When I was in college, my few moments of actual learning tended to occur in the library. I had a few godly instructors and many more competent ones, and a handful who had no more business than me to speak to impressionable people. But the library was the thing. Didn’t matter if you were stoned, or just stopping by to see if you could recover the pack of cigarettes you’d inadvertently left on the back of the toilet in the 900’s section, you motherfucking got something out of those visits. I was a history major, so I spent all my time in the art library. Initially it was the  crude medieval pictures of titties that drove me there, then the idea that creative misfits were  always knocking shit over and functioning as genuine actors in history. So I was justified in my search for tits through the stacks, telling myself I’d become more acquainted with the rubric of western attitudes toward sexuality and ultimately make department chair with a landmark study on the titty-based portraiture of Venice and its role in the commerce of the late 15th century Mediterranean. I wasn’t bold enough at that point to discuss the impact of  a Holbein  mons Venus on  post-Renaissance tourism, but I’ll be goddamned if I wasn’t going to get there, once the motherfucking MacArthur fellowship rolled in. Or the next carton of Marlboro Lights.

But none of that shit happened because I was in a prog rock band, and consequently, struggling to get any form of sexual attention. And it took all my free time to rehearse with the band, research the apocryphal stuff to write lyrics that would fit the bassist’s puerile ideas about the relationship between the fragility of mother earth and the need to produce more bassists, and simultaneously try to get a degree that would land me in a job telling  piglet fuckers their ancestors were, if anything, likely to be more fucked up than they were. And there was no hope of sex for me, motherfucker. None.

It was about this time I saw the first wood-gravure reference to Keith Moon.

John Mytton was a Shropshire heir to several thousand pounds a year, a virtually indestructible body, and an abiding determination to disobey the laws of physics and oncology. He was also, in a nutshell, what it means to be a Brit (at least as far as I know.)

I developed an interest in him when I read about him riding his bear  Nell into a dinner party and dispersing the guests, and when she mauled his leg in retaliation for overvigorous spurring, he instantly forgave her, saying,” It’s just her nature”.

He was less amenable to his first two wives, and let me pause a moment here to say that  marriage  used to be a guarantor of a lack of problems with several women, and a stable of three thousand dogs. And as many cats in full livery , and a bunch of lively stable boys, and the peasant women who’d gape in awe at the  pork back you garishly threw through the hovel door.

Which leads me to the deepest tragedy of late twentieth century film.

Why in the hell didn’t Ken Russel make a film about English insanity with the man who embodied it? For God’s sake, they even looked like each other:

http://images.npg.org.uk/collections/search/portrait.php?LinkID=mp53741&role=sit&rNo=1

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