By Barry McCallum

Avatar of Darkness. Herr Dokter. Space Invader on Mescalin. Painter of Emaciated Souls. Howl from Beyond. The list of aliases goes on and on... Marilyn Manson is many things.

The one thing he's not is Paul Pfeiffer, Kevin Arnold's little Jewish friend from The Wonder Years. However, according to online urban myth debunkers, Josh Saviano - who did play Paul - is apparently quite tickled that people think he found Satan and got little booby implants.

"To see the creativity and imagination of some people is pretty interesting. It doesn't upset me, nor does it offend me," Saviano told www.snopes.com , which also reports that another myth has it that Manson was Kevin Owens on Mr Belvedere.

So, who or what is Marilyn Manson? "You said I tasted famous so I drew you a heart/But now I'm not an artist, I'm a fucking work of art," he spits on (s)AINT.

Inspired by both 1930s Hollywood and the current climate of fear, Manson's Grotesque is vaudeville, burlesque and cabaret - just what Americans need to "take their minds off their troubles," says America's "poster boy for fear".

(Ironically, Manson even steals the show in the gun culture doccie Bowling for Columbine, which opens on Friday.)

"The excitement, the glamour, the decadence... I make things most other people would consider grotesque a little bit prettier," says Manson. (The Golden Age of Grotesque was also the title of an exhibit of Manson's paintings, which featured, among other things, grisly portraits of corpses and an hermaphrodite Hitler.)

Grotesque the album delivers on its promise. On the second track, This Is the New Shit, Manson tells you what to expect from the next hour-and-a-bit of empty-headed fun: "Babble, babble, bitch, bitch/Rebel, rebel, party, party/Sex, sex, sex, don't forget the violence/Got your lovey-dovey sad and lonely/ Stick your stupid slogan in/ Everybody sing along..."

Grotesque is reckless and uninhibited - but it's not all that hard to imagine Manson letting go. He's had fun here. It's a work of love. Like the album-closer Tainted Love. Just what Herr Dokter ordered.