Saturday, 25 October 2008


First of all, some remarkable children's drawings from a display on the Armenian Genocide at the Vank Cathedral in Esfahan, Iran. These were photographed by mister jep on a recent visit, and he kindly contributes these to August's "Art Therapy Atrocity!" post. Thank you jep.

Secondly, there are some additional photos available at last Tuesday's "Oshawa's Last Night!" post; these are mostly of Guitar Army's closing set but there's one of The Cleavers (trio style) thrown in as well. You're just going to have to take my word for it that there were more than half a dozen people in the audience! Thanks to Julie for the pics and to D_W_ for sending them my way.

Thursday, 23 October 2008


So I went to the dentist yesterday. I've finally got a good one too, after many years of sadistic hygienists, dry sockets, and not enough anaesthetic. No, this isn't another blog post complaining about my own dentist visits. If you're interested in reading such stories of fear and anxiety, the internet has got what you're looking for and then some; I'll spare you my own reminiscences from the dental office.

I'm more interested in the overwhelming fear many of us have of the dentist. One of the more common phobias (there's even a cottage industry of books assuring youngsters dental visits won't be as scary as they imagine), dentophobia (or odontophobia or just plain dental fear) is much more easily understood than some other phobias. In fact, there's no end of reasons to be afraid of the dentist: the date booked well in advance (plenty of time to fret); the chair; the tools; the invasion of personal space; the possibility you might somehow repulse the staff working on your mouth; the pain; the surgery; the blood; the chance of later infection. The reasons go on and on.

Even the steps dentists have taken to combat pain and fear may be disorienting or frightening - sleeping gas, for instance, which, with its attendant loss of control or even awareness, has all sorts of unpleasant connotations for some.

Though most dentists are undoubtedly kind, well-meaning doctors with a professional dedication to keep your mouth healthy, that doesn't stop the media from focusing on those few anomalies who help feed the image of the crazed, blood-thirsty monster.

Marathon Man features probably the best known of the cinema's demon dentists, but there's plenty of other pictures out there with frightening sequences of dentistry and dental torture. In the last decade or so, Brian Yuzna (remember him?) even made a couple of horror movies with such a crazed practitioner as its subject -- The Dentist 1 and 2.

When something so commonplace has people terrified, you just know it's going to leave scars in people's minds (let alone their mouths). Later, it's sure to be ripe territory for fetishes, sex-games and the like; if nothing else, folks sure do love their retractors! A lot of these fetish sites are pay-only or require membership but here's a few things to get you salivating if you're so inclined.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Oshawa's Last Night!

[UPDATE: MP3 at bottom of post!]

My good buddy D_W_ recently made me aware of his blog Everything Elevator; as I was perusing the archives there (full of awesome graphics), I came across the photographs above and asked if I could reprint them here. Mr. W_ generously agreed, and so here they is* - a couple of photos from the last time The Starkweather Fix ever played Oshawa, all the way back in July (18th) 1997.

The venue was one of the Polish Halls there (Banting? Olive? I can't remember), and it was quite the humdinger of an evening. Other than Ron the soundman, we were probably the oldest people there - the audience was all teenagers, pretty much. Crazy teens, wild energies, everybody into it. I remember most of the crowd being on acid. I know I was.

Anyways, in these photos we've got yours truly on the mike, and Mr. Dusty Bible on the guitar (also playing bass in Guitar Army). Dusty, for those of you who might not know, later moved to Nottingham, England, and was in a wicked crazy band called The Designer Babies. Apparently, he is now doing solo blues shows. I miss this guy something awful, he was great.

The drummer in the first shot is Mr. Jay Matuschka, who sadly perished while shooting the world's first combination surgery-porn film. He is missed. No, I'm just kidding, he's still with us. In the second shot here, he is replaced on the traps by Mr. D_W_ himself, who you'll recall from the first paragraph. I'll let you try and figure out what's going on here.

Billed as "Oshawa's Last Night", with a poster featuring then-Mayor Nancy Diamond that got some people upset, the show featured a bill for the ages: the droney Malediction (with Dusty's brother Paul, later of Shwa superstars Cuff The Duke), The Cleavers (by this point a trio, with Tex Ranger on bass and vocals), The Void (featuring Matt Mason, later of local legends Anagram), EOF (who I regret I can't say anything about, I think I was washing my dick while they were on, don't ask), The Starkweather Fix, and, headlining as I recall, the great Guitar Army (whose last show this was, I believe).

*D_W_ says the photos may have come from Julie, so thanks to Julie if this is so. Or even if it is not.

Update: I realised after I posted these pics that I actually have audio for the end of Starkweather's set that night. So here it is -- "Barrel of Monkeys", an improvised jam. That rowdy you can hear whooping it up at the end by the way is none other than Mr. Tex Ranger himself.

Another Update: More pictures from the night! Guitar Army! Commander Freakout Drum Solo! The Cleavers!

Saturday, 18 October 2008

Samuel Delany!

