Dagga This, Dagga That: Miss Red at Corsica Studios

The loudest night I ever went to was at Corsica Studios. A Dillinja DJ set for Ø. The bass shook the whole venue. I took my girlfriend — not a junglist — who opted to sit outside because the sensation of bass inadvertently vibrating her vocal chords was not one she found very enjoyable. On necessary breaks from the mayhem, it felt like the piss trough upstairs threatened to become violently unhinged from the wall, unleashing untold horrors on the party below.

Bass is beautiful because it shakes everything loose.

Tonight, as I enter the main area, my eye catches a succession of signs that read: “Volume levels tonight may be excessive. Hearing protection is FREE at the bar.” I haven’t seen a sign like it here before and I’d think of myself as a regular visitor. This is, however, the first time I’ve been to the venue since they installed their new Funktion One sound system — an upgrade that, I thought at the time, could not have been better timed, occurring shortly after this night was announced.

The question remained: What were my ears in for?

Continue reading “Dagga This, Dagga That: Miss Red at Corsica Studios”

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Picnic at Hanging Rock (2018)

Now that Westworld season 2 has finished, it’s about time I found some more telly to write about.

The BBC has just started showing a new mini-series based on Joan Lindsey’s Picnic at Hanging Rock. (Originally released on Amazon Prime, I believe, and now finding its way to the old-fashioned broadcast TV.)

Eighteen months ago, I’d never heard of the book before reading about it in Mark’s The Weird and the Eerie. After Mark’s beautiful exploration of the book, I bought it and demolished it in a single sitting. Shortly afterwards, I fell in love with the 1976 film adaptation as well.

I’ve written about the story before — briefly in “Reaching Out to the Other” — so I won’t rehearse the synopsis again in too much detail because, going forwards, it might not even be that useful.

Suffice it to say that the central event around which the story orbits is the disappearance of a group of young Australian women from a late 19th / early 20th century boarding school, enticed onto some other plane (we can only assume) by some unknown agency when they visit a local beauty spot for a picnic.

The film and book, from this point, both consider the effects of the women’s unexplained absence on their community. The story, in this way, is a tracing of the repercussions that ripple out from an event: an event which is nothing more than an absence. It is, effectively, a study of trauma without trauma; the trauma of a void, of gaps, of unexplained emptiness.

Fisher wrote, all too presciently, in the final sentences of The Weird and the Eerie, about how the disappeared women in the book and film are

fully prepared to take the step into the unknown. They are possessed by the eerie calm that settles whenever familiar passions can be overcome. They have disappeared, and their disappearances will leave haunting gaps, eerie intimations of the outside.

My love for this story was intensified further by Robin’s lecture on the film at the start of this year, as a “study of cryptolithic passion”, a “descent into the world-soul”.

It is the story of a “splitting away from the socially conditioned personality”, a “shedding of a layer of subjectivity … reaching out towards a complicity with the inorganic.” (I’m drawing on my notes here.)

Robin called it — the film in particular, that is, with its deeply evocative soundtrack — “one of the most sustained geopoetical works” there is.

So it goes without saying that, as I start episode one of this new adaptation, it has a lot to live up to…


What is immediately different about this adaptation is, well… everything.

We begin with Hester Appleyard (played by Natalie Dormer) pacing around an abandoned house. It’s an already familiar beginning but not from this story.

A major strength of the novel is its realism, its utter immersion in the mundane. The event around which its narrative unfolds is a flash of a kind of magical realism, never resolved, amongst an otherwise “normal” account of life in a school.

Here, however, we’re immediately thrown into a familiar trope of the paranormal: “unsuspecting woman buys decrepit old mansion.” Except she’s not unassuming. There’s something not quite right about this Miss Appleyard. She seems to be something of a… con woman?

Everything here is heightened, exaggerated. There’s no realism here. It’s just another example of Hollywood bloating out a narrative to make it more appealing (and familiar) to their zombic audiences.

Ten minutes in and this seems to be Picnic at Hanging Rock meets St Trinian’s. And I can’t think of a worse fate for this story.

