Saturday, September 26, 2009

Coffee Enemas in Australia: Arsole Fantüme Would Be Proud

A Health Minister in Australia, John Hill, is warning people about unregistered doctors offering "quack therapy," including coffee enemas:

Mr Hill today announced the State Government would adopt the recommendations of a parliamentary committee examined therapies being offered by unregistered doctors.

These included offering to cure cancer through the use of "organic coffee enemas" and another practitioner who claimed to be able to cure cancer through "vaginal blowing".
"These people are scum and I am determined to do whatever we can to make sure they can no longer practise in this state."

Good for him, calling these exploiters of human misery "scum." I'd like to recommend he read the novel "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist," which will offer him some insight into the mind of the mad enemist.

Coffee is for drinking, not for enemas.

Picture source.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

More from Death Gush, and Some Strange Enema Drawings; Also, Was Kurt Cobain an Arsole Fan?

I got another email from EneMetal music pioneer Gareth Lower, of Death Gush fame.

an old friend of mine is has pasted up some old drawings he made for DEATH GUSH back in the day, they're on deviant art .com, you should take a look as they pertain very directly to Arsole Fantüme, this guy can draw but never was into what i asking for, well youll see.

meanwhile i'm still looking for recordings of DEATH GUSH so you can hear more than the rehearsal tapes, and so here i go back into the attic to look one more time, avoid the black widows and enhale more desert dust and all the rest, gareth

First of all, Gareth, I repeat what I said earlier- I can't wait to hear some Death Gush music, and I look forward to what you've got to offer.

I had to do some searching, but I found the pictures to which Gareth referred in his email here. I asked the artist, Troy Louden, if he would mind my posting the images to this blog, as they do pertain to Arsole Fantüme, as Gareth stated. Troy graciously agreed, and so here are the four drawings. In the first, Batman is getting an umbrella enema from the Penguin. In the second, Yogi Bear receives a picnic basket enema from Ranger Smith. In the third, a hapless Smurf is getting an enema from Gargamel, while dead smurfs hang from the ceiling from what appears to be their intestines. In the fourth, which is my personal favorite, the Hamburglar has hooked Grimace up to a milkshake machine, and is giving him a milkshake enema. Gross and hilarious stuff- perfectly in keeping with the tone of the novel, Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist!

Batman and Penguin Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Yogi Bear + Ranger Smith Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Gargamel Smurf Enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

Hamburglar and Grimace enema by ~TroyJunior on deviantART

The artwork was clearly designed to promote Gareth's band, Death Gush. It's only too bad the band didn't take off in the late-90s, when these drawings were originally done. Perhaps the novel would have found greater fame a full decade earlier!

I find it interesting that a band could be inspired by a novel about (among other things) a French super villain who murders by enema. But Death Gush apparently wasn't the first band to be inspired in this way; at least, if indirect influence is taken into account. Kurt Cobain's first band was called Fecal Matter, and their songs "Sound of Dentage" and "Blather's Log" almost sound like they could have been inspired by Arsole Fantüme.

Was visionary musician Kurt Cobain a fan of Arsole?

This theory is given further credence by the fact that King Buzzo was Fecal Matter's bassist. King Buzzo, a founding member of the Melvins, was also a founder of the band Fantomas, which was inspired by the French literary supervillain of the same name, who was himself inspired by Arsole Fantüme! It hardly seems unlikely that King Buzzo would be aware of Arsole.

The great King Buzzo- another fan of Arsole?

Arsole Fantüme's stretch is long indeed, and infects the worlds of art, literature, film, and music! Finding these connections has been exciting, and keeping this blog has been a real revelation!


Kurt Cobain pic source.
King Buzzo pic source.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

David Černý - Arsole Fantüme Fan?

On Saturday, the New York Times ran a profile on the Czech artist David Černý, the "bad boy of the eastern European art world... a wiry, floppy-haired 41-year-old who resembles Mick Jagger... who once considered getting silicon breast implants and walking around Prague naked “to see how people would react.”

The entire profile is interesting and well worth reading in full, but this paragraph in particular caught my eye:

He has painted a Soviet tank pink, depicted Prague’s heroic 10th-century King Wenceslas riding a dead, upside down horse and lampooned the incendiary, right-wing Czech president, Vaclav Klaus, by displaying a caricature of him inside a giant fiberglass anus.

