Rite of Passage

In my day jumping the trains to London was a teenage rite of passage. As outlandish and mythical as it may now sound, there once really was a magical spiral staircase at Finsbury Park, and it fed directly down into the London Underground. Truth to say everybody knew about it, everybody used it and everybody took it for granted. Like a down-snake, or a disused helter skelter, it was a ride, a trick, a trick of transformation. All you  needed was a bit of vim and nerve and you could transform an invalid overground rail ticket into a newly-minted 3-zone London travelcard.  In one quick downward dive you could fall from Finsbury overland, spiralling right down into the tube network, and so into the throbbing veins of central London itself, and all for th price of a 3-zone travelcard. Jumping the trains into London was a veritable teenage craze, in my day.

Having said all that, the charm only seemed to work going into London. We overstretched ourselves mortally when we tried to dodge out, away from London. Notable was the time we tried to jump the trains as far North as we could get, and were apprehended in Birmingham, after Leicester Central had telegraphed ahead, with our descriptions and modus operandi. So when we did our handbag-drop-bum-rush routine on them for the night train out of New Street, they were already wise, and held us in a holding cell while they waited for the Transport Police. We had to phone my friend’s big sister. We were only set free after she finally showed up, gave some uniform some money, smiled winningly and flirtatiously at the right people and was heard berating us as she stomped us to her car.

“Next time” Big sister snarled “Phone someone else instead”.

Dreamflesh revisited

In the 1990s one of my favourite small press publications was the seminal  Unlimited Dream Company series – Towards 2012 – it’s editor – Gyrus – produced a stable of beautifully themed cutting edge factual anthologies at the end of the twentieth century.

In 2006 Gyrus started a new journal – Dreamflesh, which he subtitled “A Journal of  Body, Psyche, Ecological Crisis and Archaeologies of Consciousness”. The list of contributors was an impressive roll call of writers working in marginal spiritual and philosophical paradigm, the whole was a smorgasbord of the strange and the alluring.

Dreamflesh Journal cover art by Amodali

Dreamflesh Journal cover art by Amodali

This month Gyrus has been posting the whole journal online, reprinting the articles and drawing out ideas that have persisted and flourished in the intervening 11 years.

In the web reprise  Gyrus summarises the  project: “Dreamflesh Journal documented an eclectic range of ideas, investigations and experiments informed by this complex ecopsychological framework. Essays, interviews and art ranged over many facets of human and non-human life that seem to be important to this transition: dreams, altered states, visionary media, occultism, sexuality & gender, animism, collective intelligences, psychosomatic healing, bodily symbolism, cognitive linguistics, new materialism, creatively disciplined prehistorical and anthropological studies, images & spirit (iconoclasm, idolatry, anthropomorphism, fetishism), death & dying, depth psychology, ecology… to name a few.”

Back in 2005, when I first heard that Gyrus was planning to edit a new journal I wrote a piece specially, my concern was female facial and body hair and I enjoyed myself writing a selected history of hirsute women. Then I sent in off to Gyrus.

A few months later  I heard it had been accepted. I was delighted to have my piece included in Dreamflesh, it  gave me the biggest readership I had ever had, I felt like I’d arrived, more than this, I felt I’d  been accepted into a publication so inspiring that it left me in awe. And the Journal was certainly well-received, The Guardian called it “a bastion of the esoteric”, and not long after the Journal was released it was reviewed in Fortean Times “There is a dimension way, way out where flesh and dream coalesce, explored by people with names such as Orryelle Defenstrate-Bascule, Gyrus, Bella Basura, Pablo Amaringo and Lars Holger Holm, not to mention the formidible Dave Lee”. And that wasn’t all, wonderfully, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, the transgender founder of Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV, wrote of Dreamflesh “I felt EXCITED as I read. No mean feat. I truly was inspired”.

