Friday, September 27, 2019

Enjoy Your Specially-Curated Apocalypse Experience

The Sibyl Prophesies at the Temple of Mithras

Well, the day finally came and I made my way into see the Sibyl prophesy to the masses at the lusciously-appointed solar temple on the grounds of the world's largest open-air Mithraic temple in the New Rome. 

Or is it the new Byzantium and London the New Rome? Or is London the New Babylon and New York the New Rome?

Well, either way, I was not disappointed. In fact, I got much more than I bargained for. 

The entire room is a giant sun

Oddly enough, I got my ticket at the last minute. I was actually on the fence about going, on account of some vestigial faithless backsliding. But the truth is that Mezzanine has never been one of my favorite Massive albums, and I've never been certain if the Sibyl's incantations on it should be considered canonical (I'm one of those annoying orthodox types who believes the age of unique prophetic revelation ended in 1996). 

Plus, I worried that the Sibyl is over 20 years older than she was at time, she's always struggled with throat problems compounded by stage fright and her vocals on the album were already an octave above her natural range. Plus, ticket prices were absolutely ludicrous until the resale agencies started dropping them closer to the show.

Plus, everybody knows "Silent Spring" is the true Massive Sibyl masterpiece. And they weren't playing it.

However, the day's events conspired to force me to seek mercy and guidance from Our Lady, and I am very, very glad I did.


First of all, if you want to see anything at Radio City, you can always buy the cheapest seats available. There aren't any bad seats in the entire place. I was in the very back-- on the Mezzanine, ironically-- and I could see and hear everything perfectly. As a matter of fact, the band were often punishingly loud at times but the mix was crystal clear and enticing.

Plus for this show, there's nothing on stage to watch but a bunch of musicians standing in the dark. The action was all with the light show and Adam Curtis's video collages. I can say quite un-ironically that I hope to God there weren't any epileptics in the audience. 

I'd seen the various videos online and they don't come close to capturing the experience. The lights were very, very bright, the music was very, very loud and the videos were eerily dimensional, like holograms. If there were any truth to the methods seen in The Parallax View, everyone in the crowd would now be a programmed Manchurian Candidate.

Or maybe we are...

I do have to say that with the videos and the power chords and all, the show reminded me a lot more of a Clash concert than anything I'd expect Massive Attack to put on. Kind of like what The Clash would've done if they had ever got their shit together. Which, of course, they never did

Also, if one of The Clash dated the singer from the Cocteau Twins instead of the singer from "Paradise by the Dashboard Light."

It was a lot of fun to hear Massive cover one of my favorite Cure songs as well as "Bela Lugosi's Dead." And Horace Andy-- or Horus Andy-- is still a great singer and performer. "Angel" was phenomenal. 

Come to think of it, that reminded me a lot of The Clash too, when Mikey Dread or Ranking Roger would take the mic. Funny, that.

As I've said many times before Adam Curtis's videos are straight out of The Parallax View and Clockwork Orange. Along with the light show, it was also similar to his work on the MK ULTRA ballet back in 2017.

Ironically, given all of Curtis' anti-nostalgia messaging, it's a form of nostalgia for a time when people actually believed that a few simple viewings of disturbing imagery-- accompanied by text, of course-- could actually brainwash someone. 

We all know better now.

But the climax of the show proved my longstanding insane delusions thesis that this shy, modest, reclusive and rather-androgynous middle-aged housewife is somehow a unique and particular person of interest for a lot of powerful and influential people. People who seem to really know their shit when it comes the occult and the esoteric. 

And as I seemed to intuit a long, long time ago, there's a repeated symbolic connection between this tiny, sweet-voiced Scottish soprano and the Apocalypse that is so consistent and long-running as to be undeniable. Don't ask me why.

Anyway, after a catalog of dystopian images sprinkled through the night, all hell broke loose for the crescendo of "Group Four" (you can watch a complete performance of the song here). 

Robert Del Naja (or Banksy, if you like) and the Sibyl shared the vocals, then Del Naja left the stage to the Sibyl, who silently swayed in the spotlight. 

Or silently channeled, depending on your point of view. 

So then the band hammered away on that very Nine Inch Nails-like riff (did I mention how loud they were?) and violent scenes of rioting in Paris, Moscow and Hong Kong filled the screens, along with all kinds of Captain Howdy-like flashes of our Archonic nightmare world.

And boy, you know what it reminded me of?


In fact, the whole show kinda did.

