SCI-FI EYES#8

“Fear is a survival instinct; fear in its way is a comfort for it means that somewhere hope is alive.”

Theodore Sturgeon, More Than Human (1953)

I have flown in my dreams and for once I did not fall.
That mad feeling of momentarily becoming more-than-human left me feeling dizzyingly exhilarated. Well, until I finally crashed back down to earth as the hazy aftertaste of superpowers got replaced by the sudden and natural need to evacuate my bowels after my distinctly average muddy black coffee. The cigarette that followed was fantastic, mind. I remember wondering how I could revisit that groovy sensation. Of course, certain psychoactive chemicals will do it, or they may leave me cowering on the kitchen floor as that tree, right there in the middle of the linoleum floor gets ever closer. Can’t you see it? That fucking tree with the face of Mary Whitehouse.
If there was a method or a process to send me back, would it ever be the same as that surreal and lost alpha wave induced night-flight?
Futurists speculate that in the future, there may appear another way.
The fizzling world of the technological 21st century blooms out of the smoky industrial echoes of the past, yet mankind’s hardwired violent, tribal and divisive instincts continue to manifest in the same old tired expressions, giving the idea that humans somehow innately progress a right royal kick in our, low hanging and hairy, simian balls.
Some use plastic surgery, struggling against gravity, in a futile attempt to physically perfect themselves; transforming themselves into a grotesque parody of youth, even as the slow and unrelenting rub of time gently melts these fleshy candles down, every second of every minute of every hour. While others strip themselves of their natural body hair (being a hirsute individual, I do, of course, have a personal grudge) in order to assimilate the infantile plastic spirit of consumer culture that gives their internal Jungles cheap and immediate thrills. Still others carve themselves up like frustrated pink turkeys in a search for sexual identity in an echo of the American “right” to happiness, where Dionysian aestheticism trumps Apollonian logic, expressed by obsessively studying themselves in a reflective surface thereby becoming truly absorbed. Does this intimate genital gazing and refinement of our physical state imply the birth pangs of a fundamental paradigm shift into what biologist Julian Huxley, in 1957, termed Transhumanism, or in the parlance of our current epoch,  Human 2.0?
Death implies change and individuality,” so said Dear Old Uncle Al Crowley (Book Of Lies, 1913), therein lies the bugbear for Transhuman thinkers. This new form of technological transcendentalism sees the flight from the corporal as the escape from the harmful inherent in us. As a culture, we have already experienced a form of entanglement (quantum, or otherwise) with the internet, our newly created otherworld, where trolls lurk under the keys to all our desires. What if we can go further than just a mental and systematic dependency on the Net? What if we can merge with it?
Futuristic Guru, the Peter Pan of Post-humanism, and now the head of Google’s AI research division, Ray Kurzweil offers this little acorn of opinion : “We will combine our brain power—the knowledge, skills, and personality quirks that make us human—with our computer power in order to think, reason, communicate and create in ways we can scarcely even contemplate today” (The Futurist, March-April 2006). Kurzweil sees a three pronged trident of the technological wave that will alter our lives and the very question of what it means to call oneself a “human” : Genetics, or biotechnology; nanotechnology; and in Kurzweil’s eyes, the most important is robotics, or more specifically, nonbiological intelligence, with such software as the IPsoft created Amelia continuing to develop into something beyond the soiled tissues on a geek’s floor.
Kurzweil terms, almost with religious fervency, the point in time when these aspects of technology combine to change our lives, the Singularity.
If it ever does come to pass, then all bets are off.
I doubt if we shall ever see half human, half robotic centaurs stood in the queue at the local Food Mart clutching packets of GM Wheetie Puffs (although I never could have predicted that twerking would have become a major issue in the fight against cultural appropriation. More fool me, brothers and sisters), however the technological change may manifest itself discreetly, in ways unseen yet experienced. As the microchips that power our smart communication devices get smaller every year, computers become increasingly invisible. Not only that vibrating friend in your pocket (no sniggering), but in your clothes, your bags, your accessories, your kitchen, living room, bedroom, car and office.
Of course, since the first heart pacemakers, computers have been implanted into the human bodies and recent surge in the idea of biochips possibly combining with identity tattoos and even medicines. This leads to thoughts of sending the consciousness of a cybernaut into cyberspace through an implant or pill, or controlling nanobots by thought alone; to cure disease, access past dream-states or having the microscopic robots stimulate or restructure your synapses into giving you the psychedelic experience of your fevered reveries. Or the most nanobot-stimulating-nerves-and-making-you-experience-the-birth-of-stars orgasm. Why bother with robotic limbs when a pill can just construct a new one out of air?
As we download ourselves into the virtual world and genetic engineering produces cancer free clones, will we wear our bodies like we do our clothes, branded by the corporations, uploading our tired and worn out souls into Gucci Corporal Tall Dark and Handsome, or Nike Flesh Nubile Blonde?
By joining the brutal self-preservatory Jungle parts of ourselves, along with our imagination with the mathematical and inhuman artificial intelligence, there lies a possibility to create a utterly new form of awareness. The transformation may sublimate our rapacious natural urges, but as long as we remain, at least, partially human, the chances of them becoming completely extinguished appear to be nil. In fact, if, as Howard Bloom quotes Daniel Goleman in The Lucifer Principle (1995) that, “Madness … is the exception in individuals, but the rule in groups,” then I wonder how much more ruthless damage the human post-animal can achieve if the individual allows him/herself to become subsumed into the Über-Jungle that the Web continues to grow into. What factions and cyberwars will it conjure? What genetically-modified diseases, or nanobot gassy terrors could come forth?
Technology has allowed for the development of scientific wonders that I would have never believed could manifest themselves into our lives, yet ” … without railways, the telegraph and poison gas there could have been no Holocaust” (John Gray, Straw Dogs, 2002).

