Though haunted by FIRE, that bright shadow to life itself, we speak once more to shame our slavish imitators, rebuke our foes and kindle again the canker'd spark of DARING in those few within this warren of frozen mediocrity who retain and renew the capacity for original conception!
Rumours of this journals DEATH & DESTRUCTION at the hands of a church-mandated RESURRECTIONIST MOB, riled by porcine fabulists, gifted with the means of conflagration by the ARCH-CONSERVATIVES of the NOBLE CLASS and directed by well-placed DOUBLE AGENTS to assault our megre premises by catapulting small burning wolves lobotomised with golden pins through our windows until the ferocity of the burgeoning fire, the occlusive properties of smoke and the unmixed tragedy of the wolves sad consumption combined to DESTROY our press and CAST OUT our staff into the city street where they were radished and pilloried (MARTYRS), thereby depriving this decrepit manhive of its only true ORGAN OF PRINT dedicated to the preservation and sustainment of True Art, has FAILED.
The Golden Teat PRINTS ONCE MORE. We extend our apologies to our phandom within the body of the CHURCH, to our dedicated readers in the SALONS OF THE RICH and most of all to the Editors and Staff of that BASTION OF CONSERVATISM the journal of the HONEY'D OAT and to its owner and editor, Voltoom Von Markenstark. Since you, SIR, were previously able to report on our papers ATTEMPTED destruction some hours BEFORE it took place, we do hope your PROGNOSTICATIVE CAPACITIES remain, and have warned you in advance the remarkable, the unspeakable, the unprecedented contents of our freshly disinterred and RESURRECTED journal. If so, then surely you are the ONLY ONE WHO LIVES to guess at what follows upon these words....
That is, the GOLDEN TEAT is proud and snide to report an interview, the first and ONLY of its kind, with the overwhelmingly famous and shockingly reclusive author CAPHTOR CLOWE!!!!
This passenger of un-mixed fame, perhaps the most well-known writer of cube-entire, called by some 'The Gorgoliths True Bard' whose works have been translated into every language known and some un-known, invited in this organs factotum, Bathsheeba Vile, requesting that she pass through numerous unmarked portals and approach him only by a strange and vacant path. Vile (and scribe) met with the writer in conditions of ceramic secrecy and intense luxury.
Unlike the commandants of some OAT'er journals, the editors of the TEAT will spare no verbs in bringing you to the POINT. The interview begins upon this dash-
VILE: Caphtor Clowe...
CLOWE: Please Bathsheeba, call me Caphtor.
VILE: It would be a pleasure Caphtor.
CLOWE: And make no signs. I am aware of all codes that pass and I have penetrated the mind of your scrivener.
VILE: Have you.
CLOWE: I become instantly aware of all thoughts within a five-metre distance of my naked skin, as, I am sure, do you.
VILE: I was not aware of it.
CLOWE: We are both Artists Bathsheeba, and we both know that True Art is THOUGHT and the substance of thought is ART. But if this masque pleases you, and I see that your scrivener still writes, then please proceed with your 'questions' and I will 'answer'.
VILE: Thank you. Mr Clowe..
CLOWE: Caphtor, please.
VILE: Caphtor, you have written two books over a space of five-hundred years.
CLOWE: I have.
VILE: Your first book 'Through the Eyes of the Gorgon' was published in the year (adjusted) 1532 and instantly banned. It claimed to be a 'tell-all' biography of an immortal being, one partly responsible for the creation of this world and mentioned in the scriptures of Vorn.
CLOWE: It was. It was, and it remains, an unappreciated and misunderstood work.
VILE: The few surviving reviews suggest that it did not meet a favourable reception at the time...
CLOWE: CRITICS!! CRITICS!! CRITICS!! THEY ARE CANNIBALS!! ALL OF THEM!! ALL OF THEM!!! I HAVE SEEN IT WITH MY STONE EYES!!!!!