Take it away the electricity and it also reminded me quite a lot of that weird vision I had of an ancient Mystery ritual on an early summer morning in 1986, while at the intersection of James Street and Harter Road in Morris Twp., while listening to "Great Spangled Fritillary." 

It all could be straight out of Delphi or Eleusis. The revered elder priestess singing some of her golden-oldie oracles while torches blaze, banners are flown and black-clad Dactyls hammer away with their swords and shields and giant stringed instruments? Sounds about right.

Of course, it all began back in 2013, when the same basic cast rolled out the prototype for this tour. I cherish this video because it's one of the only recordings in the past 23 years in which the Sibyl sings closer to her natural, comfortable range. 

Do make note of the final image of this performance. 

It's all so crazy, isn't it? I mean, why? Why do we keep seeing this sort of thing? Why do hear her voice echoing across the sky in the Clarion Call ritual, itself a spin on the same producers' Siren Song in Australia? 

Why is this tiny, shy woman-- essentially retired and decades after her indie-rock glory days-- so fascinating to the people who spend a lot of money to put these very highly-loaded, ritualistic performances on? It's crazy as shit, yet it's all been going on for more than two decades now. 

Maybe it's because of the fact that big external events so often seem to sync with significant events in her own life and/or work. 

Like the super typhoon and the dolphin superpod that heralded her return to performing last year. Or the fact that Hurricane Dorian made landfall at the same time she returned to perform in America after six years (and tour for the first time in 13). 

Or that the latest impeachment ritual kicked off just hours before she performed in Washington DC. 

Yeah, we've seen all this a lot by now, haven't we? "Dr. Strawberry," anyone? See enough of that kind of thing and you can't help but wonder. Is what I'm saying.

Plus, Pearly Pigtails and the latest Children's Crusade.

Makes you wonder what ol' Jeffie-boy was trying to say with his Twin Cockatoos, if that's indeed what they are. Mockery? Inversion? Well, we certainly won't ever find out now.

Well, I can theorize but I don't know these people's thoughts. But I can say that I knew there was something uniquely unknowable about her 36 years ago, pretty much after the first few seconds of "From the Flagstones."

I do badly miss the excitement and anything-goes abandon of those old records, and I've never been a huge fan of her high soprano, but some macro-synchery certainly clicked into place last night with this performance.

See, I had missed the underlying meaning of "flowers" until the next song. I was so struck by the heart-rending war footage that it took a while to sink in. 

Plus, sync in.

Where have all the flowers gone? Well, you see where at the end of the clip. And the graphics during this song drive the message home. There's exactly where the flowers have gone, figuratively and literally.

But now I should explain why I became so fixated on this person again. See, she saved my life, quite literally. And she lifted me out of Hell, figuratively. 

Well, maybe literally, too. 

Let me tell you a story...

You see, as I was grooving to "Inertia Creeps" I kept chuckling at the drug names. I was like, "Yep, I was on that. That too. Opana? Percocet? Fentanyl? Dilaudid? Sure. Vicodin and all the various generic and brand names thereto? Yep. Lots of that one, too. For years."

Longtime readers know I have an inflammatory pain condition. It's called Myofascial Pain Syndrome and it's when the major nerve endings in the connective tissue in your muscles start misfiring and the muscle tissue goes into permanent spasm to protect them. They're called "trigger points" and I have them all over my body, but especially in my back and neck.

I've had it for a long time and treated it more or less successfully naturally, but it started becoming intolerable in 2003 or so. I didn't respond to anti-inflammatories like Celebrex or Vioxx, SSRIs made everything worse, and the only thing that did work-- Prednisone-- makes doctors very nervous because of the side effects.

So my doctor gave me a ticket for the Opioid Express and I rode it. All the way down to Hell. 

See, opioids are actually pretty useless for longterm pain management. Your brain eventually outsmarts them. So in addition to all those, I was getting anesthetic injections, using lidocaine pads and all kinds of ineffective crap like physical therapy. Plus, I was basically a guinea pig for all kinds of horrible experimental treatments as well.

My doctor retired and referred me to another MD, whom I shall call Doctor Moore PillzforU. He was big on the "cocktail" approach, meaning painkillers, plus a bunch of off-label prescriptions for all kinds of expensive and toxic psychoactives. 

It didn't occur to me how fucked all this was until one day I realized my pain was not only getting crazy worse but there always seemed to be a coterie of Big Pharma pushers in his waiting room every time I went.

