“If Christ Came Again He Would Die in a Car Crash’ – J.G. Ballard”
Are you fed up with the ‘news’ recently? Blather did really intend to ignore the death of Princess Diana, but due to a phenomenon which Blather diligently (honest!) examined in ‘One of Our Bombers is Missing‘ , that is, the mushroom cloud of conspiracy which surrounds every high-profile death, I was compelled to start sorting through the insane plethora of conjecture and speculation. For instance, by Sunday morning, Irish time (famous worldwide for its elasticity), I got wind of the fact that a new newsgroup, alt.conspiracy.princess-diana had already been propagating around Usenet. So far, the Royal Family, MI5, the IRA, the CIA, the Vatican, the Freemasons, aliens, Elvis, JFK, the MIBs, Rupert Murdoch, Hillary Clinton, Iranian terrorists, and even the paparazzi have been blamed for the deaths of Diana and her boyfriend, Dodi Al-Fayed. Other theories explore, or nay, demand, that she is alive and well and hiding with Al-Fayed. Few of the more ‘vocal’ theorists are interested in exploring the ‘accident’ hypothesis.
When I heard the news, I thought of Grace Kelly, a.k.a. Princess Grace of Monaco, which made me think of Monte Carlo, which made me think of Serge Gainsbourg’s song ‘Du Jazz Dans La Ravin’, which made me go around humming Mick Harvey’s English version all day. I wonder what what was running through J.G. Ballard’s head on Sunday, or if there was a dishevelled photographer in a battered Lincoln Continental hanging round the crash scene.
Du Jazz Dans La Ravin
Listen, who’s driving, you or me?
It’s me, so shut up and let me be
There’s a whiskey bottle in the glovebox
And Camel plains, you have to tap them on the top
Listen, Listen to that, baby doll,
To that my favourite part of all,
So turn the music up full blast,
And don’t worry baby I always drive this fast
And then, just before Monte Carlo
What Happened?, well that’s the fun blown
The Jaguar left the bitumen
And somersaulted into a ditch
And while they lay there racked in pain,
The radio kept on blaring out this refrain,
At dawn, they use a spoon to scrape up their remains
(by Serge Gainsbourg, translated by Mick Harvey, there may be errors in the transcription)
Meanwhile, on the forteana mailing list, Tim Hodkinson some very interesting observations, which Blather now presents to you…
Back in the earlier half of the Fourteenth Century, Edward I (Longshanks, Hammer of the Scots, Killer of William Wallace etc.) of England died and his son Edward II became king. Official histories record Edward as being a ‘weak king’. Edward liked men more than women and at his wedding to Princess Isabella of France he gave all his wedding gifts to Piers de Gaveston, the man he was in love with at the time. Gaveston’s (whose mother was burned as a witch and who was widely believed to practice black arts himself) hold over the King was such that elements of the nobility saw to his demise.
King Edward soon found another favourite, however. An Earl de Spenser saw how the King could so easily be swayed by men he was in love with, so he encouraged his son Hugh to court the King’s affections. Before long Hugh had such a hold over the King that the de Spensers were running the country and making very free with the contents of the King’s treasury. The people were not happy. Parliament (the forerunner of today’s British Parliament) decided enough was enough, as did many of England’s leading barons. The Queen, too, was less than content with being treated like dirt and so civil war broke out.
Queen Isabella’s side won. King Edward and Hugh de Spenser fled to Ireland, but were caught and Edward was forced to abdicate in favour of his son (also called Edward). They executed him by ramming a red hot poker up his posterior. Hugh de Spenser also “died horribly” (sorry, I don’t have the details at the moment) and because of the trouble he caused, the Commons part of the Parliament swore an oath that no de Spenser would ever rule England.
As the nobility stopped speaking French over the years, they also dropped some of the French parts of their names and the de Spenser (or le Despensers) dropped the “de” to become the plain Spencers. Nearly seven centuries after his demise, Hugh’s direct descendant, Lady Diana Spencer, married the heir to the throne of England, Charles Windsor, to become Princess Di. It looked like the curse upon the Spensers sworn by Parliament was finally broken.
Only she never became Queen. And now she’s dead.
– Tim Hodkinson
And Now For The REAL News. . .
I breathed a sigh of relief when reading the Irish Times of Wednesday September 3rd. A marvellous headline greeted me: ‘Freak whirlwind proves pigs really can fly’. I rushed to the nearest viewpoint, almost defenestrating myself in my haste to catch a glimpse of these aviating swine, but having scanned the dirty grey of this morning’s aerial canopy for several hours, I returned to my desk to finish reading the article to discover that these porcine pilots were unfortunately in the United Kingdom, and had not as yet received permission to enter Irish airspace.
The cause of this phenomenon was a freak tornado, which devastated a farm in Nottinghamshire, apparently hurling forty pigs for over quarter of a mile and was supposedly caused by a drastic drop in air pressure over a relatively small area. Several pigpens and huts were also carried up to half a mile, but there were few human casualties apart from cuts from flying glass which two children received. A 12 year-old girl was hurled across a room when lightning struck a computer which she was using.
Another newspaper, The Daily Telegraph had an article entitled ‘Pigs thrown half a mile by tornado’. I still prefer the Irish Times headline.
Dave (daev) Walsh
4th September 1997