Compelled to Move

Saturday 5 Feb. 2000

Oh, faithful, dear, tender, succulent, what are you wearing, I wanna suck your toes in leather socks reader of mine. The fact is that my living situation is about to change fairly drastically. I have had the rug pulled out from under me by my (sponsor? Patron? Manager?) and been summarily given my walking papers. I must be out of this apartment by March with almost no notice. This left me somewhat befuddled. Many things will change. The refuge of the moment is at the casa of the mother-to-be of my child, a local artist named Athena.(if you didn’t know this already, surprise.) Said child is now in the oven for lo, these last 4 months and is a boy child. Things are in major upheaval once again for this working boy. In the meantime I am hitting the boards nightly in the play Agamemnon. Things could be worse.

Agamemnon is set to go to Caracas, Venezuela at the end of March! Whoa. Venezuela, get ready for the Mexican American King of Greece and his fiddle with a whole load o’ Greeks.
Back to personal stuff, Athena lets me drive her car in spite of the fact that I have no license, feeds me, will help me to get over in this burg. Taking refuge with Athena means I can live like a human instead of a scurrying insect as I have been doing since I arrived here. I have been driving myself to the theatre every night. I took some of the company out for souvlaki in the car last night, I drove Panigiotis, the keyboard player home and I took immense pleasure in that. I have been cruising down the streets which become blessedly empty around the time I get out of the play with the stereo up loud, listening to the Beatles, Bowie, my faves, singing along loud, sucking on a coke, sucking on a cig, feeling like something considerably less than a victim. I have never had this simple pleasure in my adult life. I have never had a car with a stereo in it. Imagine that. I have never driven down the road with no particular destination listening to music of my choice. Never until a few days ago. I have been eating regularly. I have been sleeping. I have been waking up elsewhere than this apartment out in the boondocks which is in many ways a shrine to the life I led with JJ, frozen in time, awaiting her return. I have decided and those around me who actually love me (there are many, in spite of my refusal to see it) have advised me that I AM ALLOWED TO FEEL ALL RIGHT. I am not constrained to mourn forever, to accept the scraps from someone else’s table because that is what I deserve for letting JJ die. I am alive. I want to stay alive. Fed up with being dependent, misinformed, ignored, left to my own devices in a strange place by stranger people. I close this chapter of bitterness behind me.
The sun shines bright on my old Halandri home. We persist. It never ceases to amaze me what resilient creatures we are.
On another note, I rode the long-awaited Athens Metro. More on this later, for the time being, suffice to say that it looks like any metro anywhere in Europe and doesn’t go many places yet. We reserve judgement. It is useful to those who live near it, otherwise you still stuck wit y’all’s cars, fokes.

Blaine, the Dark Sun Goth Biker

dark sun club, athens
dark sun club, athens

Sunday, 23 Jan. 2000 (from an e-mail to Lee Self, fellow Elvisian ambassador)Yo lee, in the wind, bro,

Yeah, I am a biker now. I am an easy rider. Gots muh motorcyle helment, muh motorcycle gloves, muh peed pants to testify to the fear. It is quick though, we get back here in about 15 minutes after work and there in a half hour as opposed to the 2 hour hellride back on the bus or smelly bouzouki infested apeman taxi rides. We are talking about a real motorcy—kuhl. (remember arlo gurthrie song, dumb one

 i don' wanna die jus' wann ride my motor sigh........ kuhl.

I am in the wind with Panos the keyboard player from the show. He is a good guy, a bit serious. His pose can be bypassed by careful applications of guido humor. Dresses in black. So do I for that matter. The motorcy in question is fairly dangerous looking. It ain’t all that powerful but it’s designed to look like Satan’s own ride, Jap model called “THE ELIMINATOR” BLACK, of course. A goth bike. Makes me feel so relaxed. He is also a good and inventive keyboard player. We have jammed a couple of times. He has a Trinity…he po like me. One guy who looks at my gear and drools with envy. Wow. Most tecchie guys, as you know, turn up the nose at my old fussy cranky stuff. The sound system for the show consists of two guitar amps, one for the keyboards, one for my fiddle and voice. I have the microphone gated all to hell and back because the room is as live as Milano central station and feedback is my enemy. I am using my gear fussy, cranky etc., and getting a good sound is no small task. Gots my old compressor limiter, an Akai mini rack thing and my Roland mini rack echo pitch shifter and my BOSS pedal reverb for the voice. I admit there is a pride in doing good sound working against the limitations of cheap gear. A garage prole reverse snob pride. “WE DON’ NEED NO STEENKING PA SYSTEM, MOTHAFUCKAH!!!!”

