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Below are the 20 most recent journal entries recorded in
Louche Lad's LiveJournal:
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|Tuesday, August 20th, 2019|
|The Game That Moves As You Play
Right now around Arcturus it's 1987. Closer to home, it's 1992 on the smoldering surface of Wolf 489. An unobserved phase modulation between Watchmen and peak Sandman, and weightier things of course. The contents of the shelves at St. Marks Books around the corner barely circulate with each new issue of Semiotext(e) . . . how I became one of the invisible, the only Harry Potter sequel that matters. The ones that come back are the ones who suffer, something something.
|Wednesday, July 17th, 2019|
|Rocket Summer Will Return / File Under [Music]
A little busy but marking the moment and mouthing the hoaring anthem between the fireworks: "Automatic for the People: The Raggedy-Arsed Apocalypse of Austin Osman Spare." (2006) More and Moore to come.
|Tuesday, May 28th, 2019|
|Friday, May 24th, 2019|
|Whirlwind Tour (My Greenest Adventure)
Kansas City was potentially disruptive in the good "gamble a stamp, change the world" way. Very very wet and very very green. Which is nice because the nerds aren't coming through as fast as I would've liked and the visionary suits and technocrats are the ones stepping up . . . the vectors revolve I guess, the eye moves. It has its higher-order handedness that will resolve once I get the character generation slotted in.
Hope all are well in this technicolor future, the wreckage crawled from the south. Which witch is which, as it were. If you're into the pole flip nothing will ever be the same. Who runs the shoes. Robert, the guy next to me on the way in, was full of childhood reminiscences of digging potatoes in Presque Isle back in the day . . . John Crowley's hometown. This was a fertile coincidence because closer to home people were talking about the satellite launch facility going up there behind the experimental farms, "30-pound payloads, after all it's ideal for achieving polar orbit." The way back was USDA inspectors on the first leg (rotting meat jokes) and then a surprising number of people coming in from Houston. First priority today: massive clam basket.
|Sunday, May 12th, 2019|
|Riding Is Required / Streets of Laredo
Even a terminal mythology gets it right once in awhile. From the notes:
"mistress of state" = maittresse de tête, from the stuff of principalities to the back of the head.
|Saturday, May 4th, 2019|
|A World Absolute Elsewhere
Well now it is apparently a rescue mission. "Never,” she said, and then paused a long time in limbo while Auberon thought further: never forget me? Never break faith, never say die, never never never? “Never long,” she said. “Only wait; only have patience. Longing is fatal. It will come.” They had begun to weep around her, though they hid it, for the old lady would have been impatient with tears. “Be happy,” she said, even more faintly. “For the things…” Yes. There she goes. Bye, Mrs. MacR. "The things, children—the things that make us happy—make us wise."
Auberon built up the fire, pleased with himself. Mrs. MacReynolds was among the last of the characters whom he had inherited from the creators of “A World Elsewhere.” A young divorcée thirty years ago, she had tenaciously and cleverly held on to her part, through alcoholism, remarriage, religious conversion, grief, age and illness. Done now though. Contract terminated. Frankie was about to go off on a long trip, too; he would return—his contract had years to run, and he was the producer’s boyfriend as well—but he would return a changed man.
|Wednesday, April 24th, 2019|
|Walden / Magic Inc.
You know that thing where I joke about how crazy it is here? Let's just say that last week was the first one in months where I was at the office fewer than 100 hours, one way or another. We owe that to the Holy Week holidays and a crawling shadow of DNGAF. I feel renewed. Let's see how long it lasts. Anyway I've been terribly distracted from you and regret that but you've always been on my mind. (You were always in my house.)Waldo
. The most brilliant conspiracy of all is how we've been trained to ask where he is, not who. A Lyonnaise cloth dealer who threw it all away and started a war on mammon. Imagine him lurking in every crowd, jaunty red phrygian cap and stripey shirt, waving and smiling. In fifth grade a teacher who reminds me of Jeff Richard forced me to play Harlequin in a summer play and hoodwink a cloth dealer. It was very hot that year and I would've rather pondered the Silmarillion.
So there's that game where you lay out three books to symbolize the world or at least a role-playing world, a "projection" like the home movies Jarman cut together for the Pets in the far-flung anno domini MCMLXXXIX. Who you are, who they are, how the systems tie you together. Okay.
