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Profane Exegesis: A Day In The Death of Rollins and Fan.

The ideal state of affairs is to be doing what it is you can do. When I
was growing up there was always the negative voices, the naysayers who
would scoff at the notion you might be capable of doing anything at all
outside the role they had designated for you; a talentless loser. What they
really meant of course is, as that was how they wanted to see you, they
wanted you to see yourself that way; to buy into the lie, and take it on board
without giving it a second thought, so you would come to believe in that
loser roll they had slyly foisted on you with the purpose that it would eat
into your psyche and sense of self, so that your lack of enterprise, of
achievement, become a vicious circle, a fulfilled prophecy, proving the lie a
reality. What better than to sweep it aside? to burst into song – and I don’t
mean like the Count in Woody Allen’s Love And Death – to paint, to dance,
to preserve the sense of wonder about the world, to always be interested on
and curious about people, and to know that as spirit, we are indomitable,
eternal.Nothing better than expressing the best part of yourself, of getting
high on your own talents and abilities. Then there’s little anyone can say to
the contrary. They will of course, they might even kill you, but they’ll
know it will always be a lie, that nothing can change the essence of who
you are, and talents are only a pale reflection of that. But if you can, if you
get enjoyment form it, then do it anyway. Then they might learn they were
always capable of it themselves and their energy might be better spent in
that rather than facile and destructive criticism and trying to put others
down.

I meant to mention Henry Rollins again. A bloke who does what he


does and you have to respect that. I’m not sure how much of it appeals to
me as I have a pretty piecemeal acquaintance with his ouvre, but I did finish
Black Coffee Blues. I think the last piece, I Know You, was truly excellent.
It speaks to Goths, and narcissists, and aliened non-conformists in general.
I think he has a deep compassion that can be obscured in the blitzkrieg of
social and psychological horror he describes, He has some great turns of
phrase as I mentioned. It isn’t affected, but comes from the heart. On
saying that, he can be very writerly. You can see it’s part of a tradition, that
he has very much in mind; the poetry and style of Bukowski, Ginsberg,
Kerouac. Sometimes it’s all a bit hip for me. Some remarks, phrases,
observations, thoughts, I can find quite absurd, however poetic, or perhaps
because of that, but probably because I find it nihilistic. You get the feeling
death, in all its forms, permeates everything for him, that it’s ingrained in
his perception. This is confirmed for me by his admission he thinks
frequently of killing himself. A thought that goes through most of our
minds during periods in our lives. But it’s almost as if he doesn’t have an
alternative vision. Like his writing, it’s all very ‘rock’ in a way. All a bit
macho as you would expect from him, if you’ve seen him. All a bit
adolescent and juvenile in its way, emotionally. You get the feeling he uses
his lifestyle, the hours spent on the road going from country to country, the
emotional intensity of his performances, to keep people at a distance. He
emphasizes the importance of being alone and it’s certainly his preference
as described in the book. But sometimes he comes across as simply moody
and anti-social, as when he agrees to meet up with a woman in a hotel room,
then has nothing to say to her. It sounds almost like a cry for help, as if he
wants others to fathom his deep need for emotional intimacy but is
incapable of admitting it or expressing it. It’s obvious he’ll resent any
indication of dependent on their part also. That he’s frightened of feeling
strong emotions for anyone as it’s only another way he can be hurt by them.
