Sunday, 31 May 2009

From the journals of Sir George Smart

They settled the manner at rehearsal as how it was to be sung, but when the time came, Madame Caradori-Allan made some deviations; this prompted Malibran to do the same, in which she displayed a most wonderful execution. During the demanded encore, [Maria] turned to me and said, "If I sing it again it will kill me". "Then do not," I replied. "Let me address the audience." "No," said she. "I will sing it again and I will annihilate her." She was taken ill with a fainting fit after the duet and carried into her room.

Saturday, 30 May 2009

Season of Quite

By Roddy Lumsden.

With refreshments and some modesty and home-drawn maps,
the ladies of the parish are marshaling the plans in hand,
devising the occasions, in softest pencil: the Day of Hearsay,
Leeway Week, the Maybe Pageant, a hustings on the word
nearby. Half-promised rain roosts in some clouds a mile out,
gradual weather making gradual notes on the green, the well,
the monument, the mayor's yard where dogs purr on elastic.
Everything taken by the smooth handle then, or about to be,
hiatus sharp in humble fashion. A small boy spins one wheel
of an upturned bike, the pond rises, full of skimmed stones
on somehow days, not Spring, not Summer yet. Engagements
are announced in the Chronicle, a nine-yard putt falls short.
Dark cattle amble on the angles of Flat Field. The ladies close
their plotting books and fill pink teacups, there or thereabouts.

Friday, 29 May 2009

From "Marginalia to Theory and Praxis"

By Theodor Adorno.

The subject, thrown back upon itself, divided from its Other by an abyss, is supposedly incapable of action. Hamlet is as much the proto-history of the individual in its subjective reflection as it is the drama of the individual paralyzed into inaction by that reflection. In his process of self-exernalization toward what differs from him, the individual senses this discrepancy and is inhibited from completing the process. Only a little later the novel describes how the individual reacts to this situation incorrectly termed "alienation" -- as though the age before individualism enjoyed an intimacy, which nonetheless can hardly be experienced other than by individuated beings: according to Borchardt animals are "lonely communities" -- with pseudo-activity.

Thursday, 28 May 2009

Can anyone help me remember what I saw or read in which a person, I think with a fear of heights, tries to kill himself or herself by repeatedly jumping out of a low window? I have a feeling it might be in Family Guy, or David Foster Wallace?

Via Passive-Agressive Notes


While I appreciate D’s enthusiasm for subjects dear to her, sometimes she talks too much about Zombies, and shows a lack of respect for me as her manager and an internationally published poet by suggesting I wear a Viking helmet.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

From "Property"

By Alaisdar Gray.

[...] The elder boy said they didn't know that the roadside was not public, also that their motorbikes and other things had been stolen.

"Not stolen. Impounded," said the man, "I had them removed last night to the police station. You can thank your lucky stars that I was kind enough to leave you the tent. So now dismantle it, collect your chattels from the station and clear out. I do not object, as a rule, to visitors who behave properly and drop no litter. I regard this --" he indicated the tent -- "as a form of litter. I have a friend, a very brave soldier who had similar trouble with a family of people like you. Well, he discovered their address, went with a friend to the municipal housing scheme where they lived and pitch a tent of his own in the middle of their back garden. They didn't like it one little tiny bit. Quite annoyed about it they were as a matter of fact.

The man turned a little and looked steadily
towards the loch, mountains, glens, rivers,
moors and islands that he regarded
(with the support of the police)
as his back garden.

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

From "Blackstone's guide to the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988"

By Gerald Dworkin, Richard D. Taylor.

In Cummins v Bond [1927] 1 Ch 167 a medium was held to be the author of a work which she claimed merely to have written down in a seance at the dictation of "some being no longer inhabiting this world, and who has been out of it for a length of time sufficient to justify the hope that he has no reasons for wishing to return to it". Eve J was clearly aware of a jurisdictional problem if he were to decide that the real author was the person "already domiciled on the other side of the inevitable river" but in any case he found that the medium had exercised sufficient skill, labour and effort to justify being treated as author. Her activities "obviously involved a great deal more than mere repetition" and encompassed the "gift of extremely rapid writing coupled with a peculiar ability to reproduce in archaic English matter communicated to her in some unknow tongue".

Monday, 25 May 2009

Apparently we can't be friends if I'm not as into Zac Effron or don't think Hannah Montana is as annoying as she does.

From "The Reed of God"

By Caryll Houselander.

By His own will Christ was dependent on Mary during Advent: He was absolutely helpless; He could go nowhere but where she chose to take Him; He could note speak; her breathing was His breath; His heart beat in the beating of her heart.

Today Christ is dependent upon men. In the Host He is literally put into a man's hands. A man must carry Him to the dying, must take Him into the prisons, workhouses, and hospitals, must carry Him in a tiny pyx over the heart onto the field of battle, must give Him to little children and "lay Him by" in His "leaflight" house of gold.

Sunday, 24 May 2009

From "The End of All Songs"

By Michael Moorcock.

He was content not to judge her mood but to share it. He laughed with her, springing up. He advanced. She awaited him. He stopped, when a few steps separated them. He was serious now, and smiling.