Things end up going from bad to worse.

Miranda, the lead in all versions of the story, is here quite familiar. A wayward spirit possessed, even before her encounter with the rock, by a strange libidinal force.

Robin noted too that there is “an eerie, languorous eroticism that hovers over” the 1976 film: there is “a libidinal force at work in the whole narrative”. That was always already expressed without needing to subject Miranda, as this new adaptation chooses, to a sexual assault in the stables…

The girls seem to be tempted by men left, right and centre. I remember there being very few men in the previous versions, to their credit. What was so interesting was an exploration of inherently libidinal women. Women whose desires overflow in their relative boarding school isolation, not needing to be channelled into any nearby men. Miranda, drawn libidinally towards the earth, here becomes fodder for a near-rape as if to emphasise the danger she brings upon herself.

It is a version of the story that seems to be an enemy of itself, inserting precisely what the story was written against back into its DNA. I’m not usually one to get upset about disloyal book adaptations and remakes, but to bastardise the story’s very nature to such an extent is a powerful disappointment.


Sam Wollaston has reviewed this first episode for the Guardian. I can’t say I agree with it. Not his impression of this series nor his reappraisal of the ’76 adaptation as “thin, all about the creation of an atmosphere and not a lot else.”

Wollaston goes on to ask the question that I first wondered when hearing this adaptation was in the works: “How the hell are they going to stretch out that story to six episodes?” The answer, he rightly points out, is by “filling it out, making it bigger in every way.”

Bigger is not always better. If the previous version was “thin”, this new version is so “big” as to eclipse everything that made the originals worthwhile.

For a story that centres around an absence, it is the singular strength of the film — a strength it holds even over the original novella — that it doubles down on its eeriness, exacerbating the emptiness of a mystery on the Australian frontier, resisting the temptation to do what this new adaptation has done: force-feed it familiarity to fattened it up for Hollywood expectations.

Just as the girls are “fully prepared to take the step into the unknown”, the film and novel asked as much of their audiences — and to devastating effect. Here, it seems, the unknown has been utterly exorcised, replaced with shitty tropes, the absence of which were partly what made the original film so enchanting.

I’m not enchanted by this. Nor am I unsettled. Perhaps shockingly, for someone who loves the “thin” 1976 adaptation so much, I’m just bored.

The Ethics of Exit

It’s always strange to see what corners of the internet this patchwork conversation can spread to. Recently, patchwork hit rock bottom, getting picked up in a really terrible thread by William Gillis, but it was a thread with an offshoot that ties into patchwork as it has been discussed on this blog explicitly. It also provides a nice way into talking about a major consideration for me that has nonetheless been underexplored in my blogged considerations so far: ethics.

[NB: The way WordPress embeds tweets is good until you want to embed a thread, so I’m going to blockquote tweets here for readability with numbered hyperlinks to the original tweets.]

Gillis began his thread with a dismissal of Moldbuggian patchwork — fair enough — and he then went on to address a bunch of the other tandem theories that Cave Twitter has pulled into patchwork’s orbit in recent months. He writes:

“patchwork” — what marxists who read nick land because of some memes say when they want to talk about “national anarchism” but pretend it’s not a deeply fascist idea [1]

“ummm panarchy tho, surely just treating the entire complex interconnected world like we’re kids discovering politics in the nationstates forums in 2002 and ‘agreeing to disagree’ will solve everything” [2]

Sorry folks, shit is far too complicated for “just break things apart into tribes” to actually replicate freedom in a meaningful sense, since connectivity & options are critical and must be evaluated globally, and tribal splintering has never solved conflict.

Ethics, not exit. [3]

There are a lot of things to disagree with here, the main one being the suggestion that “‘agreeing to disagree’ will solve everything” is anything like the argument being put forward more recently by anyone. This isn’t the suggested solution at all. In fact, I’d argue “agreeing to disagree” is largely what is expected of us in the here and now. “Let’s agree to disagree for the sake of ‘democracy’, for the sake of our consolidated sense of togetherness.” I’d argue it’s passively agreeing to disagree that has led to this normalisation of our present crises. Our sociopolitical landscape is defined by impotent disagreement. Tribal splintering has never solved conflict if only because attempts to do so trigger hostility from consolidated nation-states which view exit as inherently offensive following centuries of hard work (read: imperialism and colonialism). 

