Archive for category Fairies of New York
Sometimes the cards ain’t worth a dime If you don’t lay them down.
Sometimes the light’s all shining on me; other times I can barely see.
Lately it occurs to me what a long, strange trip it’s been.
(Truckin’ : Grateful Dead)
San Fran jam band the Grateful Dead are the Marmite of the pass the album cover set. Formed just after (some would say before) the dawn of time (actually 1965) they go on and on and on and on. On the face of it, their music (or at least their sound) would sensibly be placed at the other end of the spectrum to that of the Velvet Underground (as different as acid is from smack) but there are a couple of connexions.
One of those connexions would be the free-flowing avant-garde and improvised style; the other, of course, is none other than those east-coast Fairies we’ve been hearing so much about. Shortly after uncovering one group of Warlocks in New York and turning them into the hard edge of Sex, Drugs and Rock’n’Roll, a second flock of fairies were sent to investigate when fairy senses started to tingle with altogether softer vibrations coming from the bay area of San Francisco.
The city was not totally unfamiliar to Fairy eyes (having previously visited in 1849 and 1906) but what they found there was a welcome change from the mayhem of the New York World’s Fair (Peace through Understanding my fairy ass – smack bang in the middle of George Wallace lauding segregation and the assassination of Malcolm X, neither peace or understanding was visible in the US – even via the new satellite technology!)
However, notwithstanding the civil unrest which was still extant (and more to come) and although still three years away from the Summer of Love (this was 1964), there was definitely love in the air. San Fran’s north beach was awash with beatnicks, although the fairies preferred to stay in the (then) relatively underpopulated and cheap district of Haight-Ashbury. (This suited the fairies as their finances had been neglected of late – what they made in 1848 they lost in 1906) .
The fairies followed the progress of the Warlocks, throughout ’64 and early ’65, enjoying the fusion of country, blues, jazz, and bluegrass. After a gig in Magoo’s Pizza in suburban Menlo Park, California (May 5, 1965) a banjo-obsessed fairy came to Jerry Garcia at night and whispered in his ear all about Venus in Furs and an Austrian gentleman by the name of Leopold von Sacher-Masoch. When he woke up in the morning (as blues musicians are apt to do), Mr. Garcia decided he’d be better off dead, and thus the Warlocks metamorphosed into the Grateful Dead.
New York, like all the great centres of the planet, had conurbated over a confluence of ley-lines. Running between the Adirondacks and the Appalachian Highlands, these earthly cosmic strings had fallen into disuse long before the fairies arrived. Although rich in exotic matter, a slightly altered form of the earth’s magnetic field was the only clue to their potential. However, once charged with sufficient amounts of energy the induced twist could transport small winged creatures at speeds in excess of the speed of light, without the weight gain (a most important feature).
The fairies were struck with a desire to travel. Quite naturally, they were aware of the earth’s traditional transport network (equally naturally something long forgotten by humans) and once the Empire State building was being struck by lightning 100 times a year they were in business.
The fairies, who were often totally mystified by the thought “processes” of their hosts, decided to take a trip back to the cradle of western civilisation: Ancient Greece.
They ley-line took them 3000 odd years back in time and some 8000 km to the east, emerging in a maze of caves in what was the island of Crete. After exploring the beach and finding nothing except a small collection of some remarkably relaxed humans, (who were pouring over some historical records documenting the life of a wonderful wart-hog) and not much else, the fairies entered the kingdom of King Minos, Knossos
Always interested in the progress of science, the fairies were most intrigued by rumours of a cloning experiment which had, apparently, been carried out successfully – several thousand years ahead of its place in the human evolutionary time-line.
When the fairies arrived at the outskirts of the city (travelling incognito disguised as travellers from Lesbos (nothing was too weird for there ) … the rumours proved to be true, and the experiment was in progress – although not in vitro but in the uterus of Pasiphae, the Queen of Crete (and given what she was about to give birth to she’d certainly be in need of some pacifying)
As the fairies set up house in Knossos, they began to hear all the gossip and there wasn’t much gossip which didn’t contain more than a passing reference to the royal goings-on. The Queen, it seemed, had had this experiment in genetics thrust upon her, in more ways than one.
