“So why are we contributing to the trivialisation of the word? It doesn’t belong in the kitchen. ‘I love this. I love my oven. You know what I’d love? I’d love a hamburger.’ We’re wearing it out. Let’s leave it where we want it. We want that electric jolt to the body. We want Eros. It’s like a drug, it’s not domestic. What’s the difference between a husband knocking on the door and a sailor getting off the ship? About ten thousand volts.” — Don Draper, Mad Men series 6, “The Doorway”
Purple roses are one of the innovations developed by man to express another emotion. This particular color has various levels of meanings, and has always been a favorite among rose lovers.
Purple roses primarily stand for enchantment. The giver of the purple rose seeks to convey that he or she has fallen in love with the recipient at the very first sight. A deep magnetism and charm that makes the recipient almost irresistible is what the purple rose seeks to convey. The very first meeting has totally enticed the sender of these flowers, who simply cannot resist the object of his desire.
Though purple speaks of enchantment, the meaning of the purple rose nowhere suggests permanence. The enchantment can be transcendental and can also be fleeting. As the word “enchantment” suggests, the effect is almost magical, and can also die off without much warning.
The purple rose has certain other meanings. Opulence, glory and majesty are some other interpretations given to the purple rose. Purple being a color of elegance and grandeur, it only fits that the rose also pays tribute to these characteristics.
The most widespread meaning of the purple rose is enthrallment, especially at first sight. And though there is no indication of permanence in this attraction, there is definitely a deep impression created.
I sleep on a futon (which is the mattress and blankets, actually) that rests on a Western-style frame that folds into a couch during the day. In all honesty, I can’t think of a time in my adult life, not counting the times I’ve slept in a lover’s bed or couch-surfed, where I’ve slept on anything but. For years, I had a hotel-style bedspread —something more decorative than comfortable to snuggle under— that I folded over the edge of my futon to protect it and make it look better. There are futon mattress covers, but they’ve always been out of my budget. Standard sheets on a futon can be problematic.
A few weeks ago, a large hole started in the bedspread. This is fair enough, as I’ve had it since I was fourteen, and I’m surprised it lasted as long as it did. Still, as unsurprising as this was, it left me in a state of needing to replace it.
I went to Big Lots, as I tend to do when I’m looking for something relatively inexpensive for the house. Long before I discovered an embryonic hole in my bedspread, I had noticed a set of aubergine-coloured satin sheets sized for a full size mattress (the dimensions of my futon) at this store. I wanted them from the first time I saw them, but I didn’t have a “proper” bed for them, and I didn’t want to spend $20 on an uncertainty last year. When I arrived a few days ago to replace my bedspread, “my” sheet set was still there —possibly the longest time I’d ever seen anything stay on the shelves at any Big Lots, ever, and a young couple was looking for sheets. The girl wanted the aubergine satin lovelies on grounds that “they’re pretty”, but her boyfriend talked her out of them on grounds of “they’re impractical”, and she put them back without protest.
Eros invented satin bedding. I know cos He told me so. The surface is slick like the most intimate of a lover’s touch, and the natural creases that form in a pillowcase, when made of satin, feels like kisses. Opaque, but deceptively thin and form-fitting, what the material hides reveals everything. When made of silk, or even synthetics, it’s very strong, but easy to snag. Even when it’s cheap, it feels luxurious and expensive. How can this not be one of Eros’ gifts to humanity?
When Psykhe took the lamp into the bedroom of Eros’ crystal castle in the sky high above Helikon, and the tiniest bit of oil singed the beautiful God’s skin, He ran. He didn’t run from the pain, or simply the surprise of being woken up in such a way. He ran from the lack of trust. But at the same time, can She really be blamed? When we truly love some-one, any-one, we want to know them as much as we trust them. We don’t have to know everything, but we have this burning desire to know them, or as Genesis P-Orridge put it, to completely consume them and be a part of them and have them be a part of you. We cannot love from behind doors, we can only admire. Trust, knowledge… Love needs that vulnerability to exist, and until such openness is allowed, there exists little more than fondness.
From the trials of Psykhe, after breaking open Eros’ own closet of darkness, we learn that true love overcomes, making us more willing and indeed able to take in the whole person, love them even more, as with the more we learn, the more we have to fall in love with —be is romantic or familial.
Some might want us to believe the Capitalist lie, that love is a privilege to be earned, but indeed, it’s what makes the world turn —for Gaia so passionately loves Ouranos, that she twirls about in His arms forever as They dance the dance of Eternity around Helios’ shining orb, for even after that blazing ball consumes Them, they and Their love will live on. It was created freely in the womb of eternal night, and is given freely at alarming rates, often with neither rhyme nor reason. Some actions can cause love to end, but this is the most mortal form of love, and being mortal, we can’t help it when that happens —but the less mortal, more pure the love, the more willing it is to see that which sets us apart and love us all the same, or even all the more.
Marc Almond is one of those singers that I’m amazed that I didn’t get into his work earlier, but upon reflecting, I probably did at the perfect time in my life to. Probably best-known this side of the Atlantic for his work with Soft Cell, which is best known this side of the Atlantic for their cover version of Motown artist (and common-law wife of Marc Bolan) Gloria Jones’ song “Tainted Love”, Marc Almond has a career spanning nearly thirty-five years —and I’ve been told that I kinda sing like him, since my balls dropped (meaning yes, this is probably not the most- representative example of my modal singing voice —assuming, of course, my friends are telling the truth, and honestly, most of my friends who’ve heard me sing on a good day have no reason to lie to me).
