Thursday, September 16, 2004

(not) glad to see you go

johnny ramone is dead. that makes three of the four original ramones. (well, ok...actually, tommy is an original ramone, not marky, but it's hard to remember that.) that's just wrong. we've been following the story closely at the paper, and last night the news came via an email from a knowledgeable source. it was on the message boards soon after, and in late-breaking web news reports by the end of the day. we've been expecting this for a while, since the flurry of reports a few weeks ago about how badly he was doing (he had prostate cancer), followed by the flurry of denials that he was dying. a couple of days ago i heard it said that he only had two to four weeks to live. i thought of my mother, and how they told us she had three weeks left, but she was gone in five days. i told the boys he probably wouldn't last the week. i wish i had been wrong, and i feel ghoulish for even thinking like that. but, there you have it.

i pinned my old ramones button to my black corduroy blazer this morning and played all the stuff (and more) - vol. 1 in the car on the way to work. there was a big traffic jam going out of the canyon -- street sweeping, i think. so i got to crawl down the hill at a snail's pace, letting the music vibrate my gut, thinking, "this is the only way people can live forever." gabba gabba hey, indeed.

saucy jack

a friend loaned me his copy of alan moore's giant graphic novel from hell, his "dissection" of the famous jack the ripper serial murders in victorian england. i have been tearing through it. it came out after watchmen, and i think after v for vendetta, which it vaguely resembles in terms of artwork and era. but it's in black and white, not color. and it is very dense, with all these tiny panels, often crammed with words (although not always). i've read a lot of his stuff, though not all of it, and i've noticed he just loves to do these protracted history lessons in the form of two people having an extended conversation -- or, really, one lecturing to another. this usually happens when they are walking or traveling together in some way. it's also a big aspect of the more recent series promethea, which deals with a character who's sort of like, the essence of story, i guess you'd say. in from hell it's the character of dr. gull, who is the murdering mastermind, who tools around london in a coach with his commoner accomplice, laying out the landscape for what they're about to do while imparting a complex and fascinating, if absolutely forward-momentum-halting, tale of ancient religions, masonry, architecture, symbolism, psychology, and magic. it's all very interesting, but ... i got impatient to go on to the ripping part, so to speak. the art is a bit disorienting -- all these layered, sketchy lines. if you look at it a certain way, it seems jumbled, abstract, impressionistic. in another light, it appears utterly realistic. it's weird. but i like it.

i learn a lot from alan moore, i will admit. promethea runs through whole bits illuminating the tarot and the kabbalah, all these different mystic strains. together with what i'm reading in from hell -- in which dr. gull employs a more twisted kind of magical practice -- promethea has inspired me to pick up my magic books again. just to study -- not to perform. i find it really fascinating, the whole concept of sigils and communicating with the unconscious mind and the universe and all that. but patience is involved in the study/practice of actual magick. and what good is it, really, if i cannot get my just-out-of-reach wine glass to travel across the coffee table into my waiting, outstretched hand?

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