John Boyle


John Boyle...Noise Musician

"For me, the entertainment industry barely exists. Entertainment attempts to take people away from the life experience, and my job as an artist is to intensify the life experience for myself and for those people who care to observe or accompany me. Similarly, performance interests me little. It smacks of crowd control and manipulation of people. My music involves a negation of craft as a means toward free exploration of sound. In order to play my music one cannot possess conventional musical skill or knowledge. In this sense it is truly nihilistic. My music is unrepeatable, except by mechanical means, and is thus true to the nature of aural experience. Things are heard once, just as moments are lived once. I prefer to make or have made my instruments because, due to my lack of craftsmanship, my instruments are unlikely to transport me or my audience into the realm of conventional music."

Since 1965, John Boyle has been a member of THE NIHILIST SPASM BAND of London, Ontario, playing electric kazoo, electric thumb piano and drums. The NSB has recorded variously for Artscanada, Toronto, Allied Records, Toronto, United Dairies, London, England, Chymic Productions, Montreal, The Music Gallery, Toronto, and currently for Alchemy Records, Osaka, Japan. For over 30 years, Boyle has toured with the NSB in Canada, playing such venues as L'Obscure, Quebec, le Musee des Beaux Arts and Les Foufounes Electriques, Montreal, The National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa, The Art Gallery of Ontario, and such clubs as The Spadina, The Rivoli, and The Cameron in Toronto, and on numerous university campuses. Today The Nihilist Spasm Band plays every Monday night from 10:30p.m.-1:30a.m. at The Forest City Gallery on Dundas Street East in London, Ontario, Canada. Internationally, the NSB has played at the Musee d'Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, the Galerie de France, Paris, a live concert on Radio France, and in London, England at the Institute of Contemporary Arts. In March of 1996, Boyle toured with the NSB in Japan, playing to sold out clubs and theatres in Tokyo at Club La Mamma, in Osaka at the Myuse Theatre, and in Kyoto at Club Takutaku, by way of launching the re-release on cd of the NSB's Allied, United Dairies and Music Gallery lp's, along with their Artscanada flexidisc. While in Japan, the NSB did prolonged interviews for several large circulation magazines such as Music and Studio Voice, and made an appearance on the popular musical variety television programme Tomori's World of Music with a viewership in excess of 5 million. There was also a 3 hour Alchemy recording studio session. Alchemy plans to release a Nililist Spasm Band Live in Japan cd in early 1997. The Nihilist Spasm Band will play the international Sound Symposium in Saint John's, Newfoundland, July 13-19, incl., 1996.

Boyle has played solo Kazoo at various locations in Canada and in Czechoslovakia in Prague and Blansko, and has accompanied poet Dennis Tourbin at the Music Gallery in Toronto, and at Odille Hellier's Village Book Store in Paris. He has recorded the solo kazoo soundtrack of his art video Brucelosis, 1988, and contributed a solo kazoo selection for the Handstrument/Instrumains double cassette box set of STAMP*AXE of poste 109, station "C", Montreal, Canadada, H2L 4J9, 1990.

John Boyle...Writer

"As a writer, I specialize in fauve-like humanist explorations into the phenomenon of the peripherality of artistic expression in the neo-colonial culture. As with my music, I am not interested in transporting my readers to an imaginary world peopled by fleshed-in believable characters who reveal universal truths through symbolism in the unfurling of an orderly and complete story. I must also confess to a particular distaste for postmodern acolytes and their parodically mimetic historiographic metafictions, and for the fascism of political correctness. It is evidence of my own experience and perception that I endeavour to excavate in my writing, with the hope of permitting a glimpse into my existential space. In Canada I seek and am freely granted the void of the margins for my literary explorations."

