Sunday, March 27, 2005

Review of the Urban Hermitt’s Fanzine #18

by Steve Kostecke
The zine can be had for $3 cash at:
The Urban Hermitt
POB 460412
San Fran CA 94146

In case you’re not enlightened, the Hermitt regularly puts out a zine which describes his unbelievably adventurous and happenin’ life, usually set in way-liberal settings like Hawaii or the Pacific Northwest. This time around, he astounds us with an issue that describes his road tour (as spoken word artiste) with a punk Scottish Oi! band (not “boy band”) and a group of anti-monkey-lab-testing activists. And as if that isn’t unique enough, everything about this journey through America outdoes itself. The shows they perform at—from Texas through the South, the East, and the Midwest—are full of black-hearted skinheads who either boo our beloved Hermitt, give him the dreaded slow death-clap, or throw various harmful projectiles towards his person. How he manages to climb the stage for each performance is beyond human comprehension.

Even though his art is trashed time and time again, the Urban Hermitt keeps at it, as a true word-artist should. This zine reveals a slice of life of a real American poet.

Even with so much working against him, the Hermitt keeps the humor up. Every page is filled with laughs and smirks. Like when he gets sick:

“Where are you going?” Peter asked me as I tried to sneak across the street to the hospital.
“Yeah Hermitt, where are you going?” Braxton asked in his cocky-British accent.
“Ok! I’m going across the street to get antibiotics at the hospital becuz I have strep throat,” I said, on the defense. It was the West Coast liberals versus the West Coast liberals.
“I can’t fawking believe you, Hermitt!” Braxton yelled.
“Cuz I’m like…dying?”
“Why are you getting evil corporate animal torturing drugs and you’re on this fawking tour?”
“It’s all relative.”
“No it’s not Hermitt! And what about the monkeys? What about the fawkin’ monkeys? You disgust me Hermitt! I regret letting you on this tour!”
I had nothing to say back, just some eye rolls. Guilt tripped by the liberals, I didn’t get antibiotics and continued to go on dying.

The Hermitt also digs deep, as usual, in his perceptions of the world around him (his writing is one natural flow of organic expression interpreting the social phenomena constantly bombarding him). Here’s what he says while at an arrival gate at an airport:

At the airport, a flight from London landed … There were loads of Arabic families walking through the gate, mothers completely covered in black veils taking care of the children. Fathers in suits, acting as if they ruled over their wives.
“Man, that’s so sexist and messed up,” I thought to myself. “Those women being covered up!”
But then a bunch of Euro-white ladies came through the gate. They too took care of the children while their husbands in business suits or polo shirts acted like they were ruler of the wife. The thing that I began to notice was that the Euro-white ladies were no more different than the Arabic ladies. Instead of a black veil, they had shaved legs, make-up, “feminine” hair doos, and pink clothing. Sure, maybe some of them chose and liked to be that way, but not all of them. Just another prison in exchange for another.

So if you want to know “what’s up on the 24/7 in the ’99, yo!” in American Lit, you better get your hands on a copy of this zine—and all previous issues, for that matter. The Hermitt’s writing is one of the clearest cases why underground writing makes corporate lit look long dead and gone.