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SCI-FI EYES#7

“Watch the Skies”

The Thing From Another World (1951)

I spied one once with my little evolved simian eye.
A bright object fell from a clear star littered night sky; through a haze of celebratory wine and smoke onto a lush Welsh hillside. The ethereal object left a trail of white light as it plummeted following a sharp right hand curve towards the dew damp earth, then vanished. There was no report of any object the following day. Stop smirking at the back. You do not want me to get all Peter Capaldi’s eyebrows on you, capisce?
So, was this seemingly suicidal space light a shooting star? Maybe. A meteorite? Why not. An alcohol and drug induced hallucination? Quite possibly. An *gulp* Unidentified Flying Object? Well, now …
An acquaintance once told me of an unusual happening he and his father, who was an aeronautical engineer, were privy to on a desert safari in Dubai many years earlier. One night while stargazing on the side of a dune, they had seen two clusters of three dots in the sky – he described these lights as the corners of a solid triangle – zooming and zipping around, often at right angles and criss-crossing like some celestial boy racers playing chicken. The father stated flatly that he knew of no vehicle on the gods’ green Earth that could move in such a zoom-zip fashion.
So, does this prove anything? Of course not.
The unique and absurd cauliflower-shaped apparatus inside our skulls that we call the human brain appears hardwired to create patterns and paradigms out of the utter chaos that the so-called “reality” our senses present us with, as they filter the information through our beliefs created by culture, primal urges and emotional experiences.
Or as Leary and Robert Anton Wilson called it : your “reality tunnel“; the tunnel that your individual consciousness saunters down to make sense of the world. Not all tunnels are the same, of course, hence all the opposing and pure bloody-minded opinions and explosive car bombing trajectories flooding the world.
The number of views concerning UFOs and aliens vary greatly, twisting and writhing in the modern psyche like a Shai-Hulud sandworm love-fest, each with a degree of probable plausibility and an obligatory conspiracy theory threaded into its dusty old X-File.
The classic and old school idea that the US government made hidden contact sometime in the 50s, siphoning the technology in the covert Area 51 at Roswell to create such weapons as the B-2 stealth bomber towards the end of the Cold War, inspired such pop culture phenomena as the aforementioned and hugely influential hit franchise The X-Files with the tagline “The Truth Is Out There“, Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, where a gigantic spaceship lands on a giant plate of mashed potato and where the ETs come as a kind of creepy and childlike Brotherhood of the Universea sort of cosmic branch of the Moonies –  as well as the notion of the babyfaced Greys to name just a few.
However, the wormhole does not just stop at that dusty underground bunker. Oh no, my interstellar TARDIS travelling companions, it gets so much weirder.
Take the ideas of the French computer scientist and Ufologist, Jacques Vallée. (Spielberg actually approached Vallée before CEotTK but found his ideas too outlandish for mainstream consumption, yet he inspired Truffaut’s portrayal of the scientist Claude Lacombe) Mr V has hypothesised that entities do not come from another planet but from another dimension. These entities, Vallée spouts, can manipulate time and space, and have influenced humankind in various ways and incarnations throughout the ages. I also find it interesting that he suspects human agencies themselves of manipulating the sightings. To what end, I hear you breathless whisper? The good doctor can merely speculate but a breakdown in old values and an establishment of the new seems on the cards.
