For literalists - those handicapped by inability to distinguish between fictional depiction of a thing and an actual thing. For mouth breathers, knuckle-draggers, blue-nosers, wowsers, free-lance censors, latterday puritans and other folk who take issue with language and/or imagery - in a work of art - they would otherwise blithely accept (and readily consume) as low-to-middle-brow film, prose, television, or theater. GO AWAY
The material below - in the event you take it literally - is not suitable for the emotionally vulnerable, intellectually challenged, ideologically hardened. STRONG ADULT CONTENT FOLLOWS
No, Budd, No
Like a firefly’s capricious scintilla, man’s earthly traverse leaves binary contrails of light. And dark.
On, off, on, off, on ………………………………… off.
Take, for example, Budd Dwyer: a former Pennsylvania State Treasurer who shot himself to death on live TV. Dwyer: a public official, whose public demise is now preserved in the digital amber of online zeros and ones.
In one routine recorded moment Dwyer is there. And in the next (No, Budd, no!) preternaturally gone - as if stepping away from a window.
Fair Warning: don’t key the hyperlink unless you wish to have Budd’s rude self-service departure seared into your neuronal bundle.
Here’s as good a place as any to rein-up this dystopian yarn and head it yonder - toward luckless promoter Bill Quarry’s San Francisco International Pop Festival. A historically negligible happening, which, contrary to its Barbary-by-the-Bay billing, was mounted backside of the East Bay’s palomino-coated coastal range. On the fairground flats of a farm-service town named (paradoxically enough) Pleasanton.
It may be useful to note that it once was common practice to make bad-faith attempt on alfresco pop-concert fences. Misdemeanour trespass, considered good sport if an aspiring gate-crasher evaded detection, beating, and ejection by security goons.
A handful of (roman a clef) running-buddies (and I) had in this festive instance - as in every - no visible means of support. Foreclosing options further was the all-purpose fact that our perpetual penury was habitually accompanied with, and precipitated by, the elaboration of every waking moment with one clandestine compound or another.
So, bowing to chronic circumstance, we sought paid employ with concert concessionaires. The foremost driver of this, our atypical acquiescence to wage-slavery, was fear – inarticulate fear of a beating. To be on the receiving end of a thrashing – to be summarily plucked from chronic, solipsistic, wallows of endorphin-augmented dilation, and dramatically introduced to acute physical pain - was a notion, as morbid and dispiriting to us as plain, everyday, reality.
Some unnatural history:
As Mesopotamia was to development of early civilization, so was San Francisco Bay cradle to Ur-outlaw biker culture - as embodied in the person and Hammurabi-like status of Ralph ‘Sonny’ Barger (1938-) – founder of the Oakland California chapter of the Hell’s Angels. When I was a free-ranging lad, legions of motorcyclists could be found picketed at California music-encampments –within range of a customized Harley’s teardrop gas tank. And, in dogmatic accord with my fellow freaks’ free ride articles-of-faith - but resting on a meatier doctrine of force - biker-elect disdained paid entry to entertainments.
Day one of the San Francisco International Pop Festival saw cohorts of dismounted Harley riders milling near concert turnstiles - affiliate-patched bikers reprising an archaic energy-signature. That of bemused but impatient theatrical extras, readying for a Cecile B. deMille barbarians-sieging-Rome’s-gates film shoot.
Critical mass eventuated and, as irresistible back-pressure from late-arriving highwaymen began forcing foremost bikers past ineffectually remonstrating ticket-takers, there came an amplified announcement…….
………….“Ladies and Gentlemen. Mr. Bill Quarry has invited the Hell’s Angels Motorcycle Club to enter the Alameda County Fairgrounds as guests of the San Francisco International Pop Festival.” The bald irony, of the announcement’s ornamental capitulation, was hardly lost on the grinning, denim & leather-clad torrent, already parting the crowd as it tidal-bored to stage-front.
From there it was a legless race to the begrimed bottom of a behavioural sink. And, as evening progressed, the fairground’s camping-fields began to resemble the hell–panel of Bosch’s Garden of Earthly Delights.
The festival’s incidental landscape could not have had more in common with Bosch’s sulphurous nocturne … unless, somehow, the long-dead Flemish painter had conceived and executed his arcane masterpiece while supernaturally wreathed in a time-traveling stratus of combustible equine tranquilizer. As it so happened, a great many of the night’s mayhem makers – choreographing elaborately inventive mischief, across the festival’s makeshift tent city – were thus euthanized, and so effected black deeds whilst blacked out. Enter, medicinally ‘murdered’ and feloniously predisposed walking dead. Cue live soundtrack. Deep Purple.
Picture this. Ice cream novelties passed after dark by Blutoesque bikers. Who, having burgled a frozen-food truck-trailer, entertained themselves by forcing frosty cardboard cartons of purloined frozen treats onto wasted (and contrastingly waifish) ‘flower children’.
