Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Big Sky Blue Mountains 1

Big Sky Blue Mountains 2

Big Sky Blue Mountains 3

Big Sky Blue Mountains 4

Big Sky Blue Mountains 5

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

View of the Blue Mountains from the West

This photo was taken on the road to Oberon looking east towards the Blue Mountains.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Ten Books

Winston and Moff posted this I thought I'd tag along.

1. One book that changed my life: Mark Hedsel and David Ovason's Zelator, a book about hermeticism and mystery schools. Steered me in a different path in trying to discover who he was writing about. Turns out to be mainly about Gurdjieff, with alchemy, etymology, cathedrals and the mysterious Green Language thrown in for good measure.

2. One book I have read more than once: A few. The one that gets constantly re-read and has copious amounts of notes in the margins and any spare piece of blank paper is Fulcanelli's Mystery of the Cathedrals. I found out about this from the above Zelator and have been to several cathedrals in France to see the "books written in stone" aspect myself. It's a true Da Vinci Code primer.

3. One book I would want on a desert island: I'd say Joyce's Ulysses. I'd still be no closer to figuring it out by the time I was rescued. Bloody difficult read that keeps me occupied for hours. Either that or Robert Hughes Shock of the New which is a well written and beautifully illustrated account by an art expert about the impact of modern art.....written very much in empathy for the artistic layman.

4. One book that made me laugh: Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. That and Trudeau's compilation of Uncle Duke based on Hunter S. Thompson Action Figure, the life and times of Uncle Duke.

5. One book that made me cry: Can't say I can recall one that did. Schindlers Ark and Leon Uris' Trinity were powerfully emotive books though.

6. One book I wish I had written: Kahil Gibran's The Prophet from a wisdom point of view, Manly Palmer Hall's Secret Teachings of all Ages which would have required years of research in many old and rare esoteric books in libraries around the world. I have an original 1928 first printing of Hall's massive volume which was the first thing I bought when I was divorced.

7. One book I wish had never been written: Machiavelli's The Prince. The blueprint for many of the ills we are experiencing now, although they may have already been in practice...... it's just Machiavelli documented it first. Mein Kampf would be up there too.

8. One book I am currently reading: Walden by Thoreau. I'd never heard of it until I was introduced recently by a dear friend. Also reading Ouspensky's In Search of the Miraculous. My bedside table has about four or five books on the go at one time.

9. One book I have been meaning to read: Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid There's a copy at the post office, waiting for my signature, as I type..... waiting to be re-tried again. I shared a house with an IBM hacker who had a copy, I tried reading it but fell short. I think I may be ready for it now.

10. Tag five people: I'm leaving Winston's comments here untouched.

When tagged by a respected fellow blogger, I usually grumble along and participate, and actually have a little fun with these meme things. But I made a rule when my pod landed that I would not tag others. So it is writ, so let it be.

Johnno: Free will and all that.....same goes for me!

On the road with Peter.

Peter at The Loose Poodle is in Bologna Italy at the moment writing and living up a storm. If ever he finds himself out of a job musically there's a sure fire employment opportunity in travel writing. Wonderful, wonderful travel-logues, I introduced his blog to a friend of mine who tends to agree.

Saucy smut

Inspired by the post of library smut over here at The Nonist, (seriously go check it out...some of these libraries are gorgeous. I thought I'd add my collection of sauces for those who find carnal pleasure in things condiment!

I have a couple of favourites among these beauties.

The ones with the yellow neck at the back. Lingham's Chilli Sauce from Malaysia (note I have TWO bottles of these as backup, that way I never run out). I've often wondered about the name it British or is it Asian? It's a bit like the surname Lee which fits in both cultures. Anyway, I digress........ it is a sweetish but hot chilli sauce with 40% Chillis

The yellow capped one next row dwn in the middle Ayam Chilli Plum Sauce which is plummy sweet with a mildly fiery aftertaste with 13% Chilli 4% Plum.

