Shattered Wig #28

Shattered Wig #28
Coming In November!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Early Bird Aural Tectonic Shift Pageant at Normal's, Sunday February 10th



Study this head above well, my friends. It belongs to the body of Don Peyton, an iconic Baltimore figure who has more wild-assed stories than you’ve got grannies with carbunkles! One of my faves involves him as a youth in downtown Annapolis (back when it was 95% human, before the androids performed their nefarious takeover). He was gibbering like a squirrel with its nuts being pinched by a briar patch in front of the old King of France Tavern, waving around Black Beauties while on Black Beauties, rapping with none other than Stan Getz. Before he knew it a famous beat cop of the area was approaching and Don spilt his black beans on the pavement. Stan Getz, being old school hep jazzman begins playing his horn all around Officer Kransky to create a diversion while Peyton scrambled like an atomic crab to gather his winky bits!!!



Or there’s the story of when Don lived in New York and was becoming a member of a new band called The Swans. Before their first gig they were arranging what time to be at the show. When Don heard the scheduled time he said, “Good, I get off work an hour before that, I’ll be able to get there in time.” Herr Gira said: ”Swans do not have jobs. And Swans do not have apartments.” Don did not make it to the second Swans appearance on the Sullivan Show. He went on to play in the great group Songs From a Random House and eventually ended up back in Baltimore, living above ye olde "Bob's Subgenius Video Shoppe" in Sowebo back when about only a tenth of the living spaces were occupied and Dan Van Allan would wander alone late at night in nothing but jean shorts cut up to where his yarbles breath saying "Who will help me faux finish yonder Church bench? Meet me in the Arabbers' stable, I have a doobie and two carved coconut heads that resemble Captain Chesapeake!"



At any rate, Don has is a great musician, great storyteller and one of Baltimore’s treasures. On Feb. 10th, two Sundays ago, he and Dan Breen played some out freeform duets, covered an Earle Brown composition with Selena Schreyer on vocals and Charlie Chadwick on cello and did a beautiful cover of a Tinklers’ classic with the same quartet.





Opening was Geff Stuibbhart, who I wish Jack Rose was alive to hear. Geff knows his delta masters, the Takoma boys (Fahey and Basho) and all the rich American traditional folks and has absorbed it and oozes out a rich sound all his own. Despite still fighting off a version of this winter’s plague he played some incredible finger picking instrumentals on guitar and banjo, my favorite being “Buried Alive in Coal”.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

old one ends

The sky has joined us in our heads
    an elegant rattling ensues
  &
 agony -
until the web between worlds splits
   and scary shit comes out

There is no safe place
   outside the tree fort
or Peter Pan's rec room
It's easier to take
with a nice chilly breeze
and a couple blankets on at night

Who's sitting here waiting for this cobweb
selling carpeting
from bankrupt motels

  a slow reveal

Exhibits from the school cabinets

a jellyfish could
 unlock
the secret of immortality
recently returned
from a tanning products
convention in Nashville
green effulgence
or rejected swain
it's the 13th inning
  after midnight

Right now I'd like to be
the reflection in a
   mirror
of a lake outside a window
as a gnarly hand pops out
  clutching
the bloodied white rag
    of peace

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pope Croke Tribute #4 - We Knelt, We Bit, It Was Over Too Soon, Part 1

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It seems appropriate to be fighting off a flu and sinus infection from the sanctuary of my couch as the spirit of Pope and our time living together and playing in Kneeling On Beans, Furniture Falling Down the Stairs and She Bites fills my cobwebbed brain. His lair on Maryland Ave. that I got to hole up in for a few years was a sanctuary from the madness of drug and crime-ridden early 90's Baltimore. And most of my time there was spent in darkness recuperating from nerve blistering hangovers or burbling giddy past my saturation point from cheap Sam Adams pints from The Rendezvous, which was perilously close to our apartment.

I first met Pope in that subterranean, battleship gray apartment that seemed to hold the night in its walls. Anna Oldfield told me he was someone special that I had to meet and that he had punk rock albums to sell. I was immediately struck by his wise animal nature - a lot of sniffing and owly sidewise peering. At one point he danced upon his bed playing a flute while I flipped through his Crucifucks, Crass and MDC LPs. We talked a lot about music and writers we loved and in no time we were in Kneeling On Beans together with Anna, Mok Hossfeld, Angus and a crazed 18 year old red headed drummer going by the name Microcosm. We practiced in Microcosm's Calvert Street rowhouse, which quickly turned into party central, gaining the love and admiration of the neighbors, police department and landlord.



Mok Hossfeld eventually moved into this house with Microcosm and Matt, who were his Mt Royal Tavern pit bull bodyguards, along with Laura T. It was in this after bar closing party house that Mok got his nickname Pappy, being the professorial elder with a handful of years more under his stained cravat than his housemates.

One of the first things you learn when playing in a band with Pope is that he existed in his own time and you had to work hard to lasso him into an approximate time frame for practice. With the Beans this often meant Anna going into his bedroom before practice and making quietly passionate cases for why he may want to stir. Not that being on time for practice with the Beans was easy for any of us because it was a large band peopled with folks who worked all kinds of patchwork part time jobs. So we often even had to practice at godawful times like 11am, which of course meant we had to prime the mood with morning canned beer and skunk weed.



(Above is Microcosm as successful highly paid skins man possessed by Spike Jones.)

It was in the Beans of course that Pope somehow turned a tv hippy parody song from Get Smart into a thrilling frug-worthy punk song. His haunting intonation of "make her scahream! Like in your dreams", his voice choking somewhat, trance-like, captured with the rest of the Beans repertoire by Wally Novash expertly with just a cassette 4 track recorder in the basement of the party house. It's one of the few band recordings I've been part of that actually sounded exactly like the band.

