The lapse of luxury

"It is bitter to have loved and lost than never to laugh it off," Bamuall Subtler

Sunday, April 30, 2006

beat to a beat

memoirs i found in a margin

"I like male writers that write like females."

"Well, I prefer female writers that write like men, and secondly males that write like women."

"Don't either of you care about verisimilitude? It’s more natural to like women who write like women and men who write like men."

"Well, that sounds natural, but how often will it take you anywhere? I’m not going to go out of my way to look for exceptions."

"May I butt in? I prefer the books that have not yet been written."

"You’re my kind of reader -- I only want to write the books that have not been written."

Laughter, guffaws.

A typical conversation I remember from the coffee houses of my youth. I understand the beat movement is making a comeback. But I don’t think the mood could ever be recaptured. Oh, listening to Thelonious Monk plunking away on his bass, while Jack Kerouac impassionately read from his latest bidets-doux. Sometimes I saw Satie in a corner write bony music with his fastidious hands.

In those days it was common to rub heads and shoulders with the great and the famous. For example Allen Ginsberg who was great but not yet famous, or Andy Warhol who was famous but not yet great, or bump into the fetus of somebody fabulously famous today.

The money and grants that run the arts today had no part of the Beat movement. We were all poor and we were all passionate. Art was a gift, and all we required was camaraderie and comradeship. A friendly fuck or sharing some coke or a few joints was all one needed to walk home with a masterpiece under one’s arm. And there was no harm in it, because very often the artist was too enlightened to notice anything missing.

In those days art was dangerous, not like today when paper cuts are the worst thing you can get from a poem. I became a homosexual because I read Ginsberg’s "Howl." Ask my psychiatrist if you don’t believe me. He said you couldn’t read that poem straight all the way through. Other lesser known poems caused revolutions in hundreds of Central American countries. In those days the suffering the CIA caused in the places I can’t remember the names of now was inexcusable. We all demanded that this must stop -- my personal acts of solidarity were coffee and chain smoking -- both being common activities of peasants in the South. I didn’t expect the working classes to understand how much I was doing for them; the moral sympathy vibes were incalculable.

Nowadays with the advent of AIDS our free love is looked down on by everyone. But you have to understand that venereal disease was a rite of passage then. And strictly speaking nothing was every really "free," except lunch perhaps. There were always strings attached, like first names, brushing your teeth, bathing. We did have standards, which we ignored, but we did have standards we looked up to, and we found it easier looking up to things laying on our backs.

Burning the American flag has become a hip subject. We were way ahead in the desecration game: carrying around bits to wipe our noses on, eating it and shitting it, pissing on it, singeing it, baking it, and on occasion, burning it. Burning it was for people who didn’t have imagination. We looked down on people who burned the flag, I mean, what a cliche! We gave the flag a rough time because of Nam.

Now, Nam was like Korea except that America had a become a fascist dictatorship -- which was started by Senator McCarthy -- who paved the way for present day Hollywood by making it hard for screenwriters with ideas to keep their jobs. Apparently there was a communist-Jewish conspiracy to convert everyone to being card carrying Bolshevist atheist Kallabah scholars. Pete Seeger was one of them and I was all for it -- for me it was all about collectivist individualism. I would have killed to protest having to die for one’s country. And that more than anything shows how America couldn’t do without the Beats.


Saturday, April 22, 2006

just ad vice & serve

Majorities, are always opressive, moral or otherwise. Only the most single-minded narcissist can resist trying to appear the same as everyone else. As a consumer I feel my choices both endorse the products as well as the packaging, and all the images and language and values which appear on the box.

So, a self-identified gay man, yours truly, such as myself, using the royal we, feels creeped out buying a pack of condoms. More creeped out than a straight man. Still more creeped out than a straight woman. We all know the basic yuck feeling - like parading underthings before strangers. All but one brand of condom had heterotic foreplay on their covers. But I wonder, "Will these condoms stand up to the rigours of butt fucking?" Couldn't the package have a little politically correct sticker after-thought: "Fits fags fabulously!"

The non-orientation specific brand is Lifestyles, a euphemism for sodomy, debauchery or some other revisionist post-Darwinian strategy. But it's also the most generic, non-descript, and CHEAPEST brand. Clearly, if I want to make a statement through purchasing, this was my only choice. But I also felt like I was buying myself short, going for the non-L'Oreal; somehow I wasn't worth it. Am I getting too worked up about nothing? Hard to know, for fags like me, self-esteem issues pop up with an unhealthy regularity while cruising the aisles at a drug store, or checking out the cashiers, or watching the cashiers look wryly at my brand loyalties.

But I can't, won't buy a "straight" condom! They have such oxymoronic names. Trojan sounds like an stealth vessel, once inside enemy camp opening to release gazillions of sperm warriers. Sheik is a placating name to the injured stud whose harem is more like a glue factory waiting room.

The only solution is a slew of new brands, celebrating the sexual freedom afforded by the condom, springing from their packages upon all the willing, the able and the enabled. Bestsellers would include The Hard's Ease, Without a Trace, Kiss with a Seal or the licentious No Holes Barred.

Finally, I don't have any advice for the unbranded. If you get lucky, just grab what you can. A real man will take the wrap.

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Friday, April 21, 2006


humunculi I found this while spreading compost in our backyard.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

fool's circle

book burning tower

I first watched Fahrenheit 451 (Francois Truffaut) on TV in my teens; I was dumbfounded by such a boring scifi movie without cool special effects. But the premise was great: what if we lived in a society that banned and shunned writing and literacy?

I rewatched the movie on dvd yesterday, after 20-odd years, and finally got it. Although the cover blurb had to point out to me that Julie Christie played the roles of the heroine & anti-heroine (methadon-ette?); just as I had to be told that one woman was played by 2 actors in The Obscure Object of Desire (Luis Bunuel).