She fingered her neck. "There is more to literature than conversation, however. There are stories."

"We make our own lives into stories, at the End of Time. We have the means. Would you not do the same, if you could?"

"Society demands that we do not."

"Why so?"

"Perhaps because the stories would conflict, one with the other. There are so many of us -- there.'

"Here," he said, "there are but two."

"Our tenancy in this -- this Eden -- is tentative. Who knows when . . . ?"

Saturday, 23 May 2009

I have quite a lot of info about what people are up to at the moment. For example, Sarah is cheese-rolling with Gav and Helen True's going to see her mum and Wuzza's going to a wedding in a bit in Pinner Village Hall. Backchannel if you need more.

From "Negative Dialectics"

By Theodor Adorno.

The visa stamp of practice which we demand of all theory became a censor's placet. Yet whereas theory succumbed in the vaunted mixture, practice became nonconceptual, a piece of the politics it was supposed to lead out of; it became the prey of power.
Elizabeth James, author of Slurs, fists bunched with blurbs.

"You know Salt of course -- a poetry press with an innovative approach to being 'small', i.e.: Burgeon! Salt has a shameless gusto for all the dirty bits of publishing i.e. marketing hype, e-commerce, ratings, bottom lines etc., alongside a genuine informed enthusiasm for experimental writing and determination to bring it to a wide audience [...]"

The case continues.

Thursday, 21 May 2009

From "Crowd Safety Planning for Major Concert Events"

By Mick Upton.


Crowd surges are not the only problem that might be experienced. Cultural behaviour at rock concerts can be a major cause for concern. Moshing is an American term used to describe what seventies Punk Rock culture called slam dancing. Moshing is therefore a dance ritual during which people literally slam into each other, although it appears to be a violent action it is not intended to be. It can nevertheless result in the participants receiving cuts, bruises or more serious injuries such as broken bones. The act of moshing generally takes place in the "mosh pit". This term is used to describe the general area that moshing takes place and should not be confused with the area in front of stage known as the primary pit. A mosh pit can start spontaneously anywhere in the crowd and should therefore be regarded more as an activity and not an actual place. The term moshing is also often used in a broad sense now to refer to a number of other activities.

Crowd Surfing

Crowd Surfing is one of these activities, and it involves crowd members lifting an individual above the crowd so that the person can roll or swim their body over the heads of the crowd. Normally a surefer will move toward the stage with the intention of climing onto the stage to stage dive. People have been known to actually bring surfboards into a show for the purposes of crowd surfing. There have been numerous injuries recorded as a result of crowd surfing. These injuries have included neck and/or injuries to people that have been kicked in the head by the surfer, or spinal injuries caused as a result of the surfer falling, or being dropped onto the ground. There is an added danger in that a crowd collapse might then take place onto a fallen surfer causing an intolerable pressure load. There have been serious injuries reported as a result of crowd surfing. For example, Sara Jean Green wrote in the Seattle Times (2002) that the parents of 14-year-old Scott Stone reached an out of court settlement for permanent brain damage which it was claimed was the result of a crowd surfing incident in 1996. Green went on to claim that there had been 1,000 reported injuries from just 15 American concerts in 2001. In America there have also been allegations of sexual assault and even rape on female surfers who have been dragged down and stripped of their clothing by males in the crowd.

Stage Diving

Stage Diving is exactly what the term implies. It is the act of a performer or member of the audience diving from the stage into the crowd. The intention is then that the crowd will support that person above their heads while they crowd surf. Unfortunately there have been at least two fatal accidents due to stage diving. In 1994 a young man died at a club in New York as the result of what appears to have been a stage diving incident. It was alleged that a security man pushed the victim off of the stage, but the security denied the allegation and alleged that the victim was stage diving (Rogers et al 1996).

[For legal reasons, a sentence at the bottom of this page that appeared in earlier editions has been deleted.]


Pogoing is a seventies punk rock dance ritual, during which the crowd jumps up and down in unison, often giving gladiatorial salutes. The activity is still popular with a range of rock culture crowds. While this activity appears to be harmless, pogoing can present a problem at green field sites, particularly where there is a steep gradient toward the stage. After prolonged or heavy rain the field becomes very slippery and a mass of people all jumping up and down in unison can easily cause a dynamic surge similar to a landslide which might result in a crowd collapse.


