DC's

The blog of author Dennis Cooper

A Memorial to Simon Morris by Dan Shea and Rick Clarke

1. THE LAST DESCENT
“I’m sick of looking at me
Inside I’m young and vital
Inside I’m alive please take me away
I want some magic to sweep me away
I want to count to five
Turn around and find myself gone
Fly me through the storm
And wake up in the calm
Inside I’m young and pretty
Too many things unfinished
My very breath taken away”

What now? What then? What always?

You had a book reading in LA. La Dee Da. This was yet another turn on this strange and fateful path that didn’t need to be taken. Tired Eyes Slowly Burning. And then some. It was only after the death that we saw what was going on. We read the journal. Hindsight is the biggest miracle within the limited human experience.

What we saw in real-life, real-time was you coming back home, a few sulky messages exchanged whilst you were over there, yes, but in person was a man with a vigour of someone who had something to prove and who was desperate not to let us down. You got back from LA and came to play your swansong in Todmorden. 15/11/2019. The last time we were all together. What a fucking show. We were all elevated. Normally, you will admit, you were somewhat of a flake and easily turned. Not this time.

“We will find it, we will bind it
We will stick it with glue, glue, glue
We will stickle it, every little bit of it
We will fix it like new, new new.”

You were an Angel Of Cremation. Your presence, we realize now, that of somebody who had already passed on. That is not a common thing. You were strangely animated and we remember one moment having a cigarette when we cut you off mid LA story to talk with someone else. We do not feel bad about this. You loved to talk about yourself – your favourite topic in fact – and we took it for granted after all your guidance and care and rehabilitation you invested into us that you would probably outlive us. 

You told us this would be the last time you performed with us and we did not believe you – you had said that after every time you performed with us, be it at a ridiculous goth festival or the site of a great triumph. You also said this about every Ceramic Hobs gig. You retired more often than most people work.

In a parallel existence you are taking up thy mantle as the bereaved anti-father.

Days after saying you would get on stage with us in Leeds in early December if you ‘missed the flight’ to New York for the Smell & Quim show, you accused us of being an undercover cop. You had inexplicable and undeniable proof. You cut off contact totally. You were once more cruel. We asked people who still had contact to make sure you were okay. We were smarting from the blow and so didn’t do all we could. But you were alright.

And then you disappeared. And you did miss the flight. And for some reason we held close to our hearts in wrappings of naivety and stupidity that you would turn up in Leeds unannounced; you always saw yourself as some glamorous diva in some respects. It was the longest most eternal time. Still we wait.

“This is the end the beginning and all Inbetween. One world ends as another is born. Emptiness emptied alone until the last syllable etc. You will not be at peace, you will not be freed; instead you will be chased from Bardo unto Bardo for eternal punishment, taking into no account what was actually granted by the Almighty. The chasing will be covert and disregarded as child-like play.”

And then:

“Daydreaming is a long way from life’s truths. The interest has gone and the good-will is worn. This was once a possible future and now it’s a shell of a life. Maybe the foresight was wrong, and it may be right – all just steps towards a cruel goodbye.”

And then it was over.

 

2. SEA OF LOVE
“You drowned in your own Sea Of Love.”

Let us now try this: THE WORLD IS NOT WITH US ENOUGH. O TASTE AND SEE.

Then, see/sea: INTO OUR FLESH OUR DEATHS.

You told us about Holly and encouraged us impetuous youths to get her to record on Cremator because you were doing so too. A strange, strange re-unification.. The poppiest Vukovar album with 2 alumni of Smell & Quim appealed greatly to our sense of humour.

KEEP SILENT. CONTAIN THY JOY. LISTEN:

Dis and Appeared like vapour.

And then the rest of them left and San Simone became the least likely yet most effective guiding voice, into and away from trouble, at the direst of times. The direst. A part of us still thinks that the one you were deemed, not deigned [or vice-versa], Guider-Of was just a story for you. That moronic Sid Vicious – faker, genius or psychopath – didn’t need much encouragement to provide for your stories or entertainment.

Art imitating life imitating art. This was a common theme, a leitmotif if you will. Was it purely by accident that you encountered so much tragedy, so much pain in the lives of others? Or was it that you sought out these unfortunates to give yourself more material? Some would say this made you a craven opportunist and an exploiter of human weakness but would they say that of the true crime writer, the war-zone correspondent? Everyday sickness and depravity somehow sacrosanct. Did you fuck Carl Bridgewater because you wanted to or because “This guy’s half my age, and I can write about this. I can add a queer angle to my work.”? Did you ever hear of acting, dear boy?

But then you are, were and will be a complex character. Yes, exploitation played a role but also the deep, deep care was just as present and accounted for. The amount of fixing you did. The amount of time you spent trying to soothe and talk the being back down from the ledge. All these things. All other things. All everything. Would a snippet from Sea Of Love be wise here? No; the stories are there – the prodded beast, the starved rottweiler – but that narrative-arrogance belies the real truth. You saw your charge as yourself when younger and was desperate for them to not suffer the same atrocities. Just exhibit them instead.

I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE MESSIAH… I THOUGHT YOU WERE THE MESSIAH COME TO SAVE ME. BUT YOU WERE JUST A MAN. AND I’LL HAVE TO SAVE MYSELF.

 

3. THERE ARE NO DIFFERENCES BETWEEN ASHES
“No one will suffer. I’ll save them all.”

Creators now become Cremators.

The day light is as strong as the potent meph these grievers snort whilst the salvaged and salvated body drifts through the air into the Chapel Of Ash.

There are many people but people-as-props for this – our – final attestment to thy testament.

Surrounded by voices. Surrounded by seers. Surrounded by voices.

The smoke into the atmosphere as the only real thing. Even though we must craft in clay, we first dream in smoke. The smoke envelops this whole Immortal Hour, this whole celebration, this whole play; a play that the Cremated’s smoke itself has written and is now directing.

