goatboy and
the music machines

a documentary by Randy A. Riddle


Radical Satyr:
"I am god of the space I occupy"


The Short Mountain commune is home to a group of Gay men (and some women) who refer to themselves as "Radical Fairies".  This subculture first emerged in the late 1960's and early 70's with Gay men who did not fit into the urban-based Gay culture of the cities and who wanted a simpler "country" life.  Beyond that, it is difficult to generalize about the Fairies except to note that many are non-Christian, basing their spirituality on Paganism or Eastern philosophies.  Short Mountain, in existence for around twenty years, is home to RFD magazine, a quarterly reader-written journal of articles, poetry, art, and photography that has become one of the strongest voices of the movement.  Many Fairies are scattered throughout the world and a small number live in communes similar to Short Mountain all around the United States.   CLICK to hear Goatboy Play

Goatboy's concept of the "Radical Satyr" is a direct descendent of this movement.  Goat underwent a difficult period in his life when he came to grips with his sexuality.  He was a practicing Pagan and was dating a woman who was eventually murdered.  During the high-profile trial that resulted, Christian extremists in the state where the trial occurred, used the case as an opportunity to stereotype all Gays as "devil worshippers" when Goat was forced to reveal intimate details of his life on the witness stand.  As a result, Goat was ostracized from the Gay community there.  

After this difficult period, Goat tried to "fit in", but nothing seemed to work.  He began going through a process of spiritual and physical transformation to deal with the fear, verbal abuse, and hatred that had resulted because of the trial.  He received threats and began working out in a local gym, packing on over fifty pounds, in order to be able to protect himself.  "Eventually, people started leaving me alone," he said.  He heard about the Fairies and went to a couple of gatherings, feeling that their emphasis on personal spirituality and country living were the antidote to the "Advocate"-male lifestyle that he could not fit into.  

CLICK to hear Goatboy play Paddy McGinty's GoatAt first, his experiences with the Fairies were mixed.  They felt that Goatboy exhibited "too much male energy", since the Fairies focused on the "Female mysteries, the Goddess" and so forth.  "I wanted male enchantment", Goat said, noting that he wanted to find the ideas of masculinity and self-reliance in terms of his own Pagan spirituality.  After visiting a gathering at Short Mountain, he said, "I knew this was the place I had to be," even if he did not live at the commune itself.  Through his experiences playing with the goats at Short Mountain and a series of visions and dreams, Goatboy saw a different path revealed to him.  

Real Audio - Goatboy describes the moment he realized the essence of the Radical Satyr  

Goatboy in the Pan MeadowDuring the shooting of the documentary, Goatboy took me to the Pan Meadow, his "most sacred spot", near his cabin.  I witnessed a remarkable transformation of Goat as we walked to the Meadow; he carried a simple Celtic flute playing tunes such as "Paddy McGinty's Goat" as we walked there.  Watching his eyes dance, his fingers adeptly playing songs on the flute, his face seemed to change, his features softening in the glow of the sunset, his face revealing a sense of wisdom and peace I had not witnessed before.  

Real Audio - Goatboy describes Pan and Satyrs   

This was no longer "Brian" standing in front of me, this was a manifestation of the balance between body and spirit.  This was a being that had become an integral part of its surroundings.  This was Pan.  This was Goatboy.