The British are evil: always have been, always will be. It’s well-documented gospel: Alistair Crowley, Bram Stoker, Mary Shelley, Robert Louis Stevenson, Jack the Ripper; The Empire, with their rotting crooked teeth, unilateral dress code, Masonic member-only clubs, imperialist sentimentality, heathen fox-hunting ritual, and sequestered thatch-roofed villages each boasting their own devil-worship cults and secret Nazi enthusiasts. Bloodthirsty aristocracy, with malformed siblings locked in dungeons, public school bullying and buggery, Ian and Christine Hamilton. True Evil is a posh affair: but what’s imbedded at the top trickles down through the masses. It duplicates. Becomes stupider and stupider as it’s replicated through the food chain, like some genetically modified Mini-Me: feral, uncontrollable, as cheap and knock-off as an Atomic Kitten cover-version. British Evilness is no longer a cultural affectation; what was once built on wit, intelligence, and breeding, is now a systematic gimpy deficiency. Mangled accents, Primark fashions, tasteless food, warm beer, The Daily Mail, reality TV, Will Young.
In a retarded and zombie-like society, concentrated patches of Evil still exist – though often unrecognised until it’s too late.The concept of the Evil Twin derives from pagan cultures, with similar legend spreading from the Far East to the Americas: two children born, one good, one wicked, day and night, yin and yang, the essence of nature. Some profane ritual ascribes extreme luck and magical powers to the event of twinning, and one particular Indo-European belief insisted upon the murder of twins at birth, fearing they would turn into monsters and later slay their parents. The Vikings held that original twins were born, and one killed and dismembered the other, spreading his parts to form the universe: one twin became the world, the other a violent blood-lusty god. It’s believed they brought this idea to Britain 2000 years before Christ. In 1996 scientists at the Roslin Institute in Scotland cloned Dolly the sheep, creating an intergenerational twin; they put her down eight years later, deeming her inferior and genetically flawed. In 1846, on the other side of the world, a wagon train of eighty-one men, women, and children, many British descendants became trapped in the heavy snows near Sierra, Nevada. Only half of the people survived, having resorted to cannibalism. This event became known as the infamous Donner Party. To best knowledge, there were no twins among them, but it’s likely evidence was masticated. In 1994, John Beagles met Graham Ramsay at El Halal’s Kebab Palace; they were eating Doners of unknown origin.
Though studies show that identical twins are twice as likely to develop same-sex orientation, Beagles and Ramsay aren’t gay. Rather their Pee-Wee Herman pastiness and rosy cheeks, panache for late 80s dress code and Top 40 music, £6 haircuts (short back and sides), SpecSavers super-sale glasses, and affected monosylabic speech – all characteristics which so markate the general British male population – are the result of a much disputed nuerological phenomenon. The psychological condition known as Twinning Reaction is characterised by a disproportionate, almost psychotic, familiarity and neediness between siblings. It is most often found in twins of the MZA, or identical variety. Characteristics include: co-identification as a singular entity (‘We’ instead of ‘I’), experience transferral (symptomatic sharing of injury and illness), the development of a private language, and psychic communication. Like old married couples, they grow inseparably into an entwined identity. However, unlike matrimony, it’s not a case of wanting to be with the other person, it’s a total identity confusion of being the other person. An anal stage fixation: the deification of the other, coupled with the inability to distinguish other from self.
Theophagy is a practice as old as time itself. Pre-Christian religions often participated in the consumption of God’s blood and body through the ritual human sacrifice of a deity substitute: vestal virgin or otherwise. It was believed that the offering would appease the God; consuming the sacrifice ensured an embodiment of the blessing and the deity’s mystical powers. The Christian practice of Eucharist is a symbolic continuation of this ritual. Other instances of cannibalism, however, can be founded in warrior rites (such as the fierce North American Sayonoga, who would eat the corpses of their rivals as a symbol of superiority; one final insult), and in instances of extreme hunger (ie the Uruguayan rugby team of 1972). Studies of poultry show that cannibalism can also be the result of the Urban Condition: often spurred on from overcrowding, poor lighting conditions, racial hatred (chickens will devour en masse minority fowl of differing colour/species), and plain meanness. Recent cases of sex-predator man-eaters perhaps reconcile the natural with the constructed: by-products of the deterioration of society, they feel they’ve symbolically and physically embodied their victims, through digestion they achieve the highest of penetrative satisfaction: ingestion as the ultimate super-fuck. On a more pragmatic level, the legend of Sweeney Todd, rogue barber and pie monger, is an inspiring force in British economy. He’s the concentrate amalgamation of Nicky Clark and Jamie Oliver: an icon of spendthrift, resourcefulness, and brand loyalty. In the New Evil era, his story, now a West End musical is always savoured with glee.
Britain is a country which takes pride in it’s heritage; Evil is by no means dead.
June 6, 2004. Midnight.
The warehouse lies anonymous in the shadowy back street, quiet and eerily still except for the scurrying rats and the faint stumbling footfalls of dissident drunks, their scabby pissy husks well-camouflaged in the East Glasgow grime. The omnipresent rain runs down the building’s greasy windows, some cracked, some boarded up. On the top floor at the back, overlooking the skip and piles of rubbish, is Beagles & Ramsay’s studio. There’s a light, dim and flickering.
Right on cue: the thunder rolls, lightening strikes. All of Glasgow is transformed to a neon greenish electric field, it’s violent current races as if drawn by some ungodly magnetic force into the makeshift antennae on the roof. Moments later, all returns to normal.
Shouts of “It’s ALIVE!” can be heard echoing for blocks.
Originally published in “Beagles & Ramsay Self-portraits 1997 – 2004” Chapter, Cardiff 2004.