Sent: Thursday, December 14, 2000 6:36 PM Subject: Belgrade
Just got back from Belgrade. We only had one day there. We played to a sold out house, 1500 people and they were fanatic fans of our work. We sat around signing autographs and generally holding court in a club after the gig, watching the young thangs gyrating most delightfully to the throbbing presentation of DJ Hell, our co-touring companion whose influence was pretty much responsible for this whole hootenanny.
Belgrade itself was in remarkably good shape, we were in the company of a guy who runs the one radio station that people used to listen to to hear uncensored news, B-92, unadulterated by the Milosevic regime which pretty much everybody hated. He told us a hell of a lot of what life had been like in Yugoslavia over the last 10 years but no one seemed to be down in the dumps. For once, we all just shut up and listened, not tempted to put our ill-informed two dinars in. We saw a couple of bombed out buildings, in particular the former party headquarters which was hardly touched. Them damn missiles is so accurate, they would fly in through the elevator shaft and blow up everything inside while leaving the building still standing. amazing. The city was buzzing, cars were once again polluting relentlessly since it was no longer necessary to buy gasoline on the street corner from Mafia types. I guess acquiring certain things under the sanctions was like scoring crack, you would give some sleaze bag some money and he would run around the corner to his secret stash and bring it back. Belgrade looked pretty much like any other european city, shops open people milling around, a hell of a lot better off than the poor miserable denizens of Georgia. Almost anywhere seemed better off than Tibilisi. The Yugoslavians were never as isolated as the russians anyway, they had plenty of access to information and entertainment from abroad, including weirdos like us. Once again, the primary source of our records was from bootlegs, made in bulgaria and sold on the cheap. We found all sorts of our own stuff for sale including a couple of my own solo records that are no longer available in Europe.
I am not annoyed by this bootlegging. Without it we wouldn’t have an audience in these places and I wouldn’t get to go there.
Here I am, back in der vaterland. Somehow I have always liked Germany. call me crazy, I speak the language, I like the orderly way things are set up, the hi-tech cleanliness of it all and the rather constipated but relatively violence-free manner in which the natives comport themselves. I suppose first on that list is the fact that I am fluent in this language unlike any other except english. I can make my way through a german town with little hindrance and I can maintain a low profile which I like. For this I must thank Mr. Rendon at East High who drilled this language into me and made it stick.
At the moment I am rather pleased or content, you might even say happy if you were feeling reckless. I can’t quite figure out why precisely. I am glad to be on the road, glad to be back in what I call civilization, glad to have some money in my jeans, glad to have the support of my band, sorry lot of old gits that we are. We went through one hell of a lot together and there is a love and a familiarity there that is not unlike family. This damn band is 23 years old for god’s sake and we have made about 50 or so records either together or solo or in collaboration with someone else. Not bad for a mexican half breed boy from pueblo.
I am at an internet cafe in Munich in the rain (well it’s outside). I got your e mails about melancholia and you are right about me, I am flourishing out here in the big wide wonderful world. I have to think deep and long before returning to the emotional miasma of Athens. Ifeel like I must do “what is right” don’t want to be a rock and roll asshole and leave kids trailing in the wake of my libido. I am however afforded a chance here to have an alcohol free adolescence again, to really SEE the places I go and to feel what there is to feel and get all jazzed up and alive, tiring though it is. We have been working like 10,000 dogs lately riding around on a big green tour bus, sleeping between one german city and the next. We have one more show in D’land then we go to Belgrade, then back to Italy and then presumably back to Athens for little guido’s first christmas. The night is shimmering in a black rainswept manner, gone all liquid and magical and I am on my own in one of germany’s great cities.
Got nothing on Berlin, though. Berlin is one hell of a town and I love it dearly. We always do well there and this time was no exception. Our hotel looked over the last standing piece of the god damned wall which is gone gone gone and the whole city is alive and buzzing in a way unlike any other european city. Berlin is like a politer version of New York. I wish you could have seen it with me.
On top of everything I met a woman there who has my head a spinnin’, tall german beauty named susanne and I am in severe infatuation. Help me lawd. Makes a man feel alive to be walkin down the street with a german goddess kissing in doorways in the icy Berliner night. I don’t quite know what to make of this. This makes me duplicitous and furtive in communications with “the wife” but hey, men are all bastards, right?
In your working boy’s not so humble opinion, I have suffered through a whole hell of a lot of trauma these last coupla years and I relish (deserve?) a little hormone-laced self delusion, or call it romantic enchantment whatever you like. this is still all so new to me.
What is it with you women? You’re a member of this bewildering race of beings. You tell me and we’ll both know. Cliche upon cliche. Guido is in
love (or something) hurts so good.
whoopeeee. I am having big fun. I feel so damn alive I can’t stand myself
Tuesday, November 21, 2000 4:03 AM Subject: blaine in roma
Found myself sitting in the Coliseum today, the sun came out, it was my first time inside the old colossus, I have seen it from outside many times but it never seemed to be open. this place is crawling with tour groups of the faithful from all over the world since it is the Jubileum, the Millenium of Christianity. I find myself wishing that Julian the Apostate had been successful in re-instating paganism. Damn christians everywhere. We went to a Mithraeum deep within the bowels of some cathedral or other, an old temple to the cult of Mithra which was the immediate predecessor to Christianity as the going religion in rome and from which Christianity lifted much of its symbolism, its mythos, its sabbath, the birthdate of its deity (December 25) the fact that he died and rose, even the communal feast and on and on and on.
