Get You Back Home
1. Leathern Philosophy #3
When the S&M couple came to collect the garments they'd asked for, Oswald
indicated a brown-paper parcel on the counter.
`There you are. All finished, stapled and ready for action.' His eye twinkled as he handed them a bill for 75. She pulled a folded manilla envelope from the back pocket of her jeans and counted out seven crisp ten-pound notes. Her boyfriend dug in his pocket and fished out five pound coins. Oswald took the money and rang the amount up on the till.
`Need a receipt?'
`No, that's all right.'
`For private use then?'
The young man blushed. She picked up the parcel and smiled. `We're not part of some theatrical troupe, if that's what you mean. I just decided that Robert here needed some discipline. About the house, you understand. Pick up the parcel, Robert.' He did so with a slightly self-conscious, clumsy eagerness.
`That's interesting. It always used to be for professionals.' Oswald wasn't a bit fazed by the girl's brashness. He thought he'd try some Dietzgen on them.
`I'm glad you're applying some Materialist Esthetix.'
`What's that when it's at home?' she beckoned Robert over, and broke the sealing wax that Oswald - in his old-fashioned way - had dripped over the knots in the string around the parcel. She began unwrapping Oswald's handiwork. She drew out the harness, leaving Robert with the corset and the wrapping.
`It's a philosophical current. It seeks to extend the line of radical-democratic materialism that stretches from Philo of Alexander to Josef Dietzgen like a leathern bootlace. I quote: "The truth is neither above nor below, neither in Jerusalem nor in Jericho, neither in spirit nor in the flesh, but everywhere."'
`Neither Washington nor Moscow?' she laughed, `I've heard that one before ...'
`That's a political expression of similar ideas, but I'm talking about the root Weltanschauung. Did I tell you that I tan my own leather?'
`Certainly, when we were choosing from your samples.'
`Well, my philosophy derives from the works of Joseph Dietzgen, who was a tanner by trade. Dietzgen was one of the first sympathetic reviewers of Karl Marx's Capital. According to his son Eugen, Marx visited him in Siegburg, and introduced him at the International Congress at The Hague in 1872 with the words "here is our philosopher".'
`He was a Marxist then?'
`Dietzgen revived the heresy for which Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake: materialist pantheism.'
`Everything is connected to everything else?' she said. She had shaken out the leather harness and was holding it up against Robert. `This looks like it will connect with Robert quite intimately! Can we try it on him here and now?' she said, turning towards Oswald with a smile.
`Certainly. You can use my workshop as a dressing room.'
`That won't be necessary. You're not shy, are you Robert?'
`You see, I want to check that the distance between the tit-clamps and the cock-ring is right,' she said.
`Of course.' Oswald wasn't sure if that sounded right. Cobblers aren't usually called upon to display the unctious servility of the tailor.
As Robert stripped off his jacket and t-shirt, Patricia pursued her philosophical discussion.
`What has this pantheism got to do with tanning leather? I always thought pantyists were more into underwear and the titillation to be derived from minuscule faecal deposits!'
Oswald didn't laugh at Patricia's joke, though he found he was suddenly aroused by the idea of Patricia's panties, perhaps stuffed into Robert's mouth while he was wearing the harness he'd put together for him ... God! His mind was a riot of perverse suggestions these days. First the vision of Gor behind the bar, then Gyp's comments on the counter-earth, now this couple ... he felt he'd come alive again!
`Leather-workers ...' he said, sounding a little pompous in his attempt to keep the conversation unaffected by Patricia's ribaldry, `deal with the perimeter between inner and outer, flesh and the inanimate. They restitch segments of previous integumental unities into usable commodities. Hence they are peculiarly aware of the connections between things. Samuel Taylor Coleridge pointed out that true philosophy was more often formulated by shoe-makers than by priests and professors. Jakob B"hme, the theosophical cobbler of G"rlitz, was saluted by Dietzgen as one leather worker to another.'
By now, Robert had removed all his clothes. Patricia had strapped him into the harness, starting with the cock-ring, then buckling its straps across his thighs, stomach and shoulders. She attached the tit-clamps - Oswald had had to visit an Anne Summers shop to purchase these - and was pleased to find that their straps were of the correct length. She grabbed Robert's semi-tumescent, uncircumcised cock and laughed.
`It's working! It's turning him on. I hope you don't mind?'
`No, no - I've seen it all,' said Oswald, though he was finding the scene uncomfortably arousing. Was he gay? Once you started into S&M it was difficult to say precisely what was turning you on - at least in terms of gender choice. Leading Robert by the straps attached to the tit-clamps, Patricia took Robert to the wall of the shop. Taking a short strap with snap-clasps from her pocket, she made him stand on tip toe, then fixed him by the tit-straps to a chest-high rack of shoes.
`So it's not a religion, this Materialist Effectives of yours?'
`On the contrary. If only the entire material universe is the truth, no one part of it can be The Truth: hence all revealed religion is a fraud. The kernel of Dietzgen's theme turns around the distinction between "formal" and what he call "proletarian" logic. In the former, logicians treat the intellect as a thing `in itself', while he express - in many different and sometimes bizarre ways - the fact that the intellect does not exist by itself, but is interconnected with all things and with the universe.'
Standing on tip-toe, his back to them, Robert's arse presented a pert target, taut and expectant. Patricia took up a leather belt from a sales rack and went over to him.
`Yes, indeed. The intellect isn't a self-sufficient entity, is it Robert? It needs to know its material connection to the universe - you need to know your physical limits! As Raoul Vaneigem said ...' Raoul! Oswald experienced a hot wave of lustful thoughts. `Sadism is punishing the loved one for being an object. Well, you're taking this because you can't believe your universal reason can be housed in a single body, your guilt is your apprehension of imagination's infinity. Well, believe this now!'
She struck him across the back. He winced and groaned, playing his part in the S&M theatre to the hilt.
She redoubled her efforts, striking him again and again across the back, the buttocks, the back of his thighs. Pressed against the shoe-rack, his nude body felt the cold heels of the footwear on display. The hot stripes on his back and the cold spots on chest and stomach came out like scarlet stripes and blue spots in a gaudy abstract by Howard Hodgkin. However, instead of being called `Restaurant in Marseilles', this was called `S&M in Kings Cross'. Patricia was panting with her efforts, flushed, exhilarated. She paused and stroked a finger down his trembling back, tense with expectation. `Oh Robert, darling, I want to cut you in half!'.
Oswald had found Dietzgen's leathern lady!
`Patricia!' he exclaimed, `the theosophical cobbler emphasizes that the One which thought cleaves remains a unity - which is another way of insisting on the relative nature of every antinomy. You want to cleave Robert in two, yet he remains the unity that spurs your desire. You hate him for being an object in the world, but only because you love him, and love is universal. It's what the stars run on, according to Dante - and according to Captain Beefheart. In 1875, Dietzgen's figure of the "leathern lady" was a bizarre jump from the material he worked to the object of his desire. Yet, Patricia, one hundred and twenty years later, you confirm his illustration of the interpenetration of opposites!'
Patricia paused while she considered Oswald's words. Then she resumed whipping. Robert convulsed with sobs, but this sign of collapse only seemed to make her even more furious. Oswald felt duty bound to philosophise some more, bring some theoretical justification into the proceedings. He couldn't let things dissolve into the idiocies of mere gratification. Robert's tears needed to be caught in cups of polemical gold, transmuted into pearls of dialectical wisdom.
`Any veteran leather-worker knows that as a fetish material, leather bridges the gap between manufacture and nature, inanimate and human, object and desire. Its impermeability dramatises the vulnerability of flesh, while its plasticity fixes human form in erectile stasis.
Dietzgen was prescient when he made a connection between leather and lady - an interpenetration between the antinomies commodity and person, impermeable externality and inward craving!'
`Indeed!' Patricia replied. She decided Robert had had enough for now. She laid the belt on the counter. Robert's skin was red and raw, yet she'd been careful not to break the skin. They drew the line at Pat Califia's blood-lust and vampirism - they weren't obsessed enough with AIDS to find in blood-letting the `ultimate' taboo, so they let that one ride. Besides, if Robert wasn't cut, he could be whipped again sooner. `Oh Robert, darling, I want to cut you in half'? That was part of the discussion with Oswald. The conventional parameters of a practice free of the Yankee-Boho obsession with bucking conventional morality.
Oswald drew a piece of paper from his pocket. It was one of the photocopies he'd made at the British Copyright Library. He went over to Robert, now released from his tit-clamps, and sprawled on the floor, breathing heavily. He read him the words, a healing incantation.
In order to be able to use your reason in all research and on all objects in a reasonable manner, you must know that the whole world is of one nature, even my leather harness and Patricia's administrations. Apparently there is a wide gulf between these two, and yet in both of them the same stuff and forces are active, just as a black horse has the same horse nature as a white horse, so that from this point of view your mistress is indeed leathern and leather mistress-like. Such statements sound paradoxical enough, yet I insist in making them in this extreme manner in order to sufficiently emphasize the absolute oneness of all existence, since it is the indispenable basis for a reasonable employment of reason.
Robert nodded. Patricia bent down and released the buckles of his harness.
Then, as he dressed himself, she packed away the straps and buckles - along
with her as-yet-untried corset - in the brown paper.
`Well,' she said to Oswald, `you see it's not just Tory MPs who wish to do bizarre things with suspender belts and oranges! Every militant human being has the right to experiment with underwear and fruit! If you're thinking of extending your own interest in pantyism, come up and see us sometime.'
She gave the parcel to Robert to carry - his punishment had ceased, but they were still playing at roles - and handed Oswald her card. After this practical demonstration, he could not resist an attempt to frame it in a moral, find some words to explain his sensation of intellectual and sexual excitement.