Marc Almond has been openly gay for most of his career, but dislikes being labelled a “gay artist”, as he feels that opens the door for pigeon-holing and creating the false impression that his work is somehow only important and relevant to the gay community, which it is not, though some of his songs and music videos do engage a clear homo-eroticism, while others simply portray a blatant eroticism. Marc Almond has also been “out” about being a member of the Church of Satan, founded by Anton LaVey; in the last ten years, I’ve occasionally heard that he’s since quietly distanced himself from that organisation, and I’ve yet no confirmation from the Webmistress of his official site (the most relevant contact e-mail I found on his site). While this may just be fan speculation since his accident in 2004 (much like the persistent yet completely falsified story of Charles Darwin’s “deathbed conversion”), I also wouldn’t be at all surprised if it were true: For every one of the “Ooh, I’m spooky! Hail thyself!” songs of Almond’s, there are at least two or three that display a clear, often urban-based spirituality; while this is technically not completely contrary to the writings of Anton LaVey, the Church of Satan understands the spiritual world to be a manifestation of the human experience, something that only exists within human reality —that is not reality as I understand it, but if that’s what works for another, then more power to them, and all the better if they can understand that this is one of those aspects of reality where understanding and acceptance is any one interpretation of it or another is subject to human experience. I cannot make an Atheist understand and accept reality as I know it any more than he can make me understand and accept theirs as a reality that is not only compatible with my experience but also one that empowers myself.
….but enough about that.
Marc Almond is one of those musicians who wears his influences on his sleeve and manages to do so without being a complete rip-off of those artists. If I had a nickel for every Goth band that or Mod Revival outfit that clearly couldn’t make something that sounded like anything but “Christian Death, only not” or “The Jam, only not” or “Bauhaus, only not” or “The Pretty Things, only not”, I could deposit those nickels into a Cayman Islands account and live comfortably, though not lavishly, off the interest. Marc Almond doesn’t do that, and he’s kind of a Dieselpunk dream singer. His personal style, as shown in his solo career, is clearly in a New Wave / Synthpop idiom, but heavily steeped in a love of Edith Píaf, Jacqués Brel, early Amerikan Jazz and Blues, British music hall, French cabaret, and with the introspective qualities of Rozz Williams and Gitane DeMone with the bite of Siouxsie Sioux and Andi Sexgang. His first solo recrd, Vermin In Ermine practically invented the “dark cabaret” sub-genre about three or four years before Rozz Williams’ Ashes line-up of Christian Death turned up the darkness and threw in a heaping helping of Dada. Yet he’s more than that, he’s one of England’s national treasures.
There’s also a highly Eroic quality to Marc Almond’s life’s work. By “big-E-Erotic”, I don’t necessarily just mean “sexy” (which, of course, it is, but that’s going to be a given —I mean, just look at him), but also hope to imply connotations of that which conveys qualities of Eros and His various epithets: Kallistos, Anikatos, Skhetlios, Eleutherios, Abros, and more. He’s one of the few true music artists, and one of the few who consistently displays a passionate joie de vivre et joi de vie. I can’t help but see, hear, taste Eros when Marc Almond’s music comes on; every single word reveals the folly of Democritus (“Medicine heals diseases of the body, wisdom frees the soul from passions,”).
Of course, to be fair, Marc Almond is of a similar school of songwriting as Prince, where any song that comes into his head is clearly good enough to record, even if this means recording the occasional song that just can’t hold a candle to the rest, suggesting perhaps there is a great folly to following one’s passions, but I know better, for I know that there is greatness even in what at first seems the most trite —from Vermin In Ermine‘s “Ugly Head” to “Money” from the Soft Cell demos, he manages to give light to certain truths, often of a personal yet shared nature, saying things that many have felt and wanted to articulate as something worth saying.
If I were casting an opera based on Hellenic mythology, hands down, no questions asked, my first and only choice for Eros would be Marc Almond; I don’t care that he’s fifty, that sort of thing just would not otherwise work — anyway, he looks very good for his age, and most opera are not cast with singers appropriate to the age of the role, if only cos there’s the art of theatrical make-up to take care of that. His voice doesn’t have the range that Apollon would need, and his emotive qualities as a singer are just “disconnected” enough that the passion for this art shows through, but just emotive enough that one simply cannot help but relate. The Moisai would have to be superb yet subtle emotive singers, as would Apollon, Dionysos would have to master dramatic emotions, as would Hermes and Aphrodite, but despite Eros’ purveyance over emotions, or perhaps because of it, to portray the God even in the throes of emotion, there needs to be a clear and dramatic knowledge and understanding of emotion, but a subtler feeling of it, and as a singer, Almond does that. Eros takes this knowledge and understanding and translates it into passion, which can neither be learnt nor understood, but like anything else one can feel, others can recognise when sensed, and what others want to know and understand when it can manifest as a thing of beauty. Marc Almond is nothing if not a passionate singer, and that is nothing if not a gift of Eros.