John Boyle has been writing fictional prose, essays, prose poems, political diatribes, and novelesque texts since 1954. Many of these pieces have been published in small Canadian literary journals over the years, including Alphabet, Artscanada, is, Writing, 20 Cents, Twelve Mile Creek, Parachute, Region, This Magazine, The Idler, Soundings, and Carot. In 1995 he published his first novel, NO ANGEL CAME, The Tellem Press, Ottawa, 176 pages, ISBN 1-895286-02-6, $15.95, Can., distributed by Marginal Distribution, 277 George St. N., Unit 103, Peterborough, Ont., Canada K9J 2G9 phone/fax 1-705-745-2326, E-Mail Address: No Angel Came was selected the "Editor's Choice" by Toronto's Globe and Mail, and received reviews ranging from raves of brilliance to vilification, usually on the grounds of political correctness. It has been declared an underground "classic" by writer/poet David McFadden. Also available from Marginal as above is JOHN B. BOYLE THE CANADOLOGY SERIES 1988-1993, The Tom Thomson Memorial Art Gallery, 1994, $10.00, Can., ISBN 0-929021-12-6, 42 pages, 7 b&w, 17 colour reproductions of paintings, 16 texts by John Boyle, one essay by Dr. Peter Denny. Boyle is currently working on a second novel exploring the creative processes of the artist trapped within the periphery

John Boyle...Fine Artist (Painter)

"I have been painting seriously since 1960, and full time and professionally since 1968. Formal theory of stylistic innovation has held only marginal interest for me. Nor have I been impressed with postmodernist transliteralists who are concerned mainly with usurping the creative prerogative of the artist. I am fascinated by invention, although I am not particularly good at it myself. What I have to offer that is unique is my personal existential experience, and my insights derived therefrom. The accident of birth has placed me within a culture that has always been colonial and imitative of its colonial masters, in recent centuries Britain, France, and now the United States of America. Most people on earth live outside the great cultural centres, and they contribute nothing by imitating trends in those centres. By exploring the cultural imperatives of the meta-subculture of the periphery by means of my own particular experience living in Southwestern Ontario, Canada, surrounded by the largest freshwater seas in the world, and inundated from birth in the effluvia, cultural and otherwise of the United States, I hope to find truths comprehensible to people living anywhere.
Nancy Poole's Studio
att'n Joan Martyn
16 Hazelton Avenue
Toronto, Ontario,
Canada M5R 2E2
Tel: (416) 964-9050
Thielsen Galleries
att'n Jens Thielsen
1038 Adelaide St. N.
London, Ontario,
Canada N5Y 2M9
Tel: (519) 434-7681


John Boyle, canadologist


In winter, then as now, everything is black and white deep in the forest, though the greys between can be every shade and hue. Each December twenty-first, Canadians would celebrate the end of the season of colour and the beginning of the season of black and white and myriad greys with the rite of winter solstice. Singly they stole, by the light of the moon, naked, into the depths of the forests to their birth tree, a tree selected at birth to be theirs and theirs alone, repository of their spirit, giver of energy, keeper of the secret. The exact nature of the rite is not known. Often keepers of the rite did not emerge from the groves till dawn. There were occasionally cases of mortality in severe weather, the supplicants found bonded to their sacred tree. In later years the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Secret Service made concerted efforts to stamp out the practice with indifferent results.


In high summer a strange malaise would seize the Canadian peasantry and gentry alike. The bonds of family and affection would be apparently retrograded by the heat, the humidity and, some say, the deconstructive influence of the omnipresence of the colour green. People forsook the tranquillity of domestic life and the security of industry, and took sometimes to the fields but more often to the umbral forests where the ancient spirits of the land dwelt. Imprecations were hurled, husband against wife, mother against son, accusations levelled, family against family, neighbour against neighbour. Fulminatory ululations were heard across the land. Weapons were taken to hand, and battle was done. Women and children whirled in the grip of bellicosity. Blows were struck, missiles thrown, wounds taken, death threats spat.

But in nearly every instance reason was restored to some. Sons pacified incensed fathers. Clubs were lifted in anger and chains were rattled like sabres, but calm voices coaxed them into a grumbling silence. The police were called, but nearly always arrived too late to inflame the situation. There was a grudging division of property, an irreparable parting of the ways. Then life resumed its uneventful and quiet normalcy. New liaisons eventuated, and there was peace in the fields and forests.

