Monday, November 17, 2014

THE JUDGEMENT BIRD


Do you remember the Judgement Bird? Remember? It was in Dublin Zoo. It was a huge thing with dark grey feathers and deep set eyes that peered straight into your soul. It usually just stood there with its wings all folded up but when it extended them it was a sight to behold. The span was enormous, like some mighty cloak it could wrap you in and you'd never see the sun again. It was night time under those wings. It was the world before light.

We all made the pilgrimage. We'd queue up and watch the Judgement Bird as it watched us. Judging us. Silently calling us to account. Feelings of great guilt would befall all who looked upon the Judgement Bird. There would be sudden sobs and confessions. 'I slept with your missus', 'I diverted the funds', 'I cogged me maths ekker', that sort of thing. Politicians and various establishment figures seemed reluctant to visit the zoo around that time. There was even an attempt made on the Judgement Bird's life but the assassin broke down and took his own life instead. I heard John Charles McQuaid curled into a ball and rocked to and fro for four days just after seeing the Judgement Bird on the telly.

There was something in the Judgement Bird's eyes. Something primeval, something pure and atavistic, irrefutably authentic and devoid of mercy. Something that spoke of a world lost to us or perhaps even rejected by us. The Judgement Bird seemed to be from an angry Eden. No one actually knew where it was from. It wasn't captured or anything. It just landed in the monkey enclosure. The monkeys were quite deferential where it came to the Judgement Bird and shared their food with it. The zoologists didn't have a clue what type of bird it was exactly. They guessed it was some kind of crane or a stork but who knows? It looked a bit like a giant vulture to me. An ornithologist lost three fingers approaching the Judgement Bird so it was left alone after that.

Even people who didn't do anything wrong felt guilty when they met the gaze of the Judgement Bird. They said that they felt incriminated for behaving themselves in the wrong way, in the way of man, a corrupted way. 'You are not good', the Judgement Bird seemed to say to them, 'you are just scared, obsequious and indoctrinated.' Only very small children enjoyed visiting the Judgement Bird. Everyone else dreaded it but felt compelled to return to it again and again. 'It's like confession', said one visitor, 'only it's God on the other side of the grille and not some dreary old hypocritical bollix'.

The day came when the Judgement Bird took off. First it did a dance of sorts, stretching out its legs, moving around in a staccato fashion and throwing its head about. Storm clouds, great and black, gathered above as it performed. Then the Judgement Bird opened its wings and lifted up and soared away. It was swallowed up by the premature night it had summoned. It never came back.

The Cosgrave government had all footage of the Judgement Bird immediately destroyed. The only thing rumoured to remain of the Judgement Bird is a long streak of silver shite it left behind that was smuggled from the zoo by one of the lads that cleaned out the enclosures. If you know who to ask, you can get brought to a secret place where you can look at the Judgement Bird's shite. They say there's a queer smell off the shite and when you inhale it you're left with the tremendous sensation that we've all let ourselves down. This sensation is said to be accompanied by another feeling, a premonition of sorts is how it is described. It's said that upon smelling the shite of the Judgement Bird you are possessed with an unnerving certainty that the Judgement Bird will return and, when that day comes, it will not be alone.

Friday, November 7, 2014

SWEETHEART COME


If you look at things close up, really close up, they cease to be what they seem to be. A person stops being a person with arms and legs and a torso and a head and becomes a vast epidermal surface instead. Look even closer and even this understanding is lost. Closer up than close up, everything becomes an indivisible hubbub of subatomic particles. We might see a room but really there is no furniture, no ceiling, no floor, no window and no door. At the most micro of micro levels the room is all just trashing static but on our macro level it takes on the illusion of separate objects. It's like a Monet painting, it's an incomprehensible mess close up and only makes sense at a distance. This distance from real reality is the range we operate on. We all know it but we put the knowledge of the eternal fuzz out of our heads. We operate under a required interpretation of 'reality' that is actually an illusion. We pretend that the world is an arrangement of things with contexts. To approach existence in any other way would drive us crazy.

Are you with me? Do you understand what I'm saying? Do you agree? You kind of have to agree. You've no choice. It's the truth. It's reality, really.

The above image is an extract from a letter written by a German woman called Emma Hauck. Considered insane, Emma was committed to a mental institution where she lived out what remained of her life. Emma had lost the ability to see things on our macro range. All context had broken down for her. She was being swallowed by the subatomic hiss, the eternal fuzz of what reality really is. It must have been like sinking in quicksand and she was calling out to be rescued. She was calling out to the memory of the thing that gave her life meaning. That thing was love.

On proper examination, you can make out that Emma wrote the same two words over and over and over again; a simple phrase in her native language, 'herzensschatzi komm'. It means 'sweetheart come'. Emma's letter was to the father of her two children. Emma sat and wrote 'sweetheart come' over and over and over again. The words, the punctuation and the letters merge and end up looking like the static snow on an old television screen. Did you know that the snow on old televisions is leftover radiation from the Big Bang, the Big Bang that created all reality? It is. I'm not sure if that's relevant but I thought I'd mention it in case it is relevant. Very relevant. Anyway, Emma wrote a great many letters like the one pictured above. She sat and wrote them all day. All day, every day. None Of Emma's letters were ever sent.

