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I took the tube to Bethnal Green and walked up Cambridge Heath Road to the canal, then turned right into Andrews Road. It was familiar territory and I suppose that was one of the reasons I'd accepted the invitation I'd received to meet the Goddess of Spam. I knew there wasn't a unit 666 on the 6th floor of Regent Studios because I'd been to a few openings at the Five Years Gallery which occupied unit 66 in the same building. In as far as I'd thought the matter through, I'd filed the email invitation I'd received in my head as an art prank, and fully expected to end up in the Five Years Gallery, or else to simply find it closed in which case I planned to nip around the corner into Broadway Market, a locale that had taken over from Hoxton Square as the hip place to be some time previously.

I've never been religious or even particularly superstitious, in fact my real interest is cyber porn, since my live art is based on descriptions of digital pornography rendered into a traditional story telling format. It was through this interest in porn that I'd come into contact with the Goddess of Spam, who'd informed me that if I came to one of her 'store front' revival meetings I'd discover  desires I'd been keeping secret even from myself. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let me try to start this story at the beginning. On an Australian porn site I came across an embedded YouTube film of a girl called Roxy. She was fully dressed and laughing as she frolicked on a fallen tree in a wood, rubbing her crotch against the log and licking the bark. I'd never seen anything like this and Roxy was clearly having fun. At the end of this video there was a url - http://www.myspace.com/roxyporn - so I decided to give it a whirl and typed it into my browser. What I found on Roxy’'s MySpace profile was pretty crazy:

"My name is Roxy AKA Tree Hugger. I like sex with trees 'ding dong' lol... moving on. For all those who DON'T know me... I love loud music, dancing in the rain, sunsets, the beach, shiny things and trees. I can't live without my friends & trees, sprinkles, vanilla and bubblegum ice cream, my phone, my trees, bright colours, trees and hugs. I love to lie down and look at the stars. I love the sound and smell of the ocean. Summer is my favourite season, the sights, the smells, the sounds...  the promise of adventure, frolicking in trees at night and more kisses make me smile..."

Roxy's grasp of English grammar may not have been perfect, but she looked hot and her page contained loads of horny pictures. She was shown time and again frolicking in trees, and there were also several embedded films of Roxy getting raunchy with Mother Nature! However what really intrigued me was the fact that Roxy seemed to be part of a network of self-described 'tree sex girls' on MySpace. I checked some of the others out. Most had posted photos and films of themselves getting intimate with trees, and all of them wrote about their tree lust.

18 year old Ellen from the United States announced that she’d like to meet: "Non-judgemental people with dirty minds. Hot guys. I'd also like to meet my pop, my mom met him in a bar and made out with him out back. She doesn't have a picture of him or know his name…. Oh and I'd like to meet a lot of guys who ain't my pops for fun times…"  Alex, a 28 year old Slovenian described herself as: " …a realistic romantic idealist into tree sex. I'm happy most of the time, how could I not be as I'm a pretty lucky girl... I know that tree sex can save the planet…" Forest Frottage was a 23 year old air hostess from London who liked nothing better than to: " …jump on my pony and ride deep into the dark woods where I rub my crotch against a variety of rough surfaced trees. I also like to exchange stories and fantasies about forest frottage of this type online. Tree sex is safe sex - try it and you'll love it!"

It would take too long to describe all the girls in the MySpace tree sex network, but just to give you an idea of its extent there was also 27 year old Selene from the Ukraine and Mary in the United States who was 45. I must say I became a little suspicious about the fact that all these girls appeared to be online at the same time, and concluded they were probably all figments of the same person's imagination. But if unreal was the new real, it was the Goddess of Spam profile that all the tree sex girls had in their top friends that really pushed the envelope in terms of believability.

"I am the Goddess of Spam, I love spam... Every morning I open my mail box and it is filled with the greatest literary gems being created around the world today. Spam is post-modern poetry. Spam is the modernist dream of a continuously reinvented culture realised in complete actuality. Spam is better than all the classics of world literature put together, it is better than art or cinema or music. It is almost better than sex... Love life, love spam!"

Well as you might imagine I instantly considered The Goddess of Spam to be a total groove sensation; and I guess deep down I was hoping that she'd turn out to be as hot in the flesh as she was online – and I had no idea what she looked like since she used as her profile pictures a kitsch poster for the 1950s B movie "She Gods of Shark Reef". I didn't have a MySpace account but I was so taken with the Goddess of Spam that I set one up as Spam Boy and used it to riff on the sadness of fan boys. But I'm happy to report that I wasn't blue for very long because within minutes of me making a request for a friend add, the Goddess of Spam not only granted it and posted the following comment:

"A lot of spam emails are actually encrypted spy communications. To disguise the intended recipient, the encoded message is sent to a shed load of people as spam, and then the spy, who knows how to decode the message, can claim that they were simply spammed like everyone else. Everything from the phrases, spaces, and spelling of the words can be used to hide information.  So really you are just getting to eavesdrop in on someone else's conversation that wasn't meant for you, and that you can't understand. There's sometimes a little freedom in the chaos that makes it into your inbox."

I was hooked and shortly afterwards when the Goddess private messaged me with an invitation to her Regent Studio meet, I was walking on air. When I arrived at the sixth floor I noticed an A4 sheet of paper taped to the wall with the words '666 this way' beside a crudely drawn arrow. I don't know the number of the unit I entered because an equally crude paper sign had been taped over the original designation. There were perhaps two dozen people in the small room and voodoo drum patterns boomed from a beat box. The Goddess of Spam turned out to be a slim and rather attractive white male in his mid-forties who'd donned a blonde wig and was wearing a skimpy black dress and high heels.

"Tonight," the Goddess of Spam told me, "you must drink and concentrate on the rhythms of the music. If you do that, then before you leave here you will discover what you most deeply believe in and desire."

What I was attending felt more like a party than a religious ceremony, and by the time I'd drunk several bottles of sweet red wine I'd forgotten the real reason for my presence at the event. During the course of the evening I'd become intimate with a girl who looked remarkably like the photos on the Forest Frottage MySpace profile and we decided to leave together. When I turned to say goodnight to our 'hostess' something incredible happened. I saw one of Andy Warhol's silk screen portraits of Jackie Kennedy materialise on the Goddess of Spam's forehead. There was an electrifying judder of recognition as I realised that all my adult life I'd coveted an original painting by Andy Warhol, and that the only thing I really believed in was culture. The Goddess of Spam had enabled me to obtain a conscious awareness of what deep down I already knew: ART WILL SAVE THE WORLD!

Next piece: Art Is Dead, Burn The Museums Baby!

Previous piece: Heading for the Texas Border

Level 2 Gallery Project



colour field by Stewart Home
This story is a response to the Illuminations exhibition theme of belief. For further information go to Level 2.