Ya caint spit without hitting some piece of ancientness chock full of history and roman good time stories. “This here’s where they flogged the prisoners of war to death. This here’s the cliff where they threw unwanted babies onto the rocks. this here’s where they fed lions to the christians.” Oh my god, they forced the christians to eat whole lions. what savages.
it’s morning we’re in rome, have to go out and rehearse soon. we’re all staying here in an apt. we have rented for five days then it’s more concerts. this is one hell of a large town and unlike athens the ancient co-exists with the modern. can’t walk down the street without seeing some old thang, some column or some pillar with 1000 year old inscriptions.
we rode out to the place where we will play here along the appian way its own bad self. turns out that Via Appia is a prestigious address (makes sense) and many of the great and the good vie to live there. the original road survives to some extent. i felt a sense of exhiliration to be moving through a perceived corridor in time, somehow at one with emperors and baggage trains full of the debris of empire on their way in to this city.
I feel ambivalent towards all of this papal voodoo as only a lapsed Catholic can. I just wish that the christians hadn’t planted the cross atop every phallic symbol around, every obelisk, Trajan’s column, everything. Ah well.
Here until Thursday, on to Germany, Russia, Austria, back to Sicily, Naples, then back to Athens.
Here I am back in Rome after going to florence for yesterday. We’s here until 23 november. Seen a lot, will see more, felt a lot, will feel more. We sellin’ records, t-shirts, mexican bandanas with tuxedomoon logo, fridge magnets, my particular favorite. I have been plugging these fine items shamelessly from my privileged vantage point on stage. Last night I came out wearing one of the tuxedomoon bandanas folded cholo style in order to demonstrate what it was for the benefit of the italians. I also demonstrated the fridge magnet (which is cunningly fashioned from old computer circuit boards, very cyber). Then, elvis-like I removed the bandana, anointed with sweat from my furrowed brow and threw it out into the crowd. what a cathartic moment. also the fridge magnet. I think these antics helped sell more.
I have also been playing toys in the show. I have two toy cell phones with voices in italian and a rather dandy ray gun, all very electronically noisy. I play the cell phones into my guitar and I fire the ray gun which blinks in a very theatrical manner into a microphone. I waves it all around and caper and cavort like a true bozo. It surprises people since we are supposed to be so serious. I have routinely been getting rounds of applause over the toy cellphone bit. go figure.
anyhoo, we are here on the road, sitting in vans, trains, planes, lugging equipment up stairs, being a band and it feels like old home week. not to mention that we are stars here. we sign autographs and the whole 9 yards. whoo.
Well, as I probly said, we’se back in roma, it’s rainin’ like a ol’ cow a pissin’ on a flat rock to quote my daddy Mort.
So much for my notions of renting a bicycle down the street and taking my life in my hands in Rome traffic. I finally found a place with worse traffic than Athens, as if I were looking for one. In athens, they might slow down a bit before they turn you into roadkill, here they don’t even see you trying to cross the street. A fine fine place to go cycling. Last time I rode a blessed bike was in zurich. that was sheerest heaven, as I may have told you. Even if I did get a flat tire and had to walk the damn thing back. T’wasn’t far. I had this big smile plastered all over my visage as I rolled at speed through banks of golden fallen leaves on the lakeshore. Switzerland is just so damn purty. And so dang CLEAN. You can swim in the river or lake and you can eat the fish you catch there, even if you are fishing from a bridge in the center of town. whoo. why am I on about switzerland when I am in rome? Me not know.
Ah well, we might just go out and eat. Eating is the predominant form of entertainment in Italy. Forget cinema, theatre, music, it’s TIME TA EAT! Andiamo mangare!!. I may just pass until dinner. Of course Italian cuisine is the finest on this planet in my estimation. Go into a restaurant and ask “Uh, do you have anything besides Italian food?” Hah. They got all the bases covered.
Thursday, November 09, 2000 7:30 PM Subject: the eternal city
The holy road, eternal adolescents still out lugging heavy cases full of electronic musical devices and huge bags of dirty clothes from taxi to train to plane to show to tv up the stairs down the stairs into the elevator down the street through the rain into the hotel crash pad what have you whaddya want where we goin’ anyway?
