Starman

 

 

main_st_1950s
Main Street High Bridge in the 1950’s…
IMG_7936.jpg
…and today.

 

In 1950’s America an interesting phenomenon occurred. Hot on the heels of the ‘flying saucer flaps’ (as they were then known) which had been occurring since 1947*, a small group of people went public with claims that they had both met and travelled with men and women from outer space.

These ‘contactees’, as they came to be called, began going public with prophetic messages and dire warnings about mankind’s future which they claimed originated with the men from Venus.

The first and most famous of these was George Adamski who went from dishwasher in a burger joint to millionaire after the publication of his book about his ‘encounters’ with space people but he was not the last. There was at least a score of others peddling pretty much the same line in space dust.

 

Howard Menger bl.jpg
Menger.

 

One of those who became almost as famous as Adamski was Howard Menger of High Bridge New Jersey. Menger claimed that when he was a young boy back in the 30’s he encountered a beautiful woman sitting upon a rock in the woods outside of town. The woman revealed herself to be from Venus and told Howard that he would meet her again at some point in the future.

Menger, in his book From Outer Space to You, claimed that this proved to be the case when, in the 50’s, he witnessed a spacecraft which landed in a field outside High Bridge. Menger alleged that one of the three figures that emerged from the craft was the very woman he had met 20 years before. Furthermore, he claimed she had not aged a day in the intervening years.

It seems amazing to think that people bought into Howard Menger’s tales of encounters with Venusian amazon women but many did. Howard claimed that many beside himself also witnessed the craft he frequently saw and filmed. However, even a cursory examination of his images leaves the modern viewer more than a little unconvinced and wondering what his so-called witnesses thought they were seeing.

Among Mengers more outrageous claims is that he was taken by the Venusians to Earth’s moon and that it had an atmosphere and horticulture. He even claimed to have brought back a ‘moon potato’.

If this all seems rediculous, it’s worth noting that Howard often spoke to very large gatherings of devoted believers (some of which took place right here in High Bridge) and he appeared often on the radio where he waxed lyrical about the teachings delivered by the Venusians**.

There are still people living in High Bridge today who claim that Howard was a hardworking and honest local businessman who was well liked and respected within the community. His own wife, Connie, met Howard when, as a local journalist, she came to interview him about his experiences with the Space Brothers. Connie was so impressed by him that she married him, quit her job, and started preaching the message too (something she continued to do even after Howard’s death in 2009).

The contactee movement has been chalked up largely to the extreme paranoia of the ‘A-Bomb Generation’. Many people (intellectuals among them) were convinced that mankind was on a fast track to annihilation and the thought of benevolent and technologically advanced beings intervening in our affairs like protective parents must have held a lot of appeal for those traumatised by their fear of the bomb.

I’ve watched some of Menger’s filmed interviews and there’s no denying he was charismatic and seemingly sincere. Perhaps he actually believed what he was saying or perhaps he just needed to believe it was true.

 

 

 

*It’s probably not a coincidence that these ‘flaps’ occurred as the paranoia of Cold War was gearing up.

**In later years (once space exploration had proven that the other planets in our Solar System were hostile to humanoid life) Menger and the other contactees claimed that they had misunderstood their Space Brothers as to their point of origin.

Menger claimed he now believed they merely had a base on Venus (or maybe Mars) and actually came from outside of our system.

 

©2018

Advertisements

Ship of fools

 

I guess this is the same deal as last time. A little four-pager that will probably never see the light of day if I don’t put it up here.

This one’s a gruesome little SF tale of human exploitation on some distant, godforsaken world.

 

Caravan page 1a colour lr

Caravan page 2 colour lr

Caravan page 3 colour lr

Caravan page 4 colour lr

 

 

The story and characters in this graphic story are the exclusive IP of the creator and may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of same.

©2018

Highway 31

 

23135038_375159916237571_1365115117_o.jpg

 

Hydroplane

 

The drum of the rain

So loud on the roof that

It near drowns out the stereo

The mad cascade and

The reckless red blinking of

Cars weaving through a white-out of spray

Kids silent in the backseat

Locked into the blue glow of their screens

Then everything

Lurches

That slippery fish movement

The center of gravity shifting

A sense of going over

Somehow

She jerks us back from the edge of the tip

Another shift and we start to go again

On the other side

All drunken sailor like

She stops fighting it

Her hands let go the wheel

And the whole world spins us into the guardrail

Facing back the way we came

 

The trooper that stands at my window

Looks sixteen

“Everyone OK here?”