The platform play is so close now I can smell it. A kind of kalevala creating a "suomi" where once there were only Swedish and Russian lakes and forests. A kind of glorantha, a mirror of the '60s that birthed the current middle ages. A third age, third wave, hypothetical fourth great awakening, "aeon." A rocket cottage. Lightning. Explosive effervescence birthing angels.
The discovery in 186 A.D. of secret Dionysian celebrations in several towns in Latium aroused intense indignation in Roman society . . . this indignation was probably due less to cynical moralizing than to the sheer astonishment of a businessman confronted with a barter system. According to Peter John Olivi and Ubertino of Casale the reign of the Holy Spirit had already begun.
|Monday, April 22nd, 2019|
|Burned Over Districts
A little busy but good things hatching. It's as if he took a scarf and threw it as far as he could and he said, "This is Kobol. I will be born here." Right to the edge of our country, and he says, "This is my Kobol."
|Wednesday, April 10th, 2019|
|Monday, April 8th, 2019|
|Monday, March 18th, 2019|
|You Would Call Where We Are From "Where You Get Your Ideas"
He knew that for him its meaning must once have been supreme; though in what cycle or incarnation he had known it, or whether in dream or in waking, he could not tell. Vaguely it called up glimpses of a far, forgotten first youth, when wonder and pleasure lay in all the mystery of days, and dawn and dusk alike strode forth prophetick to the eager sound of lutes and song; unclosing faery gates toward further and surprising marvels.
I'm four years old. Chef Bernie is the only game in town and that town is an engraved bead set between sandstone, sky and silver like the rock chips Spider Woman gave the twins to fortify them on their pilgrimage to their father the sun. It's what she calls weaving. I insist on the spaghetti. The great Bernardo Sandoval's chagrin is not recorded. Later I ask my mother what it was like before I could read. "It must be like looking at Spanish," she says. I dream of a book and the letters swim and squirm like oil between clear glass plates. Soon they discover I need glasses.
I am close to my mother then. We are constantly driving in my father's little red car to diners and sandwich shops. The fried clams are frozen. The taquitos are astounding. Every day we have sundaes. She later denies all of this as a kind of hypoglycemic trance. They despair of me at the preschool even though I don't know how to divide. One of the girls crushes her finger in a door and can no longer dance in a ring. Another embroiders her own name on a length of white cloth and gives it to me as a memento: child's right angle caps, L I Z. Ridgely has her look but better penmanship.
They moved. Everyone is always in motion. The Justice League and Justice Society open the doors to Earth S and all the strange people come out: Spy Smasher, Bulletman, Ibis the Invincible. I don't know it yet but fandom sighs with relief that a bad chapter is at least over. There are bleeding heart bushes in bloom in our yard and an inchworm the size of my hand. They let me produce puppet shows for my class that are still famous in some circles today. Uncle Wiggily records, Uncle Wiggily in New Mexico.
The eager sounds of lutes and song, Sha Na Na records, the strange sad music of barely a generation ago. Elvis is dying, the girls on television throw him their underwear. Chemical King sacrifices himself to save the galaxy. When I go back to buy that comic it's already gone from its spinner rack, all the stores opened onto a back corridor so you could move through the entire strip mall in one continuous movement, up from the paperback store where I covet the Narnia books I'd read in Denver through the drugstore with its legacy fountain and spinner up to the craft shop where Eldritch Wizardry compells and confounds, all these rules for the fantasy army men to follow.
Sinister fates await the unwary like something you might hear about at Thunderbird Hobby across town, where tiny antique model kits beckon the Mormon kids while an early Shark Attack screams to itself in the back room where all the real magic happens, lit only by its own screen. The title of the Pocket Dying Earth makes me sad like an Everly Brothers track, that high desert lonesome sound. I get a telescope and squander it. In the hospital one Halloween I give my roommate my holiday candles and realize now he must've had something terminal.
Faery gates toward further and surprising marvels, my father turns to me when he's running Youth Group one night, you don't worship Greek mythology do you? On Battlestar Galactica they've finally found their motocross way to earth, it's the show that taught me that "hooker" means socialator. I have a 90% complete set of Ballantine Adult Fantasies pulled from desert flea markets and this very store. Xiccarph and the Man Who Was Thursday will come in good time.
