On his way to the forum the god of Maybe bumped into the god of of Atheism. “yesbut nobutt yesbot noboat aw shaddup” said the god of Little Britain, and the god of Strange Mixtures and Unexpected Events gave them all a little nudge. “Know what I mean, Now what it means, No water mints?” Wink wank, nudge fudge. Leaving them sitting in a circle like imbeciles, the god of 8 Circuits finally decided to break the Law of Fives.
On the evening of the 21st, Borsky had cleaned up his old house for the last time, having moved to hermetic Bruges. He got into his car at precisely 00:23 and got home at his new life, universe and everything at precisely 00:42. The number was on the wall.
His five cats amongst which Namu, Amida and Butsu greeted him enthusiastically. Tomorrow was D-day. Some timelords of MLA would meet again, now for the fourth time.
4 hours later, in a mix of hypnagogia and hypnopompia he jumped on his back with his bikepack. Waking up the the pace of his driving he realized it was the other way around. Late as usual, but the god of Lost Causes was tying up his shoes so the train didn’t leave without him.
9:30 PM. Paris. Cité radieuse, New Babylonia. Junkyard and diva, patchwork of cultures and the paint smell of impressionism. How can you not fall in love with Paris, especially in the summer? Even after having read a book about its history depicting the horror of centuries of collective slaughter, leaving its cobblestones tainted with human blood?
A ring. Fly had been there since 6:00 AM, hopscotching the metro at shroomspeed. The first messages Borsky could reply to, then the god of Unpaid Bills came down hard and shut down his phone credit. He trusted the god of Synchronicities. His moon seemed in a beneficient transit, so the manager of the appartments they had rented let him get in touch with Fly.
Two spacetimes met again. And F. and B. were together at the village. Ours was number one. You are number six. The god of Lost lust Objects had striked down hard on Fly, having Bobdobbed his passport.
A message. And there was Tons, trying to get in touch. B. typed a cryptical message on F.’s Phone, making her wonder what kind of ship of mad fishmongers she got onto. Supersargasso sea. After this message that phone, too, gave up all credits leaving the duo in a limbo of one-way communication. But of course, not communicating is also a form of expression.
On the metro, intro outro allegro ma non troppo (e pericoloso sporgersi, said the chicken crossing the road) they strolled to meet up with T. They had never met but trusted the god of Bizarre Attractors.
On their way in the subway Borsky had a mystical blissperience. While on the horizontal nonescalator, they stood still and the station was moving under their feet like a linear Foucault’s Pendulum. On the opposite side, moving in the other direction he caught sight of a muscular dude with an attitude and a goateetude, lost in his writings. The god of chi-mail (not to be confused with a certain goddess with 5% extra meat) made them both catch each other’s attention. And Propanon had joined the party! What R the odds, what R the odds. So they were three. Prop left for the appartments carrying his gigantic luggage filled with reality sandwiches.
Moving on, F and B realized the second law of MLA meetings would get smashed to splinters. Further up the road, sitting at a terrace, they met up with Tons who’d illuminate the synod with her bright smile and female Witz.
Finally the four got together at Saint-Germain-des-Prés eating pizzas in a park. A strange BlackBetty from Bogus who should have shown up with B.Kane: “troubles getting on the train”. Then another message: Fuzzbuddy and Chris Matthias had arrived in town. The god of Giving Directions worked its way on Tons’ phone and Fuzzbuddy joined the gang!. Finally they were five, again. Les flâneurs walked into the atmosphere of Sartre Beauvoir 68 BooksBooksBooks. Into Beat street Borsky and Fly flushed themselves through the walls of books of the world’s smallest bookshop. Further up the road the spirit of Spare Ass Annie was long gone and replaced by poshpushpiss interiors. Back to the village to leave the luggage. Strange Subliminal Subcognitive messages from Chris Matthias to Fuzzbuddy were replied to in JohnDeEnglish. And they left again for the final meetup.
