Between the ordering and the arriving, I had some time to wonder about the enignatic title and cover of the new book Europa My Mirror. The crude melting organ drawing and the three color stripes, vaguely French but possibly also evoking the flag of some smaller European country like Luxembourg – would this be some kind of origins book, tracing the keyboard-lineage to an obscure forgotten European corner of the ancestral Quintron/Miss Pussycat heritage? Or maybe a Euro-romance novel? Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque hard-boiled New Orleans party-crime tell-all? What kind of book could sprout from Quintron’s wild, audacious brain, the inventor of the Drum Buddy (a ‘light-activated oscillating drum machine’/ theremin that has to be seen and heard to be believed) and the mysteriously soothing Weather Warlock (a synthesizer controlled by the natural elements (barometric pressure, humidity, light, etc); the psychic-fingered goblin-tamer who has brought unbridled joy to thousands with his fried-out Cadillac-grill-fronted hybrid organ and his magic songs: what twisted narrative would flow from this fevered mind?
I soon found out: masquerading as a tour journal, Europa begins with bad food and street-crime in Barcelona, and with a mission statement to explore the bad times only: “Broken down on the side of the road with no clothes and a dull spear is where all worthwhile tales begin.” Vibrantly illustrated throughout with awesomely fucked-up scrawly scruffs of the brilliant Miss Pussycat aka Panacea Theriac, perhaps the foremost face-melting inflatable castle puppeteer IN THE WORLD, Europa veers perilously from encounters with prostitutes to police, crappy hotels to a hatred of Barry Hogan, from van wrecks to the rare, almost inadvertently positive assessment (like the Belgians’ “national desperation for sonic chaos and fleeting glimpses of oblivion.”) Peppered throughout are recurring enigmatic italicized bits of advice, like “Never make a set list and always avoid using reverb as a disguise,” and “Divide the lobster and we all win.”
After careening over the face of Europe through many ill-fated adventures, just when I thought I’d been completely off-base about the ‘origins’ idea of the book, Quintron actually does settle into some of his own ‘origins’ (albeit during an anecdote about being denied entry to Berghain, a notoriously finicky Berlin techno club): his being born in Germany, the early days in New Orleans, and his problems with defining where he’s “from”—especially in a way that might gain him access to the exclusive dance-club.
Europa My Mirror is a captivating read, it flies right by like binging a quick Netflix series. I wish it were longer, but sometimes a small fire burning in the great frozen wasteland of rock-and-roll literature is just what you need to take the edge off.
Order Europa, My Mirror here.