Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Crazed Eskimos, Nazis, Communist Russians, Chinese foot fetishists and lesbian assassins.

The quest started in the late Sixties, A comic book collaboration between geniuses Michael O'Donoghue and Robert Springer, "The Adventures of Phoebe-Zeitgeist", a drop-dead gorgeous Moonbeam McSwine, almost out of old All Capp, perhaps, but nothing McSwinish about Phoebe- Zeitgeist. She is beautiful, especially when drawn nude and in extremely stressful situations.
Phoebe-Zeitgeist, the belle of any ambassadorial ball, is suddenly kidnapped and captured by a series of bizarre characters, such as crazed Eskimos, Nazis, Communist Russians, Chinese foot fetishists and lesbian assassins.
She does have a hard time of all this.
She is variously rescued, recaptured and rescued again. How I would have loved to have rescued Phoebe from the clutches of those evil Red Chinese, Russian Communists, Chinese foot fetishists.

She is a Serbian debutante, an aristocrat, really--I don't want to mention somebody I hardly know in the same breath, but as gorgeous as Michelle in her blog, Michelle's Spell.... like that, and very sexy in no matter what scene or comic book frame.

Phoebe is variously rescued, recaptured and rescued again. How I would have loved to have rescued Phoebe from the clutches of those evil Red Chinese, Russian Communists and all the assorted rejects of Katmandu.

I was fresh out of liberal arts school, still high on old Hegel's notions on the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age, that old German shepherd seeming more abreast of the times even today, than he was during Bismarck's reign, where a united Germany seemed to be the actual zeitgeist. And Hegel had all the brains. (Of course, right now America seems to have it all. But brains?...Well, not before President Obama.
Bob Dylan: Don't let Henry Kissinger tie you in a knot...When you gonna wake up?).

But cut to the chase: I was just out of the liberal Arts school, a former army guy, like James Blunt, guitar handy, sitting in front of a radar console to look for Russians, a real Norman Mailercharacter, inspired by the best art of my time, like Howl, by Allen Ginsburg, Advertisments for Myself by Norman Mailer, Jack Kerouac and, especially Michael O'Donoghue. His was the "Mr. Bill", plasticine puppet on Saturday Night Live, always being dismembered by some sadistic ogre-puppet.("Oh, Oh, no! Ooooh!)

I was half in love and on the way to writing a beautiful novel about Toronto, and if not that, at least meet my personal Phoebe-Zeitgeist.

A naked woman in chains, political correctness be damned,was a huge turn- on for a young horny fool who wanted to write.

I had to be as good as Michael O'Donoghue. I had to find a love object as beautiful as Phoebe-Zeitgeist.

Three novels later, I found myself in the unenviable position of an old balding guy in love with a woman out of an erotic comic book, the very epitome of some pimply guy with a guttering candle stuck his head, looking for Paris Hilton.

Always the Phoebe- Zeitgeist comic strip in Evergreen, Grove Press and even Playboy.

Michael O'Donoghue's perfervid imagination, a Diogenes not with a candle in his hand, but with a candle on the top of his head, the picture of his chained porn queen firmly embedded in te demented seeker's brain, and he had to get her. "Gotta get!"

I had somehow stumbled, after my three novels upon an untenured professorship in English and the porn queen seemed to suddenly appear live as one of my students in a night class.

Professor and the Blue Angel. I was not aware, in those days that women who went to night school risked the House of the Rising Sun, if not serious marital difficulties.

But my Phoebe was more a graduate student, graduate habitue of the House of the Rising Sun. Lately, all the Ho's are taking Creative Writing. At night class. Or so it had seemed to me. And why not? What are you going to do with a plodding statistician husband, and you with all the imgination.?

She told me she was an actress--and what an actress, I later found out as I checked out her VCR's.
I was in love with the BJ queen of Holland Landing.

Ah the professor and the Blue Angel.
Vanya and Phoebe-Zeitgeist.

There was a dungeon in her basement. We would visit it on her off days, when the pimp was away dealing drugs in Edmonton out of little red Toyota trucks.