`Materialist Pantheism,' said Oswald, `is the essential antidote to sexual hypocrisy, because it insists on a grain of subjective involvement in every human act: it refuses the division of the world into the public saints, indignant and vengeful, and the private sinner, cowering and guilty. I mean, I had a hard-on there, I've got to admit it - and so would anyone! In discerning the subjective component of strictures on sexual behaviour, S&M is as dialectical as the Marxism that asks about the relationship between a professor's ideas and his or her stipend. Dietzgen's leathern ladies and emphasis on nature beneath the skin suggest a materialist politics that could break through the binary blandishments of gender and race: an esemplasticity of revolutionary consequence!'
Patricia looked magnificent framed in the doorway, the blue dusk of Kings Cross gathering behind her.
`Beneath the white flowers of the campaigners for innocence lie the birch twigs of corporal punishment. Only a politics that can entertain these ideas in proximity can sport its smarts with pride. I'm waiting for the day when Paul Foot comes out as a trannie and spankee, myself.'
`Me too! Goodbye, Oswald.'
Oswald closed the door after them. He glanced at the wall clock. Five past five. He decided to lock up early. After all this sex and politics, Oswald needed a stiff drink.
2. Art Talk
Her friend JoJo called Nellie Condotierri a `biker classicist', and he wasn't
far wrong. She dismissed the Saatchi-friendly generation of neo-conceptualists
- from Hindley to Hirst - as effete, fluffy and altogether lacking in spunk.
Her idea of an artist was someone who wrestled with the material and played
it tight and sparse with the justifications and theories. She wanted an art
as unstoppable as a Harley Davidson, as revved as a Zappa guitar solo in a cavernous
hockey rink, as risky and elemental as an Alpine avalanche in the distressed
black-and-white of Northern Pursuit. Not bleeding disquisitions about the human
condition and the pathos of mortality. Nevertheless, Nellie was sometimes duty-bound
to stand up and deliver a point of view. Her commitment to the material rather
than the verbiage could tie her tongue; when her opinions broke through, people
often found them crusty, jagged, almost illiberally offensive. She didn't care.
Nellie was on her way to the venue she called the Instant Puke of Temporary Farce. She was to sit on a panel entitled `The Anxious Monolith: Contemporary Sculpture and the Virtual Space'. She was already feeling queasy. What didn't help was the exceptional efficiency of the public transport; she arrived at Trafalgar Square tube station with half an hour to kill. She resisted barracking some religious maniacs who had occupied the base of Nelson's column to declare that they `felt Jesus in the crowd tonight'. For the nth time. The new Dark Ages, people so disconnected that they'd go for any grotesquely-absurd nonsense-rhapsody rather than accept the banality of life under capitalism. Nellie's own antidote was different: the sheer bizarre unexpectedness of exploring the unpleasant materials of Modern Art. On her way down to The Mall, she paused. Fireworks were exploding in the night sky over the Square, dots of blue and pink that warped the eyeball's sense of space. The hard, separate spots of light were paradoxically jelly-like. She was reminded of Hart Crane's immortal lines.
The nasal whine of power whips a new universe ...
Where spouting pillars spoor the evening sky.
Under the looming stacks of the gigantic power house
Stars prick the eyes with sharp ammoniac proverbs,
New verities, new inklings in the velvet hummed
Of dynamos, where hearing's leash is strummed ...
Power's script, - wound, bobbin-bound, refined -
Is stropped to the slap of belts on booming spools,
Into the bulging boillon, harnessed jelly of the stars.
Unaware of Patricia's recent treatment of Robert, Oswald's custom-made harness
wasn't in her mind, though naturally the conventional equation between firework
starbursts and orgasm was no less lost on her than it was on James Joyce when
he decribed Gerty McDowell flashing her legs at Leopold Bloom in Ulysses. Undeterred
by middle-class embarrassment about Hollywood clich, Nellie's Materialist
Esthetix saw through the ballet frippery to the cosmic objectitude of sexual
magnetism; she was not averse to a bit of star-sex magick - as long as people
didn't start burbling on about horoscopes and charcter types. Her idea of a
goodtime was more like a Xenakis or Hendrix climax coupled with a fuck and imagining
the collapse of a dwarf nebula. Crane's `slap of belts on booming spools' sounded
like a perfect definition of sex under industrial capitalism, while anybody
who mentioned `dynamo hum' as `inklings in the velvet' was going to get the
blessing of a stone Zappa freak. Especially when the words were written in 1930,
forty-three years before the release of Overnite Sensation. Coincidence, as
ever, a sure sign of real artistic discovery, the blinking neon of the straight-up
stand-up surrealist motel.
She liked the bit at the end of the display when they started sending up multiple rockets; combined and uneven simultaneities appealed to her far more than controlled, singleton events stretched along the tightrope of linear time. They intimated the fact that actually, everything is happening all the time. She glanced at her watch. No avoidance of linearities if you want to make a mark - as Max Ernst's Loplop said to Jack the Dripper. Or as Frank Zappa said, the only things that mattered were `when' and `what the fuck!'. This evening had to start with a `when' - but only so that she could focus her audience on her real grievance, which was closer to Zappa's second principle.
The light-show enabled Nellie to avoid twenty-minutes conversational torture at the Instant Puke. She felt mildly grateful to whoever had squandered thousands on her eyeballs' delectation. Luckily the sponsors hadn't been able to light up the sky with their logo. Two art-skinheads who'd also been watching moved off too, their temporary audience liaison breaking down once more into metropolitian alienation.
Nellie didn't pause in the foyer or penetrate the bookshop. She knew she'd only bump into some critic arsehole or art-goth wanker who'd start asking her questions about her work. She went straight upstairs to the conference room. The room was already half full, panel speakers collecting by the platform. Stewpot Hauser was there, of course. He looked like he had flu and was blowing his pug nose on a a tiny kleenex. Jelly Glietz, founder of cyberfem computer-rash inertia was off in a corner, busily combing her `shock of unruly hair' (as that week's Guardian had it). Moulder Bonehardt, an epigone of Frankfurt Schule disapproval of every material manifestation of the sublunary mundane, was already on the platform, reading a copy of Zeitschrift fr Kuntswissenschaft und Rechtfertigung der akademischen Elfenbeinturmigkeit und Passivitt. The chair was Loyd Grossoutman, TV chef and proud possessor of the most excruciated vowel sounds since the advent of David Frost. Quite what he was doing here - Nellie was more used to seeing his ghastly visage on pots of snack-noodles in her local supermarket - was a question that didn't bear thinking about.
Nellie took her place next to Bonehardt. He looked up from his journal and greeted her, `Ja!', then carried on reading. He didn't click his heels; probably because he was sitting, legs crossed, with one perfectly polished, perfectly horizontal patent-leather shoe pointing at the far wall. Grossoutman ushered Hauser and Glietz to their places and called the room to order. Gradually the hubbub subsided. Nellie pondered the presence of Grossoutman at this function, a vulgarian conductor for an orchestra of high-brows. The Institute's audience of self-professed intellectuals were so disgusted with themselves that only the presence of an utter media imbecile could give them a sensation of reality. Grossoutman was a tingle of sensation for the spiritual cadaver of Britain's intellectual elite. The logic was morbid but inexorable. Grossoutman coughed, and proceeded to launch the seminar.
`Hrrmph! Well, I'd like to welcome all of who have come out on this cold winter's evening to this open forum tentatively titled "The Anxious Monolith: Contemporaray Sculpture and the Virtual Space". I say "tentatively titled" because it would be a braver see-oul than I who dared to say anything conclusive about the contemporary arts today ...'
The way he pronounced the word `arts' made Nellie's flesh swarm. A disturbing congruence of opposites, he combined a New York culture-vulture's metaphysical certainity about the category `art' with an English politician's ingratiating obsequiousness. His accent was a bizarre mid-atlantic abortion, something unformed and bloody left in a jumbo jet's toilet. Still, if London's intelligentsia were so shaken by the latest `destabilising' rhetoric from Paris that they needed the administrations of a TV chef, they could eat what was on the plate - and smile as they did so.
`We are going to hear some brief statements from our distinguished panel before opening up the debate to the floor. I'd first of all like to ask Stewpot Hauser - no stranger to the icy ear ...'
`The icy ear'? Was Nellie hearing right? Had her auricles frozen in horror, or was this clown a sound-poet in disguise? Oh no, of course, that was his way of pronouncing the acronym `ICA'.
` ... to kick off the discussion. Hauser, buddy - over to you!'
Hauser stood up, his pudgy bulldog face stiff with ferocity. Like the rest of the panel, he loathed and despised anyone who would actually turn up to hear him talk about contemporary art. He couldn't quite understand why he was there in the first place. However, he wasn't going to let this opportunity slip. Events like this upped the ante. He knew he'd be at the word-processor for four days solid working off the evil heat raised by facing this pack of twerps. That was what he was here for; the animosity the event would pay dividends in the reams of closely-typed spleen his publishers craved from him.
Sometimes Hauser memorised his diatribes. This time, piqued by the way the snotty intellectuals from Paralysis magazine had characterised his prose as `shop-window transparent', he'd worked up a tranche of art-crit gibberish. No way he could memorize more than three lines of this twaddle. He'd written it in stark capitals - a reminder to keep the speaking tone unreasoned, unreasonable and bacon-rash salty - on the back of prostitute cards accumulated in raids on phone boxes on Tottenham Court Road. He launched in, the mangled verbiage like splintered glass in his mouth. Nellie looked along the table at the spluttering skinhead. She couldn't believe it, she looked again: surely that was purple lipstick defining a cupid's bow on his frothing mouth? She'd find out about that later. Meanwhile, Hauser's voice went on in its usual relentless, contemptuous, eventless monotone - only this time few auditors could make sense of a single sentence.
Polygummel trenchlight! The tidy clasps hawking spittle-nosed extras. Grey-brown
tawdriness stretching like an awning, the canvas marked by peril threats. All
they can do is dream of a soiling, there isn't anything they perceive except
white walls and gilded capitals. Pillars line their imaginations like teeth,
they have no tongue that isn't caged or perforated by evil weasel dentures.
