Monday, April 7, 2014
Snarking to the Finland Station
The Shakespearean quotation will be familiar to all poetical and political earmongers. The Bellman has been depicted in the definitive Roman pose of imperial authority known as the adlocutio, which has been visually modified here to prove, amongst many other things, that everything old is new again.
Clothed in the rhetorical and semiotic crypto-imperial habiliments of Marxist-Leninism, the Bellman not only demands his auditors’ ears but even their arms so that he may throw them (their arms, not his audience) across the shoulders of the tottering capitalist-running-boojums and assist them into an early grave. This odd affinity (an unelective affinity?) towards Comrade Lenin is no accident, it allows us to make a second auricular reference to the rumored waxen ear which has replaced the genuine, damaged article on Lenin’s embalmed corpse.
The ear motif receives its third and final reiteration (thus fulfilling the Clochetic Rule of Three) in the somewhat maimed person of Vincent van Gogh, who stands behind Comrade Bellman (somewhat in the manner of a Laputian flapper) to encourage the enthusiasm of all concerned with his sinister aura … of menacing risibility.
Their audience, the proletarian hunters of the Snark, react to all this intellectual palaver as expected. Drinks all around and afterwards, dancing on the upper decks for the lower ranks! Huzzah for His Nibs the Bellman, huzzah for the Snark, huzzah for the revolution!
Will Schofield has very kindly posted a short bio of my late aunt, Monica Tornow, at his Writers No One Reads. On 50 Watts, he's also posted two pieces written by her in the late '70s for Manuskripte, the Austrian literary magazine, one of them translated by myself and another by Malcolm Green in his must-have Black Letters Unleashed (Atlas Press, 1989). There's also some pictures I drew for the two pieces, for the children to play with if they get bored while you're reading. My aunt loved children, especially if they smoked and drank and talked left-wing politics.