Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Against Against Nature

I've just finished J K Huysmans Against Nature, one of the most disagreeable novels I have ever read. To sum up the attitude of this Symbolist and decadent, I would call him aristocratic, in that, if 100 people were lying dead in a room, and three were his fellow highly-cultivated friends, he would only bring back those three friends to life, along with a fortunate fourth, who would be selected for "their low protruding brow, their strong frame, and the obedient cast of their features." This fourth person would be the skivvy required to haul out the remaining bodies for disposal. They would receive as payment a glass of poison. And, further, he would savour every bit, if not more, the death of the majority as much as the resurrection of the few.

So there it is, a novel that attempts to revivify only the tiniest aristocratic sliver of life, with everything else plunged back into the void.

The fact that the writer then converted to Catholicism after its publication is perhaps a clue to the flavour of this novel, best summed up by a line from The Clash's Death or Glory,

"
Those who fuck nuns / will later join the church"

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

ICM poll on sexual abuse

There has been a lot of media coverage of an ICM poll for Amnesty International

"A new ICM opinion poll commissioned by Amnesty International indicates that a third (34%) of people in the UK believe that a woman is partially or totally responsible for being raped if she has behaved in a flirtatious manner."


I went over and checked the actual questions asked by ICM
Conclusion - The poll questions are flawed, therefore the result is flawed.

Analysis

Inaccurate Reporting
The figure of 34% being quoted is a disingenuous aggregation of "totally responsible" and "partially responsible". Poll results show that those who answered "partially responsible" outnumbered those who answered "totally responsible" typically by ratios of around 3 to 1. That leaves around 8% of respondents answering "totally responsible", pretty much the level of idiocy you would expect. Also, the poll does not give gender split, which would also demonstrate %age of women who returned answers attributing total or partial responsibility. This is important, as some commenters on the poll results have mindlessly concluded that "34% of the British are actually rapists themselves, and they've been led on by strumpets, so it's not their fault they're all a bunch of rapists, mate"

Poll Assumption
The poll questions contain the assumption that responsibility for a rape can be divided up between rapist, the raped, and most likely the lighting levels and crime rate of where a rape happens. So the responses necessarily endorse that assumption.

Major Problem
The poll conflates two ideas, that 1) responsibility for a rape can be shared out, with 2) the fact that there are steps that can be taken to minimise to some degree the risk of being raped

(to make it country simple, agreeing with either one of above propositions, the first being disagreeable, the second being fairly uncontentious, would have a respondent answering "partially responsible" by the structure of this poll)

These two ideas are not incompatible, but when not separated they are going to produce flawed responses, as affirming that women can reduce risk of rape can be interpreted, as it has been by Amnesty International's uncritical reporting, as having asserted that there exists a popular attitude that women are responsible to some degree for rape.

Such a view may exist, but this flawed poll does not prove that to be the case.

Rape is too serious a social issue to let Public Debate be clouded by small polls using flawed questions to deliver flawed conclusions that are then held up as representing "public attitudes towards rape." That is my motivation for writing this blog post.

*** PLEASE NOTE *** writing about Rape has killed my context-based GoogleAds. shows there are still some activities that it is not okay to turn a dollar from ***

Monday, November 28, 2005

In Praise of... #1 - Scooter

German rave artist Scooter rocks the party. Endlessly. And he wants to see your hands. So wave your hands in the air. Wave those hands WHISTLE POSSE! MAKE SOME NOISE!


Here are some lyrics from the frankly amazing assault on the ears and the English Language, Weekend

Yeah!
Ahhhhhhhhhh...
Allright, crew! It's weeeeeeeekeeeeeeeeeend!!!
Yes!
We're not the monkeys, but we've got the key!
I'm the fast chatter - no one's better than me!
Yeeeah!
'Pon the mic I'm the teacher!
Spead my words like a preacher!
Cut the crap! Get the slap!
Drum'n'Bass's still on the map!
'Pon the mic I'm the Voodoo!
Destination of Zulu (?)
Here we come! Here we go!


Vital Scooter Linkage:
Official Site

Film review #2 - Lianna

True to my contrary nature, here is a second movie review.