At least we are in italy italy italy, they likes us here, they treat us like respected elder statesmen of music, roll out the red carpet, let us stay in their theatres, houses, studios, it is an honor mr. reininger.
hyar i be in rome, just got in, feeling a bit worn out so i have remained behind in our quarters while the rest of the boys is out doing one thing or other. things keep shifting, this is kind of a beverly hillbillies tour of europe, but we are getting where we are going, we find places to stay and to work, we are making money and pretty much having a good time. of course we’s all old and wrinkled and the old grey mare ain’t what she used to be so shifting our enormous wad of baggage and gear on the fucking train, into cabs, up stairs hither and yon is a bigger pain that it once was. luckily we all seem to be in relatively good shape for old gits. I am a bit worn from climate change, lack of sleep etc. but holding up. hell, i just wanted to have some time with a computer on my own.
amazing how disorganized this is and how we are still managing to keep our peckers up. i guess the sense of adventure hasn’t disappeared entirely and we are getting plenty of press and so forth, not to mention that cd sales at the gigs are paying living costs nicely, thank you.
for once, and i don’t know why it comes to mind, we have some merchandise to merchandise. we are selling records at gigs and this is going well, steven has had t shirts printed up and peter has made fridge magnets from old circuit boards. for some reason the t shirts are held up at customs and the fridge magnets are on the way.
we were on tv last night with “red ronnie” whose name may or may not ring a bell with you, he is a journalist with whom we had a drunken altercation (or at least I did) 20 years ago. now he has a rock show on tv , we did it last night, a fairly painless session as such things go, he forgot all about it, we played and there you go. okey dokey. we saw the fabulous francesca bigazzi, steven’s friend chiara (the origins and significance of whom remain uncertain. her nice though. make us food at her place outside of boloney). there you go. update from your working boy.
well, I salute thee from the holy road, the endless highway one trudges in order to move plastic ware, keep them sms messages comin when you gots a mind to do so. I may change my cell phone subscription to an italian one so that my phone can be of more use in locating me or others in walkie talkie fashion, at the moment i am limited to sms messages
October 26, 2000 9:27 AM tibilisi, georgia greetings from the former land of the red star.
Tibilisi. welcome to the fities. at the post office here in this former soviet socialist republic with mediaeval stuff all over the place. this is a different story altogether from europe, and so forth. back in zurich at the free internet terminals. glad you got the video. i am so fried i feel like tempura. i am too fried to be fried. i will get back to you when i am less fried. georgia was primitive, we went to more than one cafe or restaurant that was lit by candlelight because the electricity was cut. strange walking down the street where little old women are huddled behind cardboard boxes full of marlboros and coke, street lit only by candles. This seems to be the shape of the new world order here, people selling coke and marlboros to each other by candlelight. Constantinos got mugged. We ate a farewell dinner at a local restaurant that was more style than substance. The dishes arrived with great fanfare, but upon closer inspection one realized that there was practically nothing there to eat. These people are to be admired, at the very least for having the chutzpah to stage a theatre festival in the first place. Then, they file reverently in to watch an ancient greek tragedy played in Greek and English in a dense avant-garde manner by a company of scruffy bohos from Athens. Perish the thought of subtitles of some sort, or translation.
We nevertheless arrived back in Athens too exhausted for all the theatrical kissing and sentimentalism that usually accompanies the end of a run. Waiting in line for 4 hours at 5 am for the surly Georgian authorities to process our visas nipped that in the bud.
It seems that the temporariness of our arrangement has begun to take root with Susi. There is good bye in the air. I hate it. This stuff is starting to piss me off, actually. Now I begin to see. I am not so thick that I don’t know that people don’t want to fall all the way for someone who is outta here, on his bike, hitting that long lonesome road on a specific date. I don’t much like being that ramblin’ man except in a greater cinematic biographic sense. I suppose that since I have enrolled myself in this ancient game I must play by the rules. I must become thick skinned and a bit stupid in the process. C’est la guerre. All of these damn stupid sex farces have a grain of truth I now realize, otherwise they wouldn’t be so popular. Cosi fan tutti. Don Giovanni will ultimately end up in hell if he doesn’t change his ways.
On another, even more morose note, I have a doctor’s appointment for Wednesday. I have decided to take a certain amount of advantage of the fact that I am insured by the good good german health system and I am going to the eye doctor for new glasses, the fucking gott verdammte dentist, and a GP for a thorough check up, including blood tests and the dreaded CHEST X RAY!!! I need not tell you what I fear, he says taking another long suck on his fag. To be needlessly honest, I have been living my life assuming that it might just end soon, not a bad approach to take anyway since that is indeed the case for everyone. For this reason I have not made “long range plans” beyond the next gig and the next girl. Ramblin’ but not gamblin’. I have become Mike. I have even surpassed Mike who is cheering me on from the sidelines with all the other married men.
And somehow this roller coaster does not seem out of control. Somehow it is thoroughly on track, even though the passenger knows not whither it goest.
I couldn’t lead a more theatrical life if I actually planned it. Perhaps some unconscious part of me is planning all of these ever so cinematic moments, intense romance on bridges at sunset, sex on ping pong tables in parks at sunrise. sudden love children. The ever so comical moments when two or three of my women show up at the same place at the same time.
We had one such that I have told no one else about at the premiere of this piece. Susanne 1 (of furtive fumblings in back of the tour bus) showed up (I invited her) and as luck would have it she sat right next to Susanne 2, the current flame. I did the normal man thing and hid out in the dressing room until Susanne 1 was gone. There was the extra 21st century spice of SMS messages from both of them coming through to me backstage before and after the show. Oh what a tangled web we weave.
Am I at least amusing, or are you thoroughly disgusted? Do you recognize dear old Blaine behind this slimy greaseball exterior? Say you do.
I am off since my friend Chris, a fellow American roped into a Greek marriage by fetal means is visiting me here. He is staying in “my apartment” while I spend my nights with Susi. I don’t know yet how to balance male friends and girl friends. I must fight the urge to hide under Susi’s skirt, as if she wore one.