And the red capped one next to that Ayam's Hot Chilli Sauce SRIRACHA! which is seriuosly hot and red with capsacoid goodness. This is AKA Rooster sauce! It contains 28% Chilli.

Monday, August 21, 2006


I heard the most amazing poetry reading from Allen Ginsberg circa 1955 which deals with his time in Rockwell Mental Institution along with Carl Solomon. Ginsberg apparently pleaded insane after being busted in a stolen car and Solomon was self admitted to get away from the insanity of the "real world".

An original reading of "Howl" by Ginsberg is available here

This is verse three which I heard on the radio today

Carl Solomon! I'm with you in Rockland
where you're madder than I am
I'm with you in Rockland
where you must feel very strange
I'm with you in Rockland
where you imitate the shade of my mother
I'm with you in Rockland
where you've murdered your twelve secretaries
I'm with you in Rockland
where you laugh at this invisible humor
I'm with you in Rockland
where we are great writers on the same dreadful
I'm with you in Rockland
where your condition has become serious and
is reported on the radio
I'm with you in Rockland
where the faculties of the skull no longer admit
the worms of the senses
I'm with you in Rockland
where you drink the tea of the breasts of the
spinsters of Utica
I'm with you in Rockland
where you pun on the bodies of your nurses the
harpies of the Bronx
I'm with you in Rockland
where you scream in a straightjacket that you're
losing the game of the actual pingpong of the
I'm with you in Rockland
where you bang on the catatonic piano the soul
is innocent and immortal it should never die
ungodly in an armed madhouse
I'm with you in Rockland
where fifty more shocks will never return your
soul to its body again from its pilgrimage to a
cross in the void
I'm with you in Rockland
where you accuse your doctors of insanity and
plot the Hebrew socialist revolution against the
fascist national Golgotha
I'm with you in Rockland
where you will split the heavens of Long Island
and resurrect your living human Jesus from the
superhuman tomb
I'm with you in Rockland
where there are twenty-five-thousand mad com-
rades all together singing the final stanzas of the Internationale
I'm with you in Rockland
where we hug and kiss the United States under
our bedsheets the United States that coughs all
night and won't let us sleep
I'm with you in Rockland
where we wake up electrified out of the coma
by our own souls' airplanes roaring over the
roof they've come to drop angelic bombs the
hospital illuminates itself imaginary walls col-
lapse O skinny legions run outside O starry
spangled shock of mercy the eternal war is
here O victory forget your underwear we're
I'm with you in Rockland
in my dreams you walk dripping from a sea-
journey on the highway across America in tears
to the door of my cottage in the Western night

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Vietnam Vets are looking older.

I went up the main street of Springwood today and noticed a lot of men with light blue blazers and medals on their chests. There were also some flowers around the war memorial and an American, Australian and New Zealand flag sharing the flagpoles.

It has been 40 years since the battle of Long Tan and a memorial service was held.

A side note, most of the soldiers sent were conscripts who were chosen by a birthday ballot. It would have been interesting from an astrological point of view having a company filled with people with three birthdays only. Imagine if they were all fire signs...."I'm in charge.", "No I'm in charge."....NO, I'm in charge" etc etc.

I remember when I was very young watching the memorial marches on Anzac day and the World War 1 veterans always looked about the age of my great grandfather, the WWII vets lookes about the age of my grandfater and the Vietnam vets looked the same age as my Dad. Well they still look the same age as my dad but the girths have increased, there's a lot more grey and there seemd to be a lot more eyeglasses. Most of them are of grandfather age now. A recent perusal at the last Memorial march, I noticed the WWII vets were looking considerably frailer than i remember, time marches on.

Neverthelss, there were still a few "Flash Harrys" amongst the crowd who were congregating at the Orient Hotel. One guy wearing his leather vest under his blazer (most likely a biker), another in a Hawaiian shirt who left in a hotted up 74 Mustang convertible and one bloke sporting a very cool set of (steel grey) Elvis sideburns.