Being from Eastern Europe, and a bit of a prankster, it hardly seems impossible that Mr. Černý would not have been aware of Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist. Perhaps he was even inspired by Arsole's literary antics. Look at this photo of the "giant fiberglass anus" sculpture, and you be the judge:

Who can forget the classic scene in the novel (Chapter 23, "The Unfortunate Orifice"), in which an Arsole victim is made to be a gruesome part of a water-spraying art installation?

Apparently, the body had been suspended within the installation for some time, and most everyone had thought it was part of the artwork. It was the small that had finally caused complaints. When an observer was heard to comment, "This stinks," a near scandal erupted until it was clarified that he meant it literally stunk- it smelled of human waste and decay.

David Černý- Arsole Fantüme fan? I think it's safe to say, "Yes!"

Order Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist here.

Fiberglass anus sculpture pic source.

"The Human Kite" -Another Short Story by the Authors of "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist"

Two days ago, I received in the mail an envelope from France. I opened it and discovered within photocopies of two manuscript pages consisting of the following the short story by the authors of the novel “Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist.” Along with this treasure was a note, the details of which I’ve been asked not to divulge. Suffice it to say that there is an underground network of “FOAs” (“Fans of Arsole”), and I now find myself firmly in its ranks, and charged with getting as much of their work as possible translated into English.

Written in 1914, “La Kite Humain” was probably the last short story that Marcel Maurice and Pierre wrote together before their death. It is significantly lighter in tone than the previous short story I translated on this blog, “The Devil in the Ass,” but it is clearly the work of the same nimble and brilliant minds.

By Marcel Maurice and Pierre
Translation © 2009 Ricky Sprague

Kay and I lived together in a small but tastefully furnished one bedroom apartment in the beautiful and overpriced city of Paris. We were both happy and content, save for some unsatisfying dealings with our landlord, the sneering, handlebar-moustached cad named Monsieur Tawdry.

I was seated, reading a Le Figaro “Drama In Real Life” from 1909, involving the twin scourges of drinking and syphilis, when Kay walked into the room brandishing a letter.

“My Expensive, we’ve been invited to be in this year’s big parade. Do you want to go?” she said, excitedly.

“Of course,” I said, because I knew it would make her happy.

“Okay, but there is one catch,” she said, placing the letter in my hands. As I read, I visualized the author, our landlord, snarling as he wrote, pausing every so often to rub his hands together in a parody of menace (the letter was unsigned, but in his unmistakable chicken-scratch).

After reading the letter, I looked up at Kay and said, “’The Human Kite’? That sounds terrible!”

“Yes, it sounds terrible,” she said. “But it might also be a lot of fun, if you look at it the right way.”

I started to say something witty, like, “Indeed; from the ground,” but I decided against it and simply said, “You’re right; let’s do it!”

The next week, Kay and I were seated upon the Human Kite’s crossbar. The Human Kite itself was a large aeroglider attached by a long cable to one of the parade floats. (“City of Paris Youth Organization Supports The Wonders of Kiting.”) We were approximately 10 metres above the ground, but our vertigo made it appear at least 15 metres. Kay turned to me and said, “You know, if this were an aeroplane, I’d be very disturbed right now, but I have to say this Human Kite is most enjoyable!” as we waved to spectators along the parade route.

Monsieur Tawdry watched us from a darkened corner, twirling his ebon moustache. His expression became angry as he muttered, “I can’t believe it! They’re actually having fun!” (He had expected, and not unreasonably that because of our vertigo, the experience would terrify us.) “Well, I’ll show them!”

He crouch-walked beside the floats, and surreptitiously climbed into the bottom of the Paris Youth Organization float. Using a long wrench, he dis-attached the cable that anchored the Human Kite to the float, and Kay and I soared off into the welkin, away from the parade, eventually flying south and floating to a beautiful tropical beach with white sands and clear, blue-green water. But everyone was standing on the shore, their bodies showing agitation.

“Why isn’t anyone in the water, when the water looks so clear and inviting?” I asked.