Barbaric chews bubble up with the guest of days. Tray lewd descent, a spark
racked in forceps. Dull chrome.
We kindled brahmin sutures neath the bloody boughs. Blunt objects sundered from a motion of preamble. Bits rubbled up and splashed with glue. A powerful unificatory aspect was the pressure to earn. Oh creaking fustian of your mental landscape, a painted slip upon a geranium notion. The asp moves in on a clotted winkle, the hopeful star-gaze marine and blue like metaphor. Crazy faces by the outboard motor. Rev me up a dimmerswitch, the electrical product charms like the bloody verbals that 'stract me from the specificities of animal existence. Blow me down the razor stairs. Plinth.
Doorstop lesser image translucent and vaguely warm. Ticklish fo'c'stle & a resting broom. Bust brittle burns without semantic constraint, the tea-leaf dazzle which can override the knobbly extra pain. He took a long view - and developed the flick-knife.
Hauser paused and took a swig of his Italian mineral water. He never drank before or during a performance, though he liked to down a bottle of Chianti Classico in the first ten minutes after proceedings had finished and before joining the general rush to the pub. Here, though, there was no pub for miles. It would have to be the Institute's bar. The very thought made his eyebrows twitch and his cheeks wobble.
All this gobble is not gold, whatever the wakeywakey strategems of verbal muddle
jungle used to stop you dreaming out of the matter into azure BOAC expanse.
It's demolition by bruising concrete: it's adult friction by rubbing what you
know in what it nearly is, hokum to poke 'em in the sty - danced with fuzzed-out
deathmetal clutter in every corner.
Hm, a crinkle-cut chip on the pavement - a few scraps on the sodding surface, nothing really: welcome to the non-foods department. Here is garden trowel. Diggity dig, diggety dog! Bury the excremental, the metal returd who loves to lick without inkling, kick without thinking, doodoo without warning. Y'see when I'm really pissed, I can listen to Slade's Greatest Hits and it creams my ears. Y'see y'sore y'sahh! It's only a trinket kept from my drunken past in a little leather purse: it's only a lonely son's tiny nonsense. Dogged by indifference, played on by the vacant sunlight: pooooh.
The audience were leaning back, drinking in Hauser's gobbledygook, waiting to see if he'd succeed in making them spew. They had no idea that he was doing a send-up of Paralysis poetry: like Lunch's viriolic `critiques' of postmodernism, it was all just more rubble on the demolition site as far as this bunch of clapped-out sceptics was concerned.
Ah the sweat on the afterleavings, beads of it down the lathering horse's neck:
what is this sad stuff ... oh yes, 'tis a 'cello! Well, pooch me with a salami,
it's got a certain ring to it. Do me tell yew just heow defensive yew arr? Please
hear my plea: the shag's my bag, I'm an old toerag. Heart pounding, refusing
to worry about where the words come from or even if they come at all, comatose
with the aftosa, angry with worry/sorry fr'anger: finally stopping the mouth
with sackcloth and cigarette ash. The furious accusers mount the summit and
point a finger - but that's already been on telly baby.
Is there no cheap extra extension my wit won't bend to? A chest-wig? I must have it, here's a fiver. I feel you mind about this totem. By continual console error interrupt you can attempt to prevent. You, honey, are owed nothing. The boss is nasty and he's not interested in your passion for haughty culture. And when the moon is full, my fingerjoints crack, hair bursts out all over. Wolf waffle, everyone has a good time! The study of the women the men don't want, or, hagiography. Like it? I lycanthropy, I filth, I total amaze. Great googly moogly! her armpits have blossomed again.
Where's the hiss in your pants? Yes, I know, the cyst hurts a good deal, the last poets have a lot to answer for, the tsetse fly of lust ist ganz unvermessen!
Moulder Bonehardt started, the tip of his patent-leather shoe twitching with irritation. Stewpot speaking the language of Goethe and Schiller? The very notion was grotesque. Despite his last name, Hauser couldn't string a single sentence together in German. The Teutonic lapse was simply an expression of high spirits on Hauser's part. He rapidly returned to his mish-mash miscegenation of Thomas Nashe and Misha Mengelberg, polemic and abstraction cut together in an acerbic chutney.
Out of me brains, and smote me bonce: a hangout for leathersex fiends, a haunt for honchos. The tenor sax is indicated by a curt `ts' on the sleeve of the Italian neo-bootleg. Boo to the OTL egg: easier said than getting a proper gander. Urtician, irititis, osmosis, shingles. Odd the spot one out, please, sugar. Hue and cry for a deathly hush. Scupper amulets on lettuce invention, the scooped parapet on which the rich folks lean. Slice their baby-shins with caustic fins and wholesome duress ease. I knew you were under duress I knew you under your dress. My brushtooth won't let go of the monument, it handles an answer for entire, gripped garter-pins and needles. The obelisk contains a blooming clue, it's you, the malform alien bursting for an outlet.
Hauser sat down abruptly. Puzzled expressions. A smattering of applause. Loud
claps from the enormous palms of Iain Sinkle - the famous novelist was seated
in the third row - indicated that he thought he'd got the drift. For a social
surrealist, Sinkle was strangely enamoured of abstraction. Maybe that's where
he gets his verbal vim from, Nellie thought.
`Thankyou, Stewpot Hauser, a most in-tarr-esting examination of the problems facing postmodern sculpture today. A paper almost bulging with Rodinesque vitality, if I may be permitted an observation. Moving on, I'd like to ask Jelly Glietz to read her paper. I understand it's in the form of a manifesto. Is that right, Jelly?'
`That's right, Loyd. I'm not going to emulate the proletarian prolixity of my razor-cut colleague. This is meant to be short and sharp. Maybe we can unravel some of the unruly knots in the problematic ...'
`I'm glad to hear it. Density is ever a virtue in these hard-pressed times.' Polite giggles. Or were they squirms? One could never tell. `Well, Jelly Glietz, take it away - we await your contribution to "The Anxious Monolith: Contemporary Sculpture and the Virtual Space", with great in-tarr-est.' Grossoutman seemed to be repeating the title of the seminar in the vain hope Glietz would stick to the agenda. No chance. She was reading from a paper she'd originally presented at Virtual Worlds: Misogyny and Toxins on the Net.
She stood up, her famed `unruly' hair perfectly in place. When she'd been hailed as `the most intelligent woman in Britain' in the Guardian, she'd known that the accolade was actually a sexist put-down. She was obviously supposed to be intent, Beatrice-like, on locating `the most intelligent man in Britain' to spar with. Hauser wasn't in the running in the intelligence stakes, and besides, his hair was egregious in extremis - but she didn't mind trading insults with him. At least he didn't make a show of putting on kid gloves on to deal with `ladies'.
I wish to make ten points relating to REDUNDANCY as a concept that can bridge the divide between POLITICAL MEDITATION and ARTISTIC ACTIVISM. After the failure of the other intellectual novelties that have been launched recently - including those of situation, cyberia, de-oxygenated famineism and retro-sooth buck-naked careerism - only in REDUNDANCY to we have a term negative enough to yap at the heels of the man on the soap box who sets himself above the crowd. What about his wife, chained by her nipple-rings to the family laptop-with-dolby-sensurround?
There was a hush amongst the crowd, a lull in the perpetual murmur that had obscured Hauser's speech. People never knew where Glietz was going to go with her theories. It was like a funfare ride, she lurched you this way and that, you felt sick, wondered where you might safely puke - and started worrying how recently the relevant government department had inspected the rails on this particular roller-coaster.
Following the logic that the mass culture industry leads where elite culture follows, erasure of industrial meaning - post-structural unemployment, in other words - has made REDUNDANCY one of the key themes today. You can tell that those in charge of the productive sector would really just like to shoot the bastards. Hence the relevance of expressive NIHILISM and COUNTER-HUMANISM to the spirit of the times. This virulent minus sign has infected even the cultures that claim autonomy, producing a rash of sculptures which are in effect ABSENT SPACES - or black-hole sculptures. They hoover up quotidian meanings like the imbonded housemaid in black stockings and shackles, the sharp reality-cancelling sting of sexual excitation! Only a virtual presence, the REDUNDANT sculpture is in effect the piss-stained trollop tied to the chair in the dressing room of the over-excitable heavy-metal band of indeterminate gender!
There was a sharp intake of breath at `piss-stained'. This crew had suffered
the stings and outrages of performance art in this `space' - Hermann Nitzsch's
churns of slaughterhouse blood'n'offal, Anne-Markie Sprinkle's bodily excretions,
Hardon Williamson's ectoplasmic howls, Patti Smith's tired New York rock - but
that was all exclusive art provocation, a badge of honour in the `extreme' stakes.
The stinky bodily fluids and gruesome insults had been given a trembling aura
of transcendence, the special look of garbage that is looked-at by the most
admired and published minds of the time. Reference to heavy-metal bands and
groupies was simply downright vulgar, not to mention rockist and old-fashioned!
Still, you never know. No-one wants to be on the wrong side of the cordon when the custard-pies start flying at a bourgie-boho punch-up. So the audience continued sitting patiently, hoping that Glietz's diatribe would deliver them safely back to the moral high-ground every stipended intellectual craves. No false prophet cares to preach a sermon without the advantage of a pulpit.
REDUNDANCY! The boys are falling behind and the men are getting sacked. Yippee! I say. I see a cyberfuture of high-paid jobs and mammoth advances for the writers of books celebrating women and technology - capitalism cannot function without such resources, folks! All the attributes that held girls back in the past are suddenly being valued more than those which once allowed the boys to steam ahead. Because COMPETITION is a natural law, as Darwin explained. Encouraged to spend and invest in longterm career strategies, boys have lost out in a labour market demanding the flexibility and transferable skills which now give their female peers the edge! Women RULE in Tony Blair's Britain - just look at all the female MPs voting to cut single parent benefit. It's the civic assertion of the futuro-feminist cyber-class!! The redundant sculpture, the empty plinth, stands for throwing all these useless, grubby, macho men on the scrapheap! We can all become ARTISTS and WRITERS instead ...
