Tuche & Automaton

Friday, February 23, 2007





Some of the evil of my tale may have been inherent in our circumstances. For years we lived anyhow with one another in the naked desert, under the indifferent heaven. By day the hot sun fermented us; and we were dizzied by the beating wind. At night we were stained by dew, and shamed into pettiness by the innumerable silences of stars. We were a self-centred army without parade or gesture, devoted to freedom, the second of man's creeds, a purpose so ravenous that it devoured all our strength, a hope so transcendent that our earlier ambitions faded in its glare.
The everlasting battle stripped from us care of our own lives or of others'...Each day some of us passed; and the living knew themselves just sentient puppets on God's stage:...We lived always in the stretch or sag of nerves, either on the crest or in the trough of waves of feeling.
This impotency was bitter to us, and made us live only for the seen horizon, reckless what spite we inflicted or endured, since physical sensation showed itself meanly transient. Gusts of cruelty, perversions, lusts ran lightly over the surface without troubling us; for the moral laws which had seemed to hedge about these silly accidents must be yet fainter words. We had learned that there were pangs too sharp, griefs too deep, ecstasies too high for our finite selves to register. When emotion reached this pitch the mind choked; and memory went white till the circumstances were humdrum once more. Such exaltation of thought, while it let adrift the spirit, and gave it licence in strange airs, lost it the old patient rule over the body. The body was too coarse to feel the utmost of our sorrows and of our joys. ... The men were young and sturdy; and hot flesh and blood unconsciously claimed a right in them and tormented their bellies with strange longings. Our privations and dangers fanned this virile heat, in a climate as racking as can be conceived. We had no shut places to be alone in, no thick clothes to hide our nature. Man in all things lived candidly with man.

...our youths began indifferently to slake one another's few needs in their own clean bodies--a cold convenience that, by comparison, seemed sexless and even pure. Later, some began to justify this sterile process, and swore that friends quivering together in the yielding sand with intimate hot limbs in supreme embrace, found there hidden in the darkness a sensual co-efficient of the mental passion which was welding our souls and spirits in one flaming effort.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

nein nein nine three

The Drunken Song

O man, take care!
What does the deep midnight declare?
"I was asleep —,
From the deep dream I woke and swear:—
The world is deep,
Deeper than day had been aware.
Deep is its woe —,
Lust—deeper yet than agony:
Woe implores: Go!
But all lust wants eternity —,
— Wants deep, wants deep eternity."

Das trunkene Lied

O Mensch! Gib Acht!
Was spricht die tiefe Mitternacht?
"Ich schlief, ich schlief —,
Aus tiefem Traum bin ich erwacht:—
Die Welt ist tief,
Und tiefer als der Tag gedacht.
Tief ist ihr Weh —,
Lust—tiefer noch als Herzeleid:
Weh spricht: Vergeh!
Doch alle Lust will Ewigkeit —,
— will tiefe, tiefe Ewigkeit!"

(by Friedrich Nietzsche)

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Post-truth is an ongoing community art project where people mail in their truths, revealing their identity, on one typed and homemade blog-comment space.

No secrets.

No truths masquerading as cheap art.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Electric Hummer

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Sunday, February 11, 2007

Viva Last Blues

Ballad of Crackling Dee
(a song for Christmas)

Back up the house where the rumblin's comin.
A whole Dee family happily slummin

'Here's Crackling Dee, messin with the fruitcake.'

Yes, hair everywhere: starts in the ears,
Down the back like an ink-blot, catching the beers.

'Here's Crackling Dee, heavy with the Remington.'

Over hands n knuckles n Sterns n Bows.
Just the right kind of static that the Government allows.

'Here's Crackling Dee, with one less finger.'

Watch him at the doorstep, pickin rust out his throat
Strange lad, with arms like a duff billy-goat.

'Here's Crackling Dee, attacked with a pushbike.'

They rattled his skull with the back of the frame,
Spoked an arm, made a hairy leg lame.

'Here's Crackling Dee, face like a taxied stoat.'

He's got Raleighs for arms n a crackin little toe
N one sludged mouth n a bucketful of woe.

'Here's Crackling Dee, best hump the beast.'

A slunk n unconscious T.G. Kindle
Dee jabbed down his eyes on a bamboo spindle.

'Here's Crackling Dee, tossed Tom to the birds!'

A three n a half coma, the boy flipped like a lighted tramp
N tossed to the mainframe, with his legs full of cramp.

'Here's Crackling Dee, dragged to the cemetery.'

Bugger doesn't know it yet but Jesus-God his eyes have failed
Flushed n worn n ready to be nailed.

'Here's Cackling Dee, with his thumbs all stuffed.'

N optics done n nerves a flappin,
Crackling's gone n caught Tom nappin.

'Here's Crackling Dee, with the slasher boots.'