Dwell on that in your brain’s control console while your inner-Wookie lets loose a strangled howl for a second.
Then there is David Icke.
For those who do not know, Mr Icke was once a professional football player and sports presenter on the BBC. Then, in 1990, something happened. The papers said he had suffered a complete mental breakdown and had become utterly radiation-proof-underpants-on-head mad. His words were leapt on and torn to shreds by the tabloids and his 1991 ill-fated appearance on a British chat show turned him into a turquoise coloured laughing stock overnight. Yet the laughter had somehow set him free. From becoming the nation’s Z-list celebrity nutter yelling on the street corner, he became a man who now sells out amphitheatres worldwide in a show that spans nine hours, which shows you that either people are obscenely gullible, or that he has really tapped into a nerve.
Shape-shifting Reptilian overlords from the Draco constellation; Consciousness manipulation through the media; a Satanic Elite ring of abuse; A hollow Moon that shoots mind control rays at the Earth – A series of endlessly fascinating and seemingly insane theories, mixing a Matrix-style Sci-Fi backdrop with the conspiracy theory to end all conspiracy theories. Icke, as Vallée, looks at the big picture through a sinister, murky and neo-Gnostic lense that stretches back to the ancient Sumerian legends of the Anunnaki, and ties up the chaotic events of history, rather too neatly, into an expensive package of righteous anger. We’re all hopping and bopping to that cosmic mind controlling Crocodile Rock.
Pop culture appears intimately linked to Sci-Fi conspiracy theories; from the foreshadowing of Icke’s theories with the lizard people of the classic eighties TV show V and its remake, along with John Carpenter’s brilliant satire on the global elite and consumerism in They Live! (1988); from the red menace baiting 50s Hollywood paranoid classics, such as The Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) and George Pal’s The War of the Worlds (1953), to the ever-present The X-Files. Ever since Jules Verne and H.G. Wells, coming alive on screen with A Trip to the Moon, (1902) through The Day The Earth Stood Still (1951)  to Doctor Who, science fiction has expressed our existential wonder and horror at our place in this universe. It has forced us to ask questions of the times that we live in and of the nature of our own humanity. As the visionary writer J G Ballard said, “Everything is becoming science fiction”.
Could this mean that UFO sightings, claimed alien abductions (anal probes!) and connected Fortean happenings express the collective fears of our uncertainty in an uncertain reality, and do they spike at the most uncertain periods of our lives like some mass hallucination?  Carl Jung thought so and called them a “modern myth“. Does this mean that they do not exist? Not necessarily.
What about ETs? Do they live here among us? As archetypes; haunting our dreams, most definitely. Maybe they have become tropes themselves, infecting us with imagination and reveling in the awesome power of ideas. Less : We Come in Peace. More :  We Come in Pieces of Information.
If the concept of Panspermia proves itself correct, then we, and all life on this vicious and glorious mudball we call Home, come from the stars. Oh, and French civil servants. If there ever was an inhuman fly munching eye-licker living among us, I would put my money on them cold blooded bastards.
As the bard once said :
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
– Hamlet (1.5.167-8)
And remember, if, by chance, you ever happen to bump into a two metre tall extraterrestrial robot with a built in Death Ray named Gort down a dark alley, just mutter the eternal words : Klaatu barada nikto!