Dear reader mine, oh gentle, schooled in Switzerland, refined, well-mannered, soft and velvety suede-skinned reader, sorry that I have been away from this page so damnably long. Did you miss me? Did you sit up at night in front of your television knowing that the internet was no longer of any value whatsoever without a new entry in “Guido’s Eye” to peruse? I cannot blame you. Old Uncle Guido knows your pain, and he now takes steps to remedy it, to give you a collective cheek massage if you will. It has truly broken my heart, je suis tres desolee, es tut mir leid, many many appy polly loggys.
Much hydrogen oxide has flowed under the span since last I besmirched these pages with smut. I have been living what I am obliged to call “my life” since no one else occupies these fetching spectator pumps, these sandals, these size 12 (euro 46) Nike Air sneakers, unless, that is, someone has been sneaking in at night to walk a mile in my slippers. In earth terms, only I live here in my brain, at least that is what THEY want me to think.
Since so much of the tiresome verbiage here encoded has concerned the ancient Greek sitcom “Agamemnon” and my role in it, it is only just that I clue you into its denouement. We dragged old Ag’s sorry ass all the way to Caracas, Venezuela for the international theatre festival in that city in April. I must refer to my physcial, handwritten journal here since the memory is far from fresh (ooh, Spazz23, how 20th century! How uncybernetic of the old boy!) I will insert comments as necessary and/or dictated by the Nescafe I have injected into my eye.
7/4/00 SABANA GRANDE, CARACAS Cafe Maron Scuro, Sabana Grande (tr. extra strength Venezuelan coffee with three molecules of milk to mellow it out). Sun goes down, salsa in l’aria, mi pana (everyone is venezuela is “mi pana” to everyone else, a genderless expression meaning ‘pal’) Las’ night, dancin ’til 5 a.m., salsa salsa salsa, wigglin’ women, sweatin’, Greeks tryin like tourists to keep up. REMEMBER: Taxi ride in Ford Conquistador, Salsa pumpin’ out the radio through the latino magic circus Caracas night. “Arepas de Pollo” (a corn flour pita type thing, containing one of many fillings, chicken in this case. what? okay, enough comments) Playin’ fiddle to the tree frogs, E F-G Mi Fa Sol, Phasin’ with Clave type high sounds. Arepas comin’ out my ears “Conida tu madre pana. Chamada, chevre!” (some colorful local spanish dialect stolen from the indians) Ay, que lindas chicas aqui! Ayyyyyy! This is mi gente, esto es mi cultura.
Oh yes, race seems to be no prob. here. All blended beautifully brown, black, white-skinned creole beauties. I am “latino” in this scheme of things. I fit. I am quantifiable. No doubt here, at least. None of the usual “Are you Italian? Greek? Jewish? Arab? (a lot of “are you an arab?”), Armenian? etc. (See “The Tao of Swarthiness” by His Oiliness Sri Pastananda Gwee Doh Rinpoche.) Sun go down…Otra vez cafe, senor….
And so on. Still with me? Well, that was Venezuela. Agamemnon is currently in suspended animation, perhaps to re-emerge in Switzerland in October. Who knows? Perhaps this time we will get paid.
After Venezuela, I returned to Greece to settle down to some ritual abuse and hormonal high-orbit shenanigans with Athena, my wife since April 9. At this sitting, she is just into the 9th month of preggership, bakin’ that bun to a turn in the oven as little Guido Junior prepares to emerge complete with shades and moustache into El Mundo and become another customer of Samsara, Maya, illusion.
I done went to Italy in May to work with Alfonso Santagata, a noted actore chappy in the Tuscan region. We will perform a series of skits, and/or japes based upon the sayings of the noted Hebrew humorist, Isaiah. I should, of course, be working upon this project rather than pecking away here, but as they say in New York, ‘what the fuck?’
Of note in this experience was the place we stayed and worked, a “Castello” on the sea at Castiglioncello. I was wont to stroll a ‘widow’s walk’ which did a circuit of the castle ramparts, gazing mystically out to sea and drinking the moon’s reflection upon the ‘mare nostrum’ Rome’s quaint term for our old wobbly blue pal, the MED. I saw my first ever fireflies in the sculpture-infested grounds of this place. Honestly, I found myself thinking that such a place was so damned ENCHANTED that it was a kitsch joke on God’s part. Too much, dude, strolling through the Italian pines with the full moon in the sky, a fountain featuring a marble cupid with dolphin spewing water into a basin gurgle gurgling in the distance, fireflies sparkling away in the humid Medici Leonardo da Vinci haunted Renaissance night. Pass me the thorazine, Jethro, I think I am having an acid flashback. Fetch my velvet pantaloons and my lute, doctor.
