I wrote this piece about two years ago. Brexit and Trump (and by extension the whole resurgence and validation of so much hate-filled right-wing ideology) had me questioning a lot of things about the world, our values systems and what the future holds for us as a species. Sadly, I haven’t found many answers since.
I guess this is my contribution to modern-day Western scar literature.
So this, it seems, is what happens when I go out listening to Adam Curtis Spotify playlists on headphones:
“But maybe your real job is shopping…”
Sleepwalk through stock footage. Life as
documentary. Soundtrack of horror movie score:
ambient electronica, bubblegum nostalgia and
Nazi love songs. Everything becomes
visual metaphor: blackbirds, barcodes and
birthday candles; Big Pharma pick & mix;
lipstick ritual; pigeon superstition; fraying flags
of fading empires; migratory patterns of
shopping trolleys; special offers; fantastic prizes.
Worker bees are vanishing – they all want to
be queens – and our hives overflow
with honey, but are empty and dead. We got
infected with aspiration, with individualism.
Generically unique career consumers: remember
when you were more than your credit rating,
more than your demographic, more than your
Well, it’s winter.
Feels like it has been for
oh, a few years now, and there’s
not enough vitamin D in the universe.
I’m sticky with a low-grade fever I’ve been
running since forever.
My hands still sweat too much
gripping a steering wheel, heart caught
somewhere unsustainable and
treacherous between over-revving and
stalling. There are
dead things at the side of every road; my
foreshortened sense of future is
written in the entrails of
creatures who never learned
to look both ways. Incidentally,
I’m still off meat.
I’m not sleeping right. I keep having this same
cold, lurching dream; night after night,
we’re boarding the dark, sinister hulk of a ship
squatting low in a hostile harbour, refugees on
an ill-fated voyage, borne by
violent winds and poisoned tides.
Awake, I make the mistake of clinging to
facts and reason, when apparently we’re
guided now by phrenology, comets
and hate. The news cycle spins away like
some fairytale spinning wheel, one
poisonous prick after another, until we all
wish we could sleep for a hundred years, or
at least until Brexit is over.
I suspect my cat of being a
deep state agent and myself
of being a crisis actor (I’m always
showing up on the periphery of these
seemingly unrelated catastrophes).
In this house, we drink spirits when
a comrade dies; I’ve got a handle on the
drinking, but the grief
is getting to be a destructive habit. Altogether
It gets noisy in here, in my
head (train station noisy; busy, but transient; cold
and dirty and full of strangers).
I look at butterflies, orchids, tigers, roadkill,
x-rays of tumour-riddled lungs, and see
only Rorschach blots. Shrug. It’s not like
any of it matters. It’s impossible to take
this carnival of absurdity seriously anymore.
In any event, while I thank you for your kind invitation,
for these and other reasons, I will not
be coming to your
New Year’s Party.