Reader's Digested Version:

Setting: An edition of our own society where all books are banned.
Story: A fireman, who burns books and arrests readers, is enticed into literature by non-com educator. The fireman becomes estranged from his numb, conformist wife who is repelled by his book-loving ways. She reports him to the authorities. He escapes to live with the book people, who memorize books, "become books", to evade Big Brother.

Luscious to watch - smooth, elegant Hitchcockian cinematography by Nicholas Roeg - long seductive sequences of books burning - cool colours interrupted by the lipstick red firetrucks - the whole thing lusciously un-sexy. And Bernard Herrmann's music has the same dusky, romantic, semi-sweet quality I loved so much in Psycho. Angelo Badalamenti, David Lynch's fave scorer, owes Herrmann a drink (hopefully Heaven is not a nation of teatotallers).

Many people find the ending hopeful 'cause the book people preserve literature by memorizing it. But it's tragic; the authorities succeeded in annihilating the written word. This society has come full circle, and listen to stories as we once did, rather than read them.

TV is the medium for keeping everyone docile. Not much has changed since the '60s. Fahrenheit 451's society is paranoid; they believe that people who think differently will make everyone unhappy. In our society, people who have different beliefs are potential terrorists. All books are obscene in Fahrenheit 451's society; in our society people don't understand that any book and no book is pornography.

Now for my anti-climax:
Any real society, utopia or distopia begs the same question: At which point are we in the cycle of propaganda to reality back to propaganda? We can't tell and we're fools.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2006

power of branding

Splenetic is an NGO which handles the worldwide distribution of artist body parts. Other international aid agencies have long recognized the specialized requirements of people in need of artists' organs. Unfortunately, governments have not been leaders in this grass-roots movement, detailed in the March edition of Organ Dump.

Although I don't have a medical background, I've lent my marketing skills to Splenetic Assoc Ex Corporat. Click on the sample organ donor & business cards to your right.

To learn more about the artist featured on the donor card, please see Evelyn, a Modified Dog & Dirty Love by Frank Zappa, the Negative Dialectic of Poodle Play by Ben Watson, and Voltaire. Fido's demise and redistribution is recounted in Portrait of an Artist as a Young Dog, Dylan Thomas.

Monday, April 17, 2006

corpse with a tale


Whenever conventions are believed, or accepted as authentic, there is alienation and lack of communication. Can I be happy and unconventional, as is absolutely necessary? Will everybody find me intolerable as I am? Would that be bearable? My persona which barely scraped by, is now brain-dead and on life-support. I need a living will as this is the living end.


Mr. Stryder Turbo-Slut grinds his heel in my bloated corpse, and taunts me, "Can you give me a lift, bud?" The rhinestones on his jacket are glitter applets, tiny machines each doing their part converting the world into saleable, marketable material. As Stryder ejaculates, the applets decompile every drop.

The rhinestones alert Stryder to the presence of orgasmic stimulus. And Stryder cumz in perpetuam.

"I shall not return, because I'm always coming," he puckers with a wink. "And coming all ways."

Stryder has never seen me nor notices he stands on me; he is infallibly aware of his environment, loves everyone, and loves life.

"I hate poor sports," he spouts. "Luckily, poor sports don't exist."

Based on Stryder's durable monolithic template, the applets concoct new ways to stimulate the desires of people like me, make us love life again and broaden the consumer base. But the applets miss crucial data, because they've never seen us non-cons cum, nor pre-cum. So they keep thinking we've cum, but we never left.

Dislodged rhinestones scurry like crabs through our limp bodies, over our shriveled cocks, and into our dried-up cunts, tirelessly tweaking for data.

Stryder stands heroic, immobile, locked in forward gaze on a plinth of serene oblivion - a tribute to his quenchable passions.

happy easter

Go ahead, be fruitful, but lay off the multiplying, eh?

Friday, April 14, 2006

nude yoga

Ron Stewart leading Skyclad Yoga in Vancouver; photo by Mark Van Manen, Vancouver Sun
Nude yoga is taking off in Vancouver and it's a great experience for anyone uncomfortable in their own skin. Arriving early to the class I didn't want to be the first one undressed so I sheepishly waited for the instructor's cue. I was already familiar with the liberating sensation of freedom at a nude beach. But the intimacy of being in a group of naked men made me accutely aware of my imperfections. Before long I was touched by feelings of our shared fragility. I felt entirely present and honest. Although the class didn't concentrate on the spiritual aspects of yoga, afterward I wanted to live a life of transparent integrity, naked.

Many of us grow up with a dislike and distrust of our body and its processes. My background is WASP, but my mother was undogmatically spiritual and my father agnostic. They never explicitly taught me to feel ashamed of my body or pleasure, but I grew up fearing my body, particularly sexuality. The body seemed obscene because it aroused my homo-erotic desires, desires everyone I knew labelled as perverted, disgusting or sick. I agreed with everyone, but my filthy desires would not obey me and convert to normalcy.

My mind was out of joint with my dick and I covered up any hint of carnality: never dressed in trendy clothes, always bland blues and browns, no shorts or short-sleeves, shirts buttoned up to the neck. School sports were scary; I maneouvered myself onto the shirts team -- once I couldn't get off the skins team and I cried; I was never caught naked in a change room after swimming, the toilet stalls had to do.

I grew up being a believer in cool rationality, an atheist with Buddhist leanings. My beliefs taught me to accept myself but my skin still told me to cover up.

My intense shyness gradually led me to obsess about getting out of my clothes. I started by going alone to nude beaches so that I could keep on my demure persona with people I knew. But nude yoga seems to be pulling away the last layers...I view the naked body as completely human, undeniably sexual, but plenty of other things too. Now I can be naked with anyone, even myself.