All this happened in the season of the giant puffball mushroom.


The charnel rites of Canadians are shrouded in mystery. It is known that the bodies of the dead lay in state where possible for a period of three days, during which time there was nearly constant lamentation, interspersed with some libation, and with liturgical incantations spoken by priests. The deceased were then solemnly carried into a sanctified corner of the forest, placed in sarcophaguses fortified against the ravages of worms, and interred among the roots of the ancient grove. Over the graves were placed intricately sculpted yet austere markers of stone, bronze or wood, inscribed with the names of the dead, the dates of birth and death, a suitable laudatory epitaph or poem, and often a symbolic image like a hand pointing heavenward, reclining lambs, floral patterns, or hands clasped as in greeting or parting. Rarely did anyone, according to the inscriptions on these monuments, descend to Hell, though the predominant religions warned of a fiery Hell of eternal torments for transgressors, leading us to believe that Canadians rarely transgressed. Following the interment, an encomium was spoken over the grave, and the stones and bronzes were left to rise and roll with the push of forest growth until eventually they had to be sought out among the underbrush along little used paths.


Although there is no record of an established religion in the lost nation of Canada, there were formal laws and tenets said to have been handed down by a supernatural power in the south. These commandments were issued in the mists of pre-history, but later written down and preserved in a great floating ark in the shape of an elongated egg, which would penetrate the ether at spasmodic intervals and apparently random locations throughout the land as a constant reminder to the population that they lived under the law and authority of the Ark of the Continent, so named, it is thought, after the first law: the law of continence. This law of absolute chastity was no doubt a contributing factor to the eventual disappearance of the Canadian nation, though it is well documented that the law was flauted by nearly everyone in daily life. Indeed the Canadians showed a propensity for irrational, severe and unenforcible laws accompanied by an unhappy determination to attempt their enforcement.

In the preamble to the tablets it was stated that all of the essential currents in the land did and must flow from the north to the south, while the Ark itself is known to have moved only from the south to the north. And the people fled in terror before its dreaded shadow, to the east and to the west.


There came a time in the history of the People when they fell increasingly under the sway of foreign powers to the point where they could no longer take momentous decisions unto and of themselves, having first to ascertain the attitude of the dominant lands. This circumstance came into being in such a gradual and piecemeal fashion that large numbers of the population were not even aware of their diminished potency, while those who were so informed could not understand how this state had come to be. But all knew they must not provoke the neighbouring lands to wrath, and all sensed that the ways of doing this were becoming legion. So that while they had all the trappings of government and could pass laws and decrees and orders-in-council enough to cover all the paper that then existed, or could exist, and more, and while they had police forces enough to see that the laws were obeyed, they could direct these laws only toward citizens who owed their first allegiance to their own land, and not to the foreign power, and towards matters that were of internal consequence only. Now as nearly every property and resource, nearly every industry and enterprise, nearly all of the service sector, the means of communication, the art forms and delivery systems, the great entertainment facilities, indeed nearly everything in the land was in the hands of the foreigners, it was not a task easily undertaken to identify and locate areas of jurisdiction. And as nearly all things that were in fact or were perceived to be evil in the nation had arrived from other shores unbidden, and as nearly all of the forces of division and destruction that were or were perceived to be rending the People and their institutions asunder were the result of the invasion of such forces from abroad, it was difficult to frame laws and proscriptions that might have purchase and effect. In fact, the only sector of society that remained beyond the scope of the extraterritorial potentates, and therefor within the grasp of the citizens interested in effecting change, was that of the production of the object d'art. Thus, there arose a certain intellectual puritanism accompanied by a kind of petty smugness that led to an Inquisitorial pedantism in the cottage arts, wherein clutches of self proclaimed arbiters of artistic integrity descended on every indigenous manifestation of creativity to pronounce on the correctness of the intentions of the artist. The scorn of their peers was usually enough to cow the miscreants. Ostracism was the ultimate punishment, and few could bear total and permanent isolation from the community. The result was an art that was either shamelessly imitative of foreign and therefor untouchable forms of expression, or na vely, timorously inward looking, a kind of scrupulous self examination without revelation.


