Murder Mystery Mystery Murdered! … or a game of Strip Jack Naked, with Christ and Nicholas Cage

Text: Tug Dumbly

They proved the identity of Jack the Ripper from semen stains and DNA. He was a 23 year old paranoid schizophrenic Polish barber named Aaron Kosminski. Tragic. Not because the Ripper was so ordinary – not the crown prince, or Lewis Carroll – but because his mystery has been destroyed. RIP Ripper, they finally killed you.

I wish you were still out there Jack, stalking the smoggy alleys of the mind. Spare me the burden of proof. I want my wonder left intact.

The Titanic was more lost in being found. Leave sunken galleons to lie on the ocean bed of the mind. It’s enough to know they’re out there, in fathomless imagination, living better and richer lives.

Must it all be discovered, plundered, colonised?

Would you really want Christ to come back? It could only be a letdown. Like the Beatles reformed with just Ringo. Christ’d look like Woody Allen. Only darker, weedier. (Actually Jesus did come back, in 1972. They locked him in dungeon under the Vatican, and there he remains still. They can’t afford to let loose the golden goose. He’s a madman who’d spoil everything.)  


I’m glad Shakespeare’s an enigma who doesn’t compute. I don’t want him laid out like an anatomy lecture, forensically hosed away. Don’t want his brain in a jar. Don’t want to see his soiled tights. Don’t want his ‘actual true’ biography, to know about his money, friends, hobbies, sex life. Don’t need to know if he was ogre, arsehole, prince, straight, gay, bi, trans, man, woman, beast or mforphodite.

In any case he’s all there, hidden in plain sight in the writing. He gave us life in spades, prodigiously spattered, gloriously unfurled, across stage and page, his body of work a vast living organism, open, evident and ever-giving, a continental taproot, a universal orchard for all to pluck at will. And you want his poor flawed corpse as well? Jackals. Let his enigma lie.

But maybe that’s just me.

I live in the village of expectation. But I never really want the harvest to come to fruition. My aversion to ‘knowing’ is maybe tied to my aversion to finishing things, of concluding, which, in turn, is probably rooted in an infantilized fear of maturing, being responsible, growing old and dying. What do you think doctor? Do you think Finding Out, Knowing, is like Retire and Die?

[Knowing is a sci-fi-apocalypse film with Nicholas Cage, made in Melbourne, and set in America. Friends deride the film, but I like it, despite the revelation of the mind-fracking truth which lies at the film’s heart running somewhat counter to my argument here – not that I really have an argument here.]

‘It’s all about the journey, man, not the destination.’


Yes, it all swirls back to cliché

like stubble down a sink.

But no less true for that.


Christmas is coming!

Christmas is coming!


it came…


I’m coming!

I’m coming!


I came…


I’m not consistent though. I mean I like enigmas, but I’m also glad they cracked the Nazi Enigma code and shortened the war. I’m glad science is decoding cancer. It’s convenient to have some mysteries dissolved like aspirin. Progress suits me when it suits me. I like jumbo jets and laptops.

I like progress, so long as it doesn’t progress too far. It could have stopped with liquid paper and the Beatles. I’m a late adapter. So late that progress laps me and I find myself ahead of the curve, surfing the crest of some retro revival wave. So backwards I’m forward. (Joke.)  


And now there’s a Hungry Jack’s on the top of Mount Everest.

A convenience store on the moon.

They found Atlantis. It’s now a theme park.

Come and see the Holy grail. Fifty bucks admission.

They found the lost chord! (You can’t play it, it’s owned by Sony)


Welcome to Stripper World:

“Come on boys, come in

and see the dirty little World

stripped of mystery…

‘garn, get your gear off  

ya filfee little planet,  

show us ya Himalayas…

your San Andreas Fault…

your Mariana Trench.

Garn, gis a look at cha

Brazilian Rainforests,

shaven and waxed,

come on, ya scuzzy little blue ball,

get wet and raw and Poledance

roun’ the Milky Way,

we wanna see it AAAAALL!”


Anyway, this is just to say RIP Jack.


Speculation as to the identity of Jack the Ripper: cover of the 21 September 1889, issue of Puck magazine, by cartoonist Tom Merry. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.


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