The Smoke is the metaphysical embodiment, entombing us, immuring us within the Great Immurement, to be held within until the crafting begins and the clay can take its place. The ashes are a physical monument, but nothing more. Besides, there are no differences between ashes.

“Surrender to a Higher Power.”

“I want you to believe it, scream the question “Why are you not there?”. Scream it in the cadence of someone repeatedly slamming the body of a dead loved one into a concrete slab and begging for an answer. Even if the answer is “Because I hated you” or “Because time had ran out” just please give me an answer. Surely the effort couldn’t hurt you. Could you?”

 

4. HIS NAME MEANS FIRST AND LAST
Pig abattoirs and Lana Del Rey and long walks and brass-houses and shitty pubs with people who recognize us as if we were someone else, anyone else. But the most striking thing, Mr Vicar, is that writing upon the wall. It’s perplexed you for decades. Well, we solved the mystery and we’re glad you could never be privy to it. Simon Morris; HIS NAME MEANS FIRST AND LAST.

So:

(Just Once)
Today is the oldest I will ever be again
Today is the furthest I’ll be from calling you a friend
But you’ll know
And I’ll know
That none of this really matters
Think of your love
And my love
Reaching out through the tatters
Just dim the vision and stop the tape –
And now it didn’t happen.

All that flows forth from now can only be descension
Fever dreams are misremembered and dismembered recollections
But you’ll know
And I’ll know
That none of this really matters
Just your love
Reaching my love
Before the last symbol is shattered
Just dim the vision and stop the tape –
And now it didn’t happen.

(Just Twice)
All that surrounds thee
Is all that has drowned me
And now nothing can excite me
And nothing will frighten me
Ever again
I saw Esau, I see a sea of love
Water… what a strange sound

You think too much of me
Better me despite me
I will live in spite of thee
This can only be more than a memory
A memory
I saw Esau, I see a sea of love
Water… what a strange sound

Water now appears to me
As the shape that seems to be
The outline of the new me
O water, O atmosphere… Immure me
Over again / And over again
I saw Esau I see a sea of love
Water… what a strange sound

(Just Thrice)
Everything repeats itself
Everything is everything else
Everybody is everybody else
La la la

(Just Always)
THE LOCKED AIR IS FREEZING
BUT THE IMMURED ISN’T LEFT WANTING
EXCEPT A CHANGE OF MIND
THOUGH THE HEART WILL STAY THE SAME
AND THAT HEART NOW HAS TO FEEL NOTHING
UNAWARE OF THE SUFFERING, OF ALL THE PAIN
OF EVERYTHING OUTSIDE THOSE ENCLOSED WALLS
OF ANYTHING EXCEPT THE GREAT IMMUREMENT
OF NOTHING EXCEPT NOTHING, NOTHING/EVER/AGAIN
NOTHING BUT NOTHING EVER AGAIN.

 

5. LOVE MEETINGS
“This is the sound of being alive, cunt”

We first met at a show playing in support of the tattered remains of an 80s popstar [INT. BARE ROOM
. TV PRESENTER is sat looking straight at the camera. The lighting is disorientating. Monochrome. She looks like a faded star; overage, overweight, overwrought.] and criminal. We were introduced to you by Mad ‘Mad’ Tony, a friend of yours who had once camped for two days on your garden and when you returned chastised you for having gone on holiday. We gushed effusively about your work not realising it was your work at the time, and recommended you to yourself. You responded with gifts, kind indulgence and subtle mockery.

The link was sealed at a beer festival on a sunny afternoon: you’d come specifically to watch us and that you’d put yourself through that meant a lot. The evening culminated in Whitehouse karaoke, screaming the words to A Cunt Like You over the sound of a malfunctioning white reggae band playing through an even more malfunctioning PA. This was, is, forever will be the sound of being alive. Cunt.

We got along great because you loved talking about yourself and we loved talking about you as well. We knew, yet not consciously, how important this meeting would prove to be. We valued the knowledge you imparted and how you elevated the name drop to an Olympic event.

“You know, once I was allowed to hold Matthew Bowers’ tape recorder for a Skullflower release there were only about ten copies of. Does this make me a recording engineer for Broken Flag records?”

“You know, I got very drunk with a Polish ABBA tribute band once and accidentally ruined a lesbian wedding in the process by pretending to be a submarine. I’m still not allowed in any branch of that particular chain pub. When I told Philip Best that story, he laughed.”

“You know, Stewart Lee once frowned at me in a chip shop because I was carrying a carrier bag he deemed to be racist. The joke’s on him, it was full of Ebenezer Obe records I’d borrowed off one of the guys from Grey Wolves.”

Not all of those quotes are true, but what they say about you is. They’re also about as believable as half the stories you told us. Of course the more we uncover and are still uncovering the more we realise that usually your stories involving speed crazed adventures with visiting Russian dignitaries are if anything toned down in your recounting of them.

Such moments can only be fully enjoyed in retrospect. Nostalgia the most addictive of all drugs. For at the time we lived in terror of the next instance Life would remind us of the world’s innate cruelty. We smiled through fear of the decimation of our hopes that could be just around the corner. Any moment now everything we love will be razed to the ground. If not today then tomorrow. Yesterday is the only day we can allow unvarnished optimism for. If we focus through the waves of fear we can hear the screams, the tormented machinery, the laughter of a distant crowd and the rain falling on the roof. This was the sound of being alive.