“Fine.”

She hands him her license

“I’ll need yours too, Sir.”

“He hasn’t got one,” she says

“He’s Australian.”

 

The actual song we were listening to when the SHTF.

 

Words and image are my own.

 

©2017

 

 

 

True sea

 

IMG_4963a

 

(i∂̸ – m) ψ = 0

 

Two souls/systems/bodies

Interacting for a time

Then moving apart

Though separated by miles

Or even the Universe

Can no longer be described separately

They become a single soul/system/body

It is the most beautiful equation in physics

What happens to one

Continues to affect the other

No matter how distant

quantum mechanics does not recognize a vacuum

There is no emptiness

And If two souls get entangled in a wave

They will remain so

Forever.

 

 

 

Word configuration and image are my own.

 

©2017

Ant music

 

neuroptera-antlionpit.jpg

 

All unaware

 

There is an antlion at the center of the world

Poised hungrily at the bottom of a slippery slope

We ants march unawares

Assuming naively our footing is secure

Then the sands begin to shift

And gravity takes hold of us

We tumble

Slide

Towards the jaws of inevitability

Without ever understanding

Why this doom has overtaken us

We are humble strivers and builders

We have no notion that others prefer to build traps

Even as the jaws close about us

We largely fail to understand the nature of our demise

Cursing as we go the cruel randomness of fate

Ignorant

There is no chance or luck to this design

Even if we blindly avoid the pit

Another waits beyond and another beyond that

And we small ants keep marching

Serene in our purpose

Trusting our place in the order of things

Fools.

 

 

Don’t tread on an ant

He’s done nothin’ to you

There might come a day when he’s treadin’ on you

Don’t tread on an ant

You’ll end up black and blue

You cut off his head, legs come lookin’ for you.

 

Words are my own. Lyrics; Adam and the Ants. Image; randomly acquired from the internet.

©2017

 

Underneath the sycamore

 

Now every time this girl I see
She tries to chain me to her tree

Marc Bolan, Visions Of Domino

 

Marc Bolan, the fey glamster who helmed T. Rex, is said to have predicted, through several of his song lyrics, the year and manner of his own death. I know that the Rock world is somewhat rife with such tales, usually the inventions of hardcore fans and their overactive imaginations. However, there are actually some fairly interesting coincidences in this case and so I thought I’d while away a bit of my afternoon (and perhaps yours) having a wee look into it.

First of all, Bolan was on record as believing he’d never make it to 30. He was quite correct in this belief as he died some weeks shy of his 30th Birthday. He never got his driver’s license, having had strong premonitions he would die early, and claimed he “felt a car might be involved”.

On his final tour of France, Bolan visited the Louvre where he encountered a painting by Rene Magritte called September 16.  It is said that he spent several hours just staring at that one piece.

 

sixteenth-of-september.jpg
Image, the Louvre.

Interestingly enough, the painting shows the moon in the exact same phase as on the night Bolan died when the car, driven not by him but by his girlfriend Gloria Jones, hit a fence under a tree, on 16 September, 1977.

b7265f5f-bb8d-41c7-9c49-3433a761e732

The license plate of the mini they were in was FOX 661L and fans have pointed out that in the lyrics to the song, Solid Gold Easy Action he sings:

“life is the same as it always will be,

Easy as picking foxes from a tree.”

 

 

In another song, The Road I’m on he sings:

Since we last loved Gloria
the suns been up and down that many times
since we last loved Gloria
I’ve been sharing love with women of all kinds

Summer ends and leaves start dying
you won’t see robin crying
he knows where the sun is hiding
to another nest he’s flying

You gave me reason now I’ve gotta roam
‘cos the road I’m on gal won’t run me home

Hear my words Gloria
echoing from mountains with a cry
Hear my words Gloria
you’ll see them gal reflecting off the sky

Hear it in the cold wind blowing
hear it in the river’s flowing
no-one in the mind that’s growing
see ‘cos the cards that’s showing

You gave me reason now I’ve gotta roam
‘cos the road I’m on gal won’t run me home

 

That line, the road I’m on gal won’t take me home along with the repeated mention of the name Gloria and the late summer setting have stirred much discussion among Bolan’s fans. His girlfriend Gloria was indeed trying to drive him home when grisly fate intervened.

Bolan had also written a poem about death called The Warlock of Love with the first line, sycamore of sorrow.

