Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Letter on Time and Work

So I guess by now you’ll have recovered from the voodoo routines at St Pauls. Guess its nice that we won’t have to pronounce the syllables Margaret Thatcher again. It all seems very distant now, like when you’ve been up for four nights, finally get some sleep, and then you’re sitting there drinking a cup of coffee trying to remember what the hell you’ve been up to. Do you remember that feeling? I still get it every now and again. Though obviously not very often these days. Anyway, the thing I remember most clearly is Glenda Jackson’s speech in parliament, yeh, when all the rest of them were wittering on about Thatcher and God and the entire fucking cosmos and there was Jackson laying out a few home truths. But really, it's a measure of the weirdness of those few days how fearless that speech seemed: and, obviously, a measure of the weirdness that it actually was some kind of act of bravery. Tho the best bit was when the anonymous Tory MP started wailing “I can’t stand it” in the middle of it. Like, no, motherfucker, we can’t stand it either. We haven’t been able to stand it for years. Anyway, after listening to Jackson’s speech on youtube a few times, I went and checked her voting record in parliament - bit of a letdown, yeh. Abstained on the workfare vote, yeh. So that’s her, she can fuck off. She made a much better speech back in 1966, I think it was, playing Charlotte Corday in the film of Peter Weiss’ “Marat-Sade” - I guess you remember it, yeh, she’s up at the top of a ladder, going off her head, and screaming something along the lines of “what is this city, what is this thing they’re dragging through the streets?”. Christ, if she’d done that in parliament, I might have rethought my relationship with electoral politics. Well, maybe not. But seriously, what was that thing they were dragging through the streets on April 17th, or whatever day it was. Through that silenced, terrified city. I thought of Thatcher as some kind of rancid projectile, and they were firing her back into time, and the reverberations from wherever it was she landed, probably some time in around 1946, were clearly a more-or-less successful attempt to erase everything that wasn’t in a dull, harmonic agreement with whatever it is those vampires in parliament are actually trying to do with us. Firing us into some kind of future constructed on absolute fear. Or that future is a victorious vacuum, a hellish rotating disc of gratuitous blades, and they are speaking to you, those blades, and what they are saying is this: “one day you will be unemployed, one day you will be homeless, one day you will become one of the invisible, and monsters will suck whatever flesh remains on your cancelled bones”. And the grotesque and craggy rhythms of those monsters are already in our throats, right now. In our throats, our mouths, the cracked centre of our language transformed into the fascist syllables that are ring-fenced right in the middle of electoral democracy. Sharp barking. A geometrical city of forced dogs, glycerin waves, gelignite. What a strange, negative expression of the scandalous joy we were all feeling, pissed out of our heads in Brixton, in Trafalgar Square, all of those site of ancient disturbances suddenly blasted wide apart, as if for even one minute we were actually alive. We were the defect in parliamentary law on those nights. That is, we were absolutely lawful. I walked home and I wanted to spray-paint “Never Work” on the wall of every Job Centre I passed, but already that foul, virtuous fear was sinking back into me, taking possession of my every step. I was thinking about Blanqui, right at the end of his life, sitting in his prison cell, knowing full well that what he was writing he was going to be writing for ever, that he would always be wearing the clothes he was wearing, that he would always be sitting there, that his circumstances would never, ever change. I was thinking about how the work-ethic these days is evoked obsessively, like in some kind of ritual, and how that work is absolutely fictional, an invisibility blocking every pavement I was walking down. I wanted to cry. In fact I think I did. Oh shit. Ancient disturbances. Ghost towns and marching bands. Invisible factories. Nostalgia crackling into pain and pure noise. No sleep. No dreams. An endless, undifferentiated regime of ersatz work. All of us boiled down into some stupid, Tory alarm clock. A ringing so loud we can no longer even hear it. Oh christ, I’m sorry. You don’t need to hear this shit, I know that things are getting bad for you as well. I kind of think you should ignore this letter. But please, I need you to reply. I need to know there is life out there.

1 comment:

Mark H said...

There is life out here.
We all trying to survive in our own separate ways, turning our despair into mass action is the hard part.