Lianna is 1983 film by John Sayles that must rate as the most unintentionally funny movie I have ever seen. The story is pure bourgeois breakdown, a professor's unfulfilled wife leaves him and her family for a Female professor. She discovers her new gay sexuality, which results in spontaneous outburst of "I am gay" to woman sitting on washing machine (presumably for clitoris-buzzing spin cycle), she has to suffer the depredation of an intellectual being required to work in a temple of consumerism, the supermarket, and watching soap-operas (yes, there is a fair bit of snobbery regarding popular culture and ordinary lives permeating this film, apparently only campus society offers sufficient dazzle, while beyond is an unending zombie-wasteland), and finds her lesbian professor to be just as hypocritical as her husband when it comes to blurring the lines of the student/instructor relationship, as well as having another woman hiding in the background.

But what makes this film an astonishing joy is the unconscious hilarity of the delivery, the lesbian love scene with whispers and snatches of French and "ooh, lick me" as they make it, the porn-moustached stud who jogs around with the distinct impression he is in the wrong movie, the cutting in of "expressive dance" at a voluntary theatre Lianna illuminates (she does the lighting), that somehow forms such a perfect mirror of her own turmoil. In one scene, Lianna breaks down while watching terrifying modern dance intercut with lesbian romp with professor, while a terrible love song plays. This lasts 5 minutes and manages to feel like six weeks. But the piece de resistance is the incredibly naff dancing and stereotypes of the My Way Tavern, the queer joint where Lianna is introduced to the scene. I know 80s dancing always looks dire, but this takes it to another dimension and is beyond my powers of description. All I can say is "Once seen, never forgotten"

Please try and see this movie if you can, it is a superlative treat.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Film review #1 - Walk the Line

This will be a very very occasional series as I don't enjoy going to the cinema and I don't enjoy Hollywood movies. I went to see Walk the Line as part of Thanksgiving, here are some thoughts

Walk the Line

Hey, this film is a Bildungsroman of Johnny Cash. We begin with him and his brother Jack crouched around a radio set, listening to the Carter Family. And then Jack dies in an accident, Jack, The Good Son, his father's favourite, casting a shadow that lasts for the whole film (minus the last minute, where in Hollywood fashion, everyone suddenly forgets all the pain and is happy, something that does a disservice to both the audience's intelligence and a film that purports to having artistic integrity).
So Jack dies and the next minute Johnny Cash is a young man leaving for war. Yes, he goes from 12 to being a young man ready for war with such an abrupt jump that you think a scene has been deleted. He now has siblings who have suddenly arrived and that require a brief Columbo style pondering to explain.
Johnny conducts a love affair from his German army base with a woman who just never seems right. On his return they marry, start a family, and Johnny replays the poverty of his childhood by his own failure to attend to daily life, his heart set on being a recording artist.
There's a stirring scene of Johnny at Sun Studios in Memphis, auditioning, and a deal is duly made.
What follows, as Cash's star rises, is a mix of recreated concerts (these being excellent), pill-popping, and knocking around with Roy Orbison, Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, and the to-be love of his life, June Carter (Reese Witherspoon), who is not a temptress, but a beguiling presence whose own tumultuous love-life (numerous failed marriages in time divorce was frowned upon) never seems to dovetail with Johnny's situation.
Eventually, it works itself out, through all the lows.
We flip back to where the movie opened, the story having been in flashback, with Johnny's return to Folsom Prison where he once spent a brief time. Cash delivers a set to the inmates that bestows a gift of grace upon artist and audience alike.

Phoenix is good as Cash and his portrayal is never simple. Cash is not beast and angel as he alternates between sobriety and addiction, between groupie-sex and the pretence of his marriage. Neither is Cash excused his excesses, excesses that as a Christian man he fully expects to answer for. Instead, we see a human being struggling to find peace with himself, hurting himself and those around him in the process, still raging at the loss of his brother and beset by the coldness of a father who alone refuses to recognise his success. At the end of this broken trail, with his wife and children lost, Cash brings his life and performing career back into focus through the power of his love for June Carter. Reese Witherspoon is excellent as the bouncy, happy, June, a star since childhood, a dedicated professional and talented performer, who herself has been overshadowed by her more illustrious siblings (just as Johnny lives in Jack's shadow). If the wait for Johnny and June to come together takes a whole movie, it is worth the wait, the pain that has preceded it making it only more sweet.

If the film is any reflection of life, it is easy to imagine Cash as having sank into oblivion without June, she is the light in his dark world.

So, a touching love story with some good performances and excellent music. Catch it if you can.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What brings you down?