The sun was getting lower. At the epicenter of hermetic parvis they passed the Paris of Notre-Dame. In front of Shakespeare and Co was Chris Matthias, still suffering from the heat of the day’s remains, dreaming of snowboarding on a frozen river Seine. From inside the bookshop a gentleman sounding like Michael Caine, wearing a green jacket and a illuminatied T-shirt greeted them. Bogus was there. And finally, from the depths of Shakespeare’s pages appeared the mysterious norseman B.Kane. The circle felt completed, ready to be measured from anywhere. And ‘they’ became ‘we’.
The heterocritical company walked on among the quays of the river Seine and in Saint-Germain, passing the place called Procope where 350 years ago the first coffee in the world was served. It had become dark and B. Kane, jetlagg’d and fever’d left for his hotel near the Phantom of the Opera. Our night back at the appartments was filled with talksmokedrink. RAW, Fuller, Reich, Pinchbeck and Rushkoff were our coathangers. Magick came in from the front door and became magic in the middle of a circular circus. Hide the hide. Hiddy-ho. And all bowed and bowed even more to Tons’ mighty gift, a bottle of Bowmore malt - spirits sharpening our spirits. All became members of the Eburonic Chapter for ‘Pataphysical Research. We talked and talked and talked until the late conversations became early ones.
To sleep; perchance to dream. A few hours, bow more, and we entered Day 23 – the great day. A spy from the Illuminati was quickly revealed, listening at the door and was flushed down the drain. No time to waste, no whine to taste: Operation Pompadour was at hand.
Next to centre Pompidou we researched the shades of the terraces. A message from the Blue Guy to Bogus was greeted with enthusiasm. We toasted to Bob and Bobby, and felt their presence. Fly feeling his vessels ebbing, had gone Hemingway. Half of the party wanted to sneak into the catacombs, but like Alice’s rabbit, Chris, Fuzzbuddy, B.Kane and Borsky were told they were too late. So they got back to join the rest in visiting the exhibition ‘Traces of the sacred’. Propanon was trying not to be seen.
We were thrilled by Works from romantic Friedrich, metaphysical de Chirico, expressionistic Murnau, and we saw lots of strange and new works by lots of strange and new artists. B.Kane spotted many rosicrucian references and commented that Bob would have loved this exhibition. Ewige Blumencraft. Puzzled by several black paintings later, both parties met again watching John Giorno’s monologue on William Burrough’s last moments into Bardo and Brion Gysin’s stroboscope probing the scope of consciousness. And Fly had become hip- no, teased with ideogrammatic mushrooms. What R the odds, what R the odds.
Walking back towards the hermetic epicenter, Tons and Borsky decided to visit the hunchback’s domain, only to be confronted by the rabbit syndrome again, Notre-Dame had closed just minutes earlier.
(Speaking of which, rabbits were some kind of recurring theme on our quest. For some reason, the metro ideograms showed the dangers of squeezing rabbits between the carriogres’ doors of perception. And Monty Python’s bloodthirsty white rabbit at the Cave of Aaaaaaaaaaargh seemed one of the gang’s favourite scenes.)
Back at Shakespeare and Co, stiil no sight of Mr. Whitman. Aye, like the third man in his Falstaffian attire at the fire, he must have gone olde. We had lost Prop and wondered whether Chris Matthias’ unhealthy obsession about burning him during the previous two meetings had caught up with him. We followed him into his seminal need for ‘real’ beer and ended up as usual in the middle of Paris drinking Guinness in an Irish pub.
Extreme inner heating systems were compared. Le sauvage central. Chris left traces with buckets of his sweat during the day, revealing our walkabouts to the Illuminati conspiracy, at moments, even starting to glow when left in the sun for too long – we feared spontaneous combustion. Prop might have enjoyed the backdraft of Chris’ voodoo rituals. Tons on the other hand, in sharp contrast to her sunny smile, got colder and colder according to the pace at which the sun tumbled towards the horizon, adding layers upon layers of clothes. Happily we didn’t end up with a Michelin woman, as in the heat of the night, we all found our equilibrium.
