Knock ‘em dead


By the standards of well-known double-acts,
Guido and Jorg were hardly a hoot.
Admittedly, they didn’t perform together for long,
But that wasn’t the real reason for their lack of sparkling wit.
Not for them the sublime music-hall routines
Of Laurel and Hardy, nor the anarchic antics
Of the Marx Brothers – o no.
More a case of Nietzsche and Heidegger,
In full flow, following an all-night peyote party,
Complete with ubermensch cocktails and pre-Socratic nibbles.
In brief – and brevity was a quality much lacking in Guido and Jorg –
Their brand of peculiar knockabout was an acquired taste,
Though once acquired, it proved to be life-altering.

Guido Carl Anton List and Adolf Josef Lanz a.k.a. Jorg Lanz,
Were a pair of merry Austrian pranksters,
With mind-boggling, mouth-watering, eye-opening views
Concerning all things mythologicallyTeutonic.
Between them, they cobbled together a routine
Which heavily stressed the natural superiority
Of all that was ancient, occult and German.
In his warm-up act, of 1875, following a sing-song with his pals,
Guido buried eight bottles of wine in the shape of a swastika,
Beneath the Pagan Gate of the Roman fort at Carnuntum:
A real hoot, which nailed his colours to the flag
For all the world to see – except, of course, it couldn’t,
Since burying the bottles rather spoiled the joke.
The flag in question was an ancient Sanskrit symbol,
Which meant ‘Permanent Victory’, or ‘Well Being’,
Or ‘Good Luck’, or ‘Good Existence’.
Depending on which way round Guido buried his bottles,
It indicated either victory for Vishnu and the Sun,
Or victory for Kali and magic.
Perhaps, in Guido’s mind, it didn’t much matter,
Since they all merged anyway, together with a pre-Christian,
Proto-Aryan, anti-Jewish, new German religion, under the exoteric
Name of Wotanism, with its esoteric counterpart, Armanism or Ariosophy.
Aside from a few ardent groupies, few members of his audience
Found the matter in any way amusing, so Guido casually mentioned,
By way of a theatrical aside, he’d found a way of deciphering
Ancient runic spells from the Old Norse ‘Havamal’ –
‘Sayings of the High One’ – a collection of Viking lore.
There was uproar when he uttered a string of one-liners:
“Know yourself, then you know everything”, “Do not fear death,
He cannot kill you”, “Marriage is the root of the Aryan race”,
And “Man is one with God” – every one a zinger!

At this point in his stage career, he realised he needed something extra –
A touch of the even wackier, perhaps – so he enlisted a sidekick:
Enter Jorg, a former monk, masquerading as Lanz von Liebenfels.
In 1894, after finding the tombstone of a Knight Templar,
Lanz-Jorg claimed he’d been enlightened, and he began developing
Hilarious theories involving blue-blond Aryanism,
And what he deemed the ‘lower races’.
By way of ‘Theozooology, or the Science of the Sodomite-Apelings
And the Divine Electron’, published in 1905,
He advocated sterilisation of the sick and the underclass, forced labour,
And the glorification of the Gottmenschen – German God-Men.
This proved to be an absolute rib-tickler, as did its catchy title.
In the same year, he, along with fifty other like-minded comedians,
Founded the ‘Guido von List Society’, in order to propagate
‘Blood and soil’ nationalism, and to disseminate anti-Jewish propaganda.
Guido and Jorg, together at last: a double act to die for – albeit not for long.
My, what a gas,
And o, how everyone laughed.

Not content, perhaps, in his role as junior partner,
Jorg’s next contribution to the act, also in 1905, was the publishing of Ostara,
A ‘racial-economic’ magazine, designed to champion European supremacy.
With thousands of subscribing fans, at least according to Jorg,
Fans which included a certain young artist from Vienna,
And buoyed by his solo success, he founded, in 1907, his own
Religious order – the Ordo Novi Templi (ONT) – to promote a
Sense of Aryan pride, and to inculcate colonial ambitions:
O yes, Jorg wanted his share of the limelight.
Over the next few decades, he acquired several suitable properties –
Castles, priories, and the like – throughout Hungary and Germany,
And all with the sole purpose of providing the future headquarters
Of a global Aryan state, governed by an enlightened priesthood.
To combat what he regarded as the problem of evil,
He proposed a programme of segregation, eugenics, and genocide:
A programme with uproarious future consequences.