At this point in Gillis’ thread, AmbrosialArts jumps in:

This is actually the wrong message for queer teenagers in abusive homophobic households, who have no leverage in a situation to institute reform, but escape is lower cost and provides outstanding long term EV, so I’m not sure the facts on the ground support your position. [4]

Gillis:

“Ethics, not exit” is in no way a claim that escape is never a good strategy. It’s that “the right of exit” is not a replacement for an actual ethics. [5]

AmbroisalArts:

You’re using the translingual mind-crushing axiom phrasing, like “sonnō jōi”, and you have to be very careful what you code into those axioms, so maybe try again. [6]

Going on to write off the powerful and visible benefits of escape as “almost nothing” leaves me even less confident that you didn’t mean exactly what you said, and not what you think you said. [7]

If you want to appeal to people’s sense of empathy, to inspire them to care about what you’re saying, you have to be able to adjust scale focus a lot more than you do. Many are thinking through these premises in terms of individuals and the next 2-5 years, not globes and 1000[s]. [8]

I mean, you’re going to have to make some discussions about one or another, so maybe I should be less contentious, but it’s an incoherency in what you’re selling as a crystallized philosophy. “Social fragmentation is tactically useful but also endorsing its use is fascist” is…? [9]

I agree with this completely, particularly the third and fourth tweets here, and this is the crux of how an ethics of exit must function, for me, when speaking about patchwork.

Patchwork is, even for Moldbug, scalable and he likewise acknowledges that, practically speaking, it is better to start small. This is where, despite Moldbug’s own neoreactionary idealism, we see many more potential egresses for other groups: at scale. When considering individuals or, far more preferably, minoritarian communities, exit is often ethical.

The message of this blog has consistently been: other options are available. Solidarity without similarity. What the vision of patchwork explored on this blog emphasises is its inherent multiplicity and the example of a queer exit highlighted by AmbroisalArts is a perfect one. To socially exit into enclosed queer spaces is something that many people do for various reasons. Experiencing violence and abuse is one such reason; simply seeking a previously elusive sense of solidarity is another. It is also, we must acknowledge here, not a social isolationism. To enter a queer space is not to exit society at large. It is an attempt to find autonomy from within a larger structure. What if that larger structure, rather than being violently consolidatory and hostile to exits (of all kinds), was rather predicated on the possibilities of such fragmentations? The structure we’re apparently stuck with is so often “unjust” and all too often the intention of exit is separate from attempts to change that wider system. Activism is a large part of queer politics, for instance, but the central consideration is, generally speaking, survival. (But survival alone is, of course, not enough.)

In my chat with Justin, I discussed this in a way that was ramshackle and all over the place. I attempted to critique what exactly we mean when we talk about survival in relation to patchwork. The survival of the individual may be the impetus for exit but once that exit has occurred, survival becomes a concern for the multiple, for the collective subject, for the community as a non-whole. In queer politics in particular, this is not an aggressive form of survival. It’s not inherently “imperial”. It’s not inherently predisposed to hostile takeover. The basis is generally “coexistence”.

This is something shared amongst exit politics across the board. Previously I published a post about a Twitter thread by Patri Friedman on the Netflix series Wild Wild Country, in which Friedman highlights that what so often leads to bloodshed following the foundation of an autonomous community — whether that is a cult or something else — is when that community is threatened by a consolidating outside force. We can see this dynamic playing out across the political spectrum.

Most explosively, we can find examples in the West occuring on the American Right. Recently I watched another Netflix documentary on the Oklahoma City bombing. The documentary focuses on the series of events that inspired Timothy McVeigh to bomb the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. These events all share the same catalyst: autonomous communities, based on various sociocultural ideals, that the United States government attempts to violently dissolve. The central catalyst for McVeigh was Waco, in which the excessive violence of the government arguably led to the deaths of 168 men, women and children. Whilst these groups — right-wing cults, admittedly — were founded on what they perceived to be the values of the American constitution, their destruction by the government inflamed tensions and led to acts of domestic terrorism.

