Friday, January 06, 2006

A Bunch of 5's for 2005

The obverse of the preceeding end 'o year encomiums...encompassing some of the worst trends and developments I've observed and/or suffered through (Poooor Gary!):

1. Bush--had a whack at his daddy and his Iraq interventionist policies on my first Gods and Monsters album in '92 in the form of a jaunty little number entitled "Whip Named Lash" (sung by Rolo from The Woodentops, who I hear tell have reformed--wot, with Benny Staples and Alice?) Thurston Moore put it up awhile ago on one of his agit-prop sites, so now I'm gonna boot it up into the free mp3 downloads section on my homepage soon as it's needed now more than ever (or not, UB da judge, yah boooo) the Last Poets so eloquently put it: THIS IS MADNESS, people...geopolitical world historical events spiraling so ugly out-of-control that if it weren't for japesters like Jon Stewart, Larry David, Ali G, Dave Chappelle and a coupla boxes of old SCTV clips to provide me with a few nourishing, life sustaining guffaws on a daily basis, I'd...I'd... (just kidding).

2. Lifeless cultural artifacts abounding 'oer the greensward of life--freeze-dried, second-hand simulacra of the numinous...on close inspection 'taint it true that very, very, VERY few current films, plays, musical tunes, novels, cell phone ringtones (even) (apart from the Crazy Frog of course) provide one with that certain pleasurable, involuntary spinal ting ting tingle that Nabokov maintained was the thinking person's own inner bullshit detector registering the relative artistic worth/merit/longterm duree of the objet in question. Perhaps Nabokov's Spinal Tapian principle is where Rob White, William Castle's inventive scenarist/wholesale appropriator/retailer of whatever horror film thema swirled about in the early 60's zeitgeist, lifted his creative creature concept for "The Tingler"--perhaps. A great underrated Castle film (not an actual Castle Film--remember them? Used to project all the Universal '30s horror greats in edited 8mm Castle Film prints in my basement, to the delight of my chums), "The Tingler" features fellow Yalie (yes) Vincent Price injecting himself with LSD-25 in a locked room in a mortuary in order to best arouse his innermost demons to fester bester tester his theory that the (one would have thought somewhat intangible) quality of human fear can actually transmogrify itself into a large, scaly lizard Price here very scientifically dubs The Tingler (yeeha!), a phantasm that lurks, somnambulant and miniscule (kinda like phlogiston) within one's spinal column, growing larger and more ferociously palpable as one becomes progressively more frightened--and that a person's ability to scream cathartic screams will (but of course!) shrink the lizard back down to nothingness...and should (for the sake of a silly plot point, if nothing else) one be unable to scream if one was, say, tragically born a mute (lotsa mutes and faux mutes populate the dark side of Hollywood, spilling over into non-horror genre fare such as Preminger's great "The Man With the Golden Arm"), said inability to sing like a canary would result in The Tingler growing so large within one's spinal column as to snap one's vertebrae like dry twigs. Life tingles ...and then you die. A proto "Alien" concept, actually. (The Enemy Within). Cronenberg fans take note. There is nothing to fear but fear itself...

Sorta the inverse of the innermost workings of Vlad the (Butterfly) Impaler's spinal seismograph, where the work in question--let's posit Terry Southern's mythic "quality lit" genre, for the nonce--would automatically register itself as actual Quality Lit PER SE upon perusal by the reader, courtesy of a pleasurable spinal frisson, rictus, or spasm. As Wyndham Lewis wrote: "Laughter is the mind sneezing". The headbone connects to da--backbone!

3. The ongoing destruction of my nabe by greedy realtors--I refer to the extreme west village of Manhattan, north of Christopher Street, below 14th. You may well know the area, and the story ('s an old story). Here the Village Green Preservation Society may yet prove a little too toothless, and a little too late, in their valiant attempts to roll back, King Canute-like, the rising tide of development, but really, how can one stop the under-the-table exchange of coin that fuels such urban renewal scams? If there was true love afoot for the beauty of the past, perhaps 'twas possible. But not in this gilded age. Sic transit gloria blah blah. Resulting in the semi-destruction of the character of the very neighborhood that enticed me to live here for some 29 years. Sturdy old nineteenth century warehouses at the edge of Perry and West Streets replaced with 3-count them-3 hideous Richard Meier designed steel and glass luxury co-op towers that look like out of context updates (barely) of 50's Park Avenue corporate highrises (think of the frigid futuristic city built specially for Jacques Tati's "Playtime"-- which ultimately bankrupted him--and you wouldn't be far off the mark). And please don't start me on the Gansevoort Hotel (in beautiful "Heinekenplein"). And to their utter surprise (and the schadenfreude of le guttersnipe internationale), many of the folks who leaped in to occupy said multi-million dollar co-ops (Martha Stewart, Calvin Klein, and--hey hey hey-- Vinnie "Neocon" Gallo) have found their brand new apts. plagued with much faulty plumbing, wiring, leaks, and floods...perhaps the ghosts of the many long departed souls who once frequented the very same westside docks that these highrises have replaced are restless, and enjoying themselves... on the plus side, the new pedestrian piers, playgrounds, and riverwalk that have replaced the old docks are delightful to stroll. A chachun son goute. Like Guy Debord, who apparently used to literally roll and revel in the mud of obscure parts of old Paris in an alcoholic swoon ( nostalgie de la boue actuelle!), or Jonathan Richman, for that matter-- "I still love the Old World".

Forward :-)



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