Now, I want you to imagine that you're sitting and listening to static emitting from a receiver of some sort. I want you to imagine that you are listening out for the voices of those trapped in Limbo. Imagine you hear the words 'sweetheart come' repeated over and over, lost amongst the hiss. Imagine you hear this pleading from a ghost. A ghost trying to communicate to a memory, a memory of a meaning, a meaning called love.

'Sweetheart come, sweetheart come, sweetheart come, sweetheart come', over and over in the eternal fuzz. Oh my. My oh my. Tell me now about this reality. Has it broken your heart yet?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

THE REBEL


Tattoos. Piercings. Dressed in black. Playing Xbox. The counter-cultural rebel. Hates 'skangers'. Collects Marvel comics. Almost voted once but didn't bother. 
Not out of principle, it was just raining. 
Has a thing for things with skulls on them. Smokes from this fucking huge bong. 
Calls people 'douches' but mainly online. The movie Fight Club changed his life. 
Read most of The God Delusion, well some of most of it. Has the gist of it. 
Mentions it on the LiveLeak comments where he has a Family Guy avatar and likes to wage the occasional flame war. 
Used to play bass in a band called Sinister Decay. Never heard of Jean-Claude Trichet. 
Does IT for the IDA. Can name every hold in MMA. Hasn't been tested but reckons his IQ must be high. Has a Guy Fawkes mask but doesn't know why.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

PASSING THE BABY


'Passing the baby' was the chief custom of the Hahananawup people. A Hahananawup child would be born and held and caressed by its mother before being passed to its father who would cuddle the infant and then pass it to its grandparents who would cradle the little one before passing it to its uncles and aunts who would display affection in the usual way and then pass the newborn to cousins who would say 'ahh would you look the darlin little thing' or whatever before passing it to their friends who would show an obligatory amount of enthusiasm before passing the baby to friends of theirs who would display customary endearment and then pass the youngster to others who, by this stage, would be complete strangers to the infant's parents. The baby would continue to be passed from one person to another until it vanished from the lives of its mother and father completely, not to be seen again for at least four decades.

This would happen with every baby born into Hahananawup society, resulting in a whole population of people passing each other around. Of course, as a baby grew to adulthood the reactions of those it was passed to would change. Instead of pinching the baby's cheeks and saying 'coochie coochie coo', the Hahananawup people would offer polite conversation and ask the former baby how things are going or maybe say something about the weather.

It is thought that the custom of passing the baby brought about the end of the Hahananawup people. Hahananawups were not able to incorporate careers into their lives of being passed around so any chance of forming even the most rudimentary economy was remote. Consumption of food must have been difficult too but that matters little when one considers that there was no food to consume. Farming and hunting were close to impossible for a people being perpetually passed around and passing around others, to say nothing of attempts at procreation. The Hahananawup civilisation was a short lived one. As a people, they were just a throng of bodies jumping in and out of each other's arms, growing weaker all the time and suffering from the contagious conditions that the baby passing tradition facilitated. It is thought that the Hahananawup people only survived for two generations after adopting the custom of baby passing. We can work out what happened from the records of other societies who observed the Hahananawup at the time and from the remains of the Hahananawup themselves. Ah yes, ...the remains. A troglodyte city, empty but for a meshed heap of skeletons. The birds don't sing in the home of the Hahananawup but the wind whistles eerily as it moves through that colossal lattice of bones.

When the Hahananawup people and their custom of 'passing the baby' comes to mind, we are forced to consider the consequences of doing something just because everyone else is doing it. Some of our most treasured and adhered to customs might too be nothing more than really really really dumb fucking ideas. I suppose that's the moral of the story. Not that stories should have morals. Stories should just make people think and let them decide for themselves. But that's a story for another day. Until then, keep passing the baby.

And now a short film...

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Thursday, October 9, 2014

OBJECTS


There's no one left in the world. No one at all. But the cars still drive and the trains still arrive and depart and announcements still crackle from Tannoy's but from no one's mouth and for no one's ears. Products are still manufactured and sold but by who and to who? Import and export still continues but why? The world still bustles but is simultaneously silent. There's no one here to clean up the dog shit but that's OK because there are no dogs to shit.

An algorithm drives things on and machines fulfil the roles of consumers and producers. GDP is steady and things are running smoothly and does it matter that we are no longer here to witness all this because targets are being met and graphs are looking healthy and wasn't that what it was all for? There is no one here to see what is happening but that's OK because there isn't much to see. There is no longer anyone here to comment but that's OK because there is nothing to be said.

The grass still gets cut.

Dead leaves are swept up.

Healthcare expenditure is nil.

Objects go to the cinema to watch films made by objects about objects being objects and there is no one to complain about objectification. And there's no more of the sound and fury that signified everything. The world is purely utilitarian and every emotional experience is a simulacrum. A protocol. A choreographed imitation. The objects in the cinema laugh at all the right parts. There are no longer any wrong parts. Things are working at last. We finally got there by removing the thing that prevented us from arriving - us.

The tide comes in and the tide goes out and an abandoned tanker bleeds on the horizon. It doesn't matter at all.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

EDWARD BURRA


A landscape, like one from a dream. Sparse with pylons and clumps of trees. Beautiful but asleep. A silent road cuts through it but where does it lead? Far, far off to somewhere that can't be seen. And you've no choice but to travel it, to follow its twilight track. You'll cross over the horizon and you won't be coming back.