Monday, September 18, 2006

Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! #1: A Groupie Metaphysics

This week is Get Well Soon, Marianne Faithfull! Week.

I’m going to have a couple of stories about groupies, and a couple of quotes about groupies.

People who have never experienced the groupie dynamic might be wondering if there is a reasonable connection between the Goblin Universe and groupies in general, or Marianne Faithfull in particular. I think there are (at least) two.

First, many new age people believe that when a person is sick or in trouble, they can be helped by having other people think positive thoughts directed at them. This week will be a simple, practical application of that idea, to help a very cool woman who is sick. The Goblin Universe is all about associative, acausal happenings.

Second, groupies are magic incarnate, they are the hypostasis of rock and roll. The coming together of a groupie and the object of the groupie’s attention is Magonia made manifest. It is Magonia, but it is the opposite of what Keats wrote about in “Lamia.” [Lamia pt. 1, Lamia pt. 2] This is the essence of Goblin Studies.

I start today with a quote that is not exactly about groupies, but rather is about the kind of magic this week will be exploring and celebrating. I’ve added emphasis to one paragraph:

In fact, thought Arthur as he looked about, the upper room was at least reasonably wonderful anyway. It was simply decorated, furnished with things made out of cushions and also a stereo set with speakers which would have impressed the guys who put up Stonehenge.

There were flowers which were pale and pictures which were interesting.

There was a sort of gallery structure in the roof space which held a bed and also a bathroom which, Fenchurch explained, you could actually swing a cat in, “But,” she added, “only if it was a reasonably patient cat and didn’t mind a few nasty cracks about the head. So. Here you are.”


They looked at each other for a moment.

The moment became a longer moment, and suddenly it was a very long moment, so long one could hardly tell where all the time was coming from.

For Arthur, who could usually contrive to feel self-conscious if left alone for long enough with a Swiss cheese plant, the moment was one of sustained revelation. He felt on the sudden like a cramped and zoo-born animal who wakes one morning to find the door to his cage hanging quietly open and the savanna stretching gray and pink to the distant rising sun, while all around new sounds are waking.

He wondered what the new sounds were as he gazed at her openly wondering face and her eyes that smiled with shared surprise.

He hadn’t realized that life speaks with a voice to you, a voice that brings you answers to the questions you continually ask of it, had never consciously detected it or recognized its tones until it now said something it had never said to him before, which was “yes.”

Fenchurch dropped her eyes away at last, with a tiny shake of her head.

“I know,” she said. “I shall have to remember,” she added, “that you are the sort of person who cannot hold on to a simple piece of paper for two minutes without winning a raffle with it.”

She turned away.

“Let’s go for a walk,” she said quickly. “Hyde Park. I’ll change into something less suitable.”

She was dressed in a rather severe dark dress, not a particularly shapely one, and it didn’t really suit her.

“I wear it specially for my cello teacher,” she said. “He’s a nice old boy, but I sometimes think all that bowing gets him a bit excited. I’ll be down in a moment.”

She ran lightly up the steps to the gallery above, and called down, “Put the bottle in the fridge for later.”

He noticed as he slipped the champagne bottle into the door that it had an identical twin to sit next to.

He walked over to the window and looked out. He turned and started to look at her records. From above he heard the rustle of her dress fall to the ground. He talked to himself about the sort of person he was. He told himself very firmly that for this moment at least he would keep his eyes very firmly and steadfastly locked on to the spines of her records, read the titles, nod appreciatively, count the blasted things if he had to. He would keep his head down.

This he completely, utterly, and abjectly failed to do.

She was staring down at him with such intensity that she seemed hardly to notice that he was looking up at her. Then suddenly she shook her head, dropped the light sundress down over herself and disappeared quickly into the bathroom.

She emerged a moment later, all smiles and with a sun hat, and came tripping down the steps with extraordinary lightness. It was a strange kind of dancing motion she had. She saw that he noticed it and put her head slightly on one side.

“Like it?” she said.

“You look gorgeous,” he said simply, because she did.

“Hmmm,” she said, as if he hadn’t really answered her question.

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Get well soon, Marianne Faithfull!

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