Mention the words Vietnam and War in the same sentence and controversy seems to follow it around like a bad smell. In Long Tan itself, there were angry words as two different vet factions wanted to hold a service at 3:40pm!

The trouble had been brewing all week between different factions of veterans over who should have access to the site for the prime-time 3.40pm slot. In Vung Tau, 40 kilometres south of Long Tan, where most of the veterans have been staying, there were allegations of a death threat, standover tactics and foul play over issuing of access permits to the site.

Permits are issued through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs but handled by two tour companies — Vung Tau Tourist and OSC Tourist. Hence the double booking. Both companies claim they got permission for the 3.40pm service.

Late winter....early Spring

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Big Torii near Hiroshima

Wonder if those Manhattan Project bombers used this as a guiding point? The Big Torii survived and the barnacles seem to be kept clean by enthusiatic Japanese barnacle cleaners these days.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

My work here is done.

I finally.......after three years, captured some images of the elusive Lyre Bird, these are very shy creatures scurrying off at the drop of a hat. I've spotted them a couple of time usually running away at a fairly quick rate and have been unable to capture them on camera. This morning, I heard some scratching outside, stalked around the balconey like a big game hunter and took some photos from my vantage point at the bush below.

I have about 65 photos in all. It's like getting 65 holes-in-one on the same day, this one appears to be a female. The males are spectacular!

It was in the shadows unfortunately and it was moving. The camera was on 10x zoom so one of these may be a bit fuzzy. However these are really rare shots. You'll not see them very often.

I could finish my bird photo blogging on this point now!

Another postcard.

Here's another one of these lovely hand coloured postcards I found rummaging through assorted boxes of Bric-a-Brac at some antique store in Katoomba. This one isn't from Mr Pickwicks but another one further down the hill. There's quite a few shops to chose from in the Blue Mountains, a couple that live just down the road from me have a shop in Warrimoo.

These postcards not only look good scanned, they make excellent little momentos to send to friends many years after the card is made. This one seems to be a long lost souveneir from Barcelona.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Mr Pickwicks in Katoomba for Peter.

I don't know if it is anywhere near you...... but, just wanted to report a very nice experience doing business with one, Mr. Pickwick's Fine Old Books in the town of Katoomba NSW. wrote: Peter at the Loose Poodle

I replied.....

Mr Pickwicks is *MY* bookstore where I do most of my digging around for 2nd hand books. It's about 20 minutes up the road....fancy that! I'll get some
photos and an article about it on the weekend or a little later. You should
see the place, and the owner and the comic book section and the..... well
you get the picture.

So..... Mr. the Other, this is a couple of weeks after the fact.....however I eventually dragged my sad and sorry arse up there and got some pics as promised. Apologies for the dismal coding and layout, the fade left and right has really left me in a mess.

Here is the main facade.

Mr Pickwick himself, owner of the store Guy Weller. We had a chat for awhile about things bookish. He was more than happy for me to take a photo of him and his shop.

Books, antiques,books, antiques....which way will we go?

Downstair to view more curiosities!

My favourite section complete with a bent-wood reading chair.
OK The coding, spacing and whatnot is getting really shabby here. Nevertheless a lovely sideboard with a Tiffiany style lamp and some bone china and silverware on top.

Before Toyotas...... Pretty!

Old Japanese postcard, found in a Katoomba antique shop today, it's been coloured by hand. I love the paper lanterns which were most likely the old version of headlights.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Seligman would be proud


Those Danish must be a pretty well chilled out country going by this map. Australia ranks 26th, the U.S. 23rd, Canada 10th etc etc.

Source: Adrian White, Analytic Social Psychologist, University of Leicester.

Seligman BTW is the originator of "Authentic Happiness"...."Reflective Happiness" and believe it or not "VIA (Values in Action) Signature Strengths Questionaire"

(The last programme is listed at the bizarrely named "Centre for Confidence and Well-Being"....quite a mouthful)

Sunday, August 06, 2006


I thought the Entarteurs formed by Noel Godin had a far more exotic name such as "The underground peoples front of pie throwers" (Don't ask me for a sexier French translation, my French is not that good.) Scruggs mentioned Dr Seligman being in the scope for Godin's next cream filled missile.... a worthy target.

