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(My apologies to Plato, with whom I do not agree, and to the ghost of Edgar, who might have something to do with this.)

After the sumptuous dinner, Thanatos, that dreaded brother of Morpheus, brought out his coup de grace. Nectar and ambrosia were all very well, thought Eros, but some things at least, those wretched humans knew how to get absolutely right. He swirled a stupendous 1990 Vosne Romanée Cros Parentoux around in his glass. It glowed in the low light like a satin promise or a liquid velvet threat, he wasn’t sure which. Who cared? It was incredible. A bit young for a Cote d’Or Burgundy, but again, who cared when perfection was this sublime? Fuck Zeus and his fucking nectar. Fuck Ganymede, who poured it out every night. Wait a minute. Hadn’t he? He couldn’t remember, not after his fourth sip.

Logos, a three-dimensional triangle who pulsed with a pearly white glow a few inches above the marble floor, was by now turning a slight shade of pink. He dipped one apex of the triangle into his glass, and grew a deeper shade of pink.

Thanatos, their host, was reclining in all his black-clad glory, spread all over his end of the sofa like several large bottles of very expensive olive oil, extra virgin.

“So then, gentlemen,” he began. “I brought you both here for several reasons, but the main one was…” he paused as he thought.

“Boredom!” cried Eros. “*Fess up! You need a vacation!”

“No kidding. What with all that’s happening down there…” Logos pointed with another apex toward the floor, where the endless diorama called Planet Earth flowed and ebbed, ebbed and flowed, turning on its axis from day to night, night to day. Here and there were small pinpoints of light, in Afghanistan and Pakistan and Iran, and in many unnamed places that never made the nightly news on TV.

“Well, that too. But no, you know, sometimes it can be a good thing, to sit around with your friends and just – talk.”

“I do hope you have a good few more bottles of this stuff if that’s your plan.” Eros interrupted. “So you’ve got the night off? No one’s going to die tonight?”

“I don’t know.” Thanatos laughed. “Morpheus is standing in for me tonight. I had other plans. A symposium. With, of course, my two close friends, Eros and Logos, love – and logic.” He laughed again. “A contradiction in terms. Yes, I have more wine.”

“A symposium! Oh, goodie. I’ve been reading up on that idiot, Plato.” Logos pulsed again.

Eros rolled his beautiful eyes. “Gods! I can’t for the life of me understand why. He was, wasn’t he? All head, no heart, no place for me!” He sighed. “No wonder he died of old age. So, Thanatos, what’s the topic for tonight?”

Thanatos settled himself back on his sofa, took another slow sip of wine and thought a moment. “Well, we could call it – self-perception, and how we define it, and that, dear friends, sounds precisely like something that boring old fart Plato would say. Or, I could turn the topic another way and say – sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll – or, who knows? But really, it was because that according to some definitions, the three of us are embodiments, let’s call it, of the three main ingredients? principles? aspects? of that one human emotion that defines them more than any other – l-o-v-e. Love. Love and creativity make them human, they say, and I rather believe they have a valid point there. It’s all in the blend, the – ” he swirled the ruby contents of his glass around and dipped his long, aquiline nose into it and inhaled deeply – “the terroir, if you will. This wine, for instance, grows only on a small patch of soil, on a small strip of land in the French district of Bourgogne. If you took those grapes and planted them in California, say, it would be an entirely different product we’d be drinking.”

Eros couldn’t resist a joke. “It would get plastic surgery up the wazoo, spend a lifetime on a macrobiotic diet and a bitching personal trainer, platinum blonde hair extensions, collagen lips, a ton of makeup and call itself Pamela Anderson.”

Logos spluttered burgundy down his front surface. “Too true!” he gasped, once he could breathe again.

“Well, would you call that erotic?” asked Thanatos.

Eros didn’t even have to think about it. “No. It’s too obvious and too cookie-cutter, too defined according to some insane standard of erotic, and erotic is not a word that can be contained in a standard of any kind. That’s not what I’m about. I’m the whatever makes you want to rip off your clothes in a dark courtyard at 3 AM personification.”