 

6. SO END IT DOROTHY

“And would have thought… that such a gentle man… could break my heart with such ease…”

Simon ‘Harris’ Morris was born in Blackpool in the late 60’s. We cannot confirm on which date, or even which year as in order to confuse and irritate everyone he continually moved his birthday around in the calendar. As documented in Death to Trad Rock from which the authors first became aware of his work, Ceramic Hobs formed as a bedroom project in 1985. Simon states that he was 16 in 1985 although this may not be true. For the first year of the band the members reportedly had no instruments. Simon described this early stage as “pure musique concrete”. Even through online file-sharing the original batch of Hobs material is fairly difficult to track down, so as ever it’s difficult to separate truth from myth. Frankly to do so would be to kill art. – I DONT WANT TO MENTION …’S NAME EVER REMOVE THIS

In 1987 the band released another flood of tapes, and over the next two years they would go on to release more material under the names Satan The Jesus Infekt’d Needles and Blood; Orange Sunshine; Salty Grouse Castration Squad and in 1994 Blood Klat (In Spume Bummer). Simon described this material as “not proper releases” but given his lifelong support and fanatical collecting of underground material on cassette and CD-R (though he would loudly announce the only “real releases” were on vinyl and glass mastered CD) this can be dismissed as more contrarianism.

From 1995 until he stopped Simon would extensively collaborate with Stan Batcow, a major member of the Hobs until their falling out. 1998 marked the release of Psychiatric Underground, a release he considered the first “proper” Hobs release. Although we did not hear it at the time, this was the authors’ introduction to Ceramic Hobs. To describe how this album sounds, first you must forget how music sounds. Imagine yourself in the pre-memory period of childlife. Now try to imagine how your gestating mind would process a room in which The Fall, Black Sabbath and the Cherry Red Pillows and Prayers compilation were playing simultaneously.

As you are trying to process this your caregiver is violently shaking you as if you were a percussive faction of this din. This is how Ceramic Hobs sound. When we tell you to process the room we do not just mean the sound. We mean smells, walls, everything that your tiny mind has to take in. Can you do that? Can you do that for us now? Surely the effort couldn’t hurt you?

Through the 00’s the band would be incredibly prolific releasing many albums, singles and contributions to split releases before slowing down considerably although Simon would continue to be as promiscuous musically as otherwise. Here a nod of recognition to Jake, as pictured with him above. As with The Fall a large number of participants passed through the ranks: unlike the myth-making surrounding The Fall however, many of them did not leave of their own accord and if they did they left the world itself. The history of Ceramic Hobs is rife with suicide, total mental collapse, broken trust, broken limbs and a Broken Blackpool Legacy.

“I do think that artists should be ready to put their work above all else in life and risk health and sanity for it, otherwise it is a fucking half-arsed hobby”

Though an inveterate gossip both in life and work (redundancy – the two are the same)

Though an inveterate gossip, for which he was frequently chastised, the one common thread through it all is empathy. When you listen to Pro Ana Tips and Tricks (insert album when can remember) you should know that he had spent a long time reading through pro-ana sites and scraping the texts for lyrics and that he did so out of compassion. When you read Watching The Wheels do not bemoan this man for speaking of the losses of those so close to him: through doing so the lives of Callum Terras (to whom his self proclaimed arthouse trilogy was dedicated) continue. It may seem impossible that a man who did so much thought it all through but he did. It’s just sometimes he decided he’d rather do the wrong thing.

To fully understand Ceramic Hobs you must first accept that this is, in itself, an impossibility. To provide you with an annotated discography of all of Simon’s works would require a word count in the millions: it is possible that the listing on Discogs (insert hyperlink when I figure out how) is accurate but given that this page was set up in his lifetime it is entirely possible that many of the releases are entirely fictional. Regardless of this, the fact remains that this is not a stern document of fact nor a eulogy for a eulogy requires an ending. And there is no ending to this sore and twisted Blackpool Legacy.

 

7. JUNCTION 5 M65

Shadsworth Estate.

THE KILLER ELITE [EXCERPT]
“Two and a half months later and another American girl is lodging with me, she’s covered in self harm scars and into black metal, we have some twenty year gap daddy-daughter dynamic going on that is non-sexual, she had a bad time in the states and I am rooting for the kid to be happy, she is dating someone near her age I know but she is so lonely and depressed. I get her to drive the boy band to Scotland but first we have two days of recording and rehearsal.

Sid just wants to go to the pub as soon as one half assed run through is done. We talk drivel then go home and drink everything and he puts some piece of shit film called Freddie Got Fingered on and I go upstairs to pass out in a bad mood already and check out his girlfriend’s bookshelves of mainstream Booker Prize shit, then the next day he’s on about wanting to make a film and he drives us badly to a branch of Argos miles away to pick up some sort of card for his video camera which doesn’t work anyway. This Lancashire Darby Crash is pure fucking mental.

But as I’m trying to ignore him and my boyfriend in the cellar, relaxing with some nice nonce hunter videos upstairs, I can hear the makings of a beautiful new song and harmonies and synths and bass, and I’m invited down to sing a few choruses, his strange pretentious sounding words I don’t really understand again, and I pull it off and I wonder again whether Vicious is a genius or a faker or just a psychopath. I know he is serious about this work. He was very upset that I said the music was nothing special. He is an interesting young man.

Drive over to my place and it’s a white knuckle one. Part of him wants to die every day and his road skills reflect that. Buy all the booze in Lidl and, I don’t know, a few nuts and crisps to soak it up. They are drinking more and faster than me with their twentyfive years advantage and I think it can’t get weirder when the twink and Vicious play some awful maudlin Current 93 song and sit sobbing and touching each other. But then Sid and my Maryland daughter decide to go driving to see Mad Tony. Baby boy and me are together and naturally he takes off his clothes and climbs in my bed. I don’t want to fuck him, it would confuse me, so I complain to my girlfriend on the Long Island Magic Lantern about this situation. When the crazed hopped-up midnight joyriders come back from visiting their sixtyfour year old mentally ill friend I snap in the night at Vicious who was blaring more Tibet drivel from his makeshift wanking chariot in the lounge while his bandmate rubs his youthful hairless body against me and I tell him I quit, I’m not coming to Glasgow. Ten minutes earlier Sidney had shouted in ‘get him fucked’ at me, now he marches into my room and pulls Jason Swift out of my bed so I can finally sleep.