Skanking is a Jamaican term originally used as a term for Reggae dance and then appropriated as a term for slam dancing, or as a prelude to crowd surfing. The term is now more likely to be used to describe a mosh pit activity where a circle forms within a crowd. The crowd then moves in a circular route while they continue to slam into each other. In some respects the circle resembles a North American Indian war dance, or in extreme cases, like a whirlpool. The size and duration of this rotating circle is dependent on the number of people drawn into it. Skanking has been known to cause a crowd collapse which, as has been previously stated, can lead to intolerable pressure loads being imposed on those unfortunate enough to be at the bottom of a pile of bodies [...]
Aw boo poor Salt, if you buy just one book now you will save them (they are from top left, Chris and Jen, flies). But which book is it? Definitely not Blade Pitch Control Unit or Vacation of A Lifetime or Gravity or Capital or The Damage or Effigies Against the Light or The Sense Record because I've done those and Salt is not saved. I also used to have Fig. I reckon it might be Terrain Seed Scarcity by Peter Larkin or The Grimoire of Grimalkin by Sascha Akhtar, or maybe I Capture The Cold Sore by Marianne Munk or Beaten by Chastisement by Mark Illis and Susan Wheeler or Theatre by Alison Croggon or Armor by Vincent de Souza or Portrait of the Artist as Some Numpties Killing a Rapist by Justin Katko or No Traveller Returns by Vahni Capildeo. I don't think it's Folklore by Tim Atkin, I don't think Tim Atkin would let them and it's probably not 101 Ways To Make Poems Sell by Chris Hamilton-Emery. Thinking about it it might be How to Gild a Lily by Luke Chivers or Restfulness Before Entering a Moor by Andrew Duncan or I'm Rotting You Remotely by Alan Halsey or Ars Arse by Chef Hilson also but that's just a guess.

"Saving Salt Publishing: Just One Book

As many of you will know, Jen and I have been struggling to keep Salt moving since June last year when the economic downturn began to affect our press. Our three year funding ends this year: we've £4,000 due from Arts Council England in a final payment, but cannot apply through Grants for the Arts for further funding for Salt's operations. Spring sales were down nearly 80% on the previous year, and despite April's much improved trading, the past twelve months has left us with a budget deficit of over £55,000. It's proving to be a very big hole and we're having to take some drastic measures to save our business.

Here's how you can help us to save Salt and all our work with hundreds of authors around the world.


1. Please buy just one book, right now. We don't mind from where, you can buy it from us or from Amazon, your local shop or megastore, online or offline. If you buy just one book now, you'll help to save Salt. Timing is absolutely everything here. We need cash now to stay afloat. If you love literature, help keep it alive. All it takes is just one book sale. Go to our online store and help us keep going.

2. Share this note on your profile. Tell your friends. If we can spread the word about our cash crisis, we can hopefully find more sales and save our literary publishing. Remember it's just one book, that's all it takes to save us. Please do it now.

With my best wishes to everyone
Salt Publishing"

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

From "Language Death"

By Nancy C. Dorian.

Where other forms of Gaelic are concerned, most ESG speakers report that they have great difficulty in making them out. This is especially true of women. A good many women had considerable exposure to other regional dialects while migrating around the coasts with the herring fishery. Typically they claim that they barely understood the Hebridean fisher girls, especially those from Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis, or even that they simply did not understand them at all:

Investigator: Were you speaking the Gaelic with the girls [at the gutting station]?
Brora bilingual: No, no, they were Stornoway girls, they were so hard to understand. They wouldn't understand us, and we weren't understanding them. They would say [in Gaelic], "What? What? What are you saying?" [1968; translated from the Gaelic.]

Another Brora woman claimed, less drastically, "If you'd catch the first word the Stornoway girls said, you could follow, but if you didn't get the first word, you're gone. You're just lost." Still another Brora woman reported that she was unable to understand [...] the Gaelic church services broadcast by the BBC [...]

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

From "The Accidental Philosophical Lexicon"

By Larry Laudan. (Original post).

Buechner Muchness Buccaneer
Feyerabend Considerably Imponderable Federated
Hintikka Antiknocks Skintight Intakes
Lakatos Krakatoa's Lactose
Nagel Bagel Angel Navel
Ockham Jackhammer
Schlick Schlock Schtick
Parmenides Disbarments Promenades
Jowett Towelette
Plotinus Guillotines
Sextus Empiricus Textures Sixties empiricism
Avenarius Aquariuses
Cassirer Brassiere
Dilthey Filthy Dilute
Feuerbach Paperback
Gadamer Daydreamer Cadaver
Horkheimer Alzheimer's
von Kleist Pleistocene
Meineke Neckerchief Menace
Meinong Tiptoeing
Natorp Vibrator
Radbruch Debauchery
von Schlegel Phlegmatic
Tugendhat Halogenated
Vaihinger Fingernails
Weininger Mudslinger
Anaximander Gerrymander
Anaximenes Proximateness
Anscombe Uncombed
Boutroux Monstrous
Brentano Repentance
Condillac Vacillation
Neurath Accurate
Schleiermacher Supermachine
Voegelin Hegelian
Wollaston Gladstone

Monday, 18 May 2009

Saturday, 16 May 2009

From "Dialectic of Enlightenment"

By Theodor Adorno and Max Horkheimer.

