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john davies
notes from a small vicar
from a parish
in Liverpool, UK

    Monday, September 01, 2003
    Peculiarly English
     
      I am a queen of the circulating library
      I have declared an amnesty
      All books may be returned without a penalty
      Return the books to me

      Return the books
      Don't burn the books
      You cut down the trees to make paper disease

      It's in the trees: it's coming

      Return the book of knowledge
      Return the marble index
      File under "Paradox"

      The forest is a college, each tree a university

      I am a queen of the circulated library
      I'm here to answer your enquiry

      All knowledge resides within me

      Your membership has expired
      You are way past expiry dates

      Words, words, words, words!
      You may as well listen to the birds

    Coil's Queens of the Circulating Library, in all its wierdness, strikes me as somehow peculiarly English. You have to hear it to get the full impression, because this is boundary music, electronica of the very edge. But somehow, here, the edge feels like an ancient green woodland.

    Perhaps those words do it, "The forest is a college, each tree a university ". I could live with them for hours, and have been doing since World Serpent sent me a copy of Coil Live One. And reading Ackroyd's Albion probably got me into this frame of mind, too. His book surveys those things which are at the origins of the 'English Imagination' and the very first chapter is devoted to The Tree. English art/lore has always been cast among trees, from Druidic rituals through Robin of Sherwood, to D.H.Lawrence's expressed desire, in 1922: "I would like to be a tree for a while."

    Trees speak "the ghostly language of the ancient earth" (Wordsworth); woods are "places of refuge and sanctuary" (Ackroyd). And so, in more sense than one, as Coil express, they contain libraries of deep knowledge..... (er, discuss....)