SCI-FI EYES#6

“If I had to choose a superhero to be, I would pick Superman. He’s everything that I’m not.”

Stephen Hawking

As I cast a weary eagle-eyed bloodshot glance (my superpower) hither and thither about this pop culturally scorched planet, it occurs to me that it would make far more sense to believe in supervillains than superheroes.
Now, I enjoy the sheer Hollywood return-to-the-status-quo-story-arc propagandist thrill-a-minute-ending-in-a-giant-fucking-explosion escapism of a good Marvel flick, like any boy’s mind trapped in the broken shell of a man’s body, and have read the comics since I can remember the feeling of a smudge of ink on my tiny fingers. However, leaving my infantile suspension of disbelief at the gates of the Fortress of Solitude and stepping with aching knees back into the concrete world of snafu for a moment, my personal experience leads me to suspect that if a modern human acquired any form of actual superpowers – from the strength to stop tanks, to having the ability to turn invisible – then those abilities would inflate that person’s already Bruce-Wayne’s-5th-birthday-party-sized-bouncy-castle 21st Century ego and sense of entitlement as the YouTube traffic and corporate sponsorship deals would inevitably drive that person right around the cosmic bend faster than a coked up Tony Stark.
I mean, imagine :
By day, he runs one of the largest corporations on the planet; his fingers stirring the radioactive gloop in many genetically modified pies; his subsidiaries produce Earth-rotting chemicals, un-food that harms more than nourishes and plutonium mining that exploits the local poverty stricken population of “over there” while causing the economies of the Western world to implode by using financial derivatives and insider trading as weapons of mass destruction and coercing shifty eyed debt ridden governments, through lobbying, into favourable legislation for him and his cackling hand wringing cronies.
Yet, by night, he stalks the deep Dark Web on a mission for old fashioned goodness and truth, patrolling the lowly digital basements and caves; a single figure watching and waiting for the narcotic dealers and human traffickers to leave clues of the whereabouts of their warehouses filled with ripe bodies and poppy essence for him to liberate with his iPhone 6 and Mercedes. He has felt driven by his inner demons to help the most feeble and frightened segments of mankind in a misplaced and medieval version of justice ever since his family was eaten by a starving homeless man. That cannibalistic cliché and the animalistic strength that surged through his body when he ate a Philly cheese steak containing a pellet of quantum-soaked rat shit from an animal that had escaped his father’s bio-engineering laboratory turned the budding industrialist into a scuttling, garbage obsessed hero – Mister Rodent!
The cognitive dissonance I feel here is as compelling as it is brain melting. Mmmmm … Philly cheese steak.
In the current murky psychic waters of an untrustworthy and morally ambiguous sense of the authority running society, and as new information of how the world actually works gets pumped into our brain-cupboards everyday, it is difficult to tell what separates the so-called heroes from the so-called villains. With our innocence trampled under the rocket powered boots that never came, and our now innate suspicion in anything that reeks of an old fashioned sense of goodness, is the archetype of a hero even valid in our dynamically transforming cultural climate? Hence the current fascination with flawed, yet seemingly more human, anti heroes and the Noir-ish sense of a planet going all to Hell in a Hoverpod. Knowing what I know of human nature, the rise of the supervillain or superantihero, as an individual or as a collective, would appear more credible. Well, until the mutants or extraterrestrials come to enslave us all. In fact, who needs them; just get a job, pay your taxes and see how that works on your sense of self worth.
Comic book culture has had a major influence on the so-called real world and not necessarily in ways that the bizarre characters that sprang from Lee, Kirby and Siegel’s collective imaginations would approve of : from guys with noble intentions who really do dig an extreme form of cosplay (or is it pantomime?) and go outside to give homeless people handouts and stop drunk guys indulging themselves with antisocial driving and generally getting in the way (but you have to admire their pluck); to inspiring technology in all its military industrial complexity; and then there is a collective jungle of faceless cyber vigilantes dedicated to internet freedom, supposedly, as well as naive and idealistic bite-the-hand-that-feeds anti capitalist campaigners – both groups smothering their individual identities under the same mask of a fictional romantic anarchist facing off against a dystopian fascist state.
My alcohol and caffeine sodden brain does not think that our collective unconsciousness has banished the archetype of the hero as a force for some higher ideal, or perhaps, more precisely, with the transformation of our understanding of life through the events of science and technology, our notions of what a higher ideal consists of is in the process of evolving into something beyond the purely simplistic good versus evil paradigm; where Captain America becomes a doomed and incendiary hero fighting against the systems of surveillance put in place by our betters to oversee that we do nothing more than pay our taxes, consume cheap thrills and die. The more outlandish and subversive our heroes become, the more new cultural tropes creep into the psychosphere and into the heads of the Big Mac chomping population, and the weirder the world turns.
Excelsior!