The triumph over beauty is celebrated by humour – the Schadenfreude that every successful deprivation calls forth. There is laughter because there is nothing to laugh at. Laughter, whether conciliatory or terrible, always occurs when some fear passes. It indicates liberation either from physical danger or from the grip of logic. Conciliatory laughter is heard as the echo of an escape from power; the wrong kind overcomes fear by capitulating to the forces which are to be feared. It is the echo of power as something inescapable. Fun is a medicinal bath. The pleasure industry never fails to prescribe it. It makes laughter the instrument of the fraud practised on happiness. Moments of happiness are without laughter; only operettas and films portray sex to the accompaniment of resounding laughter. But Baudelaire is as devoid of humour as Hölderlin. In the false society laughter is a disease which has attacked happiness and is drawing it into its worthless totality. To laugh at something is always to deride it, and the life which, according to Bergson, in laughter breaks through the barrier, is actually an invading barbaric life, self-assertion prepared to parade its liberation from any scruple when the social occasion arises. Such a laughing audience is a parody of humanity. Its members are monads, all dedicated to the pleasure of being ready for anything at the expense of everyone else. Their harmony is a caricature of solidarity. What is fiendish about this false laughter is that it is a compelling parody of the best, which is conciliatory. Delight is austere: res severa verum gaudium. The monastic theory that not asceticism but the sexual act denotes the renunciation of attainable bliss receives negative confirmation in the gravity of the lover who with foreboding commits his life to the fleeting moment. In the culture industry, jovial denial takes the place of the pain found in ecstasy and in asceticism. The supreme law is that they shall not satisfy their desires at any price; they must laugh and be content with laughter. In every product of the culture industry, the permanent denial imposed by civilisation is once again unmistakably demonstrated and inflicted on its victims. To offer and to deprive them of something is one and the same. This is what happens in erotic films. Precisely because it must never take place, everything centres upon copulation. In films it is more strictly forbidden for an illegitimate relationship to be admitted without the parties being punished than for a millionaire’s future son-in-law to be active in the labour movement. In contrast to the liberal era, industrialised as well as popular culture may wax indignant at capitalism, but it cannot renounce the threat of castration. This is fundamental. It outlasts the organised acceptance of the uniformed seen in the films which are produced to that end, and in reality. What is decisive today is no longer puritanism, although it still asserts itself in the form of women’s organisations, but the necessity inherent in the system not to leave the customer alone, not for a moment to allow him any suspicion that resistance is possible.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Jonathan Stevenson's quotations!

Every year, Jonathan Stevenson shares with all you [...] Tea [...] Israel readers what they said stripped of context.

"I am sorry that you had a bad experience here in Kent and I hope that this will not be the case if you visit us in future."

"From what we've seen there are basically three groups of loons. Anti-capitalist loons who want universal communism, environmental extremists who have a litany of complaints, and anti-war folks who want to give peace a chance while bin Laden and his crew cut off people's heads"

"A tazer was fired at RampART. The gentleman ducked and it missed."

"This crisis was fostered and boosted by irrational behaviour of some people that are white, blue-eyed. Before the crisis they looked like they knew everything about economics, and they have demonstrated they know nothing about economics."

"For help at any time press 8"

"Tomorrow dawns a day when nothing is certain. And what could be more liberating than this after so many long years of certainty?"

"I don't believe too much in leadership. I believe more in good passing than a guy who jumps around with the hands in the air and plays the leader."

"Almost every day we go to the park"

"I'm not try'nna tell you nothing 'bout right and wrong/ it's a whisper and it's growing into a song"

"I have noticed that the people who are late are often so much jollier than the people who have to wait for them."

"I don't have any specific proposals to make but I feel it would have been better if more of the people with PhDs had been shovelling some of the shit!"

"Greedy bankers had another losing night on the roulette tables yesterday as giant US investment firm Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and Wall Street financiers demanded that the state bail out their losses."

"I have spoken to Kishwa and she said that no they don't have the right to come into the property when doing a bail check, they don't have the right to break your door down, and they don't have the right to arrest you for obstruction and DS Bull is a wanker."

"Oh, how I wish I was young again"
Ian Patterson's The Glass Bell, another book which Martian forensic anthropologists will mistakenly attribute to me, is out from Barque. Luke Roberts says a thing or two about it here. Bad Breath contains a recording of a different, and by now thoroughly discredited reading of Ian's. And there's one coming up.

Thursday, 14 May 2009

From "Emile"

By Jean-Jacques Rousseau, trans. Barbara Foxley.

If a man were born tall and strong, his size and strength would be of no good to him till he had learnt to use them; they would even harm him by preventing others from coming to his aid; left to himself he would die of want before he knew his needs.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


PETER PHILPOTT is looking for ideas about the future of his Café Oto series of poetry & music events -- which will be moving to the evenings, as well as the future. Go tell him its endogenous contradiction of private accumulation of propositional contents vs. socialised aesthetics will tear it into juice via a series of inexorably intensifying crises!

From "Virtual Reality Adventure: Green Blood"

By Mark Smith.

Sickened by the ways of your fellow men and despairing of man's cruelty, you have quit the teeming city of Godorno, with its cesspools and plague pits, its beggars and abject slaves. You walk for days, revelling in the fresh air of the countryside. This is a green land of hills and dales, farmsteads and mills -- a veritable bread-basket that yields all its grains and fruits to the decadent city.

As you walk you have much time to think. Long ago your family told you how the star of destiny, purple Praxis, changed colour to the flaming gold of Moraine, God of War, at the moment of your birth. Even as Praxis flared with energy, so your mother's life waned. She died of exhaustion bringing you into the world, but her sisters looked after you until you were old enough, at eight, to go up to the dreaming spires of the academy at Hegalopolis.