The audience loved this. Conservative laissez faire capitalism given the shock of the new! It was like someone drawing a portrait of Bill Gates in dayglo lipstick. Suddenly, Glietz's rhetoric reached unheard-of heights of pith and zing. She was practically singing!
T.E.K. Technology is DEMOLITION OF DADDY
Is A.U.T. Autonomy 'cos work is not the Golden Rule!
W.O. R.K. N.O. Na No No, my daddy don't ...
W.O. R.K. N.O. Na No No, my mummy don't ...
W.O. R.K. N.O. Na No No, my brother don't ...
W.O. R.K. N.O. Na No No, my sister don't WORK, Oh!
T.E.K. Technology, Makes H.I.S. of History
A mio my mythology 'cos school is not the Golden Rule!
Demolition of the work ethic
Takes us to the age of the primitive!
T.E.K. Technology is Is A.U.T. Autonomy
Voodoo on it goes, Boss daddys teachers
Reverse all the roles!
What you gots, no generation gap
Gotta tell you, There's no need to work ever
Ever, ever, ever ...
Glietz had worked herself into a frenzy. The audience held its breath. Even if it had a poetic velocity hitherto lacking, her argument seemed to have gone off the rails. How could the Professor of Cyberstudies at Warlock University argue against work? Was she reinventing her academic department as part of the leisure industry, or just going plain loopoid? Glietz broke off and sipped at her glass of water.
Sorry, I don't know what came over me. An 80s pop-music attack, probably. To conclude, let me ask you to ignore that little outburst and simply remember that for the responsible cyberfeminist, it is not the situationist assault on work in toto that is important, but new gaps in the job market opened up by employment in the high-technology sector. The redundant work of art is the symbol of our times, as sackings lay out the future possibilities for entrepreneurial capital.
`Hm, she's no Annabella, this Glietz ...' thought Nellie. Glietz had wound up. Grossoutman was now summoning Nellie for her contribution. The lights dazzled her and she couldn't see the audience, nevertheless she buckled to and read out her manifesto.
Materialist Esthetix proposes a science of the floorboards, exposing dry rot
to the horrified landlord and worming out the self-serving silverfish. A cold,
wrinkled reluctance toward the mollycoddle of hatchery determines a crutchless
critique, a rip in the linoleum like a gash of black tar. Totality must be reserved
for the totality of everything in the universe, wielded as concept rather than
dressed up as system. My schizophrenic waxworks tear up the contract of realism
in order to lay bare a reality that scotches the liberal `we', inviting instead
a prurient, voyeuristic, guilty gaze. Materialists are not afraid to face reality,
and therefore welcome any psychic drives which rend the tissue-skin on which
the picture's painted. Those who weep over the golden varnish have some wallspace
on rental, some privilege to protect. Nihilism in art is a precondition for
a politics that can allow the working class to speak.
Breezeblocks, fork-lift trucks, a tumulus of tomes: the weightiness of discourse is the librarian's hernia and the student's lament. Another slab from the fab lab. It's like trying to strangle a Stewpot Hauser in a dream. His little skinny head just won't burst. The juice keeps flowing despite the damned slam that ought to stem the dribbling tide, the asphalt rolled on the quivering matter. As MacAdam loved to sponge the stones of Malthus, so continuity won't stop, won't squeeze off a last drop, won't arrive at a Loeb & Leopold of final execution: here's the clitoris that beckoned Heraclitus, another bloody contraflow, further frozen phrasels hurled like droppings from the hermite warren, another termite sexpot waving antennae from the woodwork. So, like bunny-love dosed with myxomatosis, Materialist Esthetix regresses to Poodle Play. The precise location of blame for the unstoppable drivel drifts along skeins of sabotaged grammar.
Poodles were a trademark of Gertrude Stein's. In Horst P. Horst's portrait photograph taken in 1946, there is a poodle beside her on the settee and a poodle portrait on the wall behind. Poodles also provided Stein with lessons in literary technique. Since Stein's devices (vacuous repetition, deadpan presentation of naivety as `profound', political evasion, aggressive triviality, art as a branch of the fashion industry) laid down the tropes of now-hegemonic American art (from Andy Warhol to Laurie Anderson, not to mention the `minimalist' movement in music), the poodle genesis of her prose is of great anthropological interest.
`Basket although now he is a large unwieldy poodle, still will get up on Gertrude Stein's lap and stay there. She says that listening to the rhythm of his water-drinking made her recognise the difference between sentences and paragraphs, that paragraphs are emotional and that sentences are not.'
Far from being an acknowledgement of `world' rhythms, the minimalism of Steve Reich and Philip Glass actually derives from the lapping of a poodle-dog! In 1935, the Parisian journal that first aired Finnegans Wake (as `Work In Progress') published a supplement to protest the publication of Stein's Autobiography. Purist indignation at patrons who supply the avantgarde with their `umbilical cord of gold' find in the hand-biting poodle their aptest symbol.
Nellie had leafed through enough back-copies of Deadline featuring Tankgirl and 18 to know where Glietz was coming from. She'd deliberately built a sneer at Glietz's central thesis into her conclusion.
The problem cannot be solved by REDUNDANCY, since mere vacancy has always been a privilege enjoyed by the proud possessors. `Less Is More', nouvelle cuisine, minimalism, white-bulb christmas lights - they're all just fatcat style-vessels, lacking precisely the A.U.T. art-autonomy their idealogues lay claim to.
She'd ad-libbed the `A.U.T..' in order to make reference to the eruption of the Bow Wow Wow song into Glietz's speech.
The poodle nips will emerge despite our doings, so the only thing left is the skin, stretched across the points of the bone. Your sick body will always obsess you, and no careless flash or casual plundering of science books or hospital detritus will substitute for knowing. I propose a return to the body-drawing class and the disection table! Both Redundancy and Confusion are tepid diversions, sterile flowers on the living tree of living, fertile, genuine, powerful, omnipotent, objective, absolute human knowledge!
Nellie sat down. Some weak applause.
`Thankyou, Miss Condottieri, for your excellently argued contribution. Now, it is with gree-at pleasure that I welcome our last contestant, Lecturer in Teutonic Philology at Bourneville University, Moulder Bonehardt! Take it away, Mouldie!'
Bonehardt winced at this play on his name, but stood up, dettermined to bring some sense to the proceedings, even if it meant alienating everyone in the room.
In Hegel Contra Sociology, the late and much-missed Gillian Rose showed that
Theodor Adorno's version of the Dialectic, instead of theorizing a relation
between proletariat and party
la Gy"rgy Luk cs, pursued Friedrich
Nietzsche's critique, `seeing through the disinterested purchase of truth to
its material interest,' thereby encouraging theory's preoccupation with itself:
in other words, a morality, or a `never ending task'. It is to take on such
a burden that I stand before you, in my attempt to explain the relation of three-dimensional
art to society at the present conjuncture.
Art is the enemy of society, yet part of it. It reflects by its contumely resistance, while all the time refusing to reflect. It is a mirror in which the zinc-oxide has been replaced by boot-black. Negritude is the only answer to posie, as LA riots blossom into unrepresentable anxieties. However - and there is always a `however' when the time comes to pronounce on the ultimate shadow lurking at the end of the chopping board - such formulae easily become blockages to discourse, rubber-dummy placebos shoved in the mouth-holes of the unwary.
Hauser looked up sharply. Was he being unwary? The audience seemed to be frozen solid, a temporary molecular congregation only waiting for the signal to disperse. Bonehardt wiped his brow. He was feeling dizzy.
No one's right. All must be critiqued. The wages of sin are death. It's all insufficient.
I am very sorry. I'm suddenly feeling unwell. Let me sit this one out. I may come into the discussion when I've recovered myself.
Before Grossoutman could intervene, Stewpot was at the microphone. Like a shark scenting blood, he was in the for the kill at once. His teeth gleamed like little pointy white daggers. `Kick them when they're down! Pity is a debility of the life-force!' Nietzsche's words rang inside his shaven skull as he went for Bonehardt.
Even with the little dribble he has managed to let slip, Moulder Bonehardt has already made a grave blunder! Those who claim that materialism is a `never ending task', a moralism, revive the doctrine of T.S. Eliot, catholic, admirer of Stalin and anti-semite, when he stated: `Mankind cannot stand very much reality'. Bonehadt and his ilk have no inkling of the qualitative difference made by the deployment of materialism in working-class politics. There it's not about shriving the soul with metaphysical problems, it's about formulating the tactics for victory! Members of the Proletarian Agitational Front baulk at his delineation of the `never ending task'. Like the sculptress Eleanor Crook here, we prefer the jigs and jags of revolution and climax and closure to the endless poodle-laps recycled by the likes of Mister Steve Reich. Poodle-fancier Stein was a basket-case, and the sooner this is made public the better!
Bonehardt groaned and lent forwards, covering his face in his hands. Glietz
hoped he wasn't going to puke on her brand-new lycra leggings with their interwoven
color-sensitivity to orgone radiation.
`Mr Bonehardt, are you all right? Security can call a medical orderly if necessary ...' said Grossoutman, alarmed by Hauser's ferocity. If a member of the panel expired on stage, he was sure to be blamed.
`Nein, nein, lass mich sein ... es wird schon Alles OK sein ... ich steige spter wieder ein...'
Grossoutman didn't know a word of German, but he understood the yankee universal `okay'.
`All right, Moulder Bonehardt is feeling a bit under the weather, but he'll come back once the discussion is underway. Do we have any questions.'
A disshevelled gentleman with a harelip, who had been sitting with his knees up, his arms tight around them, as if holding in some body part that might explode, leapt up from his chair.
