Monday, April 13, 2015

PLACE


Before we emerged there was a place.
A place just like the rest of the place.
A place near a place that was the same place.
A place in a place where it stayed in place.
A place that waited for us to take our place
and place the place in context.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

MULTI-PLATFORM FUGGER


I'm thinking of repackaging myself as a multi-platform event. I'll no longer be just a man and a blog but an app and a Twitter account and a movie and a book and a glossy magazine and a comic and a podcast and a live stream and a first person shoot 'em up and a cake recipe and a meteorological condition and a provocative undergarment and a political ideology and an intimate compliant and a comedy routine and a wrestler's finishing move and a brand of dog food and a car hire firm and a place to store hazardous waste and a new hairstyle and a song in the pop charts and a dance move and a witty slogan and a new wave in fashion and so on and so on.

I want all these new strands of me launched at exactly the same time on the same day to much fanfare. I want to be the thing everyone thinks about, simultaneously, for at least an instant before they decide they don't really like me and come to hate me and set about starting a backlash. But starting a backlash will be no use because, as well as a man and a blog and an app and a Twitter account and a movie and a book and a glossy magazine and a comic and a podcast and a live stream and a first person shoot 'em up and a cake recipe and a meteorological condition and a provocative undergarment and a political ideology and an intimate compliant and a comedy routine and a wrestler's finishing move and a brand of dog food and a car hire firm and a place to store hazardous waste and a new hairstyle and a song in the pop charts and a dance move and a witty slogan and a new wave in fashion and so on and so on, I will also be my own backlash.

There will be no escape. Every route will be closed off and the world will be trapped in a hellish circuit with me as the starting point and me as the finish and me as all points between and even if I am dead I will go on, branded into your culture and onto your brains, permanently burnt into your retinas, forever at the tip of your tongues. I will be the source of every 'like' and every 'dislike' given. The parts of the world that do not concern me will creep by in the background and when anyone tries to discuss them others will change the topic to me. Me! Fugger! The blog, the man, the event, the range of action figures, the clothes line, the schism, the healing of that schism, the religion, the atheism. It'll be Fugger this. It'll be Fugger that. Fugger will be the source of all confusion and the source of all clarity. Fugger will be first word that babies utter and Fugger will be the solitary word on all your tombstones. Face it, when I am repackaged as a multi-platform event you will all be truly Fugged.

And so it will go, on and on and on until something else comes along and gets hashtagged instead and lays me finally to rest. R.I.P. Fugger, Multi Platform Event. We'd miss you if we could remember you but I'm afraid that we can't. So much happens now and it happens so fast. No one's got time to recall the past. Like what came before Fugger, ...what the Hell was that? It was probably the Crazy Frog or some kind of crap. No one can be expected to remember that far back.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

INVISIBILITY CLOAK


(Image: Pol Úbeda Hervàs - I'm Not There) 
 
I sent off for an invisibility cloak. I've had it a while now. When I put it on I'm completely invisible. I like being invisible. Well, I like not being seen, you know, going unnoticed. I rarely take the cloak off now. The cloak allows me go about my daily business without fear of being recognised. Recognition is a fear of mine. Have you ever been recognised yourself? I don't just mean 'spotted', I mean actually recognised. I can't stand it. I'm ashamed of myself you see. For the longest time I have been dogged by a sense of embarrassment that is caused by being me. It's like the feeling teenagers get when they are seen with their parents only I get it when I'm seen with myself, which is always, unless I'm wearing the cloak. I love the cloak.

When the cloak is on, my unbecoming physical carriage is concealed as is my appalling dress sense and my facial expression of acute defeat. The only thing I could possibly do to mess up my day is say something stupid but I recently had my vocal cords severed so that too is no longer a concern. I'm only made detectable by the shopping list I carry. As far as others are concerned, I'm just a floating piece of paper with words like 'sausages', 'eggs', 'washing up liquid' and 'Chambourcy Hippo-Tots four pack' written on it. The people of the town don't bat an eyelid. There's a few of us using the invisibility cloaks around here. There's a lot of floating shopping lists and wallets and briefcases. There's a lot of people who want to continue availing of the world while not actually being part of it. It's a beautiful planet, it's a pity to mar it with oneself.

Personally, I think everyone should wear invisibility cloaks. Maybe kids shouldn't, so we can keep an eye on them. Kids have nothing to be ashamed of anyway. But the rest of us, my God, the things we have presided over or instigated, allowed happen or failed to make happen. Really, I'm astonished most of us still show ourselves in public. We should all be invisible and we should all get our vocal cords done too. Then the only way left for us to mess things up would be to write something down, as I am here. Writing would be the only remaining threat to our culture of ultra-discretion. A ridiculous blogpost, an angry text, a love letter to someone who doesn't love you, a ransom note to the wealthy parents of the nervous child in your box room. All of these things are likely to occur if we retain the ability to write. But I have a solution to this threat. All keyboards, pens and writing implements of every sort should be rigged with a fatal booby trap that will activate should the device detect that you are writing something other than a shopping list or a purely utilitarian combination of words such as 'out of order' - which, incidentally, happen to be the words I want engraved on my tombstone.