Kay pointed and said, “I think that might be the reason!”

I followed the imaginary line that extended from the tip of her beautiful finger out into the ocean and I saw the huge, great white shark that had been menacing the beach-goers.

We started to lose altitude, since neither of us had any idea of how to operate the Human Kite, and it was obvious that we were going to land in the ocean. Since there was no hope for us, and we were going down anyway, we shifted our bodies in an attempt angle the Kite so that we would hit the shark. As we hit the water, the hard, sharp-pointed front of the Kite’s frame hit the shark in the head, killing it instantly.

Cheers erupted from the beach-bound crowd as they ran splashing back into the water; arms flailing, faces happy. The owner of the luxurious beachside hotel, whose son had been eaten by the shark a week before, gave us a free room for a week.

The next day Kay and I decided to finally make our romantic partnership legal, and we were married. Our unusual story was picked up by the wire news services.

Back in our hometown of Paris, Monsieur Tawdry was sitting in his setee, no doubt feeling smug about having done away with his best tenants. As he flipped through the newspaper he came upon the story about Kay and me killing the shark and then marrying, and this triggered in him a mild heart attack.

When we returned home after our weeklong honeymoon and visited Monsieur Tawdry in the hospital, he explained, “I used to hate you two, so much so that when I saw your joyful story in the paper I actually had a heart attack. Then, when they brought me here to the hospital, they found that suffered from an unusual number of ailments heretofore unknown to me. For this reason, I’m sorry I hated you; I had no reason to, and I’m sorry I dis-attached your Human Kite from the float...”

“It’s okay,” I said. “We’re just glad you’re alright, and that the doctors caught all of those things that were wrong with you in time to cure them all!”

Monsieur Tawdry said, “And I want you to be in the big parade next year, too, only next time I won’t put you in the Human Kite!”

“Actually,” Kay said, “the Human Kite was a lot of fun!”

“Yeah, I wouldn’t mind riding in that thing again!” I added.

The heart string galvanometer to which Monsieur Tawdry had been attached began to beep rapidly. As the nurse walked in to administer drugs to calm his racing heart, Kay and I laughed the laugh of two young, attractive lovers.

Monday, September 7, 2009

NY Times Book Review Refuses to Review "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist"

My translation of the classic French novel "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist" has been out for nearly a full month, and thus far, the New York Times Book Review has refused to run a review. It's time to inundate the editors with scabrous and vituperative emails.

What are they afraid of?

Early Review: Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" is not Nearly as Good as "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist"

Taking place over a period of 12 hours, Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol" is a book that is full of twists and surprises. One of the surprises is that the book is not nearly as exciting and compelling as "The Da Vinci Code," and if you've already read that book, you can skip this one. One of the twists is that it does not contain a single enema murder.

I could bore you with the details of the novel's story, but instead I would like to recommend to anyone who is on the fence about buying Dan Brown's latest Robert Langdon opus that they instead purchase the first novel in the compelling "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist" series. It is fast-paced, with surprising twists and turns, religious cults, conspiracies, zombies, locked room mystery, social commentary, police procedural, French history, coming of age drama, spirits, music, psychiatry, a poodle, and of course, enema murder.

For those who are looking for breathless suspense, action, and surprising twists, "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist" is the book to choose.

In every category, it is the superior to Dan Brown's "The Lost Symbol." This is in no way meant to be a criticism of Dan Brown, or of his novel. Brown is a fine author. But why buy "The Lost Symbol," when you could buy "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist"?

Quick review: It's decent, but not as good as "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist."

Lost Symbol pic source.
Arsole Fantüme pic source.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist Cracks the Top 50 at!

That headline is so misleading, someone from the mainstream media could have written it! The great and disturbing novel, "Arsole Fantüme, Gentleman Immoralist," is ranked #44 in's Books -> Entertainment -> Humor -> Parodies category! It's ahead of Dave Barry for crying out loud, and just behind James Lileks's "Gallery of Regrettable Food" (a good book that I own), and "Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings," a Tyler Perry book I do not own!

Congratulations to me on this seemingly important achievement!

Oh, and of course congratulations to Marcel Maurice and Pierre. And-- Arsole Fantüme!