He mentions a couple of times that he avoids getting close to anyone as it
invariably drifts into an abusive relationship. He seems compelled to attack
them, presumably emotionally and psychologically. In short, he functions
at an efficiently professional level in his artistic life, which gives him the
independence and prestige he needs, but in psychological terms, he can
think and behave like a typical narcissist. He’s perceptive, mistrustful, and
as much as he claims to abhor too much attention, revels in being at the
center of it; then he has the ego-satisfaction of having no time for them. As
he says, no one who lives the same way, spending all those hours on the
road, and the havock that can play with any notions of long-term intimacy,
can understand it. Fair enough; but people are always using their
experience as they’ve chosen to set it up, as a means to justify never looking
upon it differently. Yes, it’s his chosen way of expressing himself and no
doubt making a good living – so clearly, it works on these levels. And it’s
his life. But for all his intensity and sincerity, maybe he should be less
concerned with the image of himself he’s made, professionaly and
psychologically, and try and step out of the mold of sensitive macho with a
heart, and be less concerned about his literary legacy and concern with
being seen as a serious and seriously intelligent artist, and surprise himself
in his reading material once in a while, or find the time to watch a few good
weepies to tug at the old heartstrings. On the other hand, he is surrounded
by people, and will want to keep them at a distance on the whole as it may
well be the only way to survive and keep a sense of oneself as a separate
being. He could have a rollercoaster ride of emotions as well as sex, I
imagine, if he wanted to and likely does sometimes. And all the time you
have to keep coming back to work, in one form or another, because people
are self-centred and fickle and if you spent all your time on them, not only
would they appreciate it even less, but you’d have nothing to show for it.
He doesn't put it like this, but he does discuss it. Any artistically oriented
person comes to feel the same, and even more so if you’re a bit of a
machinelike male. It’s inevitable in a world that sets litle store in
intangibles, such as interpersonal skills and everything in terms of financial
success. That’s something nobody can deny, and worse, people are so
screwed up, you can spend the rest of your life trying to please them and
they’ll despise you for the very effort made on their behalf. Give up your
goals and dreams, and when the time comes, let them throw it in your face
like the fool they would have you believe you are. I can certainly tell where
he’s coming from. He abhors regretting the past he says, and he’s right of
course. Nor would he want you to put yourself out for him in any way, or
have you feel beholden to him and vice-versa and so have cause for regret.
It’s circular, but it makes sense if you happen to be dealing with a bit of a
narcissist like yourself, preferring to keep others at a distance. He recited
the usual narcissistic mantra. That people using one another is no bad
thing; quite positive in fact. He means it in the sense that they’re not
pretending or bullshitting each other. He’s surely talking about sex. He
means he wants no emotional involvement, no promises, no ties. And no
lies. It might be a step above the usual mutual bourgeois conventions and
bargains, but It’s still BS because it’s emotionally static and facile, and on
the level of an adolescent because of that. It stems from seeing the world as
an hostile and dangerous place. Who’s to say he’s wrong? It was much the
same perception, if more unconsciously, that stopped me from taking up
with the love of my life as a kid and even into adolescence while she was
still around. My environment was far too unpredictable and threatening,
and I would still concur with that perception of the period. If anything, I
was more disturbed by my apparently pathological shyness. More than
pronounced in the presence of certain individuals, but seemingly out of my
conscious volition as well as control in the presence of a group, namely,
when in class...

The Passion of the Christ was on again. Laugh? I nearly…No, ir was


a harrowing business. Lay on the suffering and histrionic poses Mel. But
it’s very affecting all the same, in spite of this. Apparent the blood libel
against the Jews is repeated in this movie, but as I was flipping channels
during the ads – blasphemy! – I think I missed it. Funny thing – BBC 6
Music was featured music on the 4AD label, and one of the first songs was
Bauhaus’ cover of Bolan’s Telegram Sam. It always reminds me, as does
the original, that he sings “Bobby’s alright, he’s a natural born poet, he’s
just outta sight.” which was a real lift back in the early ‘70’s when it was
originaly released, what with me and my well screwed up image of myself.
The classic distortion was when my mother would say call me by that name
– she never called me Bob, and certainly not Robert (or Rab as my
Granddad did). I’d already outgrown it by my teens. The name it seemed to
me was us much of her choosing as her distorted perception of me. Worse,
it sounded like some cutesy endearment, a term of affection almost, that
emphasized her normality and harmlessness. But her most common
emotion ranged from tolerance to hatred. It made my name sound like a
living lie to myself. I would feel like shooing it back down her throat. But
in truth, I was rarely sure of how I felt, except when I was angry. Life was a
series of events that conspired to separate me from knowing who I was and
see life through an ever shifting kaleidescope of mixed emotions. So it was
great to hear Bolan, friend and contemporary of Bowie, to repeat my name
in Telegram Sam. Like seeing yourself in the reflected gaze of a friendly
face, if from a great distance, but closer to me in a way, however indirect,
than my everyday life and existence, from a world I intended and expected
to join one day. It was there on the other side of school, and the prospect of
the great unknown after it, like another world, running ever parallel to this
one, there and waiting for me when I was ready for it.