(At this stage Clowe became violently agitated and moved rapidly about the room for several minutes. He then left the room and could be heard loudly requesting his 'substance' from an unseen member of his extensive staff. About a quarter of an hour later he returned, apparently weeping, though smiling and breathing deeply, and continued his response as if no interruption had occurred.)
CLOWE: 'Gorgon' was a misunderstood book. Most (all) of the qualities mocked by critics at the time were simply avant-garde or unpredictable stylistic choices necessitated by the remarkable nature of the subject.
VILE: The Honey'd Oat called it "Cheap, rubbishy, researched by dogs chewing dictionaries, unfit even for a turgid voyage, composed of error and transmitted by a borderline-retarded mind."
CLOWE: They failed to even notice, let alone un-pack and cognate, its multiple overlapping ironies. OF COURSE the biography of an immortal near-divine being would be written in the style of a poorly-researched potboiler, the style is both representative of the mortal minds collapse into apparent cliche when confronted with events of titanic significance over a period of incomprehensible time, and ALSO an investigation into and commentary UPON that self-same collapse.
VILE: And what they called "significant errors and inaccuracies in the text, not only in reference to recorded history, but even to its own narrative"?
CLOWE: A deliberate and entirely necessary aesthetic choice. The 'gaps' and 'inaccuracies' referred to are carefully chosen and precisely arranged lacunae in the syntax of rational thought designed to both provoke and NECESSITATE a free-floating relationship to the text and the near-shamanic leaps of intuition and interpretation which are the ONLY way in which the true narrative, not only of the book, but of HISTORY ITSELF can be comprehended! OF COURSE it would seem to an unengaged and mediocre reader that I had written the book in under a week while drunk, OF COURSE it would seem to DULL MIND that I had dropped the pages on the way to the publisher and had not bothered to put them back in the right order, OF COURSE it would look to the LARGE CHESS SUBNORMALS AT THE HONEY'D FUCKING OAT that I had barely researched the thing and had simply made up details when required! Every single element was a deliberate aesthetic choice!
VILE: Your total disappearance shortly after publication seems to have caused almost no investigation or surprise.
CLOWE: They thought I jumped off a bridge. SHE saw to that.
VILE: And in your absence you were tried for both blasphemy and libel by the church. How did that feel?
CLOWE: I only discovered it recently. Luckily, since both trials proceeded in parallel, and since the evidence and arguments required for each conflicted at a basic level, to be found guilty of one would mean I was innocent of the other.
VILE: You mean you could not be guilty of both blasphemy AND libel?
CLOWE: Quite so, it was one or the other. If what I said was true, it might be blasphemous, but could not be libel, if it was not true, then it was libel, but, being legally classified as such, I could not be found fully guilty of blasphemy.
VILE: Both trials collapsed after only fifty years...
CLOWE: Of little use to me! Imprisoned as I was within a petrified cell!
VILE: And yet you were also charged (twice) with contempt of court for failing to present yourself at your own trials.
CLOWE: Yes, that charge still stands, making me persona non-grata within Vornheim itself and requiring my exile here in Osc Lithicum.
VILE: Are we not in Osc Leth?
CLOWE: Since no-one has ever been able to fully define the difference between the two cities, it makes little difference.
VILE: Your subsequent re-appearance though, almost five hundred years later, early in the year of Our Vorn (adjusted) 2013, and the publication of your sequel to 'Gorgon', 'The Maze of the Medusa', telling the story of your captivity, 'rescue' and of the death of the Medusa at the hands of a group of wandering and contemptible rogues, was perhaps the most staggering event in the history of publishing, seismology and the church of Vorn.
CLOWE: I have seen my future born, and it is hell.
VILE: Would you care to un-pack that for our audience?
CLOWE: Bathsheeba I will. Our culture, and the Gorgolith itself, exists currently in a state of mortal and extreme danger, totally unsuspected by the majority of its population. Both it, and I, have enemies of overwhelming and terrifying power.
VILE: Is this the reason for your hiring of an army of highly-experienced mercenaries and your fortification of this gigantic woman-shaped tower into a kind of high-security pleasuredome?