Now, imagine the burly, self-appointed, ‘wait-staff’ running short of gelid pops and - for wont of better to occupy their chemically appointed leisure – commencing to lavish coldblooded attention on a comatose, and (by all signs) deboned, boy. A lad being mercilessly clanged – like a rubberized Tex Avery cartoon-bell-clapper – his freakishly elastic (and unconscious) corpus caroming in full career off the scabrous bare-metal-walls of a battered cargo van. The truck’s freshly gutted chassis (cum-bell-housing) violently and repeatedly rocked. Wowed to the limit of its leaf-springs by an oily termite-mound of sweat-sheened toughs.
Concurrently, in concert-lot back-eddies, Dionysus’ ragged designates stalked bonfire-centric bands of ‘teeny-boppers’ - licentious huntsmen, orbiting ‘round pyro-maniacal earthen circles. Backlit by leaping flame, freelance middle-aged-male kidnappers cut carbon-dark silhouettes against an attic-red backdrop of rusty California dirt. Opportunistic shades, counting coup on callow claques of the rag-tag camps’ fairer ranks.
The lumpen libertines’ clumsy sallies went all but unseen by spellbound suburban bands - make-do adolescent clans whose dead-eyed braves fastened mesmerically on meum et tuum fire rings. The impromptu syndicates’ heedless sentries: martially impotent and improbably erect, faces limned with feckless smiles. Fixed-pupil adolescent metronomes, tick-tocking to some enervating autistic beat - while their scattershot clans’ distaff delegation was vagrantly halved. A gormless tragedy of the commons.
Gone, gone, going. Thrown lewdly over goaty shoulders, or decanted drunkenly down stumbling satyrs’ suety backs, were undone exurban girls. Downy-legged, ‘hippie-chicks’ – unstrung and pliable as loosed bowstring. ‘Liberated’, slack-mouthed amigas. Capillary rouged sweetmeats. Just-about-jail-bait, sheerly swaddled in cambric-filo, paisley palla, and other fanciful wrap. Animate spoils – consigned to some scabrous hump. Doe season in Bizarro-World-Arcadia.
Allying myself with moral indifference I’ll here characterize the sky’s weather-festered arc as cousin to a cock’s eye: immaculate in its dispassion. And, above the fatuitous tune-fest’s tilting-grounds, summon a cirrus-ceilinged storm – a dithyrambic tempest, trundled in on a cumulus spindle - a low-riding gyre, framing an all-but-empty glory hole. A grisly, extra-terrestrial socket, from which, in truth, no eye ever had, nor ever would, audit goings on. So, given our firmaments scrupulous detachment, should this fictional sky be made to resound with reproving claps – admonishing palms, scolding an abominably squalid scene?
Sure, right about here loose some figuratively punishing thunder. And, as it roars across ground-zero melee, imagine the sonic barrage’s contralto claps miraculously milled – rough sawn into basilica rafters. Cue judgementally tumbling joists – now, cock an imagined ear, as sonic spans lumber down, alarmingly, all at once, in a great whacking Damn. Here’s the congregation, hear the steeple……….
….. assaulting air and ear; dry lightning, having a crack at calming (by way of electro-convulsive slap) the oversized debauch’s epileptically seizing scene. Between palliative bursts the incandescent sky loses its breath, inhales – sucks up the ozone spiced plonk-stench of an immovable-feast’s unwashed flesh. Heaven’s boom: antiphon to the crowd’s glottal bawl. Confabulation’s funk, halitosis-lofting howl: doubly noisome scent-streams; flowing malodorously up, up into the calloused nostrils of the corporeal realm’s worst-case headlands.
Lamentably, hereafter, this low-rent Rabelaisian tale loses its way. Sheds, if it ever had, any vestige of plausibility or navigable narrative current. Just managing, at level-best, to choppily tack against the lost and pitiable wits of its sore subjects.
Somewhere under a coruscating sky, out, in the open, for-anyone-to-see, clomped a chemically manacled cohort. A mouth-breathing, feign-gang – dumbly describing dusty circles ‘round a homemade, chain-fenced, abattoir. A weedy melon-patch of low-wattage noggins. 10,000 mindless & manic gobs joined in a hoarse-throated - I’m-your-biggest-fan - Hallelu. Gluey embouchements mouthing an asynchronous anthem. Residents of an open ward, a long-drop snake pit, an extraforaneous shock corridor, a bitter-end bedlam – ostentatious subhuman monstrosities tap-tap-tapped a sha-shambling, tempo-trampling, un-accompaniment - a detuned wine-bottle, tympani. And. Yuh – yuh yodeling – Gettiiittooooooooooonnnn!
Tatty wine-blotched revenants, swiping strings of viscid dew from numb, coincident-roseate, noses. Mopping, with verminous, snot-clotted, sleeves the fulvous spit-froth cracks of short-circuiting chimp-grins. Precious-moment-primate-pussed simian troupes: loving up Hanuman in his imagined Vedic heaven. Yo, yo Hanu - man. My maaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaN. Looooooooove U, m-m-monkey man.
