Tales From the Laboratorium

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…

Fade to black



The final instalment – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


 There was nothing else to do ; I braced myself against the blizzard and trudged out. The white-out of the snowstorm glared through me, accusing with cold. I felt ridiculous going out alone so late, nobody else would be out in this weather, and anyway it was sunday, again.I crossed the railway tracks again, freezing metal hidden under rapidly freezing snow.And then I knew where I was heading for.I watched for church spires, ducked through alleyways, almost impassable with wind driven drifts, slipping through archways in the old town narrow cobbled streets, turning confusing concentric circles and spirals, double backs and alleys and concealed back doors, an inscribed spinning mandala of deceit and self-delusion. Wheeling left into the broad spread at the crest of the hill, crowned by St. Vincent’s spire in semi-profile, gleaming big clock face hovering the hour over the arctic air, “Observe the time, my child…”I was blasted off the streets by the icy winter wind and buffeted through the heavy double swing doors, tumbling down the steps into a warm seedy cellar bar, a dive amongst dives, a hotbed of crime and confusion – The Bordello. “Sympathy For the Devil” was bouncing off the walls…more

Instalment Eleven – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


 The first I knew about it was a frantic message on the ansafone “The Spikes have split up. Ring me. Please”. But I’m afraid I ignored it. In semi-hibernation we lay low almost dreaming, in ice-cold caverns of bed clothes, where hands and feet froze into torture appliances of surgical steel. Bella and Jesus are spending the day in bed, again. It was sunday…more

Instalment Ten – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


The eternity heavy slow movement of dark wood and brass rotating doors spin in soporific circles, the age-old cafe off the high street. where we can watch the junkies waiting on the corner. The tourists horse-driven in carriages smile inanely at us waiting. I gaze dumbfounded around the vast cavern inside. Aching and waiting, the dreadful madness of pernicious drugs. I don’t feel comfortable, dark globes of stolen light of night hang from the nicotine brown ceiling, their throb barely piercing the gloom, sipping on acrid coffee, thick like green mucus, coughed up from cancerous lungs, arrangements of leather chairs, hardwood circular coffee tables and the hacking cough of aging patrons desiccating in dark air. We are waiting…more

Instalment Nine – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


 Of course it’s sunday, and we were trudging towards The Holy Shrine of the Bed of God’s Mother for some mass or other. For no other reason than it was the quickest way to check out who was still awake or alive on this awful slippery autumn sunday afternoon drag-out, hung over and weak, all over aching for something. Sky yellow, blue, even green shading like a bruise, festering snow and sleet. A slow stroll as far as the railway…more

Instalment Eight – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


 “You’ll forgive me Gordon, If I raise an eyebrow” I said.”Of course!” He chuckled “Nowadays we all know the dangers of the Excessive Behaviour Program””How is she now ?” I asked”Oh, the old girl’s still bashing away on a broken typewriter in an empty attic somewhere. She calls herself a writer these days, And talking of the Excessive Behaviour Program, Do you remember …

Doc Gordon’s Acid Birthday Jaunt…more

Instalment Seven – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


  In the summer heat the crowds spilled out up through the double swing doors, propped open, and spread across the tiny square. I elbowed and struggled my way down into the deep shady recesses of The Bordello. Dolly and the Marquessa were snuggled in the shadows, chatting and giggling, hugging each other and weeping with merriment. I was already turning on my heels. “Bella! Bella!” Dolly called after me. She was waving a xeroxed copy of something…more

Instalment Six – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


Through groggy panes of god-knows-what yesterday I woke into one drug-knows-what after another. Slumped on a nylon leopard skin carpeted toilet and felt Dolly dressing me for the next round of Partying. As always it was sunday sunday.First she rolled me into silk seamed stocking bra suspender belt knicker corset, laced me into thigh boots, and strapped me into elbow and knee pads, a soft padded crash helmet and the black lace satanist party-frock completed the ensemble.

After jolting black coffee, something nice to take the chill off my semi-permeable bones. We began to talk.

“A duller spectacle this earth of ours has not to show than a rainy sunday in London” Dolly recalled.

“What day is it? Where are we?” I asked Dolly suddenly.

“Same as always. We’re in the wrong. For centuries they’ve tortured and murdered our kind, shot, gassed, hung, impaled and burned us at the stake. For being different, for resisting tyranny, for refusing to agree. They’ve called us terrorists, guerrillas, schizophrenics, psychopathics, heretics and witches. they think they’ve demonised us out of existence. But we’re still here, out on the margins, beyond the pale. Lifeless yet Undead.” Dolly paused for dramatic effect, the story was reaching a conclusion. “So why should we care if they’ve fucked up and the whole worlds going down the pan”

“I don’t give a fuck” I intoned religiously.

“Me neither” Flashed Dolly, “Let’s go and party.”…more

Instalment Five – The Twisted Times of Bella Basura


 It is silent, there is no one where I am. All is white light silence and smears of colour merging into visions on journeys, then faces drift back into view. And the expensive spread of high class shopping mall, broad, pedestrianised. Tasteful christmas lights wink around objects I’ll never afford. Potted and be-ribboned christmas trees guard entrances to classy bars I’ll never enter. Swing out past the huge bronze statue of the walker, the wanderer, the man who walks the street. Standing fifteen feet high huge stride spanning the square, hard jaw defiantly forward, and loose shouldered swinging arms ending in angry curled fists. He glances shifty eyed behind him, and keeps his face fixed on the unending road ahead, at one and the same time. People scuttle past, without looking, or duck through his long legs late at night when they’ve had a few.From Dato Street to Station Road. We’re heading for the train station as cool as ice, collecting a strange parcel, waiting to check out the Madrid train, or just slipping across the tracks, scrambling over the rails to the far-side of town. Tonight we’re heading for The Cavern Of Dead Machines…more

Instalment four – Blabbliography in Psychogeography

This weekend (apart from spending a wonderful saturday evening with Phil From Uranus seeing John Cooper-Clarke) I set up a dedicated website for the The Twisted Times novel, up loaded the whole book and spent this morning editing and adding links. The site can be found here

Fourth instalment…

The Twisted Times of Bella Basura
Chapter Three
Blabbliography In Psychogeography

The eternity heavy slow movement of dark wood and brass rotating doors spin in soporific circles, delivering me into an age-old hotel lobby off the high street. I gaze dumbfounded around the vast cavern inside. I’m looking for Dolly who has an appointment with the Princessa Pestilence here. I look around and decide this not a place to feel comfortable in, dark globes of stolen light of night hang from the nicotine brown ceiling, their throb barely piercing the gloom, arrangements of low-slung leather chairs, hardwood circular coffee tables and the polite coughing of the aging patrons desiccating in air dark with constantly re-respirated smoke of century old acrid cigars and cheroots.

I notice a wafer thin smear of black velvet lurking at a corner table, and recognise the skull-faced medusa head of the Princessa...more