Tuesday, 20 August 2013


A favourite short story from William S. Burroughs' quite incredible 'Exterminator' (1973). It's brimming with really good science.


hillside over the sea. man sitting there on a cane seat . . .he is dressed in old-fashioned puttees green sport coat of English cut he has a sandy mustache stained with tobacco pale blue eyes . . .near him we now see several convulsed forms, the closest a few feet away outstretched hand clutching a handful of grass . . . the camera pans out convulsed corpses to the sky back to the man sitting there on his cane seat . . .the man takes a chicken sandwich out of a wicker lunch basket . . . "safe at last" he says and starts eating his sandwich . . .the man you see here is Doctor Lee . . . Doctor John Lee . . . he was a sensitive man and it lacerated him to walk streets and enter restaurants where he encountered living organisms manifesting wills different from and in some cases flatly antagonistic to his own . . . "the situation is little short of intolerable" . . . Rock Ape waiter there with the wrong wine . . . he was a timid man in a way you see and not able to fix the waiter with Mandrill eyes and ugly American snarl . . . "bring me red wine you hairy assed Rock Ape or I drink it from your throat!" . . . now the doctor was a man of independent means and could usually avoid such disturbing incidents but the possibility was always there . . . this disturbed him and he was a man who did not like to be disturbed . . . he decided to end the whole distasteful thing once and for all by turning everyone into himself . . . this he proposed to do by a virus an image concentrate of himself that would spread waves of tranquility in all directions until the world was a fit place for him to live . . . he called it the "beautiful disease" . . .his first attempts to activate the image meal failed . . . he realized of course that to administer a dead or weakened strain of the beautiful Lee virus would invite the disaster of mass inoculation . . . he had to be quite sure you understand . . . some of his "canine preparations" as he called test cases died in quite unpleasant ways that disturbed him for he was a humane man and did not like to be disturbed so these unworthy vessels only increased his resolve to make a better world . . . 

one day it occurred to him if perhaps the image meal were radioactive . . . he painted a culture of image meal with radium paint and put it in an iron box covered on the outside with layers of human skin and now he chuckled "let it steep" and made himself a cup of tea . . . he finished his tea and opened the box . . . "ladies and gentlemen of planet earth introducing 'Johnny 23'" . . . his cat hissed made an abortive attempt to walk on its hind legs and fell in convulsions . . . in its dying eyes he read an almost human hatred . . . he attributed the death of his cat to a short circuit of overburdened synapses occasioned by a too rapid conversion to the human condition . . . "now we must find a worthy vessel" . . . remember the good doctor was a humane man who did not like to harm anyone because it disturbed him to do so and he was a man who did not like to be disturbed . . . he had convinced himself that "Johnny 23" would simply remove from the planet hostile alien forces manifesting themselves through other people that this would come about through peaceful penetration in the course of which no lives would be lost . . . "Johnny 23" would simply make friends of everyone . . . the doctor was not a man who argued with himself . . . the first public appearance of "Johnny 23" demonstrated a miscalculation . . . worthy vessels clutched at an often imaginary mustache and fell in convulsions looking at some invisible presence black hate from dying eyes . . . "Johnny 23" was one hundred percent fatal . . . the good doctor had a spot of bother a narrow escape in fact when the worthy vessels found out who "Johnny 23" is . . . fortunately the epidemic was well advanced by that time and "Johnny 23" finished the job . . . he finishes his sandwich and licks the grease off his fingers . . . he puts a cigarette in a stained bone holder . . . he sits there smoking . . . it is very peaceful there on the hillside nothing to disturb him as far as the eyes can see he gets up folds his cane seat and walks down a path toward the sea . . . his boat is moored by the pier . . . it is a small boat and he can handle it alone . . . last awning flaps on the pier . . . last man here now.


Thursday, 15 August 2013


HACKI TAMAS is a highly respected Hungarian physicist who, since 1967, has also been a semi-professional whistler. If you watch the clip below (after some incomprehensible cigarette based Eastern European tomfoolery) you'll immediately think 'this young chap looks rather uncomfortable, I wonder if the communist regime are forcing him to do this, perhaps at gunpoint', quickly followed by a more fundamental doubt: 'you know what, he doesn't look like he knows how to whistle at all, let alone whistle Mozart'... 


Having seen film of Hacki performing live, we can confirm that, unlike most whistling humans, he doesn't actually use his lips much, instead almost supernaturally conjuring the piercing tones using a bent over tongue, superior breath control and spooky preternatural talent (although, as a scientist, he almost certainly approaches it in a far more rational way). It sounds great but looks a little awkward, especially taken in conjunction with Hacki's frightened, darting eyes.

In this next clip, an older and more casual and confident Haki goes disco. It's extraordinary, and the Magyar crowd are really going for it. There's a lot of nice looking bra-less women in the audience - and Hacki knows that all he has to do is put his lips together and blow...  


No post about musical whistling would be complete without a mention of Roger Whittaker. Whittaker was a 1970's phenomenon, a hugely successful, genuinely popular singer and songwriter not affiliated to any particular musical movement and without a vestige of rock cool. Which makes him REALLY cool. Born in Kenya, Roger learned his craft with the Pokomo Tribe, who use a complex series of high pitched oral tones to control their livestock. Roger moved to England when he was 23, and hasn't stopped whistling yet. If you ever need a taxi he's your man.  

Here he gives rather a haunting performance, greatly intensified by him spending much of the time simply staring at the camera, as if looking into your very soul and coming to the conclusion that you are probably a shit whistler, definitely not in his weight and class. It's quite unnerving, especially at 01:22 when he starts doing space ship noises.  

If you fancy whistling yourself, go ahead, but be warned - it takes practice and patience, especially from the people you live with. 

Thursday, 8 August 2013


If TOMTIT believed in anything anymore we would believe in this. If we had a crest this would be on it in Latin. If we had tee shirts, this would be emblazoned across our tits.  

You want our DREAMSTONE? Come and fucking take it.

Taken from Five Ghosts: The Haunting Of Fabian Gray (Image Comics, 2013)