The cloistered life of the academy, with its politness and order, gave you scant preparation for life on the streets of Gordono. You developed the cunning of a sewer rat and the patience of the damned just staying alive day to day, dodging the press gangs from the war galleys that carry young men off to fight the corsairs. Your cunning was great enough to avoid the fate of the galley slave and you have grown to maturity, strong, tough and determined.

The ways of city folk revolt you. Your diligent study of history shows an ever churning cycle of oppressors and the downtrodden. Man is strapped to the wheel of fate to be alternately dragged to the heights and plunged again into the pits and windblasted depths of pain and want.

As you walk, every step that bears you away from the stench of the city is a step taken more lightly than the last. You resolve to return to the city of if you have changed things for the better. Yours is the nobleness of spirit that would lay down its life to better the lot of your fellow man. If Praxis robbed you of a mother's love, Praxis can repay the debt by shining brightly on your destiny.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

From "Anemic Cinema"

By Stephen Rodefer.

If this paisano asks me to move over or get out of this coffin
I go back to the streets. If Diana calls, I'm not here.
I could never figure her. The world's number one figure
And nobody wrapped her up and took her home.
Some people have to be happy because they are nothing but rich.
Forming on little roofs around some little royalty, the pretender
Is King, though his wife is English and a commoner.
They rule the international set. You figure it. I can't.

It was at once of the smaller casinos, kind of late.
We'd finished gambling. We hadn't eaten together since lunch.
Every night is like every other night. Off screen you never laugh.
Next to another you have the body of an animal.
More of the same for the King. Is the gigolo
Known to anyone? It is a born medicine. It kills pain.
I feel terrible charging my customers for gas. Come on
Charlie, get behind the wheel. Welcome to the Bahamas.

She looked at me for no more than a beat and a half
But I knew that I would remember her for as long as I lived,
If I lived that long. When we got to Rome [...]

From a response to "Some Darker Bouquets"

By Tim Atkins (more).

The pleasure & the problem with poetry (review culture) is that we all know each other: most negative criticism seems to be taken as a personal attack as opposed to an aesthetic engagement. It is hard not to feel upset when a friend says something mean about one's book: & therein lies the problem. We DO need to have a culture where the issues of review & reflection are robust & we are engaging with work which leaves us unmoved or angry. We also need to be able to do this with some kind of generosity of intention & knowledge of where this lies in a larger human context. I think we can do this through right intention & seeing all of our writings as a serious form of play.

That there are many pompous, divisive & dreadful poets is obvious. The poetry establishment & media is populated by ignorant & parochial poets & reviewers who aggressively pursue a conservative agenda. It is always fair to tilt at such ridiculous windmills: but there is a difference between (1) stating the bleeding obvious about the fucking awful: these well-meaning (yet still-marginalized-in-the-wider-literary-culture) people need to be critiqued for their agenda & politics as well as their aesthetics—& (2) the entirely different job of engaging with our perceived peers (national & international) in a rigorous & honest manner. A good negative review, I think, should at least provide the author in question with some hard questions & the possibility of some options. Jean-Luc Godard was once in discussion with a critic (Pauline Kael) who had slammed his latest movie, & he ended the discussion by asking her to give him some suggestions for his next project (instead of her simply saying the work sucked).

The solution which works for me is to attempt to write reviews which play with the form. Recent pieces (all at on Jeff Hilson, Yasusada/Bernstein/Johnson, Miles Champion, & Gabriel Gudding all try to say useful things without slavishly or boringly blurbing the work. Clark Coolidge's Crystal Text started life as a review of Michael Palmer's Notes For Echo Lake. The great examples of creative & playful reviewing for me were the issues of L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E magazine where reviews were (generally) undertaken in a spirit of generosity, play, & adventure.

In the spirit of play & positive engagement I do think that there is a point to Dadaist positioning & offensiveness—but a distinction needs to be made between a critique of the poetry & the activity of the poet: it is of course possible to be critical of either or both. (Criticism is more easily done in the wider moneyed creative culture where reviewers rarely sleep or eat with their adversaries.) I don’t think it is a question of whether passionate / critical discourse should take place—of course it should—but how it should take place.

Amy Lowell said that publishing a book of poetry & expecting a response was like dropping a petal into the Grand Canyon & expecting an echo. It is certainly funny & at times useful to reply to the dropping of petals not with an echo but with a barf. There is, however, a difference between barfing over a book or in the face of the author.

For us all it is important to be clear about our aim (book or face) & our ultimate (let’s say good, playful, & serious) intentions.

Monday, 11 May 2009

Spring in London

By Steve Willey.

