Saturday, August 30, 2008

Towards a New Aesthetic (the half-assed, blogger version)

As a seedling Aesthete, I was fascinated by libraries. Often I wondered, In the world, is there one that holds all the knowledge of all? The answer is, of course, no, not in this post-Alexandrian age. But things have changed and libraries are now as obsolete as Reginald Hardcourt's piece-of-shit '01 Dell. Now knowledge lives in Google's servers (which Hardcourt's computer can occasionally access if one is extremely patient and not working during peak hours) and my boyhood vision of a complete realm of information, I believe, is a reality, albeit a superficial one. Where I once thrilled in hunting down a book or article in the labyrinths of a real cracking library, I now apathetically find the same thing by inputting a few keywords into Google, all while dressed in my white cotton underwear and munching on a really proper sausage.

There was a time when I lived my life bouncing between the inspiring but tiring poles of bibliotheque and discotheque. Now I live my life between Google and Facebook. I have saved a lot of time but I have lost the thrill of the chase (and the amusement of a rhyme). Today, knowledge is an easy destination, and there is no longer a meaningful journey. Indeed it is meaning that has been lost, and I wonder if it can ever be found in this hypertextual rat-race world.

Of course all this meandering has a point--are you bored enough to stay with me? The point is this: We must create an art that does not rely on bookish knowledge but rather requires us to search the libraries of our souls (Yes, I sound like that Texan Twat Dr. Phil here, but fuck it, I have a soul, and I will take it back from the pseudoscientists by any means necessary--if you have any of his books, please do your part and burn them). I hoped here, in this dime-a-dozen blog, to proclaim Intertextuality dead, but of course, not being real, it cannot die; however, it can be proclaimed a concept, a word, and it is exactly that. Let's take the focus off it. Let us not rely on facts and references but rather on the journey and the experience. Knowledge is mostly just showy bullshit anyway. Let's not be so deluded as to think it means anything on its own.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Out of the open and into the cracks

Like Persian cats named Pumpkin, they creep in silently, these end-of-summer days. Dressed in my finest pilgrim's garb, the breeze blows past me and imparts memories of youth and school (can you hear the children call? Can you smell the aging books?). I almost forget that I am old. On the weekend I will do a bicycle tour across Quebec. Alone. It is to remind me of the importance of the journey and to develop the skills of the cat. Silently I will pulse down carless veins until I reach my parents' house and am greeted by their ghosts. Then I will eat my little granola bar, grab a little nap, and push on, without purpose, into these end-of-summer days.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

An excerpt (from Chapter 5 of my memoirs)

I have been waking early every morning and spewing my life onto the page. It has been painful and enlightening. Why do we do such things?

It is a first draft. I apologize for the formatting--it is difficult to adapt a novel for Blogger.


The next day I received a phone call. It was Reginald.

"Let's do some trespassing," he said, dispensing with the standard greeting.

"Of course."

"Don't worry Nigel, we shall be forgiven in the end."

"Well Reginald that all depends."

"Are you high right now?"


"You should be."


We planned to meet at the railroad tracks. I wanted to feel the thrill of trespassing but I was too afraid to do it alone. I had begun to hate Reginald but I was not ready to strike out alone. I still did not have the courage of a true rogue and Reginald is as roguish as they come. As I say, I hate him, but, I must admit, I have learned and stolen a great deal from him. I have stolen from many people and it has made me what I am. I am not original; I am a thief of influence.

We drove to a quiet portion of the tracks. Rocks, grass, wood, silence. It was all land and no people. We wore only earth tones and as a ritual we smeared dirt on our faces imagining it was primordial ooze. Reginald climbed the wire fence and I followed him over. Initially I worried about tearing my clothes, and then I realized, These are the things that hold me back, so I sucked up the courage and tore my lovely shirt so it would be done and out of mind. Once we were over, we realized we had stumbled on the flotsam of the world: pants, shirts, and bras all caked in mud. I wondered, Why put these here? This is not a place for lovers. Are these the clothes of the underground people? Of the hobos and of the homeless? Is this what I would become if I stayed on this trajectory of drugs and trespassing? I have a feeling that having a hobo bride is not as Romantic as it seems.

"This is fucking brilliant," said Reginald, wearing an Old Navy baseball cap and acting like a cad. He puffed out his chest and spat at a squirrel.

I laughed, out of shock, not out of humour. I knew I would follow.

"Incredible Reg." I kicked at the objects and wondered to whom they once belonged. Why not just bung them in the closet? Or you could give them to Oxfam, I suppose. Fuck we are all so lazy.

