Blabbliography In Psychogeography
The eternity heavy slow movement of dark wood and brass rotating doors spin in soporific circles, delivering me into an age-old hotel lobby off the high street. I gaze dumbfounded around the vast cavern inside. I'm looking for Dolly who has an appointment with the Princessa Pestilence here. I look around and decide this not a place to feel comfortable in, dark globes of stolen light of night hang from the nicotine brown ceiling, their throb barely piercing the gloom, arrangements of low-slung leather chairs, hardwood circular coffee tables and the polite coughing of the aging patrons desiccating in air dark with constantly re-respirated smoke of century old acrid cigars and cheroots.
I notice a wafer thin smear of black velvet lurking at a corner table, and recognise the skull-faced medusa head of the Princessa. Dolly is nowhere to be seen. This is my first meeting with the Pestilence herself, and without Dolly to cocoon me with polite introductions to cushion the blow I was losing confidence in buckets. "You must be Bella" The Princessa hissed, before I was half way across the room. I sat beside her, entranced by her lethal black hair looping and curling back and forth, like writhing serpents caressing her face. "Yes, I'm supposed to meet Dolly here" I struggled with nerves, she handed me a cigarette, the filter torn out and used elsewhere. "But she's late"
"As usual" The Princessa fixed her eyes on me, eyes like pinpricks like pain numbed out.
"Last month he was two weeks late for a meeting" I joshed, the P rolled her eyes in her head. We began to talk, but we were only distracting ourselves until Dolly arrived.
We didn't battle with small talk for long, because at three on the dot an emissary arrives, scuttling between the tables, bowing and scraping at the Princessa's feet. He announces in a tone deadened by millennia of grovelling, that the pope requests an audience. The P nods her head in weary consent.
The pope in heavy damask gown casual daywear style, bends at the knee and scrapes his calloused head against the Princessa's thigh-high paten leather boot. "Your drugs, madam" He whispers, pressing a cling filmed package into her claw-like hand. The Princessa examines the package imperiously and offers out her poisoned ring for him to kiss. The Pope can hardly contain himself and sits abruptly in an empty chair beside P so as not to stain the carpet.
Before the ruffled air of the café could settle, Lucifer sweeps in through the revolving doors, riding an infernal dragon, a writhing viper in his hand. The pope jitters nervously, the Princessa turns to me with a whisper "Now that's what I call the most glorious being in heaven!" He was so beautiful and gracious that his gorgeous person was irresistible, we all became possessed by his frenetic and infectious deliciousness. The pope, eager to discuss theology stammers inanely, while Lucifer leaps down and performs a solo tango, ridiculing the pope. "god dog dog god, I just wanna be your pig, and lie right down in my favourite wig".
The whole bizarre scene was threatening to swamp me and I was cursing Dolly for being late.
As if on cue Dolly appeared, gliding through the revolving doors, hot on the tail of the Marquessa. They fell immediately into the group. Dolly was all apologies, just like I liked her. I handed her a sheaf of Xeroxed sheets.
"I just wanted you to be the first person to read it" I said, when the grovelling threatened to subside. This kicked off another bout of gratitude and I felt a bit guilty that I'd said the same thing to Mimi, Mary-Jane and Sonja. I would've pulled the same trick with Sylv and Daisy St. Satan, if I hadn't just decided to write them out of the novel.
"Let's go" Dolly whispered to me suddenly. As we left the entropied gloom of the hotel lobby I heard the Marquessa's voice ring out "You're a pope, you can buy me a Jack Daniel's, I'll tell you one of my dirty stories"
We spun out through revolving doors into the street, blind with gleaming sunshine.
"Where are we going?" I asked as we slipped into unfamiliar back streets.
"I'd like you to meet a friend, at her place"
"Is it far out?"
"Yeah! It's really far-out" smiled Dolly. We began talking and I had a horrible feeling that it was going to be a long walk.
Dolly ducked suddenly through a doorway and we began climbing up up up a spiral staircase, it seemed that we were climbing up the inside of a tall tower, up up up to a closed door, bright yellow light streamed out through the gap at the bottom of the door. Then Dolly knocked, three times. The door swung back on its hinges and I found myself face to face with my first shaman. The shaman was a small dark woman, radiating a tangible sense of calm and tranquillity, misty blue light clung to her greying hair. "Shaman sister, meet Bella" and we were ushered in through billowing swathes of vaginal pink diaphanous curtains. I sat on a golden velveteen chaise longue and gazed around me. A crystal tear spun suspended in the window, pulsating out the heavy orange midday sun fractured into tiny rainbow lights flickering around the curtains and damask arrasses on the walls.