Next morning I quit again as soon as I wake up but am persuaded under duress into the car and we set off for Glasgow. My daughter is enjoying all of this but I’m becoming increasingly cruel to Sid in our on the road banter. I tell him he is an illiterate piece of shit and that the only book he ever enjoyed was a pop-up book his dad gave him when he was a toddler. His dad took one look at his face and knew he could never be a normal son so decided to celebrate his existence as best as he could and designed the book especially for him. The book was called The Retarded Faggot’s First Book of Pop-Up Cocks. Little Sid’s tongue made all the pop up willies soggy and the pink ink come off, he loved them so much. My little girl is hooting at this and even Mark Tildesley is smiling to himself in between wondering why the fuck he’s working with these cunts.

The venue deliver nice spicy pizzas for the ‘band’ and there is free beer and all that. But the sheer loathing I have for doing gigs and the schmoozing and the inevitable faces from the past are turning me into more of a cunt every minute. I walk out again and again and sulk in shop doorways on my own and decide to get a train home but the expense makes me blanch. Last time I return I decide to up the ante to Sid and tell him I’ve seen the future, and it’s a future where his kids find his dead body hanging. I say I’ll do the show and he says, as long as you know I’m glassing you right after. I prod his chest and ask, is this the theatre of cruelty you wanted then? He grabs my throat and the twink pulls us apart. After assuring him that he will need to watch out for a hammer in hs face whereever we are sleeping that night we hit the stage, and my daughter is doing some vocals too as a backup plan and the kid has an amazing depressive wail on her, and I am banging a drum like all this neofolk drivel Sid likes, and do a bit of vocals, and second song in Vicious turns round and whacks me with a booted foot and I think fuck this and pack up and walk out, people are enjoying this freakshow as he tries to block my path and I walk right out carrying a bag second song in and it must all be pretty wild to watch but it’s a fucking miserable night, and I sulk and skulk in doorways again chainsmoking and eventually he comes out and all is forgiven and he actually wants to hug me. I never understand how serious these things can be. I brought his kids into it and threatened his life and he is hugging me. I said terrible things. I feel like shit.

My baby girl and Carl Bridgewater are sat getting drunk together being two shy and lonely people slowly loosening up. Sid is getting chatted up by some gross drunken Australian woman with cleavage on display. He is tall and handsome and radiates sex and charisma and simultaneously one of the most impossible human beings I’ve ever met, like a young me. Eventually we get an address to stay at and arrive to some crash pad for touring musicians and typically of these rich all-white hippy arseholes there isn’t a jar of instant coffee or a normal non-faggot pint of milk in the kitchen full of expensive ethnic spices and organic lentils and they have hippy drugs but no powders and DIY and political posters everywhere. They are all disgusting sluts anyway, these fucking bearded festival bands. Parents probably fund this gaff. Dad probably some politician cunt. I hate them and hope we made them feel uncomfortable and for a little while it feels good being in this boy band and I consider playing tomorrow’s Edinburgh show too, but on waking the gobby prick in me is dominant again and I say hey, I’m leaving now – you kicked me onstage. He groans and I walk quickly towards the door. My darling daughter and Dylan Groene who have quietly crept into bed together couldn’t really give a fuck. It’s between me and him.

No idea where I am and it’s eight am. A nearby train station with swarms of kinky uniformed Scottish teenagers coming out of it takes me to the city centre. I buy the Steve Jones book Lonely Boy to read on a bus home, and try an Egg McMuffin for the first time in years. They are increasing miles away from me now and talking between themselves wondering if I will go back or show my face again, and that night in Edinburgh my girl takes the lead vocals, and I race through the book about sexual abuse and sex addiction and tragedies and drugs and voyeurism and loneliness on a delicious solitary journey home. A Lonely Boy Book.”

The song was Cement & Cerement.

“Repeat the past… over and over… “

This was a really bad idea. We shouldn’t have listened and we tried to dissuade you. But we stopped on the way back to your house at Junction 5 on the m65 nonetheless. So you could see your old home. You know the one. It may not have been the route cause but something changed. All those times you talked us out of killing ourselves, all those times you talked us back into the beauty of the world, all those times you said “being in my 50’s is the best time of my life”. 51 years old. You taught us a valuable lesson about believing you.

The hyperactive mood en route to Scotland, after stopping to buy duck eggs for us all which you promised to cook if we all returned home safe and well, morphed into the hilarious and unexpected banter, ‘the big book of willies’ etc which in Glasgow became a vicious and persistent taunting, all based upon faggotry. Your faggotry. Our faggotry.

It wasn’t a problem.

When things came to a head at Bloc for the sound check, the poking of chests, the grabbing of throats… that was solved with cruel words outside. It was the Vukovar Theatre-Of-Cruelty.

Then the show and the kick and the ensuing shuffle and you fled.

“Where the fuck has Simon gone?” – your old pal P6 played on the hoof before VIDIV’s show. You would have loved it.

You came back. We slept. You left alone in the morning, remembering you’d been kicked, and Edinburgh was done without you. A shame but an important step for Little Ani Wharbles to find her place.

Upon our return to thy sordid little griefhole we hugged and all was forgotten. The eggs were cooked as promised and they repulsed you. Never happy. Later you contacted us about the Nick Cave record and described it as “some bloke complaining about how he pushed his son off a cliff while you’re trying to listen to a Tangerine Dream record.”.

There was another visit a week or two later, with a lot of alcohol and Gea was over before your trips to London and LA. You were both welcoming, you were v clearly both in love and it was such a joy to be there.

“Let’s talk about trying to save someone. Someone that you know.”

 

8. THE PERFECT CONTRARIAN

“Simon was like a Dad (or Daddy…) to us fucked up cunts. Not a Dad you should have or could have or is any way any good, but at the same time always guiding. Everytime he’d introduce me to someone he’d explain that “I’ve been keeping this lad alive for 18 months” in the arrogant yet tender way he’d always speak. The Perfect Contrarian.