Periodically the women would rise up against the unhappiness of their lot and would take "The Path Leading to the River". Thought to have originated as a withdrawal rite among native populations for pubescent girls, "The Path" evolved into a kind of "Coroboree" for women of all ages. As if at a signal, at ten year intervals, on the third Sunday in the month of May, all over the land, they would cease whatever activities in which they might be engaged and go, some carrying small children, some in ceremonial dress, some burdened with provisions, to the secret gathering places in the wilderness. There they would spend a week in the company of their kind, at first railing against the abuses and shortcomings of all men, and finally singing and celebrating the wonders of womanhood, the joy of communion and the power of the sorority. Ritual songs and dances varied from region to region, but the general intent and format was common to all. Most accounts indicate it was a happy time of liberation and empowerment. Their song would fly among the rock faces, and clouds of rising birds would arc and surge in harmony with the ebb and flow of the ceremonies. At the end of the week they would return singly to their homes carrying with them their new knowledge and strength.


Scatalogical evidence thrown up by the continental drift and deposited in the frigid depths of Western Brook Pond seems to corroborate folk references to the presence of Wood and Water Nymphs in this region. Most Canadologists agree that Nymphs of some type did in fact exist, and that they were perceived by the local inhabitants to be demi-gods. How they lived and what function they served is little understood. There are numerous instances where weary travellers reported hearing nymph-song in the forests, and many claimed that Nymphs could and did intervene supernaturally to save the lives of unfortunate misadventurers, or to play harmless tricks on wayfaring campers in the night. There are seamen's tales of blue and white lights playing over the stone bluffs when seen from a great distance out to sea on a clear night, thought to be cast by the campfires of the Nymphs. The tale of young Harry Doyle, the first Newfoundlander, carried off by the Nymphs, is told to this day. He is said to have married the queen of the Nymphs and begotten the line that would become the present population of the region. There have been no documented sightings of Nymphs at Western Brook Pond in recorded history.


The pink puffin was the national bird of Canada as it was found in all parts of the country, and apparently nowhere else on earth. It was much like the present day Atlantic puffin except that it was a bright vermilion from beak to tail feathers, and it was huge in stature, standing as tall as a man and weighing upwards of 100 kilograms at maturity. The pink puffin was a cliff dweller and fed primarily on fish and small marine mammals, which it would tear asunder with its powerful bill. While normally sedentary, the pink puffin was a formidable fighter if intruders encroached on its nesting territory. Legend had it that a party of fishermen seeking eggs was attacked by a pair of irate puffins. The men were found in their dory, apparently untouched except for gaping holes where their groins had been. They had all bled to death in their flight. From that day on, it was said that the puffins, still being advertised as the symbol of the Canadian nation, had got their distinctive colour from eating human genitalia. A concerted campaign of extermination was launched, and they were hunted to extinction. So powerful was the love/hate relationship Canadians had for the great pink birds, that when, many years after the last of the puffins was thought to have been killed, a small colony was located on a remote island, the people didn't hesitate to kill them all, making sure to save only two specimens for the taxidermist. The pink puffin adorned the coat of arms of ancient Canada, and its distinctive profile was imprinted on the coin of the realm. A clutch of pink puffin eggs has recently been found frozen in an ancient iceberg in the North Atlantic Ocean and containing spectacularly complete DNA material. We are very hopeful this find will lead eventually to important discoveries in our efforts to replicate the fauna of the Canadian period.