Answer in the comments, here below is what brings me down the most:

AMERICAN SPORTS

Yes, nothing fills me more with the experience of living death than the eternity of any mention of AMERICAN SPORTS. Games that no-one else plays, with rules that no-one without a Ph.D. in American sports understands, played by people with steroid-pumped bodies and the brains of hamsters, in ridiculous costumes, in arenas decorated with formation-dancing women and hooting American zombie men, who all look the same, have same build, replica shirts stretched tight over wide fat bodies. Eating popcorn, even. Sport and popcorn don't mix.

Nothing on this Earth brings me down more than the terrible terrible spectacle of American Sports, nothing, child labour, mortar attacks, hailstones the size of cats, nothing.

THE OTHER HUGE BRINGDOWN - DRUG COMMERCIALS

Drug adverts are so prevalent on US TV that you need drugs to sit through them

"New, Relaxo, Relaxo is recommended for people who become tense while watching TV commercials for drugs. In tests, Relaxo users were 40% - 60% less irritated by drug adverts. Side effects may include nausea, increased agitation, uncontrollable purchase of drugs advertised on TV..."

NEW -> "Combine Anti-Purchax with Relaxo, stop yourself uncontrollably purchasing drugs while you relax. Side effects include driving your car while sleeping, donating all your money and goods to charity, attacking strangers..."

NEW -> "Bummed out on too much Relaxo and Anti-Purchax? Sold your house while you were asleep and then set yourself on fire while fighting a stranger?" YOU NEED -> Fantasex, the new drug that combats the misery brought on by ruining your life with prescription drugs. Just one Fantasex tablet will have you imagining that everything is FINE! Life tastes good with Fantasex, take two tablets and experience spontaneous orgasm. Side effects include suicide and death by heart attack preceded by trembling of limbs and loss of bladder control and bowels..."

TELEVISION OF THE FUTURE

The TV of future will have blood pressure cuff, defibrilator, oxygen mask, screen, and robot nurse. During in TV drug commercials, simply hit button and syringe slides out injects you, or pills are administered washed down by that month's sponsored soft drink. If you die while zapping drugs, TV transforms into industrial furnace, envelops body and incinerates you, deducting final transaction from bank account, wraps itself and UPS mails itself to your next of kin/final place of rest.

Monday, November 21, 2005

Spiritual Superstars

This is an idea that will be expanded on, but people get upset when I say that Hollywood movies are nothing or the music they are listening to is nothing. But, truly, what kind of world are we living in when Brad Pitt or Joaquin Phoenix or Kate Winslet or Gwyneth Paltrow are there, looming larger than the Pyramids in the scheme of things.

Who are the Spiritual Superstars of our age? Who are the wisest people in the world? Can anyone think of any? Are they made any use of? Does anyone think any of our leaders are wise?

I can go on the web right now and find the 10 American men and women who can jump furthest into a sand pit at the present time (they call it long jump), but I cannot access any information on the wise people of our age (rather than the usual suspects from thousands of years ago).

Now why is that?

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Elliott Smith and Fan Art, Fan-Fic

I have been working on my book, it has been almost a year.
In course of this, I have exposed myself to many things, tonight I was revisiting Fan Art and Fan-Fic and Fan Poetry, with relation to Death Cult surrounding stars such as Kurt Cobain, Nick Drake, Elliott Smith etc. I include Fan Art of Elliott Smith below for superb example of the genre.



The image is taken from this marvellous site.

I enjoyed Elliott Smith's recordings, really quite good. And here to finish up are some lines from a different war*, from Wilfred Owen.

Dulce Et Decorum Est
by Wilfred Owen

Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,
Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge,
Till on the haunting flares we turned out backs,
And towards our distant rest began to trudge.
Men marched asleep. Many had lost their boots,
But limped on, blood-shod. All went lame, all blind;
Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hoots
Of gas-shells dropping softly behind.

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!--An ecstasy of fumbling
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time,
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime.--
Dim through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

In all my dreams before my helpless sight
He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning.

If in some smothering dreams, you too could pace
Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
His hanging face, like a devil's sick of sin,
If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs
Bitter as the cud
Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,--
My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
To children ardent for some desperate glory,
The old Lie: Dulce et decorum est
Pro patria mori.