An hour to the north in college town Rivendell there are shrinkwrapped monochrome giant modules. My father will never manage to take me to the sandwich shop there, pregnantly called Bilbo's by some undoubted king hippie I will never meet. Someone in that town had an original Equinox, a James Bond Tarot, Pentangle records, dragging them up the mountain for me to encounter in a fever. What I really covet at this time is Dragon magazine 35, the one with angels in it. The man in the model train store hates all this stuff but orders it for me anyway. Years later he will sell me the City State of the World Emperor.
And vast infinities away, past the Gate of Deeper Slumber and the enchanted wood and the garden lands and the Cerenerian Sea and the twilight reaches of Inganok, the crawling chaos Nyarlathotep strode brooding into the onyx castle atop unknown Kadath in the cold waste, and taunted insolently the mild gods of earth whom he had snatched abruptly from their scented revels in the marvellous sunset city.
|Saturday, March 2nd, 2019|
|Golden Age of the Hurdy Gurdy
Handshake achieved. "Remind yourself of the ecstasy of living." - Greenaway
Make no mistake the coming decade will be interesting.
|Thursday, February 28th, 2019|
|Stealing Fire (Two to the Two to the Two, ±1)
We all love adventure, right? This is not the draft I've had sitting in here for the last few weeks. The sad thing is that I knew two long years ago that he didn't actually want or even expect to win. Anyone who had a bead on Priebus' calendar at the end of 2016 could see the staffing choices weren't serious. But then of course it happened and there was a great susurration of wings. In the death throes of expertise I guess that makes me the next best thing to an expert, someone who's seen a significant portion of "it all" and remembered. All I know is that I can always find some angle to monetize my attention on the random walk.
Jupiter Return Plus: Grant started out with a submission (2005).
I always liked the random walk as a child, the notion of "errantry" coeval with "chivalry," gallantry, romance. Like the reification of the situationist cowboys, you just drift. Drift long enough and your interest has compounded. When your confidence is impeccable, everything else is just pushing your luck:
The willow submits to the wind and prospers until one day it is many willows — a wall against the wind. This is the willow's purpose.
There's a ribbon in the willow. In other words, against the bustle plant a hedge row and to attract bustle do the same. Ambition takes care of itself.
The question is how you write yourself a little space inside it.
But as a child I was also fascinated by the lore handed down to me from somewhere, that if the lunar number was three or three squared then "her masculine portion" was binary, generating plus and minus like lines in a hexagram. Seven looks a lot like eight. They still have a hard time counting the Seven Soldiers of Victory and not ending up with eight. Eight can look a lot like nine. Where does this go? Probably somewhere quick when it gets moving.
|Wednesday, January 23rd, 2019|
|This Lightning ('86-'87)
"I can remember that I was listening to an awful lot of ambient music on a continuous loop while I was writing those first few John Totleben issues of Marvelman. I was listening to The Plateaux of Mirror by Brian Eno, which was one of my favorites, and Lovely Thunder by Harold Budd. I was listening to those while I was writing those kind of prose passages for the beginnings of the John Totleben Marvelman run."
|Friday, January 18th, 2019|
|Uncle John's Banned
If Neil Gaiman wasn't formally extant in 1991, Clive Barker would have needed to invent him, I realize as I encounter apocalyptic pre-pre-Raphaelite John Martin (1789-1854) for the second time in three days in the paperback IMAJICA introduction. Once is an accident. Two bears a charge. A chime chimes three times -- but the sense that Barker prefigures everything useful in the last three decades of Gaiman's career is harder to shake.
The difference is that Barker is struggling with gnostic mysteries behind narrative, incarnation, anguish. Barker at this stage wants a personal relationship with Jesus the Magician, that adorably '90s word made flesh, forbidden and rejected knowledge suddenly gushing from the rock of history after generations in the desert. I could slide a little further into self parody and note the Moses with horns, but instead will simply admit that you were in my dream driving circles around me.
I was one failed funding round away from a creative role in the IMAJICA roleplaying game. This would've been incredibly awkward because I didn't know the property and had less than perfect resonance with it at the time, but the guys who bought the card game license were eager to reach for a little relative legitimacy. I had impeccable references. We were all the only kids in blazers at that party, which was something of a leitmotif then. I wonder if they knew they were a couple at the time but I'm probably the naive one.
