Sunday, August 04, 2013

Art at The End of the World.

I gotta do movie reviews as the critics in the daily rags like "The Terror" are most dissatisfying in  their opinions of certain "HEADZ" type movies that come out, especially the sci-fi, horror/comedy new releases. I've missed out on so many hot movies that I could've turned onto with crazy fun/bad reviews, schlockometer ring-dingers, like "The Conjurer" which I hated, too many crucifixes being waved about, nutty religious mumbo-jumbo, the audience could only laugh, except for the few wide-eyed, superstitious Christians, all bugaboo: no one has yet got past "The Exorcist" when it comes to such demonic nonsense. (James Wong might be the next Wes Craven but he needs a few more original shockers first.) But not so long ago I creeped out to, "Mama", a real freak-out, the vengeful ghost with Downes Syndrome, raped in an old mental hospital and then robbed of her child by the Church, wooooohhhhhh!!! It really weirded me out, scared me, amazed me, impressed me: a haunting from the real world. (Guillaume Del Toro as Producer/Director is perhaps the hottest horror talent on the planet at the moment.)

Which brings me to the sci-fi comedy, "The World's End", the new movie Simom Pegg.and co of Britain have unleashed upon us, as usual I rushed to see the latest hot pop corn on its first weekend showing. The straight press have panned it, giving it only 2 and 1/2 stars where I think it deserves 3 and 1/2 stars, or 7 out of 10. It's slow for the first half but then it picks up speed and goes on a wild trip = 'Gary King' is a loser who never grew up, likes to party, still wears black Rock Band T-shirts like Sisters of Mercy, and loads of silver jewelry and, nearing middle age, is having a nervous breakdown because he hasn't achieved anything with his life = it could be me. With his boyhood mates he returns to the town he grew up in only to find everybody's been turned into a robot. Yeah, sounds familiar: Stepford Wives meets The Village of the Damned meets The Body Snatchers: yeah, yeah, yeah, sounds like my life! He represents flawed humanity, the human condition, "to err is human", as against the perfect, robopathic-antiseptic aliens, quiet achievers who want to take-over the planet and eventually destroy it.... hhhmmmmmm, badly funny, sounds like what's happening in the world today or am I paranoid? The few survivors go feral and live off the detritus of a fallen civilization. Great writing, cracking jokes, kung-fu robot fighting that's a pisser, and a "city on fire" finale that's a blast. "The Sisters of Mercy" soundtrack to back the closing credits got the cherry, we rocked out of the theater.

Like a zillion other artists, I've fantasized this future scenario myself, in short stories and visions for movies. Only mine involves delusions about the artist and Art at The End of the World. I've often wondered why certain power-mongers, of whatever industries, grab billions and billions of dollars in wealth, with the most heinous of means, such as armaments, war-machinery, security, gambling, drug trafficking etc etc, like what the FUCK can THEY do with all that money; there's only so many castles, gold plates, jet planes and big yaghts any one person can put up with in a lifetime: what's the rest of the money doing? I reckon a few very powerful families, groups, individuals, who have the information from the experts that THE END is coming, from a cascading effect of destructive events, have plowed vast sums into self-sufficient survival bunkers/domains, under the cities, under mountains, under deserts, under islands far flung across the seas. There they will maintain a private Security force, medical team, science-research labs, hydroponics,thermal/wind/tide-power etc etc. for the benefit of themselves and their nearest and dearest to outlive the downfall.

There's a vast complex under the city of Sydney C.B.D., the Domain Park in actuality, built for the elite Politicians and any of the AAA List who happen to be in the city on business or shopping. A few nuclear bombs explode somewhere on the planet, the world economy collapses, a new pandemic disease is spreading like wildfire, and pandemonium rules. The AAA List bunker quickly opens its doors and a radio signal goes out to all in The Club, who wear a warning-device upon them at all times, and they quickly make their way to the underground car-park beneath the Domain Parklands. Stupidly they tell a few close friends and word ripples out to select circles so that crowds flood hopefully towards the secret shelter.

At the armored gates to the Bunker cattle-prod wielding Security Guards check the I.D. of those crowding in and only the elite of the elite make it through, such as the Premier of the State, his wife and children, the Treasurer, the Deputy, few other politicians for their must be space left for the billionaires who weren't quick enough to catch helicopters out to their fortresses beyond the mountains. Then there is the crack medical team from St.Vincents Hospital that will be necessary and a science-team from Sydney University for any research needed, and engineers from the University of Technology to rebuild some semblance of civilization once the air had cleared, and they'll probably bring all their families, (I think I saw this in "World War Z"). Anyway, there's no space for anyone else so it's no use trying, the Security Guards use machine-guns as a last means of repulsion  and the crowds of wannabe survivors wail, scream and plead.

