Victoria’s Solstice Cafe was the scene of an unholy revel last night (Friday, August 20) in honour of Howard Phillips Lovecraft’s 12oth birthday. Under a monstrous tentacled effigy with glowing light bulb eyes, a horde of shambling forms howled “Ia, Cthulhu fhtagn!” Impresario and mc Skawt Chonzz (a fun guy from Yuggoth) introduced a legion of poets, musicians and other performers who declaimed shocking poetry and chanted eldritch prose to the frenzied audience. The thin whining of an accursed flute (actually a tin whistle) was heard, but I missed the rattle of obscene crotala.
The birthday cake was intended to look like the Necronomicon. It was certainly hard to read in the uncertain light, and was anyway devoured in short order. Costumes featured lots of tentacles, but Obed Marsh was there too, and Shub-Niggurath (“the Black Goat of the woods with a thousand young”), and a light-up version of Herbert West (not really!) There was a lively trivia contest and the evening wound up with a showing of David Prior’s short film AM1200, in which a man on the run ends up in a very strange place, doing unspeakable things.
Highlights for me were a reading of HPL’s “Nyarlathotep” by a sexy-voiced fellow, a plaintive song of a Cthulhu-worshipper performed by the multi-talented Mr. Chonzz with guitar accompaniment, and the film, which is truly creepy.
I don’t know what HPL would have made of this birthday party. He would definitely have approved of the fact that no alcohol was served; the proceedings were fueled by organic coffee and tea and the inherent enthusiasm of the participants. But HPL wasn’t really a party animal, and I found myself thinking a couple of times that it all might have been too much for him, and in the end he would have run shrieking into the night.