With Tom wrecked, there's Dasher Jones.
Dee'll make sheep-meat from his bones.

'Here's Crackling Dee, picking food from his teeth.'

Crackling is stroking his beard; got that old fixed stare,
His arms are gashed but he don't mind a little air.

'Here's Crackling Dee, smoking bracken after dawn.'

Lookin at the coils of gunge n watching with derision,
Slagger makes a mark on him with surgical precision.

'Here's Crackling Dee, tie the loose arms to the horses.'

Horse n cart n ready-mades, fust and dust and sickle
Heave the Dee across the square, leaving blood a trickle

'Here's Crackling Dee, pulled in two with all this trouble.'

Stiffed n boned n thrown around, blended with the gristle
In the broken stump of old Dragged Dee, a briskly shredded thistle.

'Here's Crackling Dee, gardener to the stars.'

Spread him thickly, spread him thin, garnish land with muscle


Palace Music - Work Hard/Play Hard

A Yousendit Swweettnneessss

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Edgard Varese: The Idol of My Youth By Frank Zappa

I have been asked to write about Edgard Varese. I am in no way qualified to. I can't even pronounce his name right. The only reason I have agreed to is because I love his music very much, and if by some chance this article can influence more people to hear his works, it will have been worthwhile.
I was about thirteen when I read an article in Look about Sam Goody's Record Store in New York. My memory is not too clear on the details, but I recall it was praising the store's exceptional record merchandising ability. One example of brilliant salesmanship described how, through some mysterious trickery, the store actually managed to sell an album called "Ionization" (the real name of the album was "The Complete Works of Edgard Varese, Volume One"). The article described the record as a weird jumble of drums and other unpleasant sounds.
I dashed off to my local record store and asked for it. Nobody ever heard of it. I told the guy in the store what it was like. He turned away, repulsed, and mum- bled solemnly, "I probably wouldn't stock it anyway . . .nobody here in San Diego would buy it."
I didn't give up. I was so hot to get that record I couldn't even believe it. In those days I was a rhythm- and-blues fanatic. I saved any money I could get (some- times as much as $2 a week) so that every Friday and Saturday I could rummage through piles of old records at the juke Box Used Record Dump (or whatever they called it) in the Maryland Hotel or the dusty corners of little record stores where they'd keep the crappy records nobody wanted to buy.
One day I was passing a hi-fi store in La Mesa. A little sign in the window announced a sale on 45's. After shuffling through their singles rack and finding a couple of Joe Houston records, I walked toward the cash register. On my way, I happened to glance into the LP bin. Sitting in the front, just a little bent at the corners, was a strange-looking black-and-white album cover. On it there was a picture of a man with gray frizzy hair. He looked like a mad scientist. I thought it was great that somebody had finally made a record of a mad scientist. I picked it up. I nearly (this is true, ladies and gentlemen) peed in my pants . . . THERE IT WAS! EMS 401, The Complete Works of Edgard Varese Volume I . . . Integrales, Density 21.5, Ionization, Octandre . . . Rene Le Roy, the N. Y. Wind Ensemble, the Juilliard Percussion Orchestra, Frederic Waidman Conducting . . .liner notes by Sidney Finkelstein! WOW!
I ran over to the singles box and stuffed the Joe Houston records back in it. I fumbled around in my pocket to see how much money I had (about $3.80). 1 knew I had to have a lot of money to buy an album. Only old people had enough money to buy albums. I'd never bought an album before. I sneaked over to the guy at the cash register and asked him how much EMS 401 cost. "That gray one in the box? $5.95 - "
I had searched for that album for over a year, and now . . . disaster. I told the guy I only had $3.80. He scratched his neck. "We use that record to demonstrate the hi-fi's with, but nobody ever buys one when we use it . . . you can have it for $3.80 if you want it that bad. "
I couldn't imagine what he meant by "demonstrating hi-fi's with it." I'd never heard a hi-fi. I only knew that old people bought them. I had a genuine lo-fi . . . it was a little box about 4 inches deep with imitation wrought-iron legs at each corner (sort of brass-plated) which elevated it from the table top because the speaker was in the bottom. My mother kept it near the ironing board. She used to listen to a 78 of The Little Shoemaker on it. I took off the 78 of The Little Shoemaker and, carefully moving the speed lever to 33 1/3 (it had never been there before), turned the volume all the way up and placed the all-purpose Osmium-tip needle in the lead-in spiral to Ionization. I have a nice Catholic mother who likes Roller Derby. Edgard Varese does not get her off, even to this very day. I was forbidden to play that record in the living room ever again.
In order to listen to The Album, I had to stay in my room. I would sit there every night and play it two or three times and read the liner notes over and over. I didn't understand them at all. I didn't know what timbre was. I never heard of polyphony. I just liked the music because it sounded good to me. I would force anybody who came over to listen to it. (I had heard someplace that in radio stations the guys would make chalk marks on records so they could find an exact spot, so I did the same thing to EMS 401 . . . marked all the hot items so my friends wouldn't get bored in the quiet parts.)
I went to the library and tried to find a book about Mr. Varese. There wasn't any. The librarian told me he probably wasn't a Major Composer. She suggested I look in books about new or unpopular composers. I found a book that had a little blurb in it (with a picture of Mr. Varese as a young man, staring into the camera very seriously) saying that he would be just as happy growing grapes as being a composer.
On my fifteenth birthday my mother said she'd give me $5. 1 told her I would rather make a long-distance phone call. I figured Mr. Varese lived in New York because the record was made in New York (and be- cause he was so weird, he would live in Greenwich Village). I got New York Information, and sure enough, he was in the phone book.
His wife answered. She was very nice and told me he was in Europe and to call back in a few weeks. I did. I don't remember what I said to him exactly, but it was something like: "I really dig your music." He told me he was working on a new piece called Deserts. This thrilled me quite a bit since I was living in Lancaster, California then. When you're fifteen and living in the Mojave Desert and find out that the world's greatest composer, somewhere in a secret Greenwich Village laboratory, is working on a song about your "home town" you can get pretty excited. It seemed a great tragedy that nobody in-Palmdale or Rosamond would care if they ever heard it. I still think Deserts is about Lancaster, even if the liner notes on the Columbia LP say it's something more philosophical.
All through high school I searched for information about Varese and his music. One of the most exciting discoveries was in the school library in Lancaster. I found an orchestration book that had score examples in the back, and included was an excerpt from Offrandes with a lot of harp notes (and you know how groovy harp notes look). I remember fetishing the book for several weeks.
When I was eighteen I got a chance to go to the East Coast to visit my Aunt Mary in Baltimore. I had been composing for about four years then but had not heard any of it played. Aunt Mary was going to introduce me to some friend of hers (an Italian gentleman) who was connected with the symphony there. I had planned on making a side trip to mysterious Greenwich Village. During my birthday telephone conversation, Mr. Varese had casually mentioned the possibility of a visit if I was ever in the area. I wrote him a letter when I got to Baltimore, just to let him know I was in the area.
I waited. My aunt introduced me to the symphony guy. She said, "This is Frankie. He writes orchestra music." The guy said, "Really? Tell me, sonny boy, what's the lowest note on a bassoon?" I said, "B flat . . .and also it says in the book you can get 'em up to a C or something in the treble clef." He said, "Really? You know about violin harmonics?" I said, "What's that?" He said, "See me again in a few years."
I waited some more. The letter came. I couldn't believe it. A real handwritten letter from Edgard Varese! I still have it in a little frame. In very tiny scientific-looking script it says:

