Author Topic: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)  (Read 211 times)

moleshow

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WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« on: April 17, 2017, 08:46:47 am »
HE IS RISEN?

in honor of Zombie Jesus, how about Wormwood for a week? we will all have good fun with this one. i can tell.
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

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moleshow

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Re: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« Reply #1 on: April 20, 2017, 12:40:40 pm »
(dont mind me, just bumping the thread because it got buried under redirects.)
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

moleshow

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Re: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2017, 11:58:07 pm »
(i will have my review up later, but this one is extended simply due to the fact that i, like many others, am busy. one more week.)
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."

zebehnn

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Re: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« Reply #3 on: April 24, 2017, 09:45:21 am »
one of the albums i need to listen more to
hanging by his hair and kill him are the stand-out tracks now
but ive only listened about 10 times to it

as i figure, this is where the residents
made a compromise With themselves
to dig deeper, as the 2000s were kinda Nice to them

CheerfulHypocrite

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Re: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 10:26:18 pm »
Imagine the Apocalypse is on the way. Not the amateur one from all those religious tracts. This is a genuinely possible and total destruction of society and all of the things. This Apocalypse would make the year 2000 indistinguishable from the year 1900. Like all good literature, the Millenium Apocalypse had been foreshadowed: on the 4th Of January 1975, the date overflowed the 12-bit field used in the Decsystem 10 operating systems resulting in numerous problems and crashes. An alternative format was developed, but nobody really took that much notice.

Quote from: Amos 5:7
For those who turn justice into wormwood And cast righteousness down to the earth.

Imagine having lived in a country for six months without being able to speak the language. Not only that, there is insufficient time to learn the language because you are the only one with the skills to do a thing. Everybody is kind - generous, even - but it is an isolating experience. There is very little conversation that you can take part in. The Internet is not as pervasive as it became in the 2000's. It could make you misanthropic. It could also bring you to rely on books. Reading. It could also persuade you the entire world is speaking in tongues and that the rare pieces you can understand are hugely valuable.

Quote from: Deuteronomy 29:18
So that there will not be among you a man or woman, or family or tribe, whose heart turns away today from the Lord our God, to go and serve the gods of those nations; that there will not be among you a root bearing poisonous fruit and wormwood.

You could end up reading a bible exegesis called The Harlot By The Side of The Road: Forbidden Tales Of The Bible by the 'amateur' Bible Scholar Johnathan Kirsch. Not because of any particularly religious impulse but because it explains the Bible as literature. The misunderstanding that brings the book to you is that of a French Colleague thinking it is erotica with a biblical theme and that, for some perverse reason, you might like it. France has a long and respectable history of the anti-clerical. The Philosopher Denis Diderot (1713-1784) wrote nun infested pornographic tales while Georges Bataille (1897-1962) wrote pornography under the name Lord Auch. The French have a reasonable, adult and civilised attitude to sex and religion.

Quote from: Proverbs 5:4
But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, Sharp as a two-edged sword.

Just before Easter 1998, I was offered a job in an English Speaking Country doing the same sort of programming things. Writing the same, esoteric programming languages, but able to speak English. After a fashion. In the right light. In a country rapidly changing as the Apocalypse approached. Good Friday 1998 was the official start of 'peace' in Northern Ireland. The Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta or Comhaontú Bhéal Feirste had just been signed and the Celtic Tiger (An Tíogar Ceilteach) was tigering. The world was awash with actual optimism.

Quote from: Hebrews 12:15
Be careful that no one falls short of the grace of God, so that no root of bitterness will spring up to cause trouble and defile many.

So it was, almost a year after last speaking to any of my family, living in a single room containing one bath, one single bed, one cooker and one storage heater and no room for anything else that I discovered that the Residents had released something new: "Wormwood". To celebrate I went out and obtained a bottle of Absinthe from a French colleague. Without knowing much about what Wormwood was actually about, I celebrated by getting very drunk and seeing la fée verte. From within a very intoxicated state, living just between Donnybrook (Domhnach Broc) and Ranelagh (Raghnallach) I conceived of the idea of not listening to Wormwood until I had seen a live performance.

To make the entire proposition worthwhile I would need a copy of the CD. Which would be a problem. I made some brief enquiries of colleagues at work. In the process, I discovered that Wormwood had a religious theme and would, therefore be censored. Despite Comhaontú Aoine an Chéasta, the Poblacht na hÉireann or Saorstát Éireann or Éire or whatever it was calling itself these days had not really left Medieval Europe. Despite being a country where, in Dublin (Baile Atha Cliath) the ratio of women to men was six to one and the average number of mobile phones per woman was four giving an average number of mobile phones to male at roughly twenty eight to one and Microsoft, Google and IBM were all building huge data centres, Ireland had not really left the Medieval Roman Church.