The Shaman served us strange tasting green tea in clear glass cups. "Unique and distinctive scent" I said, Shaman gestured to a bunch of incense sticks burning in the grate of the fireplace. "It keeps away the cockroaches and discourages pestilences" She replied. She handed Dolly a long curve stemmed pipe and a mortar and pestle brimming with crushed herbs. "Flying mixture?" She asked me curiously "Do you partake?"
"She dabbles" Dolly replied for me, packing a tight pipe.
I felt strangely unselfconscious as we sat in a naked circle on the huge rug in the middle of the room, the Shaman chanting an incoherent stream of words. A crack of unexpected thunder broke over the house and the Shaman fell face down onto the carpet. Trembling, shuddering, gooseflesh, swooning, convulsions, foaming at the mouth, protruding eyes, insensitivity to heat, cold and pain, tics, loud breathing, a glassy stare.
"These are the characteristics of the shamanistic trance" said Dolly
"Remember the pattern on the rug" Shaman kept repeating "It is a map of our psychic journey, a topography of our altered mental states. Pushing through into laser light I am wet, limp and drooling, eyes half closed, pupils dilated, eyeballs rolling back in my head, my snorting constricted breathing echoes back at me and the visions tumble on. Remember the pattern on the rug"
Dolly was in a world of her own reciting loudly to nobody in particular. "The Shaman is being chosen by the spirits, taught by them to enter trance, and fly with her soul to other worlds in the sky, or clamber through dangerous crevices into the terror of the subterranean worlds; being stripped of her flesh, reduced to a skeleton and then reassembled and reborn; thereby gaining power to combat spirits and heal the victims. The Shaman's profession is considered psychically very dangerous and there is constant risk of insanity or death. The Shaman is chosen by the spirits and in the central experience of initiation is often symbolically killed by the spirits and is reborn. Through this experience, the personality of the Shaman is enhanced and is expressed through the acquisition of the spirit helpers who enable the Shaman to voyage across the cosmos".
Feeling deep resonating waves hope healing rising through my body into winter, Frankie was sitting unshaven in hospital issue pajamas, sullen sallow sickness incongruous beside the cheerful christmas tree the ward sister had put there. I spoke to him finally. "I know how you feel, it's the waiting that's the worst. Not knowing what the blood test will show up. But you should be using this waiting time to sort out how you want to live the rest of your life. I went through that when I had the tests. I decided that it didn't matter if I had 30 or 5 years left. I decided that I wanted to live. That's what you should do, decide whether you're going to live or die for the rest of your life". I looked at him. He said "You can say that in retrospect. Do you think you can find me something for the pain?". I gazed out of the hospital window onto the snow-slushy street below, sick of the sight of Santas. "Try methadone" I hissed through clenched teeth.
"Remember the pattern on the carpet, so that we can get back. Pushing through into laser light speckled with bubbles of light sucked up and spat out, shooting spectrumed streamers, flashing out from a still and searing globe of light. Turquoise rays with electric blue hearts ignite and burn like eyes in the rainbow deaths head fluttering spectrum light pulsating with the flickering of my half-closed eyes. Deaths head shiver, shift and swoop through a thousand other faces per second. My sightless eyes absorbing and sucking up the myriad facial forms, messages and codes in glittering clarity, at last."
Shaman sank into a sweaty fetal bundle on the golden chaise longue. Instinctively Dolly and I crawled over the carpet to her and enveloped her in our bodies. Warmth swelled up around us, blue star-smeared energy drifts around us, blurring us into one triangular entity amongst the entirety of possible entities, a one-ness amongst the many, we are one, I, I am I, slipping off into deep sweet sticky dreamings. I are the beatific smile calm stillness that is a universe and includes all possible experience as it includes all possibilities. We are I am I are we. The question is of intensity of experience and we floated by candle light, we whispered of literature, Burroughs, the bloody needle, Shamanism, love and hate, pain, ecstasy and trance. The Shaman runs her fingers over my back. I'm bourne aloft to Nirvana on a pink marshmallow cloud, the fluttering of angel wings vibrate over my body, insomnia sliding into the abrupt unexpected clarity of midday.
