That is not dead, which can eternally play on loop!
A slight change of pace my friends, as we explore not the secrets of Geopolitics, but rather the secrets of an all together non-terrestrial variety! Enjoy…
One short month ago, one of the greatest rock and roll stars of all time shuffled off this mortal coil, and joined the pantheon of other celestial luminaries in the great CBGBs in the sky…, or did he? David Robert Jones (also known as Mr. David Bowie), master of reinvention, musical Picasso, and guy you most wanted to look like in a pair of skinny jeans when you were twenty, or a well tailored suit when you were thirty, or a high button jacket when you were…, well, you get the idea, passed away almost exactly one year short of his three score years and ten. The cause of death – while tragic – is not our concern, nor is lionizing the man’s body of work which has been done to far better extent by other, far more talented writers than myself. However, whilst perusing said back-catalog of vinyl masterpieces I was struck by a bizarre notion – one that I think has been tickling the periphery of my cerebral cortex for years without being acknowledged, but has now sprung, fully formed, into consciousness and is screaming for attention – namely this; that David Bowie was, in actual fact, the living reincarnation of the 8th century’s most inspired mental artist, the “Mad Arab” of fortune, master of the esoteric epiphany, and all round metaphysical maestro, the infamous Abdul Alhazred. Yes, THAT “Mad Arab,” author of the Necronomicon, seeker after truth, and a man who REALLY new what it meant to suffer for his art.
Now I know this is a lot to take in at first glance, but stick with me here, people. I have what I believe to be telling substantiation to back up this extraordinary claim. The evidence in question is, I feel, best understood as a direct testimonial from the very lips of the author himself – the recorded utterances of a genius whose mind was stretched to the very limits of comprehension (and possibly beyond them), but who somehow made it back from the abyss, and then also somehow made it into a recording studio in South London during the drug induced free-for-all that was the music scene in Britain in the 1970s – followed shortly thereafter by a sojourn in Berlin. After all, if you are going to delve deeply into the utter horrors of the realms that reside beyond the boundaries of the mundane, then there is nothing like a little German intellectualism to get you nice and depressed for the soul destroying journey ahead. – ask any 2nd year Philosophy student, and they will tell you the same. As one eloquent commentator put it:
“Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal; that all things appear as they do only by virtue of the delicate individual physical and mental media through which we are made conscious of them; but the prosaic materialism of the majority condemns as madness the flashes of super-sight which penetrate the common veil of obvious empiricism.” HPL
So pour a glass of your favored Absinth, take a pinch of bhang, and settle in for a stroll in the fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone the early Bowie discography.
The following testimonial is compiled from fragments of the collected works of Mr. David R. Jones, Entertainer. Aside from the striking imagery, keen observers will also note the unorthodox quatrain system employed in many of these quotations, not unlike the ruminations of that other most enigmatic of mystics, Michel de Nostredame. I should add that I am limiting myself to taking a few scraps from here and there. To do a thorough examination would take a mind not only more capable, but also more resolute than my own feeble grey matter can attest to.
“God! What wonder that across the earth a great architect went mad” HPL.
The ever effusive Mr. Bowie had a strangely dichotic love/hate relationship with the notion of madness – not the least of which was the constant theme amongst his more psychotic works of the revelatory nature of insanity as a frame of reference. Reality, it would appear, was not just a construct that served to dull the senses to the horrors beyond, but also a membrane to be pushed aside, in search of greater truth. In “All the Madmen”, Bowie insists that – Day after day they take some brain away – Then turn my face around to the far side of town – And tell me that it’s real – Then ask me how I feel. Quite who “they” are is open to debate, but for those of us who are familiar with the mysteries of the Great Old Ones, it easy enough to divine. Similarly, in “Quicksand” our erstwhile guide states that he is – torn between the light and dark – Where others see their targets divine symmetry – Should I kiss the viper’s fang or herald loud the death of Man – I’m sinking in the quicksand of my thought. The imagery here is key, and we will return to this illustration of the quixotic binary choice of humanity or divinity that is so indicative of Lovecraftian prose in short order. On the plus side, Bowie at least holds out a glimmer of hope for those driven mad by the hideous light of unfiltered knowledge, as he attempts to console the despairing listener with the empathetic solicitations of a fellow lunatic – Oh no love! you’re not alone – No matter what or who you’ve been – No matter when or where you’ve seen -All the knives seem to lacerate your brain – I’ve had my share, I’ll help you with the pain – You’re not alone! Perhaps the most poignant recognition of the cost of enlightenment comes in the following eponymous lament, whereby – Clutches of sad remains -Waits for Aladdin Sane – You’ll make it .