`Me! I have a question.'
`Is it to anyone in particular, or are you addressing the entire panel.'
`It's for Miss Condottieri!'
`Please fire away.'
`Given Stewpot Hauser's commitment to venus fly-right closure - admittedly expressed after you address, but nevertheless floating in the same shopping-mall of ideas - what excuse is there for reversion to a flow of poodle skits, the sandwich supplmentair?'
Nellie stood up to reply. She could give any old heliogabble back in cards once the spirit gripped her: `The old standby is sarcastic synchronicity in the soul kitchen: mimosa like-mindedness folding fragrant buds along thin green twigs. Although beaten to the punch by Malcolm McLaren, Peter Sloterdijk bravely punned on the Greek for a dog as early as 1983, arguing that, with Diogenes and his barrel something unsettling but compelling had happened with philosophy. In the dog philosophy of the kynic - kyon is the word for dog in Greek - a materialist position appeared that is clearly a match for the idealist dialectic!'
`Thankyou, Nellie. Does anyone else on the panel have anything to add to that, or shall we take another question from the floor? Stewpot, perhaps?'
`Certainly. You make reference to Sloterdijk's Critique of Cynical Reason ...' Hauser pronounced the German philosopher's name `slaughter dick', summoning up images of butchery and phallicism. Weird that Hauser should wish to criticise these tropes. `His snap at the academic hand, so close in theme and polemical intent to Tristan Tzara's critique of Gertrude Stein in the transition supplement, requires unpacking. As a good - if critical - Hegelian and a good German ...'
Bonehardt pricked up his ears. Was he perhaps under attack again, but this time via Sloterdijk?
` ... Sloterdijk had to negotiate Goethe. So he interprets the soul-selling of Faust as the historical coming-to-consciousness of the bourgeoisie: anti-metaphysical, empiricist, material, an irruption of real-life lust and greed into the dusty, booklined study. Faust's pact with the devil signals the ineluctable rush towards a modern society that doesn't know what it wants but knows how to get it, that always needs more. Real life.'
`How faraway seemed the library,' said Glietz
`What was that?' said Hauser.
`Nothing. Sorry. Thinking aloud.'
`Well kindly keep the mentis shut. You're putting me off!' barked Hauser.
`However, no less than Faust's sidekick Wagner, Sloterdijk fails to note the bizarre praesidium of the POODLE at this crucial juncture - which is like theorising capital without a concept of the working class. Sloterdijk vaunts the dog, but misses poodle consciousness: he falls short at the punchline. When Faust first notices his approaching nemesis - apparently a very large, black, shaggy poodle-dog - Wagner, for one, is not impressed: "I saw him long ago," he says, "but I didn't think it important". Margaret Thatcher's assessment of the Poll Tax protests was like this. Commonsense sees a poodle, but does not think it compares in importance to books and learning and ratified knowledge. It thus denies chance, sex, coincidence, riots and the astonishments of everyday life.
`Faust, on the other hand, says he thinks the poodle is drawing about him the snares of future bondage. Wagner scoffs: Faust must be the victim of an optical illusion. Faust notes that the poodle-dog can evince understanding and experience without the spark of reason: `I find no trace
Of spirit, everything's just training ...' This predicts Frank Zappa's sexual materialist advice to Dinah Moe-Humm, the reductio ad sexualam of `But I told her/All she really needed/Was some discipline ...'.
The audience groaned. Had Hauser caught the Zappa disease off Out To Lunch? Hostile to any form of progressive rock or extended jazz as audio-ornament for effete toffs, Stewpot's guard had slipped when Lunch handed him a pre-release pressing of Have I Offended Someone? Hauser's predilection for novelty songs, illiberal satire and rampant audience-abuse had got the better of him.
`Hmm, yes, Zappa, sorry about that folks ... but rather him than Brian Eno, don't you think? Back in his study, Faust mutters some conventional pieties, provoking a cynical bark from the dog. He tells the poodle to be quiet: `"Knurre nicht, Pudel!", which translates as "Arf not, poodle! With the holy tones that now my wholesome soul surround, that beastly noise won't chime!".'
Hauser's contribution was getting to be even longer than his over-lengthy opening address. Grossoutman was restless, but couldn't find a way to shut him up. However, the audience was drinking it all in, even the apoplectic questioner was sitting quietly. How to reduce an English audience to instant obsequiousness - tell them a fairytale about bow-wows. Stewpot Hauser swelled visibly. He felt as supreme as Barbara Woodhouse lording it over a bunch of cowering pet-owners on a windy day on Hampstead Heath, the very pinnacle of Island Race authority.
`So far, so much dog/man bavardage ...' Bavardage? Surely the word wasn't in his vocabulary. Were his strings perhaps being pulled? Were these concepts his own, or had someone put something in his audio fodder that had exfoliated dialectical monsters? Who cared, thought Hauser, at least the rant is on stream. I can pick up the pieces later. Thank Christ the ITF has got its video-recorder running ...
`The crux of the biscuit snaps when Faust tries to translate the opening words of the Gospel of St John. The Greek bothers him. He doesn't like "In the beginning was the word". He tries "In the beginning was the mind" and `In the beginning was the power", but it is when he says `In the beginning was the deed" that the poodle starts barking fit to burst, and transforms into that Demon from Hell, Mephistopheles. "Is that truly nature's way? Is it a shadow? Is it reality? How long and broad my poodle is becoming!
It's rising up with force: that is not a doggie's shape."'
Goethe's story had produced a listening silence, almost a chill in the air. Bonehardt leapt up. Here he was on home ground. He'd decided to play the Freudian card.
`In this context the poodle must be Faust's penis!'
The tension broke, a wave of guffaws. This was Carry On Up The Arts! Was psychoanalysis intimidating German intellectuality or just good old-fashioned Saxon ribialdry? No-one seemed to know. Hauser was triumphant. He'd got Bonehardt just where he wanted him.
`Indeed, as Moulder has usefully pointed out, the poodle is Faust's rising phallus! The idea of replacing the Word with the Deed has sexually aroused the earnest scholar. Active nature stands out against the reflective intellect, the dynamism of a new social force throbs to break the chains of feudal moralism. Thought must out. The ivory tower is "insufficient"! When are you resigning your post, Lecturer Bonehardt?'
`I refuse to answer that question!' wailed Moulder `The doggie needs beneath the skin must be satisfied. `Twas ever thus. We are but dogs in human form, rapacious, greedy, lustful - the battle against such nature is a never-ending task ...'
Nellie stood up. `As a figure for the animal body beneath the social veneer, the dog provides opportunities for a non-dialectical, nay dualist confrontation of nature versus civilisation. The ideology of a non-historical animality quickly becomes justification for barbarism, but you can't understand Goethe's poodle - or anybody's poodle - without recourse to history. Those ontologists who sentimentalise the rockbase at the bottom of earthly life - Martin Heidegger, Wyndham Lewis, Antonin Artaud, Iannis Xenakis, D.S. Marriott, Aaron Williamson, those who cluster round the ever non-appearing Eonta journal, the whole bang shooting match, man - come a cropper on the poodle. The poodle is the dog as historical process!'
`Now I believe we have an expert in the audience. Lady Margaret Rothery Sheldon, can we hear from you?'
A terrifying English matron - Barbara Woodhouse vintage - sttod up at the back, her bosom heaving with righteous knowledge and historical detail. It was as if she was going to deliver a discourse on land rights and heraldry and trace some barbaric practice on her country estate - the enslavement of village maidens for a year and a day, the ritual administration of enemas to choristers after service during Eastertide - by reference to the Doomsday Book or the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. However, it was only poodles she was going to talk about (poodles? as if these aren't the most terrifying productions of bio-engineering yet made ...).
`The poodle,' she began, in a plummy yet strident tone, `was originally a very fine looking dog, with hair distributed organically all over its debonair, compact, canine-type body. Its name derives from the German for lake, Pudel: it was used as a retriever by hunters. Its shaggy mane helped it stay afloat in water. There is a breed of Portuguese poodle with webbed feet used by fishermen in the Algarve - the dogs dive off the rocks for fish and swim for lengthy periods underwater. Strong and intelligent, the first recorded instance of a poodle in England is 1635, when Prince Rupert used one called "Boye" as a fighting dog in the civil war. Poodles have always fought on the side of right!'
`Precisely!' said Hauser, `Once the generalised, rhetorical image of the dog is given poodle particularity, real history emerges. The Civil War and the defeat of England's aristocracy by Cromwell's bourgeois forces, for example. Sloterdijk's eco-dualism is blown apart by Franz Jakubowski's concept of man as integral to nature. I quote: "Once man is considered a social being, nature too is recognised as human and social. Nature is the basis for his presence in the world, the link with other men, an aspect of his social existence." All today sculpture inelectably leads towards the poodle-effigies of Jeff Koons - a useless ornament ripe for vandalism!'
A mild looking gentleman wearing a tweed suit and a vyella shirt stood up. His sandy hair and weather-beaten face gave him the air of a bird-watcher. `Goethe's poodle,' he pointed out quietly, `being a hunting dog, must be judged untainted by later associations with submission, absurdity and ornamental folly.'
`Not so,' Nellie intervened on Hauser's behalf, `the real history of things shapes our literature: it's not what Goethe meant to say that matters, but the objective resonance of his chosen themes. If Trotsky wasn't useful on how to fight fascism, we shouldn't bother reading him. The fact that Goethe's Mephistophelean materialism turned out to be a poodle is the tragedy of the bourgeois enlightenment engraved on a tiny stage. Goethe's symbol of animalistic materialism has now become the prinked-up travesty, clipped and cossetted, that we all love to loathe. Faust's comment - as relayed to us by Hauser, that he saw in the poodle "the snares of future bondage", was truer than Goethe guessed. The poet was prescient!