I first heard of these guys from Aussie journalist Mike Carlton around the time of the below article in '95. Carlton marvelled at Godin's ability to take the wind out of those who were puffed up with being more important than they really are. Ten years later, on wonders whether or not this activity would lead to some serious charges given new laws to keep the populace in place.

......sometimes we could all do with a lovely Sacher Torte in our face!

Anyway I tracked down an old, well written and rather long article about Godin written in The Observer in '95 which was transcibed for the Subgenius mailing list. It's bad for to post such a long block of text, hey it's my space so..........Enjoy!

A passer-by, glancing through the window of Godin's living room, might
take him for a tutor explaining some arcane point of literary
history. Every room of his house in Brussels is lined with books and
the whole place is kept in the kind of aimiable disorder associated
with the academic. After a few minutes I noticed that our conversation
was punctuated by a feeble mewing. A few feet away, huddled between
the complete works of Jules Verne and a sheet of hardboard, a family
of kittens had just been born.

On the table in front of Godin was a first edition of his 800-page
"Anthology of Radical Subversion"; behind him, an immense picture of
Norman Wisdom. Both are items deeply cherished by Godin, a man of
principle who likes to have fun. Fifty in September, he arrived late
and dishevelled for our lunchtime appointment, straight off the
morning express from Paris, weak from partying. The night before, he
explained, he had missed the last train back, adjourned to "a number
of nightclubs in the Bastille area" and had not been to bed.

Though he may look capable of no more aberrant an act than the
drilling of irregular verbs at a minor public school, the author and
provocateur is widely feared in France and Belgium where, under the
synonym of Georges Le Gloupier, he has taken to assaulting prestigious
thinkers, media figures and politicians with cream cakes. When Godin
speaks, hardly a minute passes without the use of the verb entarter,
which roughly translates as "to flan". "Over the past 20 years," he
boasts in the introduction to his recent autobiography "Cream And
Punishment", "Le Gloupier has sent the best outfits of France's
self-styled intellectuals to the dry cleaners".

Recipients have included Jean-Luc Godard, the film director, and
Marguerite Duras, the novelist. In VIP lounges at Cannes Film
Festival, what Godin calls "cream psychosis" has become so widespread
that even Gerard Depardieu is reported to have developed a preference
for hotels' rear entrances. At last months festival, victims included
the new French minister of culture, who is unlikely to forget his
first public engagement, and the philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, hit
for the fifth time.

Godin showed me a video of this last operation, which shows Levy - as
famous for his chest hair, silk blousons and Christian Dior shirts asq
for his philosophy - arriving at Nice airport with his third wife, the
actress Arielle Dombasle. As they check in, shadowy figures can be
seen in the background, ladling cream.

"They pick up their boarding cards, as you can see," said Godin, who
has clearly watched this shaky footage hundreds of times but, like a
footballer reviewing the goal of his career, seems unlikely to tire of
it - "then three entarteurs fall on them, with me leading the
charge. They shout: "Oh no. Oh not again." I deliver my cake, and he
responds with punches. One of my young female comrades flans him
again, point blank, while a second woman crushes alayered chocolate
gateau topped with creme chantilly over the head of Arielle
Dombasle. It was at that point", he added, "that things got out of

His recent operations have been heavily covered in mainstream
periodicals such as Paris Match, and even the most responsibly-minded
publications have reported his unusual campaign sympathetically. When
he arrived at Cannes last month, Godin recalled: "I was greeted with
cheerful cries of "Bonjour Monsieur L'Entarteur", "Who is it this
year?" and "Give my regards to Bernard-Henri Levy"." His surprising
popularity, Godin says, is the result of his careful vetting of
targets, who tend to be figures with a limited sense of irony at their
own expense. "I flan people in the spirit of the abusive letters the
Dadaists sent to worthless celebrities," he said. "The aim is always
to denounce them in some way. I do not want to slide into facile
sensationalism. Every victim has to be thoroughly justified."