Now I am free to resume boring you to death with the little details of life in The Big Olive, or Athens as we have come to know and love her. Yesterday, par example, I went to declare myself a visible entity, to surface, to emerge from many many years of underground existence as a solid burgher, registered-type alien with papers to prove it, officer. Calling beauracracy in Europe “Kafkaesque” is about as redundant as wasting valuable mental processing power to inform us that water is wet. Near the main torture station for immigrants in Athens is a little private business which knows everything required by the meatheads in the enormous edifice which literally casts its shadow over them. It is well-hidden, and it is not unlike the Advocate’s office in “The Trial”. They are courtiers to the bureau which they serve. They are ready to make the photocopies, fill out the declarations, take the photos, all in triplicate and triple triplicate…all what you need to become resident here and be free to wash windows or sell Chinese novelty items at the traffic lights. On this excursion into the nether regions I was fortunate to be accompanied by my pregnant wife Athena, big-bellied as the day is long and fluent in Greek since it is her mother tongue. Amazing how that works. In this wise, the Kafka element of my experience was lessened by greek sympathy for pregnant women, which turns the hardest bastard official into an old softy.Thank buddha.
The papers is now filed, folk, and I await the white card which grants me entry into Festung Europa, the northeastern sector of the New World Order.Of note, I suppose was a Russian mafia-type guy with a couple of large-breasted young russian girls in tow. He pulled out a huge wad of bills to pay the “fees” to the officials. No doubt a very generous and helpful friend of russian immigrants, working selflessly on behalf of young russian women in need of work. Otherwise, it was/is the usual hopeless gaggle of dark and desperate people on the run from war, misery, poverty, looking to gain entry into the new america, old mother europe.
Our American readers will have no notion of these things, of course. Thus it is, thus it was, thus shall it ever be, a war was fought and lost not far from here, folk, the epic struggle between the Russians and the Americans, it is only now limping to its conclusion. The steady stream of amputees, walking wounded of all sorts from Russia, Romania, Albania, Kosovo, etc. is nothing more or less than the usual exodus of displaced entities after the fall of an empire. Ho hum. Pass the remote control, Victor.
I now return control of your television set to you. I am off. I am not finished, I just hate you, that’s all. No. I love you, oh gentle reader, mine, I am Jane Austin to your Heathcliffe or some kind of damn English Lit. garbage. That’s what you get for reading only science fiction all your life. Ah well, as Fred Flintstone said when Pebbles spewed Welch’s Grape Juice all over Bam Bam “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow rolls by in this petty pace. Yabba. Dabba. Doo”
Until we meet agin, yer workin’ boy signin’ off.
Oh yes, go to the home page of this mess and check out the latest on the Elvisian ambassador thing. If you don’t want to, don’t bother. Hell with it. Good night Mrs. Macgillicuddy. Rochester, have you been cadging my cigar butts again?
Well, I haven’t entered anything in this journal for a while. I must content myself with doing so at the ever-popular EEXI, ‘The Hellenic Society of Internet Users’ which is a place where one can go and surf until one’s eyeballs are bloody peeled grapes hanging out on their stalks for a small fee per month. It’s where I started before I had my own computer, folk. The main thing of note is that Agamemnon ended its Athens run and we are soon off to Venezuela. There is even talk of taking it to Zurich in the winter. Agamemnon never dies. He is taking over my soul. Also worthy of note, I watched the other day as a determined Greek guy bashed the shit out of a 35 mm camera on a steel rail outside the theatre. He had an absolutely blank expression on his face as he did this. Once finished, he took the inner electronics from the camera and walked away. Nothing said. A bit later a garbage truck ran over the camera itself, splintering it without so much as a second thought. This town is full of little scenes like this. They defy reason, yet they engage voyeurs of life’s passing parade like myself. Carnival just ended with “Clean Monday”, the start of Orthodox Lent. You haven’t lived until you have seen hordes of Greeks wearing velveteen harlequin hats and carrying multicolored plastic clubs walking aimlessly down the street, pummeling each other at random and munching on souvlaki. On “Clean Monday” one flies kites. The skies are full of kites, which one may purchase ready-made from roadside gypsies. One may purchase any and all holiday accessories, including the aforementioned harlequin hats and plastic clubs from these same roadside gypsies. This explains their uniformity. I also noted a skull costume for sale which featured a blood pump. An outer transparent layer and a re-circulating hand pump accomplished this remarkable effect. I am married for a week now. I haven’t moved my computer to my new digs. That is why I am sitting here and that is why this entry is not particularly well-written. The stock market plummeted yesterday and the greeks rioted outside the stock exchange. Ho hum. The big news is I BOUGHT A CELL PHONE TODAY!!!
It was a wedding gift from Athena’s mother. I won’t give you the number because I hate you. I have to wait a few more hours for the account to go online and then watch out world. I’m wired and I got an axe to grind.
More from your working boy later.
His Oiliness Sri Pastananda Gwee Doh Rinpoche
Whoa, oh gentle, light in the loafers, soft as a baby’s butt, reader. Tomorrow Sri Gwee Doh gets all hitched up, ties the knot, enters the holy state of matrimony as practiced in this Hellenistic culture. (It is Hellen Earth). We (Athena and I) have spent the last coppola weeks shuffling around, preparing for a wedding. Since neither of us indulges in recreational substances, it will not be a Chemical Wedding (arcane alchemical in joke. yuk yuk yuk. I slay me. Pass the Rosenkreuz, Christian). Then, of course, I must leave this apartment next week, then Agamemnon is off to Venezuela. Oh, what a butterfly life we lead! When I finally move, after we get all of this wedding stuff behind us, I will move my computador and there we go, I will be up pecking away. Then, before long there will be a little fetus creature screaming away into the night who will keep me up and wanting to chat online. Maybe the sound of the rattling keys as I peck away at lightning speed will keep him up. Tough. He’s gonna be a computer boy if he is to make it in the 21st century. He will be a fucking genius. He has to be smarter than dear old dad if this is possible. My humility about my own brilliance has always been one of the main ingredients in my killer charm and charisma. The absolute awe-inspiring magnitude of my genius staggers even me, the owner of this magnificent brain. Thus, my spawn must be Leonardo fucking Da Vinci. He must amaze the world and then tell them about his neglected genius father. The opera ain’t over ’til the fat lady sings. I see no overweight females on the horizon, and certainly none with a song in their heart.