He’d always say how I reminded him of himself when he was my age with that charming narcissism. The last thing he gave me was Dark Is The Grave Wherein My Friend is Laid by Lowry. I was reading it in one of those usual mornings where I’d stay at his and just be left to my own devices after a heavy night’s drinking with all of his amazing stuff to explore. This was the last time I saw him a few weeks ago. The last thing I gave him was Rock N Roll Animal by Lou Reed. I was disgusted by how awful it was and Simon was always getting himself terrible records. When he came to mine for his 50th birthday last year he sought an awful live classic rock album and found it – “I listened to that record, it’s fucking awful, I love it…”. He told me how when he was my age he got that Lou Reed album and absolutely hated it but we endured a couple of playthroughs together when I gifted it and he said he’s been looking out for it since first hating it and absolutely loved the gift. He was extremely proud in his worsening tastes. The Perfect Contrarian.

He was excited to show me this photo as to him it was proof of his theory-of-likeness… Because the jacket is almost exactly the same as mine. – INCLUDE PHOTO

On Sunday we started working on the last thing he recorded, it was an extremely strange experience. We did it before our sojourn to Scotland in October where we ended up fighting (and then becoming even closer after making up) and he writes about it in an anthology coming out in 2020 for Amphetamine Sulphate. – “Are you going to give me a guide vocal so I know what I’m doing?” “NO!!!” “Okay then, let’s go…” then belts out the horrible, preemptive words over and over in his new sleazy lounge singer way that he’d never done before singing with us.

The man had a universe in his head. To not hear his cynicism and stories again is hurtful, but then by the same token, I can tell exactly how any conversation would go and exactly what he’d say and how he’d say it without him needing to be here.

The Perfect Contrarian. I miss him. I hope it’s one of his sick jokes taken far too far.”

 

9. EMPTYING TIDE
“O water, O atmosphere… Immure me over again and over again.”

The body has hit the water. The body has been submerged by the water. The body is part of the water. The water is part of the body.

The Water Body moves on and on with no sense of direction but with a clear sense of destination.

The moment is stuck in time, an Immortal Hour, and is happening even now. Only subtle changes with each Immurement, each eternal recurrence; this time Jane’s sweet voice is saying to The Water Body:

The locked air is freezing, but The Immured is not left wanting. Except a change of mind, though the heart will stay the same. And that heart now has to feel nothing; unaware of the suffering, of all the pain… of everything outside those enclosed water walls… of anything except the Great Immurement… of nothing except nothing, nothing ever again… nothing but nothing ever again.

This eases the journey of The Water Body this time, and then for all times after it. The Body Of Water erodes The Water Body, it empties all of the heaviness and empties all of the emptiness.

The Immortal Spirit comes clear from within The Water Body and it hums happily:

Destroy yourself. Whatever comes next will be better.

Erode me, O dismantling waters, and carry me with that Emptying Tide.

And carry me to me, I to I, mine to mine.

He is living underwater. He is drowning in slow motion.

 

10. CONCRETOPIA (OR THIRTEEN SCENES)

SCENE NINE – HIS MASTER’S BECKON

Cut to
EXT. VARIOUS
The three start their journey. It’s soundless but they talk as normal. The image starts to fuck up intermittently until we’re moving through a visitation of a journey. At one point they walk past a wall, painted “ALL IS DESCENSION” and then normality returns somewhat. They’re suddenly in a room.

Cut to
INT. MR VICAR’S HOUSE
The whole sequence is from the point of view of the 3, the camera barely moves – VICAR’s movements are what dictate the power in the shot. He is sat down in a basic wooden chair and looks just like Francis Bacon’s Pope. His glasses are reflective, taking away the gateway to the soul. He starts off quiet and sat down but moves into/away from the camera; a dance of gracelessness. He shouts the odd word on inflection all of a sudden. There is a lot of latency on his voice and gated in the extreme, so that as soon as he finishes a word, it goes silent. There are measurements all over the walls.

MR. VICAR: So what is it that you want? Isn’t it obvious, all along… death is the son of God and God is the will of the world… Well, let me then create you…

Anyway… you take something and make it sound like something else, which sounds like a something else you didn’t want or intend. So you keep going until you match your ideation. Then the original something that you made sounds like something else is missing. So you use something else to make it sound like that original something instead of just using THE ORIGINAL SOMETHING…

And it’s just so convoluted and so tiring… But that’s the secret to something interesting. And it’s so very fucking boring.

Milk the applause, milk the audience, stare threateningly.

…Ah, I don’t want to speak about this bullshit anymore. I’ll do what you want. You know, A life spent in betrayal… How disappointing it is when your lies to a lover go unchallenged, when you become too good. Either they know and don’t care, which is depressing, or they’re too dim to challenge, which is disheartening… I’m too good for a moron etc…

Love’s just waiting for something better to come along is it not?

Et sic in infinitum.

Well.
Time is the greatest sacrifice. And it’s not about the quantity. It’s about the intensity.
So there you go. Welcome thyself to the enclosures of the Gods.
(Gestures wildly) Of this, man shall know nothing.

Oh, and the thing about Tony: He’s a really lovely soul until he finds out where you live.

(Fade to black.)

11. SAFE TO HEAVEN
“I would be the one to redeem you, I would save your soul. I’ll be Mary at the resurrection.”

In heaven, the contents of the mini-bar cost nothing. It’s forever stocked with cheap red wine and garlic breads for you. You keep whining about the fact you’ve not got an oven but heaven for you was always a sordid hotel room. When was the last time you saw an oven in a hotel room, Simon? You’re being ridiculous. You cannot complain when the angels are cooking for you. You’ve told them everyday about being fat-shamed by The Guardian. Eat what they make you and it won’t happen again.

In heaven the hotel rooms do not have Bibles, so you had to request one although it’d be very easy for you just to go straight to the source. You still have not even opened it. Christ our Lord and Saviour wishes that you’d stop watching those nonce-hunter videos, as he made the mistake of coming round for a drink to help you settle in and now everything you look at is in his search history. Especially the stigmata handjobs.

