Sunday, May 18, 2008
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.