So, here I am in in these last days at this quasi-mausoleum apartment of mine.Whatever else comes to pass, I don’t think I will regret leaving this place. There has been little joy here, to put it mildly. The place still resonates with a tangible melancholy. It scares people off, no joke. The one bright spot in this place has been here in my computer suite. Here I have reached out and touched many someones. Oh woe is not necessarily me, oh, what a kick in the butt life is. How in the 12 nested universes could I have ever painted this picture of Sri Gwee Doh in the 21st century, even one short year ago? Now the trauma of transition is once again upon us, all of the little Gwee Doh beings boiling around in my heart and mind, we must move we must continue putting one foot in front of the other one day at a time, 12 steps forward, 12 steps back. Twelve-steppin’ out with my baby…and yet and yet and yet. As always I sit back and wonder “What de hell you be up to, Big Juju? Whut choo gots in mind fer yer workin’ boy now, lawdy lawd?” (In case you don’t know, “Big JuJu” is a name invented by the science fiction writer Larry Niven for God. I find it apt more often than not.) Of course, Big Juju moves in a mysterious way, he do a complex tango boogaloo funky chicken step ain’t no one can imitate, cause we know he’s the king of the cooOOOL JERK!!!! Whoo…praise HIM!/HER/IT!!
Then, lately I have been biting my tongue speaking with greek orthodox priests who no way were gonna sit and listen to my Sufi rap about God is the friend of friends, closer than our own heartbeat, no, sir. God comes to his people via his chosen messengers, the priests of JAYSUS, bearded old goats with constipated dogma up they butts. Be quiet, Sri Gwee Doh, Christianity is as valid as any other path to the light. Oh, dat Gwee Doh do go on, dancin’ ’round the subject like a big old sombrero set up in the middle of the room. It happens as it happens. What what what?
I have come to the conclusion that the basic questions of Journalism 101 are the basic questions of life. who what when where why are we? Of these, I think the toughest is not ‘What?” or even “Why?” But “Where?” Where is “here” when is ‘now’? Of course the answer is obvious, Little Richard and Keats said it all in their one and only collaboration CD, “Romanticism and Collard Greens, Biscuits and Gravy” “womp bop a lu bop a womp bam boom” That is all ye know, and all ye need know.
Well, it looks like Ken’s gone off with G.I. Joe (Actionman for English readers). I just couldnt’ compete with that Kung Fu Grip. Ah, well, I never really liked guys with teddy bear plush instead of hair. Also, between you and me, he wasn’t exactly “up to snuff down there” if you know what I mean….tee hee hee…
Oh faithful reader, tender, lean, bathed in his or her own juices, simmered over a slow flame until mouth-wateringly juicy reader….
Much has transpired for your working boy since last he entered anything in these pages. The thing is, ol’ Guido is about to get hitched, married, entering the sacred bonds of holy matrimony. As you will recall from an earlier entry, the infant spawn of the author of this screed is about to enter the rich tapestry of being, to become a piece in the cosmic game, the “Lila Rasa”, the divine sport…in short, unto us a child is born.
From a field report of Xy^78fartos##:
On 33 Quizax, Fring yellow arg arg floog (smell of ozone) by our calendar, Thursday next, March 9, 2000, as linear time is marked here, (never taking the “z axis” of the 11 dimensional time keys into account!) a tribal ritual will take place in the shrine of the local version of the dying god archetype, a certain “Christos” or “Jaysus”. Said ritual will include such activities as the holding of crowns over heads, much modulation of sound energy (“singing”), burning of fragrant resins and many other curious behaviors, many of which require the exchange of paper certificates symbolizing time and energy. Great numbers of these certificates will pass from the frontal appendages of the group of beings under observation to other groups of beings who devote their entire time and energy to the conducting of such rituals. Among these other groups are those devoted to the fabrication of textile-based body wrappers which provide both protection from the hostile environment of this planet and ritual decoration of the body. Other such groups fabricate and deploy long chain carbon based polymers which are ingested by these beings through a dedicated frontal orifice which is the system input and the first step in the process by which the “proteins” and “sugars” are converted to more rudimentary chemical substances used to maintain and rebuild the component modules of the organism.