Dadagram #18

Balloons. Naked spindles lying there bleeding profusely from invisible wounds. A headache bathed in treachery is the territory. Lethargy from above failed to report the crime. This venereal world scaled pokes snoring underwear as penance. Halved to prone. A minion transcendence. Peruse revolutionary leaflets and let's evolve together or not at all. Store the money north of the venerable. Atone for the brightness of your teeth. Pure mess survives meat and bone.

Impaled by vapours to the eye lesion. Imperious wrinkles too fine as fists. Multiplied by their haunches. Glazed audiences and free will whorled of some gay labyrinth credits shift welts. Flashing steel to revitalize the slaughter. Morbidly faster than front-page material. Washed two families out to sea in this carnival pasta. Vexed moles forbidden. Concrete wallowing in hiss. Red onions and swelling vomits a year to learn the haste of love and forgiveness.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Dilly Song

"Then the block'd and the burned all came up (wingspeed made decent) and in the air was holes of sweetness and in the eyes of Lora came tiny blue-grey sparrows, each with their own name (Brockenback, Swarmling, Broowinter) and each with their own understanding of what it meant to be reverent."

From: The Desecration Of Theolomy, Sui Rua, Hancocks, 1975

Current 93 - The Dilly Song

A Yousendit UrLundunninium

Monday, February 05, 2007

Headnail And The Hepcats

Spooky Tooth & Pierre Henry - Prayer

A Yousendit Rapidloss Overbreath

When I used to sit around at the Place It Never Rained with my now sadly insane friend B. we used to imagine groups into existence, working out all the details like what the album covers would be like, how they'd sound, what their lyrical themes might be. how they'd deal with the difficult second album. whether or not they'd eventually give in to the filthy lucre lure of the majors...

At no doubt did we think about this album and, spookily, it's fairly hard to think about now.

Whatever consensus opinion might be (and I don't claim to know), I still think this track would have been better if Pierre Henry had got together with Cliff Richard.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Poem 21 (Unfinished)

Thanks to LadyPillow for use of her Photographs in this work
Check out her photographs on Flickr

Thursday, February 01, 2007

The Throatmeister Keeps on Cumming

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