“At night, when the objective world has slunk back into its cavern and left dreamers to their own, there come inspirations and capabilities impossible at any less magical and quiet hour.” HPL.
Following inexorably on from this discussion of delusional degradation, we find that this modern day Virgil, acting as guide through the ever descending degrees of the abyss, often highlights the notion of the dreamscape as the conduit through which both the truth – and the horror – of existence is divulged. To be clear, it is both the revelatory nature of the subconscious as a medium for enlightenment, and the malleable nature of time as a construct unhinged from its anchor within the Morphic realm that combine to illuminate and horrify us in our guise as the ever stumbling Dante. An Occasional Dream exhorts that – In our madness – We burnt one hundred days -Time takes time to pass – And I still hold some ashes to me. Given the propensity within the works of Lovecraft to also mock the hideously limiting Euclidian notions of linear progression (both temporal and Cartesian) from point A to B, it is no wonder that Abdul, er…,I mean David, seeks to express his contempt for such crass, illusory figments, akin to Plato’s allegorical shadows cast upon the wall of the cave of ignorance, whereby – Shapes of things before my eyes – Just teach me to despise – Will time make man more wise – Here within my lonely frame – My eyes just hurt my brain – But will it seem the same? This conundrum is a clarion call to those who, in their rejection of so called “reality” also reject their closeted status amongst the quivering masses for whom, “none are so blind, as those that will not see.”
Take that, materialism!
“We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far.” HPL
Still, the question remains of what we should look to for meaning in existence. Or, more to the point, where we should look to, and in this regard our erstwhile Major Tom provides a succinct answer: the vast, inky expanses of the cosmos, with all of the mind-bending reaches of the abyss, the incessant coldness of entropy, and the scattered, blindingly intense pinpoints of light that serve to both frame the darkness, and to burn away the illusion of significance of the individual – the Stars! Indeed, once on the path to – stepping through the door – (of non-Euclidean calculus and quantum physics which, in the words of HPL, are “ enough to stretch any brain”) it is little wonder that this Mephistophelian Magellan of the metaphysical described himself as – floating in a most peculiar way – and the stars look very different today. Different indeed, in both a haunting and a horrifying manner – a true Spatium Monstrum if ever there was one, for what is it that lurks in the outer reaches of cold, infinite space, as well as within the hot, dank recesses of human frailty and despair? A nod is as good as a wink, to them as knows the truth, n’cest pas? And herein lies the rub, as it were! For as terrifying as the “truth” may be (and I use that term loosely), it is also compellingly seductive. Bowie is at his most lucid and captivating when he exhorts the charismatic nature of oblivion, and the inexorably appeal of the coiled majesty that exudes from the mighty entity (or entities) asleep within the void – How you moved is all it takes – To sing a song of when I loved – The Prettiest Star. Beautiful because of the limitless intensity of ancient power, and inexorable due to the timeless nature of eternal presience – One day, though it might as well be someday –You and I will rise up all the way – All because of what you are – The Prettiest Star.
Is it madness to wait upon the inevitable, or simply a matter of gleefully accepting the approaching darkness? For some it is a matter of attempting to hasten the day of reckoning – Look out your window I can see his light – If we can sparkle he may land tonight – Don’t tell your poppa or he’ll get us locked up in fright! I should take a moment here to point out that I am not accusing either Ziggy or the Spiders from Mars of being cultists – and yet I believe Longfellow said it best when he opined “Though the mills of God grind slowly; Yet they grind exceeding small; Though with patience He stands waiting, With exactness grinds He all.” In other words, it does not do to call down the attention of the Gods, no matter how enthralling they might appear…
We should consider ourselves suitably warned – for all the good that will do us!