“I’d follow you all the way to hell and pull you back again. I know where all your bodies are buried, I walk on their graves daily.”

This thought occurred to us, as it frequently does, during a moment of stupid emotional masochism and narcissism when looking for the Oz Oz Alice blog entries from when you first became associated with us. The stuff before then was quite interesting as well. We know you’re watching over us both whenever we’re thinking about you: that must take up a lot of your time.

Your ghost in our machine played the Hobs cover of the theme from Prisoner of Cell Block H: unsure whether to laugh or cry at your ridiculous bellowing of “He used to bring me roses”, we settled for doing both.

“But you’ll never put me in the ground, I’ll always stick around. I would be the one to save your soul.”

You are always bothering us, Simon.
Always.
Forever appearing in dreams, leaving us then leading us to clues to deceptions and decisions. Our lives now based on a dead man’s games-from-heaven, safe-in-heaven and finally, straight-to-heaven. Clues to salvation against the wishes of those in charge, or, you’re just bored of all your dead mates. You did focus a lot of thy time on us whilst living, too.

“I’ll forgive you where no one else could. I will see you safe to heaven.”

 

12. POWERFUCK

Simon’s description of the process of him joining Smell & Quim was related to Idwal Fisher as follows:



“You picked me up and forcibly removed my clothes at the front of the crowd next to Cath O’Connor and I was really insistent on keeping my pants on. Then suddenly I realised “Hang on, I’m being stripped I suppose this means I’m part of the band now”

Smell & Quim is primarily a noise act composed of Milovan Srdenovic and whoever was available at the time. The similarities should be apparent. He and Dave/Milovan first encountered each other at a Skullflower gig at the Termite Club. Note significant crossover between S&Q and another project Simon was involved in, A Band. It’s worth mentioning Kate Fear at this point, who was a member of all three bands.

The first S&Q release on which Simon appears, as gleaned from one of his posts on the power-electronics forum Special Interests, is Meat/Pregnant Asian Special. In his words

“I appear singing a James Bond theme at some point for some reason I can’t remember. Islam Uber Alles was a fine title and one I had to steal but the actual track was about twenty minutes of a note on an organ – fucking drone music! The worst music in the world.”

He goes on to state that subsequent releases were better, an appraisal reflected in his continued work with the band up untilIf you wish to torment yourself, listen to the interview with S&Q on the Noisextra podcast December 2019 where they speak of not knowing his whereabouts. We certainly have.

“There’s something on Stephen Hawkin’s Butt Plug where you can hear “Hello mystery electrician.” People still talk about the mystery electrician”

 

13. THE NURSES
Nurse as narrator for your silent film encounter with the blind piano teacher’s wife in Spain, creeping around attempting to leave the marital home unnoticed. Nurse as midwife for the most brazen excesses of your muse, “because sometimes a shower is just a shower” in the act of aftercare. This nurse a Shipman defended by the better nature of your friends/idols. Valerie Lobotomised Salon Hiss, Absconded. Nurse as the daughter you never had but inducted into thine own Chapel of Ash. Nurse as patient.

“You know they fell out because Simon kept getting involved with women he was interested in. He didn’t mind the first three times” said the Nurse in the Chapel of Ash.

How about the Nurse as almost-fiance – the nurse as almost-neighbour to ourselves? Or the Nurse as the slight pale girl with the glasses as big as her face watching the Whitehouse karaoke? A Nurse dancing around an open wound. The Nurse abiding by the Hippocratic Oath even as you threaten her and accuse her of working undercover; this nurse could’ve been the one to save you as you paid lip service to the idea of rescue. Nurse as penitent.

The nurses all swan-swim to, through and then away from the bodies … the body’s place of rest, where the Emptying Tide ceases to be. The dismantling waters have stripped it to the soul. The Nurses, they gather it safely in.

The Nurses will finish all things you left half-finished.
The Nurses will never let thy works diminish.
The Nurses will deliver your little love notes.
The Nurses will erase from memory all the cruel things you spoke.

The Nurses will return your body to its former glory.
The Nurses will make sure it’s no longer bloated and watery.
The Nurses will overlook your fixed stare and filthy laugh.
The Nurses will undo all the bad things you did in the past.

The Nurses will listen to all the things you are not saying.
The Nurses will focus thy mind whilst you are praying.
The Nurses will think you unblemished.
The Nurses will tell you you don’t need to be quite so apologetic.

The Nurses will reach out to you with no pity.
The Nurses will softly whisper to you a little ditty.
The Nurses will wish for something greater, always.
The Nurses will listen even though you’ve always got something to say.

The Nurses will…

The Nurses will help you to forget all the reasons why.
The Nurses will take away the thought of all of us you left behind.

 

 

 