`Frank Zappa's song "Cheepnis", which appeared on the live double-album Roxy & Elsewhere in 1975, is now revealed as nothing less than a commentary on Goethe's poodle "becoming broad and long" - and, following Sloterdijk, a recasting of that pivotal moment in bourgeois self-knowledge. In the monster movie "Cheepnis" recounts, Frunobulax (apparently a very large poodle-dog from outer space) is lured towards a cave where the National Guard hope to destroy it with napalm: "KEEP IT AWAY! DON'T LET THE POODLE BITE ME!/WE CAN'T LET IT REPRODUCE! OH! SOMEBODY GET OUT THE PANTS!".
`In both Zappa and Goethe, the poodle figures the confrontation of conscious mind with sexual matter. Zappa, though, pursues male sexual arousal beyond mere erection - Goethe's "becoming broad and long" and "rising up with force" - to ejaculation!'
Howls from the audience. Heckles demanding substantive evidence for these outrageous assertions.
`You ask for evidence? It's in the pun. Just as the Roman Church is founded on a pun - `Tu es Petrus' - so Zappa's pun is pivotal and heroic, the announcement of a new age!'
More howls. What pun?
`Oh, honestly, do I have to spell it out?' Nellie was exasperated, `It's "Somebody get out the pants" - this may either be an attempt to keep jizz off the trousers, or to employ a contraceptive device.'
A low murmur. She'd got them there. Hauser picked up the thread. Was the panel going to let nobody from the floor have a say? It didn't matter. This was a freak show, after all. They'd come to watch, not participate.
`In my opinion, Faust's new translation of St John goes two ways. "In the beginning was the deed" could refer - as the "late and much-missed Gillian Rose" might say - to the past, to the Kaballah's insistence that in Jewish lore, Word and Deed were never sundered. Or "In the beginning was the deed" could point to the future: the phrase is a standby of revolutionary socialists, a succinct summary of the Bolshevik refusal to accept the duplicity of social democratic "socialists" who say one thing and do another, like the second-"internationalists" of the German Social Democracy in 1914, proclaiming internationalism whilst voting for war bonds.'
Grossoutman waved at Hauser to stop, but it was useless. Years of evenings spent in squats and tenements poring over the Marxist classics were at last being uncorked. The genii was out of the bottle. A whiff of cordite, a smell of sulpher hung in the air-conditioned postmodernist air. Tonight Hauser was rabidly erudite, a veritable spew of insight.
`In Capital, interestingly enough in this context, Marx contended that commodity-owners "think like Faust" since they "acted and transacted before they thought". In contrast to moral condemnations of capitalism - which derive from pre-bourgeois religious notions, and which Bonehardt wishes to derive from Rose's take on Adorno - Marxism is the result of the working class thinking as materialistically as their bourgeois masters act in fact!
`To quote Lenin ...'
Nellie looked across at the fuming skinhead. What was going on? Had a sea-change occurred to the old Bordigist? What had happened to his left-libertarian critique of viable organisation, of efficiency and action? Hauser was reciting the words of Vladimir Ilich! What about Kronstadt? Astonishing!!
`"We judge a person not by what he says or thinks of himself but by what he does."'
It was not a common quote. Hauser wasn't spouting the slimmed-down selection of Lenin's quotable quotes used by Party hacks. He'd been scouring the Collected Works for gems!
There was a disurbance at the back of the hall. A guy with spiky hair, grey-green raincoat and a loud-hailer made up of a copy of Controversialist Soaker. Lunch! He'd burst in and was proceeding to horang them with a speech written on a roll of toilet paper. The red ink of the script looked like bloodstains on the white tissue paper. As he read, he discarded portions. He'd positioned himself by the ventilation fan at the back. Strips of bog-roll floated over the audience. It looked like a football match; you expected to hear klaxons or fan chants any minute.
It is of course not mere chance that a poodle should preside over Faust's recognition of a lustful nature that exceeds his pious conscience! Synchronicity is more than coincidence. Hauser's flash of sexual materialism is concrete evidence for Materialist Esthetix; findings which, like those of psychoanalysis, are most vociferously denied by those who inadvertently attest their truth. The geezer who had criticised the green-as-puke anarchists is facing a stark choice between liberalism - Helsinki beanos paid for by the British Council and chitterchat with professors obsessed with Iain Sinkle and Eric Tanttrum - and revolutionary socialism with its heinous practice of selling papers in the rain. The ferous seams of graveshaft archeology require hex-curvation with nary a nod to the sauce of the (Popper) gander, with its uplift over-crow and cynic laugh!
Lunch paused for breath, then redoubled the attack.
Picture the metal ores lying beneath the hills of Cornwall. They led Sinkle to title a volume Brown Clouds. No mere assonant tinkle!
Why was it that when OTL spoke, all words seem to lead ineluctably towards the toilet? The audience shifted uneasily.
Sinkle's words describe the pollutive puffs of human metallurgy. The poetry of Brown Clouds trembles with the harsh hammer blows of industrial extractment, registering the social shocks of yore and the upheavals to come. Technique gone social presages revolution. Because such imaginings have a material base in Olsonite psychogeography, they are not just lyrical, personal and arbitrary: these images are registered everywhere. Marx pictured revolution as an earthquake or a volcano, and so did the Incas. According to Ronald Wright, the Incas point out that whenever earthquakes rock the Andes, Inca buildings emerge unscathed from their prisons of colonial rubble. The graft of European colonialism has never taken. In their Quechua language, earthquake is pachakuti. Pacha means "world" or "time"; kutiy is the verb "to overturn". Their word for earthquake is also the word for revolution! As the Incas make use of the Internet to make the case and organise the copper and zinc mines, it is obvious that capitalism can only create its own Gravediggaz.
Lunch had to mention the Z Word. It was like a signature, a fuck-off to those who think the revolutionary dialectic is about repression and good taste and self-control, a populist irritant.
Frank Zappa pictured the social divisions opened up in American society by
the Vietnam War as an earthquake: in Greggary Peccary, Billy the Mountain hacks
up boulders and dust, making `new brown clouds'. In 1978, I wrote to Sinkle's
publisher, pointing out the Zappa connection. `You sound a cocky little twerp',
Ric Caddel replied, anxious to quarantine his imprint against such contagion.
So that particular piece of synchronicity went undocumented.
Canine negation surfaces wherever critique loosens the blindfold of affirmative kitsch and starts to descry the actual ruins. This is why Johnny Rotten's autobiography was titled No Irish, No Blacks, No Dogs!
The moist monist real is betrayed by the aridity of metaphysical definitions. As a way of describing the human essence, the polar choice, `beast or angel', obscures the interpenetrated actuality. The categorical mentality will never grasp the no-dog truth!
A scrawny student with a rash on his neck popped up: `Are you saying that punk
was a situationist phenomenon? And how does all this stuff relate to contemporary
sculpture? Aren't we losing sight of the agenda here?'
`The blinder the better! Sculpture's boring.' A clown in a suit several sizes too big for him, his hair spiked up in a ludicrous question mark. It was actually Johnny Rotten, though no-one recognised him. Although most of the people here were old enough to remember him in his heyday, Oasis and Beatles revivals had obliterated him from history. Only saddoes like Lunch and Hauser thought him worth bringing into the febrile connectivitis of their fantasy intellectualism. Rotten addressed the crowd:
As far as the music being academic, at the time very little of it seemed so. The references to the Situationists - I've only read about that in the last three years! Everybody knew about the Surrealists and Dadaists, but who the hell were the Situationists? I don't know if Malcolm or Bernie ever talked to the Pistols about all of that, but I don't think it would have stuck. They would have gone down to the pub - certainly Steve would have.
`Well that's the point, isn't it? Ever heard of the drive?' Hauser was heckling the heckler from the platform.
I don't care what the French call it! Steve wouldn't have grasped it for a second, he wouldn't have wanted to know. Rather, everything was much more intuitive and exciting; it was never preconceived or manipulated to cause any kind of intellectual outrage. It was clever and smart, while it certainly didn't have a political philosophy behind it.
A guy who looked like a middle-aged brickie, wearing a torn union-jack t-shirt and a gold neck-chain, got up.
Situationism had nothing to do with us! The Jamie Reids and the Malcolms were excited because we were the real thing. I suppose we were what they were dreaming of. We didn't spend any time philosophizing, nothing was contrived, and everything just happened quickly and naturally - which is how things should happen. We were out there doing it.
`Precisely!' barked Lunch from the back, `Lydon and Cook perceive that the
links drawn by Marcus and Savage to the situationists only serve to incarcerate
them in the art museum. They side with the Deed against the Word. Cook's comment
might be taken as evidence that the Pistols were not "serious"; actually,
this kind of "anti-intellectualism" protests the manner class struggle
is converted into purely textual matter to stuff the crevices in shattered bourgeois
`We can't understand a word of all this, we're off to the pub!'
`There isn't one for miles and the bar's crap.'
`Anything's better than this charade. We're off!' The exeunt of the vociferous punk veterans created not a little disturbance. The meeting seemed to be breaking up. Loyd Grossoutman felt duty-bound to bring the shambles round to some semblance of order.
`Iain Sinkle's Downriver was a shamanistic codex which, helped slightly by the poll-tax riot in Trafalgar Square, toppled prime minister Thatcher from power. The novel begins with the words: "And what," Sabella insisted, "is the opposite of a dog?". Does this have any relevance to the situation facing sculpture today? Jelly Glietz, we haven't heard from you for a while ...'
Jelly Glietzseized the microphone. An injection of intelligence could draw back the night from the usual punk-rock fiasco: `I believe Christopher Marlowe's Dr Faustus can help us deal with Sabella's question. Here, it is not speculative philosophy that summons the Devil, but black magic. "Within this circle is Jehovah's name/
Forward and backward anagrammatised". Reversing or racking the name of God gets us "Dog", a joke of some longevity in the history of English-language anti-clericalism. But the answer to Sabella"s question goes the other way. The lettriste "opposite of a dog" is "God". The quandary of ultimate value floats above us tonight, a miasmic question-mark!'