“Lust, in other words” sneered Logos. “That’s a cheap shot. You can do better than that.”

“I would, too” retorted Eros, “if that fucking Dionysos hadn’t hijacked me and given us all sex, drugs and rock’n’roll!”

“But is that love?” asked Thanatos. “The whole ‘I want you and I want you right this nanosecond’ urge? And here I thought it was just a justification for procreating.”

“Love,” pontificated Logos, “is a meeting of the minds that precludes Eros, that in fact could not happen without me, since it all starts in the head anyway.”

“Rrright,” drawled Eros, “like all the bs and lies people spout just to get laid. Come on!”

“Are you denying that intellectual compatibility is a bad thing? People can stay together for years because of it! And that’s what really bugs you – that eventually, any relationship has to get out of bed, sooner if not later, and that’s when the problems start, if they have nothing to talk about to begin with!” Logos was turning a distinctive shade of puce and pulsing harder.

“Now, now.” Thanatos waved his hands. “Calm down, guys. We’re not here to discuss who’s the better of the two of you, or even all three of us. We’re here to discuss love.”

Logos throbbed slightly slower. “All right. Love. We will all agree, will we not, that love can consist, at different times, of each of the three of us in different proportions at different times of human lives. When humans are young and hotheaded, you “- an apex reached out towards Eros, sulking in his corner of the sofa, “predominate, because they’re young, because they’re in the grip of some strange compulsion they hardly understand themselves. It’s only later, when they’re a little older, and hopefully a little wiser, they go on to other, wider priorities – someone else to talk to on those endless Sunday afternoons of the soul. If all goes well, those two humans will sail into the sunset of their last days of life, and then, you – ” he reached out to Thanatos, who was listening with rapt attention – “perch on their shoulders, reminding them to let go, and to go on.”

“A good theory, so far as it goes,” conceded Thanatos, “but in actual fact, I would have been there for years. You can’t go through your life without experiencing the loss of someone you loved, since that makes you aware of your own mortality and your own limited time.”

“Ah!” Eros was onto his third glass of Burgundy. Wine this good was nearly as good as a five-star orgasm, and lasted much longer in the mouth. “Both of you are forgetting something – that I am the one who makes them – ” he pointed towards the Earth below – “forget. I am the one who can make a woman lose her underwear, make a man lose his head – either one, you pick. I can make them forget anything at all – limits and limitations, tabus and prohibitions – all for the sake of one perfect, flawless moment of eternity and starlight, one exquisite plugging in to the Cosmic Grid, one moment, in other words, when humans completely forget what and who and where they are. I’m the promise, the assignation, and the anticipation of that one particular moment.”

Logos was gobsmacked by that dazzling display of eloquence. “Well, I’m the one who gives the words to define it. And you did – quite well, I say.”

“I,” said Thanatos so quietly they both had to lean closer to hear his words, “am the dark face of both of you.”

For the space of three or four human heartbeats, both Eros and Logos were silent. Logos was so still, he nearly lost a dimension. Eros downed another glass. He poured out another, and lifted it to his host. His shining, rosy face was bright with both laughter and paradox, regret and relief.

“In which case, I propose a toast to our gracious host, Thanatos.”

Logos lifted his own glass, the fifth. It was, even he knew, ambrosial stuff. He looked over at Eros and, insofar as he was able, he winked.

“To Thanatos!” he said. “To Thanatos, who rules the world, and rules us all.”

“To Thanatos!” cried Eros. “The master of us all, and the dark face of us both!”

They all drank, long and deep.

“Thanatos, my friend,” Eros cleared his throat. “I love you dearly, but sometimes, man, you really know how to kill a party!”

“Well,” drawled Thanatos, “look at my name.”

“We know!” exclaimed both Logos and Eros in unison.

“Death, and one of us hopes to transcend it by defining it, while the other seeks to forget about it” Logos blurted out.

Eros winked at Thanatos. “Some immoveable obstacle you are!”

They all burst out laughing. “Even I will drink to that!” Thanatos reached for the wine bottle. “More burgundy?”