It was already late afternoon when we left the Shaman's apartment and made our way past the solid block on Musketeer Lane, where Frankie and the Princessa were said to live. Glaring down on Southern Madrid's urban dereliction, sprawling patterns of tower block estates and the subsiding open ground of council Gitano camp, writhing in the heat haze. Trotting out blind in vein over the hill, bang into the snarled up tangle of the borough's aging back streets away off towards the city centre, Lavapies and Atocha. Hit Hardland Highway, like Seven Sisters Road translated lock stock and barrel into Spanish. Standing dumbfounded as always, newspapers, dirt and rubbish gather around my feet. Heavy traffic storming around me and through my mind where I am the chemically calmed eye of the tempest. No one was looking, nobody noticed a thing. Bus 31 from Angel's Gate, standing room only, over the wide pretty bridge, the meandering river framed in the fly-spotted window. Exhaust fumes chugging straining up the incline to where Generalissimo Franco's Flyover – renamed the Suicide Bridge – arched imposingly Art Deco, striding over the road. The door wide open on the Bar of The Lost Madmen, where strung from the ceiling decapitated mannequins in gold paint body suits beckon invitingly.
"Shall we go in?"
I was tempted, but I could just imagine the scene.
Mimi, Mary-Jane and Sonja were sat on plastic chairs, reading Xeroxed copies of my story.
Blabbliography In Psychogeography "This interview has been tape recorded on two tapes. One of these tapes has been hermetically sealed in your presence to be treated as an exhibit in criminal proceedings.
"Frankie Fucked-Up said there's going to be a party on Friday night at the Marquessa's. My range of vision subsequently expands; The chance to drink expensive wines when surgical spirit would do.
Frankie fucked me stupid in a dead blind alley, wanked me off against the wall, interfered with me in drunken corners. So count me in for the major drug abuse. Disordered senses, voices, words without meaning. The endless tumbling tempo of my burgeoning madness. Claims circulated that heroin was needed to turn the human body into an environment that includes all possible experience, possibilities of every kind.
And so the days and pretty soon the months passed in daily wranglings over money and time and friends and heroin. Where to go and how to get there. How much and who to pay. Always culminating in what I call time travel, the softening glowing lights and sinking into warm enclosing water.
A fool ignores the precipice beneath her feet, because she knows that she is immortal and cannot now be harmed. Until my reptile blood ran cold and dried up in my womb. "There's going to be a party on Friday night."
The Marquessa was straight out of '30's Berlin the first time I met her, and me a weepy drunkard Barbara Windsor, a fine specimen. Anger and anguish and pouring rain and a fiver in my pocket. "The junkie has infiltrated and impregnated. I need an injection". She cast me this seedy strange look, an deadliner in eyeliner. In her well-cut mans suit with white silk shirt and kipper tie, her raven black hair greased into a tight-arsed bun, "Your commitments, your commodities, your facilities, your faculties may have to be shut off" She said, displaying as she spoke her gentlemanly accoutrements – a 17th century fine toothed nit comb and a cigar case carved with erotic images. How to ask for medical assistance in less than thirty words of Spanish? Extraordinary experience, the over throw of the mental mechanisms of repression and selection. "Please take me walking in the cemetery, show me where to dispose of the fetus, show me dirty needles in the dirty tombs, teach me dirty tricks, shoplift me gin and wire coathangers, I am unfit to be a mother".
She diverted me along new and noisy streets, charmed me in low-slung underground bars.
"I have removed three babies. Seared their flesh with chemicals, skewered them one by one, exploded them and scraped them from the walls of my womb, chewed them up and spat them out, red clots in a linen hanky. Do I shock you at all?" I am bumbling drunk and stupid in a foreign language, focussed on the sweet smoke curling, entwining, curling from her ruby red lips. Then she invited me to her party.
God is dead. I am failing to be coherent again. I need something serious, medical or industrial strength. Or a gun. Instead I get invited to another party. Waiting, hanging, floating comprehension in formaldehyde. All forms of expression are losing a grip on reality. Excessive Behaviour Programme moving in leaps and bounds, reaching a peak. Cut the words and see how they fall.
Mega-drugs or death.
Frankie said he'd show me a street party on Friday night. I polished my boots with his toothbrush, we burned incense on a tomb, drinking for oblivion, laid out in the bath, beside the needles, wearing a turban and sunglasses, under the sign of the noose, I dreamed of the eternal quest for the treasure buried beneath the filth and horror. I am the silent partner, watching, waiting for a needles worth to keep me silent, near The Cavern Of The Dead Machines, where Frankie Fucked-Up fucked me pregnant-stupid in the shit-heaving sex-street.