And now, over 35 years later, in The Passion of the Christ, as the
Roman thugs, soldiers and mob alike, are getting laid into Jesus, and Jim
Caveziel as he, collapses to the ground once again – falling over the heavy
wooden cross he was carrying, under the whippings and blows from one of
the supersadistic thugs who was there during the earlier and flogging and
scourging scene, another of them shouts his name, telling him to cut it out –
can’t he see that he can’t go on? and it sounded to me that when he shouted
his name, it was Bobby - or something that must be very close to it. Here I
am, as good as invited to hate this bloke – only to be reminded he could be
me. But journey to the Crucifiction is interspersed with scenes form his
childhood with his mother, as well as from The Last Supper (fish and chips
please) and The Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus is telling the crowed to
love their enemies as themselves – that anyone can love those who are kind
to them, before it cuts back abruptly to the continuation of the psychotic
bloodbath in progress, then someone from the crowd is hijacked into
carrying the cross for the temporarily immobilized Jesus, who inevitably
collapses under the unrelenting weight of the wooden beams and the blows.
His reluctant helper watched this for some moments, then to his credit, he’s
had enough, loses it, and screams at the thugs, Centurions, whatever in hell
they are, and our Bob, tells him to get on with it then and get moving, “you
Jew.” Perhaps this is director Mel’s way of presenting a supposedly
balanced and impartial viewpoint, I don’t know, and neither do I buy into it.
Nor can I picture Jesus stomping on the snake, as during the beginning of
the film. Nor having all those moments of anguished self-doubt, from first
to last, over his mission and faith in God’s love. It’s human, all very
human. As was the excruciating pain he went through during the whole
process, along with the mental and emotional anguish of his family along
with others, such as the woman – the adultress – he saves from stoning.
Pain is always the big one isn’t it? Pain and death. Who can have any faith
in love in any sense, that what one loves can be taken away, snuffed out in
the blink of an eye? Something I find hard to grasp now, let alone how
useful the perception may have been if I had known that growing up. But I
see now it was what he was here for. To demonstrate that pain, sin and
death are nor real. To present him as truly forgiving, yet in agony during
the whole process turns his very massage on its head, making it into the
opposite of what he came to teach. That pain and death are not real, and our
co-called sins are forgiven as there is nothing to forgive as they were never
real. With the true forgiveness he was here to demonstrate, he experienced
no pain, as pain is also based on unforgiveness. Most of us are incapable of
such a level of forgiveness, but that’s what he was here for. And in reality,
he wasn’t here at all, as the whole thing is a projection of the mind, as is the
belief in sin, guilt, fear and death, because it’s nothing more than a belief, if
a very convincing one. But thanks Mel, for focusing my mind on my
unbelief and lack of faith, through awakening the unconscious terror that
underlies everyday existence. It served to focus my mind on what I do
believe. Mad Max, back on trax. And for reminding me of just how small
the world is, however overcomplicated. What’s in a name? There’s a
Bobby in Ken Russell’s…Then Jenny Agutter as Bobby in the more
innocent Railway Children, though it packed a powerful emotional punch,
and in more ways than one for me. In my teens the lovely Jenny fit the bill
for anyone’s notion of an ideal love. Suddenly I could see not only the
actual love of my life in her, but also myself, and her in me. We were
interchangeable, or could be. In reality, we were all the same being. Not
that I could articulate it that way then, that but that was the intuitive
realisation I was coming to. My fascination with extremes of light and
dark; simultaneously attracted to, yet frightened of both. Reading Spider-
man, both on the way to and from school, and the shock of recognition over
the writer's describing Spidey’s arch-nemesis, The Green Goblin, as a
psychopath. That they would use such a “precise” psychological term in of
all things, a comic. I had Alan Harrington’s book, The Psychopath, having
came across ii for cheap somewhere, though I’d only ever read the first few
chapters, but I knew it was an important subject. And Marvel/the writer
mentioned Bowie in an issue of Spider-man, having replaced a more dated