Come in from a warmth my small gazelle drill
Scaffolding green of caltrop pierce-hoof
For it is now midday and I'm in need of pigeons
Canted-builder, undead-mesh, brackened-eyes
Closets and kisses fold you up something proper
No today is not the day for something proper
Extinguish curls -

And when I was a poacher the room was pink
In summer O' microwaves where the birds burst
And the shields turn in face to slit faces the pretty
Polices, and Luke

I garnered up the violence for you, I placed it in this bird
Will you hold it? Yet still, while you face it, will you come
In from my mouth, for it is now past midday, and I'm in need
Of poems -

Fuck off to find a fallow field mouse gangrene and empty
For he is out in the lower gut of my tiny Luke bird,
Shitting out green -

And I heard you ill the city - so are you my slow gazelle,
Or worse - are you my drill-field. And am I the closet terrorist
When even your kisses fear me -

Where even the birds sought my door to die?

Sunday, 10 May 2009

From "It's the Spork Valley All-Stars"

By Chris Goode (more, Spoon River Anthology).

In life I was quailsong and sparrowfart, propping up
the Borg for the promise of a Tupperware parachute,
jam and Jehosaphat endlessly deferred. My children accounted me
pinker than a skinned doe’s quim, and my wife, my
God, her monocle, the endless coupons,
naturally I spunked the whole kit and caboodle
up the wall. One evening near the fag-end of Lent
I secretly frenchkissed a lady’s tofu.
Nobody knew she was there.
The incident might have come with me to Valhalla
but my consequent grin set off car alarms, frightened
a pregnant sow, made the Salvation Army go pagan overnight.
Your raspberry pavlova would relatively taste like
a Gauloise. I was utterly butterly ausgespielt.
Jumping before I was pushed, I set
my affairs in order, aardvark to flugelhorn, fluoridation to
mulberry, mumps to repugnance, and requiem to
zoo, plus appendices. Then I tidied my language
laboratory away, put the phone in the sink,
and ate seventy packets of Blu-Tack.
Now my wife is a millionaire, and my legacy
entirely consists in a minuscule disclaimer.
Blu-Tack is not to be taken internally.
Christ I miss my labrador, Abracadabra.

From "On Liberty"

By John Stuart Mill.

Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant -- society collectively, over the separate individuals who compose it -- its means of tyrannizing are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates: and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practises a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling; against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development, and, if possible, prevent the formation, of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs, as protection against political despotism.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Novissimum organum.

By Theodor W. Adorno (in Minima Moralia).

It is long established that wage labour created the hordes of the modern epoch, indeed formed the worker himself. As a general principle the individual is not merely the biological basis, but the reflection of the social process; his consciousness of himself as something in-itself is the illusion needed to raise his level of performance, whereas in fact the individuated function in the modern economy as mere instruments of the law of value.

Yet the inner composition of the individual must be derived in itself, not merely out of its social role. In the present phase, what is decisive is the category of the organic composition of capital. By this the theory of accumulation meant "the growth in the mass of means of production, compared with the mass of labour-power which vivifies it" (Marx, Kapital).

As the integration of society, particularly in totalitarian states, determines subjects ever more exclusively as partial moments in the system of material production, the "transformation of the technical composition of capital" perpetuates itself through the productive-technological demands in those whom it not only encompasses, but constitutes.

The "organic" composition of human beings is increasing. That which determines subjects in themselves as means of production, and not as living purposes, increases with the proportion of machines to variable capital. The pat phrase, the "mechanization of man," is misleading, because it understands the latter as something static, that adapts to conditions of production external to him, and is deformed by external influence. But there is no substrate of such "deformations," nothing ontically interiorized, which social mechanisms merely act upon from outside: the deformation is not a sickness in men, but in the society whose children arrive with that “hereditary taint” which biologism projects onto nature.

Only when the process that begins with the transmutation of labour-power into a commodity has permeated men through and through, and objectified each of their impulses as formally commensurable variations of the exchange relationship, is it possible for life to reproduce itself under the prevailing relations of production. Its consummate organisation demands the coordination of people that are dead. The will to live finds itself referred to the denial of the will to live: self-preservation annuls life in subjectivity. Against this, all the achievements of adaptation, all the acts of conforming described by social psychology and cultural anthropology, are mere epiphenomena.

The organic composition of man refers by no means only to his specialised technical faculties, but – and this is something the usual cultural critique wishes at no price to reveal – equally to their opposite, the moments of naturalness which once sprung from the social dialectic and are now succumbing to it. Even what differs from technology in humans is now being incorporated into it as a kind of lubrication. Psychological differentiation, originally emerging as the dismemberment of man according to the division of his labour and the compartmentalization of his freedom, is finally entering service of production. "The specialized virtuoso," wrote one dialectician [Lukács!] thirty years ago, "the seller of his objectified and substantialized faculties ... ends up in a contemplative attitude towards the functioning of his own objectified and substantialized faculties. This structure shows itself most grotesquely in the case of journalism, where it is precisely subjectivity itself – knowing things, moods, the capacity to express – which turns into something abstract, as divorced from the personality of the 'owner' as from the material-concrete essence of the objects, which are dealt with independently and nomothetically as if by a moving mechanism. The 'disinterestedness' of journalists, the prostitution of their experiences and convictions, is only comprehensible as the apogee of capitalist reification." What was here established as the "phenomena of degeneration" of the bourgeoisie, which it itself still denounced, has meanwhile emerged as the social norm, as the character of full-fledged existence under late industrialism. It has long since ceased to be merely a question of the sale of what is living. Under the a priori of salability, what is living makes itself, as the living, into a thing, into equipage.

