I originally posted this back in May last year – it was intended as the first in a blog-series of Gordon Tripp’s memories. Unfortunately my imagination was arrested in this pilot episode…
Voice over: What IS Doctor Gordon doing? Why, he’s dawdling and meandering through the Bella Basura back catalogue…
Cue: scary, slow, plinky-plink avant-garde 1970s electronic music
A title sequence of still images: zooming out from blurred meaningless close ups in b/w that take the form of simulacra – a man eating a magic mushroom, a terrapin, a needle and a spoon, the Willendorf Venus, an inverted pentagram, the great pyramid of Giza, other stupid things – meaningless. A skull.
Titles: lurch out over the images in bold Baskerville typeface
Tales From the Laboratorium
Narrated by Doctor Gordon Tripp
Final image : The Doc sitting in a winged red comfy chair in his Laboratorium smoking a roll up, candle-lit, of course.
Doc: The BBC have banished me to the bowels of Bella Basura’s archive. To find examples of her oeuvre, to find the treasure buried beneath the shit, the diamonds in the dung-heap. Indeed I have been commissioned to curate the befuddled maunderings of the hebephrenic poet-thing called Bella Basura into a coherent structured TV mini-series.
Cue: a few bars of Doc Gordon’s theme tune – Terrapin – Syd Barrett .
Doc: Enigmatically, to say La Basura, as she became known in later days, was an enigma, is an enigma, in and of itself. Thus I shall refrain from further myth-creation and tell it like it was, and go straight for the jugular. I first encountered Bella Basura (banshee howl) whilst she was a participant on a government sponsored Enterprise Allowance Scheme that meant her dole money was paid directly into a government sponsored bank account while she pursued the tremulous task of being a free-lance writer. Basura (banshee howl) used the money – £36 a week at the time – to bum around Amsterdam inventing characters for an imaginary novel. She did this solidly for a year, the whole duration of the scheme, and that was the year we met. It was the early 1990s and although it now sounds glamorous and implausible , it was universally perceived at the time as a government policy to massage the unemployment figures and also as a convenient loophole for creative slacker-types. Bella (banshee howl) didn’t mind. In fact, she still uses her year as “a freelance author in Holland” on her CV, obviously it looks better than “on benefits”
(clap of thunder).
Clearly, I digress (sputtering).
(Sputtering ) (Again).
About a year after I met Basura (banshee howl), that is 6 months after the end of her Enterprise Allowance , she turned up unannounced and needy at my Laboratorium in Camberwell, South London. Broken and dishevelled as ever, it was obvious that she was back on the dole, and to no beneficial end. She burbled at length at me and eventually left suddenly, enstupored and intoxicated in some indeterminate manner, she left incoherently stumbling, spewing A4 pages. As she stumbled she knocked against the kitchen table and sent a thick purple crayon careening to the floor where she insensately ground it into the kitchen lino with her great wasted hobnail boot. This created a weirdly tentacled stain that I have never been able to erase, to this very day, no matter what products are used.
For over a decade in the slow-burning bile of resentment and envy, that I naturally excel in, I pointedly reminded Bella (banshee howl) of the incurable stain every time she visited me . Thus does a Scorpio deal with a Leo. Or (symbol for scorpio) square (symbol for leo), for those with astrological leanings.
(a clap of thunder)
Clearly, I digress.
The horrors which Basura (banshee howl) barely speaks of in this piece are almost beyond words. Unspeakable to some. And yet Basura (banshee howl) is a poet and words are her craft, her tools in trade, the building blocks of her very brain. So mouth the words she must, in essence she told me she had encountered a ghost of the future, a future-shadow. A premonition no less that had begun to imbed its tentacles deep into poor Bella’s (banshee howl) fragile mind, she began writing ceaselessly and frantically.
In actuality, there was much rumour back in those far-flung days of the coming to our shores of a dark new American-style benefit system called “work-fare” and it would force claimants into unpaid jobs in supermarkets in order to deserve or ‘earn’ their dole-money. Myself I thought it an urban myth, but I was wrong. It was nothing less than a precursor, a progenitor and the true birth-mother to the terrors of “Work Programme”, under whose draconian tyrannies we now toil.
The following piece is one of Bella Basura’s earliest expositions of this dreadful prediction …The GodSeeker’s Allowance…
Fade to black