The tree beneath which he died was a sycamore.

Sycamore of sorrow

Pray I’m swallowed

In the swell of your yelling leafy breast

My crippled bended chest is shamed

Through flaming crowsfeet, soaring nouns of Norse confession.

Dark earth gremlins, rootlegged hobbling

In the cryptess of my turned wound

Ill-famed fair prince, steal my lightening

Stake me with steel, for my haughtiness

Straddle my storm head with your abyss shroud

Call me harlot, call me wormy wordler

Ever so, but out loud.

 

It’s worth reiterating that (according to one biographer*) Bolan did not die from hitting the actual tree as is popularly believed but rather when the car hit a steel-reinforced fence post in front of it. Bolan was impaled through the back of his head by a piece of iron which gives a couple of other lines in the poem a certain macabre relevance.

Stake me with steel, for my haughtiness

Straddle my storm head with your abyss shroud

 

Finally (and this one is not as compelling to me but I’ll include it for the sake of being thorough) in the song, Celebrate Summer Bolan sings Summer is Heaven in ’77 which was, obviously the year and season of his death (as I said, not particularly compelling, that one).

 

 

* In Ride a White Swan: The Lives and Death of Marc Bolan written by Lesley-Ann Jones.

 

©2017

Love is a battlefield

 

1983 was a strange and unsettling year in my life. I was 20, living in Canberra (the capital of Australia, where I’d grown up), and working in my first adult job as a visual merchandising manager in an upscale department store. I’d not long before returned from the UK and I was feeling rudderless, to say the least.

I was also putting myself back together after the implosion of my first serious relationship. I was pretty much a basket case in 1983.

One of the things that kept me at least partly grounded was music. I wouldn’t say my musical tastes were particularly refined at that time but I was passionate about the music I liked and was an avid watcher of MTV and the like.

For at least a period of that year, one song and video dominated the airwaves. Pat Benatar’s, Love is a Battlefield seemed to be playing every time you turned on the TV, switched on the radio, or walked out your door. It wasn’t quite my sort of thing but the title and theme of the track resonated with my still broken heart and so I paid it more attention than I might have ordinarily.

I remember being struck by the way the video interrupted the song with dialogue (something that had never been done before). The angry father yelling after his fleeing daughter, “if you leave this house now, you can just forget about coming back,” may have been a tad corny but it stuck in the head and came to define the song. So much so that, listening to the actual track on the radio sans the dialogue, felt – odd.

As I said, the song itself wasn’t quite my cup of tea but it got lodged and in some weird way came to represent that very unsettling time for me. In all the years since, whenever I’ve heard that track played, my ears prick up and a strange flood of conflicting emotions resurface.

Now, here I am living in New Jersey. Canberra is a long way away and 1983 a long time ago. Both time and place could not be more different to my current life and circumstances.

I’ve witten several times on this blog about Clinton, a small town I love one over from my new home. It’s a gorgeous place with a very American every-town feel.

That’s probably why, in 1983, Pat Benatar traveled there to film those crucial domestic scenes for her video.

Imagine my surprise when I saw a small piece in our local press where people were reminiscing about the day Ms Benatar filmed Love is a Battlefield in their little town. Really? Of course, I needed to check this out for myself.

 

20170823_124752

20170823_141816a

 

So, yesterday, Jersey girl and I went over to Clinton and wandered around a part of the town we’d thus far neglected. It was as picturesque as most of the rest of the place and it didn’t take us long to identify the house from the video.

I have no idea how it was selected but this house was chosen to be the family home from which Benatar’s rebellious character flees (an amusing scenario considering she was 30 years old at the time of shooting*). It has changed very little in the succeeding 34 years.

 

 

20170823_142333.jpg
The house today.

 

 

 

battlefield 1
Image: Chrysalis Records

 

 

battlefield 2
Image: Chrysalis Records

 

It was a very strange feeling looking on from the street – almost like stepping into the video. I half expected to see Benatar standing by the tree waving up at her kid brother in the window (the tree’s still there but no Benatar).

It was also a little like stepping into my own past. Those mixed emotions began to reemerge as soon as I caught sight of the house and grew as it drew closer. It’s amazing how music and its associated symbols can tap into those strong emotions and pull us backwards through time.

I never could have imagined, all those years ago, that I’d one day be living just a few miles from such an iconic locale.

 

 

*Equally amusing, the song and video were used in the movie 13 going on 30 – you can’t make this stuff up.