Terrorism is never defensible but, whether domestic or foreign, surely we can acknowledge the role of American interventionism at home and abroad as being the tendency which triggers all of these instances. The violent rejection of exit, whether it is perceived by the hegemonic culture in question as an exit from governance or values, is a common thread.

We can see other examples elsewhere too. The violence that erupted following Catalonia’s attempt at a democratic exit was based on the same desire. Elsewhere, we can view China’s annexation of Tibet or Russia’s annexation of Crimea as similar attempts at consolidation of a historically separatist group. Whilst the foundational politics are different, the arguments for exit are the same: a rejection of state (and therefore self) consolidation. Your territory is not recognised. Your way of being is not recognised. Accept consolidation or die.

This is a tangent better left to another time but here we can see the inherently ethical concerns of exit and patchwork emerging. What I would like to discuss in this post specifically is my own philosophical basis for an ethical vision of patchwork. So, if you’ll allow me an excessive ramble, let me now go back to square one…

Continue reading “The Ethics of Exit”

Friday the 13th

Our next k-punk event is happening tomorrow night. Whereas the last two have been moments of intense stress and anxiety around this time, I feel very relaxed going into Night #3.

Each time we have had to contend with our snide inner voices. The overall logistical success of the night can all too easily overtake the reasons why we’re doing it.

We’re not promoters or events organisers in any other capacity. It often feels like we’ve fallen into this role. We had an idea and it’s taken us for a ride. We wanted to keep remembering Mark Fisher in the spaces where his legacy felt most potent to us: in non-academic spaces, in pubs and clubs, with music and with the people we love.

Coordinating all the variables in order to create the circumstances for such nights of remembrance and joy has often been more work than anticipated.

But, today, I’m free of all stress. Not that there isn’t much still to do and shepherd into position, but the reasons why we’re doing this have remained very much present in my mind this week. I think this is because Mark himself feels present this week.

Wednesday was both his 50th birthday and the World Cup semi-final — two events for the price of one which I’m sure would have occasioned a lengthy k-punk post (each).

Reading Mark on football was always a joy. He had a Twitter account dedicated to World Cup commentary and there were times where his k-punk blog struggled to talk about anything else, albeit — of course — entangled with everything else. From 2010:

“English football,” the writer Robin Carmody argued on his live journal page, “is a metaphor for precisely what the neoliberals have done to England itself …” But it’s more than a metaphor. Football has been at the forefront of the total re-engineering of English culture, society and economy wrought by neoliberalism over the last thirty years. Neoliberalism presented itself as supremely realistic — as the only possible realism. It told us that utopia is impossible because there is no such thing as society, only individuals pursuing their own interests. What better image of this anti-utopianism is there than the Premiership, with its imperious, untouchable elite of clubs, its synergy with multinational media conglomerates, its conspicuously consuming players, its super-predatory club owners buying success like they are buying another yacht? Competition, exploitation, the strong lording it over the weak, paparazzi snaps of the fabulously wealthy masters of the universe players exiting nightclubs, flashing their very new money: football as anti-egalitarian Nietzschean combat. Forget utopia: dream, instead – if you’re young – of eventually becoming like this, of owning these Cheshire mansions, of getting a cyborg-slick WAG; or if you’re too old to ever lace up those ultrabranded boots, get used to being inferior, to never making it – dream instead of media-transfiguration via reality TV, or of a lottery win…

The World Cup has an entirely different atmosphere to the Premiere League, of course. This year, the most noticeable difference is perhaps the extent to which this 2018 England squad’s young players were media trained. WAGs were exorcised from proceedings and the team were defined by their post-match composure, as well as by their inability to score outside of a “set piece”.