All the while Jorg was honing his stagecraft,
Guido was having a bit of a rest.
Unlike his younger partner, he’d been on the road for years,
And it was taking its toll on his health.
In his absence, he’d become a cult figure; the bearded, long-haired,
Mystical, nationalist, prohpetic guru, who’d gazed into Germany’s past,
Invented or otherwise, and restored her to her former glory.
All he really needed to do was sit on stage, and milk the applause.
Unfortunately, being the cheeky chappie he was, he made the mistake
Of predicting Germany’s triumph in the Great War; a balls-up on his part,
And only made worse by declaring that the Nation’s dead warriors
Would rise from their graves, and initiate a revolution,
Which would bring about a new, better society – a golden Pan-Germanic age.
When that didn’t happen, he shrugged his weary shoulders,
Winked apologetically at his audience, wandered into the wings, and died.
Better to die offstage than on it, after all.

Despite being dead, his belief that the world was degenerate,
And the result of a conspiracy orchestrated by the global elite –
The Great International Party – lived on.
Both Guido and Jorg longed for a return to the good old days:
A time when peasants and women knew their place, and god-like,
Princely men ruled the roost; a feudal society, governed by kings,
Complete with skilled craftsmen, small-scale artisans, tradesmen’s guilds,
And, above all, a powerful brotherhood of blonde-haired, blue-eyed,
Pan-Germanic priests, strong in their Wotanist faith.
Such fantasies… Based on pseudo-mysticism, pseudo-science,
Pseudo-history; a hatred of Jews, of democracy, of feminism,
Of reasoned debate, of common-sense, of compassion, of love…
Yet out of this egg an o’erwhelming maelstrom was hatched.

When Jorg declared, during his early 1920’s one-man shows,
That the swastika and the fascist movements were the offspring
Of Ostara, he wasn’t far wrong.
It mightn’t have been funny, but it was monumental.

It was also during the early 1920s, the young artist from Vienna,
Now a veteran of the Great War, and a political agitator writ large,
Began to organise a routine or two of his own.
From a prison cell in Munich, he compiled a huge volume
Of gags, one-liners, and assorted other material, ready for the time
He needed to step out, and into the blazing spotlight.
To say he plagiarised his entire act from Guido and Jorg
Would be somewhat unfair, since he’d long harboured dreams
And visions of his own, concerning the rebirth (as he saw it)
Of a mighty German empire, rooted in a mythical past;
A pre-Christian age, when Nordic descendants of the Aryans –
A master race of Indo-Europeans – reigned supreme.
Side-splitting stuff, to be sure, and chock-a-block with pithy
Punch lines and extended riffs concerning gods, war, and Jews…

“The old beliefs will be brought back to honour again. The whole secret knowledge of nature, of the divine, the demonic. We will wash off the Christian veneer and bring out a religion peculiar to our race… It’s my ultimate aim to perform an act of creation, a divine operation, the goal of a biological mutation which will result in an unprecedented exaltation of the human race, and the appearance of a new race of heroes.”

Peculiar indeed, and convulsive as hell.

Audiences everywhere wet themselves with delight.
Captivated by the young man’s slapstick humour,
It wasn’t too long before young Adolf, as he was called,
Began playing gigs to huge crowds at enormous outdoor venues.
Unlike Guido and Jorg, he had the common touch,
And knew exactly how to tickle German funny bones.
How the crowds cheered little Adolf, with his silly moustache,
Hilarious screeching delivery, and broom-up-his-arse posture –
Every performance greeted with mass salutes, and cries of adoration.
The fact that he was scared of cats, sniffed cocaine, farted involuntarily,
Was injected with bull semen, suffered with Irritable Bowel Syndrome,
Was a lousy painter, and had one undropped testicle were facts his managers
And friends kept to themselves – after all, why spoil the illusion:
A painstakingly crafted illusion, designed to demonstrate his will to power?

Alas, the line between comedy and tragedy is a fine one,
And the story of what happened next is well known.
Oratorical success went to Adolf’s head, what with encore after encore,
And when the fantasies of Guido and Jorg collided with the cold light of day,
The world was left in pieces.

What began as the clownish musings of a pair of feeble wags,
Ended in brutish, mass slaughter, midst vows of ‘never again’.
It’s a fortunate thing, then, that we have learnt to value the lessons of history;
That we’ve become a tolerant, all-embracing, rational people;
That the future is vouchsafed and secure for all those who come after us.
After all, we’d be damn fools to ever fall again for such silly repartee –
Turgid, poisonous, ill-informed drivel.

The days of Guido and Jorg are long gone, thank goodness,
And we are all grown up.





Dafydd Pedr











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