Few have been more outstanding flanees that Bernard-Henri Levy, a man
so sensitive that he was once credibly reported as observing that
"when I find a new shade of grey, I feel ecstatic". He has also
famously remarked that he dislikes seeing a woman pay in a
restaurant. "I think," Levy explained, "that money does not suit a
woman; or rather that I would not fall in love with such a woman." His
own varied talents constitute, by his own account, "a landscape which
does not have a fixed place in the classic topography of culture."

These are the kind of observations that guarantee the philosopher
express deliveries of creme chantilly for years to come. "He is the
worst," says Godin, who, on the subject of Bernard-Henri Levy, tends
to sound like Herbert Lom on Inspector Clouseau. "He is the worst this
decade." He is especially critical of Levy's consistent urging of
armed intervention against the Bosnian Serbs, given that the
philosopher, unlike other intellectual militants such as Andre Malraux
or George Orwell, has shown no inclination to enlist himself.

But if a taste for personal involvement has not been a feature of
Levy's contribution to the Bosnia debate, he cannot be accused of
having shrunk from unarmed combat once the pies have started
flying. At Levy's baptismal flanning, in Liege 10 years ago, the
author of "Testament of God" delivered an unambiguous response. "I
didn't even feel the uppercut," Godin told me, "because I was so happy
to gaze up from the floor and see the peak of French intellectual
thought so thoroughly snowbound." Levy, who emerges from his books as
a reflective man unshakably committed to qualities such as
reasonableness and tolerance, was dismayed to find that footage of the
incident, which shows him shouting to his prone assailant: "Get up, or
I'll kick your head in," was repeatedly broadcast on French

On their second encounter, at a Brussels bookshop where a gathering of
what Godin describes as "100 painted old trout" had come to hear the
thinker, and pugilist read from his work "The Last Days of
Baudelaire", Godin was laid out on a table and subjected to further
blows. The film of ther latest incident, which shows Arielle Dombasle
scratching and lashing out at the entarteur's woman companions, ends
with an abrupt thump. "Levy broke the camera," says Godin, "then
punched the cameraman on the nose. A few minutes later he had his
hands round my neck while Arielle Dombasle thrashed at me with her
handbag. The police got me out of there."

Such episodes have done little to enhance Levy's profile. His puppet on
the French equivalent of Spitting Image steuggles to advocate a
military solution in the former Yugoslavia through a hail of dairy
products. In Japan, Godin claims, footage of the French philosopher's
viscous misfortune has proved so popular with game-show viewers that
Godin is known as "a kind of Belgian Jerry Lewis". "Levy was flanned
in Reims by a mysterious splinter group," said Godin, "and recently I
heard that he also ran into difficulties in a bakery at
Montpellier. If those reports are true, he is under fire from all

The first five seconds after the delivery of a flan, Noel Godin
believes, offer a stark revelation of a victim's real
character. Jean-Luc Godard, for instance, accepted his projectile with
good grace and later intervened to stop his assailant being banned for
life from the Cannes festival. "Accurately delivered, a cream pie is
an uncannily precise barometer of human nature," Godin argued. "If
Levy, for example, could once respond with humour or self-deprecation,
he would immediately defuse the process and turn the whole business in
his favour."

The phone rang. Godin answered it, then started to speak in a series
of code words. "Geneva," he explained to me, conspiratorially. "An

Noel Godin earns a living as an author and cinema historian, but makes
an occasional appearance as an actor: his brief appearance in the role
of the Belgian writer Pierre Mertens is the highlight of the otherwise
uneven film "The Sexual Life Of The Belgians", directed by his friend
Jan Bucquoy, which opened in London last month.

