"Please conjure sheets of paper to come floating out of the laundry basket below"
The author, circa 1996
I have recently come into possession of my adolescent photo collection. There was, for a period of about five years, a time when I owned a fetching Ricoh camera which had been given to me by a rad woman whom I lived with on a mountaintop commune on the outskirts of Santa Fe, New Mexico. She used to regale me with stories from her years as a hot-shot publicist, and explained to me which lines from David Bowie’s “Drive-in Saturday” had been written about her by the Thin White Duke.
Were these claims true? Who knows. But it did distract me from the profound and crippling nervous breakdown I was experiencing at the time, fuelled in part by excessive use of ecstasy as a means of spiritual enlightenment and by living with my then step-father who made such helpful suggestions as, “Maybe you have alien implants in your brain.”
“Oh, yes. Well thank you for that.”
I thought it might be fun to dip into the box and see what musical and/or cinematic associations they bring. Kind of reconsider my colorful past in terms of stuff you could purchase at Amoeba Music. For I am a salesman, ladies and gentlemen.
Let’s begin now…
Here’s a picture of me caked in drying mud on the banks of the Dead Sea. Taking the picture is my Mom, who is also slathered in earth. Supposedly there was some physical benefits in doing this, but honestly I didn’t need a reason beyond getting to rub mud all over my near-naked body. Who needs the added incentive of a health boost? What you don’t see in this picture is the gaggle of Japanese tourists shrieking with laughter as the women in the group got smeared with mud by their husbands. And what you don’t hear is that the spa where this all took place is playing Marianne Faithfull’s album Broken English over the loudspeakers. Because when you’re soaking in mineral baths and having the toxins flushed from your body, what else do you want to hear but this…
Yes, the spirit of the Essenes is alive and well on the banks of the Dead Sea.
Here’s a picture of Emilie Autumn. Emilie was famous in our hometown for a variety of reasons, one of which being that she would do things like, say, dye her skin green and wear Christmas tinsel hair extensions. This isn’t body paint, folks. This is skin dyed green, and over the course of weeks it would gradually fade away, as though Emilie were transforming from Frankenstein monster to human girl.
I spent a sizable chunk of my youth locked in Emilie’s room, smoking pot, drinking Thunderbird, eating pot, and making art with her. Music was always playing, and the most popular tunes were (in no particular order):
After being best friends for three years, Emilie and I began having sex, which made the next three years of our relationship a more stormy affair. Her creativity extended into ways of breaking my heart and I finally stopped talking to her. She was one of the great loves of my life and a part of me will always be in love with her. Green skinned or not.
Aw... More to come!