SCI-FI EYES#5

“He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”

Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil (1886)

The world only appears to be spiralling into a pool of divine vomit; while, our systems of information tell us, tech-savvy desert barbarians threaten to crucify everyone in the whole world who has read a different book from them, flesh-devouring diseases have flown across the oceans and in the next five minutes supermarkets will start becoming the Ground Zero of a zombie Apocalypse as the infected rise from their cardboard graves.
But where shall we buy our revitalising and genetically modified shampoo, I hear you wail?
Silence, you Pugs.
Out of sheer panic we rush online to info-medicate, or cling with the strength of freshly borne babes to any wi-fi connection that will allow us to feel control and a purpose in our lives. With noble and righteous sentiments, we don our avatars and rush into battle all the wrongs around us in the world today; as all those nasty whatever-phobe-ists are oppressing all the bored office and media industry workers of the world defiantly clothed in their passive-aggressive identity of victimhood; to defend the beautiful Goddesses of the Entertainment business as the rampant hacking goblins have prised open their digital chastity belt of a firewall, because if we are going to see their mythical dumplings of Satan and ambrosia tasting cream pie then, by Gaia’s frothy pearl, we should do the decent thing and passively wait to part with fiat cash for a flash of a divine digital Mound of Venus on Pay-Per-View coming to you direct in high definition.
Reality check:  In cyberspace, no one can hear you scream and the screaming for attention never seems to end.
When you switch on your device, you open the door to a part of you that you dare not even suspect lurks behind your eyes, beware, I say, ’cause here be monsters.
As you stare down into your screen, something else gazes back at you; a thing far more ancient than you can imagine with your blink-of-an-eye life spans; a thing that wants to fuck and fight; to propagate and escape; to feel part of a tribe and to judge those who are not part of it.
The screen has become the futuristic Looking-Glass we step through, reflecting our innermost secrets while trapping our physical images like monkeys in amber; the native tribes of the Americas once felt the same about the pin-hole camera. As the images caught inside mirrors move, seemingly distorting what we consider our reality to consist of with glimpses of our own grotesque Otherness, with Selfies, we become a perfect moment thrust into the online jungle as we suffer ravaged by the stingers of scorn from unknown scorpions gazing down into their own screens. Suicide amongst those searching for that ever-elusive perfect image increases day by day; a barbarous group-think aesthetic tribunal cutting slices off the individual with sawn off semantics.
Welcome to the Jungle of the Unreal.
This entity from the Limbic Zone stalks disgustedly amongst the entropic transistors; it bangs your chest in outrage at the zeroes and ones in a post on domestic violence. It controls you in a mass flurry of badly spelt YouTube comments, social media LIKES, comfort food photography and Twitter witch hunts – that most modern expression of Le Bon’s madness of crowds.
Caught up in a collective maelstrom of virtue; critical thought, intelligence and the capacity to form one’s own opinion lie bleeding in your reflection and you feel sated as that raging monkey at the back of your brain gets to swing on the vine of someone else’s humiliation. ‘Cause, like, they are not on the right side of History. After victoriously banishing the offending goblin into social limbo, as it licks its seething wounds ready for tomorrow’s assault on good taste, you calm yourselves by commenting on a 30 second video of a kitty in a humourous hat while feeling that you have struck a blow for truth and justice. Every time you LOL, a hundred trillion potentially intelligent spermatozoa die.
Perhaps, the scars left on the Psychosphere by the mental flood of humanity accessing a single system of information lead to a kind of emoticon-fuelled mass-mind prophetic lunacy, where a Simpsons episode predicted ebola in 1997.
I have no answers and neither do I particularly want them, yet I suspect that, contrary to my once childlike belief that the End of the World was a bad thing, the Apocalypse/Singularity/Omega Point may just occur in a far weirder fashion than we could ever have predicted and tightly gripping the rails of the cultural and technological rollercoaster as takes our breath away appears the only sane thing to do.
I shall drink my glass of Chianti to that, and as we as a culture spiral into the unknown, I shall not spill a drop.