Increasingly, however, Godin's time is given over to les
tartes. Attacks are meticulously planned and require a minimum of four
people, including a camera operator, a stills photographer and an
assistant to hold the pastry. "The crucial thing is not to throw the
flan, but place it and, most importantly, not to give a damn about
finding a safe escape route, even if that means being beaten senseless
by dreary security guards. We only use the finest patisserie," he
added, "ordered at the last minute from small local bakers. Quality is
everything. If things go wrong, we eat them."

Sometimes, Noel Godin told me, his team can be 18 strong, with several
members dressed in the official costume of Georges Le Gloupier: a
preposterous outfit consisting of a false beard, reading glasses and a
bow tie. Entarteurs are strictly forbidden from responding physically
to attacks, however violent. As yet, none of his victims has pressed
charges. "They would love to," Godin said, "but it would be disastrous
for what they hold most dear - their public reputation. When I have
been detained in custody, my arresting officers have usually been weak
with laughter, and several have offered me their own list of future

The history of the flans is a bizarre and perverse one. Born and
educated in Liege, Noel Godin abandoned his law studies when he got
caught up in the student demonstations of May 1968. The following
year, fired with enthusiasm for the anarchist principles he has never
forsaken, he was hired to write the news column for Friends of Film, a
magazine published by the Belgian Catholic League.

"I started to print complete falsehoods - gradually at first, then
routinely," he recalled. "I invented non-existant films that I
illustrated with snapshots of my relatives. I worte face-to-face
interviews with hundreds of artists, including Frank Capra and Robert
Mitchum, without ever leaving my bedroom."

Readers of Friends of Film were introduced to the work of imaginary
geniuses such as Sergio Rossi, Aristide Beck and Viviane Pei, the Thai
director of such films as "The Lotus Flower Will No Longer Grow On The
Shores Of Your Island". Pei's acheivements, ceaselessly lauded in
Godin's column, were the more remarkable, he reported, in that she was
"the only blind director in the history of cinema". He enthused over
"Vegeatbles of Good Will" (1970, Jean Clabau), in which Claudia
Cardinale played an endive, and "Germinal II", a Maoist cartoon
featuring Jean-Louis Barrault as the voice of a cold chisel.

When I voiced my scepticism of these stories, Godin produced a
complete run of the magazine, carefully preserved in chronological
order, and clearly authentic. In the first column I saw, Jeanne Moreau
revealed Roger Vadim, former husband of Brigette Bardot, to be "a DIY
fanatic secretly obsessed with small balsawood aircraft". Elsewhere,
subscribers to Friends of Film learnt that Malene Dietrich led
expeditions to hunt down the Loch Ness monster, that Michael Caine had
a motor that ran on yoghurt, and that Marcel Pagnol had crossed the
Channel on a four-poster bed fitted with an outboard motor.

Godin's celebrity "interviews" often found his subject in unusually
candid moods. "I am a cretin," confessed Richard Brooks, director of
"Cat On A Hot Tin Roof". "My films are mere wind." Robert Ryan, who
player Deke Thorton in "The Wild Bunch" argued that "herbivorism could
make work a thing of the past". Mindful of his devout readership,
Godin announced a conversion every three months, and reported the
induction into the faith of such improbable penitents as Luis Bunuel
and Tennessee Williams. "I got away with it purely because I had a
credulous editor and the magazine was not distributed outside
Belgium," said Godin.

His interest in flans began when he wrote a report stating that one of
his fictional film-makers, Georges Le Gloupier, had assaulted the
director Robert Bresson with a cream pie. In the next issue, he
alleged that Marguerite Duras, a friend of Bresson, had launched a
revenge attack on Le Gloupier with a kirsch gateau at a cafe in

"A few days later," Godin continued, "I heard that Duras was really
coming to Belgium. With the help of a few Oud Zottegem - our explosive
bedside beer - the plan was hatched." Godin attended the function and
pressed a large cream cake into Duras's face as she elucidated the
theme of her second film, "Destroy, She Says". In the next issue of
Friends of Film, he reported the incident as a revenge attack by Le

