Notes on The Zone
The Santa Chuck photo will make do instead of the red dress one.
I saw recently that people online made an effort to make NFTs appear as racist in order to piss off the people - influencers/celebrities, in particular - who try and sell them for high prices. The racist stigmatisation would, unsurprising, make NFTs worthless. The people spread misinformation about them and journalists ate it up. I mention this because it’s kind of cacophony/project mayhem-esque, I guess.
An artist approaching a new place with fresh eyes...As I read this I also remember your commentary on "Alien." Alien had this whole new world presented. Dirty, dark, strange but still had an exciting feel. Only to find that the actions, feelings and people were still just the same. Everyone still hating their crappy job, everyone still terrified of bugs and getting pregnant. Action and thought is where the exciting perspective can sometimes happen...
I had a chance to go to Burning Man in '92, as I was holed up in Reno, hiding from a recent ex-girlfriend. But, I passed, as the person who described it them as more of ginormous drum circle. And Jolly don't beat that skin.
But, in the late eighties and earlier nineties, before Reservoir Dogs, we used to have suit nights. Where all the guys would find a suit, any suit, and any girls around would have to wear dress's. And we, newly 21, would hit the bars in the little college town I grew up in. So, all of a sudden a bar would be filled with people acting themselves but dressed as if it was a speak easy, ordering classic cocktails. Now, remember, this was the era of girls bearing their midriffs at every opportunity, guys wearing "jams" and those fake Mexican pullovers, hippy central. It really weirded the college kids, and it was definitely a locals only thing. Not too surprising as we were in surf country.
A circle I used to run with held an annual Santa pub crawl in downtown Toronto. I remember walking past a mother with her son, maybe around seven years old, and the kid in the whiniest kid voice imaginable said "They don' look like Santa!" To which the mother, visibly irate, replied "Those are just... Santa's helpers." There were like 40 of us, all shitfaced. Good times.
Hey Chuck, with the packages you send out to people, can you tell me how long they usually take to get to the person? The snow might delay things. And I'm sorry, I'm just very antsy about mine lol
Before "Motel of Mystery" there was Theodore Bikel and his "Digging the Weans", a future archeaological exploration of the United States.
That’s awesome. Inspiration for when the world has its grand re-opening. You should snip the ribbon.
I started doing something similar when I started college. I majored anthropology. To alleviate my social anxiety, I started approaching everyday situations like a field anthropologist, just to feel a little removed.
What I found was that things I wouldn't have noticed before really stood out, which helped me with writing more detailed scenes and believable characters.
There's a book called "Magic, Witchcraft, and Religion: an Anthropological Study of the Supernatural" that might be of interest. I think that's where I read the article by a bored archeologist imagining future archeologists trying to suss out the purpose of the bathroom.
Thank you for posting this. While reading '' it’s like-minded people who agree to discard a story and to adopt a new, shared idea about the world. Even if only for a few hours.''
This brings me back to 2012, with my teen friends, maybe can be regarded as our own trip to the zone. I was 17 years old, looking for something different during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, on the 27th day, the holiest of them all. It’s believed that on this special day God locks away all kinds of evil spirits in hell, all kinds, From top to bottom of the pyramid. Only angels roam around. God answers all prayers, heavens doors are open. But, because I was nicknamed Iblis ( One of the names of Satan in Arabic language), mainly because of going against the grain and my angelic face, as I’d always start trouble but, end up not consequenced by. So, a couple days prior to the 27th, I threw around the idea to 3 of my friends that why wouldn’t we go to some place far off the grid and spooky-hell like? in search for the supposed missing Satan. The four of us started telling everyone in the neighbourhood about it, in case someone would want to join in. And on the night of the holy day, where the vast majority are in mosques annoying God, a whole soccer team with subs gathered: Mama’s boys, Nerds, Goofs , Gym junkies, addicts, gamers, pranksters, body building junkies.. but, we were all misfits. Everyone brought something, some Hashish, light torches, a Machete and knives, Food, Cigarettes and the Quran. We took off on foot around 21:00/22:00, so that by midnight we’ll be far off someplace wild. It was 10 to 12 Km away, into a secluded dense forest up in the mountains. It was dark, we reached an area where no one was around. As we got deeper and deeper, the more eerie it got. We