Both on and off the pitch, they were suffocated by their own professionalisation, their creativity rotted away. Much was made of their wholesome hotel fun but, despite the media’s painfully excessive historicising — “This is the first World Cup team to score twice in a semi-final at this temperature in this country on this day. This team is truly making their own history.” — much of what occurred in this year’s tournament seemed to be down to good luck.

Mark would have had more to say here and he would have certainly said it better. Perhaps he already did. In 2010, he wrote extensively on the footie blog Minus The Shooting and, even when a post wasn’t authored by him, he seemed to have a presence in every one. He wrote about football as well as he wrote on just about everything else.

On the 2010 World Cup final between Spain and the Netherlands:

Sporting events always end with a feeling of anti-climax, even when you’ve won them. The intense immersion and heightened dissipate instantly once the tension of competition is over. As a World Cup watcher, I usually start to feel this looming anti-climax once the semi-finals come around – by then, the sense that anything can still happen as hardened into a few determinate possibilities, and the glow of festival time starts to give way to the bleak twilight of everyday routine again. The sense of anti-climax is reinforced for the World Cup watcher by the fact that finals haven’t often tended to be classics. Last night’s game, to say the least, didn’t break the pattern – it was a case of the unpalatable in pursuit of the unloveable. The BBC pundits were frantically building the narrative – “Spain were a joy to watch”, “it was a victory for football” – and, yes, even my hard heart was glad for Iniesta, less one point of the moveable tiki-taka triangle last night than a tireless force: the will to win personified, the perfect mixture of urgency and patience.

Paul Myerscought, for the London Review of Books, picked up on a Fisherian comment that continues to resonate into 2018. He wrote:

One of the contributors, Mark Fisher (a.k.a k-punk), has focused on the ‘negative alchemy’ of the England shirt, its ability to turn good players miraculously into bad. Fisher has persuasive things to say about why England fail. Such a shame that so far as the FA are concerned, he may as well be talking to himself.


Mark is, unfortunately, in the air for other reasons.

Today is Friday the 13th.

Mark died on Friday the 13th January 2017 and, since that time, I have noticed more Friday the 13th’s than ever before. Each Friday the 13th has become an anniversary for Mark. Usually resulting in an exchange with Robin, who first pointed this out to me.

As Robin referred to it in a message yesterday, each Friday the 13th is “the real crytochronic anniversary”.

Carl Stone and the Complexities of Real Life

There was a strange but minor uproar on experimental music Twitter recently. A Pitchfork review of the new Carl Stone retrospective, Electronic Music From the Eighties and Nineties, ruffled some feathers and, when you read it, it is very easy to see why.

The review, by Daniel Martin-McCormick, comes across as a piece of writing that lays the writer’s own insecurities on the table and then attempts to talk about them somehow objectively, eschewing any kind of self-awareness.

Straight out of the gate, the reviewer positions the work as the product of the “cloistered realm of academia”. His main argument from there on out is that Carl Stone has simply reinvented the wheel, removing all emotional resonance out of sampling techniques that were, at the time, novel but are now old-hat. He writes:

Though noteworthy on technical and historical levels, ‘Electronic Music’ flags emotionally, vacillating between maudlin optimism and a half-baked minimalism. … [Stone] seems all too concerned with making sure his listeners feel safe and attended to, and the work suffers as a result. In the academy, an appealing artist statement and a complex process can go a long way, but for music to make a real impact you need to take a leap beyond the page. ‘Electronic Music’ jumps up and down with impressive energy, pointing excitedly towards the future, but in the end stays put in a quickly receding past.

Is he reviewing the album here or just Tim Rutherford-Johnson’s historicising liner notes…? If you were confronted by an album that left you stumped, which you didn’t know what to feel about and sought refuge in the words on the sleeve, this is the sort of review I’d expect to read.

The biggest issue that many seem to have with the review, however, is elsewhere. Just one sentence. Even if you’ve chosen to go through the wringer of overly generous defences of subjective taste, it is a moment that feels like an egregious leap into territory that I don’t even know what to call:

Stone is clearly reaching for an emotional connection, but he remains oddly disengaged from the complexities of real life.

