Friday, June 16, 2006

Races


Now that Mr. H and Fleur have taken a train to meet Denny, the King and I take the express to Picar. The expresses are big like Greyhound buses only they sport the logo of a rabbit on the side of their bright orange carriage. I think it’s good to be somewhere where the rabbits have a chance and so I have a smile on my face. Rabbit races are very popular here says the man sitting opposite to me on the bus. Expensive Pedigrees chase after stuffed Greyhounds and right now he tells me Picar central will be rammed because of the annual Beta-Carotene at the Super-bowl. It’s tradition to bring back silver plated rabbit droppings after each event and throw them into the waterfalls where they’re washed out down to the valleys and then picked up by fisherman who, in turn melt them down and sell the silver back to the city. I love these altruistic traditions.

We’d decided to take this journey to Picar for one because without the village the King however much he might have enjoyed the company of wanker’s and his tight pink jump suit found that fresh company had brought humiliation and it was time to move on. Secondly I had been brought to this place for a purpose that was not yet clear to me and short of clarity I decided on finding reason in the fortunes of the journey alone. Thirdly The first major performance of the Genius Child Orchestra, whose luck had dramatically changed due to a substantial and anonymous donation, were opening for the following days races and this seemed reason enough for our mountainous jaunt.

As we travelled on, a hawker made his way up and down the bus selling T-shirts and refreshments. His shirts were emblazoned with the words, ‘My family went all the way to Picar and all they brought back was this lousy T-shirt.’ The shirts came in four sizes, small, medium, large and hanging dreadfully. He was also selling CD’s and he just happened to have a copy of The Genius Child Orchestra’s first release. I bought a copy and listened to it on my player for the rest of the trip, sharing my phones with the king.

I thought of Pookie, Swim-Swim and bubbles, my fish back home in Camberwell, I thought of the Meister and Toni and I thought of The Softest Person and wondered again, as I often had if there was perhaps more significance to all things doll. I’d been feeling a bit plastic myself just recently and it really is a very difficult feeling to describe. I have an odd taste in my mouth for example and I think that I can make out these moulding marks that appear to run along the sides of my torso and then down the insides of my thighs. Also, and just sometimes, my eyes open when I sit up and then close again when I lie back down which is very irritating. I’ll have to go and see a doctor when I get to the city. I wondered why, what and if about all kinds of things and then I just started thinking about sex.

The king sleeps now on my shoulder, dribbling and I can see that we’re nearing our destination as we climb along the plateau’s edge. It’s an unbearable route for anyone fearful of heights and some of these roads don’t even seem to have a barricade. I’m no good with heights and so I close my eyes, recline my seat back and try to forget about falling while I listen to the tins and whistles, wails and crescendo’s of the orchestras Kinder maelstrom until I’m off to sleep too. ‘This shaker of salt makes me want to cry, this shaker of salt makes me wonder why, oh wieeeeee, oh wieeeeee are we the genius chillen chiklin orchestra woooeee, oh wieeeeee.’

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Picar


A richly vibrant, sometimes insanely paranoid and cruel palimpsest, Picar has been tightly woven over thousands of years into layers of progressive architectures. The lower levels of its structure are carved from the Plateau itself, whilst successive strata dilute the symbols of ancestor magic becoming ever more rational, dispassionate, frail, and cynical, the further one stood from its birth stone the brighter and cheaper its neon became.

Gangs of warrior monks dressed as Catholic priests and adorned with black gold kept check on the so-called radicals, peace seekers, punks and immigrants. The fundamentalist vigilantes struck for order. Outbreaks of civil unrest between the priests, who believe that true liberty is a pollution of the human spirit and the Polemites, secularists who believe that no true enlightenment can take place unless the sacred is re-marketed, has become more and more frequent.

On the outskirts of the city walls dispossessed ragamuffin’s and exiles slice at each others flesh for scraps of food filtered from the sewers that drain effluent into the Efflit river and on into the lakes. The landscape is dotted with small fires, nests for metal buckets that boil down discarded fish bones for the purposes of making sniffing glue, a vile, yellow residue of poor oblivion.

Once a month warrior monk outreach team’s venture into the slums to offer work instead of charity. Those that accept and there are many, march to the discipline of the hard chapters, brigades of highly skilled fighters that push into the Libertines, neutrals and Polomites. ‘Covert or overt, podium or sword,’ this is their cry.

Amongst the romance of the cafes, the neutrals sip coffee and keep the flames of Picars powerful oral traditions alight under the glow of Absinthe and whisky until the soporific effects of opium level excess and filter out fools. Certain whispers rouse excitement and debate; sometimes there is talk of an army or some mythic garrison of peace crusaders from the UN, but they laugh. There was never anyone coming, no aliens to save us, great truths or absolutes, that god forbid would snuff out the mysteries. We had all heard the stories before and we’d laughed then too. But still, talk was different now and the gossip had turned to something new, people were talking about ‘The Ten.’