———————————————————————————-

Image: “Eros and Thanatos” (detail) copyright Kako Ueda 2008

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The word “seducer” has a rather bad ring to it these days, when seduction is generally considered a euphemism for “bent over and involuntarily buggered”, not necessarily in any sexual sense. Bernie Madoff comes to mind, but really, in spite of all those pilfered billions, where it matters most, Bernie Madoff is small fry. Compared with today’s birthday boy, he pales into obscurity. Bamboozling people out of their pensions, defrauding banks – how vulgar!

Today’s birthday boy, had he been around to witness it, would have have laughed old Bernie out of Wall Street.

Today is the birthday of Giacomo Girolamo Casanova de Seingalt, the man whose very name has become a byword all by dint of a very dirty and not undeserved reputation. “He’s such a Casanova”. “Discount Casanova”. All of them have slipped into general usage as one and two-word descriptions of slimy disco balls so slick they slide up walls.

Which does the original no favors. Because dear old Giacomo packed such an extraordinary amount of life into 73 years that you begin to wonder what sort of writer cooked up this kind of diabolical plot.

Con man, spy, huckster, compulsive gambler, dueller, actor, musician, physician, clergyman, philosopher, nobleman, librarian – he was, at various points in his life, all of these things. At a time in history when it was still possible to reinvent yourself from scratch, he mastered all the differing roles in his life with aplomb, finesse and loads and loads of – style, quite often financed with someone else’s money.

But his main frame of reference, and one he encouraged and enhanced all his life, was as a world-class seducer of women. They fell, like so many drugged fruit flies, victim to the kind of charm that would have been lethal, if only it could have been bottled.

In today’s world of sex-as-commodity, where sexualised images are everywhere you look and there’s no end to self-proclaimed experts on “sexy”, seduction has sort of fallen by the wayside. It implies that you have been had – literally and figuratively. Which is a shame, because this real life Don Juan – and even that title is rather misleading for reasons I shall explain in a bit – knew a thing or two about those ladies he loved – and he loved, by his own account and the accounts of most of his contemporaries – hundreds, if not thousands of not at all unwilling females.

I used to joke that any guy who liked historical costume had to also like extended foreplay. The crinolines and petticoats, the powdered wigs and flowered phrases that consisted civilized concourse 250 years ago were all just the starting point. These were the obstacles a seducer had to work around. Think of the stiff conventionality of a movie such as “Dangerous Liaisons”. There is John Malkovich, so cold we could call him Monsieur Frigidaire, except they hadn’t been invented yet. That was the sort of convention Casanova was up against and had to play to. But Casanova had an edge on Malkovich’s Vicomte de Valmont. It was the same edge he held over that fictional construct of Lorenzo di Ponti’s Don Giovanni, and Byrons’s later Don Juan.

For neither Don Giovanni, Don Juan or the Vicomte de Valmont really, truly loved women. Women as a gender, woman as a concept, that great soft and rounded creation no man can create – or exist – without. All of these esteemed gentlemen knew how to use the fair sex, they knew how to play into their insecurities and vanities, but they most emphatically did not love Woman. They all railed against feminine wiles and female treachery, they all struggled against their own desire and need, but they did not love Woman.

Casanova, for all his stupendous life, did. Woman as a concept, women in general, women in particular, he loved it all and he loved them all in all their moods and follies and from the tops of their violet-scented perukes to the tips of their rosy silk-clad toes, even as he exploited them for his own nefarious ends. He knew that in order to seduce a woman, you had to make her believe to the marrow of her bones that she was, for the duration at least, the most fascinating, scintillating creature ever to walk the earth.

He knew, too, that seduction is not merely sex, and that looks mean less than you think. Flattery will get you part of the way, but only part of it. Flattery and significant looks, a sense of humor, but not too much, and some very good pheromones will get you – everywhere, horizontal, vertical or on Louis XV armchairs. He gave himself totally, in the space of a few days, what most men were content to dole out with teaspoons or eyedroppers over a lifetime.

