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The Shit of God (1996): I Am Amused that I Will Have to Censor the Title of the Book to Post This Review at Amazon

Diamanda Galás, The Shit of God (High Risk Books, 1996)

 

photo credit: goodreads

“I got two turntables and a… DAMMIT, I got it backwards again!”

Printing a book of song lyrics and marketing it as poetry is a very risky proposition indeed. In my experience, maybe 20% of them work intermittently. I’ve only ever encountered one that worked from first page to last, Nick Cave’s now woefully long out-of-print King Ink. (Cave’s novels, by the by, are equally enchanting and come highly recommended at Goat Central.) The Shit of God, which covers Diamanda Galás’ work from the earliest days (“Wild Women with Steak Knives”) to Schrei X, is one of those books that works intermittently. About half of this is excellent stuff, and if you are familiar with Galás’ recordings, you’ll know which half. If you’re not, hit youtube and search on “galas plague mass” without the quotes. (Start with “Cris d’Aveugle” and “Confessional”, preferably in that order.) But then you get to the later stuff, Schrei X etc., and, well…

“OK GO
OK GO
OK GO
OK GO
OK OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
OK
O
O
O
O…”
(from “Hee Shock Die”, 106)

Kind of makes me long for the bits in “Confessional” where instead of attempting to transcribe, they just put “[TONGUES]”. They’re horrifying in the best way when you listen to them. Transcribed, well, you can see the result.

Definitely worth having for existing fans of Galás’ work. Those as yet unfamiliar are strongly advised to start with the CDs (kick things off with Plague Mass and Vena Cava, then go with the original trilogy and the album with John Paul Jones, and work your way outwards from there) before picking this up. ** ½

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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