Peter Hammill - King Tut
Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit.
'If there is anything you would wish to spring to mind ---
and, remember, to mind only --- then now is the moment to open
yourself to it.'
'I can't get any further than six or seven. Everything before
is blurred or stolen. I've stolen my picture of babyhood from the
photograph album. There is nothing real there, only dark,
terribly gloomy pictures.
'Where am I? Who was I? Do I not exist? Is there really no
past? And if so, then what is now, for I can only have been made
by what has been and I can only be what I have been made? Is
there no moment for me to define as a changing one? How alone I
There are nodes in all our lives, high peaks of activity,
excitement, relationship, confrontation. Memory catches them
through the mists of the years. In the far past, the only past
that we can briefly call such, only the nodes are visible, and in
their temporal moments we are both made and defined. In
subliminal chasms of antinode, reaction is felt, registered,
translated into a scratch on the wall, a note which will join
with others to make our individual chords. Far down, a junction
switches from 'yes' to 'no' and the world changes. How important
is the root note; how critical the placement of the first switch!
I, too, have pseudo-memories of/from photograph albums with
funereal black corner-pieces, angry fists, surrenders to hunger,
creative swearing, and I can attribute the blanks in my memory
about them to more than extreme distance and total lack of data.
They are not celebrated in me. They are not the Saints' day of my
calendar. They are of white, cream, pastel; neither the
rose-and-gold of joyous triumph, nor abstemious, sinful black and
purple are theirs. They receive no extra benedictions,
processions, consecrations, Hallelujah Choruses or Dies Iraes.
They are the blank pages in my missal; no entries in the
'Oh but wait... yes, yes!! It returns... good young
proto-Catholics all, first prayer books, white and gold leaf,
milk at break, feuding with rivals, kissing the one girl in the
class... and running away. I was shy and clinging; laughed at
words like 'wee-wee'; frightened of the dark; already aware of my
own vulnerability (from where? from how? from what?); putty.
A shining summer afternoon, break time - but four of us are
folding up and piling away chairs from the kindergarten room,
attended by Teacher. She is, somehow, difficult to visualise;
only the aura of power, of discipline is present of her. That,
and the deep attractions, the despairing urges that are her in
We finished piling up the chairs, and are impatient to be
outside, playing French cricket. Ah, I notice it: a black seam on
a stocking rising out of a black shoe! Ah, teacher!
I'm feeling the root of my mouse with my tongue, exploring the
seamy geography with the tip, pressing upwards with the flat
whole and sucking out the saliva from the junction. Something
tells me I should not be doing this. If I suck enough saliva out
I can make my tongue trick to the cave of my mouth. Teacher's
words drift in: something about one final little job, moving
I can't slide my tongue loose! Ah, but if I pull hard I can
jerk it away from the roof. The seal comes apart with a 'cluck'
which spills out into the sudden silence of the room. To me it
sounds like a 'cluck'; to teacher, a 'tut' of disapproval and
rebellion. She's spitting words at me/face of
thunder/physicality/nerve-ends multi-pulsating, screaming/my
guilty tongue unable to manage more than a single 'But...':
stunned into immobility/mind tears to deny her assumptions.
It's going, going, blurring into grey again. What then? We
have to stay in for the break period. My friends are very angry.
Teacher is very angry. Grey. And I am..? I was..?'
Wildman Logo, nasty child-molester, failed attempted murderer
and crypto-tortologist, stumbles into the continuance of his
gloomy silence. The man in the black hood has pulled the switch,
with a 'tut'.