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Phoenix


Mr. H and Fleur said that they’d prefer it if I didn’t come with them to confront the preacher. I followed them anyway at a distance and after a short trek I was able to find some decent cover from which to view proceedings. A column of smoke billowed out from the small hamlet. All the inhabitants were placing their costumes, all that rubber, grease paint and ribbon on to a huge fire and as each individual threw their skin on to the flames they were given an instrument by the preacher himself. Each time he reached into a large box filled with violins, mouth organs, a large variety of brightly coloured Kazoos and an old standpipe that had been drilled with holes. There were also a large number of empty plastic containers that were handed out along with requisite tools for their rhythmical thrashing.

I watched as Mr. H and Fleur walked around the queuing villagers and through the rippling haze of burning costumes. When they reached the preacher I couldn’t hear what was being spoken from my inaudible vantage but watching carefully it was clear that the conversation was focused on the moustache problem. Mr. H angrily prodded the radish and then waggled his finger at the preacher. After H had finished making his case the preacher took a moment to think. Finally he spun about, bent down into the box that housed the instruments and spun back hitting Mr. H with a Tambourine in one hand and then artfully following up with a blow from a rubber chicken with the other. H reeled backwards as Fleur quickly came to his aid. She immediately tried to protect him, cursing the preacher man and lunging at him, swiping towards and missing his head in retaliation as two of the villagers rushed to restrain her. The preacher kept pointing to Mr. H’s top lip with a huge smile.

From what I could make out I think H sustained a small cut to his brow. At least I could see that the radish had gone. Fleur was gently let go and the village that had seemed content to patiently wait out the fracas that had momentarily halted proceedings once again turned to its endeavors with a shrug. My two new acquaintances left the smoke filled square as the preacher picked up a small round object and popped it into his mouth. It was the radish. Mr. H’s moustache was only hidden after all; the art of illusion comes easy to a preacher.

Suddenly, just as I was about to hurry back to the encampment I heard a branch snap behind me. I spun around. “Good morning!” A well-spoken male voice said in a whisper. The man didn’t look too threatening in a tight, pink jump suit. “And who are you?” I said whispering back.
“My name is Kallerakal and actually it’s not my name anymore its Marjorie or Marge for short if you like. I came up here a while ago after reading all these self help books and I thought ah, to hell with all this king stuff, I did used to be a king you know, that really was my name…” I nod. “Anyway so the thing is it didn’t take me too long to work out that all those cats down there are barking. So I refused all that doll get up and they made me look after the err…” He paused for a moment and pointed over to a small enclosure filled with old gentlemen in orange jump suits, “…to the err, to the wanker’s over there and…”
“Wanker’s, Who?” I interrupted perplexed.
“Ah, well, you see, some of the old men in the village get…some of them got caught cracking one off.”
“Cracking one off?”
“Yes, you know what I mean don’t you, shaking the fat-man, bashing the Bishop. Cracking one off for Christ’s sake, you must have heard of that?” He graphically articulated with his fist.
“What, so they lock up all the…” I laughed as I said it, “…the wanker’s”
“Well yes, anyone who gets caught of course.”
“And you get to do this job in a tight pink cat suit?”
“Yes.” He said, looking down and over his attire objectively, an excess of blood ruining an otherwise honest but pale complexion.
“Well if it was me old boy I think I would’ve taken the Barbie outfit.”

We both turned back to the village and to a chorus that one might hear from an orchestra pit before a performance. “What’s with all that I said?” pointing down towards a small, growing crowd hacking away at the production of polyrythmns and an attendant sea of grinding disharmony. “Wannabes, sycophants and madmen.” Said the redundant king.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Tashtastic


Mr. H has been having trouble with his face furniture since those proceedings inside the church yesterday. I only know this from what little I overheard whilst resting, comfortable in my arboreal nest of branches that’s agreeable enough for even the humblest Bonobo. What kind of ceremony would do that sort of damage to facial hair?

Fleur had been trying to help:
“It just keeps fanning F.” Said H, exasperated.
“Well look, just…look do this.” Said Fleur gesticulating and moving towards him but he dodged away from her.
“Let me do it.” H said, twisting. He tweaked and pulled while bending over, tempting gravity into the fray whilst Fleur just stood and watched patiently, bemused. “What are you doing now H?”
He stood upright in response to her but then suddenly he seemed to shrink, giving up.
“I might never get it straight.” He said, hopelessly stamping his foot into the ground.
“Come here sausage.” She said comfortingly, drawing him into her and holding him tight. H’s shoulders began to shake a little as tears of bewilderment broke loose. “I…” H began in vain, questioningly, but it was all over.
“Sssh.” Comforted Fleur and together they rocked slowly from side to side until H, exhausted, fell asleep in her arms.

