David Stevens

Archive for November, 2018|Monthly archive page

Things I like: monsters

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 7:53 am

I suspect he must have made his way into dream at some stage, for me to feel about him the way I did, though I have no memory of the dream itself.  It would not surprise me.  My parents recall that I ended up in their bed in the middle of the night after being terrified by a man dressed in a hairy suit on an episode of ‘Lost in Space’.

I remember seeing him interact with humans.  It was during a fund raising telethon, no doubt for a children’s hospital, and there he was on a lounge with other habitues of TV land (I don’t know how else to describe them, we did not have celebrities in those days, and in my head, the world of television was separate from but equal to the mundane world).  “He’s with other people”, I said to my father.  He was puzzled.  Years later, I understand Dad had no perception of how seriously weird my understanding of the world was, the bizarre conglomeration that no doubt all kids make of the bits of information provided to them*.  [For instance, Commander Strongarm.  He presented the morning cartoons on one channel.  The conceit was that he did this from an orbiting space station.  As I understood it, he arrived at work on time every Monday morning, then departed after the final cartoon on Friday.  Did I entertain the possibility that this was true?]

Perhaps it is not true that I have no memory of the dream.  Writing this, aspects of it rise.  A serious young man, sitting down, unfazed while about him great evils are committed.  Though he does nothing, somehow he is complicit, his presence facilitative in some way.  The age I was, and remembering other dreams, the great evil would have included harm to my mother and father.  And yet, no one did a thing about him.

The young man was Deadly Earnest, who presented weekly horror movies on television (a la Roddy McDowell’s Peter Vincent in the original ‘Fright Night’).  It was bad enough that he had his own world to which the rest of us were exposed each Saturday night, but here he was on a lounge chair chatting with other people, and they were laughing at him.  Didn’t anyone know?  Was this allowed?  Somehow he had leached out of his own place, and was spreading to other domains.

Knowing my parents, it cannot have been that they would deliberately have allowed me to see the introduction to Creature Feature or whatever it was called, at that young age.  Perhaps we had had visitors and for some reason the TV had been left on, unsupervised.  Sometimes i was up late when a sibling had a fever.  My father was a shift worker, and there were times when I could not sleep and I would sit with my mother.  For whatever reason, I saw Deadly Earnest.

Why write all of this?  I wanted to record one of my earliest memories.  I can remember being afraid in my bed.  i can remember some form of dissonance, that this person was allowed to be, to persist, was even encouraged by others, despite being associated with great evil.  Anxiety grew within, and I tossed, uneasy in my bed.  I can remember the feeling of growing fear and great stress.  Then all was better.  I was calm.  For I had made a decision.  I would murder Deadly Earnest.  I would remove him from the world, and all would be better.  I felt relieved, and sleep soon followed, the long, deep sleep of the innocent.

No wonder that (some) years later, I readily fell into the thrall of the vampire hunter.

*Perhaps I had been frightened and he had tried to reassure me at the time that he was only on TV, that he could not get out, he was just on that show, and yet there he was TALKING TO OTHER PEOPLE AND THEY WERE TALKING TO HIM

Here he is, the unscariest thing you will ever see.  But then, I understand there are even people who like clowns.

Advertisements

Things I like: the end of the world

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 5:21 am

In my comfortable childhood, how I longed for nuclear war(1).  My friends and I, we were prepared.  We didn’t have a bomb shelter, but we would make one in “The Darkies” (2) at fairly short notice.  We didn’t have supplies, but we knew where to get them, at the very last minute.  I convinced my mother to buy me “The Nuclear Survival Handbook” for Christmas.  I was set.  Far from the main action, we would not do too badly in Australia (I hadn’t read “On The Beach” at that stage).

What was the attraction?  I do not think that we were drawn to a life of hardship – die Hitler Jugend would not have found many willing recruits where I lived. (In primary school there had been a boy who wore lederhosen.  His name was Peter the German kid.  We could tell by his pants.  Apparently he could not be beaten in a fight, and so I was distraught when I heard that my little brother was in the wash sheds having a fight with him.  Turned out his invincibility was overrated.  Turned out too that he was Czech, and his family were some kind of refugees from behind the Iron Curtain.  Don’t press me on the details.)  A bit of it was the same attraction of gnosticism and cults – we know what is going to happen, and only we will be able to deal with it, with our insider knowledge.  Most of it was movies.  Adventure!  No authority!  We would be in charge of the crumbling ruins.  We even knew what to do if Russia invaded.  You just had to kill one soldier, then you had his gun, and could use that to kill a bunch of other soldiers, until they were all beaten and you had all the guns.  Hey, they won’t shoot us first, we’re just kids.

This was all stuffed by nuclear winter.  Instead of fighting psychic mutants and talking apes and riding on a horse with bikini clad Nova, at best we’d be wearing rags and pushing  a shopping cart through the Rockies and avoiding sand-shoed cannibal armies.  Not fun at all.  I went to university and attended Hiroshima Day marches and stopped nuclear war.(3)

 

READ MORE

 

Things I like: Here

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 4:44 am

I feel a great sense of gratitude that the great conspiracy that is life and the universe unfolded in a way this week that I was able to see David Byrne perform in concert in Sydney. I saw Talking Heads perform at Narara ’84 as part of the Stop Making Sense tour, and it was one of the great performances of my life. Kids, work, money, fatigue, all those things often convince me or lead me not to make the effort to see something or to venture out, but something deep inside told me to book the tickets and go. I won’t pretend that I had been a big follower of Byrne post Talking Heads, so I did not know all of the songs that he would perform. There was a niggling, oh, what if you don’t like them. I joke with my kids that I don’t like / want new things, that there was enough music made before 1990 that they can just stop now. Yet part of my love for Talking Heads was that they kept making new stuff, kept challenging me with their moves and changes. When I buy my concert ticket, I want to know that I am going to enjoy the thing because I already know and enjoy the songs. Part of the endless circle of thoughts going round and round. Well, for once, those thoughts were quietened. The inner chatter was stilled. The concert opened with a song that I did not know, and it blew me away. Byrne alone with a brain in his hand. Through the first four songs – Here, Lazy, (neither of which were familiar to me) I, Zimbra, and Slippery People, tears of happiness ran down my face. I can’t do reviews, but I will share that feeling with you. It was that good. That was Tuesday evening, and now it is Sunday afternoon, and I am still on a high. The concert, the performance, the untethered band, the energy and dynamism, it blew this old man away. Absolutely loved it. What a great joy. Thank you.

 

Things I like: Death

In Uncategorized on November 25, 2018 at 4:28 am

“You will be free; you will die and be reborn. I will guide you to what you want, and to what is fit and proper for you. Tell me what it is.”

“You don’t want me to kill the others …”.

The Intercessor inclined his head in a nod. “It is for each of them to decide. You may decide only for yourself.”

“I’d like to be a desert plant,” Seth Morley said. “That could see the sun all day. I want to be growing. Perhaps a cactus on some warm world. Where no one will bother me.”

“Agree.”

“And sleep,” Seth Morley said. “I want to be asleep but still aware of the sun and of myself.”

“That is the way with plants,” the Intercessor said. “They sleep. And yet they know themselves to exist. Very well.”

He held out his hand to Seth Morley. “Come along.”

Reaching, Seth Morley touched the Intercessor’s extended hand. Strong fingers closed around his own hand. He felt happy. He had never before been so glad.

“You will live and sleep for a thousand years,” the Intercessor said, and guided him away from where he stood, into the stars.

 

A Maze of Death, Philip K Dick