GUEST POST/BOOK REVIEW
Rick ACV.

Vukovar helmsman and burgeoning fiction writer Rick ACV has joined the Monolith Cocktail pool of collaborators this month with his review of a new upcoming alternative bio of the idiosyncratic Dan Treacy. Next month sees the blog serialise Rick’s latest book, Astral Deaths/Astral Lights, after previously featuring his last surreal esoteric tome The Great Immurement.

‘Dreamworld Or: the fabulous life of Dan Treacy and his band The Television Personalities’ by Benjamin Berton (Ventil Verlag) 29th July 2022

To start at the end and then to end at the start – The life of Daniel Treacy of The Television Personalities is, nor was, a fabulous one, except seemingly near the start of it. Though his life is not yet over, Daniel’s story very nearly is. The last passage of ‘Dreamworld’ deals with this truth indelicately and head-on but transformed; made poignant & bittersweet in a mono-no-aware fashion through surreal storytelling rather than recounting of actual events. This is a common mode throughout Dreamworld and works all the better for it. Fans of the TVPs are not oblivious to their obscurity and the lack of documented history, not to mention Treacy’s constant disappearances (homelessness, prison time etc.) and lack of public ‘limelight’ since the mid-90s. To therefore have written Dreamworld as a straightforward biography would have been dull. Dull and incredibly short.

Instead, Benjamin Berton mixes cold-light-of-the-day fact with fiction. Or a bending of fact. The lines are blurred, it is sometimes clumsily done (perhaps due to the translation) but even then it still provides an interesting take on what, to those unaware of Treacy & TVPs, could be an unremarkable story – musician starts band, band doesn’t quite make it big, man has drug problems, drug problems cause life problems et sic. To further this strange take on a biography, along with the surreal passages, Berton invents his own dialogue between the pro/antagonists when recounting ‘real’ times and tales from Treacy’s past, and this is all done in present tense. What happens, then, is the reader is transported through little time warps to actually be THERE and THEN and experience it all first hand but through a haze. Like remote viewing. At times, it is extraordinarily visceral. 

The aforementioned surreal passages will not be spoiled here. They may sometimes be clumsy & the humour within somewhat strange and stilted, yes, but they are clever & cutting, and deeply touching. Much like the music of Dan Treacy and The Television Personalities himself and themselves. Watch out for Geoffrey Ingram. Dreamworld jumps backwards and forwards through different times, from different angles (much like Mr Ingram’s archival footage…), which keeps the book jittery and from ever losing steam. All of this adds up to a book that should be sought out even by people who have never heard of its subject matter. 

A lot is made of the ‘spirituality’ of Treacy’s music throughout and his own personal approach to life. I would suggest more esoteric & metaphysical. What endeared this book to me more was the strange ‘psychic’ links I encountered while reading. Whether it be people I actually know, similar experiences or topics that I had been discussing with other people that very day, the pages constantly vomited up coincidences, right from the off with Jimmy Page, Satanism and a certain place and a certain reaction. It would be foolish to recommend the book based on something as personal, but it is perhaps the strange style in which it is written that allows for this sort of reaction. I finished reading this on Syd Barrett’s birthday. Fans of Treacy will recognize the relevance. 

Although the book seems well researched and v v v informed – sometimes even poetic in its recalling of facts – there are some inconsistencies so cannot be relied upon totally as a factual history. (For example – there is a section about a band and a singer I know personally that is so bitter about them and so insulting and which I know most of the account to be untrue.) There are a lot of pictures and posters and photos in Dreamworld, which gives a great visual history. However, just because it isn’t a totally factually accurate history it does not mean it isn’t the truth. The Truth about someone is how they appear to other people, is the mythos around them, is the aura they give off, is something deeper than what day something happened or what words escaped their lips. The Truth is so much more important than The Fact. It is so much more entertaining, too. Invest yourself fully into Treacy & Berton’s Dreamworld for an Astral adventure. 

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