Per Angusta Ad Augusta

Per Angusta Ad Augusta is written under the persona, greykeeper, and delivered through dual tongue. While an accumulation of both light and shade, this character leans heavily towards the latter, to cater for those with a hankering for prose of a darker persuasion.

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Porcupine Tree “Way Out of Here”

“Perhaps it’s good for one to suffer. Can an artist do anything if he’s happy? Would he ever want to do anything? What is art, after all, but a protest against the horrible inclemency of life?”

Aldous Huxley

It’s ultimately all a question of perspective. Like any nugget of philosophy, the above quote is very much open to interpretation. Can an artist do anything if they’re happy? Yes. But it’s certainly useful to have suffered previously. And no doubt, art can be very much a protest against the horrible inclemency of life. However, it can also be a grand celebration of it. There is great wisdom to extract from this astute 20th-century statement. But mankind has endured a number of mutations since it was first published and, while that may make us sound like botched Nazi experiments, hindsight need not necessarily hinder the human race. After all, we’re becoming harder, better, faster right? Granted, some of us have been known to grow dafter. But we’re constantly evolving, one way or the other.

And here’s the thing. You see, while any suffering undertaken has unquestionably bled through into our chosen art, we do not entertain malice. Far too content being docile, well-mannered, and grateful for the incalculable gifts the universe has provided us. As greykeeper, we assume our most primal form and see no reason to mince words as they originate from our deepest souls. That being said, said souls are infinite and also accommodate our other more retiring alter ego, rabbitlion. When you choose to be an artist or, as the case was with us, it chooses you; you set out to create little pieces of you and allow your subconscious to play an active role in splashing to canvas. The results can be truly extraordinary, to the point where you simply have to ask yourself – “did that just come out of little old me?”, knowing full well the answer, subconsciously at least. How delightfully ironic.

Let’s be frank. Some of our output would be easily construed as mean-spirited and uncompromising. Not misconstrued as we very much intend to transport our readership down the darkest of alleyways, both metaphorical and otherwise. But here’s the thing – we are on the journey right alongside you. Given that our subconscious plays such a significant part in the process, we’re no more in the know than you, half the time. And besides, if there are dark shadows to lounge within, then we want to be in on the action too. This has always been the Rivers of Grue way – if we do this, then we do this together. Feel every twinge, heal each wound, and who knows, maybe just learn a thing or two about ourselves and the great human condition in the process. We’re not nearly as bitter as some of our prose might suggest, not even in a nearby onion field. Brutal honesty has beautiful connotations, once you perfect the art of cherry-picking.

You know. Savor the waxy sweetness and spit out the hard candy in the centre, should you find it lodges in your throat. Should you be feeling particularly hardcore and appreciate that greykeeper are branded devils at nobody’s peril as we live our lives by the code of cosmic karma; then you’re in for the same hellish delight we are as we strap in at commencement. Once the rollercoaster gains momentum, there will no doubt be turbulence and the odd sharp twist just to keep those lunches bunched up in your bloated cheeks. If you have to puke, then try to respect the other passengers and send some their way. And, once we arrive at our destination, hopefully a dash more disheveled than upon entry, we can get straight down to slapping our thighs and queuing back up for another six-minute hell ride.

What we are saying in earnest is that the greykeeper experience is designed to be precisely that – an experience. We crave the implication of all of your functioning senses and this is why both audio and live readings are often included for the full-on jamboree. Not always as less is also prone to amounting to more and certain works are best taken in through naked prose alone. But every piece we create is different from the last and there are numerous ways to revisit them. From conception to arrangement – they form one long flowing gown, made up of an infinite number of diamonds from our deepest souls. The quill and brush hath mythical properties, but it is the eyes which instruct them. And there is a fair bit inexplicable about the manner in which they command the carnage, so to speak. The only way we need to know how.

To those who have seen us through the transition from grey and keeper to greykeeper, we are eternally grateful and charmed by your wondrous perception and unshakable faith. To those who may have lost sight, nothing but love to you also. Who knows? One of you may just read this and see that we aren’t nearly as nefarious as our darker outings might suggest, somewhat forcefully. Feel free to peruse between the lines as every dark fusion is multi-layered and there are waxen cherries galore for those of a more inquisitive disposition. Ultimately, like with all good art, we’d adore for you to arrive at your own conclusions. We are certainly not for everyone, an acquired taste if you will. But we are true, real, sincere and crystalline in our desire to embrace the freedom that is expressive art. And possess not a solitary bad bone or cruel intention.

We are good people. With big bloody hearts. And no ill-feeling whatsoever harbored towards another. Cosmic karma sees us good there and we genuinely wish nothing but peace and enlightenment for all those whose paths have crossed with our own, regardless of any blood that may have spilled. It always was about the bleed. And Grueheads just so happen to do so together most handsomely. We may camp out in some reasonably seedy locales on occasion, but we are pure zen and nothing twiddles our pleasure controls more maniacally than spreading that particular bounty. Thank you most sincerely for taking this six-minute trip with us this day and we hope to see you strapped back into the big twister again soon. One thing we can guarantee. We’ll be right there alongside you. Going back to the opening quote – Perhaps it’s good for one to have suffered. For artists can do anything if they’re happy. Kind of a dainty way of closing, don’t you think?

Richard Charles Stevens

Keeper of The Crimson Quill

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