"I'm a bureaucat in the Department of Drain Inspection, I handled millions of dollars in contracts, I know all the powerful people in this city!" pleaded a fat bullfrog-necked blob in a wrinkled gray suit.
"Useless! Not what we need, fuck-off!" grunted the Guard and then electrocuting the fatty with his cattle-prod. The mug fell backward and another guy in a suit, skinny and trendy, took his place.
"I'm the chief curator of art at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, you'll need me to select the art that needs to be saved for posterity. I'm culturally important, I'm connected to all the good families, I know all the Polizzzzzzzzzzzzz......!!!" The Security Guard zapped him before he could finish,  "What the fuck? There won't be any fucking posterity and we already ripped the few real masterpieces your mediocre collection had, there's no room for more of that crap so you'll have to step aside please!" "But I've got a doctorate in art, some of my best friends are famous artists, their work sells for millions!"  "Not right now it doesn't. Go!" and he shoved the weed in the face so that he is knocked aside.

Yet another twirp squeezed forward in the crush, the thick steel doors closing upon him and threatening to cut him in two. He wore a beret over shoulder length hair, a smock and red velvet pants. "I'm a famous artist, I'll entertain the bosses while they rest and wait for freedom. When they want, they can fuck me, any way they want!" "Nah, the Bosses already got all the whores they'll need long ensconced on their silken bunker-beds and they got stereo entertainment units as well so there won't be any use of a shitbag like you sucking the air and eating the food, so Go! Go! Go!" Zap, zap, zap went the cattle-prod, then a few machine gun blasts and the crowd shrieked for mercy.

I had been watching the clamor from the back of the crowd, and when I waved my medic's badge to catch Security's attention, I was beckoned forward and then swept into the bunker to join the medical crew as I was an experienced triage and surgical nurse and certain life-prolonging operations had to be performed on the elite survivors. After a tedious seven months of sweating it out with  a mob of boring, greedy, complaining bastards while buildings fell and millions died above, atmospheric testing suggested maybe the worst was over and an exploratory team could venture forth to get the lay of the land, do radiation readings and  blood tests of any above-ground survivors. We ascended a secret staircase that opened out into a room of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, a Classic Greek Temple now lying in ruins. We were totally shocked by the first tableau we came across, like some depraved art installation of the vacuous 'Noughties.

Seated around a burning fire were the ragged left-overs of what could vaguely be recognized as humans, hair matted, faces covered in weeping sores, skin and rags hanging off their bodies in shreds, hands like claws and dripping blood, rending charred flesh from something burning over the fire. To my horror, through all the filth, I recognized the bureaucats, low-echelon politicians  and the famous artists I'd seen begging and whining in the milling crowd demanding entry to the bunker at the beginning of the crisis, now looking like ferocious beasts, growling and snapping at each other as they grabbed at the half-cooked meat. But worst of all was what they were eating, for there on the spit, being slowly turned and roasted till the suit had charred and the body torn in half with teethmarks evident, was the chief curator of art, being eaten in the very gallery that was his pride and joy. And the fuel that crisped his puny flesh were piles of artworks wrenched from the walls, the galleries were empty, walls now bare, for all the art had been thrown upon the pyre. The curator's face could still be made out, the yellow eyeballs bursting with terror and surprise, and yet a look of arrogance still lurked at the edges, though it quickly disappeared as the eyeballs were plucked from the roasted head and crunched by the rotten, pointy teeth of the ogres poking about the fire. One last artwork flared under the crispy corpse, the word "Gospel" could be made out amidst the hungry flames, that particular work burnt very well, the last of the curator's fat dripped and sizzled.

The exploration crew did what they had to do and then insisted on returning to the Bunker, declaring the world was still too polluted, nasty and unsafe for occupation, perhaps seven years would be required to hide-out, get fat, make sure a near normal life could be experienced. There was no way I was going back to those dungeons of power-mongering piggery for seven fucking years so I sneaked away with a cross-bow, rucksack full of supplies and first-aid kits, to find my own way, conquer the new world, and be an outlaw; the world no longer needed the middle class apparatchiks who once ran the art world and only wanted wallpaper and object d'art for trendy decor, pushing art as furniture: in this cruel world the Artist had to be an Outlaw, his/her work had to be punchy to have any effect and black-balled if it was to have any viability.

If you enjoyed this story please go to the WEB address above and consider buying my book of tales about growing up anarcho-queer, rock and roll punter and mystic adventurer in Australia and India of the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.