Thursday, August 28, 2008

The art of selling your soul

There's a venerable tradition of artists, musicians and other creative types selling their souls for supernatural talents and/or commercial success. The poet Robert Graves went cap in hand to Diana, the rather crotchety old Goddess of the Moon, and begged her for inspiration, even at the cost of his soul. Robert Johnson is remembered as one of the most extraordinary blues guitarists of all time, but the price he had to pay, if you believe the legend echoed in songs like 'Hellhound on My Trail' and 'Me and the Devil Blues', was the gifting of his soul to the Prince of Darkness.

Graves' gradual descent into a madness disguised as senility and Johnson's violent death at a shockingly young age ought to point towards the dangers of soul-selling, but they haven't been enough, it seems, to deter Bill Direen, the Kiwi music legend and prolific poet and novelist who has been a frequent subject of dicussion on this blog. A few days ago, for reasons that are still obscure, to me at least, Bill decided to offer his soul for sale. Robert Johnson rendeszvoused with the Lord of Flies at a lonely Mississippi crossroads, and Robert Grves wandered about howling through the nights of Majorca looking for Diana, but Bill decided he'd prefer meet potential buyers online, and thus advertised his 'Soul in very good condition' on the ever-popular Trademe website.

If the following e mail is any indication, though, Bill's plans have run into a bureaucratic brick wall:

Dear William,

Your listing for SOUL IN V. GOOD CONDITION Listing no. 173064528 has been withdrawn. It's come to our attention that you may not be in possession of one or more following items you're selling on Trade Me:
173064528

All items listed on our site must be in the seller's physical possession at the time they create their listing.

Our listing policies are explained in more detail on the following page:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Help/Topic.aspx?help_id=516

To learn more about your obligations as a seller please review our terms and conditions:

http://www.trademe.co.nz/Help/Topic.aspx?help_id=143

Please ensure that you're in physical possession of all items before you list them on Trade Me. We appreciate your cooperation with this request.

If you have any questions or require further clarification of this policy please let us know.

Regards,

Trade Me Customer Support


As someone who has seen Bill Direen bang out his achingly beautiful '80s Flying Nun classic 'Alien' to a packed house at the Masonic Hotel at three in the morning, I have no doubt that the man has has soul. For that reason, I'm happy for punters, human and supernatural alike, to place their bids in the comments box under this post. I just Bill knows what he's letting himself in for...

3 Comments:

Blogger Richard Taylor said...

Is Bill reading too much Goethe or Marlowe lately?

When the chips were down - all was not lost - Charlie Chaplin - cold and miserable and struggling in the Yukon Gold Rush - made soup by boiling his boots.

Young people today should all learn how to boil their boots - it is hard work but it helps the environment and encourages commitment, the sale of boots, thriftiness, leatheriness, values, patriotism, and self reliance - all wonderful Kiwi values.

In fact every one should be made to boil their boots -

it is good for the soul(s)...

11:49 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We won't forget you either Mister Hamilton.

Beelzebub

5:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Or you either Mister Cross

6:56 pm  

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