Well a winters bed’s not bed without

a cat to hold the corner down

and keep the chill and bitter breeze

from freezing my bare feet.

Deep within his dressing gown of fur,

the only signs of life betrayed,

the occasional luxurious stretch

or soft contented purr.


But a winters bed’s not snug without

the yellow halo of a glowing lamp

and stack of well thumbed books

beside me on the stand.

Antique histories and tall tales I’ve read,

Travellers far, imagined lands,

with them I’ve journeyed boldly

from the comfort of my bed.


And a winters bed’s not warm without

You lying by my side.

Perhaps that’s because god made you

from my ribs (I can’t decide.)

But at 4 a.m. you roll over

and mumble in your sleep,

outside the moon shines

in the garden,

and winter seems complete.




Book of the Week; “WARHOL”

by David Bourdon (Abrams, NY, 1989)

Andy Warhol is a scream,

hang him on my wall

Andy Warhol, silver screen

can’t tell them apart at all.

– David Bowie

This week the black dog was on my trail so I mainly read graphic novels, amongst others; TransMetropolitan “the new Scum”, Sandman “The Kindly Ones”, Hellblazer & The Zombie Survival Guides “Recorded Attacks” . ( chocklate ice cream for the brain?) Appropriately therefore, the one book I did read was David Bourdon’s meticulous biography of Pop artist, celebrity cultural Ikon and fellow comic book devotee, Andy Warhol. Bourdon was a “friend & confidant”, apparently, for over twenty years, so his is an insiders view of much of the action.

What a long career it was. Andy had twenty successful years in the advertising industry before he became recognized in the sixties as a “high” artist, even if his idea of high art was strictly low camp. Yes it took Andy a lot of work before he became an “overnight” celebrity, outpacing his rivals to end up being seen as THE originator & high priest of Pop art, an icon of the sixties.

One is still left wondering whether Andy Warhol was a brilliant manipulator of cultural signifiers, or whether he was some kind of Woyzek-style idiot savant, whose naïve simplicity appeared to jaded sophisticates in the light of inspired genius. An artistic Chauncey Gardiner, who became famous for being there at the right time, a blank canvas on which people obligingly wrote their own message. I sometimes think that maybe he just had a really deadpan sense of humour, combined with a magpies eye for interesting objects. The recent Warhol exhibition that toured Australia lends support to this hypothesis. The Art on display was essentially 20 cartons of the junk he collected for people to rummage around in. Apparently he never threw anything away, from bus tickets to gift ties, and had warehouses full of the stuff he accumulated. And what a perfect metaphor for the publics obsession with the “Celebrity.” All those trashy glossy magazines like Who & New Idea etc etc do really is root around in the garbage of other peoples lives. Lets see how many bottles of bourbon Lindsay Lohan threw in her bin this week. Its about one step above necrophilia, another of the “publics” favourite obsessions.

Certainly Andy loved to play the idiot-savant role whenever anyone questioned him closely about his art. Hence most of his public pronouncements fall into one of two categories, banal or gnomically enigmatic. Certainly he never wrote a manifesto. Unlike his would be assassin Valery Solanas a paranoid psychotic with delusions of persecution, founder of the one person group Society for Cutting.Up.Men. Sadly, some so called feminists at the time took her schizophrenic ramblings as inspirational proto-feminist theorizing. And I mean seriously, if you want to take a pot shot at a symbol of male oppression, why on earth would you shoot fey, faggy, artistic aesthete Andy? Why not the Marlboro Man or John Wayne?

The Pop artist fraternity were extremely competitive with each other. Andy once told a friend that if he bought a competitors painting he’d never speak to him again. Ironically, while the Pop artists were shameless copyists of mass media images, none of them wanted to be seen as plagiarists of one another. Warhol was heartbroken when he discovered that Lichtenstein had been also been exploring using comic stills as the basis for artworks.

Of Warhol’s films it has truly been said that most of them are more interesting to read about than to actually view. (though from a conceptual artists point of view thats high praise indeed.) The author here takes a reverential view of even the most amateurish of Warhol’s earliest experiments. Which makes strange his sustained antipathy to any of the aural contributions of Lou Reed, Nico, et Al to the Exploding Plastic Inevitable or indeed any of their later work, dismissing all their sonic experiments in witheringly dismissive terms. Can’t help but feel there might be a little personal problem there.

All and all this is an illuminating read, but its a nebulous illumination that dazzles the eyes and blurs the vision, like the spotlights and camera flashes in a rising stars face

as they tread the red carpet to Celebrity.

Sometimes the light is simply blinding. Ask Edie Sedgwick. Ask Marilyn Monroe.

But don’t ask Andy Warhol, he’s the man shining it in your eyes.


The Reverend Hellfire is a practising performance poet and an ordained minister of the Church of Spiritual Humanists.

“Never trust a religious son-of-a-bitch.”-William S. Burroughs




~ by reverendhellfire on July 4, 2010.

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