Saturday, August 04, 2007

Strange, Dark Furies, Gods Among Men

A long time ago when I was a boy I watched a movie called The Doors. I was taken to borrow this movie by a boy I did not like, the first Indian I had ever met I failed completely to like. After we had borrowed the movie, we went to meet up in the flat of a good, still good, friend of mine whose mother had left him in charge. This friend’s idea was we get up to all the mischief we could conjure. We had conjured quite a bit.

We were truant that afternoon, The Doors in tow, along with a substantial stash of pornography movies. Even then I was the one trusted to select the movies that nearly all the five of us could watch and enjoy. I accepted this part because I was allowed from the movies we would watch to pick one which might appeal only to me. A movie I could watch when the others were either on the porch spitting at people walking down in the street or had spilled into other rooms in the flat with company. It was sacred time and my company often would sit in sulking silence next to me on the carpet as I watched an Ingmar Bergman movie I had fallen in love with because of the luminous beauty of the woman on the cover or a Michelangelo Antonioni I ended up watching because he sounded the closest to Italian and I was reading about Italian painters and I thought the filmmakers surely must be as good the Renaissance painters who dazzled me with their colour, their perfect lines, the endless variety of stories in their crowded canvasses and their life stories Giorgio Vasari told. I was alternative before I knew alternative existed.

I heard never heard of The Doors, really. I picked that movie solely because of the beautiful man I saw on the cover. You cannot say Jim Morrison was a handsome man, you cannot say he was good looking. He was beautiful. He was perhaps the first beautiful man I ever saw. He was so obviously a shinning light who was attempting for the darkness. Lizard King, I would later learn. In those tight, crotch hugging black leather jeans, tousled jet black hair he used to swing so wildly in a trance on stage performing those strange half magical incantations, half songs, half holy script songs with The Doors behind him, as spell bound as uplifted faces of the audience waiting for a revelation, a revelation his lithe body seemed too fragile to carry. But he was going to try and we were all here to watch the tragic comet voyage, before he was broken, because not only did we know he was going to be broken, he sought to be broken. At least it seemed. I did not intuit this on the cover of the film that was The Doors, I did not see all this in a blinding flash but I guess, I knew here was something strange, dark with furies to explain the furies this happy boy with his assembled gang of four never told anyone about, battled with in closed libraries, streets of Old Kampala on Saturday, furies I was certain only black magic and portions could cure and I was looking for Gods among men to show me the way. The Doors would not be the first nor would they be my last. But I had never met Gods like The Doors and it was pure coincidence, talking about movies on a day when I had nothing else to say to a boy I did not like and he mentioned that we might not go to the usual library, we could go to one he subscribed to but that I promise never to tell the others where the library was and the movie must be returned after. It was one of the most pathetic like-me suggestions I had ever heard but he was appealing and I was not too eager to get to the flat because I was going to be the only one whose company was willing to pass by the flat this time and everyone would be watching us. I needed a stronger portion than ever today because a dare was in the air. So I chose The Doors and went to watch.

Songs of the celebration of death, songs of the defiant pouting at night, songs of adolescence, songs of adulthood, songs of confusion, songs of pain, songs of longing, songs of breakthrough, songs of ledge-climbing daring, songs of the edge, songs reaching out to un-betrayed living, songs of beginning again, songs of courage--- you do not walk alone, The Doors are open, walk on through. Only if there is joy in your pain is your joy bursting joy. We are in worship.

I was not the only one watching. Five boys and a girl, how can 27 years be so full? They can be, when you’re a God among men, beautiful like Jim Morrison.


"The blue bus is calling us..."