There were some great shows - opening for Lungfish out behind the Mt Royal Tavern and playing some forgotten DC club with Monkeyspank come immediately to mind, but sadly no record companies were snapping up Baltimore acts in the '80s and band members began relocating.

One day driving with Pope, both of us single and aching at heart, we were discussing the rare, unique qualities of the fiery original singer of the Motor Morons (Michelle?) and Pope said in his best emphatic whisper "Hmmmnn...she bites!" Sometime soon after Skeeter Davis' "End of the World" came on the radio and She Bites was born, our lovelorn punk torch song duo to send our love calls out to the ladies.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

FORTUNE 500......PLUS ONE for Brother Anselm

Joining the recently departed Chris Toll and Pope Croke is poet Anselm Hollo, who served some time in Baltimore three decades ago. I had the pleasure of working in Second Story Books, Baltimore, back in 1984 when he walked in with Andrei Codrescu. He checked out our local press section was and his gaze fell upon a tape I made with John Berndt called "Readings From Nether Lips". "Nether Lips", he said with amusement in his thick accent, "nether lips".

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FORTUNE 500......PLUS ONE
For Brother Anselm


Enumerated by calendar     (them
Sustained by pills      (me
2013's Hot New Diet Secrets        (bedsprings
Maverick is his name      (Sputnik
For all your caffeinated needs       (hoist
Please stay in control of your person     (amour or less
& so on     (fiasco
& so forth      (apr├Ęs bowling

"Let's see some ID here..."       (swollen foot
Lapdog or laptop      (the actual body
By the speed with which     (viral
Are we equal to the sequel?       (crowbar, flying
If nothing else     (translate
Let us be definite     (forever on the Page

by Joel Dailey

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Joel Dailey is the editor of Fell Swoop Press and author of Surprised By French Fries on Ugly Duckling Press.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Pope Croke Tribute #3 - A Letter From Mark Hossfeld



(Above - Mark "Pappy" Hossfeld as a starving young artist and bookseller)

Thomas Pope Croke

I'm very sorry I can't be with you today. I would give anything to change that, but poverty continues to bite off my freedom of movement. Speaking of poverty, when Pope and I lived together it was different times. I'm amazed now at the comfort and filthy domesticity of our poverty and squalor together, something almost impossible to imagine today. Low rents, dive bars and 7-11 microwave burritos are all extinct species now. I misspeaks; the burritos are eternal of course.



I was intimidated by Pope when we first met. I'm not sure how it happened, but he had developed or cultivated a reputation for difficulty. But our first meeting went very well. I can still clearly remember his profile in a smoky, amber light. He was smiling and he had such a beautiful smile. Everyone nodded their heads and dilated their pupils when I told them I was going to move in with him. It turned out just fine, strangely enough. I quickly got used to Crass and Sreavinsky booming through the apartment at three in the morning.

When he was learning a new instrument, the first week was pretty horrible, especially the wood winds, but by week two it was a pleasure. And the way he "thought" on the piano was wonderful. He could go long, long stretches improvising on the piano, running the gamut of emotions and styles.



Another of the pleasures would be when I ran into him in the hallway after he had finally taken a pee-break from his long composition sessions. The look on his face was like a Catholic saint after a good sit-down with the Holy Mother. Pope was capable of great joy. I have ever since striven to match him, but no luck so far.

Of course, when Pope was down, he was undersea trench down. It would start as a kind of cosmic grouchiness. He might let out a soul-crushing, despairing cackle at an episode of Dynasty on our little, defective black and white television. He might go all day saying nothing but "Bah", in a five syllable exhale. But he was right. I consider it one of his gifts to me. He had me dead-to-rights as a Marxist Pollyanna on the make. The world really is a horrible place and Pope was right to insist I see it so.

But Pope could always find the sublime humor in the horrors of this world. It seems to be a Baltimore thing and he was quintessentially Baltimore in his practice. When we were in Kneeling On Beans together we covered "Kill, Kill, Kill" from the old show "Get Smart". Written by Buck Henry, it was sung by an evil hippie group (CHAOS spies) called The Sacred Cows, whose mission was to lead American youth to ruin by means of hypnotic hippie music. It went:
Kill, kill, kill!
Thrill, thrill, thrill!
Make the scene
Knock off the Dean!
Yeah, yeah, yeah!
Knock off a square!
That's what it's about
Hate is in, Love is out
Pope added a verse that went like this:
See your Mom
Make her cum
Make her scream
Like in your dream
Now you're bad
Knock off your Dad
That's what it's about
Hate is in, Love is out

I have always admired that little addition to the song because it works on so many levels, beginning with the knee-slapping lay obscene. Just as super-villains in spy dramas compulsively reveal their nefarious plans to the hero, the song now embraces cartoon counterculture in all it's helpless, retarded glory. Maybe that's what we were getting at in the late 80's. I still love it.

I also remember one time Pope asked me if I really cared how the audience reacted to one of my readings. I said, Yes, of course, it's very important to me. The look on his face was somewhere between amazement and compassion. I say compassion because he felt art was so much further from entertainment than I did. Art was the alien other. Art was a magnificent world all its own for the audience to seek and find. It could not be delivered in less than than thirty minutes with or without anchovies.

Pope loved me and forgave me a multitude of sins. I love him because he left me with nothing to forgive. I wish I could be more like him. I wish I could have told him so.
Love to you all,
Mark Hossfeld



Mark Hossfeld is a renowned writer and artist who somehow created a tasty heady melange mixing Marx, Lacan, Dionysus and Archy and Mehitabel. He is also a world traveler and triple agent currently residing on a Canadian mountaintop where he frequently runs about in only gym socks yelling Stooges lyrics. His period of living with Pope in the '80s was a rich one in Baltimore history that included "The Spanking Party".