Here in our timeline of course the card crash wiped them out and there was never a game book, absolving me of the need to do more than skim Barker's "fantasy" period. I mostly knew him from the bootleg ritual films, Salome / Forbidden looping in a corner monitor before giving way to JOY or 8Transmission8 . . . which reminds me, I covet that rare 'zine where the ante starts at GBP 120 unless you know the guy I do, but realistically it will not be useful. It's only urgent because I can feel it calling through me to be reunited with its cousins. I don't think so.
But I was new in New York and so drunk with possibility and poverty I thought I'd walk back to downtown Brooklyn from LGA. I made it all the way into Astoria before conceding the point. Reading the first few pages again tonight I'm most struck with the humanity of the early passages, the way he sets up uncanny situations through practically pantomime characters, finely drawn but distorted for easy digestion like something out of a Scott McCloud treatise. His abiding love for London, a very different city in those days.
Is that what will distinguish them, the black leather jacket boys? Neil will never write about London, his whole career is a flight from the place. Barker carries it in him, a kind of Spitting Image London with strategic holes to reach your hands through and manipulate the world around it. We've seen that London, empire of the Cardinal and the Corpse. This is not its story.
But those other worlds parallel to that London, these "dominions" populated by angels, heroes and grotesques . . . that was going to be our game. Would have been a nightmare to develop, I'm happy to have dodged the bullet on that one. We can read it in heaven. Reading between the lines Hans ended up with cancer and had his upper digestive tract removed. He's a chef now. Sean is elusive. Where is this going? All the angels are terrible. Barker grapples with modalities, the ratios of trauma and sin. The missed communication, unrequited love. I'd forgotten all that.
|Friday, January 11th, 2019|
|The Sunsets Were Purple And Red And Yellow And On Fire
The sky above the portland was the color of a networked television with the channel box unplugged, an endless blue like a phosphene hallucination, prisoner's cinema. What are the other cinemas, really? That's a question that's coming forward as we start grappling with the work of Laura Mulvey and Peter Wollen, neither of whom are making movies any more in a conventional sense. Early abstractions and the late ones.
I like the constant recombinant nature of it, shuffling and dealing endless hands of weather until you find something else to do. A sky like the long now chimes, a regular drone of little hits like a gamelan tuning up (takes a village) and then every so often when you're paying attention a lot of the bells ring at once. "What are days for? To wake us up, to put between the endless nights."
There's a sky made of language. The surviving B-52s won't tell me why they were asked to play the Nova Convention or what they learned there, which makes me think it was a Ricky thing, computers and hot tamales. You can map every psychic detective and spiritualist campground across the terminal art deco era. ("Weird Tales Magazine: occult and mystic tales, tales of the supernatural, ghost stories, tales of spirit return, tales of psychic phenomena, etc. Editor Farnsworth Wright.") We've talked elsewhere about the dreams that died to fertilize the genres we have now, what spectres haunt first fandom, the songs they wrote to sing in the long afternoon before the dogs died out and they gave up on the plants, the terrifying carnivorous architecture too big for us now. Four legs in the morning.
But that's still just shuffling weather. Track the books they had available, purchase the libraries and deal them out again. Watch the concepts and the lore flicker and flare. Tumblers in the combination lock, chimes in the long now. Once you pull off the escape, where do you go? Remember here when you are there. It's just the sight of the back of your own head.
|Wednesday, January 9th, 2019|
|Friday, January 4th, 2019|
|When We Imagine Sappho "Sufferin'," What Exactly Does That Mean?
We're all chasing Russell Eigenblick these days; for me this often takes the form of trying to find the iconographic sources behind his card in the fairy tarot, the red-headed emperor who reached too far across the river for those delicious sausages and drowned under the weight of his own armor. As the author notes, the conventional fool has neither horse nor sausage, armor nor brook. What he has is a lemniscate to indicate that cliffs and dogs and inattention are endless, like in an especially innovative Winsor McCay concoction looping back on itself, half twist optional.
(I'm also interested in tracing the Rackham image with the little mushroom people. I do not believe it exists under the title "By The Way.")
So someone in our house has started reading The Alienist again and we're back in the Old New-York. I think of the failed Winters Tale movie, competing brownstone mythologies, the ongoing ridiculous grind of the deluxe Little Big like waiting for the parousia or the literal "monster" at the end of that book, the end of history, what thee greyhounds of thee future tell us: Every thing must go.