But it was not me that she sought. It was the idea of me, the tweedy prof, raconteur, classical guitar player (Learned it from Leona Boyd, at least some Ponce preludes). What she really needed was a new pimp, at least one who didn't have to dress up in her clothes, put on her panty-hose, high boots and somewhow finally get himself off.

I was seriously out of my league.

She dumped me for a new pimp. I hardly had the resources. She stopped bedding me, of course, terminating what passed for sex between us.

I still had her in the hippocampus of my groin. I had her smell. "Better easy conquests, said old Herodotus. Better that, or your body will drive you mad as you seek the unattainable."

Yet there I was, in late middle age, the candle on top my head, a character, suddenly out of Michael O'Donoghue.( Mr. O'Donoghue was by now dying of cancer quitting his Saturday Night Live position. Why him? He was, after all, the genius of my quest, the explainer, the interpreter of our time. I was just a follower... With the candle on my head).

Yeah, yeah, it's fun to be a genius, of course, but keep that old candle before the cart.

Listening to Bob Seeger all this time.

Twenty years
Where'd they go
Twenty years, I don't know.
I sit there wonder some times
Where they'd gone.

I beat up the pimp and have scattered the foot-fethishists and lesbian assassins.
The PI side of me.
Had to break it up. Hero in my own novel. But to me she would still not come. She went to others.
Still the candle on my head.

Art imitating life?...I had the spookiest notion that she was art and I was life, not the other way around.

I sit here on a rock, along with my old Bob Seeger and Julian Lennon tapes, my old walkman with me. Daydreaming in the park.

"Sittin' on a pebble by the river playin' guitar
Wonderin' if we'll ever get that far."

Doing the Ivan-man.


BTW, Over in another blog, ChuckerCanuck 2.0 (chuckercanuck.blogspot.com) there is a review of my latest um, escape, my new novel, The Fire in Bradford. Crafty Chucker had to tell me to review it myself. Dunno why. I protested. "Mona Rahman has alredy done a brilliant review of Bradfored. Chucker says, you do it. The blog should offer some entertainment. So I reviewed it all by myself...Dang, I'm getting tired of being self-made man...Reminds me of some blue movie, Planet Porno, where a RonJeremy-like hero is accompanied by his faithful companion, whose name is Jerkoff. Egad.



Mona said...

Still crying over spilt milk :)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Hi Mona,

Long time no see.

You been all right?

Welcome back.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


BTW, Over in another blog, ChuckerCanuck 2.0 (chuckercanuck.blogspot.com) there is a review of my latest um, escape, my new novel, The Fire in Bradford. Crafty Chucker had to tell me to review it myself. Dunno why. I protested. "Mona Rahman has already done a brilliant review of Bradford. Chucker says, "you do it. The blog should offer some entertainment." So I reviewed it all by myself...Dang, I'm getting tired of being self-made man...Reminds me of some blue movie, Planet Porno, where a RonJeremy-like hero is accompanied by his faithful companion, whose name is Jerkoff. Egad.

Mona said...

Don't protest.

You have no reason to worry at all, if people seek to write more about your work, and seek a statement from you too.

You should only worry, when your work is ignored...

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


You were so right! First came the brickbats, and then requests for my curent book, The Fire in Braford.

The one asking for the book in ChuckerCanuck 2.0 was named Mahmood. Would that be an Indian gentleman?

Mona said...

Ivan, It could be an Indian.

Then again, it could be anyone from Pakistan or Afghanistan or Middle Eastern countries like Saudi Arabia or Iraq Or Iran.

Of course, he is right. Your book would 'suck' with them ;)

Its a religious culture thing...

Mona said...

PS. I should have added in my review " Love him or hate him, but you cannot ignore him! " ;)

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Actually, Mahmood was very nice.

He really was interested in getting copies of the book

Oh, cultural things.

This Jesus Freak just wrote into Chucker, pretty well calling me corrupt, godless and depraved.


Well, it sure increases comments.
Now there are thirty comments to do with my book.

You are right.
Better read than dead!

Anonymous said...