Uniquely among ancient or contemporary peoples, Canadians believed that the Earth or realworld existed somewhere outside of their own vast territory. The land on which they lived was considered a tertiary slag heap of the off-castings of Mother Earth, permitted to exist by the deities for an unrevealed end or through oversight. The fate of the land was determined by mysterious external forces. Dotting the landscape, generally considered hostile and drab by the inhabitants, there were small numbers of topographical features and formations of such evident magnificence and awesome power that they were deemed to be erratic deposits from the true Earth, and therefor linked to the divine forces of the universe. One site in particular, whose exact location has not yet been identified, was believed to be the original piece of the true Earth on which the first Canadians were transported from the great mysterious centre of all things. All of these sites were revered and respected by the People. No great temples were built. The holy places were left in their natural state. People came to them singly or in small groups from time to time, as the need arose, to ponder the enigmas of life, and to contemplate the world as it must have been before it came to Canada. Doubters believed these unusual land formations were merely the result of long past seismic events of great force, that they were composed of the same elements as made up the rest of the land, that their atypical aspects suggested false imaginings to the discontented of a better world that did not in fact exist.


At a place called Oka, they made cheeses, and in nearby Chteauguay, they made wines. Shards of wine bottles found at Chteauguay have been carbon dated to the period, and at Oka, nearly two hundred rounds of various cheeses have been found perfectly preserved in the shale. Canadians from all walks of life trekked from all parts of the land to acquire these goods. Foreigners came too, bringing tobacco and other exotic commodities to trade. Oka and Chteauguay became centres of trade with a large number of permanent residents and a thriving recreation industry for the visitors. The institution of the restaurant is believed to have been invented here. Pictographs portray structures that may have been either war machines used in sieges, or the ancient equivalent of amusement park rides: water slides, roller coasters, sporting centres, and the like. Although on the whole Canadians were a pacific people, weapons found in the area, and skeletal remains showing signs of violent physical trauma, do suggest that one or more great battles took place on the site. It is a matter of conjecture that the fighting may have been precipitated by the clash of cultures at this great crossroads of international trade. For the most part, peace reigned at Oka, and as is common on trade routes throughout history, many travellers sought not only amusement, but spiritual enlightenment, and Oka became home over the centuries to a number of important centres of religious study and proselytization.


The townsite of Oka was a centre for cheesemaking, and the nearby site of Chteauguay was the winemaking locus. Whole rounds of cheese, mostly fine cheddars have been unearthed, perfectly preserved in the claybeds by the river. Hundreds of metres beneath Chteauguay are layer upon layer of smashed wine bottles in and around the ruins of ancient wineries. The wines and cheeses were of the finest quality and were much prised by the people who came from all over the country to partake of them. Traders voyaged from abroad bringing exotic goods to exchange for the wine and cheese. The area became a recreational centre. Pleasure palaces were built for the rich. Life was a constant round of wine and cheese parties. Evidence of intermittent military activity has been uncovered, and two battlefields have been identified indicating, it has been postulated, that a foreign invasion was repulsed at the confluence of the mighty rivers. Another theory posits that force of arms was used against the indigenous inhabitants of the area, suggesting that Canada may have been, for a time, a police state. At this stage we are unable to make any causal connections between the militarism and the wine and cheese making.