-----------------------------------------------

(Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori (roughly)-> There is no greater honour than to die for one's country)

*I do not heap any scorn upon teenage angst, despite appearances. The picture of Smith is charming in its victory of love over technique, of the passions moved in lumbering teenage hulk, sufficient to see charcoals emerge for the first time since childhood. Anyways, just as I regard the McJob as today's National Service, so I see teenagers the planet over as fighting individual wars against the destructive forces of materialism. From the bedroom to the streets of Baghdad, it is all decidedly the same stuff, it is all The Same War. I remember the horrible horrible struggles as a teenager to become integrated, in those pre-internet days, into anything that was not a stricken living death. And the Big Lie, as in the poem quoted above? That it is the Individual Soul at fault, for not sliding seamlessly into the patterns constructed by Consumerism, the dire Materialism. None of us who survive teenage years and have to go on, I can't go on, we go on, in this world should lose sight of the importance of NOT belonging, of NOT fitting in, of NOT integrating and dying as we are absorbed into the pre-existing patterns. As Zamyatin says in fascist dystopia, OneState, the essential appeal to the individual rendered immaterial, turned into Number, "Forget that you are a gram, and feel yourself one millionth part of the ton."

NEVER! Down with OneState! We are not Numbers! Salute a Teen today!

Saturday, November 19, 2005

Llama News

I bought my share of a llama today from the Heifer Foundation. Yes, I weighed carefully the various pluses and minuses of the consequence of my gift on the global situation, the result, no reason not to Go Llama rather than buy a book, a movie, etc.

I have also been toiling away on Amazon Turk this week, in the new online sweatshop they started up, 3 cents a click, and I made it to 11500 clicks by last night (6 days).

Yes, the forces of globalization are rushing through me this week, shouldn't Greenpeace be writing about me? Maybe not.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Shameless?

I have added some of these Google Ads to my blog. There they are, flashing you the contents of the market's dirty raincoat. I wonder if anyone will ever click on them, do Extreme Unction readers buy anything off the web? I use only ebay and abebooks for online purchasing. Anyway, I did not wake up to find myself transformed into a capitalist PIG this morning, despite the fact that Extreme Unction has more original content than many of these "Donate me, it's tough work pasting in links to news stories you can find with one click" blogs. Be assured, any revenue that comes from the Google Ads will be donated to some worthy cause or other. I AM going to feed the hungry and clothe the poor, whether they like it or not.

My longer-term aim is to join Google Answers as one of their researchers, fielding questions on pop culture, pop music, and literature. I am sure that would be a suitable outlet for the trivia I've accumulated over the years. I'm something of a Professor of Trash, if anyone has any annoying pop songs trapped in their head that they cannot remember the artist/title of, please forward them and we will do some trial freebies in preparation for my glittering Google-reer.

Beyond that, I am currently insulated from the news agenda. Today I was doing some research for my book, I wanted to find out how long it would take to do a powerboat trip from Dublin to Cornwall. Unfortunately, I can't figure out how to word this request WITHOUT sounding like the World's Most Naive Potential Drug Trafficker. Sadly, the other half of the query involves the protocol involved sailing a boat out of the port of Dublin, presuming such a thing to be possible.

Such are the depressions that currently afflict me. I watched The Grass Harp, film of the Truman Capote novel last night. If you want something to cry along to, it's a good choice. I find myself way too sensitive as I pass 30. I had my pack come through from The Heifer Foundation, with regard to buying a share in a llama for some poor people in the Andes. I started crying just flicking through the stories and thinking of how it must be for folks with nothing at all. By the same token, over on this great great psychedelic resource/underground politics website I read a political tract by "Anarchists" that laid into charitable giving as "perpetuating the myth that a level playing field can be created under current conditions". That is okay to say IN THEORY, But on reflection, I really got PISSED OFF at such a sentiment. If I have 20 dollars and spend it on a DVD or some takeout, that is NOT the same as buying a 20 dollar share in a llama for people in the Andes. The only place the two acts are equivalent is in the dollar value. No-one should feel themselves absolved of helping, especially because of REVOLUTIONARY POLITICS. The people who need a llama don't have time to wait for anarchists to bleed the system dry by NOT working. (This conception is a myth, anarchists who intend to bleed the system by not working are operating with a mercantile view of the world that is centuries out of date, as if there is a fixed amount of global wealth to fritter away by sitting around NOT working and smoking spliff and listening to FUGAZI). The anarchists should WORK TWICE AS HARD and then burn their wages or give them away. But no.

Anyway, rant over. If I can clear the fact that the Heifer Foundation has no religious dimension, the llama share will be sent. Peace.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Roses for Stalin



Maybe this is where the White House came up with the idea of being greeted with flowers in Iraq.