While Fly and Tobby left towards the appartments the cash register or someone’s phone fooled FB into imagining a last call.
Back at our homebase we were glad to find Prop, Fly and Bogus waiting for us. And we were 8 again, and the circuits could flow again, wheels within wheels. Body language as a communicative medium, Chris stopped wobbling his hands, Bogus stopped giggling, and Prop pantomimed the difference. We were treated to the trialogues of Chris Matthias, Propanon and B.Kane (who, discussing pseudo-religious Mondrian paintings, had a very personal interpretation of the word ‘tryptic’). There were some references to the deep-throating abilities of beer-drinking Hell's Angels. As Chris would notice later, Fly was the first to stop ptretending taking part in the conversation and slowly became one with the cushions of his canape canopy cannabis. Hide the hide. Hiddy-ho. Next victim was Borsky, already long gone up in smoke.
We had agreed to get up early, but only a diminished Borsky was there to grmeet Chris at the door while the others were still zombified. Chris was forced to admit the MLA would never take over the world with this kind of attitude. Peripatetically, B.Kane had left at dawn for his suite. The sharp dressed man, having misjudged his distances, was treated to a long walk.
We, the others finally left the hotel with all our gear. The owner must have been puzzled while taking pictures of our strange tribe. We must have seemed a very diverse bunch, having no superficial connections; indeed we all have different attitudes, ages, dresscodes, even languages… yet we couldn’t hide our tribal bonds and were obviously very much related on higher levels.
We were to go visit the skulls and bones underground, but due to our slow start we had left at 10:30 am. And so, sadly, Tons had to leave to fly back to Berlin. And we all hugged, hoping to meet again soon, forumwise or IRL.
Somehow Toby, Prop and Fly got cold feet and left Chris, Fuzzbuddy, B.Kane and Borsky get their own cooled in the catacombs. Orpheus in hell. After numerous stairs (maybe the name from the place came from the sound of tourists falling down) and much to the relief of Chris, we entered a dark, damp and cool place where the sun doesn’t shine.
The Cave of Aaaaaaaaaaargh. Dark poetry amongst the ossuary reminded us, as if any more was needed, of the temporality of all life. Borsky had brought MiniNonProphet, whose original couldn’t make it last year neither, and so his effigy had been made for the 2007 Bruges meeting (but somehow refused to burn properly). It was left so one day maybe a fortean archeologist might wonder whether once an African tribe ruled the Parisii, o rif strange Voodoo rituals had taken hold of the underground.
Finally after almost 2 km. we reached the staircase towards the living and the sun and the heat. We met the rest of the gang at a terrace. Bogus talked about Dali and Lanvin chocolate, Prop had pickled a Lanvin model and B.Kane treated us all to a meal. There was no horse.
We had reached the time for our final separation. In the metro we had warm farewells. Prop went back to Saint-Germain, trying to figure out whether ‘pataphysics grooved, Fly was to meet up with Freewheelin’ Dava, B.Kane went back to his hotel to sniff some Cocteau, Borsky went back to Belgium and Bogus, Chris and Fuzzbuddy went back to Britain.
Three days had passed like a bonfire, intense, fast and way too short. Next year we might make it a fivish, if only to please the god of the Law of Fives. Proposals for next year were a castle in the vicinity of a plague village where everyone had died a horrible (but natural) death (Chris), Ingolstadt hunting down the Illuminati (B.Kane, Tons), a croatian nudist camp at 30 minutes by boat from the mysteries of Venice (Borsky), or in the depths of the Amazon forest amongst the ayahuasceros (Prop). Whatever might be the case, I’m convinced the twain shall meet again, maybe next year maybe sooner, and that the RAW tribe is slowly growing out of the virtuality of the MLA into something larger. Publication of the first MQ print, courtesy of El8ed1, soon, might prove a first step further up the evolutionary scale; the Propsposition to write a collective book about Bob might be next. Wait and see.