CANADOLOGY: RAMASSAGE DANS LES LAURENTIDES a great cavern in the mountains excavated and refurbished so that it was like the finest palace of the most powerful monarch in the land. But there were no servants there, no guards, no acolytes, no company of any kind, for she lived entirely unto herself on her mountain. And although her body moved about in the chambers of the cavern or over the alpine meadows gathering berries and wild flowers, her mind dwelt in a different place, for she lived in a reverie of unreality. This place of her dreams was to her thinking even more beautiful to behold than the mountain whereon she lived, and this place, which she called Laurentia, was peopled only by steadfast statuesque friends and wild creatures that came at her bidding. There was no pestilence in Laurentia, no foul weather, no danger of catastrophe or unpleasant news, no strife, no stress, no possibility of failure or defeat, no fatigue, disappointment, grief, or death. In Laurentia she found a man of such beauty and sensitivity that she wept for joy each time she beheld him, and she loved him in body and in spirit, and when the time came, he carried her child within him to spare her the discomfort, and in due course a child of great beauty and intellect was born, who went happily off with her father to nurture and grow and to return at a time to her mother's liking. So life in Laurentia was bliss and happiness beyond endurance, and she began to feel a craving for some serendipitous event that might surprise her in a not too unpleasant way, that might give her a taste of sadness or pain or grief or selflessness without closing the door on her happy realm. No sooner had the thought taken shape in her head than she came upon what appeared to be a fallen stag. She called to it to rise, but it only swung its heavy head around, and she saw that its throat had been slit, and thick blood trickled from the wound and congealed in the matted fur. She screamed and stood back, for never before had she beheld such cruel suffering in Laurentia. She wished the stag gone, but it opened its guileless eyes to her and opened its mouth and spoke to her, saying: Do not be afraid, for what I do is not an evil or unpleasant thing. Come closer to me. Come without fear. Put your hand in my wound, and I will show you a new world as great and beauteous as Laurentia. Come. You need only look. And she stepped forward and knelt and slid her fingers into the warm viscosity of the stag's throat. She felt no fear as she looked into the limpid grey eyes of the dying animal, which began to shift and swirl like clouds in a boiling sky until they were filled with the image of another world. She felt no fear as she beheld a beautiful green mountain top, and blue mountains receding into the distance like waves on the ocean, and a vast cavern that gaped and revealed what seemed the home of a fairy princess, and the princess herself, tall and comely and....


... for twenty full days and twenty full nights in weather foul and fair, ill-clad, without food, and with only the water that fell on occasion from the heavens to drink, and on the dawning of the twenty-first day she awoke tremulous with cold and hunger and the fear of death, and beheld a green mountain rising before her. Vast it was in girth and towering even till it reached into the clouds, where the trees fell away, and there were wisps of snow upon the summit, and she was filled with awe and wonder. She fell upon her face and wept and uttered words of prayer, for she thought she had come upon the dwelling of God. And her prayers took on a certain cadence that caused her to swoon, and her head was filled with the utterings of a voice that was not of the earth, and the voice spoke these words unto her: Rise up. Rise up and return to your people. Stay with them where they are for seven days and seven nights, and prepare them to do battle, for they must be readied in body and in spirit and in mind. Their hands and their backs must be strengthened, and their minds must be filled with all of the wisdom that has been learned from the first morning of time. Their wit must be tested and tempered in the fire, for their wit shall be their weapon. Pit them one faction against another, neighbours against neighbours, the old against the young, men against women, large against small, strong against weak, in squares and in thin lines, wave upon wave, in headlong assaults and in feinting skirmishes, in sieges and in jousts, both playfully and in earnest, in mirthfulness and in anger, in plenty and in need, by day and by night, until the time of preparation is at an end. Do all of these things according to your own wit, for the people will try you sorely with doubting and deceit and betrayal. When your wit fails you, reach into the inner firmament, and there you will find the way, for you will have need of wiles greater than your own. And when all of these things are done and the people are ready and it is the morning of the eighth day, you must bid them to rise and follow you to this place, where you will rest together for one night. On the morning of the ninth day you must lead them up the slopes of the mountain past all obstacles to the very summit, for it is there that the battle will be joined. It is you the people to whom I speak. It is you the people who on this mountain will rend yourselves asunder and divide and do battle against yourselves. You will be both friend and foe, both vanquisher and vanquished. Your two halves will be both joined together and drawn apart by a heavy cord that can catch up or let fall, that can ensnare or liberate, that can strangle or enfold. Your sages will cast books of equal weight one against another seeking to crush wisdom with wisdom. For seven days upon the mountain and seven nights also the battle will rage until one half of the people has crushed the other, or the other the first, or until the whole is destroyed, man for man, woman for woman, child for child. And many times and oft during those days of struggle the question will rise into the thin air: What is it that we accomplish by this slaughter and degradation? What is it that we....