Friday, November 11, 2005

The Wrong Trousers

Hilarious, Blair wore trousers far too tight on visit to Bush. This is the most beautiful thing I have read for a long time! Be sure to read down for my Filthy Tony Sketch!

With a minimum of ceremony we were whisked away in a fleet of golf buggies to our cabins, where we changed out of our suits for lunch. White House instructions were to be informal, but not too informal: chinos, but no jeans.

Blair put on a pair of ball-crushingly tight dark-blue corduroys. I was later told that his wardrobe for the weekend had been the result of intensive debate within No 10. If true, it was not wholly successful. Bush and Blair had a photo call later in the day, as they went for a walk in the woods. Bush looked pretty relaxed in what one assumed were his usual weekend clothes.

By contrast, Blair looked uncomfortable, his efforts to appear similarly insouciant undermined by the inability to get his hands fully into pockets that appeared glued to the groin.

That settles it, we're being led by a man who can't even make the right choice of trousers!
It makes me wonder what choices were rejected:

"Tony, you can't wear your bondage trousers to meet the President!"
"Oh, Cherie, come on, he said informal dress..."
"I think informal means something different outside the confines of a British Public School, Tony. Now put on your ball-squashing jeans, you know how saucy it is, all that confinement, just waiting to be sprung free."
"Okay. Give me a moment, though, can't wear the anal beads with those trousers..."
Pop-pop-popping and orgasmic groan from bathroom. "Boy that's good."
"Better in than out," laughs Cherie in heavy Scouse accent.

You get the idea...

*

Here's a paragraph from what I was working on today:

My mood lightens after this, black feelings purged. A zooming thought spirals out of its own blue sky, the handsome pilot with jaw set, steering a course towards a dignified lifting of the curses, in part or in full. I laugh at such a noble fool, chart his progress with cold eyes. With iron brains, I hijack the thought and send it shaking and jolting, the pilot fighting the controls, into mountainside of principled objections, explodes in cartoon flames . Oh, but look, in a dreamy twist, the pilot ejected just in time, tiny parachute floats to the depths. Let him live, let him come again. Puff of dust on the valley floor.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Music Maestro, please...

Never quite sure why anyone listens to the Beatles, I loved them as a child, but here are the basically wondrous lyrics to Jigsaw Puzzle by my favourites, The Rolling Stones...

JIGSAW PUZZLE

There's a tramp sittin' on my doorstep
Tryin to waste his time
with his methylated sandwich
He's a walking clothes line
And here comes the bishops daughter
On the other side
She looks a trifle jealous
She's been an outcast all her life

Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do my jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore

Oh the gangster looks so frightning
with his luger in his hand
when he gets home to his children
he's a family man
but when it comes to the nitty-gritty
he can shove in his knife
Yes he really looks quite religious
He's been an outlaw all his life

Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore
Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore

Oh the singer, he looks angry
At being thrown to the lions
And the bass player, he looks nervous
About the girls outside
And the drummer, he was shattered
Trying to keep up time
And the guitar players look damaged
They've been outcasts all thier lives

Me, I'm waiting so patiently
Lying on the floor
I'm just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore

And as twenty thousand grandma's
Waving their hankies in the air
All burning up their pensions
And shouting, "It's not fair!"
There's a regiment of soldiers
Standing looking on
And the queen is bravely shouting,
"What the Hell is going on?"
With a blood-curdling "tally-ho"
She charged into the ranks
And blessed all those grandma's who
With their dying breaths screamed, "Thanks!"

Me, I'm waiting so patiently
With my woman on the floor
We're just trying to do this jig-saw puzzle
Before it rains anymore

Sooper-Dooper Mighty Morons of Word

I been revamping look of computer desktop, new wallpaper, etc. Took me back to DeviantArt that has certainly grown immensely since the beginning, 16 million items now.

They've added writing sections and the misspellings are Solid Gold, Ladies and Gents!

Try this:

The truck pulls away and she falls to her knees,
struggling between gasps of breath while holding her stomach.

He slides into the passenger seat of the army truck,
he wipes one sloemn tear from his cheek
and stairs west.

* "Stairs west" - something intensely poignant there (sloemn is good, too)

My other favourites, someone spelling pacing as paceing, second word of their literary effort

and, even better, "pensil" you have to laugh

it reminds me of someone who told me they met someone on internet once, asked their profession, and they replied:

"I am a riter"

That Wins! Gold Medal! Praise be to riters everywhere...