And A Voice Came Forth …

The Cacophonous Cathari of Popular and Unpopular Music

 

“I am the voice whose sound is manifold”

The Thunder, Perfect Mind

“Christ is the imagination, at times terrible, irrational, incendiary, and beautiful; in short, Godlike.”

Nick Cave – The Flesh Made Word

Music appears to many as the most authentic art form – even superior to that of the image. The cultural, political and religious significance of simulacra that can muddy the waters of judgement seem to hinder less the mercurial nature of pure and absolute sound. Although from time to time, the high pitched and hysterical cry of “cultural appropriation,” or the odd media and religious fatwa is cast out onto the world by various opposing mobs clutching their virtual pitchforks, torches or rocks in an attempt to once again re-balance the official script of what William S. Burroughs, a self confessed Manichean, termed “The Reality Studio“. The assorted past media frenzies targeting the Blues, Jazz and its diverse bastard offspring have all been well documented; almost every outburst has been focussed on the sinister hypnotic mind control of imaginary fragile adolescents everywhere, conveniently forgetting that their own culturally innate morality may be doing exactly the same, thereby eschewing the other, more passionate facet of music – the Dionysian and liberating power of rhythm and melody on the psyche, whether played by a battered old slide guitar or digital synthesiser.

Musical sound is an aesthetic experience that can whisper to one’s own dark depths, allowing the shackles of reality to momentarily slip off this mortal coil and the mind to take flight. As the artist tends to interpret reality through his, or her, own individual vision; filtering even ingrained traditions and symbols, giving to them new life and terrible aspects, it is little wonder that many musicians/singers/songwriters of a heretical bent have chosen to clothe their flights and insights in music. These crooning heretics do not only come from the murky and obscure fringes of popular culture, such as David Tibet’s wonderfully eccentric, haunting and achingly personal Current 93 whose many albums inspired by the many personal and ecstatic Apocalyptic visions by Tibet have featured an avant garde alumni, from the more famous Nick Cave and Marc Almond, to lesser known fringe figures as Baby Dee, Douglas Pearce and the ever iconoclastic Boyd Rice, but even everyone’s favourite androgenous spaceman, David Bowie, has dabbled with these alarming ideas tumbling from the stages of the world’s largest stadiums.

Nick Cave has spent his career revelling in the blood soaked, genocidal tales of the Old Testament, as well as the hard time forgiveness of the New with the thumping passion of a Baptist preacher, yet the setting for his fiery stories is not the Levant, but often the Deep South. Cave comprehends the power of myths as much as the Gnostics did; by reinterpreting the Bible through the legendary figures and spirit of blues, gospel and rock ‘n roll in his early songs, Cave created his own particular universe. It is in the essay, The Flesh Made Word, that Cave discusses his inspiration for his lyrics in both The Birthday Party and the Bad Seeds; from a demiurgic despot of a God, swatting humanity in a jealous rage, to the ghostly Man of Sorrows glowing with creativity that haunts the Gospels. It is that dualism between a violently profane deity, and a gentler form of creation that shows Cave to be aligned with the heretics.

