Monday, 5 May 2008

'The Sad World of Gazza...'

In a breathtaking piece of chequebook journalism, The Mirror, in February, sought to identify the 'string of nameless demons' invading the sanity of Paul Gascoigne: the fallen footballer, currently being held under the Mental Health Act in London. This was in the immediate wake of his (first) public meltdown: which followed an outbreak of typically strange behaviour in County Durham. It was the headline- 'He thought aliens were coming for him'- which grabbed my attention: a running theme on this blog since at least as long ago as Britney Spears had her Lupercalia moment in 2007. (I am presently updating and rewriting that series, by the way.)

She, too, was much exercised by aliens, according to a leaked video that preceded her head-shaving stunt; as is one Robbie Williams: an equally-troubled pop star turned Ufologist. (See Ellis Taylor's headlines for more on this.) We also looked at the case of Darren Liddle, the City insurance broker, who jumped to his death from the Park Lane Metropole after a cocaine binge, convinced that he was being targeted by vigiliantes. And the even stranger tale of Alberto Izaga: a wealthy businessman who killed his daughter during a 'missing time' episode in his Westminster apartment, shortly after viewing the conspiracy-themed movie Bug, directed by Bill 'The Exorcist' Friedkin. In all of these cases, the 'victim'- assisted by massive chemical consumption or imbalance- becomes convinced of the imminence of malevolent forces: a conviction which this author, for obvious reasons, is in partial sympathy.

The story of Izaga, in particular, seems to compliment another subject we have explored here: the drastic, and at times, downright disturbing alterations to the personality which can result from head injury or other debilitating conditions. Judging by the hapless Gascoigne, it seems serious addiction is capable of engineering similar results. According to Melanie Reid in The Times, alcohol related brain damage 'is characterised by volatile behaviour, short-term memory loss, failure of reasoning power, inability to store information or monitor repetitious talk and inability to take control of one's life.' Sobering sentiments. Regardless of how they are reached, however- and the occasionally tragic consequences can result- might there be substance to these paranoid revelations? A glimpse of a deeper, more terrifying reality that exists just outside the limits of ordinary perception?

We recall the very strange case of Theresa Duncan and Jeremy Blake, whose apparent suicides received heavy coverage on the internet, who maintained that they were the victims of a campaign of psychological harrassment by Scientologists. Izaga, just before murdering his daughter, was convinced that he and his colleagues on the board of Swiss Re were part of a global conspiracy led by the Jesuits. Branislav Kostic was a pharmaceutical mogul, whose gift of £12 million to the UK Conservative Party, was predicated on the assumption that only Margaret Thatcher could save the world from the grip of the 'satans' that had taken control of the planet. (The donation was returned only after a High Court judge ruled that Kostic lacked 'testamentary capacity' at the time the will was drawn up.) And Gascoigne, no less spectacular in his own way, requested that his girlfriend only ever caress him with her left hand, lest 'the aliens would come and get us if we didn't use just our left hands.' It was, she says, 'totally bizarre.'

Persuading me that Gazza's problems are not merely 'all in the mind' are the intimations of a higher conspiracy ('the fingerprints of the gods') discernible to the seasoned occult investigator. The events in February took place in the ominously-titled Malmaison Hotel in Newcastle: something of a Fortean codeword, akin to the infamous 'Saint-Germain' and 'Lafayette.' (Heath Ledger, a man well-known to the synchrosphere, died in his apartment on Broome Street, Lower Manhattan: between Crosby and Lafayette. A few days later, in a bizarre demonstration of the copycat effect, a 16 year-old from California was arrested at Nashville International Airport, suspected of planning to crash an airliner into the Lafayette Cajundrome in Lafayette, Louisiana- the home state of one Britney Jean Spears. Oddly, the rumoured target of the alleged plot was Britney's co-regent, the latest 'cereal sacrifice': Hannah Montana, aka Miley Ray Cyrus, aka Destiny Hope.)

Malmaison has a less well-known pedigree: but watch this space, as I suspect this will not be the last you hear of it. Mal: bad. Maison: house. Ergo malmaison: bad (or sick) house. Not only another MM, of course, but a good reason for Gascoigne's perpetually haunted expression. The spectrally-heavy Hampton Court Palace is another sick house; betraying its reptilian energies is the twinning of its neighbourhood with Rueil-Malmaison in Paris, the former home of the first wife of Napoleon. As a psychopomp, particularly at dusk, it can hardly be beaten: as Mary Caine clearly understood, for whom the deathly edifice forms the central star of her Kingston Zodiac. But dispossessed souls like Gascoigne would be advised to read the warnings and steer clear. Its labyrinth- that monument to Hypnos and confusion- carries the same cautionary charge.

Reflexively drawn to these ghoulish mansions, Gascoigne's latest eruption struck at an even timelier venue: the Millenium Hotel in Knightsbridge. (The year 2000-commonly, though falsely, attributed as the start of the millenium, encodes MM in Roman numerals; one reason why our quest for Madeleine McCann, MM, back in the news again this week, drove us to Maritime Greenwich: the hub of Britain's errant celebrations eight years ago.) No mention of aliens this time; though the footballer did unconsciously emulate Britney Spears in other ways: dying his hair a puce shade of red before shaving it all off; and embarking on a coke and gin-fuelled suicide bid. (Bound, inevitably, to succeed.)

Goodnight Gazza... and thanks.


wise woman said...

I remember Gazza well from my days in England.
This is very interesting, perhaps we have human versions of Samhain, beings in whom the veil has become thinner and who see more.

Anonymous said...

From recent online accounts of a fan conference for The Fall:

"The Kings Arms evening was unforgettable, with Mark's ethereal interjections, via family and mobile phone, lending weight to Alan Wise's amazing and brilliant talk about MES and his superpowers. I regretted afterwards not having posed a question or two to Alan about his talk. He waved around a sheaf of papers on which he claimed he had written a full account of Mark's long held interest in Gurdjieff and Ouspensky's system & cabala (as well as, intriguingly, pouring and consuming drinks from an empty bottle)...It was claimed that Mark has spent many years studying all this stuff and has in the process acquired great expertise in mesmerism, shamanic ritual, fetish magic, mind control (with just a touch and a few words, apparently)."

"He referred to MES as a circus master and the group as circus performers, also suggesting that MES frequently acted like a 12 year old treating them like children as part of his slightly occultish ability to control people through touch. Alan was quite clearly aware that Mark might have “spies” in the room... He talked about MES’s house which he said was increasingly a private place. He said there was a large greek orthodox crucifix/icon as you went in “to set him apart from those those in his street” (mostly Jewish community) and that it was quite dark. There are lots of books and lots of stuffed rabbits and animals. Elena’s presence other than in the bodily sense was not really there and she made some soup which never materialised – it is very much Mark’s house.

The black leather glove as a fetish was mentioned a few times. He wants to control a crowd, not entertain it."

Google: "Mark E Smith" and malmaison.