Tuesday, March 27, 2001

Cool Kids of Death

There must be some Jungian archetype for Kid Death. He who walks the razor's edge. The cavalier right foot inside reality, the left foot dipped in darkness. In both Samuel Delany's THE EINSTIEN INTERSECTION and Elizabeth Hand's WINTERLONG, Kid Death is an alluring youth, with bright green eyes, full of taunts and swagger. He flirts with disaster, and invites you to follow him.
I was friends with one of Death's devotees, quite recently. His chosen weapon of (self)-destruction was (is) the various forms of Speed: crystal meth, cocaine and Special K. He'd also take other club drugs as well, most notably Ecstasy. The throbbing hypnotic lights and shimmering bodies of the club scene beckoned him. Trance and the various permutations of house was the soundtrack to his life. As speed threaded through his brain with the reckless abandon of Evil Knievil casting himself above a tank of gators, he kept his eyes toward the boys he wanted.

What was so alluring about him? He's a beauty, with milk-pale skin, light brown hair and intense blue eyes. A strange and falling angel. (I know, they should be green). He has a charismatic sense of humor, one that's quick and associational. He had an encyclopedic knowledge of underground music culture--he'd done it all. He has that magnetism that all Beautiful Freaks have, and if ever there was a type for me, it's there. Crispin Glover, Rimbaud, (young) Lou Reed, Seth Green--these Dark Horse guys really do it for me. His jittery movements and complete disregard for social norms are charming. There's a dash of Warhol about him, the instigator combined with the dying swan aesthetic of Nico. For a while, he was a kind of guide to the Underworld, of drug-addicts, offbeat artists, punks and gutter-whores. I wouldn't say that I was attracted him sexually, but there was an element of Romance, of Doomed and Fatal Beauty.

But beneath the fa├žade, sinister machinery was at work. His charm was built out of necessity as much as anything else. After all, when he crashed--as happens frequently--he could always to his acquaintances for help. In a way, he was a prostitute, and I was buying his cast-off glamour. The sad thing is, if he were offering it, I'd still be tempted. But he left me, when the more practical side of me took charge.
Glossary

1. Queen of the Paperclips or Paperclip Queen: a person (usually female) who works at a low-level administrative job who feels the need to exert inordinate control and power over the most inconsequential thing, such as paper clips or white-out. Overlaps with anal-retentive. [Example:
"Make sure you bring it back. That stuff's like gold," said Adele as I walked away with her bottle of white-out. Geez, I thought to myself. She's a real paperclip queen; it's not like we don't have a ton of it in the supply closet.]

2. Religious Immunity: the belief that one can say or do anything-no matter how outrageous--as long as there is a reference to that person's religious affiliation or conviction. [Example: Dr. Laura can propagate the idea that gay men are pedophiles despite that absence of any peer-reviewed literature to support her claim, because of her religious immunity.]

3. -freaked: An compound adjective. When used in combination with the first word, the -freaked part serves to amplify it, often indicating an overpowering quality. [Those mashed potatoes sure were garlic-freaked. Alison Shaw, the lead singer of the Cranes, has a child-freaked voice.]