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Elitism charge rebuffed by Elitist

Guardian Arts has an article today, defending Anthony Powell from charges of elitism, that he was only interested in writing about those who surrounded him at Eton and Oxford.

And the article rebuffing such claims of elitism is written by Andrew Motion, educated at public school (Radley College) and Oxford University.

The article is written by someone who has shared far too many of the same privileges to bring even the faintest notion of a critical view to the proceedings.

What next, an article penned by a sex offender, putting the case for Gary Glitter being "simply misunderstood"?

Or perhaps an article by a poisonous snake, "Are cobras really that venomous?" - A cobra offers their unique unbiased perspective...

Monday, November 07, 2005

Birthday

Nov 8th is my birthday, please feel free to wish me happy day, etc.

I won't be doing anything special, other than existing in this amazing magical universe. Oh, and perhaps eating a pizza. I doubt the pizza will be amazing and/or magical, but I can dream. So there we have it, dreaming of an amazing and/or magical pizza in this amazing magical universe. Sounds like just another day in paradise.

Oh, and sad to hear that John Fowles has died. I recently completed a scientific study that concluded that if all the copies of French Leutenants Woman and The Magus were retrieved from charity and junk shops of Britain, there would be enough bookage to fill the new Wembley Stadium four times over. Some achievement. There is a picture of him wearing a bourgeois louche straw hat and coming on like Terry Pratchett with A Levels over on The Guardian Books pages. He (and his straw hat) will be sadly missed by those remaining people who remember him (as he hasn't had much success lately, and though he may now enjoy a little post-death surge of interest, the chances are his literary output will be significantly slowed by having fled this mortal coil.)

His death thereby creates welcome new opportunities for those writers who survive his passing. Now, if only something awful would happen to Dave Eggers, David Foster Wallace, Zadie Smith, Claire Tomalin, and Michael Frayn... ah, I best save these thoughts for when I blow out the candles.

Let the dead bury the living

This psychedelic site has some good PDF downloads. This weekend I read Alan Watts, The Book: The taboo on knowing who you are. Interesting, not as satisfying as something like Paul Brunton's The Secret Path, I prefer my wisdom to come from someone brave enough to confess a belief that human beings are space-travellers from Sirius. And then I read Maslow on Motivational Theory, cue jokes about having to promise myself Food at the end to get through the text. Actually, the essay doesn't pick up on what might motivate someone to read a 21 page psychology paper. My motivation was to pick up on the flow of human needs. In this regard, Hunger by Knut Hamsun, probably my favourite novel, is one long study in motivation.

I have never had much but contempt for those who have satisfied their needs, the comfortable, the bourgeoisie, the dinner-party set, those people who sit down and eat a meal that costs £200+ per head seemingly without remorse. For the overwhelming mass of humanity, from where I am drawn, all the pain and truth of experience is in a basic survival struggle, such as that of Kafka, Beckett, Burroughs, Fante, Hamsun, Bukowski, Huncke, Ballard. This is what unites these artists across time and culture. For myself, art can never simply be the pursuit of fame, wealth, and big dinners.

There will always be those refusing to admit this truth (funny, in the workplace, the prospect of being cutting off from income stream of regular employment serves as useful motivation ploy for employers. "Be careful not to price yourself out of a job." Once the working day is over, this is discarded, and the leisured self is escorted to Garden of Earthly Delights to hand back all coins earned). Two paychecks from being homeless, don't forget this fact, down there with bandaged hands, shivering to death like Hunger's narrator. Or the economy melts down, your savings only value as toilet paper. As Burroughs says, in Nova Express

"Bring together state of news - Inquire onward from state to doer -' Who monopolized Immortality? Who monopolized Cosmic Consciousness? Who monopolized Love Sex and Dream? Who monopolized Life Time and Fortune?

Who took from you what is yours? Now they will give it all back? Did they ever give anything away. for nothing? Did they ever give any more than they had to give? Did they not always take back what they gave when possible and it always was?

Listen: Their Garden Of Delights is a terminal sewer - I have been at some pains to map this area of terminal sewage in the so called pornographic sections of Naked Lunch and Soft Machine - Their Immortality Cosmic Consciousness and Love is second-run grade-B shit - Their drugs are poison designed to beam in Orgasm Death and Nova Ovens - Stay out of the Garden Of Delights - It is a man-eating trap that ends in green goo - Throw back their ersatz Immortality - It will fall apart before you can get out of The Big Store - Flush their drug kicks down the drain... All that they offer is a screen to cover retreat from the colony they have so disgracefully mismanaged. To cover travel arrangements so they will never have to pay the constituents they have betrayed and sold out. Once these arrangements are complete they will blow the place up behind them.