The Canadians believed that there existed a race of super beings or gods that were vast beyond measure in all of their attributes. Their nature and their magnificence were outside the powers of humans to contemplate or comprehend. It was believed that one or more of these gods invented a perpetual motion machine for the amusement of that god or those gods, or perhaps as a plaything for a god child. The true purpose of this machine surpassed human understanding.

The machine was pyrotechnic in nature. Its make-up and mechanics were a great mystery to the people. Its age was indeterminate, and its duration could not be foreseen. At a point in the cycle of its operation, the ingredients, which were all and everything knowable, came together with great force and exploded outward with unimaginable heat, energy and speed, and with great displays of light and colour. During the course of this explosion, all the matter contained within the device disintegrated and reformed in configurations without number, and all events capable of existence occurred. When in due course this cataclysm lost its force, all of the exploded parts fell back in upon themselves with increasing velocity until they reached a point of such centrality and density that the whole process repeated itself, and another explosion of the greatest force occurred. Seers among the people envisioned the night sky in the land of the gods filled with the never ending explosions of divine fireworks, as if in celebration of some great godly event, the nature of which humans could not productively speculate upon.

Now as each machine contained precisely the requisite quantities of all matter and space and energy to ensure the genesis of all possible events during the course of an explosion, it was deduced that the earth and the people had been formed in a tiny region within one such god-created machine at a point when and where conditions permitted during the explosive phase, and that the earth and the people would be destroyed during or before the implosive phase, and that these events would inevitably be repeated at intervals in the vastness of time. Creation to the Canadians was a never ending process with infinite possibilities of form and direction, and human consciousness was as sleepings and wakings without number and for time indefinite.

Canadians believed that the god or god-child responsible for the machine, or universe, was aware of and appreciated all of the phenomena generated therein. They felt that no demands were placed upon them by their god except to co-exist within the limits imposed on them by nature, and to seek to understand and respect god through the study of the universe and all things contained within it. They believed that over the course of eternity, or so long as it pleased god to keep the machine in motion, all things would be experienced by all people, and all things they were capable of understanding would be made known.

The nature of life in any form, and human awareness in particular, was also a mystery to the people. They believed that outside of the observable manifestations of life within the boundaries of birth and death, there was a cumulative aura of the species that hung in the atmosphere that enveloped them. This aura existed independently from the people on the earth. Within it resided the sum of human wisdom and experience from the past. It pulsed and buzzed with the contributions of the stories of the newly dead in a never-ending internal dialogue. This aura was most palpable at the dawn of a new world and in the dying days of the universe. At these times, the skies were filled with etherial spectres, and there was discourse between the people and their aura. However, none of the resulting insights gave the people to believe that they were in any way special or privileged in the eyes of their god. They were equal before god to any other life form, and even to inanimate objects and unseen forces. They were simply a part of god's universe that satisfied some divine purpose in some small way. In fact, most Canadians believed that there existed in an unknown location a race who were god's chosen people, and who were superior to themselves in every way.


Just as the People began to divine a method in the appearances and disappearances of the Ark of the Continent, and were developing a science whereby they could predict the arrival or departure of the Ark with an accuracy rating within four percentage points, nine times out of ten, there appeared a second Ark, much smaller than the first. This second Ark seemed to be totally benign, but because, in the beginning, it was nearly impossible to distinguish one Ark from the other at a distance, it had the same effect on the people as the first. It was surmised that the powers in the south that sent the first Ark had sent the second, perhaps with the purpose of confounding the efforts of the people to minimize the effectiveness of the first in controlling the population. This second Ark became known as the Decoy. It was assumed that the Decoy carried out surveillance for the Ark and that it reported back to the powers in the south, and therefor the People modified their behaviour when they saw it in the skies. But because it was benign, they were not afraid. On a fine day, they would bask in the sun and warmth and watch the Decoy bob and dip on the air currents and wonder at the things it beheld.