Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Unsquare Dance

Unsquare Dance implodes into a black hole of total squareness.

As far as I can tell, this is from an Australian variety program called the Digby Wolfe Show; probably filmed in 1961.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Joyeux Noel!

It's that Christmassy time of year, and there's no better season for hallucinatory biblical ecstasies.

I think back to that night. It must have been twelve years ago today that I saw the thing.

I looked from my window to see the falling snow and I saw two dogs there, standing on two legs (I thought) - - ashpit black, with their purple tongues sagging lazily out of their mouths - - emitting what, regrettably, can only be described as a 'doggish-hum' - - growling bass on the bottom and whimpering tenor on top, united by a monkish timbre and focus. And the more I listened, the more the hum began to resemble words taking on form and falling out through the whirlwind of sound.

It's a little cheesey, but I can't help but reproduce them here:

"Oh! Jerusalem! Oh, Nebuchadnezzar's wisdom
Failed him utterly. He broke the bone inside his head
And bled for days, and his face turned black and purple.
Oh, we saw him then. We saw, on Christmas Day,
He died by sharp, sharp teeth. Oh, what red meat God makes us."

To be continued...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin on the Figpecker

"By far the most important of the small birds, because of its excellence, is the figpecker.
It grows at least as fat as the redbreast or the ortolan, and nature has moreover given it a slight bitterness and a unique flavor so exquisite that they seize upon, flood, and beautify every possible avenue of taste. If a figpecker could grow as big as a pheasant, it would be worth the price of an acre of land.
It is a great pity that this remarkable bird is found so seldom in Paris; true, a few arrive now and then, but they are completely lacking in the fat which constitutes their especial merit, and it can truthfully be said that they resemble but faintly those which are found in the east or southern parts of France.
Few people know how to eat small feathered game; here is the best way, as it was told me confidentially by Canon Charcot, a born gourmand, and a true gastronomer thirty years before the word was known:
Take by the beak a fine fat little bird, salt him lightly, pull out his gizzard, stuff him deftly into your mouth, bite him off sharply close to your fingertips, and chew with vigor: there will flow from him enough juice to fill your whole mouth, and you will enjoy a taste experience unknown to the common herd."

Metempsychosis Or, A Neanderthal Suicide

This is a bit of tricky subject, so let's not broach it hastily.

So, at some point or another, I left the aviary. I had made up my mind to return to the library and get to the bottom of the matter. If it all turned out to be a joke, then fine. At least I would know for sure.

Now, we'll have to go a little further back - - Charlie Parker's grandfather's father's master's grandson - - purveying the beaches of Provence circa 1900 - - admiring the women with their bare arms and legs - - laying on their bellies by the shore like so many recently mutated polyps, wriggling their way onto land.

"Je suis encore tres enuie," they coo, and sigh in unison, turning their heads to the side, stretching out their fine white necks and adjusting their extremely fashionable hats.

Allan smirks with gentlemanly moderation, and coughs into his handkerchief in the same manner. He makes a remark on the climate to his associate, Mr. Oswald, who gives a subtle nod of agreement.

"Very excellent, indeed. An entirely different air altogether from Alabama."

Well, straight to the cafe - - The Pestiferous Fog - - and Allan sits staring out the window at a tree full of sparrows, or nuthatches, or starlings, while Mr. Oswald bares down with all possible delicacy on a platter of two dozen oysters, tilting his head back and encouraging them down his throat.

"Hmpf," Mr. Oswald clears his pipes, wipes his mouth with the napkin tucked into his collar, "Well then. How do you feel? Better I hope."

Allan gives a small nod, not averting his gaze from the window.

Mr. Oswald smiles and takes up the last oyster in the air of a joyous ritual offering, closing his eyes and falling back into his seat; blushing like a baby after feeding. 

"So, you're taking the plunge? No chance of turning you around - - making this whole thing into a vacation, rather than an exile?"

Allan does not reply at first but stares at the birds as they shake themselves from the tree, rising like a cloud of aggravated dust into the greying sky, which recieves and disperses them somewhere beyond his vision.

"No, Richard, I don't think so," Allan sighs, and smiles politely, turning his face towards his companion. "It's out of my control now."

It's possible I should I have called this "A Wealthy Alabama Landowner Travels to Provence to Convert To Hasidism" or, "Two Feather'd Guests From Alabama, Two Together" - - but that might have given too much away. However, now I'm faced with the awkward situation of getting both Allan and Mr. Oswald to the mysterious blue brick house on the outskirts of the town in order to make the startling revelation ("If this is your choice Allan, so be it. I'm back to Alabama to keep your secret."), while at the same time making sure I leave enough space to get back to our neanderthal friend. So in the interest of everyone involved, I'll omit most of the story in order to get at the meat of the issue.

There, by the stump of one of the first felled trees; the boney headed neanderthal - - pacing back and forth, clumsily cradling his head, his body swinging awkwardly under its weight - - in all his hideous nudity, followed by all his noxious odours, leaving a trail of all his greasy liqueurs. He sits down on a large stone, hiding his not-yet-perfect face in his malformed arms.

What are you crying about? Come on, for Godsakes. You're a homo erectus - - be erect! Hold your head up high! It's really very early on yet. Things are bound get a little better. We're depending on you, pri-mordial man - - really and truly. Don't give it up!

Oh, you're nothing but a child. 

And so he stands up (in all his hideous nudity, with all his noxious odours), and looks down at the stone on which he was sitting. He kneels down and lays his ugly hands around it, heaving it into the air above his head.

I find it difficult to describe what happens next - - it's really very hard. It's a stain on human history - - it really is.

But I'll have to press on - - you demand it of me, I know. You'll want to know, that as this pitiable creature bludgeoned himself to death with this stone - -that his poor, lamentable, child-like neanderthal soul, imperfect though it may be, ascended to the tree of souls, up to the inverted root of divinity and then back through the leaves of the divine manifestation, floating like a single sparrow (like from the Gospel) among the limbs and twigs of the sacred foilage, where it was fed by the infinite worm, plucked from the infinite bounty of the eternal soil by the boundless beak of the very first motherbird - - the celestial bride whose song is the endless repitition of the very first words (in the Hebrew, in the Aramaic, in the King James English): "In the beggining, created God - - Bereshith bara Elohim", in an endless divine melody with no resolution; with naked simplicity and yet containing boundless contrapuntal complexity - - a thousand million voiced fugue.

The primordial man has destroyed his head! And now the whole structure falls flat like an empty sack. But, flowing over our heads, he manifests himself continually - - at one point conversing with Rossini (who eventually became a stone) - - most often coming back as some doomed suicide - - but most importantly as Oppenheimer, and as Einstein simultaneously. Which brings us back to the original story.

Qual misfatto! qual eccesso!
To Be Continued...