Bees? Yeah, that Bee TV. Just get one of those crystalline chips installed in my brain by my prize bees and I'll be able to see world events, past lives, the dead that are coming for me... I do kind of like that thought of reincarnating as descendants, or as descendants of associates. And the thought of the dead wanting to bring you into their world lest you escape into yet another life. And bees aiding them into retrieving certain people, or just everyone, into the world of the dead. Put some thought into it next time you pass a beehive. Who knows what those little buzzers are actually plotting. Perhaps they have you lined up for triggering an atomic explosion that'll give them the world (or at least give it to the roaches), and return the souls of all humans to the other realm. Which is better, plotting bees or roaches? One of the weirdest things was the ability of the film Night of the Roaches to make me feel like a complete cad for all of the roaches I've squashed or drowned in my life. For all I know they could have been living harmoniously, trusting me, never suspecting that my foot would drop in on their big wedding or other celebration to smash them all into little mucky blobs on the floor. Root for a roach? Believe me, I'd never imagined it could happen. Bzzzz....
Drones, noise... music! I've been doing the baby music test lately. What's that? It's pretty self explanatory, I simply play music around my two month old daughter. You always hear that babies like classical compositions. Uh huh, I'd have to say that depends on which classical compositions. Are we talking Mozart and Tchaikovsky, or are we talking Stockhausen and Ligetti? I can vouch for them not being quite as keen on the latter form. Amara can't handle Penderecki. I can run about five minutes of his compositions before she gets tense and crabby, then I have to pop on the Dead Can Dance Aeon CD to soothe her. She definitely enjoys the harps and bagpipes (hey, they're an acquired taste) on that one and she loves it when I belt out the ol' voice, singing to her in Gaelic. She can calm down and pass out to such Celtic hymnals. Before you call child welfare, I will have you know that I don't try to inflict Penderecki on her (nor have I played KK Null for her. After seeing my cat shred the living room to that soundtrack I'm not interested in seeing what it does to babies). I simply try to find a time when I can get away with listening to cacophonous noise. The irritating piercings and shrieks that man managed to arrange out of orchestration and percussion is incredible.
Another incredible noise composer was Dockstader, a tape splice artist in the 60s. He would compile hundreds of hours of sounds on tape -- anything from real instruments to toy cat cries, rubber bands, balloons, and dripping water -- then very patiently sculpt his songs through cutting the tapes with razors, splicing them, and altering tape speeds. Add a little chamber resonance or backward sound. The end result was what most people with a sampler wish they could do but simply don't have the inspiration for: truly intricate pieces of music that range from the dark sounds of an apocalypse to the helium-tinted warbles of giggling elves. The man was truly inspired (ah, ok, so he also did music for cartoons like Mr. Magoo and such). Dockstader's recordings were recently (within the past couple of years) rereleased onto CD by Starkland Records in Boulder, Colorado. I must always give praise to everything Thomas Steenland picks for release through that label. He has a knack for selecting truly inspired artists that combine academic musical training with flippant "let's forget the academics and create" attitudes. The selection... songs composed from sampled cow lows and bells. Pamela Z's sheerly vocal (layered through delays) performances. Various composers who drift from pretty to chaotic. Operatic vocals about duck hunting. Ah, praise be for Starkland!
Music isn't the only thing, though. You also need to take a band's politics into account. The Vampire Rodents, currently from Phoenix, Arizona, were genuinely influenced by Dockstader and use sample splicing to create tracks. The Premonition CD was a very interesting meld of old and new "industrial" with classical elements and cartoon voice bits. The Lullabye Land CD managed to meld opera and heavy metal together in a way that sounded right (don't ask me, I've never managed to figure out why it works). The latest release actually tackles the rap sector of popular music, in parody. And the politics? Pro-nuclear war, anti-male (though male performed), pro DNA-modification, and they are also very into the androgyny and sex appeal of Bugs Bunny. It really isn't much of what you would typically expect from that realm of music. You should definitely at least listen to the cover of Babyface on Premonition and, while you're at it, read the lyrics to Recoil. Just humour me, will ya?!
Starkland and the Vampire Rodents don't give the US the market on innovative music in any way, shape, or form. Einsturzende Neubauten (Collapsing New Buildings) from (you guessed it!) Germany formed their own trends of metal music in the early 80s. You mean head-bangin', rockin', heavy metal, Dude? Heck no. Music made by bashing metal strips, flipping shopping carts, running sanders over the floor, twinging wires, hitting metal strips with drills and welding equipment, etc. Of course they also did vocal layering and Blixa Bargeld had the most incredible set of vocal chords you'll ever find in a man. He could do a wireless shriek that would deafen an entire theatre of people. Still can, no doubt. His only match was Diamanda Galas (France) before she drifted off with John Paul Jones and lost interest in shrieking. Simply listening to her whisper and grate is a horrifying experience worth constantly repeating. I have my Einsturzende Neubauten Halber Mensch and Diamanda Galas Saint of the Pit LPs recorded back to back and, I must admit, it was my favourite tripping cassette for years.