Morning arrived and Mr. H awoke to find that his tash had become a radish. In resignation to fate he said nothing but sat at the waters edge, his knees drawn up whilst he looked out towards the village; a morning call to prayer melodiously crafted from wineglasses variably filled with water, broadcast from the porcelain prayer tower above.

I climbed down from my tree and greeted H but he ignored me, so I lay down on my back and enthusiastically rendered a sand angel with my arms and legs. That’ll cheer him up I thought.
“Look.” I said jumping up, smiling all over the place and pointing to the angelic silhouette in the sand. “It’s a sand angel!” He looked over at the shape disinterested. “The tash?” I said surprised, noticing the small but obvious red irritant.
“It’s a fucking…” He began angrily. H stopped, composed himself, cleared his throat and started again, “Sorry, it’s a radish.” He said and then, “…like an engorged tick in fear of a hot fag.”
“Ok. Maybe it’ll go down in a few days, what do you think?” I belched unconvincingly.
“I think…” He began, “…that I have a Radish on my top lip.” Ah, sarcasm I thought, “…and when I sniff…” He continued again slowly, “…it plugs my right nostril. And…” He went on, “…I’ve tried to pull it off but I think it’ll rip my lip off with it.”
“Shit.” I said, useless. “Well then we’ll just have to go back to the church, find the guru and ask him to reverse things to make it hairy again.” I rattled.
“Yes.” Said H changing his tune and jumping up. “That’s exactly what we’ll do.” Excitedly he marched over to where Fleur was still sleeping and gave her a gentle nudge with his bare foot to wake her.
“I’m going to the village.” He said emphatically.
“A…a…and me.” I said, stuttering.
“We’re going back to the village.” H said, punching the air.
Fleur stretched her arms out over her head and seeing H properly she sat up suddenly. “H.” She said surprised and then lowering her voice with seriousness. “H…” again almost baritone, “…you’ve a…”
“A Radish, yes, I know.” He preempted.
“On your top lip.” she said after a short pause.
“And were going back to the village to sort it out.” I said jumping up and down a little too enthusiastically. They both looked at me.
“What?” I said.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Environ

It’s a difficult area to cover because of its dense and often wildly exaggerated pros & cons and a successful mapping is still ‘The mighty challenge waiting to be fondled.’ The elegant and richly foliated terrain lies on the flip side of a piece of paper and within the silent spaces of the unwritten word or, and to quote an anchorite from the locale “…astride the long and sticky journey of synaptic spittle.”

The high and low cities, the ancestral homes of all the people of Picar assert forest like spires upon the Picaris Plateau, a range of mountains a little north of here. But not so far away for, as the sun falls in the east the city’s peak’s spell out their names across the still waters of the great lake as nights shadow pulls up like a sheet.

(Harvey Picar, a Gnostic and accidental exile ((who fell through a hole between the high and low just as an uncertain dial-up connection withdrew)) resides back home in symbiotic accord with a Mr Crumb. Together they have channelled the lake and mountain Tao for much of the later half of the twentieth century and the two unexpected strangers amongst men have attempted without force to illuminate us all "…as it is yeah?")

I’d found the doll skins on the edge of the lake as I’d found a fresh, dead crab in a Cornish rock-pool when I was a child one summer; I took the crab home to break open with a tool to reveal its white and fragile mash. I stubbed my toe on a hot, rough tarmac road that snaked its way down to the beach that morning. The objects that I’d found here and now I left stinking at the water’s edge.

You see Fleur and Mr H had found a village of dolls by the Efflit River, a flow so old that it had carved out almost every strata of the Plateau creating some of the highest waterfalls that they’d ever seen. The village as it revealed itself was a ruse of sorts. Imagine looking down from an aircraft and one might easily presume that a misguided exclamation such as ‘Dammit, there’s a whole village of dolls down their Dr …’ from one of the passengers could easily lead to months, years even of exhausting anthropological hypothesis and pointless fundraising. The village was no more than a pack of mostly middle class baby boomers and their Mall-Rat offspring who’d gone out in search of hope and found a guru instead draped in the elaborate attire of a spoilt Barbie and usefully hollow enough for worship. Above the Gurus door in the centre of the village the words ‘Of outward shew elaborate, of inward less intact.’ * The inscription gave it all away.

And I whispered to them, to the hearts, "Best not to say a thing."

But the hearts leaked a disturbance, “…a shift like a graze.” they might have said. And so came a response down the wires and their little crystal sets tuned and whined that The Softest person had lost faith. Perhaps the feelings of a father’s loss were broadcasting indifference as loves rejected defence. This news deeply disturbed them I could tell, for even disembodied hearts wear themselves on sleeves. Their passion and joy shifted to mechanical tears and an arrhythmia that undulated upon waves of capricious sunburst influence. I knew this could happen and I had hoped that the loyalty of a doll’s patriarch would be a little less fickle. “But he must be forgiven.” I whispered again, “for we, all of us after all are only human.”

*William Hazlitt