I'm not sure how the writing devices would be able to detect what you are writing but I'm sure some clever person out there will figure it out. I'm too stupid to sort out that kind of thing myself. My stupidity is another deficiency that is evident when I am sans cloak. My stupidity is visibly demonstrated by my clumsy gait and open mouthed breathing. I really am a pitiful sight. I look like a stupid dumbass just like you look like an arrogant jackass or a wonton tart or a violent thug or a scared little bug.

Yes, we should all be invisible, all of the time. Well, ...most of the time. There might be occasions in my unseeable utopia when it is appropriate to take off our cloaks and reveal ourselves. These would be the times when we need to be together. To share moments of visual and tactile intimacy. On these occasions we'll uncover ourselves and stand naked before each other, revealing our scars and stretches, our folds and wrinkles, our distended packages and unimpressive appendages. All of these things and, of course, our eyes. Our vulnerable eyes, staring into the vulnerable eyes of another, with no cloak, no chatter, no hoodie, no shades, no Facebook profile page to protect us. Just ourselves, completely naked and hoping not to be rejected.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

THE SCHIZOPHRENIC AGE


Reuben was outside the shopping centre again yesterday, handing out his leaflets. He looked unwashed. Pity. He could have been assistant manager in Office Furniture Direct. His wife kept me up all night last night too and not in the good way she used. She doesn't discretely pop by anymore. She spends most of her nights standing on the roof of her car, pointing at the sky and screaming that the moon is coming. People believe all sorts on my street. We've lied to each other so often about infidelities, borrowed lawnmowers we've failed to return, whose kid hit whose first and so on that notions such as trust and truth have completely dissolved. In the absence of a unifying narrative, everyone has picked their own story. James down the end of the street thinks that I'm a member of the Illuminati because the way I draw my curtains (a sinister left to right) corresponds with a certain occult ritual. Michael and Anne from number 38 are convinced that Madge, the dog from number 12, barks a secret code to spies that are housed in the garden shed of number 23. And no one even knows who lives in number 23. The residents of number 23 are so paranoid that they never emerge from their house. Some of us think that they may not even be in there. Who knows the truth? Who knows if there is even a truth anymore? Was there ever a truth? Everyone has their own ideas and no one has the same ideas. There are just so many ideas. A multitude of ideas. A mess of ideas. What is the collective noun for ideas? An 'insanity' of ideas?

The only thing myself and all my neighbours agree on is that we can't trust each other. This sometimes seems impractical. Take the time number 4 caught fire. We were all standing outside watching the Sweeneys bang their fists against the triple glazing of their upstairs windows, their faces contorted in muted screams as they were swallowed by flames, and all we could say to each other was 'false flag'. In fact we chanted it: 'False Flag! False Flag! False Flag! False Flag!' In the morning, the authorities came and cleaned away the family's charred remains as we viewed suspiciously from our squinting windows. We all agreed that the whole thing was a staged event involving special effects and we all thought that each other were behind it. No one mourned the loss of life. If you die on our street we think you are secretly still alive and if you are alive we think you died and were replaced by an impostor. Everyone on my street is an impostor, even me, according to everyone else. But they would say that because it is they that are the true impostors. Not me. I think. I think I think. I'm fairly sure I think.

Despite our mutual distrust, everyone on my street shares pride in one thing. We won a prize for being the most atomised vicinity in our borough. The county councillors said that we were leading the way. A member of government even paid tribute to us at a business function. He said we were an alert and vigilant community and what was great about that was that we applied our alert vigilance to fantasy and not reality. 'Reality is all ours lads and we can do what we like with it,' he told the vested interests and they all raised a glass to toast the death of community and the advent of the schizophrenic age.

You know, I sometimes feel as if I don't know what anything is. What anything really is. I just know what things look like and what other people call them. It's the same with people. They could be anyone. You could be anyone. I could be anyone. Just who are we anyway? And why are we all so frightened?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

KEEP OUT OF THE PARK


Everybody vanishes in the park. People still go into the park but these people know that they will never return. The people who still go into the park have lost all interest in life but they are still curious about what happens when you enter the park, so they go into the park. What becomes of them, no one knows. They are never heard from again.

The park can be seen beyond its perimeter railings and through the gate at its entrance. It is tended to, but by who? No one knows that either. Some believe the park is maintained by the people it retains. Their souls are trapped in the confines of the park and they are forever its slaves, mowing its grass and pruning its hedges. That's one of the legends anyway, but that's all it is, a story. No one knows the truth. All anyone knows is that if you go into the park you don't come out of the park. 'Gone to the park', is even a euphemistic term for death for those who live near the park, like me and you and everyone else.