In other words, he left them happy, and knowing that it would never happen again.

That, dear reader, is a man. And what a man!

As for you, Giacomo, I salute your ghost as much as I adore your spirit of adventure and possibilities. I admire a man who was honest enough to say that a man who never spoke a bad word about women had never bothered to understand them. For in order to understand them, you have to be made to suffer at their hands. Then, and only then, can you truly love women.

Pay attention, guys. Some day, you will thank me for that information. But don’t thank me.

Thank Giacomom Girolamo Casanova.

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Originally posted as a “review” – of sorts – on an online writing community. Part rant, part rhetoric – and all heart!

The Aural Anaconda

-a review of ”Bloody Kisses”

It’s time…for a change. It’s time to get my head either out of my ass or out of Roman Britain, or just plain…out, somewhere – elsewhere, or else wear out what’s left of my synapses. They’ve been buried, unfortunately not fatally, in dense archaeological tomes of academe. A woman can only take so many Sub-strata B earthworks variations (early first to third-century CE), before having an overwhelming urge to cause a good few third millennium earthquakes of her own.

To that end, I take a deep breath in front of my CD collection. I shall pretend that I have never heard the contents of any of these glossy acrylic cases before. This will not be hard to do. I shall shut off my superego at its main power supply and up the volume on my id, who is only too happy to oblige. Any excuse, right? So, deep breath. Close eyes. Trail fingers over cases. Back and forth several times and…there! A snag, a slight tug and pull, and out comes…

“Bloody Kisses”, by Type O Negative.

Wow. This should be fun. A lesbian love fest is in full swing on the cover, and I haven’t even put in the CD yet! Damn it, I wasn’t even invited! My id is already happy-dancing. My inner six-year-old wiener wants to know where their hands are, but the outer 44-year-old takes one look at those faces and – knows.

On the back, four funereal dudes are wondering why they’ve been caught grave-robbing, but then, I happen to blink, and there he is, Poe’s poison-green Imp of the Perverse, jumping on a tombstone and somersaulting out over the trees decked out in winter drab. I blink again, and he’s gone, but I saw him, I swear I did. The underpaid morticians on the back cover never noticed. They’re checking out the real estate, thinking “development opportunity”.

I have been warned. This is, in other words, to be taken at face value – at my peril.

Few opening tracks in the history of music recording have been so aptly named as “Machine Screw”. The title alone says it all, and whatever’s left over will clear any earwax your Q-Tips might have missed. Be careful, though. Prolonged exposure might take your brain with it.

Just before my disappointment reaches epic levels, an eerie, creepy keyboard line insinuates itself into my now immaculate auricles and I’m well away, borne on a twisting sinuous tide into “Christian Woman”, and…Holy Catechism! I totally get it! It’s Bernini’s “The Ecstasy of St. Theresa” in music.

Now, this is a statue that has been known to make even hardened Catholics smirk. They nod, they walk around this epic poem in marble in awe, and then – they smirk. Religious ecstasy, sure it is. Her toes are furling, her fingers curling, and as for that expression on her face, well! Obviously, those smirks seem to say, religious ecstasy has something to recommend it, doesn’t it? One and a half billion Catholics can’t be wrong. This statue is what all those millions of Catholic women are hoping for.

Evidently, these women have never read Origen, Tertullian or St. Augustine. Maybe they should listen to this.

