THE SWEET SMELL OF SULPHUR

From deep in the vaults we haul this priceless historical artifact; the very first article ever written by the artificial construct known as the Reverend Hellfire. Experts date this tract to the dawn of the 21st Century, sometime in December 1999 CE, where it appeared in the radical sporadical magazine “WORD“.

Imogenmasked and Guy Yellow

The Sweet Smell of Sulphur

In which the Reverend Hellfire explores the seedy underbelly of Fortitude Valley nightlife..

Our plans for a low-life weekend were immaculately planned. Centring around the Fortitude Valley precinct, the traditional scumsack where the city fathers dumped anything they didn’t want to be seen in the rest of puritan, prurient Brisbane, the highlight was to be a visit to the Hellfire Club, where I was scheduled to conduct an in-depth interview with the shadowy Management of this “notorious” establishment.

But first my Personal Assistant and I would start off with a perve at KUNT.

Yes, local girl-band KUNT have been making a bit of a splash around town of late, partly by the simple expedient

of spelling their name with a “K”. This allows radio DJ’s to happily say “Cunt” all they want while broadcasting, giving them the exciting frisson of saying something “naughty” whilst feeling ideologically cutting-edge about it.

Unfortunately KUNT are in danger of being caught in a rut and becoming over exposed.

From all reports they remain basically a one trick pony, even though it’s a very good trick indeed (if not strictly original). The girls come on and make their tastefully ugly industrial soundscape, whilst nymphetic cyber-siren Laura does her spectacular “groin-grinding” act; ie.,working an industrial grinder against her stainless steel G-string (a Post Modern variation on the Chastity Belt) and sending out a spectacular cascade of sparks in the process.

Generally the only variation each show is limited to Laura’s costume changes. One time she appeared dressed as a little girl with the grinder concealed tastefully in her teddy bear.

Tonight she’s dressed a cow-girl.

This is all well and good, but what happens when they run out of girly archetypes to process as grist for their iconoclastic mill? Conceptually I would like to see the Idea of KUNT fully explored..probed for possibilities you might say.

KUNT..hard core or soft centre? Time will tell.

morticia smoking

We emerge from the seedy basement club and proceed to tank up on Coffee at the renowned Cosmopolitan Cafe before taking a caffeine fueled stroll through the drunken masses of proles, to wallow in the plastic ambience of the “re-vitalised Valley” and drink in the doomed laughter of the damned.

But eventually we tire of the Mall’s frenetic joviality

and so hike on up the hill towards New Farm.

There at the peak of the hill outside the Laundromat, a single, lone Transvestite works the Beat, a relic of happier, seedier days. Suddenly I find myself overcome with unaccountable nostalgia for the tawdry, semi-derelict Valley of my youth..whatever happened to “Sin Triangle“, I wondered,

and the endless succession of seedy basement clubs where “alternative’ bands could cut their teeth? Where now the “illegal” gambling dens and strip joints, the kerb-crawlers and the working girls too ugly or too drug-fucked for the brothels? Where now the cheap, run-down boarding houses where the aged and the poor

could eke out an existence?

..Gone. All gone now. New Farm is being transformed

into Melrose Place and filled with Stepford Wives.

Plastic yuppies have infiltrated like pod-people in the Invasion of the Body-Snatchers, devouring all.

The old house on the corner you knew, once filled with a raucous, outrageous tribe of drag queens, has been sold off and bought by a nice, middle-class gay couple who painted the house pastel and put up a big fence. Then sold it to a nice middle-class couple who put in a pool and security cameras and then sold it to…

Rev &skel withframe

But leaving the bright lights and property speculation of Brunswick Street behind us, we dive down into a seedy side-street where some of the old Valley ambience still lingers yet.

Down past the abandoned used-cars lot, past the needle exchange and an anonymous series of run down office buildings we go.. surely here we can find the “real action” at last.

The Hellfire Club is located in a grimy, three-storey besa-block building formerly the home of the doomed business venture, DRACULA’s Theatre Restaurant. This seems somehow appropriate. Indeed, some of the original decor and artwork still features on the walls. A bit tacky perhaps, but again, somehow appropriate.

As arranged our names are on the guest list and we are courteously ushered in and given complimentary drink tokens. Management would most likely talk to us later, the Goth girl on the door assured me.

I react with cool sangfroid to these mixed messages,

and made a couple of casual enquires.