Before I met Godin, I had expected his activities to be some kind of
contrived form of performance art. Little could be further from the
truth. A kind of earnest joy radiates from him when he talks about
what he calls his "cream crusade". He sometimes raises his hand to his
mouth, like a child, in a vain attempt to stop himself smiling at the
pleasure of it. While most of the volumes in his vast library are
fomidable-looking anarchist texts, a high percentage of his 10,000
videos are slapstick films. He owns the complete works of the Three
Stooges and Will Hay and - worryingly, for a man who speaks no English
- 14 films by George Formby. When that first tarte a la creme was
lauched, you feel, his disparate interests instantly
cohered. Suddenly, it all made sense.

As a young man, Godin disseminated tracts urging workers to minor acts
of sabotage. "A match jammed in a Yale lock," he suggested. "An error
in the accounts, a bomb threat, a drop of tar in a surveillance
camera." His principles have barely altered. "I was never cured," he
says, "of the fever of May 1968." He has lived with his girlfriend
Sylvie for 17 years, but remains opposed to the institution of family
and will not have children "because it would be irresponsible to bring
them into this bleak and tragic world".

His genial, bookish demeanour and mischevious good humour - in an
ideal world Noel Godin might easily be played by one of his favourite
actors, Alistair Sim - somehow allows him to sound endearingly
innocent even when pleading the most controversial of causes. "I
cannot help admiring irregular combatants," Godin told me. "I have a
powerful sympathy for the Baader gang, for instance. They gambled
their lives, and it was an adventure that could only end one
way. Their committment reminds me of the flame that burns in the
novels of Dumas or the films of Howard Hawks: unbridled friendship,
reckless joie de vivre, the love of risk, the refusal to accept any

Few could accuse Godin of less than total commitment to his own
surreal struggle against self-importance and conformity. Take his own
career as a director, which produced three bizarre shorts. The first
was a military training film stoled from the Belgian army, which Godin
released unaltered except for a new and unorthodox set of credits. His
second, "Trump Trump Trala", is the story of a woman OAP suddenly
seized with the desire to revolt against her oppressed condition. "To
sum up," says Godin, "she fires on soldiers with a catapault, flans
repressive parents, flagellates bailiffs, urinates in the street,
blows up police stations, and incites the pillage of the supermarket

The merit of these works, like his frankly deranged last effort
"Strike and Farts", eluded the average Belgian cineam-goer, although
Godin's second picture, to its creator's surprise, won a national
competition for Best Short Film.

"I had a dilemma there," he recalled. "The award was presented by a
mayor - the personification of every value I found most
distasteful. But the prize was two movie cameras. In the end I went up
on the podium and threw my arms round him. I said "Thank you thank you
tank you my mayor" and kissed him and licked him all over. I pushed
him over and with our limbs intertwined, we rolled around on the stage
while I covered him with kisses. This went on for quite a
while. "Thank you my mayor, thank you." Every time he tried to get up,
I hauled him back by the buttocks."

You could hardly accuse Godin of having mellowed with age. If
anything, his appetite for shameless exuberance seems to have
increased. In the past five years he has been responsible for closing
down two major chat shows, one in Belgium and one in France. Before he
agreed to appear on the French programme, "Durand La Nuit", Godin
admits having signed a no-flan pledge. "But then," he told me, "my
fellow guest, the playwright Vladimir Volkoff, started to complain
that, when he was in his local cake shop, he had to suffer the
presence of ill-mannered and ungrammatical proletarians who said:
"What do I owe you?" instead of "How much?". When I heard that I was
straight off into the wings. I came back armed."

Godin recalls that, after he appeared on the prestigious talk show
"Entre Nous" (now defunct), the presenter, then one of Belgium's
leading broadcasters, "was fired immediately". On another domestic
show, when the conversation turned to the late King Baudouin of
Belgium, Godin invited the sovereign to "indulge his sodomitical
passions with the active support of all his loyal citizens". A more
patriotically-minded guest threatened to knife him with a blade he
produced from his pocket. "The whole country turned its back on me,"
Godin recalled. "I was pelted with tins and bottles in a Brussels
shopping centre. People called me homophobic," he added, "which could
not be more wrong."