In turning away from the truth of our needs, we complete the work of corporations, the church, the state, all the control systems. Whenever we tell ourselves a comforting story to pacify ourselves, the higher purpose of writing is diverted. Convenient fictions worn as layers to repel experience, to deny reality that denial only renders more terrible, more painful. This is why Burroughs writings dwell on disease, terror, war, addiction, those scenarios that by force strip away complacency. Basic truth: We Are at War. And not with Osama Bin Laden. See Modern America if in any doubt at all of this fact, wholesale destruction of the middle class, outsourced jobs, huge hike in energy costs, spiralling health care costs.

Those who can practice conjuring trick of convincing their enemies that things are going great, that is Power. That is the Power of Marketing Department of corporate America. In this respect, I see Radical Islam as not having much to do with religion and everything to do with the forces of globalization, the greatest threat to global security being US corporations, ready to cut deals with governments and plunge entire populations into hopelessness and despair. Look at Azerbaijan, where elections are being held this month. Oil-rich, but those left to rot at the bottom of society, what are they turning to? Radical Islam, of course.

"Outside the capital Baku, hundreds of oil rigs are pumping Caspian crude.

There are billions of dollars worth of oil wealth in Azerbaijan, and a potentially prosperous future.

The officials here say that radical Islamic groups are trying to infiltrate from nearby Chechnya and Iran and that radicalism is a real threat.

But Mikheil, who lives in the small town of Nardaran just 40 minutes away from the capital, says it is poverty that is turning him and his family towards Islam.

"Here in Nardaran, faith is all we have left. That's the only thing that is helping us to survive," he said. "

Burroughs' writings are texts that destroy these happy lies, like acid burning through words of Harry Potter to the truth contained in body, biologic truth, as such, a bizarre strain of self-help literature. I mention them here as being preparatory to overcoming such fictions as "the common-sense view", "logic dictates", "as popularly understood", destroying the Harry Potter Worldview as basic prelude to more critical engagement with whatever materials are presented as "fact", "truth", etc, always look at WHO is pushing this Junk on you? Is it Rupert Murdoch? Is it the White House? Is it Tony Blair and his goons?

And now, to conclude, am reading a little Nietzche, who sounds very much a Buddhist when he talks about the moment. Here is one reason to dislike those of a conservative bent, this quote makes me see a giant PAUL JOHNSON, sat in a chair, dismissing everything in the world as shoddy and worthy only of nuclear annihilation.

"So they are knowledgeable about culture because they generally like to get rid of culture. They behave as if they were doctors, while basically they are only concerned with mixing poisons. Thus, they develop their languages and their taste, in order to explain in their discriminating way why they so persistently disapprove of all offerings of more nourishing cultural food. For they do not want greatness to arise. Their method is to say: "See greatness is already there!" In truth, this greatness that is already there is of as little concern to them as what arises out of it. Of that their life bears witness. Monumental history is the theatrical costume in which they pretend that their hate for the powerful and the great of their time is a fulfilling admiration for the strong and the great of past times. In this, through disguise they invert the real sense of that method of historical observation into its opposite. Whether they know it or not, they certainly act as if their motto were: let the dead bury the living." - Nietzche, On the Use and Abuse of History for Life

Friday, November 04, 2005

I can almost forgive Diego...

"I'm proud as an Argentine to repudiate the presence of this human trash, George Bush," said Maradona.



Images and words like this almost make me forgive his infamous "Hand of God" goal against England in the World Cup Finals in 1986 (admittedly, the other goal he scored is easily the greatest goal I have ever seen), but I can't...

I can NEVER forgive you Diego! But somehow I LOVE you too, argh, it's Torture!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Another job ends badly!

Oh, I walked out of my bookstore job today.
Having put in lots of effort above and beyond what was required, I was rewarded with the task of wiping down all the shelves with a damp rag! So I just wiped half a shelf then realised it was over with and made my retreat. Maybe I should have told someone I was leaving, but why bother? The manager is a Total Maternal type, treats us all like a surrogate brood, I knew that the moment I dare be seen Questioning Authority she would fire back a Trump-style "You're FIRED!" Why give someone satisfaction?