Many on Twitter have rejected criticisms of the review, informing those offended few that Carl Stone is not some sacred cow who cannot receive a negative appraisal. There is, of course, a tremendous difference between a “bad review” and a bad review… Frankly, I think this sentence above might be one of the most incredible sentences I’ve ever read in a context such as this.

For me, this jars with when Martin-McCormick makes reference to the way that “an appealing artist statement and a complex process can go a long way” in the context of critiquing stuffy academia. What is today considered by so many to be a painfully pretentious crutch for mediocre expression is something to be championed here, it seems, over this relatively austere and minimal anthology of “dated” works.

Compare this second retrospective album by Carl Stone to Laurie Spiegel’s The Expanding Universe, also released by Unseen Worlds back in 2012. The CD liner notes of that release are extensive, particularly in reissued form. Inside the booklet, technical information and context are offered freely whilst, on the cover of the album itself, Spiegel conducts an interview with herself. After rattling quickly through her CV and evading pressures to overly define her sound, she waxes lyrical about her entangled process of creation and research in a way that is very much of its time, betraying a residual spirituality, a hippie sensibility, which jars with her cutting edge and pioneering computer music.

Spiegel rejects the conservatism and anally retentive practices of conservatoire students before she goes on to write about her music in a way that was, I imagine, at the time, refreshingly candid, affective and uninhibited. She writes:

My pieces are most strongly concerned with feelings, actually, but no matter what I feel, my mind is always active. Every piece is different, and I suspect that every good piece has all the aspects of being human in it which are integrated into its creator, probably in the same balance. Each piece I do reflects what’s happening in me at the time I create it. Sometimes a particular idea or emotion will dominate my awareness while I’m working, but the rest of me is still acting on the piece as I work. The intellect is a great source of pleasure, and wants expression just as the emotions do. They are not really separable.

When this reissue came out, I myself was a second-year undergraduate art student and I remember reading Spiegel talking to herself and thinking: “Yes! Why should I smother my own work in jargon-laden over-explanations and technical exposition? What is missing from my art school education is feeling. That’s what I want to express.” And so I did, ditching an “artist statement” at my degree show for a mix CD instead — describing what I was doing with sound made just as much sense as describing what I was doing in half-understood words. I’m sure it remains a common feeling felt by young art students and always has been. There will always be those who are serious about play but resent the game.

Carl Stone, I must confess, I know nothing about. Maybe he felt the same as Spiegel in making these compositions. Or maybe Martin-McCormick is right. Maybe he’s some fuddy-duddy academic composer who plays with technique but has forgotten how to feel. I don’t know how Stone lives his life but, living with this music, embracing its distinctly non-academic mystery, I’m captivated. In fact, I don’t remember the last time I read a review that I disagreed with on quite so many levels. (Although I also don’t remember the last time I read a review on Pitchfork…)

Opener “Banteay Srey” feels heavily reminscent of last year’s PAN complication, Mono No Aware, despite predating it by almost 30 years. “Woo Lae Oak” is a minimal slab of Steve Reich violins and pan flutes, a jarring combination if ever there was one, which nonetheless evokes a new underside that is both other and complimentary to its Different Trains-esque sonic frontierism.

Stone is certainly channelling many iconic modern composers here but what is most endearing about this release is the blissful new heights it takes these motifs and the understated manner in which it does so. It’s one of the most enchanting records I’ve heard so far this year. If it is devoid of reference to real life’s complexities, perhaps that’s because it is music for soothing them. And to do so with such grace, this side of the 2010s ambient revival, with an archive release no less, is no mean feat.

Brexit Has Failed; Long Live Brexit

The successive resignations that have struck the Conservative Party in the UK this week have heralded the same cry, again and again, from the left-wing media: Brexit has failed. No one can deny that Brexit has been, generally speaking, a resolute failure, but I can’t help but feel like the finality of so much of this week’s political commentary is wishful thinking.