Frankie Fucked-Up said there's going to me a street party on Friday; but the fetus was already dead and flushed away. The human mind wandering in its own psycho-catacombs, fingering trails of forgotten wool in the pitch dark tombs of introspection.
God, who is dead, grant me the indulgence that I grant to you; Grant me eternal blackouts, never let me see, hear, feel or understand again. I want the rain-sodden doorway, I want paint and blood, chewing gum and glue, piss on my boots. Grant that I stay out of it for eternity.
This friends, is the terminal method of finding truth, ready to kill, die or sleep."
PLEASE TURN THE TAPE OVER.
"Frankie Fucked-Up said he'd show me a street party one Friday night. I was sitting in a lunchroom having my doughnuts and coffee, cultivating dangerous habits in which only the most extreme innovation was historically justified, an adroit perversion of natural selection. He paid the bill with the Mil Pelas note, burnt edges and residue wrapped inside for the waiter.
Gunshots two, three, maybe six and the shutters slammed down on The Sleaziest Bar In The World. The Marquessa smoked puros from a penis-shaped cigarette holder and organised the masterpiece of a party unconcerned that rioting disturbed the air. I downed cognacs at a rate I couldn't afford, just to stop the shaking, watching the shadows swarm across the frosted glass window of the bar. The helmeted and armed police setting up a gas mortar at the end of the street. Frankie jacked up in the van while the pigs sealed off the street, and we fled suddenly to the secret mountainside castle of the mysterious Marquessa.
The sandbag heavy days of waiting for the man that isn't going to come anyway. A systematic derangement of the senses, where the notion of disguise is closely linked to the notion of play. In the sweaty salon hung with hieroglyphed tapestries, the lesbian vampires transmutated into red whores' frocks. Waking up in the late afternoon, sugar and milk, twitching, methodona, chanting, methodona, take the monkey from my back.
Frankie frocked up after taking another bath, his beautiful pinprick eyes glowing red in the bathroom light. "There's going to be a party in the street tonight".
A collage of words read, heard, overheard. The boy with the bleeding head wound, still trying not to weep, the kids with masked faces and blackened eyes. In the private library I browsed Latin and esoteric scripts while tentatively nibbling drug-soaked canapés. The street littered with shoddy, knocked up barricades, lurking balaclavas behind overturned cars. Joyce is in there, mopping the sweaty brow, Shakespeare, Rimbaud, some new writers people haven't even heard about yet, there's Kerouac, changing damp bedsheets, Genet, of course, is spraying the sick room with attar of roses. Also Kafka, Debord, and Burroughs, coffee and cognac, fresh bread and chocolate spread, sudden sex in the waiting afternoon.
They paused midway through overturning a car to let us pass, panting silence lies close to screaming kicks. In the safety of the clapped-out car I gave vent to terror, the police leaping on the roof of the car and raining down with gas and mortars. Images shift sense under scissors smell images to sound sight to sound kinaesthetic. Staircases and landings leading to others, doors secreted behind heavy damask arrasses, keys that creak in long locked doors. From the salon to the kitchen, through a maze of locked doors and deserted bedrooms. A ratrun culminating in an unlit satanic altar, parchment and skin corpses, silk velveteen loon pants, see-thru' blouses in psychodynamic polyester prints. Truly a powerful cultural weapon in the service of a real class struggle. Twisting and mis-leading labyrinths, catacombs, mazes, corridors, culminating in a sealed glass door, where we gazed longingly on the mummified corpse of an unborn baby, swaddled in sanitary towels, vacuum packed in a bell jar coffin. We glared, not blinking for fear of weeping, through the confusion of locked doors.
Bursting, panting, flushed and gleaming into the homely glow of the castle kitchen. Finally we sat with the party's refugees, smoking crushed tranx off of silver foil platters.
Yeah! It was a party alright. But it wasn't a street party and it wasn't a riot".
If any of the details of this summons concerning your name, address or date of birth are not correct, please contact the court immediately"
END OF TAPE RECORDING
There would be a moment's stunned silence, Dolly flounces over, brandishing her Xeroxed copy.
"It's not even true!" Sonja complained
"More to the point, its not even about us at all" sneered Dolly "it's a bloody fiction!"
Mimi was reading the back of the copy, reading the notes for the next chapter. "Some other people who never made it into the finished novel" She read out loud.