Sunday, May 18, 2008

The Thought


L. P. Hartley wrote one of the best horror stories ever, "Podolo". Another gruesome effort was "The Thought", in which a man was driven to repent by nagging guilt - only to find something much worse. Both can be found in his collection "The Travelling Grave", if at all.

I once used the power of whimsy to banish an unpleasant image from Mrs Boyo's mind. I was happy to do so, as I had suggested the nightmare in the first place. The fantasy of a kingdom ruled by rabbits in the High Pamirs proved so saccharine that Mrs B was unable to recall anything saltier for days.

If only I had someone like myself to drive out my own djinns. Rather like tickling yourself or auto-fellatio, it just doesn't work.

In my student days, I joined Black Country yogi Ward Cooper in proselytising on behalf of synthpop, which we were sure would soon replace poetry, opera and conversation as the basis of human civilisation.

During one bout of evangelising I explained to Irish Pete the depth and intensity of Blancmange lyrics.

"What are these waves
They're coming over me
It must be my destiny"




sang the Surprised-Looking One Who Didn't Look Like Vince Clarke (the Hardest-Working Man in SynthPop. The Hardest Working-Man in the genre was without doubt Dave Gahan Out Of Depeche Mode).

"What the Surprised-Looking One is trying to tell us here, Irish Pete, is that he is drowning and there's nothing he can do about it. Very Zen" I ventured, passing the wild-eared Jack Shepherd impersonator another digestive.

He stuffed the biscuit in his Bundeswehr surplus lederhosen and proposed another reading.

"Yer man's a dwarf or elf or some shite, and he's working in one of them gay whorehouses in Amsterdam. There's a circle of Swedish sailors round him, and they're whacking out five-months of backed-up spud water over the feller. So as there's buckets of the stuff. Feck all he can do about it, mind."

With that he he waved a Thin Lizzy tape at me and left.

So now, whenever I hear the keening of a Moog, trip over a person of restricted arseitude, venture near the Gothenburg docks, or go to Ireland, I can't banish the image of a man dressed as Punch (for some reason) getting a Scandinavian man shower.

I've tried thinking of Kylie, mine enemies vanquished by Gorgons, Bono and Sting before a firing squad, all to no avail.

Any suggestions?

7 comments:

Gorilla Bananas said...

Funny you should mention Jack Sheppard. I'm pretty sure his acting credits include the madman Renfield, lackey of Count Dracula. If you want a powerful mental image, try Yul Brynner in drag singing I'm mad about the boy. Daphne Wayne-Bough posted a You Tube clip of it in a comment on my blog many moons ago.

No Good Boyo said...

Lady WB is the Indiana Jones of YouTube. Who knows what Grail she may next retrieve with her fouet abrutissant?

You're quite right about Jack Shepherd as Renfield. He was what I consider to be the best screen adaptation of Dracula - the 1977 BBC TV version with Louis Jourdan as the Count. Murnau and Herzog's films are greater, but go far beyond adaptation. It's just come out on DVD in Britain, and I was glad to see it holds up well.

Maybe I should try thinking of Susan Penhaligon...

Gadjo Dilo said...

Hmm, yes, I always thought there was something rather spermatozoa-fragranced about those New Romantic songs. (Or am I confusing genres?)

A fantasy kingdom ruled by rabbits... Reminds of the worst film I ever saw Night of the Lepus, or maybe that was just a dream as well :-)

No Good Boyo said...

A dire film indeed. Can you imagine trying to pitch the idea to a producer nowadays?

Synthpop used the same technology as New Romanticism (synthesizers, gender-bendery), but tended to be, well, less rubbish. Still not very good, though.

If you want to buff your B-movie shield, Gadjo, Village of the Damned is available in full on YouTube, as long as your coal-powered Transylvanian computer can hold out:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE9NXDwuPdo&feature=related

and passim

Gadjo Dilo said...

I had plenty of exposure to both New Romanticism and Synthpop, but the memories had somehow become lost to me. Then your lyric blog entry caused me this olfactory sensation (for such is all it was), perhaps, I think now, a result of the rather spermatazoa-fragranced bed sheets that were my solitary refuge during the early 80s. Truly a Proustian madeleine moment.

Gyppo Byard said...

The phrase 'Scandanavian man-shower' will haunt me to the grave. Preferably yours.

M C Ward said...

Try thinking of Keith Harris and Orville being sucked into a jet engine. It's better than sex.