Lap Steel Guitar - Ultra-Ironic Commentary on Sexism - Tiny Reference to 'How to Constrict Anus Etc' / Elizabeth Bathory / 'Immoral Tales' / Palomo(a) Picasso - Marianne Faithfull - Hate and Fear - Dire Straits - The Unsayable
In my quest to own one of every type of instrument - except for those which require the player to drain out surplus phlegm - I have ordered a lap steel guitar from an online music shop which I will not name. There are a surprising dearth of online musical instrument shops in the UK. Christ, Google have just done their IPO, four years late, although with a more plausible figure of two point seven billion dollars, which is nothing. I want to stress as a British person that the word 'billion' means 'thousand million' in the UK. It never, ever means 'million million', despite what is written elsewhere. 100,000,000. When The Times and The Daily Telegraph write about something being worth or consisting of billions of things, they mean 'thousand million'. I did not know the word 'milliard' until I read Erich The Viking Von Braun Daniken Skywalker's 'Chariots of the Gods?', admittedly I was six at the time but I was reading books before then. Billion has nine zeroes. It has nine zeroes. It has nine zeroes. If you visit the UK and write out a billion with twelve zeroes people will think you are writing about hundreds of billions.
Right now the top headline on Yahoo.com is "9/11 panel quizzes Bush, Cheney for hours", a phrase which I find surprisingly erotic entirely for the phrase 'for hours'. It is the extended and inescapable suffering of individuals that excites me.
Lap steel guitar, but in blue:
Lap steel guitars impress me because they can be rested on a table. Growing up as both a computer user and a frequent eater of food from plates, I am naturally drawn to things which sit on a table. Lap top computers for example; as with lap steel guitars they are supposed to sit on one's lap, but make more sense on the table. I find lap top computers extremely hard to use whilst sitting in my lap, especially given that I am prone to involuntary erection of the penis.
If I was really crude and/or drunk I might add that women are, however, equally fine whether on the lap or on the table but I can't say that, I can't, because it's terrible. Before you write in saying that I'm being sexist - I'm not. For a start, I've just bought a lap steel guitar, a guitar unlikely to attract women. Women flock to guitar players because guitars are like big cocks, whereas lap steel guitars are like big baguettes or stools or salami, and women prefer human flesh to that of the animal. Flesh flows from the organs of woman, and in turn they consume flesh. This explains the female desire to be penetrated, an activity which would otherwise be as horrific as the naked lunch which so disgusted William Burroughs. But how to explain the lesbian, that bathes in blood? Homo-superior, or effective way?
I know very little about the history of lap steel guitar. The instrument is used a lot in both country and western, to produce the twangy, 'eeewww-wahhh-eeewww' sound that precedes tales of brides dumped at the altar and/or the bad man who rode into town and/or realising that one will never be driven through Paris in an open-topped sports car, with one's hair streaming in the wind...
Because of course there is no Paris. Not the Paris of the imagination. Even if one were to hire a Triumph Herald convertable and drive down 1 Rue Paris through the gate that's in those photographs with the Nazis, it would not be Paris. City of urine and subways and rain and the echoes of Stuart Wyatt's digital delay unit. Modern city of Hondas and mobile telephones and People Who Are Relatively Atypical. Ernest Hemingway is dead. Killed himself. No-one like him today, not writing great works of literature at any rate. The dragons that made men heroes have all been slain, and we have slain the heroes ourselves.
I plan to use the guitar to create ambient music, perhaps even ambient C&W, as in the case of the KLF's 'Chill Out'. I will fail. But it will be more exciting than playing 'Close Combat : Invasion Normandy' over and over and over again, playing on the side of the Nazis, who have appeared once before in this message.
In the UK from about 1936 to the mid-80s the Nazis were essentially comical figures, on account of the UK's distance from Nazi occupation, and from the works of Giles, the cartoonist for the Daily Express. The death and destruction of the 'blitz' was terrible, but impersonal; the bombers did not have faces, the bombs came from the black night sky and the damage was only visible in the morning. And of course we won, it's hard to hate somebody who you've smashed. It is hard to have hate without fear, and who feared the Nazis in 1946? I count 'loathing' as something separate from 'hate', it's closer to nose-wrinkling 'disgust' than the active will-to-kill of 'hate'. I speak as someone who is filled with hate, someone who identified too much with 'Seul Contre Tous' and the first half of 'Full Metal Jacket' - I hated Private Pyle - and for that matter 'Taxi Driver'. By 1946 we had other fish to fear, but even then the fear was not so much of the Soviets but of their bombs.
My slogan for today is therefore 'it's not the man, its the megaton'.
Lap steel guitar, etc. There is such a thing as a pedal steel guitar about which I know little - another WW2 reference there - and also there is just 'steel guitar'. There is one of the cover of Dire Straits' 'Brothers in Arms'. The thing that dates that album cover is not the picture, which has a 'Tubular Bells'-esque timelessness to it, but the pink border around it:
Also, whilst we're on the subject of Dire Straits, has anybody else here considered suicide? No, I'm joking. I mean to say 'has anybody else here wondered exactly how a photograph of a steel guitar in front of some sunlit clouds illustrates the phrase/concept/song 'Brothers in Arms''? It's striking that the one thing you'd expect to see holding a guitar - arms - are absent, insofar as 'the one thing' can be 'are' rather than 'is'. Although I think at the time that Mark Knopfler's brother was in the band. He must be so bitter and hate-filled right now, for his own brother, too. I don't have a brother, but to be so angry that you'd consider torturing and strangling your own brother must be very angry indeed.
I find myself opening many of my writings with 'In my quest to X'. Dearth, phlegm, diverse, precedes, surplus, all of these words are signs of a large and diverse vocabulary, or at least one which is slightly above-average.
I have discovered Television, the band. They used guitars - two of them, and a third doing the bass. I believe my next writeup will be a more accurate, more forceful translation of 'The Horst Wessel Song'. Oh, to have been a part of it. Even if it was doomed, and evil. To have been there, to have been a hero, if only for one day and in one's own mind and the mind of others similarly deluded, and with the dread fear of the biggest hangover in history after the party.