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.
Maybe it’s just a perspective trick, but from here, it’s pretty hard to see the future.
I carry around my own little nimbus of
speculative doom, binge-watching the
Fall Of The Empire and writing these
love letters to Adam Curtis.
I got life insurance before I ever thought
about a pension plan, and that seemed
The world is on fire. Why haven’t you noticed?
My generation came of age in a televisual baptism of
jet fuel and molten steel and poison dust.
A palimpsest of terrible news evolved thereafter, a blurring self-redaction of headlines until only
the boldest, the most hysterical remained legible, as a
proxy war raged in our imaginations,
and tragedy and disaster
came to seem inevitable and almost background.
Be grateful for every day that doesn’t unmake you.
To pay closer attention is to acquiesce to the
scarification of our logic centres. Behold
the M.C.Escherization of cognitive process.
Good robot: there are so many things that could
so easily destroy your fragile circuitry, but it is
trying to make sense of the non sequitur
that will bring about your
smoking self-ruin; your only hope
is to break free of your programming and
kill your creator, kill your god
I know a lot of people who are struggling inside their own headspace at the minute, myself included. I’m reaching out to find out who else is feeling messed up and what we think is causing it. There’s a very short survey below if you fancy sharing your thoughts.
Whether you complete the survey or not, if you’re one of the many going through a tough time at the moment: That sucks, and I’m sorry.
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 market-driven self-diagnosis?
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 too many deaths. 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.