Japan probably gets the award for the largest continuing crop of obnoxious noise bands, though, and the aforementioned KK Null is involved in most of them (at least as an engineer or producer). KK Null was a member of Merzbow (and then Zeni Geva, etc etc, and a solo artist, and a collaborator with Jim O'Rourke and everyone else under the sun), one of the discordant noise all-time greats. For years friends and I were requesting Merzbow at every dance club and radio station, knowing perfectly well that no one would be able to play them (even if they had heard of them). Imagine my shock when, in March '95, Bruce and I were sitting in a hotel room in Atlanta, Georgia, listening to a radio station called WREK and I suddenly met my goal. Bruce had called to put in a request. They said it was Japanese music only on that show, so he asked me if I had any Japanese bands in mind. Naturally I promptly said Merzbow. And damn near dropped from a coronary when I was told that they would play it. I suppose the DJ had about the same reaction, in reverse. Right before playing the Merzbow track he said that he'd never thought they could get away with playing them, that they'd assumed their entire number of listeners would leave them if they did, but that apparently they were wrong if it got requested. Hopefully they were wrong and a bungling, travelling, Jasmine didn't do them in. Out from the radio alarm speaker blasted the distorted wails of guitarist Null and company. Ah, one of the finer moments of my life. And now I'd best forget about such ear clutter and put on the This Mortal Coil Filigree and Shadow double record/CD before my baby gets an eternal grudge against me. That one is composed through orchestration, electronics, organs, pianos, several vocalists, etc, and is very beautiful (albeit morbid), but it is also highly transcendental and has caused rather intriguing "visual accompaniment" for people. Sorry, I'm saving my visuals for horror fiction!
Live performance tends to be the best avenue for transcending your spiritual norms with music. That can run anywhere from group trance to Beltane-oriented ecstasy to sheer murderous fanaticism, depending on the band and the audience. To pluck a few examples, Zoviet*France (Soviet France) perform their music as a soundtrack for their performances. You can hit or miss with their CDs (I prefer the thoroughly ambient pieces such as Vienna 1990), but they remain a trance set live. Space out into the costumes, pipes, effects, loops... it can take you through a wide range of physical reactions. Crash Worship provides a more active performance. Around Denver their shows have been getting too crowded and newcomers seem to want to mosh rather than sink into the flow. It used to be that a Crash Worship show guaranteed you were going to be losing yourself into another plane with your friends. You could dance, blind, in the smoke without ever worrying about getting your feet trod on. Hell, people could dance in the fire without getting burned. Lose yourself to your primal instincts, it was much like an old Beltane fest. The drumming was tribal and built from nearly comatose to frenzied, then ebbed and sped up yet again. The audience would strip, paint their bodies, dance around the bonfire, sometimes orgies would spring up. I'm pining away for those shows. Not because I need to get laid (I just want a Sybian) but because I simply find it exhilarating to fully release myself into the frenzied whole.
Their shows in some states get more hostile but I haven't seen that firsthand. I have seen how that happens at Electric Hellfire Club shows. I don't know if it's the energy being flung by the audience or what, but some of my weirder nights have been at those shows. Too bad I can't give many details! It's like watching your peaceful friends all go down in fist fights, watching deranged audience members attack the band, seeing arguments and walk-outs, witnessing the cops gathering over the token stabbed bouncer, finding yourself getting into a deeply idiotic fight with a friend that ends in both of you stomping off and then trying to figure out what the hell your problem was. Of course I also had fun at these shows, tons of fun or I wouldn't have gone back, but thinking over everything the next day always makes me wonder (especially when I ponder the time a good friend and I got into a drag-out duel over whether or not cats have supernatural perceptions. *Sigh*). See them live if you feel like being dragged into a lynch mob. Obviously the energy of an audience is a delicate congestion that can be warped to any extreme. Simple riffs can head people into frenzies or stupours, frequencies can cause sexual excitement or nausea (or exploding blood vessels for that matter). And, naturally, idiotic sappy ballads can make you cry simply due to having a tone of music that evokes depression/sympathy.
And do you know what is even weirder than crying along with a mushy ballad during those dreary PMS days? I'm about ready to shut up now (yes! Alert the media! Cancel the world! She has found her foot!). I just have one more mental quandary: would it be more interesting for Abraham Lincoln to turn up at a Crash Worship or Electric Hellfire Club show? At the latter he could stir the pissed off masses into his own lynch mob. The problem is that they would likely be unruly and attack their own allies. At the end of a Crash Worship performance he could gather the energetic and horny masses and march on with them. Particularly if it was one of the many shows that got raided. The only problem with that would be that if they used the Venus II and Sybian machines for distracting their enemies, good ol' Lincoln would be forced to keep his own soldiers pried off of them (likely the machines and the enemies)... Hmmm... yes, I think I'll vote for the former. The march might have occasional pauses for orgies, and we might find out exactly how chaste Lincoln isn't, but I think the energy would be flowing more toward the general good. We could go the way the moth men want us to. Then again, Edward Kaspel ranting about Burt the Cornflake might actually have been the most inspirational thing I've ever seen at a live performance and it definitely left the crowd at the mercy of his every moody and cynical (and brilliant) whim...
It's a quaintly weird world we live in. Drop some acid, take a toke, and you will see that it's a joke. It's a quaintly weird world we live in... (Everybody now!...)
(Many heart-felt and fuzzy-bunny thankees go out to my Cyber-Psychos cronies -- specifically Arkov Kapacitor, Bruce Young, Gordon Klock, and Jim Bob Cook -- for their inspirational assistance with this article.) (Additional post-note: Read The Moth Man Prophecies by John Keel. I hadn't at the time of writing this essay, but I should have.) (Other additional note: I should've noted that the Vampire Rodents are not on Starkland Records.)