Wednesday, 24 December 2003

Christmas Eve - The Condition of Muzak

It's late on Christmas Eve. I have a tradition for this time. Every year, for probably nearly two decades on Christmas Eve I've read Chapter 10 - The Mirror; or, Harlequin Everywhere, from Michael Moorcock's The Condition of Muzak, the fourth of the Jerry Cornelius Quartet.

Set on Christmas Eve in a Steampunk (which it predates) 1890s, which may be 1990 or even 2090, it follows Harlequin from the roof of Derry and Toms on Kensington High Street, up Church St to Ladbroke Grove and a huge house party where every charcater from English folklore and panto, including another Harlequin, is present - and the whole cast of the book - is present. Harlequin sneaks in to find Columbine, and finding her awakens her with a kiss. Harlequin is Una Persson, Columbine Catherine Cornelius and the other Harlequin Jerry Cornelius.

It is just so evocative of that ghost of Christmas past - or yet to come?

"Merry Christmas, my own, dear Columbine"

"For in you now all virtues do combine -
Sad Pierrot, brave Harlequin and lovely Columbine"

All in all, thought Jerry, it was going to be a very successful season.

***Imported from old blog***

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