Far from fading away as its novelty wears off, Godin's extraordinary
campaign appears to be gathering momentum. He is in regular contact
with groups in Paris, Canada and Switzerland, where five cabinet
ministers were recently entarte simultaneously.

Did Noel Godin and his co-conspirators not consider that they had
already made their point? "On the contrary," he said, "we are just
beginning. We feel ready now. Ready to attack another sort of
target. A genuine International Brigade Patisserie has been born. We
believe that we are capable of acheiving great things in the near
future. For instance," he went on, "I firmly believe that we can flan
the Pope. We were waiting for him om 13 May 1994 in Brussels with some
delicately-flavoured surprises, but as you know he providentially
slipped on a bar of soap."

Noel Godin recently promised to flan the new French President Jacques
Chirac within the next six months. Both his girlfriend and his father,
a retired lawyer who urged Noel to follow him into the profession, are
advocating caution, especially now that he is aiming at such
highly-protected targets. It does seem possible that Godin's own
enthusiasm, combined with the youthful zeal of his new recruits, may
prove difficult to check, and that his campaign - like one of those
beserk final reels from the low comedies he so admires - may get
carried away by its own hysterical momentum.

"Sylvie is worried that I might end up getting shot," said
Godin. "Personally, I have considerable faith in the professionalism
of elite bodyguards, who are, on the whole, reasonably alert. Alert
enough, that is, to recognize a cream cake if they have had advance
warning about it. But that is a risk that will not enter into our
calculations for one moment. So great is the ardour that has seized us
- not just me, but the basic combat group - that we will go all the

Noel Godin's interest in new and more prestigious victims must, I
supposed, have taken the heat off his old enemy Bernard-Henri
Levy. "Sadly not," said Godin. "I offered my terms for a ceasefire
several months ago. Hostilities will end when he and his wife appear
in public and sing, as a duet, the popular French comic song
"Avez-Vous Vu Le Beau Chapeau De Zozo?". So far he has shown no sign
of complying. Consequently his astrologers, if they are to be trusted,
will have been warning of a high-calorie disaster which awaits him at
the beginning of next year. This is something of a break with
tradition; he is accustomed to having a year's respite between

On a recent operation involving Levy, Godin claims, the cream pies
were carried through a security barrier strapped to Alfred, a
performing dog. "Alfred is a pedigree," said Godin, "but I refuse to
reveal the breed. I like the thought of Levy experiencing a feeling of
slight unease every time he sees a dog at a public function."

A keen Anglophile, Godin says he is planning to visit London, in a
preofessional capacity. "I would like to appeal to like-minded people
in the United Kingdom," Godin said. "Invite me over. Propose a plan of
action." He opened the small notebook which contains his hit lists,
and showed me the beginnings of his British section. First on the
list, he explained are "two targets suggested to me by the Paris
diarist of the Daily Telegraph, who spoke to me on the phone the other
day. The first name is Martin Amis. The second name is Michael..." He
paused, unable to decipher his own handwriting. "Does that say
Protillo? Who is he?"

In any case, Godin says, he is already investigating the movements of
two other figures from what he considers to be an abundant supply of
potential British targets. "The escalation in the international flan
war," he told me, "has already begun. No obstacle can stand in our
way. Like Errol Flynn, Clark Gable, Gene Tierney and Barbara Stanwyck
in the old Hollywood films, we have a crazed belief in ourselves. We
pose a direct threat to everything that is most pompous, from Margaret
Thatcher to the Pope."

Noel Godin hopes to be over "to brighten the lives of my British
friends" some time towards the end of the year. Could he be more
precise? "Tell them to expect me," he said, "when they see a
cream-coloured shooting star traverse their cheerless skies."