Tangled, tag-ended, hugging hairballs. Fraternally fused he-men. Fellows who crave that lem’range pie! Men who ‘preciate an everything-including-the-kitchen-sink vocab’. Lysergically baptised bikers. Prognosticating beer-gutted bruins – viscerally christening the heathen festivity’s newest-fangled night-fright. The dim-pate special; big men (mostly men, mostly big, mostly dumb) dumbly lumped, into hirsute, low-calibre, ballistic, meatballs. Crowd-cannibalising man-amoebas. Dipsoma’niacally trundling Roman turtles. Blind, crushing, anthropomorphic-avalanches. Brute-stampedes. Scattering, stomping, sucking up, yeah, yuh, uh. Huh? Mind-fucking, and/or simply fucking up, all they ran ‘round, over and through.
Every mother’s son a wasted, back-pedaling, twin-pin, time-and-motion study in summary arrest and sequestration – bum-rushed by group groping, dirt-grimed, slipknots of un-horsed ape-hangers. Confounded and compounded, into a collective, colliding, analgesic nod. Quickened, hustled in; and, by turns out. Out. Damn your eyes. OUT. Winking, waking, arc-bolted-to, by way of internal, autonomous, singeing, body-electric-jump-start. Enzymatic-mule-kick. Or by (better yet) necking some consummately convulsive, pill-billy-shake ‘n’ bake – double-agent-of-adrenal-wanking-dread.
Unlucky Pierres, more or less sandwiched, sure-bond-laminated…unsafely sounding deep-marine plying submariners – sea-sick suffering-succotash Sufis, shoeless footloose hoofers, turning in a nauseating, asynchronous, bandy-legged, phenobarbital-terpsichore. Pernicious, somnambulantly-stumbling limbo-choreics absorbed in an adenoidal addlepate’s interpretive dance to high summer. Forget summer. Forget dance. Forget high. Forget. FFfffff – wha – th - Fffoffffuuuuuuuuuck.
Look, looky, Look. Look. An ad lib tableau mort. A sharp stick-in-l'œil. A freeze framed, doppelgang (eye offend thee pluck it out?!) a Bruegel: Blind Leading the Blind. As a matter of fact. Hell, as an extemporized fancy (yielding short term side effects and lifetime after effects) …..forget sight, disregard beckoning ditch, forget art history, forget artfulness. Forget history of stumbling and thereafter tumbling down jagged declivities. Fall into that there. Now. Plow sow and cultivate stony profitless furrows. Stumble. Fall. Faceplant. Fffffffffff- huh -Fffffffuck. Get up. Fall again. Now, call yer Da’ to-come-get-U. Puleeeeeeeeze. Police?
Apart and a part – grammar trapped: serially absent, ashen-faced, graceless disgraces – heaps, heaps mate, of, of, of goddamned (goddamn) dearly departed. Heaps. Chemically cremated, agnate cinders … rattled, and brokenly rattling, inside a battered cuisine-ancienne-ashcan-of-self. Hell’s bells, pell-mell urn-loads. Frangible fucking dust-to-dust. Confoundingly afoot. Fffffffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuh –
Maelstrom on down the sloppily gargling gorge of-of the Great Pacific trash vortex. Swallow and be swallowed by an endogenous Sargasso Sea of late-than-never suppurating sorry (sorry) souls. Conjure hungry ghosts, fuck that ‘man’… summon a mammy-jamming, insatiable, soul-eater.
Adjure logy anthropomorphically striped Parchman farmed watermelons. Reverse-run-Méliès'-time-lapse blossom loop. You, there, setting up and rolling your clip bassackwards …unripen (go green) and on no account bud and effloresce on them there changeling banisteriopsis caapi vines. Drill, cap-off and pump formerly fountaining, now dry-heaving, opiate oilwell. Close-order drill (yer left, yer left, yer left-right-left - Hey, hey Captain Jack meet me down by the railroad track with that rifle in my hand I'm gonna be a shootin' man – sound off) loose toggled counterweighted-bobbing-drunken-drinking -birds.
Upside your herky jerky head and up and down and up and down and up and down an A.W.O.L. punishment-unit parade ground. Come on without and within the mighty Mighty Quinn. Here here boot-jack off that rarest ever pair of Tony Lama hand stitched monitor lizard & ostrich skin -riding-boots. Dance barefootedly off and up into the imagined and dappled sorrel-carpeted terraces of Lime-kiln Creek. Pursue the endangered, central coast, pin-feathered, rosacea pimpled, switched-on (and-off), cluster-fucking, micro-cephalic, thimble-dicked, fucking-half-wit you wish to rack. That you are. Aren’t you? FFffffffffffffffffuuuuu. K.
On, off, on, off, on off, on………………………………………………………………….OFF.