Apparently what had happened is that Poseidon (the King of the sea – you’ll need to pay attention here) had sent the Queen (that’s the Queen of Crete – wife of King Minos) a magnificent white bull. Crete being Crete, it wasn’t long before the queen’s thoughts turned to lust (a conundrum which became less mysterious to the fairies once they’d seen an artist’s rendering) and she began to scout about for a place fit for a secret tryst. Obviously she’d be needing somewhere quite, out of the way and yet somewhere where a big white bull might feel at home and open to suggestive suggestion.
It so happened that at that time a famous Greek inventor arrived in Crete, on the run from the Athenian infanticide police. Not in any position to be picky, this Greek inventor, Daedelus (a greek word meaning “craftsman”), was soon coerced by the Queen into building a giant wooden cow (imagination was not her strong suit).
Daedelus produced the goods, and so did the bull. However, unfortunately the queen became pregnant (try putting on a condom with hooves and a lust-drunk queen under your tail) and produced issue that was half bull (the head …) and half man (… the body – an arrangement which was the only thing that saved it from an incestuous relationship with its mother). This cross-cloned science experiment was known as a “minotaur”.
King Minos (the King of Crete – remember?) was, not unreasonably, a tad upset. However, he could not kill (or at least not be seen to kill) the minotaur (it having emanated from a present given by the King of the Sea (Poseiden) – who was somewhat of a God around these parts – as well as part royal issue, but he wanted it removed from his sight. What to do …
What he did was to force Daedelus to construct labyrinth in which to imprison the bullish royal bastard. This was so done.
The minotaur, of course, needed feeding and, this being ancient Crete, needed to feed on humans, specifically young male human males from Athens (the minotaur equivalent of extra virgin olive oil), not too old and full of testosterone (somethings never change thought the fairies).
Young Athenian males not being the kind to take anything laying down, there soon emerged a hero (of sorts) who was induced to visit Crete and make some hamburger (hamburgers being invented in Hamburg is a common misconception (and six US cities claiming ownership – including two university towns – is plainly ridiculous).
Rumours of this hero-to-be were rife in Crete and the fairies (as well as everyone else) eagerly awaited his arrival. One person that has thus far kept herself backstage in this royal soap opera, was the legitimate daughter of Minos and Pasiphae, Ariadne. Ariadne was in two minds about the whole affair. She was, of course, totally disgusted with her mother (so00 gross) but had mixed feelings about the minotaur (he was, after all, her half-brother). Also, although, being a young, impressionable woman (if truth be told a total vicar’s daughter – Hi Judy!), she was not immune to the attractions of a hero, the man from Athens was here to assassinate her brother. It was all very, very confusing!
The confusion of Ariadne was abated somewhat (like, totally) once she saw Theseus. Lust kicked in (she was her mother’s daughter) and it was curtains for the semi-taurus. Ariadne knew that unaided escape from the labyrinth was impossible, so she persuaded Daedalus (we won’t go into that) to help. Daedalus provided a flaxen thread for Theseus to tie to the door of the Labyrinth as he entered, thereby providing the means to find his way out after killing the monster.
Theseus won the day, got the girl and together they escaped Crete and the wrath of King Minos. Daedalus, however, was not so lucky (you’d have thought he’d of seen it coming …) and, together with his son Icarus, was imprisoned in the maze to starve to death. The fairies could only presume that rage had robbed King Minos of reason as Daedalus was, of course, (being the designer) the one person who could find his way out of the labyrinth without map, compass or flaxen thread.
One escape later, father and son were hatching plans of aerial escape by means of feathers, wax and a pirate copy of Leonardo’s codex. All went well (it was easy, too easy). They had reasoned that, as King Minos controlled both the land of Crete and the seas surrounding it (plus they weren’t altogether keen to take on Poseiden), the only way out was by air. So, risky as it was, and with forbodings a plenty, Daedalus set to work to fabricate wings for himself and his young son Icarus. He wrought feathers together, fastening them with thread and wax, to create a facsimile of the wings of a bird.
The fairies, for their part were observing this whole process and snapping many a pic (later sold at a profit to an advertising company to promote a flying school in Pittsburg).
The inventor and son took off from a rocky overhang and headed towards Italy. Unfortunately for the ill-fated inventor, his son did not heed his words, and flew too close to the sun’s rays, with predictable results. Daedalus himself arrived safely in Sicily, where he built a temple to Apollo and spent the rest of his miserable existence mourning his two dead sons (to be honest murdering your first-born is not likely to result in the best of starts).
“Well, that’s where cloning gets you!” thought one fairy.
“Should’ve cloned a big bird!”, thought another.
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