`Thankou, Jelly, a mar-vel-lous contribution!' Grossoutman felt that Glietz had restored the tone. The punk outburst was forgotten.
Nellie rose again: `In point of fact, hidden near the end of Sinkle's famously unfinishable tome, on page 407 to be precise, the answer to this question emerges. Let me quote! He's describing that symbol of English virtue, a cricket match ...'
In her hand she had a copy of the first-edition paperback - a dark blue square that dropped pages from its cracked binding, and whose ink smeared at the touch even now, ten years after publication.
Now there is a quality of yolky golden light revolving in a benign cartwheel along the course that the ball should have taken. Something calm and bright and inexhaustible. A spinning nimbus of maize and bees and song. A bowling hoop of sticky radiance: wasps, wax, feathers, corndust. An Egypt, a linen sail. A spiral of white sand. A waterfall turning back on itself. A rush, a dart, a hymn. And as this pulsing yellow trawl, this phenomenon, bounced across the estauary towards the cancelled land, an unprompted description came into my head. A set of alien words. `The opposite of a dog.' I have not the slightest idea what that means.
Nellie's rendition was resonant. She evidently loved these words, and its heliotrope
magic cast a spell over the listeners.
Hauser broke it. Naturally. The Marxist skinhead believed in the poetry of everyday life and resented its entrapment in words, however fantastically well-wrought. He was suspicious of sun-worship, sensing something Apollonine and power-crazy, maybe even Poundian or fascist at the root of Sinkle's ecstasy: `When Sabella poses her question to her husband, the book-dealer Henry Milditch, it is because "dog" is his word for a worthless book; he dismisses every publication as a "dog", she complains, "so what would the opposite of a dog, or a masterpiece look like?". This is the question Sinkle's Downriver seeks to answer. The book sets out on a quest for truly human values; in its course it discovers that today's "masterpiece" must perforce consist of a farrago of urban degradations and autodestructive literary devices. Unlike my own novels, Sinkle does however wish to keep one area sacred - his infatuation with verbal magic. This `poetry' is meant to redeem us all! Speaking personally, I'd swap it all for one Balti curry. Besides, this stuff about yellow and light and transcendence - it's just a catholic image of the Holy Spirit, some sub-Turner effects done in oils and sold to the pious down at Dalston Junction. It's kitsch!!'
Swearing to himself, but keeping quiet - committed to William Burroughs' concept of el hombre invisible - Sinkle drew out the diary which served as his Christmas card list. The bastard! How could he travesty his Afro-Egyptologist sun-worship so? His prose-poem fragment was about as megalomaniac and reactionary as Sun Ra and his Intrergalactic Arkestra. Typical Hauser - always needing to score his political points at the expense of those who could put together words that sang! He scored a line through Hauser's name and replaced his diary in his jacket pocket.
Interventions at the Institute of Contemporary Art must rise to the occasion. Hanging off a lighting rig, Out To Lunch spluttered the following to the clotted-cream of London's art intelligentsia:
As anti-dogmatics and proletarian realists, Lydon and Sinkle seek the essence
of value: that human spark which Goethe and Coleridge found missing in the dog,
and which they named spirit or reason. However, since society has yet to realise
that spark, has failed to make it concrete, and merely loves to intone its name,
even the idea of `no dog at all', a counter-dog, cannot avoid a doggie taint.
Bourgeois property relations make humanity a private issue, shorn off, irrelevant
to the iron laws of the market. The hopes and dreams of the philosophers and
poets therefore become consolatory fragrance, air-freshener sprayed over the
cess-pit. Talk of spirit or reason is today a travesty, the pious bleating of
the late-show intellectual, a dog-opposite best figured as a poodle. Not the
materialist shaggy dog of Goethe's Faust, the eruption of the realities of lust
and action into the dusty study of the pious mind, but the tonsured Parisian
caniche, trimmed and clipped and subjugated by the zirkon-encrusted tweezers
of post-structuralism. Goethe's seach for truth and freedom has been reduced
to servitude, to the bopeep diplomas of the academy, the shrinkwrapped glitz
of commerce, the breast-beating of the public persona, the bogus pomp of the
institute. Words without Deeds, an endless prisonhouse of texts: rather than
the agent of the diabolical, materialist interest that it was for Goethe - an
excessive ornament, today's attempt to figure truth in the material object are
reduced to a conceptual POODLE.
Loyd Grossoutman asks if maybe `we' make a scapegoat of the dog. The more the better, says Poodle Play. The real and urgent issues lie elsewhere. The connections between the so-called `disinterested' and `scientific' pursuit of the genome and the racial violence of the Euro-fascists and the institutional violence of immigration controls, whose scapegoats are only too human, requires no paranoid poetics to understand. Hmm, tiresome social facts again: the 90s as a slo-mo 30s heard on a Philips digital cassette that cunningly omits all noises their algorithm says you will not miss. So, rather than seeking to stuff a canine reality in the bourgeois face - a strategy reminiscent both of the hype of Vorticism and the cult of the Angry Young Man - the Materialist Esthetix of Poodle Play would instead like to expose the clipped and pampered status of thought that only ever addresses the consumers of theory.
In attempting to figure an irreducible reality for human existence, all civilised veils torn away, the objective materialist of the imagination moves from the mere dog to what Zappa called `the essence of the Northern dog' - ie the yellow snow from where the huskies go, or frozen dog piss. THE STUMBLING BLOCK its INDEX, sculptor Brian Catling's attempt to find an irreducible materialism of concept, draws ineluctably towards canine urine.
`The Stumbling Block ... a marking stone for a tribe of wild dogs. They darkened its arid temperatures, writing a grip into one of the perimeters of their elliptical spoors. The rock was an ornate scented gem in the collar of their nomadicy ... shivering and exhausted in the crystal cold of night ... the bane in its urine staining a new and alien line in the stone.'
By volume twelve of John Norman's Gor series, Beasts of Gor, women have been reduced to slave-girl huskies, dressed in the briefest of fur bikinis and harnessed in teams pulling sledges across the ice. Carlos Castanada bonded with Mescalito only when they became dogs and urinated together. John Norman also poeticizes frozen piss: `Imnak relieved himself, icing the runners'. In Frank Zappa's Apostrophe ('), the fur trapper is blinded by the essence of the Northern Dog after Nanook of the North rubs dog-doo sno-cones in his eyes. Brian Catling also blinded himself with urine: one of the panels at the Serpentine performance he called The Blindings began `I injected my eyes with urine'. From human to dog to piss to blinding: a parable of the role of Modern Art.
A short, dark-haired woman towards the front stood up.
`The bourgeoisie wish to use bodily experience to critique the generalizing abstractions of absolutism,' she said in an ear-pricking, slightly nervous voice, `but thay also need to fend off a threatening, animalistic working class. The need to encourage lop-ears in rabbits - a sign of good breeding - induced the Victorians to correct the listening apparatus of the innocent bunny. The environmental measures taken to alter form included corrective caps made from leather straps to even out ears that pointed at the wrong angle. Behind the Dulwich Picture Gallery encouraging workers to select and breed like prize-winning rabbits lay the racist fantasies of institutionalised eugenics!'
She sat down again, leaving the audience bemused. It seems that people were out-trumping each other with bestial perversions.
A young woman with a fine profile and wearing a dress that resembled a pink woollen tea-cosy stood up.
`This resembles the erotic dog-rabbit encounters in the work of Bradford-based art-terrorist Yvonne Thornton. When asked why the rabbit in her etching "Dog Bites Rabbit" (1994) had a decorative band drawn loosely round its abdomen, her reply anticipated the centrality of Cleavage: "Because that's the edging on my blouse, and it's how I feel when I lift it to show my breasts."'
She sat down again. It didn't occur to anyone that this was actually Yvonne Thornton herself. Exposure in the metropolis is hard for provincial artists. Meanwhile, Lunch's reference to Planet Gor had excited Hauser. He was burrowing in his briefcase. He had the very book! Original issue, without the inevitable excuses by Pat Califia in the foreword. Grossoutman was looking for a chance to close the session. Bottle of Chianti Classico forgotten, Hauser was determined to have his say. Some people were already putting on their coats. He carried on regardless.
State concepts of population management are based on social theories that refuse the dialectical proposal that thought about society arises from society itself. Racism, far from being a `sin' that needs to be extirpated from the lower orders, is a consequence of this transcendent view: human beings as livestock, an object for manipulation. Because it arouses a response in the subject's libido, the idea of the animal and even thing-like aspect of sexuality is not the anti-humanism feared by liberals, but dialectical recognition of the fact that we, too, are animal matter. Let me quote from John Norman's Beasts of Gor:
"`He drives his pretty beasts before him,' I said. Imnak had fashioned a sled, which would be used in crossing Ax Glacier. Thimble and Thistle drew it now across the snows. Before he had left he had had them sew northern garments for themselves, under his instructions. From the furs and hides among the spoils at the wall they had cut and sewn for themselves stockings of lart skin, and shirts of hide, and a light and heavy parka, each hooded and rimmed with lart fur. Too, they had made the high fur boots of the northern woman and the brief panties of fur, to which the boots, extending to the crotch, reach. On the hides shirts and parkas he had made them sew a looped design of stitching at the left shoulder, which represented binding fibre. This designated the garments as those of beasts."
Liberal ideology, which only knows the point of view of the oppressor, castigates such fantasies as `sexism', but then meets the problem that Norman's paragraph is a paradigm of the treatment of sexuality in all realist novels! Here's some more:
`Imnak's whip cracked and she who had been Barbara Benson, a middle-class girl, and she who had been rich, upper-class Audrey Brewster, now Thimble and Thistle, cried out and began to draw their master's sled. I watched them leave. Both were now leveled women. Both would now have to compete in absolute equality, beginning at the some point, neither with an advantgae, as pure females, and as slaves, for the favour of men.'