I sat in the library and read 150 pages of critical writing and reminisces of Flann O'Brien, then proceeded to read an e-book version of criticism on William Burroughs, it was very funny, maybe unintentionally so, a psychiatrist analysing Burroughs, explaining his writing as infantile and orally and anally fixated, the Mother suppressed to re-emerge as The Connection, lactating the poisonous breast milk of junk, and, of course, the penis as proxy for breast, semen as breast milk, etc.

I thought the essay would end with a prescription, along with instructions "to return in two weeks if you're still fantasising over talking assholes..."

*

I wonder what I am going to do next for work. I don't really like any of the work I've done, there's nothing I would go back and repeat, it is all bad.

I would have liked to have had some kind of career, but that never seems to have happened, and I don't know what would suit me best. I think I would be happiest hosing down hoboes with a water cannon, something genteel. Perhaps I could get a job at a flying school, that would be good. Or secret agent. Ooops, forget I said that.

All suggestions ungratefully received. Complete the sentence, "Extreme Unction would make a great..."

I'll start you off...

Extreme Unction would make a great... hunting trophy

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Symbols

From a lecture by Alan Watts

"And this is the great problem of Western civilization, not only of Western civilization, but really all civilization, because what civilization is, is a very complex arrangement in which we have used symbols - that is to say words, numbers, figures, concepts to represent the real world of nature, like we use money to represent wealth, and like we measure energy with the clock. Or like we measure with yards or with inches. These are very useful measures. But you can always have too much of a good thing, and can so easily confuse the measure with what you are measuring; the money with the wealth; or even the menu with the dinner. And at a certain point, you can become so enchanted with the symbols that you entirely confuse them with the reality. And this is the disease from which almost all civilized people are suffering. We are therefore in the position of eating the menu instead of the dinner."

Deja Vu - Now Focus on the Dog

Unbelievably, David Blunkett is RESIGNING AGAIN!

Is this man trying to set some kind of record for how many times he can act unethically while "serving the British people"? (all of his cock-ups suggest he spends more time serving his own interests).

I hate to be provocative, but I also think it's time we looked into the business dealings of Blunkett's Guide Dog. They spend so much time together, that it's difficult to believe his golden-fleeced canine has not been dragged into Blunkett's murky world, too.
Once we dig into the dog's doings, we will probably find that it holds five different consultances with various pet care manufacturers, the payment being in bonemeal and dogmeat that Blunkett is stockpiling for a family business to be launched after his retirement.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

More torture

Bookstore, shelves, damp cloth, me. My instructions were simple, "Wipey Wipey, Mr."
To make things worse, the in-store radio was tuned to 104 The River and their supremely dire Soft Rock segment.
Life is bad enough, without Clay Aiken singing "Invisible," I felt like pushing over all the bookshelves, pulling down my pants, and dropping dookie on the floor.
That's how bad life can be.
I refrained, wanting to protect both my dignity and my employment prospects.
But the thought was there, just like all those other thoughts in the day that we cannot act upon. Let no-one doubt that the Englishman is a dangerous beast, as I explained yesterday, the English do not go about WITHOUT GUNS because they are placid, the exact opposite is the case, if guns were given to the average Englishman, carnage would result, particularly at rush hour. There is nothing like a Stupid Driver to inspire an incredible urge to Kill, to Maim, to drag the offender from their vehicle and administer an Industrial Kicking so fierce that family and friends are unable to recognise the pile of undifferentiated tissue left over at the end.
"I think it's him, it's either him or a jellyfish..."
The flipside is that SHOOTING GUNS at traffic lights might encourage something to be done about the congestion on British roads. Even if nothing was done by government, killing other drivers would, in the long term, if applied with sufficient vigour, naturally reduce the number of people on the roads (despite appearances to the contrary on Devonshire country roads, the Dead are currently not permitted to drive on British roads), and also Stupid Drivers would limit their journeys to off-peak times (perhaps).

Anyway, I got a little away from the subject of cleaning bookshelves. It was the Neverending Bookshelves, like some Greek Punishment. They had another guy cleaning the Neverending Windows. It was hell today, here's to tomorrow and a day off!

Oh, Prince Charles and his mount, Camilla, are here in the U.S. deary me, they actually had a Palace quote saying that "Charles and Camilla are the most popular couple in Britain", which probably equates to "more people recognised them than Posh and Becks, or, they came second, but Posh and Becks don't live in Britain, therefore..."

They make me sick, Mr and Mrs Ed

Bye all