Characters: band, Martha Jane Vikernes
Warnings: a little profanity, alcohol, religious references, untranslated foreign words.
Length: c. 1800 words
Maenad Interview: Holidays
(by Martha Jane Vikernes, for spikymetalbits.net, November 2011)
Martha Jane Vikernes: Hey, girls, it’s great to see you again. Happy Holidays!
Valerian Nightshade: Yeah, you too, Martha. Glad to see that you’re not, you know, crazy or catatonic anymore.
Violet Aciano: Did you get our card?
MJV: Yes, I did. The Viking kittens were very cute. Now, the winter holiday season is approaching fast, and we were wondering: what special things do you do this time of year?
Yanang Bai: What if we said, “Nothing, we all had a religious awakening and became Jehovah’s Witnesses”?
MJV: Then I’d ask how you reconciled the demands of door-to-door evangelism with your particular security concerns.
YB: Dude, Val would be awesome at that. She’d be like, “Hey, you want a copy of The Watchtower?” and they’d be like, “Yes, please! Make it two! Just don’t hurt me!” and nobody’d dare tell her “GTFO I’m an atheist” because she’d… fucking eat ‘em.”
MJV: That’s… disturbingly plausible. But since you guys haven’t given up on winter holidays, how do you celebrate?
VN: We, uh, don’t really do anything for Christmas as such as a band, because I always go visit my family in Hawaii from about the twenty-third through the twenty-seventh, and nobody else here is a Christian.
Musa Hawthorne: I go back east for a couple days if I think I can stand it. I mean, I’m not normally into the whole jolly family togetherness thing, but there are a few relatives I actually like, and none of them want to drive over the Cascades to see me, so I have to go to them. So, yeah, I normally spend Christmases catching up on all the family scandals with Great Auntie Saffron, telling my sister how much I liked her latest book, and drinking too goddamn much of my dad’s Reactor Eggnog.
MJV: Interesting name. Is it his own recipe?
MH: Old family one, with a few tweaks he added himself. The name’s because he worked at Hanford for a while when he was a young man. He used to say that explained how Erica and I turned out.
MJV: Oh. How about you, Violet?
VA: I normally go up to Canada for Hanukkah, but I usually don’t stay the full eight days. There’re only so many latkes and jelly donuts a girl can eat! And it’s great to see my family again, but after a while you start to realize that Uncle Ilan and Auntie Rosa have been at the same freaking argument for three nights in a row and show no sign of letting up any time soon… Anyway, if it’s not one of the years where Christmas and Hanukkah overlap, I spend Christmas eating Chinese food and watching holiday specials with Lilja and Yanang. Well, that’s not all I do. If I watched TV for twenty-four hours straight I’d probably give myself eyestrain and wind up with a raging headache, and that’s not really good for the whole peace and good will thing. I also make up treats for the pond fish and the outdoor birds, including the ravens we have in the woods, and I bake Solstice Cookies if we’ve eaten all the ones I made around the actual Solstice, and I take our donations down to the cat shelter. This started as Val’s idea, but she’s normally over in Hawaii by now visiting her family. And they’re all singing carols and eating ham and excommunicating each other and all that festive Christian stuff.
VN: I’d like to state, for the record, that I have never excommunicated anyone on a major holiday.
MJV: Thank you for clearing that up. Lilja?
Lilja Lakebetonika: We all have our party together and burn a Yule log on the Solstice. It is a good central location, and everyone believes in astronomical events.
MJV: We? You don’t do anything on your own?
LL: The Yule log was my idea, and I was responsible for some of the decorations.
YB: I thought Violet made those little pipe-cleaner goat things.
LL: Is it my fault if I am good at delegating? Oh, and I watch Kalle Anka every Christmas Eve if I can get access to it.
MJV: What’s that? Some kind of traditional Swedish thing?
LL: No, it is – well, like a Julkalender, but only on one day – a Christmas special? And Kalle Anka is that duck who does not wear pants, and has three nephews and a rich uncle, and has adventures. And there is this creature who claims to be an insect but only has four limbs. You should know about this, they are American characters!
MJV: Oh! Right! Some kind of Disney special with Donald Duck and Jiminy Cricket. I didn’t know you were a Disney fan.
LL: I am not, especially. But it is something from my childhood that does not make me want to punch things… As for Yule – there was one time I tried to make mead, for a blot – you know, an offering – but the bottles did not cooperate.
MJV: Really? They’re just glass, what could they do?
MJV: That must have been spectacular. What about you, Yanang?
YB: My family never did much for Christmas, and there aren’t any big Laotian holidays in late December. I normally spend the day bugging Blondie and the hippie, watching TV specials, and amusing myself with my Yule presents. If we have any snow sometimes I make a bunch of snowmen and massacre them with my potato gun. And last year I discovered that you can sing “What Child Is This?” to “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”
LL: Which we are all more than sufficiently aware of now, thanks to you.
