Funtime In The Abattoir #1
by Victor Petit-Felici (IG: @victorpetitfelici)
Cancelling Warren Zevon, comedy and Werner Heisenberg driving a fast car
" Please allow me to introduce myself ". How to start a chronic characterized by thought disorder and social entropy : a view of the author’s surroundings. The streets of Budapest, Hungary are only filled by stray dogs and alcoholized gipsies as a handful of raindrops crash along the sidewalks. You can hear the neighbors across the street fuck all night, it’s a delight for a newly bachelor. I don’t know what or why I am writing but we will now speak about Warren Zevon. How quantify the importance of Mr. Zevon’s work in times like these ? The man who found greatness in every piece of mediocrity and dirt. Lou Reed once said that songs had to be counter-intuitive, and slightly change the mind of the listener’s previous judgements on the matter. Who championed that rule as sublimely as Mr. Zevon ?
When every song that comes out, from the genius of Presley to the EGOT winners, seems to have itself a plan, and a strategy, Zevon’s songs seem to stumble across a room, chased by the CIA, free of logic for some.
"That son of bitch Van Owen
Blew off Roland’s head (…)
Roland searched the continent
For the man who done him in
He found him in Mombasa,
In a barrom drinking gin
Roland aimed his Thompson gun
He didn’t say a word
And he blew Van Owen’s body . "
Roland The Headless Thompson Gunner
Warren Zevon was considered from his first appearance and onwards, as a problematic artist. His debut album opening on two outlaws who « do they best they could » already induces Zevon’s fascination for dancing on the border of the expected. From there, it was a whole mythology of loners and gunners, or both. He came into the music world like a meteor, destroying nearly everything we expected from a songwriter : someone we can easily understand and love.
But more than being a problematic artist, and maybe why he was a problematic artist, he was a problematic man.
In his drinking climaxes, Warren would fall into enormous scenes of violence and maximal behavior disorder, distributing punches and black eyes, even to his lifetime partner, Crystal, to which he would apologize every time he was sober, as if its characters took the best of him, leaving him just a small window to have another chance at being a good man. There is a space to battle the cancellation of Warren which is to say that Warren thought of his life as a boxing match, which he was fascinated by. Scars, punches, wounds inflicted upon himself and others was the cornerstone of Warren’s artistic energy. Being a drunken asshole was is way, like most of the rock n roll stars. But unlike most of them Warren never stood behind the phony curtain of childish poetry but embraced the violence of every particule of the universe to make violence and poetry become one. The poetry of the sick, of the outlaw, of the ghosts of perversion leaking through his songs.
The bottom line was that Warren Zevon was always the main character of every Warren Zevon song. With his horrible manners, his leaps onto chaos and his ravishing cynical genius "And If California slides onto the ocean / Like the mystics and the statistics say it will / I predict this motel will be standing / until I pay my bill ".
The portrait I made links itself to the major problem of quantum mechanics which is the measurement of a particule. How can we measure Warren now ?
We can’t, because Warren was moving. We can locate in space something that’s still and we can measure the pace of something moving, but we never know where it is, because it’s everwhere. And the animal, fast pacing genius that is Warren is inside the rest of us. It is very to locate and to predict great pop stars behaviors, their views on music, on politics. On the other side, we were never able to have a real grasp on Zevon, he was in a permanent state of instability, maybe like all geniuses are. And this instability reveals the core center of comedy. Warren was surely the funniest songwrite, along Dutronc, perhaps. They challenge reality with a punch in the face, and leave, for Warren, on words like : "If I leave you it doesn't mean I love you any less ". Unpredictable.
And Werner Heisenberg rides a Lincoln convertible in hollywood, smashed as he never was. A policeman stops his car and ask "Do you have any idea of the pace at which you were driving ? You were driving at 120 mph, sir." To which, Heisenberg replies :
"Well thank you sir, now I don’t know where I am!"