Last night was Saturday night, a big big deal in this town. I went out with Panagiotis (whom I call ‘the motorcyle boy’ or Sri Guru Easy Rider since he teaches me how to sit on a bike without falling off). We went to a bar called ‘Dark Sun” frequented by people who wear black. People with many body piercings, where they play ‘dark wave’ music. It was most amusing. I actually felt I belonged there. I am looked upon here as a sort of elder statesman by these people anyway. The women are amazing young gorgeous things dressed in skintight black SM gear and dog collars and all of that, trying to look hazardous. As I have told you, this country is blessed with copious quantities of gorgeous young females all tight and fresh and capable of inducing seizures of lust in an old git like me. I was always a sucker for vampire looking women, even back in the punk days, hell especially in the punk days. Lest we forget, JJ’s original image was pretty punky when we met. But Morticia lookalikes always got me going. Of course this is morticia after she’s been to Frederick’s of Hollywood. I went there thinking how tired I was of sexual overindulgence and I was too fried to look on women with lust then we got there. Jesus. These women just dance standing in place all skin tight and blacksheathed and gorgeously aloof…

 drool, slobber pant pant pant..........

Great free entertainment. Why pay stripper club prices when they’s little goth women a’ dancin’ fer free, jus a wigglin’ and a twisting and writhing all leather and etc…..calm down big boy. Ain’t yore wang done landed you in enough mess awreddy? This is where Panos the motorcycle boy likes to hang. His money is no good there, drinks are on the house. Since I only ever drink club soda at bars (no diet coke ever, I’m a cheap date. Got to know the bartendress who is also gorgeous, was wearing a Pink wig, glitter eyes, rubber teddy over long black dress. Arggh…….

 'Saturday night's all right all right all right woo ooo ooo ooo ooo....' reg. dwight

Wino With his Pants on Fire (Athens by Night)

greek hobo

Thursday 20 January 2000

Last night we (the cast of Agamemnon) all went out to eat again. That’s 3 times so far in a year. We are starting to have some kind of social life. There are places near the central meat market that are open all night and serve meat and more meat. I ain’t complaining. La specialite du maison is a soup called “Patsas” like Mexican menudo, tripe, cow stomach. It is popular with drunk people and they go there at 5 am after a hard night’s drinking. I have had it before, so I passed. The greeks, as do the Mexicans, believe that tripe is good for the stomach. (it is stomach. How homeopathic of them).

I saw a friend of mine, a photographer named Cleopatra on the street earlier and we rode the bus together. The taxis are on strike, God bless their pointy little simian heads. I didn’t know this when I set out for the theatre, thus it took me two hours to get there. No car in this town makes you an insect. Whee. It is so nice to see someone you know and like on the street in a city this big and strange. It made everything so much nicer. My usual bitchy “I hate all you fucking greeks” inner monologue was shut up and I felt good. I therefore played and acted well tonight in spite of the fact that it took 2 hours and 4 transfers from bus to bus to trolley (electric bus like san francisco) to the Metro (the one line.

The rest of the metro is supposed to open later this month. One other line at least. Wow! That only took 15 years. All financed by EU grants to try and bring poorer members up to standard. The greeks and the portugese (the poor relations of the EU) live for those EU grants from Germany,France, England, everywhere else with more money. Most of the money finds its way into politicians’ pockets, believe me.

The area around the meat market is actually great. It is old and very very prole. I hope they don’t globalize everything and make it look like America. Once down there I saw a wino with his pants on fire. He was sitting over a fire in a cardboard box to keep warm. He just caught fire. He didn’t care. He continued shouting abuse at invisible enemies in between swigs from his handy wino size bottle of whatever it is they drink. I think retsina is still popular with the winos here. I could be mistaken. It is for sale at all the periptera, the ubiquitous kiosks that line the sidewalks here and make life possible outside the arcane and stupid opening hours of the shops here. An enormous fat prostitute bought a bottle of water from said kiosk and put him out.