Maybe it's the year of the goddess of justice. I go looking for images of her in the Met archive, ark of the Old New-York, the guys that won "roughly 108 years ago" on a sliding aeonic scale.
She shows up with 49 sisters and a clone, an amazon nymph army. Rouse the river and pull down the Telmarite bridges under the weight of your vines. They're a kind of trading cards.
Obviously they have their uses and their deficits. Diversity would always be welcome but the typical user will undoubtedly fixate on six or seven at best, letting the others kind of blur together. I myself am fond of Minerva with her haircut and we can all love the irrepressible Fauna and Thalia pulling off that dude's face. Surprise! Comedy!
Build for them an island to inhabit. Set them in their motions. The saga unfolds.
Marston's contribution to the intellectual property is already in the public domain for key markets. Let 10000 amazon enclaves bloom. Memory tells us one thing. Only gold can stay.
Consider the original intents: artistic, initiatic, commercial. The primary market had a limited viewpoint that this vantage dilates only slightly. They're little cards, close to actual size on your screen. Distance makes them small like a bundle of muñeca quitapena. The aperture encourages the action to continue outside your vision. They don't talk to you. They're distinguished largely by tools, hobbies, avocational apparatus like stigmata of a reverse martyrdom. This must be how they live. They transgress easy distinctions between production and leisure. They invite us into new economies if only we can find a way through the peephole to set foot on their island.
Antigotham. Antimasonry. The project is so large it overwhelms the morning. There are tantalizing irregularities, two Melpomenes in the Met collection, strange souvenir of another gilded age. Use it. Use the Met collection in its entirety.
I was always struck as a child by the strange case of the two Mark Helprins, the political hack on the Sunday chat shows and the ostensibly fantastic novelist writing the urban apocalypse, white horses running across a city of fire. There was no difference. Bonfire of the vanities on the horizon, Blondie shoots, men and Cindy Sherman twitching in the cities, the second coming of Lou Reed. Magic + Loss.
We've solved for Superman too. Krypton is Abyssinia. Different immigrant's song.
|Thursday, December 27th, 2018|
|Winds in the West
Despite passively stalking Eigenblick for years now it's been ages since I skipped into the section where he holds his rally full of "bottomless wrath and pity," when the thing starts to swing on its own motion like global menopause or a child's vision of the Stone. The ace of spades reversed, Grand Central Station finally running the right way around. The declaration of a kind of war. Read Patti Smith for Ariel Hawksquill throughout:She walked back through the vast arching hall of the Terminus no wiser this time than when she had come, and more troubled. The hundreds who hurried there, eddying around the shrinelike clock in the center and washing up in waves against the ticket booths, seemed distracted, hard-pressed, uncertain of their fates: but whether more so than on any other day she wasn’t sure. She looked up: grown faint with age and long watching, the Zodiac painted in gold marched biaswise across the night-blue dome, pricked out with tiny lights, many of them extinguished. Her steps slowed, her mouth fell open; she turned, staring, unable to believe what she saw.
The Zodiac ran the proper way across the dome from east to west.
Impossible. It had always been one of her favorite jokes about this mad City that its grand center was watched over by a Zodiac that was backwards, the mistake of a star-ignorant muralist, or some sly pun on his star-crossed City. She had wondered what reversals might happen if—with proper preparation—one were to walk backwards through the Terminus beneath this backwards cosmos, but propriety had always kept her from trying it.
But look now. Here was the ram in his right place, and the hindquarterless bull, the twins and the crab, King Lion and the virgin and the double-panned scales. The poised scorpion next, with red Antares in his sting; the centaur with his bow, the fish-tailed goat, the man with the water-jug. And the two fishes bow-tied at the tails. The crowds flowed around her where she stood gawking, flowed without pause as they did around any fixed object in their path. Her looking upward was infectious, as in the hoary trick; others looked upward too, searching briefly, but, unable to see the impossible thing she saw, hurried on.