name in the original American release for a more contemporary figure
currently wowing the scene. “Are you going to see David Bowie at the
Filmore?” (or wherever it was). I didn’t put it together, but it came to me
years later, when the journalist and novelist Tony Parsons once described
going to interview Bowie as “like meeting the girl of your dreams”. His
words. And I realized, yes, that’s what it was. His Ziggy was an archetypal
image that encompassed so many elements in himself, that to all intents and
purposes that is what he represented to many people, both make and female
alike I’d venture, only blokes might be more reluctant to admit that, but
could experience it on a more unconscious level, as I did. He filled that
emotional void, and on so many levels. Utterly dynamic; assertive and
masculine, he was also as striking as any women, possibly more so as he
encompassed so many numinous elements in his music and persona; and
persona it was, but he was also a real person, who as I say, represented that
alternative yet very real world – of glamor and fame and riches. But above
all freedom. Artistic, creative freedom. He represented an escape. Yet did
it so well, so definitively, there was no hope of repeating it in such a way
and with the same intensity or aura of sheer otherworldliness. “I wanted to
be like Superman,” he once said, in a magazine I had. And he did it. He
encompassed the best of the superheroes I’d been reading, along with the
most uplifting and numinous aspects of the music I had love from childhood
onwards, from Tamla Motown and Smokey Robinson’s Tears of a Clown
(and a whole lot of others, such as Diana Ross), along with Joni Mitchell’s
Big Yellow Taxi, though there were as many others that aroused me to a
kind of emotive frenzy, and not in a bad way. Young, Gifted and Black was
another, as mentioned. But Bowie brought it all together, in a way that
made his advent seem almost inevitable. I’d never have articulated it in
such a way at the time, but he was like another gift from God. I knew that
somehow I was him and he was me, only a better adjusted and higher
functioning, emotionally stronger version. He surely must be I assumed. I
had every reason to believe it. I could barely talk to any girl I was attracted
to, let alone think of singing in front of a crowd. The gulf between what I
wished and dreamed for myself and the actuality was so wide, so all-
encompasingly intimidating as to be insurmountable. My awareness of my
own inhibitions and emotional limitations, along with my intuitive
conviction of his importance – along with his fame and artistic success,
elevated him to a level beyond anything I could be wholly objective about.
It was easy to forget he wasn’t the only person comfortable in front of a
crowd and confident enough in himself and his abilities and talents to be
compelled to show them to the world. Then the dreams when I was 23,
where I would dream of Bowie, and Lynn from school, where in the dream
they seemed to represent something far more numinous, the dreams
themselves having a quality of a reality more real than this one. And I don’t
mean that poetically, or figuratively, or metaphorically, though it’s all
metaphor, as it’s the only way it can be described. Before the emotions I
experiecend metamorphosed into the more intense then indescribable
experience of revelation, of the love of God. Then later, I read some Poe
again, and read his story, William Wilson again – I'd read it in my teens
before - and felt incredibly excited, but couldn’t quite put my finger on it.
There seemed to be no way to articulate it precisely. The levels of meaning
were too profound, too multi layered. But it was simply the reverberations
of the name Wilson, having read Colin Wilson since I was at school, and he
had echoed and articulated my interest in the psychology of crime, and the
paranormal and much else, and I knew there was a secret somewhere in
what I felt after reading that story, and later, it came to me, after my
involvement with the death-fixated and narcissistic Lynn many years later.
That having the same name as Lynne at school, who had represented
“everything” to me, it was easy to project the same on to her, thinking I
might see her in the same way. And she was a woman after all, and
attractive and intelligent; not so like me. With a slight shift in perception –
or of mine, we might one day scome to see more eye to eye I liked to think;
only I came to be aware of just how much anger she aroused in me and of
how she pushed all my buttons, and what an uphill struggle it already was.
