R. Hell Site Forum Message
|Posted by:||Richard Hell (in forum heading)|
|Posted on:|| 1 Jul 2002|| |
You're right. No one's ever told me they made the connection before, and actually it gets worse: Elvis plays a role in it too.
I'll try to trace the references... First, you're talking about the cover to the Dim Stars album (1992 one-album group comprised of Thurston Moore, Steve Shelley, Don Fleming, and me) which features a turtle (jewelry piece) with a jeweled back in the artwork. There's a description in (Joris Karl) Huysmans's 19th century "symbolist" novel AGAINST NATURE of the book's hero's decorative (live) tortoise-with-jewel-set-shell.
As I record in my 1970's notebooks (published in my book ARTIFACT), I first learned of AGAINST NATURE, a book which became one of my favorites back then, by reading Paul Bowles's autobiography called WITHOUT STOPPING. In that book Bowles refers to a theatrical production he's attended (in the 1930's) that S. Dali was partly responsible for and which included a large mechanical turtle encrusted with colored lights. Bowles called this "Dali's little Huysman joke." I was real intrigued by this without having any idea what he was referring to because I'd recently had a most beautiful dream of a living turtle with its back covered in jewels that was crawling across an open green landscape. The jeweled turtle had water flowing from it's back as if it'd just emerged from a pond, but the water never stopped flowing, so that the turtle was actually creating an ocean in its wake.
So the Bowles reference introduced me to Huysmans, whose book I then read and so discovered that similar turtle to the one in my dream, and also found a new writer I loved. Then, fifteen or twenty years later when I was driving in the south, I noticed a sign by the road advertising an Elvis Museum. I pulled off and it was a little store front in a mall. As I recall it actually had a car supposed to have been Elvis's plus some clothes and other souvenirs including some jewelry. The turtle was in the jewelry and the picture on the album cover was in the brochure for the museum.
So the sequence goes: dream jeweled-turtle flooding world > Bowles refers to Dali illuminated-backed turtle prop in play as a Huysmans reference > jeweled-turtle in Huysmans's AGAINST NATURE > Elvis Museum jeweled-turtle supposedly once his property > picture from brochure used as Dim Stars' album cover...
Ha! (Or, yes, you could read it backwards ((rats live on no evil star)).)
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