In the original introduction to the Journal Gyrus evaluated the role of traditional publishing in an increasingly digitized world, “The existence of the web can goad us into a sharper awareness of how print media impact the environment, in turn encouraging us all — in both writing and reading — to try to make every piece of paper and every drop of ink count. ”

 

Links

Strawberry fair Armpit Hair

Dreamflesh

 

 

 

 

Fish Mythology – Flash Fiction

Finally, I have managed to capture in words my tumultuous feelings around the death earlier this year of my one-time Hero, freak out to the Teenage Moon Dream oh yeah! – David Bowie. The piece is a 100 word Flash Fiction story, that has a specifically East-Anglian setting because I live in East-Anglia.The piece, Fish Mythology, is sub-titled “if David Bowie had been born an Eel instead”

 

Fish Mythology By Bella Basura

Eel Bowie-Fish

 Here Eel Bowie-Fish fell, brandy-drunk, face down in the Ouse.
Down where Bulrush buds waver in clear still water, beneath we writhing bottom-feeder shoals, we elvers and catfish, he deep under layers of earthy mud, dark dead debris.

Here in leaf-litter and rot lies the corpse of old Eel Bowie-Fish, who lead us to conquer the Isle of Ely, on the Fen he crawled on his fins, on the floodplain he walked on his tail, like a bishop, into the Cathedral, resplendent in his flowing robes.
But here lies Eel Bowie-Fish , decomposing in slow-motion undulations, while we pick his bones white.

Bella Basura’s in progress Flash Fiction Anthology – The Short Answer

Bella Basura
Feb. 2016

HOME TOWN

Home Town

Visit my Gallery

I’m re-posting this detournment because a friend recently introduced to friend who used to live in my home town, listening to him, it struck me how negative my view of the old place was. Maybe that’s because I went to school there and he chose to move to the town as a young adult. He spoke of a scene and good times, but I mainly remember always being in a rush to catch a train out of there.

NOTE
Over the next few weeks I intend doing maintenance on my site – mending broken links and re-jigging the archive – so please bear with me if it all goes to shit and falls off the internet. It is temporary. I will be back.

Strawberry Fair Armpit Hair

…Similarly, the radical lesbian photographer, Della Grace, championed this theatrical masculine posturing during the drag-king craze of the early 1990’s. If I remember aright, drag-kings were gangs of beautiful light-hearted lesbian women who invaded clubs dressed in mens suits. They greased back their hair, stuffed paunches under their shirts, packed dildos in their pants & faked or grew facial hair. They were playing with notions of gender identity, & having a laugh. Della Grace immersed herself in this scene & photographed it from within. When asked how she came to grow a moustache herself, she replied that she just stopped plucking it….READ MORE

Tales From the Laboratorium

Meanwhile…
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

 

 

Temporary suspension of blog-sequence

Unfortunately I have been forced to suspend further blog postings in The Wall of Girls Blog-sequence as I have been sent on a DWP Work Programme. This means I shall be expected to attend a full-time two week course until I find a job. Please watch out for further posting, which hopefully will resume soon.

In the meantime, please occupy yourselves with these thoughts on life on the dole, which were written between 1997 and 2001.

Godseekers Allowance
The Truth about the Cult of St. Giro
Uncanny Experiences in the Temple of Jobcentre
Which fed to my second novel – The Muse Trap

Please also don’t forget the online serialisation of my first novel
Thee Twisted Times ov Bella Basura

Book Review of The Trials of Arthur

trials arthur cover

The Trials of Arthur – Revised Edition By Arthur Pendragon & CJ Stone
(Published by The Big Hand 2012 Kindle version ISBN 0956416365 )

When the mythical once & future King Arthur Pendragon retreated with 12 of his knights to a mountain cave, to lie asleep and awaiting the clarion call to arise and come forth to Britain’s aid, I very much doubt he suspected he’d be re-incarnated in the twentieth century as a “mad biker Druid Eco-warrior cider-belly King of all Britain, with knobs on it”.

This updated and revised biography of our modern-day King Arthur tells the story of the wild west-country biker, previously known as  ‘Mad Dog’, ‘Geronimo’, ‘Ace’, or ‘Wolfdog’, who changed his name by deed poll to King Arthur Pendragon and stepped up to the defence of Albion…read more…