Once a month, we are told, the habitués of the BDSM “Scene” gather here for special masked balls and themed events like “Back to School Night”..”Roman Orgy Night”..and so forth.

Outside these major gatherings the Hellfire establishment functions on a club level most nights.

Juxtapoz-DaikichiAmano10

While the Inner Circle sussed us out and decided whether we were worth talking to or not, my PA and I strut about like leather-clad peacocks, playing pool and cashing in our drink tokens

as we take in the Scene.

Tonight it seemed to be a quiet night in Hell.

A naked girl is hanging, gagged and bound from some sort of metal bondage contraption that looks vaguely medical; like it was once used to hoist heavy patients out of bed. No-one is paying her much attention.

Old Betty Paige era silent Black & White “stag” films are playing on video screens located at various locations around the trap.

They’re quite interesting from an historical perspective.

Sad, fat old men stand silently around the bar, each alone, frightened by their own desire. A rowdy table of college boys are extrovertedly drunk at a nearby table. For some reason I remember Christopher Isherwood‘s jolly fraud of a hotel in Berlin, whose inhabitants come to life like music box marionettes whenever a paying customer comes through the door.

Later, a very fit young lady does a very energetic and competent strip routine. My Personal Assistant gets to cop a feel, being encouraged to rub baby oil onto the Dancer during the “Audience Interaction” segment of the routine. Bah!

This happens every time we go to something like this. 

They never ask Me to rub on the baby oil.

Imogenmasked and Guy Yellow

Anyhoo, we are finally invited to the inner sanctum and led up a narrow flight of stairs. The bondage girl is dragged with us and we take turns flogging her as we asked questions. Unfortunately the horrible screaming totally ruined the sound quality of the tape

so I’m going from memory here.

Actually we sat around drinking tea from fine cups of china with our hosts, the Bondage Girl, her “Master” and a rather large, shaven headed chap who it transpired, liked to be restrained/constrained.

Prior to engaging in such bondage style activities he confessed to having anger management issues. For him, playing Bondage Games allowed him to apparently access a Theatre of Catharsis.

This is indeed one aspect, it appears, of the BDSM motivation. Like Artaud’s Theatre of Cruelty, it is a cathartic process through which is obtained a form of “release” through the playing out of the repressed Id in a safe environment..

The other aspect, it seems, is a kind of extreme hedonism. Sensation pushed to pleasure overload pushed to just this side of unbearable. Scratching a discordant itch, like the perverse pleasure derived from listening to a well delivered wall of feedback. The Technicians of torture push the pleasure circuits of their victims into a free floating free fall zone of sensory overload..

Or so I’m told.

Casual Guy

About the only prop visible in the room as we sipped our Russian Caravan Tea, was a baby’s cot in the corner. Again the Cathartic aspect comes in; apparently powerful business men making decisions all day sometimes need to feel helpless and come here to occupy the cot.

Yes there’s definitely a commercial aspect to the old Hellfire Club. But then, catering for the bizarre whims and fancies of the dissipated rich has been a lucrative trade through out history. Since when Caligula was a boy and beyond.

And why not I say? Every rich Parasite deserves their very own drunken French Chauffeur..

Indeed, as we leave the Establishment, we are just in time to see a drunken yuppie fall out of a taxi on his hands and knees and start vomiting copiously into the gutter.

“Take me away from all this,” I tell the driver

and he seems keen to oblige.

As we speed away I look back thru the rear window to see the now vomit streaked yuppie on back his feet and being welcomed into the club. Grist for the mill.

Rev &skel withframe

But the Sun was coming up, as we sped over the

historic Story Bridge, and bathed the taxi’s interior

with the rich, golden dawn light

and sparkled silver upon the river below.

My Personal Assistant’s head rested wearily on my shoulder, while for some inexplicable reason,

at that precise moment,

 I suddenly felt as Pure

and as Innocent as an Angel.

SaintHellfire

*

song & dance Jpigreducedwithcurtain

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Cup FEB 2016 handbill 2.with border

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reverend profile red

The Reverend Hellfire is a practised Performance Poet

President of the Kurilpa Institute of Creativity

and an ordained Minister of the Church of the Universe

AND the Church of Spiritual Humanism.

Beats workin’.

*

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~ by reverendhellfire on February 28, 2016.

2 Responses to “THE SWEET SMELL OF SULPHUR”

  1. Those were the days my friend !

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