Tuesday, July 21, 2009

3.7 - From Art to Ash

Somehow we fooled them. This was my making, essential part of my making, we had freedom unparalleled in art class at school. I am repeating here, but somehow my Art teacher, Paul Litchkus, I think used us a rebellion.

In the eighties cultural expression, dissemination of cultural expression, reading of anything outside of the expression of Calvinist values was just not allowed, actually to the point of being banned, you could be thrown in jail indeterminable for showing a child the works of P J O Rouke, and that man was a Republican chrissake.

Litchkus told us about bizarre architectural concepts, dada-ism. We threw obscure pots, made large sculptures that fooled teachers. Hermanides, Adrian. Ohlmsdahl, Philip. Botha, Brandon. Joubert, Mark. Geniuses all, that I followed, into abstract photostats of photographs degraded in strange chemicals, good for breathing and processing, film and thoughts. More than this. we were allowed to run rampant. we would file an essay on the essential art nature of all things and then dress a standard six as Cindy Crawford and parade him through the Religious Education Class. We would dress up in spools of rubber hosing and run through the school during maths class singing, “home, home on the range, where the deer and the antelope play.” We ended up, all our valid works in an exhibition on the value of art in schools, at the Playhouse, essentially our provincial state theatre, first taste of rock stardom.


“for we posses nothing certainly except the past”


My dad had a habit of repeating stories, forgetting who he had told what to, As a teen this was not a problem for me, as i got older and his drinking increased, his stories becoming less consistent, a true problem emerged. He would tell you not only the same story twice in a a day, but in that day, in two different ways

First off, I do not wish to set myself apart, we all have exceptional childhoods, wonder-filled adolescence. This is just mine. Except I heard it told so many times, with so many different details that i wonder still sometimes what did i really do, as a teen. And further more what of my families history is to be believed. It is the slow realization that the facts don't really matter that allows me to tell you this, that will lead to me repeating myself, telling the same stories in different ways, for different reasons. My fathers was alcoholic memory loss, mine is simply that in the advance of time and through the many natural and or manufactured chemicals that have passed through my brain, I see refracted below the surface of things, many ways of remembering. Memory, the past is nothing. We do not hold onto it in any real way. These recollections of mine, will pass away. In a year from now you will only have a selective memory of what you have read, this process is more for me than you.

Here. Try this. Take the preceding page of this book. Tear it out. Now. Yes, actually do it, tear out the preceding page. Yes. Of this very book that you are holding. Take it in your thumb and forefinger and rip it from the book.

Now, fetch a match, a lighter or turn on the toaster or oven, or ask the library assistant for a match, a lighter, there that fellow crossing the parking lot. Hold up the page. Okay, Have you ripped out the page? Do you have a source of fire? Don't be shy. After all it's your book, you own it. or at least borrowed it (if you borrowed it, check the page numbers, see if any pages have been ripped out, if so, think, was the narrative interrupted, did i notice) but anyway Rip Out a Page. Get fire. Now do this, you will have to put the book down to do so so read on for a bit. You will now put the book down. Then you will hold the page aloft, set it on fire and hold it for as long as you can until you have to release it's remnants into the breeze. Yes, burn my words, I'm telling you. do it now, seriously. Put down the book, burn the page. If you're shy, burn just the title page, pick a page, any page. put down the book and burn the page, holding it aloft, letting the remnants go into the wind.

There. That is memory. does it matter that the exact sequence of events on that page are no longer accessible to you? You will be able to recount a smattering, embroider, somehow convey what you gleaned from that page, but ultimately like our lives, that memory those precise facts is just ash in the wind. this is no small relief.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2.6 - Vern, Lauren, Fiona

“you gave me a can of red spray paint & told me to spray 'celtic rumours' on the bridge. when we got down there, there were too many cars passing by to write out such a long name ... we did some anarchy signs (they were there for years) and went back to the church. you were so pissed that i'd let you down”
Fiona Thomson First Love #2

But before I was inducted into The Basement, in the trailing off of church, after Vern left I transferred my young love onto one of her friends and one of my confidants, Lauren. I transferred my confidence and friendship onto Lauren’s friend Fiona; the dark little Goth. Lauren had a friend Lisa. Soon I would transfer the crush to Fiona and the confidence to Lisa. There were hours on the phone.

Lauren was the archetypal pretty blond, except looking back on pictures from the time, she was not. But the attraction was her popularity. How did one create that from scratch? Anyway, not important, Lauren was not important; she could not even make me cry, after Vern I thought I would never cry again. Fiona was an infinite black loss that was only formed long after she was gone. She was an ache while she was around a dull thud in my pants that was totally out of sync with the fact that everything about her, according to my standards of the time should have revolted me, but didn’t. She was skinny and smoked cigarettes, pimply, somehow greasy; she was more a boy than a girl, physically and mentally. He arguments against religion and for bands like The Cure were far more convincing than anything Vern had or could thrown down, she fascinated me in the same way road kill was to later. When I visited her I preferred to sit outside, but was inexplicably drawn into the chaos of her room. She never took no shit from no one, she was cool. Beyond popular. All those boys I wanted to be in with mattered nothing around her, with them it was how many records you had, with her it was what records you had, and what songs you preferred and what did you prefer about that song. She had an obviously insular familiar childhood; she had delved into Deep Thought. Wanting her seemed absurd. Like how could she be desirable? But I wanted to see what it was like; I sensed layers of tenderness when the Laurens of the world would only yield up one happy face and no secrets. Fiona was secrets, things hidden from me by the world until then. I made black mix tapes for her and never gave them. I only knew what I had lost once it was gone, obviously.

How did I lose her. I can’t really say. She went to England with her parents, she never really came back. She was around. I saw her once or twice. But I had fucked it up before with the same lack of courage that was to dog me until I later discovered that having money was confidence (discovering this was an incremental step toward my eventual destruction). Fiona made dangerous emotions natural, she made death seem inconsequential, some how in her hard-shell sweetness she engrained in my romantic nature, into my desire to save my self for The One (There was always a The One) the underlying notion that sweetness and light was not for me, mystery, layers, Fiona introduced me to duality, I am grateful to her for opening up the doorway toward my eventual collapse, for duality is an easy way out of the complex natures of humans. But we were young, we were foolish. We didn’t know what we were thinking.

Years later when I lost my virginity. On Phillip Hunt’s bed to a fat goth. On the way from the party to the bed, I kept looking at this vacuous pile of flesh, arm out the window like a truck driver, thinking about Fiona, how unlike Fiona this was going to be. How unlike Fiona anything was.