“We’re living in the time of broken dreams. Skot Armstrong, writer and artist, and me have just finished a collaboration. We’ve created a catalogue of broken dreams.” – Spydeee Gasmantell.
When one receives a message from none other than Spydeee Gasmantell, prominent early member of Coum Transmissions, cast member of Marcus Werner Hed and Dan Fox’s documentary Other, Like Me; History of Coum Transmissions and Throbbing Gristle and a fellow school friend of a certain Genesis P-Orridge, one drops what they are doing and pays immediate attention. Being an ardent fan of Spydeee’s work and his beautiful and superbly put together publication Conscience, I was all ears and eyes as to what a collaboration with Skot Armstrong, artist, performance artist, mail artist and founder of Science Holiday and curator of Museum of Fun would yield. Skot’s mother Lady Joan Armstrong composed the song I Could Never Be Andy Warhol’s Mother for Industrial Records in 1978. Although it was never released as a single, this recording appears on a compilation of TG rarities called 23 Drifts to Guestling. Skot was interviewed by OC Weekly.
The Catalog of Broken Dreams is a sublime surreal garden of sly and clever word plays, gorgeous drawings, fabulous photomontages, fantastical colleges and rare verbal delights. As the catalog states at the start; “This catalogue is published exclusively for those who are able to appreciate the finest and rarest dreams.” The transparent sticker on the front of this limited edition of 100 copies says: “We’re in dream country now” Indeed we are. Page after page of succulent visions and charming text stroke warmly across my eyes. This as they say is a keeper. If two surrealists spilled deliberately and with some considerable skill and craft into each other then this would be the result. A wild and subconscious gymnasium fairground ride of paradox and inversion dancing furtively across the printed medium.
“Inverse, reverse, perverse. Ho. Ho”, begins one paragraph. If James Joyce, William Burroughs and Kurt Schwitters gene spliced a baby then this would be the fully-grown teen, rambunctious and articulate, conversing with élan and much conversational charm. “The inhabitants of Planet XL5 had intercepted transmissions that spoke of a man in the moon. None of them had a human face, so they worked in unison to create the illusion of one.” begins another paragraph, a lovely pastiche gumbo of Gerry Anderson’s oeuvre and Georges Méliès A Trip to the Moon (Le Voyage dans la Lune 1902) while schmoozing casually with a Zen master holding a cocktail.
My only criticism if you could call it such, is that there are only 100 copies of this precious gem in existence. I feel duty bound to very very gently and sensitively urge Messers. Gasmantell and Armstrong to make this divine publication more readily available, so that folk from all dimensions can hold, as I now hold, this exquisite and profoundly lovely art piece. Maybe they could create a Kickstarter to publish this into a published book form. Maybe one day everyone could have access to the treasures contained therein that are all without doubt worthy of an exhibition gallery space all of their own. Now there’s a dream. For now the “Now available, but not for sale” note on Spydeee’s website still stands. You will be able to view this garden only online as and when new vistas appear.