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Wednesday 22 February 2012

John Hand 2012

Hello Gombert & all you weirdos...

My SA4QE experience this year kinda spiralled out of control wonderfully.... I apologise in advance for the length of this.

First, I thought the student/hipster/muso/street-art community in Melbourne might appreciate this kind of enlightened vandalism, so I aimed to get a bit of copy on SA4QE in the Arts section of the city's premier street newspaper, Beat Magazine, with a circulation in excess of 30,000. However, with the help of the irrepressible people behind that publication, it soon became the following full-page spot:

I was really chuffed with that, and cannot thank the editors enough for their enthusiasm. The first February edition carried the spot here:

Then I became a bit anxious... Does that kind of thing violate the spirit of SA4QE - the DIY ethic - the personal passion? So I planned to flagellate myself with something of a personal evangelical broadside on the town: I had 44 4qations to 4qate. (DISCLAIMER: in actuality it was only 11 quotes each 4qated 4 times, so Mr Cooper's one-day record still stands well clear of the pack.) It was a long, excellent day, and the following eleven quotes will stay in my mind forever:

24 January 2003. I don’t think of my daughters very often. Wherever they are, they have done alright, that I know. Sometimes I think of Elias because there are things I want to tell him. These things he knows maybe, maybe not.


Everything is twice itself, this I often think. Things are what they are every day, but then sometimes they are not. Sometimes I see people talking, crossing the road, running to catch a bus. Suddenly it is like TV with the sound turned off and I see that this is really Death dressing himself up as these people talking, crossing the road, running to catch a bus. So that is what is really happening, no?


But who am I that I should say this? My mind is like a top that spins crazily just before it falls over.

- from Come Dance With Me

Learn the speech of ravens and they will feed you.

    ‘Piss off.’
    ‘Make me.’
    The colours of my craziness roared and bellowed in my ears.
- from Fremder

        ‘I’m lost,’ said Klein.
        ‘In what sense?’ said Dr DeVere.
        ‘In the sense of I don’t know where I am.’
        ‘Can you elaborate?’
        ‘I am of a people who have always been fearless navigators of the mind. The dead sail with us as we make our way from idea to idea, steering by the stars and sea-marks named by those before us. Such a wide, wide ocean! But you always know where you are by the waves, by the swells, by the loomings and the stars. Then one dark night the waves change, and the swells; the winds blow from not the usual quarters. Black squalls come, and heavy seas, the stars are blotted out, the wind moans in the rigging. You suddenly realise that you might never make your landfall, you might drown. A great wave hits the boat and takes you with it, you feel yourself going down, down, down and then you don’t know any more which way is up and you can’t hold your breath a moment longer and the wild wide ocean fills your lungs and then you’re gone: down among the dead men.’
        Dr DeVere kept respectfully silent for a few moments. ‘It’s good that you could get that out,’ he said.
- from Angelica’s Grotto

By their in-your-face humble posture I [Angelica] recognised them as Jehovah’s Witnesses and went to meet them. One was a young woman, the other a middle-aged man. The woman was modestly frumped-up but she was pretty in a way that made me think her name might have been Tiffany or Amber before she went into the witnessing business. The man had painfully sincere horn-rimmed glasses and grey hair.
       ‘Hello,’ said the woman. ‘My name is Ruth and this is my father Jonathan.’
       ‘How do you do,’ I said.
       We shook hands.
       ‘We’ve been going around,’ said Ruthany, ‘asking folks how they feel about the world today. Would you say you feel optimistic about it?’
       ‘Definitely pessimistic,’ I said.
       ‘Many people tell us that,’ she assured me without placing a hand on my arm, ‘and Scripture gives us an answer in Isaiah, Chapter 65, Verse 17.’ Her fast-draw Bible appeared open in her hands before my reply had cleared the holster.
       I read, ‘For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind.’
       ‘But that’s imaginative displacement,’ I said, ‘and believing that wishing will make it so. It’s a Ghost Dance!’
       ‘Say what?’ said Ruthany.
       ‘Wovoka, the Paiute holy man from Nebraska, in 1888 had a vision during a solar eclipse, and he started the Ghost Dance Religion.’ I read off my computer printout: ‘ “He claimed that the earth would soon perish and then come alive again in a pure, aboriginal state, replete with lush green prairie grass, large buffalo herds and Indian ancestors.”
       ‘He told the Indians how to earn this new reality, with prayer and meditation and especially dancing “through which one might briefly die and catch a glimpse of the Paradise to come”.
       ‘The government banned the Ghost Dance, the Indians didn’t stop, so on the morning of 29 December 1890, at Wounded Knee, the soldiers killed a hundred and fifty Indians and wounded fifty, all of them wearing Ghost Shirts to stop the bullets.’ By this time I was crying again.
       ‘She’s upset,’ said Jonathan to Ruth. ‘We’ll talk about this another time,’ he said to me as I sat there in my Ghost Shirt, weeping by the rivers of Babylon.
- from Angelica Lost and Found

    ‘And what did she ever see in you?’
    ‘Flickering images.’


The idea of a club of people eating lunches was frightening to me.
- from The Medusa Frequency   

Time back way way back befor peopl got clevver they had the 1st knowing. They los it when the got the clevverness and now the clevverness is gone as wel.
- from Riddley Walker

VIRGIN STATUE WEEPS, said the headline at the newsstand outside the station. ‘As well it might,’ said Klein.

Klein thanked her and walked home, still seeing Lucifer in pinks and greys and greens.
- from Angelica’s Grotto

When she told me that her name was Bertha Strunk I said, ‘Is Bertha’s trunk anything like Pandora’s Box?’
‘That isn’t something you can find out in five minutes,’ she said.
- from My Tango With Barbara Strozzi

All in all it was a perfectly strange day. My only regret is not catching up with fellow Melburnian 4qaters, KP & MS, but time is a sphere.

Click to open a PDF of some of John's quotes

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