Saturday, August 20, 2011

Letter on Spectres

We’re beginning to suffer here. Obviously I’ve not been getting much writing done. But I’ve been thinking about the conversation we had, the last time we met. You remember, about Milton? Christ. Yours was such an obvious bourgeois response. Pandemonium is suburbia, pure and simple. The rioters are speaking in perfect English. Its the middle-class, the magistrates, and you, who are all talking some weird, ignorant slang. All of your mouths are stitched up with some kind of weird gaffer tape. Your laboratory is a slum. Sorry. I don’t mean to be rude, but things have been pretty stressful: last week the butcher put the prices up even on rat-meat. Today its all he’s got left. You know how it is when you read an account of a situation you’ve been directly involved in, but each one of its constituent parts has been extracted, polished, entirely rearranged? Last week was exactly like that. I got home and tried to phone you, but all that came out the receiver was a complicated, monstrous hiss. I did my best to explain it and came up with this, let me know what you think. Was it (a) you were speaking in a strange new language that had no place in my part of town, or (b) you were speaking at a specific frequency that only particular dogs could hear or use, or was it (c) the static that's left after the tape containing all your reason and superstition runs out and everything’s revealed as it really is for one beautiful moment, all brightly lit in shopping mall reds and flickering striplight yellow. I’ve been wearing a black balaclava for days. From what I can tell, your part of town has been taken over by a weird parade of quacks, magistrates and fortune tellers, all yelping as if everything that happened over the past week was the result of a possession by some kind of evil spirit, and they could only ward it off with a display of archaic gestures, vicious combinations of letters and numbers. The magistrates have taken on the condition of people, and the people round here are no longer to be honoured with even a human shape. Its a curious process. We see it everywhere: in the movements of musical notes, of chemistry, steam and water, of birth and death. Each syllable is a different tonal cluster, penned in with police-wire and used electricity. I hear you’re thinking about becoming a bailiff. In any case, I’m glad they burnt your laboratory down. Now send me some fucking money.

1 comment:

Jim Donnelly said...

The black cap is still part of a judge's official regalia. They still speak a differing tongue.