What a sight on a cold winter's night. Right out of Fellini.

Epiphany at the Turn of the Millenium

Things to Come (1936) Directed by William Cameron Menzies Shown: center, in white – Raymond Massey (as John Cabal/Oswald Cabal)

15:40 11-Jan-00
Once again, dear friends we come up against the inadequacy of words. Perhaps it is laziness. I had a poetry teacher who denied the phrase “words cannot describe”. He thought that words could describe anything with the proper effort. He was a dickhead. He wore a medallion that looked like a turquoise saucer. He had a goatee. Whoo.

The event that defies verbalization took place on January 1st, 2000. I walked outside onto the balcony of my friend’s apartment which has a splendid view of this grungehole of a town. Lo and behold, I was struck by an epiphany, a satori. I saw the whole place made new and strange by the fact that absolutely everything I saw was now contained within the magic zone called ‘THE TWENTY FIRST CENTURY’. This is the time I had come to anticipate as an article of faith as a better, glossier, speedier altogether MODERN time, fed by Disney and years of Science Fiction. All of those ‘cars of the future’, all of those movies with people wearing pointy shouldered silver jumpsuits. And here it was. I was dumbstruck, folks. I felt what the Bible means when Christ says ‘Behold, I make all things new…’

So here we all are. Welcome to the twenty first century. We should print T-shirts that say ‘I Survived the Twentieth Century’. Think of how many didn’t. I am not speaking of those whom death took in their sleep. I am speaking of all the new and nasty ways to die this last century brought us. Of course, there was also Picasso, Dali, Stravinsky, Bartok, David Bowie, Elvis Presley and so on and so on and so on…. That is a given. Good bye twentieth century. Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on the way out. Come again when you can’t stay so long.

We Survive an Encounter With An Athens Taxi Driver

08:11 31-Dec-99

Today a taxi driver was ready to punch me. I was riding home from rehearsal with one of the Klytemnestras,(there have been 5 so far in Agamemnon) a friend of mine from Nick’s films named Michelle Valley, trying to get a taxi back here from the Metro. Needless to say, no one would go. We found a guy who seemed willing, got in, and Michelle and Cheetah argued for a while about the relative merits of taking us home (she actually lives out here too!). We gave up, got out into the rain, and she shut the door a little harder than she perhaps should have. I called him a dickhead. I doubt he understood. Still, something got that simian dander up and he got out and started pushing her around. Ever the gentleman, I inserted my body between them at which point he decided calmly, ever so rationally that what was in order was a session of “Grab Blaine and shove him around.” He enthusiastically began to engage in this activity. In dealing with wild animal attacks, I have long since decided the best thing is to show no fear, but make no sudden moves. This basically saved me from a punch in the face. At one point, I swear to god, he puffed out his chest and began to attempt a round of chest banging. Holy Jaysus. I just told him in English to “Get the fuck away from me. Give it up.” Of course, he pondered this notion carefully and rejected it on its relative ethical and philosophical merits as the weaker of two hypotheses. There was that of Cheetah the reptile brain creature which said “ME KEEL YOU!” and that of the thoughtful heir to Plato who is no doubt struggling to get out and propel him along his destined career as a great thinker. He was no doubt prevented from becoming another fine exponent of the great civilization which flourishes yet in this cultural wonderland by circumstances beyond his control and forced at gunpoint to take people places in return for monetary remuneration. Alas.

Now I am listening to TV themes from the 60’s. At the moment, I am hearing the theme from “Dark Shadows”, just heard the Odd Couple, and a tune I have always hummed to myself for reasons known only to my psyche, the theme to The Lawrence Welk Show. This is gospel. I start humming this tune without realizing it as I sweep the floor, do laundry, brush my teeth. I found a website with TV theme MIDI files. I ain’t gonna tell you where it is, it’s for me. Rehearsal soon, play starts on Thursday Jan. 6. Come on down.