I was sick in bed all day yesterday, the kind of want-to-puke-but-can't sick that makes you acutely aware of your own mucous membranes and the fact that you're wrapped up in skin and its pores and its byproducts. This, combined with the fact that there was a strong odour of used diapers in the room (there was likely a used diaper or two to account for this), made for a toxic sort of sensory overload. I was grossed out and awed and overawed and overwhelmed and struck dumb and exhausted and, somewhere in all that, I was reminded of Samuel Delany.

I came by the writing of Samuel 'Chip' Delany (b. 1942, last name often spelt Delaney) in quite a different way than most out there do - which is to say that he is known foremost as a SF writer and I rarely read any SF and haven't read any of Delany's. No, I became aware of Mr. Delany as a writer of books said to be 'out there' and 'extreme' and 'transgressive' (because I like that sort of thing). Frankly though, most 'transgressive literature' ends up not being terribly transgressive after all, but more about how much physical pain can be inflicted on some (preferably innocuous) type in as exotic a manner as possible. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

I've read two of Delany's novels - Hogg and The Mad Man - books which, I think it is fair to say, are the real deal.

From a November 2000 interview with the author, by Rudi Dornemann and Eric Loberer, for Rain Taxi:

RT: As you have added more autobiographical works to your oeuvre, you've also brought to the forefront matters of race and sexual preference, yet often in the most unpolitically correct ways--your books are unlikely to be accused of being "identity art." What does the culture at large need to do to more adequately discuss these most basic of subject-positions?

SRD: Fantasize--and fantasize in modes that allow our most cherished and forbidden inner worlds to peak out (and speak out) here and there. Fantasize. Analyze. The two are related by much more than the slant-rhyme. In order to negotiate the unknown with any precision and intelligence, analysis has to become speculative. That's where fantasy's roll grows inescapable.

It's scary to talk about your own fantasies--to plumb that part of one's inner autobiography: the part we return to to initiate masturbation, the part that centers our reveries of anger or tenderness. Bring analysis--rather than blanket acceptance or rank dismissal--to those thoughts, and you'll find out how the world, dark or light, might figure itself under passion's stress.

A comment on the Urth List email discussion group puts it thus: "most sexual things that freak out men in my demographic don't bother me, but there was stuff in 'The Mad Man' that bothered me". I concur, it is the rare book that has painted lasting, disturbing pictures in my own mind, things I had truly never imagined other people doing, pictures which I doubt will ever completely go away; this is a pretty fearless novel, featuring a protagonist driven to go to places most people strenuously avoid.

What am I talking about? Extended sex and piss orgies with dirty homeless guys, largely - but given a texture and a richness that may shock you (if the dirty bum piss sex doesn't). If you stick with 'The Mad Man', and it is a long read, it will take you to some very strange places; it will almost certainly transgress many notions the average reader will have about life: about sex, about class, about race, about what constitutes a day, or indeed a night.

Hogg I enjoyed less so than The Mad Man. Though the material in Hogg is just as strong, The Mad Man has a depth and scope that Hogg lacks; in addition, the (underaged) protagonist in Hogg speaks less than a dozen words of dialogue in all, and basically serves as a combination blowjob machine/human toilet for a revolving cast of hired rapists and piss fetishists, sucking along on their madcap adventures. Suffice it to say, this was difficult to relate to.

By contrast, the protagonist of The Mad Man is someone we can at least recognize as a fellow human being, a person with sometimes complicated thoughts and desires; as Forrest L. Norvell notes in comparing the two novels, "The Mad Man is a much more subtle work, seeking to subvert our preconceptions about sexuality by having a sympathetic character go through the motions for us". The protagonist in this case is obsessed with the mysterious death of another man; this mystery element propels the novel forward and, as the answers begin to come together, so does the cast of characters, in an ever-spiralling, ever-intensifying clusterfuck. Like the ride up Kurtz's river, the further you go, the weirder it gets, the weirder it seems.

From the lengthy article 'The Importance of Precision: Samuel Delany's Pornographic Writing', by Laura Chernaik:

Delany writes, in precise detail, about the pleasures of each partner in each act: in fact, he evokes these perverse pleasures by describing clearly what each partner does in order to be aroused to orgasm. 'Positive perversion' versions of the 'cum shot' of heterosexual mainstream pornography become not an end but a means. In in Hogg and even more in The Mad Man, the salty warmth of smegma, cum, and piss is described far more fully than are the localized genital sensations of orgasm. The 'component instincts' are engaged as Delany writes about all of the tastes, smells, and sensations, his characters experience, as he brings in all of the relevant parts of the body are there: hands, bellies and legs, for example, as well as genitals. The novel is carefully written to arouse: the physical and spatial descriptions are precise, the descriptions of the perversions, and of the polymorphous erotogenic sites are vivid. These scenes are easily visualized, tasted, smelled, kinesthetically and proprioceptively sensed.

Yummy stuff!

Wednesday, 15 October 2008

More Chikan-Related Pics!

Because I don't think we're loading quite slow enough yet, I present this pic-heavy special -- a sequel of sorts to last May's original Chikan! (which the live traffic feed would suggest is far and away this blog's most popular post).

More of the same then.