CLOWE: No. That relates to a legal matter and to the protection of my substance. My true enemies cannot be dissuaded by mere force. No lock or bar may stand against them, only the power of my ever-reaching and all-penetrating mind preserves even this thin sliver of reality from their relentless assaults upon both it and me.
VILE: Caphtor what are those enemies?
CLOWE: Their form is twofold. First as a race of invisible intelligent floating psychic pigs, and second as the poor enforcement of international copyright.
VILE: Mmm, I know the question of copyright has become something of a 'hot iron' issue in Vornheim recently....
CLOWE: Bathsheeba it is UNQUESTIONABLY TRUE that AT THIS MOMENT, individuals ranging from the Hexenbracken to Vovoidia to distant Yoon Suin are experiencing and indulging in PIRATED and POORLY TRANSLATED copies of my work for which NO REMUNERATION has reached either my publishers or myself and that an army of invisible mind-controlling pigs whose slavering mouths vomit pearls of pure psychic lightning are the unseen, and real, masters of this reality.
(The pigs fly oriented in a vertical manner, standing as crucified men, not in a lateral or animalistic way.)
VILE: Some more radical authors have argued that copyright ultimately benefits, not the author, or the culture at large, but the vast power of the publishing houses who control the major presses, most of whom have close relationships with both the church and state.
CLOWE: They are either helpless victims of the psychic pigs or THEIR WILLING CONSPIRATORS. THERE IS NO DOUBT that the failure to enforce copyright over international boundaries is coarsening our culture, ROBBING authors and WEAKENING THE MINDS of the public, making them ever-easier prey to the tyranny if the invisible psychic pigs. It is for this reason that I am offering a SIGNIFICANT BOUNTY for the suppression and arrest of anyone pirating my work, even so far as Yoon Suin itself and for the destruction and annihilation of the levitating mesmerist pigs that haunt and destroy us even while we sleep.
VILE: Caphtor, may I speak frankly?
CLOWE: Bathsheeba I feel and know that we are and should be friends and between friends frankness and direct honesty is river and connection of SOUL that kindles and engenders the sweetness of mutual knowledge which is the primary course of life and the sweet release of comradeship. Please do speak with total frankness.
VILE: Skeleton armies, goblin armies, rings of demonic wolves, the discovery and dissemblement of sleeping gods, mechanical eyeborgs and sexual harassment by cockroach men, a lot of people would say that the last few years have been bad enough. 'Why pigs?' they might say. 'Aren't demons bad enough? At least we know they are real. After all, it's 2016'
CLOWE: Bathsheeba you're quite right, it is twenty sixteen, the darkest and most contemptible of years, and that's exactly why we need to take action now. I'd like to answer each of your points in turn.
VILE: Mm hmm.
CLOWE: Let me first say that I have been, and am, a deep, deep supporter of the rights of women.
VILE: It's so good to hear you say that.
CLOWE: Despite being directly involved in the murder of the Medusa, I consider myself a feminist.
VILE: I know that will mean a lot to our readers.
CLOWE: And let me state quite clearly on behalf of everyone in this ceramic pleasure dome, not just myself and the guards, but all of the staff as well, that we all take a firm stand against sexual harassment, especially by filthy subhuman insect men who, lets be clear, may technically have a right to exist, but probably shouldn't exercise that right.
VILE: Just becasue you can breathe doesn't mean you should breathe.
CLOWE: And secondly, let me say this. I am weak, I am afraid, I am verifiably mentally ill, but do not silence me.
VILE: You have a right to speak.
CLOWE: I have that right. As much as any man. My hands are shaking.
VILE: Don't give up Caphtor.
CLOWE: I do feel as if I am about to vomit.
VILE: You are so brave for doing this.
CLOWE: I may require my substance.
(Clowe then left the room for approximately twenty minutes and reappeared weeping, smiling and with slight purple stains on his fingertips. Again he took up the conversation with no apparent awareness that he has been gone.)