Nellie was impressed. She'd always had Hauser down as a quick blow-job or in-out merchant. He'd suddenly become something of a sexual gourmet, evidently, a Loyd Grossoutman of subliterary perversion and sadomasochistic cult-texts.
To those who know the subject swoon of masochist surrender, the desire to obliterate
civilised codes in transactions as material and objective as the stars, there
is no problem with being aroused by news of Gor. We are the slave girls. By
reducing itself to absolute object, the sadomasochistic imagination can speak
for other non-subjects. It is a sexual version of proletarian negation, of the
minus sign of thought.
John Norman steers his satirical pornography right into the rationales of oppressive ideology.
`Her flesh was very light; her hair, long, reaching below the small of her back, thick and lovely, was marvellously black. It contrasted vividly with the remarkable paleness of her arms, her shoulders and back. I wondered if she realized that women of her paleness and beauty had, in effect, like certain other types, been sexually selected, over generations, even on her native world, a world which seldom consciously thought of itself as a world breeding slaves. Many strains and types of beautiful women, of course, had been developed on Earth. The lady Rosa was a excellent specimen of one such type. Earth women have been bred for love and beauty; it is unfortunate that they are educated for frustration.'
Those who protest about the effects of `pornography' on the population speak from managerial echelons, the overseer anxious about the quality of his stock. Andr Breton, who proselytized for De Sade, was quicker to condemn Hitler and Stalin than either Bernard Shaw or H.G. Wells. Fabianism was but the fraudulent icing on a cake of worship of hierarchical power. By drawing out the libidinal tingle of the beastly vision, Norman collapses eugenics into sexual arousal and political absurdism: moves Reaction cannot countenance.
Those who have been to Planet Gor have been moved by the magnetic attractions of the cosmos! Materialist Esthetix refuses the divide of gender by which feminism rolled back the kaballistic bisexuality of Freud and pitched sociological suspicion in the heart of desire. The figure of sexual `slavery' is recognition of the subjective materialism of the sexual impulse, not an objective social force that can be analysed as `patriarchy'. It is Capital that disposes: S&M decorates, entertains and enlightens. Those who seek to restrict the scope of the imagination suffer from the elite's paranoid distrust of the mass. Children's nightmares are already more lurid than anything Hollywood can imagine; the working class is being raped in fact, it is not about to be `corrupted' by the next representation of the sexual act ...
The meeting had broken up. Grossoutman had abandoned his post. Glietz and Bonehardt had left the platform. Even Condottieri was putting on her coat. Lunch, however, signalled his agreement from the back. Down his improvised loudhailer, Hauser could barely make out the words amidst the hubbub of the rush to the bar: `Unlike those whose politics is broken from the daily bread of exploitation, and who proudly flick charitable crumbs from the table of privilege, Gorians see through the condescension of moral crusades. They have the psychic confidence to pinpoint the hypocrisy of denying the self's own impulses. As successive economic crises cause the bourgeoisie to relinquish national life to the amoral competition of the market, Reaction will return more and more to calls for moral rearmament: Gorians fight back using all the truth at their disposal!'
3. Lunch & Hauser in Bestial Crowdpleaser of a Sex Act
As the rest of the crowd rushed to the bar, Lunch and Hauser eyed each other
suspiciously. What can Gor fans get from each other? Was this going to be a
prelude to turning gay. Was leathersex on the cards? Hauser only liked fourteen-year-old
girls. Lunch was besotted with Esther Punnk's Frankfurt-School attitudinising.
They'd both like to write like William Burroughs, of course, but even literary
ambition has its limits.
`Ha! They think it's sex, but it's all literature, don't you think?'
`You've got a point. Let's go to the bar and discuss word-processing packages and the correct ascii code for achieving an acute accent on the `a' of `Luk cs' ...'
`But we'll disappoint my fans on the books page of Gay Times!'
`We can't have that!'
Suddenly Lunch developed a tone Hauser recognised from somewhere. It was his gym teacher's! That was absurd. How could he have researched that?
`I'm hustling you out of here for some humiliation and bondage!'
`That's not my style.'
`Fuck style, this is intellectualized exploitation literature and anything can happen!'
Seizing Hauser by the cock, Lunch marched him to the back of the now-empty hall. He noted with satisfaction that the video cameras were still running. This should be a nice finish to the Institute's documentary.
`Sculpture in the round! The anxious monolith reduced to the mere cowering body!' he announced. However, though he'd taken charge, he couldn't go through with it. Sadism, unlike the nonsense spouted by journalists in the tabloids, takes imagination and sympathy. Masochism is much easier, the simple card to play.
`Here!' Lunch produced a dog-collar and lead from his pocket. `I want to play a game I learned with the boy down the road when I was ten.'
`Stop using bourgeois categories, Stewpot! Sex is an act, not an identity. What kind of imbeciles have you been talking to?'
Within seconds, Lunch had stripped off all his clothes. Fascinated, Hauser stared at his cock, which was semi-tumescent. If he wasn't gay, Lunch certainly got a thrill out of taking off his clothes in front of a video camera. He should have met Genesis P. Orridge back in the day! Lunch removed the belt from the trousers he'd stepped out of and handed it to him. Then he took the dog-collar, buckled it round his neck and gave him the end of the lead.
`Okay, I'm your dog. Walk me round the edge of the room!'
`This isn't getting me going, you know.'
`Who cares? Do it for your readers!'
Lunch's cock was erect.
`What's in it for you?'
`Humiliation in front of the cameras, in front of the art-audience I despise, being treated like a dog! It's too much. If I could sing, I'd be Iggy Pop. Have you never read any Jean Genet?'
`Yes, but that's literature.'
`Aha! But it is in this context that Jacques Derrida's "Il n'y a pas de hors-texte" makes sense! Come on, flick my arse with the belt and guide me round the room on all fours. By the end you'll feel like sodomising me, I promise you.'
As Hauser took Lunch round the edges of the room, negotiating the furniture and fittings, Lunch's pert buttocks looked more and more alluring, their pale, vulnerable nudity contrasting with the spick-and-span institutional woods of the building. After successfully getting right round, Hauser had learned the correct wrist action and Lunch's buttocks were covered with weals. Hauser felt an incipient stiffie.
`This is crazy. I'm aroused. But I'm not gay!'
`Bollocks! Nor was Shakespeare. Nor was Burroughs, come to that, they were superior to these ludicrous categories. Ever tried chiffon in a wrist-array? Fuck me up the arse, I need it!'
Lunch lay over a table where, ten minutes previously, the panel had been holding forth about contemporary scuplture and Goethe's Faust. Lunch was finding Hauser difficult to focus on, so he imagined Jelly Glietz watching the video instead. Hauser got into some basic flagellation, finding himself more and more aroused as Lunch's buttocks took on a rosy hue. After all, he liked buggering young girls, so what was the difference if in fact there was a cock round the front, instead of a vagina and clitoris? It was like Iggy Pop's response to taking a transvestite to his hotel room in Rio.
`Okay, let'd do it!' said Hauser.
`KY jelly in my coat pocket ...'
Hauser got hold of the lubricant, unzipped his jeans and smeared the pale goo on his erect dick.
`Lunch, hold open your cheeks ...'
Lunch opened the cheeks of his arse and Hauser slid his cock straight up his anus, then pumped. He was surprised how easy it was, Lunch opened up like sliding a finger inside a vacuum-pack of supermarket salami. Or maybe prosciutto - or even, at a pinch, parma ham! The sensations were alternately crude and scented, smoked, fine-tuned. Really quite like doing it with a girl. The sight of Lunch's back - a fullgrown man's back is so much wider and more massive than an adolescent girl's - was strange, reminding him of Chaim Soutine's sides of beef, or perhaps Francis Bacon's inside-out nudes. On the plus side, his cock was being massaged with a peculiar tight grip that reminded him of a deepthroat blowjob. Being unconstrained by the strictures of San Franciscan gay porn, they didn't use condoms.
While he worked towards orgams, Hauser speculated how he'd describe it to his readers.
Finally, when Lunch was surely close to his limit and my own balls were just aching for release, I eased my cock inside him, settled easily against his thrashed backside and sank my twitching shaft through the clutching furnace of his writhing ass. He seemed to beg for my entry, willing me into his virgin anus. Finally, he reared up, driving his body to a full impalement so my pulsing cock was buried to the hilt in his manflesh, his burning buttocks moving sensuously against my groin. I collapsed on top of him, sealed to his responding flesh by the sweat that poured off both of us. I wished the videos could pick up the intricate mosaic of multicoloured pleasure icons that flashed before my eyes. I fucked him with a furious pounding rhythm as my arms slid round and held him to me, my fingers gripping into his ample girth. His rearing and jerking contributed not a little to my excitement.
Hauser's climax came quite soon after he dreamt up the nicely detached phrase
`contributed not a little to my exitement'. The irony was really too tingly!
He pulled out his dick, inspected it for shit, found none, zipped himself up,
took a swig of Chianti Classico and left without a word, the bottle in one hand
and his manuscript in the other, thoroughly bemused by the unmomentous simplicity
of the transaction. Who owned the rights to the video? That was the question
he pondered on the bus home, nursing his aching cock in one hand and swigging
wine with the other.
Feeling slightly stiff and sore himself, Lunch put on his clothes. This was like a Wyndham Lewis novel where the homo sex actually happens! He wondered if Nellie and Esther would approve. Why did everyone make such heavy weather of sex? It was all in the mind, after all. He repaired to the bar, whistling `Who Are The Brain Police?' in the Muffin Men's rousing scouser version. It gave Zappa's tune a beguilingly unofficial, anti-copyright lilt. He ordered a pint of some unpronounceable Dutch lager and lit an untipped Gitannes. Nothing like a new experience to make a hostile world seem harmless. Although he didn't feel like talking to anyone, he even smiled at Jelly Glietz.
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