reached a river that’s between two hills, surrounded by hanging dense trees, it was pitch black dark at that spot. We sat there knowing that a still river in the middle of the night is a bad idea – that’s what we’ve been told. Some smoked hash, we rested and ate, then climbed the hill onto an empty terrain. Suddenly, one of us spotted an outstanding tree rounded by bushes. A weird tree, we all immediately had an instinct to walk away. I went in with two of the boys from the original group to have a look. Closer and closer, passing through the bushes, we stopped and looked back at the guys out there, all silent. Eyes fixed and anticipating. Then, we took final steps and there it was, an out of place grave. We stepped back and stood confused, everyone wanted to have a deeper look but, couldn’t. So, I had to go see myself - well because I was the one who brought them all there, and I couldn’t afford not using this moment to fool them that I’m courageous, which in fact I’m mostly not. My best friend at that time went back as well. And there we found that this grave is unmarked, In the middle of nowhere. A grave that looked like it was supposed to never be found. Muslims have a false sense of brotherhood in life but, in the afterlife it’s what they count on. It’s important that even in death Muslims stay grouped and get given the same fate. It was super odd to find a grave there with those well put bushes as well. Something sinister had to be about it. That’s what we all thought. We had no explanation. Looking back at it now, I wonder whether that was a grave of a murdered person? Probably a teenage girl killed in the name of honor? It still happens, a lot. Anyway, we turned around and ran better than Forrest Gump. Passing through fields, ruining crops and disturbing the peace like demons just released from hell. A voice, an angry loud voice we realised was chasing us, a voice that seemed as if it meant business. Dogs started to bark as well. We ran even harder. Then suddenly upfront, a figure in the dark, his light torch is all we can see hurling at us, on the left was an awkward hill, on the right was a fence, the only route back is this dirt road. As we met, he greeted us with an axe, the voice at the back was a another farmer holding a sickle. They thought we were sheep thieves or something. We talked our way out of it by apologising. I wonder though if one of them had something to do with that grave? but, not my business. It’s between him and his dead young sister and God. On the way back, as we got to the city, still a little while ti’ll we reach our neighbourhood. We calmed down and started talking about planning a soccer match, the grave and the farmers with the sickle and axe. Generally though, I think that night atleast changed two of us. It went even better, though, as we were passing through a rich neighbourhood, a group of kids playing street Soccer with a nice looking yellow football with blue stripes. We didn’t even think twice! There, steps forward the fastest, strongest, most reasonably dressed guy in our group, and he asked for the ball using the old trick of ‘’ hey my friend pass it to me, I’ll show you a David Beckham trick ‘’ then, he hit it hard towards us, placed far away to do the old grab, pass-pass-pass and run. We bonded that night, few of us went on to become friends for more than a decade. And That ball fixed a long lasting issue by giving the whole neighbourhood, and surrounding ones aswell, a piece of leather anyone can borrow for a match.
This trip to the river surrounded by darkness became a thing among our group for a while. We went back few times, less and less people each time. The last time I went there 9 years ago maybe, I hid a crystal covered in a weird black tissue. The one who'll find it, if he's super religious, he'll shit his pants thinking it's witchcraft.
It seems the idea that fuels Cacophony threads all around. One could be a member without knowing so. I like what someone said in a review of Tales of the San Francisco Cacophony Society on Goodreads, '' Cacophony turns out to be the secret glue between Burning Man, FIGHT CLUB, flash mobs, media pranks, EXTREME sports, and probably many, many more cultural niches ''
In December 2019, I failed to get sold-out tickets to a Santa pub crawl in Guangzhou, China. Sometimes the event you create is so sticky it can hop oceans/cultures.
I wish I knew about this stuff 20 years ago. I never knew where to go or how to find these places. It sounds like a blast.
Update on the package...it arrived about 20 minutes ago! Thanks again, Chuck! Snow sniffed all her squeaker toys. She will love them eventually! And also...are you trying to give me the diabetes? That little box was full of fun-sized chocolates. It's almost like you knew I had a sweet tooth.
And now I have TWO copies of Consider This. Feels weird flipping through a fresh copy without all my highlights haha
I need to get out to Portland and meet you.
Hi Chuck. Do you offer chances to read others' works? Something like reading the first 7 lines and if you are not hooked, you would stop reading?