MJV: Speaking of Yule – Musa, you’re a pagan, right? Do you do anything special for the Solstice?
MH: The ancient Egyptians weren’t as big on midwinter festivals as some traditions. Maybe it was a side effect of living in a hot climate, I don’t know. There’s the birthday of Horus on the twenty-fifth, but I’m more of a Hathor person, so I’ve never made a huge occasion out of it. I do help with refreshments for the Solstice party.
MJV: What do you make?
MH: Rum balls, Kahlua mocha brownies, and maybe fondue and that bourbon bundt cake – you know, the one with the cake mix and the vanilla pudding – if I’m feeling really ambitious.
MJV: I’ve heard of it. My mom makes it for parties.
MH: But I do it as miniature cupcakes, not one big thing.
VN: I love finger food. It’s just so cute, and if everything you eat is tiny you can fool yourself into thinking that you’re practicing self-restraint.
MH: And of course, I make most of the drinks.
MH: You see, Lilja threatened to bring down the wrath of Thor on my head unless I let someone else do the mulled wine.
LL: I was only trying to stand up for the integrity of my cultural heritage, and anyway, it was no more than she deserved. You should not be able to set glögg on fire!
MH: So Margerit – she’s our chef – makes the mulled wine, and if we’re having tea or non-alcoholic punch , Violet or Margerit make it. For some reason, they don’t trust me to make anything that can’t get you drunk.
VN: It’s not that we don’t think you know how to do it, it’s just – how can I put this? If we got you a flask of Mormon holy water, and you, you know, carried it around for long enough, it’d probably turn into cheap vodka eventually.
YB: Please, Val. Musa is a classy lady.
LL: Unlike some people we could name.
YB: It’d probably turn into at least mid-range vodka.
MH: So I can’t be trusted to mix up some lemon sorbet and ginger ale because of my amazing uncontrolled booze-omancy powers? Boozeomancy? Drunkomancy? Ethanolmancy? Vinomancy – sounds better, but I think that might just refer to wine, technically. But then, the ancient world didn’t have hard liquor anyway, although they knew a little about distillation…
YB: Hey, does this mean I’m in the same band as Jesus! As an atheist, I’m not sure how I feel about this.
MJV: Sounds like you put a lot of effort into this. Do you invite anyone outside the band?
YB: We always invite the ninja librarian-
VN: Our manager.
YB: But she doesn’t always show up. Maybe she’s busy receiving orders from her robotic overlords or something.
VN: Yanang, Artie is not a robot! Robots don’t get sick! She’s just, you know, kind of a workaholic.
YB: I just said her overlords were robots. She could be a cyborg.
LL: I say a person’s possible metal bits are her own business.
VA: I just thought she didn’t like parties much. She has to go to boring business receptions all the time, not just when we get signed to a new label, maybe she’d just rather spend her free time having a nice cup of tea and watching old black and white movies with no sword fights or musical numbers.
MH: So Artemisia comes if she’s not busy being a corporate hermit, and Ivy – our producer – comes every year, and my friend Hecate in Seattle usually visits if she’s not too busy and the roads aren’t too bad.
VA: Same for Ginger. She’s this girl I was in a band with in high school – in the sense that she and I were the band. But she can’t always make it because she runs a Goth shop in Victoria and they’re always busy around the Solstice. And there’re a few other people. Only rule is that it has to be someone you actually like and the rest of us don’t hate.
MJV: Do you invite any guys?
VN: It varies. We had the guys from Death Guard over a couple of years ago – we met on tour – and we all had fun, but, you know, they all live in Australia.
YB: Some years it’s a total clambake.
VA: But we don’t live near the beach! …oh.
MJV: Any heartwarming holiday stories you’d like to share?
MH: I don’t know if it’s exactly heartwarming, but there was that time we did get snow and we accidentally summoned an ice spirit. I guess an ice spirit is a lot more holiday-ish than a yeti or wendigo would have been. She just wanted to listen to our music and suck the heat out of all our drinks, not eat us.
VA: It was actually kind of awesome once we realized what she was up to.
YB: So… many… sparkles.
MJV: Any messages for our readers?
VN: If you’re going to be doing something outdoors and there’s going to be live music, bring extra refreshments. It could save your life.
YB: If any prettyboy Norse gods you know start getting obnoxious, threaten them with the mistletoe.
VA: Chopped up gelt isn’t that great a substitute for chocolate chips. The texture just isn’t right. And carp don’t like fruitcake.
MH: Margarita flavored eggnog is a bad idea!
LL: Never make your big speech about the need to put Christ back in Christmas to someone wearing a Thor’s Hammer pendant.
MJV: Thank you, and I hope you have a great holiday.
VN: You too!
And Happy Holidays to anyone who's reading this!
- Holiday fic!