(Alan Moore pic by Joel Meadows, part of the forthcoming exhibition at GOSH London)
All week Radio 4’s breakfast programme; Today, has celebrated the festive season as usual by having a series of guest editors. And this morning was the turn of comedian Stewart Lee. What’s that? You’ve never heard of Stewart Lee? Oh my, you’re in for a treat. Head for You Tube, or even better, use Aunt Gladys’ Christmas money to buy some dvds.
But when it came to the “Thought For The Day” slot, Lee was a little unwilling. Thought For The Day is Radio 4’s religious moment. A couple of minutes of religious leaders of various types shoehorning their religious message onto the events of the time, that sort of thing. But Lee has a friend in Alan Moore. And although not religious, Moore does worship Glycon, the puppet-headed snake God from 2nd Century Roman times, as part of his whole being a magician thing. Perfect.
So here it is; Alan Moore for 1 minute 49 seconds. A New Year’s Eve treat for us all. You can’t embed BBC audio (without cheating anyway), but here’s the link, here’s an alternative Audioboo link, and here’s a transcript:
“Hello everybody, my name’s Alan Moore, and I earn a living by making up stories about things that have never actually happened.
When it comes to my spiritual beliefs that’s perhaps why I worship a second century human headed snake god called Glycon, who was exposed as a ventriloquist’s dummy nearly 2000 years ago. Famed throughout the Roman Empire, Glycon was the creation of an entrepreneur known as Alexander the false prophet, which is a terrible name to go into business under.”
A live, tame boa constrictor provided the puppet’s body, while its artificial head had heavy-lidded eyes and long blond hair. In many ways Glycon looked a bit like Paris Hilton, but perhaps more likeable and more biologically credible.
Looks aside, I’m interested in the snake god purely as a symbol, indeed one of humanity’s oldest symbols, which can stand for wisdom, for healing, or, according to etho-botanist Jeremy Narby, for our spiralling and snake-like DNA itself.
But I’m also interested in having a god who is demonstrably a ventriloquist’s dummy. After all, isn’t this the way we use most of our deities. We can look through our various sacred books and by choosing one ambiguous passage or one interpretation over another we can pretty much get our gods to justify our own current agendas. We can make them say what we want them to say.
The big advantage of worshipping an actual glove puppet of course is that if things start to get unruly or out of hand you can always put them gak in the gox. And you know, it doesn’t matter if they don’t want to go gak in the gox, they have to go gak in the gox.
Anyway, thank you very much for listening and from both me and Glycon, a very happy new year to you all.
A little different from listening to [insert name of head of religion here] shoehorning their beliefs into the problems of the moment. And pretty much exactly the point Moore is trying to make.
Whilst you’re here, have a You Tube clip of Stewart Lee interviewing Alan Moore:
And here’s just a few Stewart Lee You Tube videos…