Christmas in Athens, 1999

08:11 PM 20-Dec-99


christmas in athens

Christmas is comin’ to Athens. You know, the Greeks do Christmas up brown. They have all the lights blinking away, they are milling in their hordes downtown, traffic is a real pig because shops are open continuously (unlike the rest of the year). On the warm side, like Xmas in L.A., just a bit colder. There is a giant tree made of lights downtown in Syntagma square. What else? Oh yes, on the day, children come to one’s door in shifts singing one song, unknown to those of us raised in the Charles Dickens and Coca Cola Santa Claus culture in America or England, or those who have taken our myth on. They do a peremptory rendition of the tune in question and then expect to be given money. Then, at the end of the day, they pool their takings and buy a prostitute or some crack. Beats hell out of ‘trick or treat’. I have started to use the british quotation marks or ‘inverted commas’ because I have discovered that FTP reads quotes as instructions to do something or other and it gums up the works on the site. If anyone actually reads this, tell me a better way to do a journal than working up the entries on a text editor and then uploading them to the site via FTP server. I ain’t got it sussed. More on Xmas in Greece next time I feel like it.

I Am a DJ

Denver 1999
11:17 AM 17-Dec-99
I just got in from a’ DJin’ at a local watering hole. I like this DJ thing. Play cd’s and get paid for it. Not quite as good as the radio, but it is fun expressing oneself by means of other people’s music. The usual eclectic mix, all up and down and around the musical globe. I played some ‘Bollywood’ soundtrack music which I am liking muchly lately. Of course, there is the usual lounge electro stuff which I also like muchly and lots of britpop Bowie type stuff which really get me goin’. Barry White. Pizzicato 5. Barry Adamson. Plenty o’ Blaine and a bit of Tuxmoon. I personally hate how dj’s have taken over the musician lexicon. they have no fucking right calling their bit on the podium a ‘set’ or the job of the night a ‘gig’ or really to say they have ‘played’. I think the public there appreciated the sort of stuff I played. I gots lots o’ weirdness and they don’t usually get that in their sort of bar.

Whoa, glad Bowie got over whatever was troubling him when he thought this was worth writing down and singing. I must sleep.


catchy tune. caint get it outta my haid. Just about all of the musos I know, or lots of them anyway have had to at least come to terms with DJism. Peter, me, Sammy Birnbach from Minimal Compact, Lots of guys, Boy George, fer chrissake. Nice work if you kin git it, actually. Also, this morn. I got an e-mail from ‘elvis’ the propietor of the Heathen World page. He knows about Tuxmo, he will link to my site. This is a first. I am pleased. More to come, oh gentle, tender, succulent reader mine. If you truly exist. 

The Blog Begins

Me as Agamemnon, 1999



First entry in the journal. Naturally, the wit and wisdom planned for this page have been  devoured by the energy necessary to be designing a website. Just so you  know. Lately, I have been rehearsing Aeschylus’ ‘Agamemnon’,  directed by local avant garde whiz kid, Mikhail Marmarinos. I play the doomed king his own bad self. I am playing Ag. in English, unlike the rest of the cast who play a new translation of the ancient greek. In addition to acting, we have incorporated a live performance of several Tuxedomoon tunes from ‘The Ghost Sonata’ into Ag’s scene. He arrives back from Troy, having kicked their butts good with the old horse gag, and the first thing he does for the assembled folk of Argos is get out his old 5-string electric fiddle and play ‘Ghost Sonata’, ‘Egypt’, ‘Jinx’ and ‘Music Number 2’. So, we are rehearsing all the time. It is amazing how much time and energy the theatre takes up. I hardly had the energy to sew and hang the leopard print curtains in my bedroom, but I did it all the same. I also acquired a blinking jesus. Yes, I passed a street salesman after coming out of the Metro station (we have one metro line here in athens). He was selling religious pictures, outlined in blinking red LED’s. This is without doubt the tackiest thing I have ever seen and I have a lot of tack around. This will have to do for the first entry. Wade through these pages in good health
Dec. 9, 1999
Still fooling around with the website. Took the day to mop the floor, do laundry. Put up a clothes hook. whoopee.