Wednesday, February 12, 2014

A Narrative In Several Parts (pt. II)

Clown - Doug Nox
When you hear sweet syncopation
And the music softly moans
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around in your bones

When it gets too hot for comfort
And you can't get ice cream cones
T'ain't no sin to take off your skin
And dance around your bones
- T'Ain't No Sin

She said, don’t stop don’t stop don’t stop.  She said, oh god oh god.  She said, oh yes oh yes oh yes.  She said, don’t stop, oh god, oh yes.  She sings this devil’s chorus and oh no, oh god, I won’t stop.  All lovers perform the black mass; it is a secret ritual the body remembers with something down deep in the meat of us that is unlocked with prolonged eye contact.  Useless words cast off, lips mashed together we breathe each other’s breath, we taste each other’s water, we excite each other to greater frenzies.  Old Frimost knew the secret, that the furies were always just there beneath the skin hidden in the meat waiting just waiting to tear apart your Apollonian mores.  Christ was hardly the first mask worn to lead the Horribles in their triumph.  That thorny crown painting his face with the red mask of Mezzetino while he dragged his gallows through town.  Damn right he fucked that hooker, I mean just look at the signs.  Dude led the Night Circus through Jerusalem wearing the red mask.  She said, fuck .. god .. fuck.

Way back, before Mr. Lucky ran the night roads through the eastern Provinces he made acrobats and prostitutes at the back country crossroads of the old country.  Harlequin and Columbine, Mezzetino and Pantaloon.  In the beginning the circus and the brothel were intertwined inextricably with the fortune-tellers and story-tellers of Europe.  Columbine wore no mask (or top most usually) and engaged directly with the audience, be it on the cobblestone streets or in the marble halls of Kings and it was the audience who excited the performers into blasphemy.  Unlike contemporary media the audience was an innate part of every story, every performance of the commedie dell’arte and it was the job of Harlequin to drawn them into in the narrative and Columbine to hold them there.  It is not possible to casually incorporate the old mummer and mystery plays of the commedie dell’arte into contemporary western ceremonialism because they were largely unscripted and that says a lot about how far we have gotten from our roots.  All the sex and wonder gone right out of the thing.  Well, your thing anyway. 

Yet the connection is overt.  Janus Bifrons, the very ancient two-faced god of liminal spaces was widely used as an emblem for the early troupes and alongside Frimost (Dionysius Brimos) lord of the pimps is one of the few Greco-Roman deities to earn the dubious honour of being enshrined within the demonic catalogues of the rogue exorcists and pious inquisitors  of the Catholic Empire.  And if Mr. Lucky could ever be said to belong to anything it would be the liminal space so it should come as no surprise that old Janus and Brimos were ultimately counted among his cadre.  I don’t know as much as some about the old Greco-Roman stuff mind you but I figure there is a learning curve before me if the city beneath the city is all pillars and courtyards.  I am not yet done though with the limitless shanties, there are symbols here I have yet to grasp and I will stay with this first part of the dream until I have unmade them into something that works.  Fuck god I won’t stop oh yes oh yes.  You don’t listen to the stories they tell you, the gods are an untrustworthy lot and they’ll have you frothing at the mouth at Yonge and Dundas if you let them.  Yet, there is sometimes small treasures to be had rooting through their things when their backs are turned.  The current rash of demonolaters and Satanists don’t seem to have grasped that it is not the details of the story but the syntax and grammar used to tell it.

For days now the incense has burned for Harlequin and the Burlesque, several empty bottles tossed aside emptied of their spirits.  I can feel them gathering loosely behind me, the Dead of Winter, my striking party.  All Whiskey-Jacks and Tommy-Knockers, come to see this crusty phooka beat his big stick against the walls of the clapboard shanties and demand more cheap whiskey for the dead.  A Clown before a crowd of Horribles and behind his silent mask.  When I have them good and red-faced I shall lead them up the mountain and then you’ll be right for it. 

Oh yes oh yes oh yes, she said, oh god don’t stop. 

And oh no oh god I won't stop.


  1. Don't forget about how the root of Eulenspiegel runs through the early days of commedia dell'arte...

    1. Oh man, that is is some good stuff (had to wiki it). I have been mainly focused on links back the old Irish stuff because of familiar links. In Eastern Canada they never really evolved past the Mummer's plays but there are a number of intriguing links to the Germanic folklore that bear investigation. The parallels to Harlequin though are really overt. Thanks!