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21 March 2006

a Voyage to les Isles des Sourds and the island of l'Amour Perdu

Click, probably.
postage stamp from Iles des Sourds
(3p Tricentaire)
watercolor / postage-stamp size
Donald Evans (American, 1945 - 1977)

One time when the Zeta Beam was working it dumped me on an island in the archipelago nation Amis et Amants. The French Colonial Authorities renamed every island for a particular variety of Love or Friendship -- there are thousands of islands in Am&Am. Anyway when my molecules fully reassembled and I no longer felt like sailors had just beaten me up in an alley, I walked down the road and started seeing signs that I was on L'AMOUR PERDU.

A very lovely island, but a little bittersweet, a little triste, I think. This is where men and women from all over the world drift to after they have lost a Great Love. On the beach one night I found a Coco de Mer that had washed up. By a wonderful coincidence, the American artist Donald Evans was staying there, painting a stamp of L'AMOUR PERDU (the 4, tinted lavender), and we had a couple of drinks together at Pantomime. Really nice guy. Studied architecture at Cornell.

This song seems to be about L'AMOUR PERDU. I think there's a new CD or some block of intangible music storage medium by Donald Fagen. Also Neil Young will be on the Conan O'Brian show most nights this week, which is not chopped liver. Last night he sang "This Old Guitar" with a very talented warbler-guitariste whose name I failed to catch, but if you throw it to me, I'll be grateful. Maybe she has some intangible digital medium out there somewhere.

This song was written and recorded during the Vietnam War. When Santa Claus gets drunk and falls down in the driveway, he's bringing his son a Cobra helicopter gunship. Unlike the Huey which came before it, the Cobra could only do one job, which was to blast the living crap out of all Biota in front of and below it. I'm sure it's still in service in Asia. The Huey on the other hand could be used for medevac and supply and all sorts of useful things. Next bigass hurricane, send more Hueys. I think they're the only relief supply that's working since the Pakistan-India earthquake, them and the huge Sikorskys.

My company commander, CPT Psycho J. Looney IV, seemed to like me and offered to take me for a ride up the Gulf of Mexico coast in his Cobra, but such trips were practice to blast the crap out of the Biota, much too near where the nearly extinct whooping cranes wintered. The Army nearly extincted the Puerto Rican Parrot in El Yunque Rain Forest, they used it to Practice Jungle.

Perhaps we should consider cutting back on toys which are models of things that have no other job than to Sterilize The Planet.


No MIDI. Either Steely Dan explains the tune to you directly, or give it up. All over L'AMOUR PERDU this plays through the speakers. I think Rickie Lee Jones has covered this.


Book of Liars

music and lyrics by Walter Becker
performed by Steely Dan

Bye and bye now
We'll get over
The things we've done and the things we said
But not just now when
I can 't remember
Exactly what it was I thought we had
'cause I waited so long girl and I came so far
To find out you're not always who you say you are

And there's a star in the book of liars by your name

Santa claus came in late last night
Drunk on christmas wine
Fell down hard in the driveway
Hung his bag out on the laundry line
There's a cobra gunship for his golden boy
And there's a hello kitty for his pride and joy

And a silver star in the book of liars by your name
They hung a star in the book of liars by your name

Stars imploding
The long night passing
Electrons dancing in the frozen crystal dawn
Here's one left stranded at the zero crossing
With a hole in it's half-life left to carry on
But now the world's much larger than it looks today
And if my bad luck ever blows me back this way

Then I'll just look in my book of liars for your name
I'll just look in the book of liars for your name



some nice human being or automaton
has mirrored one of my old faves!
i filched back the text,
it's been a bit hacked up
but if you go HERE you can see ...


The Postage Stamps
of Donald Evans
by Robert Merkin

When Donald Evans (born Morristown, New Jersey USA in 1945) was a boy, he drifted from his hobby of collecting postage stamps to creating his own postage stamps of countries he made up in his imagination. He kept doing this for the rest of his life. He left behind an astonishing planet seen through its nations' postage stamps, thousands of them, all drawn to postage-stamp size, with all the familiar periphery of postage stamps hand-done ... the perforations, old envelopes, postmarks, addresses ...

After studying architecture at Cornell University, Evans drifted to Europe and eventually settled in a windmill near Amsterdam. He died in a windmill fire
in 1977.