That in a way, I saw the murderous history of the world encompassed in her
slight physique and deeply mistrustful outlook and razor-sharp mind.
Always on the offensive, never letting down her guard, ever-inquisitive,
chronically judgmental, though she would deny it in the very process of it, I
could see how the Nazis came into being, or any fascist-minded group. It
was simply a process of extension, or rather, multi-projection of enough
like-minded individuals. On a personal or individual level, I realized she
brought to mind not so much the luminously alive Lynne from school, but
the few psychopaths I had ever had the misfortune to have to be associated
with, namely the bullies and would be bullies. But more specifically, the
serial killer Kurten, who I had read about since buying some of the
partwork mags, Crimes and Punishment, edited by Colin Wilson, this in my
early and later teens when it was reissued, then many years later when
another partwork called Real-Life Crimes was published in the 90’s, where
Kurten was described in more contemporary terms as a narcissistic
psychopath. I had been reading some paperbacks during this period by the
Reichian therapist Alexander Lowen, who focused on narcissistic patients,
though it was all very Freudian. Previously, I’d read Colin Wilson’s
biography, the Search For Wilhelm Reich, when I was twenty-two. There
was an interesting section on what he termed body armoring, and this had
struck me as very significant. But it’s as true to say I saw much of the same
in myself, and that was the most disturbing or unsettling aspect. I had yet to
come to the specific awareness that we are all one and the same being,
literally projections of each other It’s as true to say it was her emphasis on
the fault being mine when I would pick her up on her psychological
manipulations and guilt trips, that brought me to the opposite realization
and perception of the situation. And she would often remark that I had no
idea just how angry I made her sometimes. Not that I was blameless;
anything but. Slow to pick up on the depth of her fear and mistrust, I was
prone still to playing the Jack the Lad, the player, the potential seducer. At
best, we could be equals, in life and love, and other such cliches. But no,
she might or could even come to “heal” me of the sense of loss over L, if
not wholly replace her. I couldn’t see how anything or anything could.
Now I see I couldn’t wholly replace anyone for her, as she would have me
know, even though she had succumbed to the tell-tale emotional abuse of
giving him shit, as she put it, a previous bo. This in her late teens, so we’re
talking teenagers here, if like me, intelligent ones. Sex and death and the
intelligent teenager. And a few years older now, when I met her, at an after
hours class on psychology at the university. She’d been very quiet, and I
never once caught her looking at me. She was an enigma. I had made a
quick exit, so /I could take off after her – yes, follow her, until I caught up
with her just as it had started raining. She had her umbrella up. Typically, I
didn’t have one. I walked her to the bottom of the street, saying I was on
the way to check out the bargain bookstore in Princes Street. I offered her
my number, probably in case I would be embarrassed by a refusal on her
part if I asked for hers, but she offered me it anyway. Now I know she’d
have never rung otherwise, and she knew that. On the face of it, we seemed
to have much in common. I was thirty, and she mentioned Robert Anton
Wilson’s Cosmic Trigger (1), a book I had picked up in paperback cheap
somewhere, but hadn’t got around to reading yet, Later she would deny I
had ever mentioned having it, and claimed not to believe me. The attempt
to distort my perceptions of my own experience came to be frequent. I
could never be wholly sure if she meant it or it was a combination of some
sort of test of my veracity, or genuinely didn’t believe me. Now I see it as
topically mischievous and a reflection of her unconscious and pointless
destructiveness. She seemed to live to waste time and yet could be
perceptive of how others might waste their time, or say the most ludicrous
things, as as she would put it, “sad,”such as when a reviewer had talked
about this is that movie being an acceptable away to pass the time. I agreed
with her. But what was sad was how she mixed the false with the true to
keep others at a distance, or more specifically, me. I didn’t know hoe she
interacted with others, though she was of course keen to emphasize just how
swimmingly things were with everyone else, independent and bit of a loner
as she was and liked to emphasize when it suited her. Her biggest pain in
the butt could be me it seemed. Eventually you come to realize that for all
their intelligence, and perhaps because of it, some people are always going
to use it as a means to turn everything on its head; that they’ll always be
crazy and impossible in their way because that’s how they’ve chosen to be
and there is no going against someones will and what they want for
themselves, and neither would you want to, unless you’re as insane as they
are. Worse, you become the means to furthering and improving on that end;
in affect, a form of target practice through which they’ll feed that ever
voracious ego. Yeah, they’ll have insight to that also, and even
empathetically, but only mention it to ensnare you with all the more.