Upon completion of the ritual, the male and female pair of the species here residing are then given social license to interact in a sexual manner freely, either with an eye towards further reproduction or in order to entertain one another when electronically generated stimulus proves inadequate. In a subsequent ritual, other members of the “couple’s” tribal, social and/or economic aggregate are called upon to indulge in rhythmic contortion of the entire organism, to ingest greater or larger quantities of fermented vegetable extracts which so alter the somatic systems of these beings as to induce significant changes in the primitive electro-chemical means by which information is processed. The warping of information processing induced by the ingestion of these substances forms the basis of an earlier report by this unit (see “Alcoholics Anonymous, Zombie Death Cult or Twelve Steps to Paradise?” by xy^78fartos##). As ever, oh Grand Sworteeler of the 99 Yagsmobls’qa, I shall keep you posted upon the progress of the subject under observation, the Gwee Doh, or Reininger unit, and will give you timely notice when I shall undertake his termination and preservation for consumption on the home world.
xy^78fartos## (field agent for Ignatz 3, Sector yigyig (smell of broken sport socks)
Oh, faithful, dear, tender, succulent, what are you wearing, I wanna suck your toes in leather socks reader of mine. The fact is that my living situation is about to change fairly drastically. I have had the rug pulled out from under me by my (sponsor? Patron? Manager?) and been summarily given my walking papers. I must be out of this apartment by March with almost no notice. This left me somewhat befuddled. Many things will change. The refuge of the moment is at the casa of the mother-to-be of my child, a local artist named Athena.(if you didn’t know this already, surprise.) Said child is now in the oven for lo, these last 4 months and is a boy child. Things are in major upheaval once again for this working boy. In the meantime I am hitting the boards nightly in the play Agamemnon. Things could be worse.
Agamemnon is set to go to Caracas, Venezuela at the end of March! Whoa. Venezuela, get ready for the Mexican American King of Greece and his fiddle with a whole load o’ Greeks.
Back to personal stuff, Athena lets me drive her car in spite of the fact that I have no license, feeds me, will help me to get over in this burg. Taking refuge with Athena means I can live like a human instead of a scurrying insect as I have been doing since I arrived here. I have been driving myself to the theatre every night. I took some of the company out for souvlaki in the car last night, I drove Panigiotis, the keyboard player home and I took immense pleasure in that. I have been cruising down the streets which become blessedly empty around the time I get out of the play with the stereo up loud, listening to the Beatles, Bowie, my faves, singing along loud, sucking on a coke, sucking on a cig, feeling like something considerably less than a victim. I have never had this simple pleasure in my adult life. I have never had a car with a stereo in it. Imagine that. I have never driven down the road with no particular destination listening to music of my choice. Never until a few days ago. I have been eating regularly. I have been sleeping. I have been waking up elsewhere than this apartment out in the boondocks which is in many ways a shrine to the life I led with JJ, frozen in time, awaiting her return. I have decided and those around me who actually love me (there are many, in spite of my refusal to see it) have advised me that I AM ALLOWED TO FEEL ALL RIGHT. I am not constrained to mourn forever, to accept the scraps from someone else’s table because that is what I deserve for letting JJ die. I am alive. I want to stay alive. Fed up with being dependent, misinformed, ignored, left to my own devices in a strange place by stranger people. I close this chapter of bitterness behind me.
The sun shines bright on my old Halandri home. We persist. It never ceases to amaze me what resilient creatures we are.
On another note, I rode the long-awaited Athens Metro. More on this later, for the time being, suffice to say that it looks like any metro anywhere in Europe and doesn’t go many places yet. We reserve judgement. It is useful to those who live near it, otherwise you still stuck wit y’all’s cars, fokes.
Sunday, 23 Jan. 2000 (from an e-mail to Lee Self, fellow Elvisian ambassador)Yo lee, in the wind, bro,
Yeah, I am a biker now. I am an easy rider. Gots muh motorcyle helment, muh motorcycle gloves, muh peed pants to testify to the fear. It is quick though, we get back here in about 15 minutes after work and there in a half hour as opposed to the 2 hour hellride back on the bus or smelly bouzouki infested apeman taxi rides. We are talking about a real motorcy—kuhl. (remember arlo gurthrie song, dumb one
i don' wanna die jus' wann ride my motor sigh........ kuhl.
I am in the wind with Panos the keyboard player from the show. He is a good guy, a bit serious. His pose can be bypassed by careful applications of guido humor. Dresses in black. So do I for that matter. The motorcy in question is fairly dangerous looking. It ain’t all that powerful but it’s designed to look like Satan’s own ride, Jap model called “THE ELIMINATOR” BLACK, of course. A goth bike. Makes me feel so relaxed. He is also a good and inventive keyboard player. We have jammed a couple of times. He has a Trinity…he po like me. One guy who looks at my gear and drools with envy. Wow. Most tecchie guys, as you know, turn up the nose at my old fussy cranky stuff. The sound system for the show consists of two guitar amps, one for the keyboards, one for my fiddle and voice. I have the microphone gated all to hell and back because the room is as live as Milano central station and feedback is my enemy. I am using my gear fussy, cranky etc., and getting a good sound is no small task. Gots my old compressor limiter, an Akai mini rack thing and my Roland mini rack echo pitch shifter and my BOSS pedal reverb for the voice. I admit there is a pride in doing good sound working against the limitations of cheap gear. A garage prole reverse snob pride. “WE DON’ NEED NO STEENKING PA SYSTEM, MOTHAFUCKAH!!!!”