A rich sampling of his fantastic, deeply moving and evocative stamps can be found in the gorgeous book "The World of Donald Evans," with text by Willy Eisenhardt (Harlin Quist Books). This book is to your eyes what a lobster dinner with all the trimmings is to your mouth. Evans also gave two long interviews to The Paris Review.

Here are stamps of the marine mammals of the northern principality of Lichaam en Geest, the Dutch words for Body and Soul:

Evans liked to learn Dutch words by painting stamps of them and the things they mean. This series, from Nadorp, was intended particularly for children.

images Copyright (C) 1980 by the Estate of Donald Evans

Other Evans countries are Amis et Amants ("Friends and Lovers"), a French-speaking colonial archipelago where every island is a French word or phrase for a kind of love or friendship; lo Stato di Mangiare ("to Eat" in Italian), the world's greatest manufac-
turer of giant dirigibles; Achterdijk ("Behind the Dike"); Katibo; Jantar; Yteke; Wiesbecker (whose stamps are old chairs found thrown away on New York City sidewalks, Philippe Wiesbecker's models for much of his art; the stamps likewise),

1 Premieres Amours (first love) abandoned on New York City
2 Ami des Beaux Jours (friend of streets and used in
nice days = fair-weather friend) paintings by the
3 Main dans la main (hand-in-hand) illustrator Philippe
4 L'Amour Perdu (lost love) Weisbecker); Pasta; and

The Islands of the Deaf,
whose stamps are hands spelling the words for the denominations of the stamps in sign language.

What, exactly, is The World?

How do we know about it? Most of us settle for the television news. Others spend a bit more time and go a bit more deeply with newspapers.

It is just possible that there is no one True Objective World ... so in one way or another, One World is just as good as The Next. So let me tell you a little bit about Postage Stamp World.

Nothing bad ever happens in Postage Stamp World. Everything that happens in Postage Stamp World is a great national achievement. Everyone you see on PSW is handsome or beautiful or dignified or brave, a great inventor, a great athlete, a great and wise ruler or leader.

Every fish and bird is gorgeous. Real birds in the sky and real fish in the water are actually rather imperfect and scraggly -- they're always half-starved, terrorized because bigger things are always trying to kill and eat them (sometimes big fish swim underneath ducks, grab their feet in their jaws, drown and eat them), they're scarred and infested with parasites -- so they are always painted gorgeously and luridly for postage stamps by someone like Audubon.

Czechoslovakia is one of the world's centers of high-quality color lithography and prints many of the world's most beautiful postage stamps.

Here's one of my recent favorites, a stamp issued by the Republic of Abkhazia (formerly part of the USSR/CCCP) honoring Marx and Lennon.

Postage Stamp World entranced Donald Evans as a child, but very soon, PSW was not quite enough.

Donald Evans loved to eat -- essentially he ate his way through his beloved Europe. And there were far too few stamps devoted to food, to fruit, to pasta, to chocolate, to vegetables, to boiled lobsters and squid, to zucchini.

Evans virtually founded an entire art form; there are now thousands of artists who create their own postage stamps. This one just cracks me up.

Here are two breathtaking Evans images on cards.

[mirrored text badly interfered with here]

With the true fixated mania of a truly great artist, he wanted merely to Create the Whole World, exactly like God once did. And he did: Its people. Its smiling. laughing children and their toys, handsome men, sweepingly beautiful (and usually quite ample) women. Its fish, its mammals, its birds. Its cheese and its windmills. The good things the world has to eat! Memories of simpler and often terribly unjust colonial times. Memories of wonderful lighter-than-air flying machines that never were! Beautiful furniture.

I travel as much as I can, and one of the sublime pleasures of my life is to visit for a time the far and exotic reaches of The World, and then to return and step into The Postage Stamp World of Donald Evans.
(I only have a slight interest in real postage stamps, and couldn't care less whether Old Fat or Young Thin Elvis wins.

Somewhere in Evans' work is a document he called the "Catalogue of the World." Evans' world is every bit as huge and detailed as The Real World of Travel. You can spend a lifetime wandering through both worlds. Things are slightly more lovely, and far more haunting, in Evans' world -- an entire world strained through the joy and pain, the laughter and the loneliness of a single human heart.

I love God's world, but now that Evans has died, I hope God is engaging his services as a consultant. Imagine a Bible that began: "In the beginning, God (with the assistance of Donald Evans) created the Heaven and the Earth."

Sincere thanks to B.C. of Morristown,
New Jersey for important corrections.


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