If first impressions are important, then one of the first things you are going to notice is that Peter Steele can sing. Love it or loathe it, you can’t get around it. By donning a black-clad, neo-Goth Orpheus persona, his voice also has a strange effect on just about every female I’ve ever introduced to the band. All male rock’n’roll singers are testaments of testosterone, one way or another. Put a guy with an attitude in front of a microphone stand and a band, and he becomes a singing, breathing projection screen for every female fantasy a woman can throw at it. By welding his bleeding heart right out in the open onto his cast-iron shirtsleeve, Steele just might have an edge on all those other guys, who would never dare. His voice has been slaying ladies in the aisles and everywhere else ever since.
So, for the sake of argument and my fragile sanity, he shall hereafter be referred to as That Voice. It’s a voice that can and all too often does most peculiar things to women in particular, making them do things like lose all reason, buy CDs, black corsets, Type O concert tickets…Trust me. I’ve introduced every girlfriend I have to that voice, and the same thing inevitably happens. They really, truly lose it. They seriously discuss the virtues of Catholicism. They develop an insatiable craving for black Valenciennes lace. You’ve heard of those voices who could read phone books and you’d swoon, but this is ridiculous. It spans a range in one song that goes from upper baritone to basso profundo, which is nearly as low as a human being’s vocal chords can go. The only thing That Guy has to do is…breathe, and there we stupid susceptible, suggestible females would be, “before him begging to serve or please, on our backs or knees”. Oh, yes, we would. Not in a New York minute, but a Brooklyn second!
And right before we feckless females are about to enter St. Theresa mode, borne off on a relentless tide of musical bliss both harrowing and sublime – the arrow! The arrow – please, right this effing second, I am so…ready! – comes the punch line, carried by a raunchy, leering guitar and a hard beat, and the imp comes out again. “Jesus Christ looks like me!” Well, blow my mind! Here I thought he’d be a swarthy, hirsute Levantine! Silly me. When I should have been looking for a nice Brooklyn boy of Northern European extraction. Catholic, of course. A godless Lutheran could never have written this.

Then, a riff of the Munsters theme brings me back to Earth, sort of, and an ominous growl pronounces: “I went looking for trouble. And boy, I found her…” “Black no. 1” is a brilliant satire of that nemesis you used to hate, back when Goth was cool the first time around, back when Ian Curtis was a (recently dead) genius and I wanted to marry Robert Smith when I grew up. If he wasn’t available, then Andrew Eldritch would do. Ian Astbury, in a pinch. Indulge my severe fit of nostalgia for a moment. In those days, I did my level best to exude my own unique brand of 5’2” fabulousness. Black wardrobe? Check. Snow-white tan? Check. Too much makeup? Check. A haunting telltale trail of Eau de Sarcophage? Caron’s “Narcisse Noir”, purloined from my mother, who never did forgive me. Prerequisite over-sized boyfriend? Double-check. I had two at the same time – one 6’4” Henry Miller look-alike, one 6’8” curly-haired grizzly bear. We scavenged our wardrobes and our furniture from the Soviet Army “surplus store” dumpster-diving outside the Soviet Embassy in Copenhagen at 3 AM. And meanwhile, right when I really thought I was too cool and too Goth for pre-20th-century words, there was another girl, who somehow managed to be several degrees more sepulchral than even I could manage. She was tall, she was thin, she was lethally gorgeous, and I hated her on sight. We all did. This song was written for her, I swear on my first edition of “Fleurs du Mal”. This is what happened when the Christian Woman gave up holy orders, decided that the Jesus Christ-a-like from Brooklyn wasn’t satanic enough for her, and dumped him. He went looking for revenge – and boy, he found it! If only all revenge was this hilarious. “Loving you was like loving the dead.” One thing none of my former boyfriends ever complained about.

Before I’m completely carried away by a tidal wave of nostalgia, a tribal chant marks the return of the Imp, and the second practical joke of this album, “Fay Wray Come Out and Play”. Please, Fay, do. King Kong is waiting, and the natives are…restless. So is King Kong. And you look so beautiful when you scream.

Are you dying for a chance to stomp the imbedded cat fleas in your carpet into submission? Do you want them to beg for mercy on their tiny knees and make you swear on your old copies of Green Egg that you will never do that again? Would that be too cruel for your eco-friendly sensitivities? Then, practical joke number three is not for you.

If, however, you don’t give a flying about those poor dying fleas in your fifth-hand rug, and you can be found in your off moments playing air guitar with a hairbrush in your skivvies to Pantera (guilty!), then “Kill All the White People” is for you. Try headbanging to this with the nearest available three-year-old, and he will, if he knows what’s good for him, love you forever for it. He might even join you. He won’t get the joke, but you will. If, on the other hand, you don’t, then you don’t deserve this album. May I commiserate. Not.