*

p.s. Hey. This weekend the blog has the honour of being the site for an extraordinary and beautiful memorial post for the late, much missed writer and musical artist and much more Simon Morris, as masterfully put together by Dan Shea and Rick Clarke. Whether you already know Morris’s work or are a discoverer as of today, there’s a wealth up there that I hope you will explore. Any words you can spare for Dan or Rick would be greatly appreciated. Thank you ever so much, you guys! ** Shane Christmass, Hi, Shane. Groovy! ** JM, Hey, Josiah. I still need to get that Finbow, damn. Today. And to see ‘Tommaso’. I used to only write by hand, and now I switch around. Each method has this weird distinct effect on the writing. Intriguing. ** Maryse, Hi, M! DC’s swag, wow. Never thought about it. I think if I only made one souvenir it would be a DC’s snow globe. I think that’s a form that has yet to be perfectly utilised. Cool, yeah, I loved ‘Feebleminded’. The second one is out here. I think she lives in Paris. I should really try to meet her. Thank you for your list. I’ve noted the unknowns. xo. ** _Black_Acrylic, Well, of course PT is there. The year would have been way too quiet as a mouse without it. I need to get that Keenan book. ** wolf, Gee willikers! Your list is pretty meaty, or, well, faux-meaty, which is obviously better. I’ll scribble the unexperienced. Yes, ha ha, GbV has just released their third of the year. i haven’t even heard it yet. God speaks in mysterious ways. Thank you, pal! ** David Ehrenstein, I’ve always had a suctioning intake valve. Its weird. ** Danielle, I believe you. On both fronts! Oh, Kay Boyle, that’s an interesting idea. I mean reading her afresh. I’ll do that. Ha ha, Capedevielle might just put off his ‘Jerk’ retirement for that gig. Lovely to see you and learn your faves. ** Sypha, I know how it works with your lists, yes. And, oh, thank you so much for the Xmas card! It’s incredible! It and John Waters’ arrived in the same postal delivery. ** Ian, Hi, Ian. That is a rich list if I ever saw one, and thank you for including my things amongst that heady crew. ** Tosh Berman, Hi. There are several things on your list that are now must-haves. I didn’t know Adele Bertei wrote a book. And etc., etc., thank you, T! ** Jack Skelley, Jack! Maestro! What a prize and mind blow to have you here. Awesome, man, thanks a billion! ** Steve Erickson, I read that. About your restaurants. At least you still have the outdoors. Thanks for your long list. I’ve noted those I do not know. I need to see ‘First Cow’. It seems to be on everyone’s lists. Is that Schanelec film an homage to the Ozu film? The title match can’t be a coincidence. ** Nick Toti, Hi. Of course, man. Gabe Durham has a book on ‘Majora’s Mask’? Whoa. I will score that in a heartbeat. Thanks for the Jacob Graham link. I don’t know that work. Or Sematary. I’ll take a sonic tiptoe into his thing. ** Max B, Hi, Max! I loved that album. I love all of OTTO. I’ll chase down Bladee and thislight.org, many thanks! Yes, I owe you an email. Sorry, I’m eternally behind. But I’m enjoying those fruits. Take care and love back. ** Damien Ark, Naturally, man. I just copied and pasted your music list into a Text Edit file and will hunt the cyber world for them. ** Toniok, Hey! A great pleasure to see you! How are you doing? How have you managed this weirdest year? There’s a batch of as-yet-unknowns to me on your lists, and I will angle to make them familiars. Thanks so much! ** Jeff J, Hi, Jeff. Yes, the 4th EP is my favorite of the grouping, although I liked all of them, of course. But there’s something particularly outstanding in that one. The Carl Stone is excellent. Thurston’s is a kind of excellent mix of sprawling and song. I think it’s my favorite thing he’s done in quite a while. The Madeline Gins … do you now know her work? It’s a collection of her stuff. Mm, hard to describe quickly. I think you’d dig it. Man, yet another bizarro event in your recent spate of weirdnesses. Scary. I haven’t seen Blake’s essay, no, but of course I’ll go find it as soon as I finish this. ** Ted Rees, Hi, Ted! Well, of course, sir. That inclusion was the epitome of a no brainer. Beautiful, beautiful work/book. ** Derek McCormack, Thank you, Derek, with much eternality. ** Mark Gluth, Mr. Gluth! Hugs from my portion of over here to your portion of over there. I’m doing okay. Oh my god, I’m sorry to hear to hear that about your friend. That is … wow, no words, I’m so, so sorry. This year has been almost pure horror. I’m very happy you’re on your book. I think I might have seen some intriguing experiments from it on Facebook? is that right? What you describe re: a work’s earliness happens to me all time, yeah. Including now. A lot on your list I don’t know. Copied, pasted, and to be illustrated. Take good care, my friend. ** Brian O’Connell, Hey there, Brian. ‘Equation to an Unknown’ is really something, especially given the time and context in which it was made. A real curiosity. I’ve heard great things about ‘Never Rarely Sometimes Always’. It’s on my to-do. Thank you very much, mister. May we both have wonderful weekends, like, really wonderful. ** Right. You’re very covered for the weekend around here thanks to your guest-hosts. I’ll see you back here on Monday.


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15 Comments

  1. Great tribute to an interesting man.

  2. Dennis – thank you so much for putting Alone on your list, yesterday. That’s awesome of you. Just a ton of thanks.

    Also – so much on your list to check out and hunt down. I’m bookmarking it and scouring the net over the next few days.

    Nothing too new in my world – work is super intense at this time of year, and Covid isn’t helping the general mess of it – looking forward to the two week Christmas break that is coming in just about a week’s time. The plan is to work on new writing and that’s about it.

    Today looks like something special. I had a skim but I’m gonna make a strong coffee and read through properly in just a minute. I have friends who knew Simon and have heard various tales, but I never met him or knew him. RIP for sure.

    Sending you love as always, Dennis. Hoping I can be back in Paris at some point next year!

    Love,

    Thomas xoxo

  3. I miss Simon. My online friendship with him was long lasting but it was a really strange one as well as there were these long gaps in our correspondence, gaps that sometimes lasted years, then when we would get to talking again we just picked up where we left off as if no time had passed. I never felt like I knew him super-well but I certainly admired his writing skills and I always was happy when he would “like” one of my status updates on Facebook as I always kind of viewed him as very cool/hip. A lot of our conversations revolved around music, and the fact he liked both Miley Cyrus and Stevie Nicks kind of endeared him to me (another thing we bonded over was a mutual appreciation for Sonic Youth’s MURRAY STREET album). Hard to believe it’s been a year. Anyway, thanks for this memorial, guys.

    Glad you got the card okay, Dennis. It seems like John Waters stole my thunder, ha ha.

  4. Amazing, that’s all

  5. This is really great, and sad. I love Simon Morris’s books a lot. Thank you to the authors of this post.
    I always like the list. I like to come back to them when I can’t think of what to read/listen to/watch, or when I need something completely different and new.
    I was really out of touch this year. Most of the 2020 content I consumed was stuff made by friends, who luckily happen to be some of my favorite artists.