Somewhere along the line, she was subjected to her herself – or is this my
way of rationalizing something that developed of its own accord? A
maladjusted way of being in and interpreting the world? Who’s to say she’s
wrong? I thought. Perhaps she only reflects the way the wolrd is and it’s a
better way to survive emotionally, than most people seem to be aware of? I
was aware that at her age, I was relatively pretty naïve. That I still was in
many ways. The experience, the relationship, for what it was, was a
learning process or curve. I found out about myself, and it was often
anything but pleasant. And I had to seriously ponder the thought that if I
had met her where we were both the same age whether now or earlier – a
wholly hypothetical scenario – I would have went the same way as her
previous boyfriends, one way or the other. Secretly, she believed she
represented death – that she was “jinxed” as she put it. I knew this to be
absurd, but guilt did seem to have a kind of deathgrip on her mind. She
believed whole heartedly in it. I was as fallible, as vulnerable as the rest. I
could be destroyed, whether emotionally or literally. Everyone had their
breaking point, as she had once put it. She would never let up trying to find
mine, I came to realize. It took a while, years, to come to fathom any of
this. To put it together during the process of her trying to take me apart.
But neither was she heartless, And I don’t want to give that impression.
There was one instance she was getting to me, I was allowing myself to be
sucked in and was reacting and feeling a bit sorry for myself, and she
relented. Whether I really was, or was partly playing the part, I can never
be wholly sure. Whether inspired or a survival mechanism of my own, or
an indication of the same mindset, your insight is as good as mine. As I say,
you find out about yourself. But neither would it have did her much good
to turn into an emotional wimp, a mental wreck. She was mental enough
for both us. My little joke. I was funny, or could be. I was “cool,” or could
be. I could open up emotionally without being emotional or embarrassed
about it, or if I was, I could keep it under control, or slink my way out of it
if I thought I should. Or she would keep me at a distance anyway, claim
disinterest – she didn’t want to know – then surprise me with some deeply
personal revelation of her own. I would feel very close to her. It had taken
hundreds of hours of conversation to get there. Or had it been tens? before
she offered up some psychological tidbit to hook me in, and get me to open
up about myself, before offering another “deeply felt” anecdote, months and
years into the involvement, such as it was? Now I’m Here. Queen. Here
and there and everywhere. And then there was the question of what I
should be empathizing with exactly, though I didn’t articulate it in such a
way, then. This is where what are described as “inner recourses” came to
the fore. Analogies in order to illustrate some point, whether to disagree, or
be cajoled or provoked or just plain asked to explain myself at tiresome and
inordinate length over something we had covered before, whether ten
minutes or ten months earlier. Memories others, of friends, of perceived
enemies and oppressors, of experiences I had long forgotten about, or never
saw any reason to come back to, until they drifted into mind as if in contrast
to the rigid mindset of this frightened and death-obsessed individual – too
intelligent to be a mere Goth, too defensive it seemed, to ever see any
means of finding a way out of the ego-prison she had enmeshed herself in.
I couldn’t see any way around it either. The circular arguments and logic –
the lack of logic, exhausted me and occasionally my patience with her. I’m
no saint, nor was I then. But I knew it was logic of a kind for her. That she
was the victim of her own limited perceptions, which stemmed from a
stunted view of herself and others. In her scheme of things – the conviction
that information equaled power, so keeping your cards close to your chest
and your business under your hat was the way to go, along with your
emotions – and also the fact the body offered no protection for anyone at all
– it was the only way to be. And to all intents and purposes, she was
accurate in her assessment. It was the story of our lives. Only her story had
been more extreme, and at an age where....