The ego consciously takes the whole man into its service as a piece of apparatus. In this restructuring, the "ego as team leader" delegates so much of itself to the ego as "management technique" that it becomes quite abstract, a mere point of reference: self-preservation forfeits itself. Character traits, from genuine kindness to the hysterical outbursts of rage, become capable of manipulation until they shift perfectly into the demands of a given situation. With their mobilization they change. All that is left are the light, rigid, empty husks of emotions, matter transportable at will, devoid of anything personal. They are no longer the subject; rather, the subject responds to them as to his internal object. In their unbounded docility towards the ego they are at the same time estranged from it: being wholly passive they no longer nourish it. This is the social pathogenesis of schizophrenia. The severance of character traits from both their instinctual basis and from the self, which commands them where once it merely held them together, makes man pay for his increasing inner organisation with increasing disintegration. The consummation of the division of labour within the individual, his radical objectification, leads to his morbid scission. Hence the 'psychotic character's, the anthropological pre-condition of all totalitarian mass movements. Precisely this transititon from stable characteristics to push-button patterns of behaviour - apparently enlivening - is an expression of the rising organic composition of man. Quick reactions, unballasted by a mediating constitution, do not restore spontaneity, but establish the person as a measuring instrument deployed and callibrated by a central authority. The more immediate its response, the more deeply in reality mediation has advanced: in the prompt, unresistant reflexes the subject is entirely extinguished.

So too, biological reflexes, the models of the present social ones, are - when measured against subjectivity - objectified, alien: not without reason are they referred to as "mechanical." The closer organisms are to death, the more they regress to such jerking.

Accordingly, the destructive tendencies of the masses that explode in both varieties of totalitarian state are not so much death-wishes, as manifestations of what they have already become. They murder so that whatever to them seems living shall resemble themselves.

From Adorno and Marcuse

"The prognoses of class-theory such as immiseration and economic crisis have not been so drastically realized, as one must understand them if they are not to be completely robbed of their content; one can speak of relative immiseration only in a comic sense" (TA).

"Assimilation in needs and aspirations, in the standard of living, in leisure activities in politics derives from an integration in the plant itself, in the material process of production. it is certainly questionable whether one can speak of 'voluntary integration' (Serge Mallet) in any other than an ironical sense" (HM).

From "What is Enlightenment?"

By Immanuel Kant.

Laziness and cowardice are the reasons why such a large proportion of men, even when nature has long emancipated them from alien guidance (naturaliter maiorennes), nevertheless gladly remain immature for life. For the same reasons, it is all too easy for others to set themselves up as their guardians. It is so convenient to be immature! If I have a book to have understanding in place of me, a spiritual adviser to have a conscience for me, a doctor to judge my diet for me, and so on, I need not make any efforts at all. I need not think, so long as I can pay; others will soon enough take the tiresome job over for me. The guardians who have kindly taken upon themselves the work of supervision will soon see to it that by far the largest part of mankind (including the entire fair sex) should consider the step forward to maturity not only as difficult but also as highly dangerous. Having first infatuated their domesticated animals, and carefully prevented the docile creatures from daring to take a single step without the leading-strings to which they are tied, they next show them the danger which threatens them if they try to walk unaided. Now this danger is not in fact so very great, for they would certainly learn to walk eventually after a few falls. But an example of this kind is intimidating, and usually frightens them off from further attempts.

Kate Moss

I think she's weirdly good, next she should read In the House of the Shaman by Maggie O'Sullivan or this recent one by Sean Bonney or maybe something by Neil Pattison. Other desires are too obvious even to mention, Ant and Dec getting through Hobbes's Leviathan, scrupulously literal Marilyn Manson concept album around Jeff Hilson's Assarts, various silver screen starlets putting Marianne Morris's Tutu Muse through its paces etc.

Friday, 8 May 2009

From "Encyclopedia Dramatica"

(Also see Uncyclopedia and Encyclopedia Dramatica entries on "Jew").

From "My Genius Is No More Than A Girl"

By Teresa Carmody, Kim Rosenfield, Vanessa Place & Christine Wertheim.

(More at Delirious Hem).

The invitational mood as enacted by Kim Rosenfield the clinical psychotherapist is the understanding that Kim Rosenfield the conscious subject is, like all sentient subjects, an objective set, and the set of Kim Rosenfield is an incomplete set insofar as it does not include not Kim Rosenfield, and the set of Kim Rosenfield is an unsettled set insofar as it alludes to Kim Rosenfield the audition.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

From "Scraps"

By Kai Fierle-Hedrick.

[...] the potent warmth that walks the edges of misunderstanding:
where it’s true for a moment, whatever it is, the moment
you say it: and then the impossibility of permanent care: embracing
each other like the plump cells of a Pomello, grown for it and bound
to split [...]

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Why the fuck can't space and time just be pure concepts of the understanding?

From "Job's Skin Game"

By Alasdair Gray.