(invitation attached)

Roseway Publishing

invites you to a Book Launch for

Drive-by Saviours
a novel
by Chris Benjamin

8 pm, Monday October 4
Lula Lounge, 1585 Dundas Street West, Toronto

With musical guests Charms (the duet of Gabe Levine and Jessica Moore) and Sarah Kenvyn

on hand and on stage to celebrate the launch of Chris Benjamin’s new novel.

All those 19+ are welcome to this free event. Cash bar.
902.857.1388 for more info

“Drive-by Saviours is a fine first novel by a fine new writer.”— Stephen Kimber, author of Reparations


In a crowded world, a single connection could change everything.

Chris Benjamin masterfully, magically weaves together the seemingly disconnected worlds of Mark, a failed social-worker-turned-unhappy-grant-writer coming to the end of an even unhappier relationship, and Bumi, an Indonesian illegal immigrant on the run from his past and the ocd that dogs his present. Their chance encounter on a Toronto subway launches them on a complicated friendship that allows both men to finally confront the demons in their pasts and to find the hope in their futures.
— Stephen Kimber, author of Reparations

Chris Benjamin’s debut novel is part contemporary fiction, part social commentary and part kick-in-the-ass storytelling. Although refreshingly unique in its portrayal of Indonesia’s cultural landscape, with its universal themes of greed, betrayal, family and redemption, Drive-by Saviours transcends both time and place. Through weaving Bumi’s tenacity with Mark’s ennui, Benjamin skillfully elucidates how globalization entangles us all in an artificially exploitive web and how escape can only be found through creating genuine bonds, those that deeply connect us one to another.
— Carla Gunn, author of Amphibian

Chris Benjamin has travelled widely in North America, West Africa, Europe and Asia working as a freelance writer. He writes for several national and regional magazines in Canada on a variety of social justice and environmental issues. He is also the Sustainable City columnist for the The Coast weekly newspaper in Halifax, where he lives with his wife and son.

Read a review: http://telegraphjournal.canadaeast.com/rss/article/1203544
The launch on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150427638314456&ref=ts
The book on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=150427638314456&ref=ts#!/pages/Drive-by-Saviours/128468323858905?ref=ts
On the Fernwood Blog: http://fernwoodpublishing.ca/blog/2010/08/a-conversation-with-author-chris-benjamin-drive-by-saviours/
Trailer on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COQ1KYZUY-g
Listen to readings from the book on MySpace: http://www.myspace.com/chrisbenjaminwrites
More about the author on his website: http://www.chrisbenjaminwriting.com/

TomCat said...

Art imitating life? Or life imitation art? Would cartoon Phoebe been rescued from the professor?

eric1313 said...

Some folks don't want to be rescued--they like the dry scratchiness of their throat after screaming for a few hours straight every day.

Isn't that what so many writers are actually about?

Very fitting that a right-wing loony full up on godhead tried to pan you on the canucker's site. Only lends you more credibility. Now they can go back to reading a plagiarized work that someone told them was the words of an all-powerful diety, something they bought hook line and sinker, and helped sell some copy for an organization dedicated to their control. Perhaps that is their definition of godless; you aren't lining the pockets of the people who sold them an afterlife.

No offense to the real all-mighty, I'm sure he's pissed off too.

"Jesus, save me from your followers."
--my favorite bumpersticker

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

ivan said...


Some of these biblical writers were pretty cool cats, but yeah, when you track it down, it's just another adept doing the Mesopotamian rag.

For example, in Sumer, the snake in the garden was kind of a merry player, and added to the entertainment. Hell, I think he even had a punk haircut.

Seems today, the actual followeres of The Word don't know that the entire charismatic(Pentacostal?) Christian movement was founded by some nut in a basement in Ohio, hardly a hundred years ago.
If you look at neolithic cave drawings or religious cults, we seem hardly advanced at all after 20,000 years of living. Well, start again in St. Louis?
Brigham Young in the song? You came a long way from St. Louis?

Sometimes when I'm a little down on these matters, I become a little bit Jewish. One testament is enough!

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