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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Mugwump jism

mugwump1.jpg

Naked Lunch (1991).

So what happens when you take a regular scenario like this:

There is a type person occasionally seen in these neighbourhoods who has connections with junk, though he is neither a user nor a seller. But when you see him the dowser wand twitches. Junk is close. His place of origin is the Near East, probably Egypt. He has a large straight nose. His lips are thin and purple-blue. The skin is tight and smooth over his face. He is basically obscene beyond any possible vile act or practice. He has the mark of a certain trade or occupation that no longer exists. If junk were gone from the earth, there might still be junkies standing around in junk neighbourhoods feeling the lack, vague and persistent, a pale ghost of junk sickness.

So this man walks around in the places where he once exercised his obsolete and unthinkable trade. But he is unperturbed. His eyes are black with an insect’s unseeing calm. He looks as if he nourished himself on honey and Levantine syrups that he sucks up through a proboscis.

What is his lost trade? Definitely of a servant class and something to do with the dead, though he is not an embalmer. Perhaps he stores something in his body—a substance to prolong life of which he is periodically milked by his masters. He is as specialized as an insect, for the performance of some inconceivably vile function.

Junkie (1953) by William Burroughs.

…and subject it to a dose of The Weird? This happens:

The Meet Café occupies one side of the Plaza, a maze of kitchens, restaurants, sleeping cubicles, perilous iron balconies and basements opening into the underground baths.

On stools covered in white satin sit naked Mugwumps sucking translucent, coloured syrups through alabaster straws. Mugwumps have no liver and nourish themselves exclusively on sweets. Thin, purple-blue lips cover a razor-sharp beak of black bone with which they frequently tear each other to shreds in fights over clients. These creatures secrete an addicting fluid from their erect penises which prolongs life by slowing metabolism. (In fact all longevity agents have proved addicting in exact ratio to their effectiveness in prolonging life.) Addicts of Mugwump fluid are known as Reptiles. A number of these flow over chairs with their flexible bones and black-pink flesh. A fan of green cartilage covered with hollow, erectile hairs through which the Reptiles absorb the fluid sprouts from behind each ear. The fans, which move from time to time touched by invisible currents, serve also some form of communication known only to Reptiles.

The Naked Lunch (1959) by William Burroughs.

Mugwump jism…The Weird…whatever you call it, I’m an addict. And while we’re on the subject, this turned up at Wikimedia Commons in their Patent medicine section:

mugwump2.jpg

Mug-wump Manufacturing Co. for all Venereal Diseases…and you thought Burroughs was writing fiction?

Lastly, Justin Warfield and Tim Simenon have a message for ya. Play loud.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Brion Gysin’s walk, 1966
Burroughs in Paris
William Burroughs interviews
Soft machines
Burroughs: The Movie
William S Burroughs: A Man Within
The Final Academy
William Burroughs book covers
Towers Open Fire

 


 

Posted in {books}, {burroughs}, {drugs}, {film}, {music}.

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