A very long time ago, there was such a thing as eight-track cassettes. A.M. radio was huge, because that’s where all the hits of the time were played. One cheesy bit of dandelion fluff was a monster hit on A.M. radio in those days. It was called “Summer Breeze”, by Seals and Croft. I lived through those days, and I remember the song well. Catchy. Cheesy. More or less instantly forgettable, even with hippy-dippy harmonics. Not likely to be induced into the Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame anytime soon.
Try to get this particular version of it out of your brain, and you are in mortal danger of never hearing it any other way again. Ever. All D-tuned strings, distortion, doom-laden drums, keyboards proclaiming the coming Apocalypse and vocals by Beelzebub, giving a throwaway hit some sinister, serial-killer punch it certainly never had before and likely will never have again. You can just see Ted Bundy, coming through the door and across the floor, wielding a bloody axe to this, blowing through the jasmine in his mind. My awfully wedded shall never forgive me for playing this version for him and ruining the original forever. Not to mention screwing up his happy childhood memories. This is evil, evil genius.

Right before a fatal descent into the maelstrom, you are brought back from the brink by “Set me on Fire” and a bright burst of keyboard masquerading as cathedral Bach, where the Dybbuk-in-Disguise has ditched the Devil, left the building and headed straight for the choir of Silly Seraphim. It’s the perfect antidote for serial killer schmaltz, if only because this song – with lyrics consisting of seven words – goes on for over three minutes, and lo and behold!, you can even dance to it. It is bouncy and silly and stupid and beautiful all in one, and if it can make a nearly middle-aged woman feel all of 16 at 9 AM on a dreary rain-soaked Tuesday, then it can’t possibly be bad.

This is an album recorded by four incorrigible practical jokers, and the Imp makes yet another appearance, before I self-asphyxiate in warm, fuzzy 16-year-old thoughts. First, we have “Dark Side of the Womb”, and I can’t quite decide if this is what really happens to Rosemary’s Baby once the camera stopped rolling, or if this is what I wanted to happen three years ago when I gave birth to Damien, the Sequel. The blood of a newborn child. Oh, the possibilities!

There’s more flea murder and dust-bunny decimation to come in “We Hate Everyone”. In fact, it might be fair to say that it takes hardcore to a whole new level. My downstairs neighbors never breathed a word of complaint over Pantera. But they complained about this one, and they have a point. Even the jaded three-year-old didn’t like it much. As a motivational track for housecleaning however, this has its uses. It even beats my perennial favorite the Sex Pistols into shame. My toilet bowl underwent a cathartic experience from which it has never quite recovered. Methinks, however, the gentlemen doth complain a tad too much.

I have days like that, too. It’s called PMS. At least I have that excuse.

From extending a middle finger to the rest of the world to bombastic blood-chilling…suicide? We’re back in penny dreadful novel territory with “Bloody Kisses” (A Death in the Family). I don’t mean that in a bad way. The band throws every single death-and-despair cliché at the unsuspecting listener, and then milks all of them dry for all they’re worth. Ah, this is heart-breakingly depressing. And heart-stopping beautiful. I award it five Victorian mourning hankies. I may cry. You’ll have to excuse me. I have to swoon now. Ah, they’re dead! Alas, they’re dead! And now I have no hankies left to mop up those salty tears. Just loosen my stays. Or else I’ll have to swoon again. All that wailbone is killing me.