Divorce was illegal. Marriage was for life. Except where two people came to an accommodation for the benefit of the children. A future history of Ireland will probably include a huge section on the number of bigamists and the size of their families. Being Gay never happened. Except in Cork (Corcaigh) where it happened if you were a woman life guard at a public swimming baths. Despite which homophobia was not always a massive problem. The name of the most prolific road traffic offender was a "Mister" prawo jazdy - which turned out to be Polish for "drivers' Licence". You could go and see films in the afternoon and see a bunch of nuns watching Spice World to ensure it was not too corrupting. The sight of veils and wimples in a cinema and the sound of loud tut tutting while gently two pints of guinness is something to do. In Baile Atha Cliath when bored.

I was still saving the world from the upcoming Apocalypse. The one made of digital madness. By the time the Tour had been announced I had visited the Residents Website and I had imported a copy of Wormwood into Ireland. Thus causing an Irish Record Shop to become utter criminals for importing notionally banned material. This might well seem all very portentious but, bear in mind the context. In 1969, Samuel Beckett won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Being an Irish Citizen the State concluded that it should honour him. Under cover of darkness, a Military Policeman was give some money and despatched to London, to Foley's Bookshop to purchase copies of his works. This was necessary because he had been banned for the publication of More Pricks Than Kicks in 1934. The basic premise of the Irish State being the preservation of the Medieval Papacy virgo intacta.

Quote from: Samuel Beckett
Jérôme Lindon
Editions de Minuit, Paris

13.12.71                                                                                      Paris

Dear Jérôme
[trns. from Beckett's letter in French]

      For the English reader the title sends us back at once to the Biblical image "to kick against the pricks" (Acts of the Apostles, chapters 9 and 26, concerning Paul).  In French: "regimber contre les aiguillons."  In Italian: "ricalcitrare contro gli stimoli".  Which gives stimoli and calci as elements of a literal translation.  With loss of the assonance, and of the allusion too no doubt.  At a pinch just plain Novelle.
 

            All best
                  Sam

The Irish State has a long history of mistakes. Including the invention of English Literature. Which they then promptly and repeatedly banned. The Committee on Evil Literature was created in 1922 and reported in 1926. The committee consisted of three laymen and two clergymen, one Roman Catholic and one Church of Ireland, they met at 24 Kildare Street, Dublin. Which was not that far from the shoe box I was living in. Dublin is not a huge City. But there I was with three copies of Wormwood and so, promptly, compounded by crimes in the eyes of the Irish State by posting two away to other people in other countries. Thereby becoming a distributor of Obscene Material. Such are the extremes that working to prevent the Apocalypse drive you to. Had the Irish insisted on banning Irish Language Books they could, acording to Brendan Behan had encouraged the Plain People Of Ireland to learn their own language.

By New Year 1999 I was told that I would not be allowed to leave Ireland - and preferably not leave Dublin. The approaching Apocalypse needed to be prevented and we were the people to be doing it. And so, I needed to ask for a special dispensation, when the tour dates were announced. This I achieved by announcing that I had purchased tickets - I had not - for my Nephew, Niece and Myself - to attend at The Forum, London and that I had promised to take them to said venue. Without missing a beat, the Senior Manager of a mutinational company picked up the telephone and asked his secretary to obtain the crime statistics  for Kentish Town. Where it to be a hotbed of anarchy I would not be permitted to leave the Irish State without being summarily dismissed. They were taking the Apocalypse seriously. While Aoife struggled to talk to someone in London to determine if Kentish Town was Sodom and Gomorrah, Lorcan began to chat about Wormwood.

When I described the Residents as being anonymous and their past work being a little unusual I was quickly cornered into admitting that I had not listened to Wormwood at all and intended to only listen to it after seeing it performed. This was a surprise to Lorcan who immediately enquired into the Theory of Obscurity and so to the borrowing of the Compact Disc. Which means my boss heard Wormwood as both his first exposure to the Residents and as one of the Devout, an exposure to the untraditional, demythologising, exposition of the curious Biblical stories. It only dawned on me that Lorcan liked the music - or perhaps I have called a memory into existence - because he constantly whistled the first notes of the Burn Baby Burn vocal line for weeks.

