Friday, May 24, 2013

Letter Against Fear (unsent)

I don't quite know how to say this. A couple of  nights ago I had some kind of terrible dream. I don't remember anything about it, not the narrative, not anything, just a sense of black beating wings at the centre of, well, everything. Perhaps there was no narrative, or rather, only the flipside, as if I was hanging from it, from all the threads and unrevealed disclosures, the nets of place dangling, a sublime matrix I was, well, choking inside. The Surrealists were wrong, obviously: there's no “marvelous” in the dream, it runs diagonally through your body, like that lightning rod that spears Patrick Troughton in The Omen. You know the bit, yeh. He's running through the churchyard, some kind of storm, some kind of panic weather - I don't remember very clearly, I haven't seen it since I was a kid. Anyway, just as he reaches the church, his workplace, whatever, the lightning rod at the top of the spire, or is it a weather-vane, I dunno, it plummets forward, snaps off, and it spears him. Rivets him to the ground, and to time. That's what a dream is. That's what it signals, some kind of policed rift, some kind of brutal radio wave, where everything you've ever feared or loved or both is compressed into one infinitely dense anti-magnetic spike, an anti-magnetic barricade, and you are left there, fixed into place, dangling there, trapped, like some kind of imaginary animal. Sorry. That's pretty depressing. But I woke up out of it at 3 that morning, and I haven't been able to sleep since. I got up and paced around in horrible circles, couldn't stop. I haven't felt like that since, you remember, we mainlined all of that ridiculous speed, and it wasn't fun, all of our talk shattered into spirals of dust, and we decided we could see the “world spirit”, and, well, I dunno. Like a perfumed rapture turned inside out: the city as rat-trap, as unreconciled bondage and chicken-wire. Anyway, thanks for your letter. I think your ideas about psychogeography are idiotic, actually. I can't believe you ever took that shit seriously. I mean, yeh, obviously, the city is a giant clock, but still, I would have thought the recent explosions, the networks of racist attacks and so forth, would have made you adjust your interpretations just a little. How the hell do you think we can read the silent workings of the city's risible little head via slightly exotic walking tours, table-tapping and ghost stories. Like, we're the fucking ghosts, yeh. It's the signals from the future I'm interested in. I dunno, maybe its different for you. The fact you get paid, I guess, the fact that you're on a salary, does give you a point of entry that, for the time being at least, I don't really have access to. To be unemployed is to be a stowaway, at best. From where I'm sitting, all I can hear is a dull metronomic beating, sentimental rants about extermination and terror and the like. What are the psychogeographical signals set off by a fascist mob, for example, what galaxies and rhythmic swarms are they colliding with. Absolute magnetic compressions. History as a separable particle, a damp electric rag shoved down our kidnapped throats. I dunno, maybe I'm wrong. I wish you'd tell me. I wish you were capable of saying just one word that would convince me all narrative structures - including those of the so-called avant garde - haven't been reduced to something as basic as a crowbar, a massive memory lapse, a constellation of chemical dirt and bizarre melodies that no-one is dancing to. Sorry, I can't get to whatever it is I'm trying to say. I daren't, in fact. Every day I leave the house at least once, to go for a walk. Usually its just to the supermarket, but sometimes I go as far as the railway tracks. Its all overgrown down there, its kind of peaceful. A damp landscape of rust and brambles, where the signal-towers and voices can begin to seem like the components of some barely remembered dream. And actually, now I can remember, that was the dream I was trying to tell you about, that was its structure, that was all it was. I was in an abandoned station house. The silence was endless. And then I woke up. There was some kind of ticking in the corner of the room. I couldn't tell what it was. I couldn't see to switch on the light. What was that ticking. Why did it sound like it was coming from the centre of my chest. Why was I so helpless and afraid.

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.