By now, I think I’m suffering from a mild case of musically induced schizophrenic personality disorder. “Too Late/Frozen” begins with a screw-up intro, someone calling “Fourths, dude!”, then…we’re back on familiar ground here. Or are we?
What’s really disturbing is the way the opening piece reminds me of a catchy early-Seventies commercial jingle. “It’s too la-a-a-a-a-ate!” coos the chorus like blissed-out pigeons on Prozac, and suddenly I catch myself thinking that chorus would be perfect for a car commercial. Just have them sing “Chev-ro-le-e-e-e-et!”
“So you call to say you’re very sorry/Won’t happen again – forgive me?/Time will not heal these wounds/And I’m bleeding/Because of you” croons That Guy again, and within seconds, this hapless female has forgiven him not just that Beelzebub impersonation, but – everything! Only to be dropped off a cliff at a vertiginous height, and the only way to go is…down and down and down.
You’ve heard of raining on someone’s parade. This is the equivalent of a monsoon downpour on the Fourth of July. What I really love/hate/loathe/adore is that I’ve woken up at 4 AM with this song on constant replay in my head. So catchy, it’s driving me crazy, and I already have plenty of reasons to be lured over the brink, thanks. There should be a health warning on this CD. “Listening to this will be hazardous to your health.”

More hazard lurks ahead in “Blood and Fire”. One-two-three-four, here we go again. “No more nights of blood and fire/with no warning/you were gone/And I still don’t know what went wrong” warbles the black-clad Orpheus with all the heartfelt sincerity of the thoroughly beaten dog you’re convinced he is, and like any human hound who ever lived, breathed and wagged his tail alluringly, he goes on…”You don’t know what I’ve been through/Just want to put my love in yo-ooooooo-o-ooooooooou”.

Uh huh. Sure you do. That’s where the trouble starts, right? Exit sanity, enter libido, begin heartache. And other aches and itches and twitches for which all guys think they know the cure. And they wonder why we leave.

Sanity, man. We just can’t handle all that rock hard love. It does weird and eerie things to our heads. And other susceptible parts of our delicate feminine anatomy.

Right when I’ve deluded myself into thinking I’m at least semi-sane again, the final coup-de-grace. “Can’t Lose You” should be recommended by the New York Psychiatric Association as aural therapy for libidinally impaired females. Or indeed any females who think they’ve lost their primeval urge and have only menopause to look forward to.
Ladies, listen to this. I dare you. One long, meandering, near-instrumental croon with a sitar, yupp, the Ravi Shankar inciting variety that is the nearest thing to aural sex I’ve ever heard. Somewhere between the sitar, the guitar and oh, geez, that, ahem, Effing Voice again, I’ve totally and utterly lost it. Thankfully, I’m married, which means a dick is never too far away.

This album is a mess. It’s not hard to guess the influences here. Take vintage Black Sabbath, Zeppelin, Deep Purple and a whole army of butt-rock bands large and small, add a healthy dose of the Beatles, along with generous sprinklings of lesser-known bands like the Cocteau Twins, Lush, the Cure, Sisters of Mercy and Fields of the Nephilim, and put them all in a blender. Whatever you do, don’t forget a good, few economy-sized wallops of classic punk and molten-lead metal. Now, add a liberal sense of twisted humor, an amazing keyboard player who spans the range from Bach to Jon Lord to OhmiGawd and far beyond, cackling all the while. Remember a drummer who can actually play drums, believe it or not. Right before you’re about ready to scream, throw in a guitar player who’s been practicing licks and riffs since the womb, I suspect, and is not averse to delivering a few new versions to fully satisfy your curiosity about New Things to Practice on Your Hairbrush In Your Underwear.
Oh, yeah. The bass player. He plays the bass. Most of the time, not badly. He’s also the guy who sings. The combination has been hazardous to my health ever since.
Turn on the blender. Forget the lid. Let’s face it, you’ve always wanted oxblood walls, right? Here’s your excuse.
You might, if you’re very lucky, end up with something like this. The album is now teenaged, in a matter of speaking, but it doesn’t sound dated, doesn’t have that feel that screams “Oh, that sounds so…Nineties!”.
Type O Negative is, shall we say, a definite acquired taste. You either hate the solipsistic/narcissistic bombastic Baroque satirical mess of it all, or you give up, give in and let yourself be swallowed whole by an aural anaconda of an album that won’t let you go. Not now, not tomorrow, not fifteen years from the moment you bought it. Just don’t let the Imp out of your sight. He’s there, all right, and boy, is he perverse!

Speaking of which, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m off to see if a guy can be raped. The sitar made me do it.