    Alone – Thomas Moore
    Come Down to Us – Mark Gluth

    Interracial Sex – Apefrica
    Un Regard Froid – Accéllération

    Anticipating Simon Morris’s Consumer Guide, which is on its way to me now, and Michael Salerno’s new book which I just preordered. Also I know that Owen Pallet’s new album will become a favorite in time but I haven’t properly listened to it yet.

  6. For a moment I thought this was about my secret boyfriend Ossian Brown, aka Simon Norris, haha.

    Thanks for the pandemic year end lists, Dennis. Will keep me busy for days. Here’s what kept me distracted…

    Books:
    S.D. Stewart, A Set of Lines
    Percival Everett, Telephone
    Yoshiharu Tsuge, The Swamp
    Anthony Huberman, Dodie Bellamy is on Our Mind
    Johnny Ray Huston etc, Because Horror
    Emmanuel Pagano, Faces on the Tip of My Tongue
    Nino Cipri, Homesick: stories
    Susanna Clarke, Piranesi
    Amy Hale, Ithell Colquhoun, Genius of the Fern Loved Gully

    Movies (includes some 2019 releases):
    Possessor
    Can You Bring It? Bill T. Jones and D-Man in the Waters
    Those Who Deserve to Die
    Kindred
    La Nuit des Rois
    Wojnarowicz: F*ck You F*ggot F**ker
    The Surrogate
    Gretel and Hansel
    The Relic
    Sweet Southern Waters
    Shirley
    Slow Machine
    Monsoon
    Our Time Machine
    Tito
    Bacurau
    Monos
    Come to Daddy
    Depraved

    Music (includes some 2019 releases):
    Hannes Kerschbaumer, schraffur
    Pere Ubu, By Order of Mayor Pawlicki
    Georg Graewe/Mark Sanders, Affretando
    Polwechsel/Klaus Lang, Unseen
    Lucio Capece/Ben Vida, Umwelt
    Jean Derome, Somebody Special (plays Steve Lacy)
    Bridges of Konigsberg, Buster Keaton Maneuver
    Jeremiah Cymerman, Systema Munditotius
    Kyle Bruckmann, Triptych (tautological)
    Cyanobacteria/Carl Ludwig Hubsch, Are you an orchid or a dandelion?
    Tom Arthurs/Isambard Khroustaliov/Julian Sartorious, Hangkerum
    exclusiveOr (Pluta, Peter Evans etc), Modules

    Bill

  7. Hello Dennis!

    Well, to tell you the truth this year hasn’t been very different from others for me. Of course I miss a lot of things, what I miss the most is visiting my friends who live in another city, I also miss seeing some art in galleries (where I live there are hardly any art galleries). Regarding my work I have had to stop/postpone some projects, but no problem because nobody is waiting to see them (if only!) and in the long run they will end up at the bottom of a drawer. Ah, and concerts, I miss rock concerts a lot. A horrible year for the rock as well: Little Richard, Phil May, Peter Green.

    Thank you very much Dean and Rick for this beautiful and devastating memorial.

  8. @ Dan and Rick, thank you so much for putting this glorious memorial together! I just read Consumer Guide the other week and really loved it. There is plenty to catch up on with this remarkable man.

  9. If you want a good laugh, check out the YouTube page of “meaningwave” producer Akira the Don, especially this playlist of albums featuring spoken word samples by Joe Rogan, Jordan Peterson and other bro faves over lo-fi hip-hop beats: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLQUliLxVLcV58N4kZydHFpN7TACyfbL1t. He’s taken Peterson’s slogan “clean up your room” and made a series of mixtapes named after it!

    @Nick Toti–Semetary’s videos are hilarious. He’s trying so hard to look sinister and “satanic” but just seems like a 16-year-old edgelord. I loved the friendliness of the goats in “Sigil”; no one told them they’re supposed to be symbols of evil.

    Morris’ music is catchier than I expected given the description of the circumstances under which it was made.

  10. Hey Dennis, yeah. Thanks for the kind words. Pure horror, for sure. But maybe there is something to be said about the large amount of folks who are making it through?

    Yeah I’ve been posting some “videos” of me scrolling through some of the manuscript for the book I’m working on. Just trying to think of the book in different ways, like visually. It’s also funny to think about this thing I’ve spent so much time and effort on to also be something I can easily flip through on my phone. Anyway, am I interpreting what you wrote about a work’s earliness correctly, i.e, that you are working on something????

  11. D- Thank for the sumptuous list of things you loved this year. So many things to dive into. I failed to comment on the day itself. I pretty much re-read all my favorite novels this year and listened to my favorite records, for comfort. Hope to break new ground in the year to come.

    I sent the Safer at Home day. I hope you find it compelling. I wrote something new and less art statement-y. Your thoughts and critiques are always most welcome.

    Love, B

  12. Dan and Rick making sleazy papa proud. Much love.

  13. Thanks for the text, Dan and Rick. I have written a text about Simon also: http://www.mediafire.com/file/w8akq7dkbtae3or/Simon-Morris.pdf/file

    Simon’s obscure novella ‘the exploited’ can be downloaded for free in The Outside Broadcast Series sector here: http://www.mediafire.com/file/755gzirm83we6ds/OB1_PRINT.pdf/file

    • Mark,

      We’ve read yr piece and recall a review of Ceramic Hobs that ye did a couple of years ago – totally mesmeric.

      Would love to get in touch with ye directly. Please email vukovaropolis@gmail.com

      We are still learning more and more about Simon, even a year after his death. Yr experience of him would be fascinating to us demented obsessives.

  14. Thanks for this, any further material from him I can read I’m always grateful for. Lord knows that I’ll probably never hear everything he did, and that’s a blessing because it means that he’s always going to keep surprising and infuriating me. The text you’ve written about him is fascinating, given the subject matter how could it be anything else.

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