CLOWE: Bathsheeba I'm going to take on these invisible pigs.
VILE: Thank you.
CLOWE: It may kill me. It may kill others. I have an army of well-paid magical assassins and roughly a metric tonne of my substance and I'm going to take on this intangible civilisation of invisible psychic pigs, I'm going to take on anyone influenced by those pigs, I'm gong to free humanity and I'm going to make damn sure that copyright is respected across international boundaries and no degree of unseen psychic force is going to stop me.
VILE: Caphtor I want you to know that both I and the Golden Teat stand with you in your war against these invisible pigs.
CLOWE: Thank you Bathsheeba. Although I'm fully aware that this could be an elaborate double-bluff by the pigs invisibly controlling your mind, I want you to know how much I appreciate what is probably your genuine and free-willed support.
VILE: Thank you.
CLOWE: And I want you to know that this makes you significantly less likely to be destroyed by my army of magical assassins.
VILE: But Caphtor..
CLOWE: Yes Bathsheeba?
VILE: I'm not here to form some kind of unquestioning assumptive choir for your point of view.
CLOWE: Of course not.
VILE: I am a journalist.
CLOWE: You are, and it's highly likely that you are not currently under the direct control of invisible pigs.
VILE: I feel I should present a few counter-arguments.
CLOWE: I feel ready to answer any and all of your arguments.
VILE: Caphtor, a lot of people are going to say - how do we know these pigs are real? They're invisible, they're intangible, they fly and they control minds..
CLOWE: They're going to say "Where's the evidence?"
CLOWE: Bathsheeba I think if you look at the people making this argument..
CLOWE: If you look very closely at them. If you think about the kind of person they are, I think your'e going to start noticing a lot of connections between them, a lot of similarities.
VILE: And what are those?
CLOWE: That they're all being controlled by invisible intelligent psychic pigs.
VILE: Caphtor I'd like to talk to you about fame.
CLOWE: I appreciate that Bathsheeba, fame if a powerful and terrifying force that imbues us with a mighty yet dissociative influence while slowly stripping away the armature of our moral self, not unlike the projective capacity of a mentally empowered sow.
VILE: Caphtor, do you feel that fame has changed you?
CLOWE: No. I remain centered in myself. Neither the five hundred years spend petrified in a bath of acid, my direct witnessing of the collapse of an interdimensional otherspace and the escape of multiple demonic horrors, my long and depressing sojourn on a tropical island that was not fond of artists, my staggering fame and wealth or the multiple legal actions and death threats against me have altered my core personality. I have always maintained my essential desire for a simple, clean, secure life in a ceramic fortress shaped like a gigantic woman and for the absolute power of life and death over everyone around me.
VILE: Death threats?
CLOWE: Bathsheeba I'm not here to play the victim card. Yes a number of amoral, deluded and violent people carry a direct and immediate hatred of me, yes the church wishes to imprison me and yes I am locked in psychic warfare with a race of flying invisible pigs, but harassment is simply something artists have to deal with in our modern world, whether its scheming newsboys flinging dead birds, fishwives interrupting you or monks stealing your letters, my policy has never changed; turn the other cheek and quietly order your army of magical assassins to kill them all.
VILE: Caphtor, some people might say that one man commanding an army of magical assassins is too much, it's one thing for educated people, for artists and writers and critics, we understand. But the ordinary peasant, the man in the field vacantly tilling his frozen earth, he's going to think "Hey, does that guy really need a private army of magical assassins? And what does it mean for me that he has one?
CLOWE: Bathsheeba, I understand and I want you to know that I am that man. I wasn't always the insanely wealthy genius you see before you now. I too have suffered I too know what it is to feel small.
Let me address the reader directly for a moment. Please understand, the only thing you have to fear from the professional killers under my command is freedom from the much more terrible threat of invisible flying pigs and non-payment of reasonable royalties.
VILE: Caphtor, thank you so much for this interview.
CLOWE: Bathsheeba it was absolutely my pleasure.