Archive | Death RSS feed for this section


23 May


“Genoveva in der Waldeinsamkeit”, 1841
Adrian Ludwig Richter (1803-1884)

I can see it but I can’t explain it, I am exhilirated by my setbacks and failures. Made mistakes, broke, come up’s a bitch – so what? I am immune to the sky’s slings and arrows. Blow ye hurricanos blow, I don’t give a fuck. I am bursting wit and love, half in love with a girl I’ll never see again. But still I feel glad. There’s whiskey in the jar and I’ll drink to her health. The world is an even more beautiful place because of her.

I can explain but I cannot plan. I know what is happening to me. Some of it. Some I pretend not to know, it’s the only way. My memory has reached a certain place on the highway. It is a downhill slope from here. I must set to and fire off some neurons into history before time to shuffle off.

I can plan but I cannot determine the outcome. There are things in your control and there are things not. The things in your control are certain aspects of your body, your mind if you can be bothered, and whatever tools you’re thus able to operate. Your soul (if you know it’s there)… well that controls you. Or rather it is you. Your heart? You cannot control your heart. Your heart and everything else – forget it.

I have convictions. I am free at last. And tonight I am a raving egotist. No apologies. I, me, mine: Transmitting….

Back into the noöspherical webtronic surveillance system and brainfart confabulator. I have come from my season in Hell. I have seen the kings of the earth there, I have seen the servants and the women of the street. I have heard the minstrels and taken ale with them on a sometime sunny afternoon. I have spoken with the new generation and understand a little more how they are different; how they are the same. I am calling out to the few who listen for this final instalment: StillChaos. My first e-Book.

And tomorrow perhaps I’ll write something that ain’t masturbation.



21 Nov

The properties of the rational soul – it views itself, determines itself, makes itself what it wills, bears and itself reaps its own fruit – while in the vegetable or animal world the fruit is reaped by others – and, finally, attains its proper end at the point where life reaches its term.

In a dance or a play or such like, an interruption leaves the action incomplete: but so with the soul; at every point and wheresoever attested, she leaves her task fulfilled and self-complete and can say ‘I have come by my own.’ Furthermore, the soul ranges the universe, alike the world of form and the world of void, and reaches forth into eternity, and encompasses and comprehends the cyclic regeneration of the universe, and perceives that our fathers had no fuller vision, neither will our children behold any new thing, but that the man of understanding who has come to two-score years has in effect beheld all the uniform past and the uniform to come. And yet another property of the rational soul is love of neighbours, truth, self-respect, and that supreme self-reverence which is likewise and attribute of Law. And this implies the law of Reason is coincident with laws of justice.

You will be disenchanted of the delights of song and dance and the pancratium, if you decompose the melody into its constituent notes, and ask yourself one by one, ‘Is this the spell I own?’ You will turn from each in disgust. Or analyse dancing in the same way into successions of motion and rest; or do the same with the pancriatum. In short, setting aside virtue and virtuous acts you have but to press analysis to the component parts and you are disenchanted.

Apply the process to life as a whole.

O for the soul ready, when the hour of dissolution comes, for extinction, dispersion or survival!

Marcus Aurelius (121–180)
To Himself
(Trans. Gerald H. Rendall, Cambridge, 1898.)


19 Nov

Hava nagila v’nismeha – it’s Hebrew. Let us rejoice and be happy. It’s the kind of staple that makes those raised on it raise their eyes to Heaven when in youth: Oh brother not this again. The Jews do it at weddings, bar mitzvahs. Dance in the circle of the love of your kin.

Considering the history between Poles and Jews I’d say that it’s entirely appropriate that somewhere Polish Metalheads play this song savage. The tune hails from Ukraine. Another nasty narrative there. Is that peculiarly Jewish? That those things dear to their culture originate in their long history’s most desperate episodes. What rejoicing for Jews in Ukraine?


The behaviour of Ukrainians in slaughtering Jewish people shocked even the Nazis instigating it. There was deep hatred here. Hatred of what and why? The resentment and mistrust of Jewish people has a long cycle of slumbering punctuated by frightful awakening. It’s been at times both abated and sanctioned by authority but always lies dormant behind the curled lips and cranky eyes of those cheated at birth. In the third decade of the 20th century this… force? Is that what you call it? This… whatever awoke fierce and relished the tasks set it by those that gave the world an updated image of evil and the Hell it produces.