Having determined that I was not going to be murdered, abducted or join Fagin's Criminal Horde in some bizzare rerun of Oliver Twist I was given permission to cross from Ireland - via Dún Laoghaire in a vehicle I could pick up at the Dock. Which I would then be allowed to drive to London, Via Ynys Môn (Angelsey) Liverpool and all points south to see the Residents perform live. Thus, on the Friday before the 19th of July, 1999, with the Apocalypse approaching I set out to hear something I had never heard before but had owned for some months. I was handed a mobile telephone, so I could be contacted, and set off.

First task: dump the mobile phone in the Irish Sea. Second task check the route to the Forum. Third task: ponder what the track titles meant.

Quote
01. In The Beginning
02. Fire Fall
03. They Are The Meat
04. Melancholy Clumps
05. How to Get a Head
06. Cain and Abel
07. Mr. Misery
08. Tent Peg in the Temple
09. God's Magic Finger
10. Spilling the Seed
11. Dinah and the Unclean Skin
12. Bathsheba Bathes
13. Bridegroom of Blood
14. Hanging by His Hair
15. The Seven Ugly Cows
16. Burn Baby Burn (Rub Barb Bunny)
17. Kill Him
18. I Hate Heaven
19. Judas Saves
20. Revelation  (Venial Rote)

Some seemed obvious. In reality, I would not be hearing any of them until after seeing them performed live. The Live performance would make them radically different. But to begin, before having heard anything, I was convinced everything would be some kind of Gregorian Chant, possibly in Latin. Having read Harlot At The Side Of The Road I was convinced that the stories were all some form of deviation from accepted, mainstream, American Christianity. Bizzarely, the copy of Harlot At The Side Of The Road had been purchased from Hodges and Figgis a marvellous bookseller of Dublin. Catering to both University College and Trinity College and to passing bibliophiles. But, I was convinced it would all be in some kind of Gregorian Chant because that is what you think when, at seven am each morning you hear the sound of the Religious doing their religious thing.

I first tried to turn them into anagrams. Hoping that, by rearranging the building blocks - as anybody familiar with the Theory Of Phonetic Organisation might think - but I simply got Venial Rote for Revelation. It was not much It took a lot of effort to find other anagrams and, realistically, I did not get more than the Venial Rote. But what I did get was to collect relatives en-route. Relatives who had now heard Wormwood and were brimming with desire to make me hear it before the Forum - which would negate all those months of not hearing it and confabulating an entire work within my mind.

Not altogether reliable for facts.

CheerfulHypocrite

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Re: WORMWOOD (Project of the Week for 17th of April)
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 10:30:20 pm »
Here I was, a code monkey saving the world from the Apocalypse and I needed to avoid hearing what I wanted to hear. The only real way was to expound - to rant - upon a theory of the identity of the [/i]Residents. Which meant a lot of shouting. Shouting in a car is actually a magnificent pastime when done correctly. In a correctly shouted car, the passenger can believe they are going to the shops and turn up in a city 200 miles away. Theories about the Identity of the Residents frequently work for shouting and driving. Thus it was theorised that I was secretly the controlling mind behind the Residents. That I was, in fact, a member.

The Membership theory had, admittedly, a lot of holes. To be a member would have had me being much older, much more American, much more involved in music and - this is the most significant thing - significantly more able to recall a large body of work. Not just picking at things here and there. The whole narrative, from my perspective, being shot full of holes. However, on balance, I did keep wandering off and I did seem to know more than was good for anybody about the Residents so I would be a good enough candidate until someone more appropriate came along.

In my defence I had to say that I had never noticed being a member. However, I was accused of having introduced too many people to the Residents when nobody else could find their work. This was not my finest moment. I was struggling to reconcile what I knew of the Residents with what other people had been told - frequently by me - about the Residents over a decade or so. My niece had been listening to the Residents prenatally and so was not inclined to believe anything that compromised the idea that the Residents were somehow not connected to growing up. What was decided was that one of the Residents is definitely female.

The Female Resident is a theory that holds up well with Wormwood. The clue is in the Bibilical quotation:

Quote from: Revelation 9:15
The four angels who had been prepared for this hour and day and month and year were released to kill a third of mankind.

The four angels were obviously the Residents and one of them was described as a fallen star and the gender was implied to be female because only one third of mankind would perish. Despite the general consensus that Angels are sexless,  this was reasonable shouting-theory. Which meant one, and only one thing: I was debarred from being the Female Resident. Locked in a car where the distractable driver was attempting to trundle along at seventy miles an hour while defending the idea that the Female Resident was a male voice impersonator - hence Mister Skull was merely miming to another singer who was offstage somewhere. Later in the evening, Molly Harvely would be proffered as proof of this wild claim. Indeed, the history of the Residents from Zeibak through to Peggy Honeydew were declared to be the obvious candidates. Which distracted from the allegations that I was, somehow, a Resident.