The government sent the army out to see what was going on in the park. This was a few years ago. Tethered troops entered the park, communicating by radio with other troops who were stationed outside the park. They went in, walked up the lane, turned the corner and then the transmission crackled, hissed and went dead and the cable the troops were attached to slackened. Seven soldiers were sent in but they left it at that. Then they sent a robot in, a kind of little remote control thing on wheels with a camera attached. There are stories about the footage it sent back. Again, these are only stories. No one knows what it broadcast before it disappeared. Those who saw what the camera picked up were left without reason and babbling word salad. They then attempted to bomb the park from above but when they sent the planes up the pilots forgot what they were supposed to be doing and returned to base with their missiles still loaded.

The park is a quiet place. It has a strange draw to it. It seems so tranquil in there. Not remotely foreboding. You'd have to remind yourself not to go in if it wasn't cordoned off with police ribbon and signs that say 'keep out of the park'. When you see the signs that say 'keep out of the park', you say to yourself, 'oh yes, I really must keep out of the park' and you keep out of the park, but a part of you wonders what it would be like to go into the park.

Another odd thing about the park is that no one knows who put it there or when. No municipal records refer to it and there are no accounts of what was there before it. Some think that it has always been there. Others think that it only seems to be there but isn't there at all. I don't know what to think so I don't think about it that much. Most of us don't like to think about the park. We all know its there and sometimes, as I've said already, a lonely or desperate soul will discretely duck under the police cordon and wander off into it, but no one dwells on the park. No one discusses the park at any length and those that bring it up quickly find the subject changed. No one ever says, 'don't talk about the park,' they just start talking about things other than the park. The park is taboo.

No one speaks of the park. No one understands the park. No one knows what to do about the park. The park is rarely at the forefront of anyone's thoughts but we all know it's there, at the back of our minds. Just outside of our doors. The warm gentle wind of a permanent early autumn. The honey glow of an everlasting twilight, spreading through its branches. Beckoning.

Monday, March 23, 2015

THICK CRIMINAL


Do you remember the time we kidnapped that millionaire's kid and it took you ages to write the ransom note because you thought it had to rhyme? You're some thick. And you kept calling it a ramson note too didn't you? You did. You thick.

And then you kidnapped yourself, remember that? You kidnapped yourself and sent a 'ramson' note to yourself demanding that you send all the cash you have to yourself to get yourself back. You thought that if you paid yourself all the cash you had to get yourself back you'd double your money. Jesus God in Heaven, you're an unbelievable simpleton.

And do you remember that time we were planning to burgle a house and you said we should burgle my house because I had loads of nice stuff? Unbelievable. You even told me when not to be in to make sure we didn't get caught. You complete dope.

And then there was the time we robbed that bank and after they handed over the money you immediately tried to open an account with the bank to put the money in. Remember that? You said it wouldn't be safe walking home with that amount on us. 'What if we're mugged?' you asked. 'There's loads of criminals around these days,' you said. 'Even we're criminals,' you pointed out. Jesus Lord MacFuck.

Then there was your counterfeit money scam but instead of using forgeries you used real money because, as you actually said yourself, 'it's more realistic'. Remember that? Remember how pleased you were with yourself for coming up with that one? And you said your favourite part of the plan was that you couldn't get caught because you weren't doing anything wrong. I was lost for words that time, absolutely lost for words. It reminded me of the pyramid scheme you set up with you as the only member. Remember that one? You said you couldn't lose.

Honest to God, how you ever got to hold a ministerial position I'll never know.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

THE MAN IN TATAOUINE


Schloop schlop, off to the shop. Sausages, eggs and milk. Flip flap, back to the flat. Put them in the fridge.

I was very far from anywhere once and he was even further. Standing in a long stretch of nowhere near the Tunisian Libyan border. What was he doing there? He was just standing. He certainly wasn't going to find any figs or anything. Maybe he was a North African Harry Dean Stanton, walking off the memory of a woman. Or maybe some Crowleite who got into a spot of occult bother or maybe a Saharan demon some Crowleite summoned. Maybe just some Berber up to something but what that something could've been must've been almost nothing. All you can find is scorpions and sand until the cold night falls and the snakes move around.

Maybe he was an off-roader whose vehicle took a tumble or a refugee escaping national turmoil. To my mind at least, from a distance, out there, he momentarily became Frankenstein's monster. An existential anomaly. A slip in cosmic continuity. I once heard a baby crying far out in the ocean. It might have been some gull but I didn't see one. Maybe sometimes the Universe puts things where it shouldn't and you see or hear something in a place where you couldn't.

I'm grilling my sausages and putting milk in my coffee and thinking of him and feeling glad that I'm me. At least I'm just bored whereas maybe he's scared. I'll never forget how he just stared and stared. Maybe he was wondering what I was doing out there. Maybe he thought of calling out but just didn't dare. Maybe he thought that he was looking at Set. Maybe what I saw was an angel of death.