Let us rejoice and be happy. Hava nigila – they play it everywhere. In Texas they blend it with Country and wave flags that mean friendship and war; the fulfillment of dire prophecy. In a country where the nefarious fraudulent lies of the  Protocols of the Elders of Zion are being dispensed as truth they play it with tender respect. The melody is Ukrainian, the words Hebrew.  Starts slow in  claps and stomps. The beat rises faster and you begin to twirl, to dance in the circle. There’s a rub in a circle. Join hands and dance, it’s the oldest face of Kitsch. But there is an implicit threat in circles of love for what lies outside the circle is not loved and what is not loved can be despised with impunity even unto bloodlust.

In the first millennium of what we now clinically refer to as the Common Era two prophets set forth to bring the words of the Hebrew lawgivers to all the nations. They succeeded wildly casting the Word over a good half of the globe. I wonder, considering the now-lost details of the casual brutality with which the Hebrew people must have been treated by Babylon, Egypt, Assyria, Rome, whether, on balance, so many Goy converts to the laws of Moses was better or worse finally. It wasn’t gravy, that much is sure.

Hava Nagila? I can’t remember the first time I heard it, got caught up in one of the world’s most infectuous dance tracks. You can’t help it, you will move. Slowly at first, swaying maybe, discreetly tapping something. And when the melody changes – Uru ahim b’lev sameah, Uru ahim b’lev sameah, Uru ahim b’lev sameah – you will move more. Acha’yot, ahim! Hava neranenah v’nismeha. Sisters, brothers, let’s sing and be happy.

Without it, life isn’t worth it.


9 Oct




12 Sep



6 Sep

I used to think Basquiat was cool.


Well isn’t he? Doesn’t that look… cool?

Something must’ve switched over since then. Yesterday I went into the Arts Room at the State Library to check out the new books and groaned to see another Basquiat monograph. That makes seven books on him now. My favourite is Phoebe Hoban’s Basquiat: A Quick Killing In Art if only because the title sums up both the artist’s career and milieu.

I flip thru the book and see the same old pictures: Warhol, Clemente and Basquiat. Michael Halsand’s photograph for the Warhol/Basquiat collaborations show. Some of the collaborations, his own work of course.

I still like something about it, the colours perhaps. And it’s impossible not see in Basquiat the pioneer of the career path that leads from the alleyways to galleries. Still, if you use bright simple colour it’s hard to fail and when I look at his work I’m reminded of what happens to a new piece on the street after a few months of tagging and weather have done with it. By itself it doesn’t seem worth the fuss.

Basquiat was an 80s thing: an 80s in New York thing. In the New York of the 1980s, there was money again after a long stewing in corruption, crime, debt and wasteland creep.


The art scene boomed. Andy Warhol – who’d invented, in the polaroid portrait, a way to be even lazier – appeared to get off his arse again and try doing something new. He failed. Still there was a buzz, new people. Young artists doing well. Some were graffiti artists like Keith Haring; some were deemed Neo-Expressionists like David Salle. Basquiat was classified as both.

The whole schtick was a marketing ploy. These artists no longer formed movements the way they had in the first half of the century. Those movements were born because those moving them were waging a cultural battle and the ‘other side’ saw them as crazy and dangerous. These new ‘movements’ weren’t attempting to seriously pursue anything other than a market for their work. By the 1980s a movement was just a method by which culture could be block-booked. It was about money.

And Basquiat was in the right place at the right time. Good looking guy. Black, so the Lenny Bernstein cocktail set could celebrate. He had that cool post-punk look a la Rip, Rig and Panic, the intense stare. Yeah! he was the real thing, and the big broad colour fields of his painting were easy on interior decorators.

The story goes that the day he met Warhol he rushed back to his studio to make something for him. Warhol had it within the hour and supposedly remarked “he’s faster than me”. Fast? By the 1980s the production of the handmade still image had become subject to the twin dictates of post-industrial time management and scream therapy doctrine. To be quick was to be honest and efficient.

Like August Macke, Basquiat was 27 when he died. Unlike Macke perhaps his best times were behind him. How long before the fickle crowd made him yesterday’s man? Macke’s work was tragically cut short by a war that swallowed him. Basquiat’s life was cut short by smack. Dying young means you don’t live long enough to bore everyone. Twenty years later a Basquiat fetches eight figure sums. Is it worth it?

Basquiat boxer


5 Sep


Judith Slaying Holofernes, 1620
Artemesia Gentileschi (1593-1656)