Later - much later - there would be a cross-stitch pattern created from the praying Resident cover to the compact disc. This cross stitch was part of the proof that the Female Resident is real. After all, what man stitches. Which was an absinthe induced theory from some years later: if there are things that are feminine such as cross stitch patterns then one of the Residents is obliged to be female. The swirl of shouting and theories made the anticipation of what the actual evening would be like incredibly vivid. Unlike other things - such as The Moleshow the whole of Wormwood was impressed upon my mind by the live performance. When I listen to Wormwood or even Roadworms there is always something missing. Just as there are men who cross-stitch, there are parts of Wormwood that I am convinced are missing on the compact disc. Have no illusion. I like it a lot. But it is not all there.

It was only after the Concert that I actually listened to Wormwood transferred onto tape and played at top volume while trundling up the M1 Motorway. In the post performance haze, the studio and the live merged in my mind into something that nobody but me can hear. The feat of listening Live before Recorded has, since the pervasiveness of the Internet, become incredibly difficult. Bunny Boy made that obvious. For many people it would be impossible to replicate the experience. In some respects, the No Music Day  on Saint Cecelia's Eve (21 November) as promoted by Bill Drummond of the KLF. There are no points of reference for other people. It is like the Gregorian Chant assumption I made. It is very much like The 17.

The KLF may well be the closes that the UK has ever come to the Residents. Not in sonic presence but in Artistic sensibility. In the 1980's they may have been called the Kensington Liberation Front by some people because The Manual was reputed to have been written in a Flat in Kensington somewhen after Bill Drummond walked out of the Everyman Theatre to get some Araldite. Later, Drummond wrote a book called 45. A recommended read that contains two chapters towards the end called Now That's What I Call Disillusionment 1 and 2. Titles which mimic, marvellously, the Now That's What I call Music... series of compilations. A series of collections somewhat parodies by the American Composer series. Drummond tells the story of how he and Echo and the Bunnymen guitarist Will Sergeant flew home from the US to see the Residents, in Birmingham Town Hall, of all places. There are rumours of touched eyeballs. The same story appears in a different guise in a different place. With the same touched eyeball. Then the KLF left the music Industry and, later  Bill Drummond founded a Choir called The 17 as a development of his interest in choral music after listening to Arvo Pärt. Drummond claims, "all recorded music has run its course" and that music should be a performed art form. Wormwood, now and again, convinces me that is absolutely true.

The 17 is a Choir that gets together and performs. It is not a recorded performance and there is an element of secrecy about it. Only those who take part get to hear the work. It is, in some respects, a kind of spiritual and cultural experience. One which is unique. One which can be talked about but never actually described. Which, is my approach to Wormwood. It is not something that I can analyse in depth because I know I have never really heard the recording. All I have heard is a mnemonic for the performance.

After listening to Wormwood in the Forum, there are several things that I automatically hear when I listen to Wormwood. First I hear the Overture of Jesus Christ Superstar and I hear the slamming of doors and the running of feet - we arrived as the concert was beginning. I also taste chocolate. In order to buy the Tickets from the Forum I needed to bribe the person at the Box Office, while in Dublin, with chocolates. This was a simple bribe to ensure they ordered the Tickets to be posted to Dublin and not collected from the Box Office. The vagaries of Ticketing meaning there was no actual way to send them to Dublin and so they could be collected from HMV in Liverpool. Life is not complicated. It just has details.

Our entrance was to be a rock star entrance. The sound  rolling out to greet us as we entered the rear of The Forum just as there was a moment of silence. Silence is the kind of thing that is very rarely actually there. Outside there was the sound of traffic. I could hear my heart rising into my skull. Beating. I could hear the Security saying, "It's about to start". Silence is too inexact a name for it. We entered at  the rear of the Forum looking at the stage there were figures moving and light shimmering. The entire room was filled with a crowd anticipating something that they already knew. The sounds, I assumed, would be familiar to them and alien to me. In the moment after we arrived there was a tiny, still moment. In that, genuine, silence I heard my niece uttering the words, quietly and with joyful awe, "Wow. They are real".
Not altogether reliable for facts.

moleshow

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OLD TALK ^
---
NEW TALK v
"All our lives we love illusion, neatly caught between confusion and the need to know we are alive."