“Ph’nglui mglw’nafh Cthulhu R’lyeh wgah’nagl fhtagn.” In his house at R’lyeh dead Cthulhu waits dreaming – HPL
Which leads, as day (hopefully) follows night, to the most important question of all; for whom – or for what – are we waiting? If you have made it this far into the piece then I feel certain you have a pretty good idea. However, what does the Thin White Duke of despair have to say on the matter? Well, quite a lot, as it turns out. One might even suggest that His Grace lays out a very specific vision of the road ahead. A less cautious man than myself might even go so far as to state that the following selections suggest a very clear view from the first floor window of the Gilman House in Insmouth….
Imagine, if you will, a well dressed man sitting with his back to the door, a tincture of laudanum and Amontillado close at hand, while a small notebook crammed with tiny, frantic writing appears to have dropped listlessly to the floor at his feet. His eyes briefly register your presence, before turning once again towards the window, and the somber dying of the miasmic afternoon light. You take a seat, and glance down at the open pages, where you can just make out the last entered passage – And in the death – As the last few corpses lay rotting on the slimy Thoroughfare – The shutters lifted in inches in Temperance Building – High on Poacher’s Hill – And red, mutant eyes gaze down on Hunger City. Yes, well there is little you can say to that, really, now is there?
Attempting to rally your wits, you lean forward in order to solicit a response from the seated gentleman, who’s shock of blond hair is tousled carelessly in every direction, yet still somehow looks impeccably coiffured. As you lean in you can hear a gentle murmur whispered upon his breath… “Where sad-eyed mermen tossed in slumbers – Nightmare dreams no mortal mind could hold – A man would tear his brother’s flesh -A chance to die – to turn to mold.” Repulsed, you stagger backwards, knocking over the table and dashing the wine glass onto the floor with a crash that sharply pierces the moribund gloom of the chamber. The figure turns to you once again, and appears to see you for the first time. A moment later he speaks, answering the half formed question that sits trapped behind your lips – “I’m not a prophet or a stone age man – Just a mortal with the potential of a superman – I’m living on – I’m tethered to the logic of Homo Sapien – Can’t take my eyes from the great salvation.” What perverse salvation can this be? The dreary light of the Esoteric Order of Dagon shines across the courtyard outside, calling to your subconscious dread from the dilapidated temple on the other side of the street, yet even this is not the real vision that illuminates the madness behind your companion’s eyes. A strong, pale hand reaches out and takes hold of your lapel, drawing you in towards the pleasant, yet frightening, smell and the piercing, mismatched eyes of the self depreciating seer. His one dilated pupil holds you petrified, as he leans in and whispers gently into you ear – “We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when – Although I wasn’t there, he said I was his friend – Which came as some surprise as I spoke into his eyes – I thought you died alone, a long long time ago.” Oh no! Not him! He never lost control! You’re face to face with the man who sold the world!
And so we take our leave of this time, and of this place. We reflect upon the insight and audacity of the man with a thousand names, and a thousand personas, who exemplified the mercurial nature of identity, and of reality, and of certainty. As the light fades from the world, and the shadows swallow Insmouth, we are left to try and divine what has just occurred to us, and what we intend to do with that knowledge, always supposing we are mentally equipped to handle it in the first place. That is not dead, which can eternal lie, and with strange aeons even Death may die. For my part, I choose to believe that Adbul slumbers on, and only a credulous fool would suggest that it is mere coincidence he does so in the cold, dark embrace of Davy Jones’ locker!
The final word should go, as a matter of courtesy, to the great Mr. Bowie. This is, without question, the clearest proof of his reincarnation, and the final warning to those of us left behind on the dead branches of the evolutionary tree.
Look out my window and what do I see
A crack in the sky, and a hand reaching down to me
All the nightmares came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay
What are we coming to?
No room for me, no fun for you
I think about a world to come
Where the books were found by the Golden ones
Written in pain, written in awe
By a puzzled man who questioned what we were here for
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay
Look at your children
See their faces in golden rays
Don’t kid yourself they belong to you
They’re the start of a coming race
The earth is a bitch, we’ve finished our news
Homo Sapiens have outgrown their use
All the strangers came today
And it looks as though they’re here to stay
Oh You Pretty Things
Don’t you know you’re driving your Mamas and Papas insane!
Let me make it plain
You gotta make way for the Homo Superior