Heresy has often been the playground of musical outsiders, such as Sabbath Assembly: a band who have dedicated their output to blending the distinct apocalyptic theology of the hymns and beliefs of the sixties cult, The Process Church of The Final Judgement into a groovy mix of psychedelic heavy rock, folk, spirituals and the dirge-like devotional hymns. The cult lived on the edge of hippiedom and whose ideas encompassed a heady Gnostic mix of Judaism, Christianity and Luciferianism all done with a distinct and radically unique graphic sensibility, as explored in the Feral House book, LOVE, SEX, FEAR, DEATH with writing by former member Timothy Wylie and Process Church obsessive Genesis P. Orridge, who also features on Sabbath Assembly’s second album, Ye Are Gods. The music is a powerful and unsettling sonic trip into the mind of cult-like behaviour and the end of idealism.

And then there’s Boyd Rice.
Just mentioning him can make seemingly intelligent people of all persuasions lose all sense of humour, froth at the mouth, and have you struck off social networking Christmas cards lists before you have finished uttering your sentence. I do not know if there has been a more reviled, divisive yet innovative character inhabiting popular cultural soundscape. The legends that surround Rice, and that he surrounds himself with, are at the very least more interesting than the typical turgid rockstar trivia. I won’t go into his private quirks as, I have never met the man personally, and the net is awash with the usual accusations and deification ad nauseum. Go search and be offended, if that is your kink.
Love him, or loathe him, there is no denying Rice’s peculiar and precise influence on the state of modern music, from pushing the frontiers of what was possible within musical genres, to being the guy that Tarantino went to when putting together the soundtrack for Pulp Fiction. Yes, it is because of Rice that most of you know Dick Dale’s Misirlou. He also produced a Black Album while the now tired old Metallica were still scribbling skulls into their school books, created his own instrument, the Roto Guitar, and has had a four hour documentary by film maker, Larry Wessel, made about his life.
Rice’s musical output hints at his alchemical obsession with the dual nature of man, a form of psychological Gnosticism. The majority of his work as seminal noise outfit NON and his infamous live shows, more a form of aural assault as a deprogramming ritual than purely passive entertainment, express the troubled and vicious quality in man that so many seek, in vain, to destroy. His other work, for example, the band Spell with ex-member of the Scottish pop band Strawberry Switchblade – Rose McDowall, point a lighter and more playful side to the character, while his ambient works give the listener an almost, dare I say, transcendental feeling. Either that or they will make you go postal one day when you least expect it.
Sneaky bastards.
It is just this juxtaposition between the light and the dark that, the Hip Priest of Gnosticism, Carl Jung explored in his visionary work  Septem Sermones ad Mortuos, a piece that seems to have a profound influence on Rice’s work, quoting directly from it on the Scorpion Wind album, Heaven Sent. Boyd Rice has always done exactly what he wants to do, and does not care if you like it or not, and that singular point in a world of ever increasing mediocrity is, in itself, laudable.

Oftentimes, the media takes an element of the lore and blows up an explicit political point of view without taking into context, the whole Gnostic mythos. The singer/songwriter Tori Amos, the daughter of a Methodist minister, declared herself a Gnostic after reading the so-called Gnostic Gospels discovered in Nag Hammadi in 1948, and the media leapt on her 2005 album, The Beekeeper as a springboard for her feminist ideals, as the Gospels show a remarkably different soteriology to mainstream Christianity in the form of the figure of Sophia, or Holy Wisdom, and the companion, or syzygy, of Christ. In turn, by transforming Gnosticism into a political soundbite, the media neglected the most intrinsic part of what the Gnostic philosophy imparts, that the world is an illusion of adversity and anguish; a veil of tears, spun into being by malevolent forces in order to trap the divine sparks from finding their way by to the holy alien source of everything. This unpalatable and bleak side of Gnosticism, in a society where massage parlours provide “happy endings” and self-help volumes clutter up the aisle of bookshops everywhere with their ultimately depressing delusion of selling you control over the chaos that is modern life, is perhaps why this peculiar philosophy is always lurking at the edges of culture in the shadows.
The artist has to scream a little louder to be heard.
And howl they do.