Well, it really occurred to me when I showed up at his office and was informed he got his controlled-prescription license pulled. That was the very same day that I was informed someone very, very close to us had committed suicide. When I heard that news I fell to the ground. My legs just gave out. I hadn't realized that actually happened IRL.

Not really a great day to start withdrawal from a high dose cocktail of pharmaceuticals all noted for their unusually-strong dependency issues. 

Pack your bags for Hell, we're going down!

Actually, I'd been in Hell for years before that. These horrific drugs not only mess you up with miserable side effects, I came to realize they were in fact making my condition worse

Every time the weather got really bad I went into pain so severe and all-consuming that "enhanced interrogators" should try to back-engineer it. I didn't really tell you guys too much about it at the time because I don't like to be Emo in public.

But for more days than I could count I would be in so much pain that I couldn't sleep, I couldn't read or watch TV, I couldn't even think. I would just writhe on the bed for hours/days, uselessly doped to the gills, wrapped in lidocaine and slathered in Voltaren gel and beg God to kill me, to just stop my heart now. I wish I were exaggerating. Not even close. 

So suffice it to say, there's not a lot you can scare me with anymore.

I was lucky enough to have found an effective anti-inflammatory as I was withdrawing from the Oxymorphone, the Tapentadol, the Klonopin, the Topiramate and the rest of the poisons simultaneously, so when the inevitable invasion of the devil dogs of withdrawal-based depression got sicced on me at least my inflammation had improved.

Still, those dogs bit deep and held on tight. Someone suggested I try edibles and I did. And it all ended up with those devil dogs being whistled off me so the devils themselves could rip some chunks out of my soul for what at the time seemed like an eternity.


I started seeing a very serious and reputable doctor and told him what I was going through. He told me flat out that I really should've been hospitalized, that it was very dangerous and difficult to withdraw from those dosages of all those pharmaceuticals alone. He said I risked heart attack, stroke, suicide, all kinds of bad shit doing it all myself.

I would tell him, oh, I'm a tough son of a bitch, y'know? Deal with excruciating pain long enough and it prepares you for a lot worse. I just rode out the storm until the ship was righted. 

Which is all total bullshit because I didn't have the balls to tell him what really healed me and pulled me out of the hell-pits of multi-drug withdrawal and the concurrent black sheets of depression. 

She did. 

Yes. You heard me right. She did. 

With her voice.

Well, all of them did. But still, mostly her. She's the one who draws the poisons out. I haven't worked it all out yet but there's something about her melodies and harmonies that works on the brain chemistry in ways we don't understand, in ways similar to opioids but without the constipation and the dry mouth. It's like Prince said; she puts you into a dreamlike state. 

Either that or all the YouTube commenters are right and she's an alien fairy elf who ensorcels her listeners. I'm not married to either theory yet.


Traditionally, the test for spirits and oracles was not only prophecy, it was healing. Very important. So we started with the latter and then moved onto the former.

You see, I had finally moved all my stuff out of Satan's apartment and gave him back his key when Chris Cornell died. And you probably know the next verse of that tune, don't you?

Don't ask me to explain. None of it makes any objective sense. As days go by, I start to wonder more and more if I'm just a character in a Philip K Dick novel who only pretends he's sentient. Written during the speed period. Hopefully I'll be able to explain all that one day.

And I've said it many times before, but PKD would have been even more insanely fixated on this woman than me. I mean, he got all mystic about Linda Ronstadt, for fuck's sake! Come on. Can you just imagine the Radio Free Albemuth experience he'd have if he'd lived to see that ad? It would inspire his next 20 books.

Anyway, the evidence is pretty conclusive by now that it's not just a headcase like me that understands what is going on here. I can't say I'm all that overjoyed by some of the people who've been using her for their undertakings, but at the same time power is power. Just a natural fact. It's like how producers always wanted to get Tony Bennett or Johnny Cash on their artists' records, well into their dotage. Talent is cheap, but real charisma is dear. Don't confuse the bottle with the wine.

And while I might disagree with Adam Curtis' Neo-Fabian ideologies, I can't honestly say he doesn't believe he's doing the right thing. 

That's the thing I've come to discover about a lot of this stuff we look at here. I disagree with the philosophies a lot of people might hold, and I can believe that those philosophies almost inevitably lead to disaster, but very few people can act and organize out of a sense of malice. 

On the contrary, I think the worst historical crimes are often committed by people who are convinced they are doing it all "for the good of Humanity."

Probably the five most dangerous words ever spoken, really. Think about that as you move through your specially-curated apocalypse experience.