The ram, the bull, the twins… She struggled to retain her memory that they had been otherwise, had not always had this order, for they looked as old and immutable as the stars they pictured. She grew afraid. A Change: and what other changes would she find, out on the streets; what others lay in the to-come, yet to be manifested? What anyway was Russell Eigenblick doing to the world; and why on earth was she sure that it was Russell Eigenblick who was Somehow at fault? A sweet baritone bell struck, and echoed around her as she stared, not loud but clear, calm as though possessed of the secret: the Terminus clock, ringing the small time of the hour.
|Thursday, December 20th, 2018|
|Provenance & Its Continuation
Like most slick moderns with a good overcoat, I don't actually read books anymore. I don't even prefer good literary criticism. My current bibliomantic obsession is the tertiary literature, the old-school print catalogues and cheap photocopy-and-staple price lists. That way, you get the writer's ideas as well as the critic's thinking and a diachronic sense of the evolving market around the books themselves. In rare cases you can watch individual copies flicker across the decades to show up in collections today or even present themselves once again available at the right price. Sometimes the price goes up, sometimes it comes down.
The goal here is simple. Construct an artificial mind and fill it with a given book list and you double your processing power like you were Les Paul cloning Mary through some electronic audio miracle. Do it as many times as you like. Watch the perspectives form in response to the resources available, the constraints as well as the unexpected imponderables that solidify at a certain time and place where you are not like Norton the prisoner of London. Paths of alien desire that reveal the limitations of your own sentimental education.
Albion Drive E84ET. Let's take the Sinclair project as our demonstration. We were Perecians when you were coming up so I was mocked when I uncovered you with wonder at the Dartmouth bookstore 23 years ago give or take a month. You were that guy doing strange things with sacred architecture, tracking strange eddies in the wabe. Alan Moore's master. It turned out later that my friends were mistaken and the person they were rolling their eyes at was Iain Banks!
I followed you in parallel after that, like Freud chasing Nietzsche or Fred and Ginger, shadowing your moves always exactly one knight's move away and a little behind. The contacts accumulated like geiger hits, hit the right number and tear the photographic tab to certify when the dose has become irreversible. Eventually your aura resolves into a clear shape of influence. I can see your shadow on these Alan Moore interviews, sometimes bringing Kathy Acker or "the cool" Robin Cook or the sinister Peter Whitehead along for the ride. Solve for Steve Moore, solve for David J, you become a dot product, a locus solus he orbits.
We run out of Alan Moore and you remain elusive.
Your book lists provide the quantum inputs required to calculate at least one vector of your journey through time. You pick titles, keep some and let the rest go, provided of course you can get a reasonable price. What you keep is a work in progress. What you let go reveals what catches your interest and fails to hold it, and how much money that failure is worth.
Sometimes you're alone and the titles circulate for years, discounted until they vanish from your sight. Sometimes others share your interest and the titles are gone in a blink. It isn't the titles that are shuffling across the shelf. It's consciousness.
Collections come to you, Derek Jarman's books, Kathy Acker's. An embarrassingly inscribed Gaiman, your "great good friend" who still hasn't figured out how to spell your name correctly. You gravitate toward genres and the categories drift like continents. You love trash, rejected literature, forgotten literature. Comedy. The underclass. Crime, never genteel enough to bring into the drawing room nor geeky enough to attract the noisy collectors in their masses. The beats. Poetry. Erotica. Curiosa. File "cyberpunk" under drug literature.
What accumulates is not you but an approximation, a mathematical abstraction that plays your role under the right conditions, a stock character to pull out to advance the plot.
And it isn't just you. We have been accumulating vast quantities of book lists. Recommended reading from countercultural figures, the equivalent of a syllabus of influence. Specialized catalogues of the occult, science fiction, fantasy, decadent literature. Pick the right stores and track the particles in their clouds, each opening up into its own bibliography in turn. Raising invisible armies.
I think of the original Provenance, that occult classic of book collecting. How he tracked his intellectual trajectory, published the results as a kind of beacon and then recorded additional acquisitions in a manuscript his sons bicker over now, the "continuation." This is like that but recombinant, open across parallel lives, other modalities. Go into the right store with the right cash and the right pair of eyes, come out with these titles. Be born in the right decade, develop the right taste.
The alchemical literature with its chains of influence, game of telephone. Psychic discoveries from behind the iron curtain, secret wars waged in translation. It's all psychogeography longitudinally and psychohistory up and down the axis. Of course some titles are so vanishingly rare they're practically fictitious. Track them too. The first of those is the hardest. So baby let the games begin. Just something for the spare moments.