Last night was Saturday night, a big big deal in this town. I went out with Panagiotis (whom I call ‘the motorcyle boy’ or Sri Guru Easy Rider since he teaches me how to sit on a bike without falling off). We went to a bar called ‘Dark Sun” frequented by people who wear black. People with many body piercings, where they play ‘dark wave’ music. It was most amusing. I actually felt I belonged there. I am looked upon here as a sort of elder statesman by these people anyway. The women are amazing young gorgeous things dressed in skintight black SM gear and dog collars and all of that, trying to look hazardous. As I have told you, this country is blessed with copious quantities of gorgeous young females all tight and fresh and capable of inducing seizures of lust in an old git like me. I was always a sucker for vampire looking women, even back in the punk days, hell especially in the punk days. Lest we forget, JJ’s original image was pretty punky when we met. But Morticia lookalikes always got me going. Of course this is morticia after she’s been to Frederick’s of Hollywood. I went there thinking how tired I was of sexual overindulgence and I was too fried to look on women with lust then we got there. Jesus. These women just dance standing in place all skin tight and blacksheathed and gorgeously aloof…
drool, slobber pant pant pant..........
Great free entertainment. Why pay stripper club prices when they’s little goth women a’ dancin’ fer free, jus a wigglin’ and a twisting and writhing all leather and etc…..calm down big boy. Ain’t yore wang done landed you in enough mess awreddy? This is where Panos the motorcycle boy likes to hang. His money is no good there, drinks are on the house. Since I only ever drink club soda at bars (no diet coke ever, I’m a cheap date. Got to know the bartendress who is also gorgeous, was wearing a Pink wig, glitter eyes, rubber teddy over long black dress. Arggh…….
'Saturday night's all right all right all right woo ooo ooo ooo ooo....' reg. dwight
Last night we (the cast of Agamemnon) all went out to eat again. That’s 3 times so far in a year. We are starting to have some kind of social life. There are places near the central meat market that are open all night and serve meat and more meat. I ain’t complaining. La specialite du maison is a soup called “Patsas” like Mexican menudo, tripe, cow stomach. It is popular with drunk people and they go there at 5 am after a hard night’s drinking. I have had it before, so I passed. The greeks, as do the Mexicans, believe that tripe is good for the stomach. (it is stomach. How homeopathic of them).
I saw a friend of mine, a photographer named Cleopatra on the street earlier and we rode the bus together. The taxis are on strike, God bless their pointy little simian heads. I didn’t know this when I set out for the theatre, thus it took me two hours to get there. No car in this town makes you an insect. Whee. It is so nice to see someone you know and like on the street in a city this big and strange. It made everything so much nicer. My usual bitchy “I hate all you fucking greeks” inner monologue was shut up and I felt good. I therefore played and acted well tonight in spite of the fact that it took 2 hours and 4 transfers from bus to bus to trolley (electric bus like san francisco) to the Metro (the one line.
The rest of the metro is supposed to open later this month. One other line at least. Wow! That only took 15 years. All financed by EU grants to try and bring poorer members up to standard. The greeks and the portugese (the poor relations of the EU) live for those EU grants from Germany,France, England, everywhere else with more money. Most of the money finds its way into politicians’ pockets, believe me.
The area around the meat market is actually great. It is old and very very prole. I hope they don’t globalize everything and make it look like America. Once down there I saw a wino with his pants on fire. He was sitting over a fire in a cardboard box to keep warm. He just caught fire. He didn’t care. He continued shouting abuse at invisible enemies in between swigs from his handy wino size bottle of whatever it is they drink. I think retsina is still popular with the winos here. I could be mistaken. It is for sale at all the periptera, the ubiquitous kiosks that line the sidewalks here and make life possible outside the arcane and stupid opening hours of the shops here. An enormous fat prostitute bought a bottle of water from said kiosk and put him out.
What a sight on a cold winter's night. Right out of Fellini.
Once again, dear friends we come up against the inadequacy of words. Perhaps it is laziness. I had a poetry teacher who denied the phrase “words cannot describe”. He thought that words could describe anything with the proper effort. He was a dickhead. He wore a medallion that looked like a turquoise saucer. He had a goatee. Whoo.
The event that defies verbalization took place on January 1st, 2000. I walked outside onto the balcony of my friend’s apartment which has a splendid view of this grungehole of a town. Lo and behold, I was struck by an epiphany, a satori. I saw the whole place made new and strange by the fact that absolutely everything I saw was now contained within the magic zone called ‘THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY’. This is the time I had come to anticipate as an article of faith as a better, glossier, speedier altogether MODERN time, fed by Disney and years of Science Fiction. All of those ‘cars of the future’, all of those movies with people wearing pointy shouldered silver jumpsuits. And here it was. I was dumbstruck, folks. I felt what the Bible means when Christ says ‘Behold, I make all things new…’
So here we all are. Welcome to the twenty first century. We should print T-shirts that say ‘I Survived the Twentieth Century’. Think of how many didn’t. I am not speaking of those whom death took in their sleep. I am speaking of all the new and nasty ways to die this last century brought us. Of course, there was also Picasso, Dali, Stravinsky, Bartok, David Bowie, Elvis Presley and so on and so on and so on…. That is a given. Good bye twentieth century. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Come again when you can’t stay so long.