[...] All but the works supervisor at once cheered up, congratulated me on my wise decision, said I would gain rather than lose financially because blah blah blah blah blah. So the paperish arm left me with nothing to enjoy but my skin game.

The nature of other crusts (Lace, Fishscale, Snakeskin, Shell, Biscuit, Straw and Pads) I leave to the imagination of my readers, but some cannot be classified by a simple name. From the shallow valley above the caudal vertebrae I have removed three discs of the same size but different textures: beewing, parchment and paper, joined at the point where they overlapped by a little dark purple oval cake. I have also detached something like a tiny withered leaf, intricately mottled with black and grey, glossily smooth on the underside but with a knap like Lilliputian velvet on the upper. Anything often thought about enters our dreams and I sometimes dream of more extravagant growths. One is like a thin slab of soft, colourless cheese, slightly wrinkled: it peels off with no physical sensation at all. Another lies under it and another under that. At last I uncover what I know is the lowest layer which I fear to remove, knowing that underneath lies nothing but bone wrapped in a network of naked veins, arteries, tendons and nerves, yet intense curiosity is driving me to expose what I dread to see when I fortunately awaken.

I reduced the bouts of wild scratching to once a week and between them carefully removed the crusts I have listed and the others I have not. The pleasure of this harvesting is twofold: sensual because the raw skin beneath feels briefly relieved, perhaps because it can perspire and breathe more freely; emotional because I like separating the dead from the quick, removing what is not the living me from what is. After each session I apply ointment then sweep up the dust, flakes and crusts with a hand-held vacuum cleaner of the sort used on car upholstery. Yet I do so with a kind of regret, feeling these former growths of mine should be used for something. I considered gathering the biggest in a porcelain jar as Victorian ladies gathered flower petals [...]

Monday, 4 May 2009

I side with the doom in this matter.

Sunday, 3 May 2009

From "Being and Doing"

By Marianne Morris.

Lose a few thousand hours in love, then
let's see now, ah yes, and seek out the bloody corpse
Plato said you couldn't bear meeting face-to-face.
Here it lies, a red slick shining on each of your
nails, heavy with ethical mass. Or it lies at your feet, a
small pile of shit with a Christmas Card pushed into it,
a flat Santa which jumps for joy, peacefully fat.
Here it lies, sealed in sanctioned parlance, its
agony deemed unconstructive. You are, I am
so radically selfish,

Saturday, 2 May 2009

From "Johnny Vegas"

By Stewart Lee.

The Johnny Vegas character has been thoughtfully and carefully drawn to embody blackly hilarious notions of desperation, loneliness and bewilderment. But it’s so convincingly portrayed that, when it encounters an increasingly superficial media, Johnny’s behaviour is portrayed as synonymous with Michael Pennington’s. “What you say on stage becomes a perception of your real life,” Vegas explains, “they won’t draw that line.” Last year some lads shouted out at Johnny on stage, “Why did your wife leave you?” Confronted with such a personal question any stand-up who chose to answer it seriously, or else get angry, would have thrown the gig. Johnny replied, “She didn’t share my belief in sea monsters. I’d be swimming around in the sea looking for them, and she’d get bored.”, brilliantly defusing the whole situation. The next day in the Daily Mirror, this comment was reported as evidence of Michael Pennington’s deteriorating mental state, as had been a previous gig where he had invited men in the audience to lick his nipples, and old Johnny Vegas trick for breaking the ice that fans will have seen him use on stage many times. In the Incredible Hulk film, Eric Bana rampages through the Mojave desert destroying thousands of US army tanks, but he has so far escaped personal censure for this in the pages of the Daily Mirror. That said, I once criticised some friends for saying they had seen Johnny do a shit on stage. I said this was ridiculous and that whilst he may have pretended to do a shit on stage, he wouldn’t actually do a shit on stage. He was a character comedian, an actor playing a role, not a psychopath. I subsequently related this story to Johnny as an example of people’s failure to view Johnny Vegas as a character, but he made a kind of doubtful face, and I decided not to pursue the issue.

From "This Diseased Utopia: 10 Thoughts on Swine Flu and the City"

By Geoff Manaugh.

The common flu is now a dining table measured exactly against the reach of sneezes; SARS is a cubicle lined with an industrial felt that absorbs all coughs; pneumonia is a bar stool, hand-crafted from white pine, with a circumference of rails to prevent people getting too close.

My pig flu joke

Friday, 1 May 2009

From "Get The Fuck Back Into That Burning Plane"

By Lawrence Giffin.

Sir! Ma’am! For the safety and security
of you and your family,
I need you to get the fuck
back into that burning plane.
For the 245 whites of Shanksville, PA,
bombed from eight weeks in the future,
recovered into historical memory
from the pixel debris connecting
the monitor to the hardpoint,
please, get the fuck
back into that burning plane.
A finger prodding you through an array
of channels and devices:
lab, factory, prison, school.
Into the time-period you go,
fluctuating like a canister,
handed yourself by the bursar
and the ombudsperson
like a glass of gravitas.
You lick the bottom of the glass;
there is candy there.
You lick the wreckage of racialized vespers;
there is a nation here.