October 12th, 2003



A hangover that persisted for much of the day. I started sorting through a box of letters, photographs, ephemera. I didn't manage much except extracting all the correspondence. Now, next to me here on the desk, I have this pile of photos. The whole process has made me quite melancholy, but I'm quite pleased at how little I've lost over the years. If I type up the notebooks and diaries (always half-filled, half-finished), scan some of the photos, there's a fractured web autobiography in the making. Not the one I'd write now, but the one I wrote at each of those times. I'd filter out the embarassing material now, consciously or not.
For example, there's some occult material in here which really makes me squirm. What on earth was I thinking? I can't remember taking it that seriously, but some of the writing and stuff I made used magic(k!)al imagery and vocabulary. I used to plaster my room with a dense collage of maps, pictures and text. These days I like the walls to be bare save for the icons.
I started sorting this stuff out because I've started thinking about decorating the house properly, now I've been here for a year. I decided I'd like to decorate the corridor in this Schwitters inspired way. Begin a cluttered archaeology of it all. Rid myself of it perhaps. I don't know. A fair amount of this stuff is found objects, it seems to time to lose them and perhaps in turn to lose my own.

This melancholy is in part prompted by the memory of three people. It was in the town of O___, that I first met the C____ sisters...

They were near identical twins from the south of Italy, not far from Bari. In their home town, they recounted, they were sometimes pelted with stones because some of the locals believed they were witches. This maybe encouraged them along that path all the more. How serious they were in this, I'll probably never know for sure. At first they were quite reticent about me, since I was sporting a closely cropped hairstyle at the time. We thought you might have been a fascist, they said later.
It wasn't so difficult to distinguish between A____ and C_____. But writing that now, I realise that many of the subtle differences have been lost. Perhaps it's because they were always together. I was in love with A______, that is for sure, but I knew that nothing was ever going to happen. It wasn't that C____ was always around. I'd liked both of them being around. I liked C______ immensely, she had the sharper wit, but she wasn't A______. I look at a photo of her now (A____, that is): she's sitting in a pub, holding a glass, her long black hair cascades down, her eyes are looking at an unknown point on the ceiling. She looks fantastic. She also looks very young. The passage of time almost makes the act of looking at her seem a criminal offence. She's 15, maybe just 16 here. She's dressed in black with a black velvet choker. I seem to have a memory of giving her that choker. Another one of those false memories perhaps.
What did I give them? There was a nice leather bound reprint of a work by Crowley, some mandrake I'd tracked down (they were keen to get hold of mandrake), I'd made them both t-shirts that used that Crowley quote 'Every Man And Every Woman Is A Star' - I'd placed two pentagrams together with the eye of Horus, a dove, a chalice. I have the original somewhere. We went off and sat in a circle. Things drift and fade. Sudden recollection of some point where they announced that they had come to a decision. That I could be trusted. Sitting with them in sunshine, smoking together in a field.
I realise now that this was in some ways the final summer of my life. After that year, nothing has ever been quite right. Up to that point, there was so much I wanted to see and then, the next year and perhaps every year since, there were things I should not have seen. Well, deal with it. I'm afraid the machinery is too sensitive. Images were burned onto the inside of my skull. I can try and change my relation to them, but they don't go away. Not for me, not for a lot of people.

The last night we were together, we all lay down on my bed, in my memory the room is silent. A____ was twisting her hair and finally asked for a pair of scissors. She then cut this thin plait of hair and handed it to me. It was more than I would have dared ask for. Oh yes, I wanted to sleep with her. How much? Now, I prefer this unrequited memory. Do I really? Does anyone really remember making love or is it rather these silent epiphanies, rising like a forgotten scent. A few times when drunk, I've claimed to friends we went out together, which we didn't in any accepted sense. I feel bad about this false bragging, it stains a perfect series of moments and it insults their intentions. So why did I? In part I just wanted to remember them out aloud. And then probably because the way men, and even women, frequently talk about love or sex doesn't often include the possibility of enchantment. Its mention is excluded. Forgive me, wherever you both may be.
I placed the hair in a tiny tortoise shell box and carried it in my pocket every day. It came with me to Japan. As the demons began to circle, it was the only object I knew could never be defeated for I believed (I had to believe) that it had come from angels. L___ grew suspicious of it and one day threw it away, claiming I must have lost it. I'm sure it still exists somewhere in a landfill site in Tokyo and if I found it? Should I even dare to ask that question?

We wrote for a while, I still have the letters at least and these photographs. I still remember their address in Italy, but they'll be gone by now. Yes, a few times I've tried finding some whisper of them out on the web. I've never tried just emailing theirname@yahoo.it or equivalent. What would any of us say? We don't believe in magic anymore, we've grown up. How much faith does it need to believe that could never have happened to them? It has happened to me - I got scared out there. I've recovered things in some ways: I believe, even if my faith is different from then, but I've grown so guarded. Sometimes, writing this, I remember otherwise and if you think I've been weeping from time to time while typing this, you'd be quite right.

Back to the inanity of Stamford Hill tomorrow...
  • Current Music
    A reverential stillness in the air

You will visit Zi

Like many people, my email address daily receives about 30 pieces of unsolicited spam. It gets sent to its own folder, but even spam has its merits. It indicates something about the western world and, most often, our sense of sexual inadequacy. I can see that the amount of spam worldwide could be an issue, it's like an enormous fleet of white vans careering around the motorway, preventing 'approved' traffic. The mail filter seems to work fine, I can't say it bothers me too much. Governments make noises about spam, laws need to be passed, control needs to be established. Well, it's not as if the outside world isn't filled with unsolicited messages that we don't actively invite.
The suggestion that I always found hovering in William Gibson was that a vast information network could eventually exhibit a tendency towards self-awareness. In part through complexity, but also because it would ultimately become infected with the supernatural world. So when I receive a message saying 'You will visit ZI', I can't help but wonder if this message isn't rubbish but an early indication of something else.
Many of the spam message contain deliberate obfuscatory misspellings in the title. But what does ZI allude to? No one is going to receive this and think 'Wow, Zi! That's one place I never thought I'd get to see in my life. Boy, am I lucky. Let's open this baby up.' Maybe there are (conspiratorially minded PKD fans aside!). Maybe Americans (for these messages always seem intended for Americans) are becoming as illiterate as the rest of the western world. It's accepted as a given in the UK, true or otherwise, that aside from isolated educated pockets and Gore Vidal (I wish he'd made president) no one has a frickin' clue about where the rest of the world is. It's just outside of here. So Zi might seem as believable as Ulan Bator or Tashkent. Unless Zi is a person, possibly Chinese.
Mmm, seems Zi is the home planet of the Zoids. Dubya could try and make them seem a credible threat to the American homeland. Interesting Zi information here too.

While I'm on the subject of strange words, I've just come across a picture of a terminal Scrabble game I played in Tokyo once. I was trying to use all the letters in a comprehensible paragraph, L___ intervened and it turned into another turn-based psychodrama, as paranoia was all at this point. I clipped the end of the paragraph on the photo, so it might be slightly off:

Another fan of nasu dengaku is on LJ. Still doesn't seem quite reason enough to break the anchorite nature of this journal. And, wow! Two other fans of Romane Bohringer. I wonder how many Denis Lavant fans are out there...

Anyway, back to the archiving. There is another story for the telling, but not quite yet.
  • Current Music
    Negative Folk Song - Benjamin Biolay