"Let's follow the tracks and see where they go."

Reginald here opened his khaki rucksack and pulled out his Spanish wineskin and poured a stream of deep red liquid into his mouth. He looked like a maniac as it ran down his cheeks and chin.

"Have some blood my friend, my brother."

Was it? It is hard to tell with Reg. I drank it sheepishly. Reginald watched me with wide eyes. It was wine.

"Bloody good, eh?"

"Let's get drunk in hobo village," I said, suddenly infused.


We drank the wine, all of it. It's brilliant how being drunk changes everything and how the world shifts from prison to carnival. We were in the hobo village and imagined what it would be like to sleep here and wait for the next train to hop. I imagined all the hobos making love here out of boredom. Hiding in the rubbish I saw the grubby faeries that must guide the misguided transient—dirty hair and dressed in torn brown rags—beautiful in a way—the outcasts of the faerie world. Like us, they were drunk, oblivious to responsibility and to consequence. Was this the way to live? To live clean is to live a lie. I wanted to be dirty forever but to have a good heart.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

A Basement, 2001

In the forest I see the blinking eyes of my ancestors. The trees are alive and naked. In the moonlight, they are evil; in the sun, good. The red red berries, from what I hear, will get you gloriously high, but will, unfortunately, kill you, too. It's written in a Bowie song--one he never recorded. Let's get off the berries now... What a thin and funky junky... Ah yes in the trees are howling monkeys. And sound waves. Notes fall and crash and make all the noise hypothesized by Gurdjeff. I met him once in a cafe beneath a darkening sky. He was quiet.

Once I knew a jazzer by the name of Don Trebblehorn. He was full of shit and beauty but always pissed at the London Jazz Society. He was good to smoke a joint with but I can't imagine him sober. He would be a frightened cat and spray everywhere. Where's your holy music now? Are you afraid because you dreamed your life away? Oh yes, it's gone, you shriveled up piece of beef jerky.

Let's have a dinner party with Baudelaire and Shakespeare. We'll allow only artists, but we'll let in the shit with the others because if we only allowed the good ones it would be dull and not a party. We'll tell them how Google has made us stoopid but told us everything. We'll toast wikipedia but not think about it too deeply. Then we'll do a hippie drum circle and some cock with a keyboard on his tie will twitter on a flute. Oh, come one and all! It will be farcical and bleak!

Let's. For fun. We'll forget about the dark monkeys in the trees. We'll forget about the noise...

... Good morning, love. I don't know how you got here but you're here and so am I. Let's go drink absinthe and sunbathe on the balcony. Let's develop a grand Aesthetic and start an artistic revolution. But, don't worry, we'll probably just get drunk. Maybe if we're lucky and ask them nicely the gods will mute the colours and make it look like an old movie. I'll be James Dean and you can be Brigitte Bardot. Burn me, Apollo, but not so much that I cook, just so much that I sizzle for a bit and then shut up for once.

Let's. For fun. Then we'll fall asleep and forget all about it. There's shopping to be done.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Poison Oak vs. Syphilis

I am in love with the notion of wildness. To me there is the wildness of nature and the wildness of the city. Often I wonder what the relationship between them is. Reginald Hardcourt once told me, "There is only music and noise," and I think of these words often, and for all of Reginad's esoteric bullshit babbling in Latin and birdsong, I think these words will always be his best because they are so simple. And I wonder how wildness is related to music, and I wonder how wildness is related to noise. The untuned mind would likely conclude that wildness is noise, but I do not think it is so simple. I remember the time I rolled with Beauty beside a stream, our soft, naked bodies merging in intercourse yet bearing the brunt of the prickly landscape. We emerged happy and satisfied yet blotchy from poison oak. Now I say that I remember fucking Beauty by the stream but I am not sure it was real for I had poppy resin lingering in my veins--those great channels of the human body--but to call this wildness vulgar--to call it noise rather than music--is to call yourself out as a tone-deaf, beer-swilling cockmuncher. It was wild, and it was music, both to my ears, and to my other senses, too.

I have had similar experiences with whores though I'd take poison oak and an imaginary woman over lice and the syph anyday. Wildness is intoxicating regardless and I would not trade it for all the gift certificates and creature comforts in the world.

But my liaison with Beauty happened only once and it is now firmly in the vanishing past. It is one of my fondest memories, but I wish I could forget it and move westward into adulthood. The fact that I may have been delusional at the time makes me question the value of all that I believe. Perhaps I am just an opium addict who is forever blotchy with poison oak: I will not heal. Yet the music remains and I wish the taxmen and politicians could hear it.