The solution, they cry, is to hold a general election. The possibility of this occurring certainly seems to be increasingly likely, but to what end? Will that cauterise the “failed” Brexit project? Will it occasion accurate use of the past tense rather than limiting temporal references to a never-ending omnishambles? Surely no one believes or expects Brexit to “end” so soon but still the suggestive cry continues to echo around the web. Brexit has failed.

We are living in the midst of a perpetual political failure — “the normalisation of crisis”, as Fisher called it — and there remains no end in sight. Like the financial crash of 2008, this week is (apparently) yet another watershed moment, but the anticipated major change that should follow it will likely never materialise.

This isn’t some rerun of “the end of history” but there certainly seems to be a crisis of narrative; the end of linearity. Paul Mason, to my surprise, has acknowledged the fragmentary nature of contemporary geopolitics quite explicitly in a new article for iNews. This blog has been focussed on this tendency for months and so it feels unusual to hear it acknowledged in the mainstream media, which tends to balk at any acknowledgement of present fragmentations.

Mason highlights the fact obvious to anyone since 2016: the main reason Brexit has been such a failure is that those within the Conservative Party have been too busy playing political games from the very moment the referendum on EU membership was announced.

Mason describes Boris Johnson’s personal “three-phase plan” as follows: “exit the European Union, take over the Tory party, destroy what’s left of the welfare state in pursuit of a new, primary relationship with the USA.” Then, he continues:

[Boris] Johnson has invited comparisons between himself and Churchill, not least by writing one of the worst biographies of Churchill ever published. Like Churchill he was a journalist. Like Churchill he switched sides. Like Churchill he’s had a classical education and understands rhetoric.

Unlike Churchill, history is against him. For history is breaking the globalised world economy into chunks, and stimulating new military rivalries. In a fragmenting world you need to be part of, or close to, something big, friendly and efficient. That is the continent on our doorstep, not the failing democracy of the USA.

Mason likewise goes on to argue for a general election, in the face of May’s crumbling cabinet, but this point about the fragmenting world economy drifts off, unaddressed.

Perhaps this is because it’s an obvious point. Brexit is likewise a symptom of a fragmenting globe but, at the same time, it is so often defined by the new alliances that it might occasion.

Farewell, EU… Hello, America? Hello, China?

Europe is, in itself, threatening to fragment even further as its individual member states wrestle with their own internal problems and rifts. With that in mind, is it accurate to call Europe efficient? That’s a strange sort of compliment, especially for Mason — a journalist whose career remains defined, in my mind, by his reporting on the “economic war” between Greece and the European “troika”.

I reject Boris Johnson’s woeful foreign policy opinions on principle but are the UK left’s any stronger? Britain seems totally bemused by its own position on the world stage, from all angles, and it is true that that position will be defined by its future alliances. But as the “special relationship” wanes and EU relations continue to sour and the UK’s internal makeup threatens to shift, will a general election solve anything? If Jeremy Corbyn were to become PM, on his well-established anti-austerity platform, will relations not sour even further, to the lows previously experienced by Greece?

I hope this says more about the EU’s neoliberal core than Corbyn’s potential leadership skills, which I’m still keen to see if only for it providing this country with a long-overdue shake-up.

The Conservatives certainly seem incapable — now more so than ever — of delivering what was unconvincingly promised. Could the Labour Party change things for the better? The biggest obstacle to major economic change nonetheless remains the same.

The EU would undoubtedly be a thorn in the side of a pre-Brexit anti-austerity Corbyn government. A mid-Brexit government of any flavour will likely continue the new status quo. Will a post-Brexit Corbyn government fare any better? Perhaps there is only one way to find out.

That could be a general election, but a general election seems inconsequential, in the grand scheme of things, whilst Schrodinger’s Brexit continues in its limbo. From here, yes, the possibilities are infinite, but these possibilities are meaningless until the box on the world is opened or — better yet — smashed to pieces.

 

“Acid Communism”: New Essay in Krisis Magazine

‘Acid’ is desire, as corrosive and denaturalising multiplicity, flowing through the multiplicities of communism itself to create alinguistic feedback loops; an ideological accelerator through which the new and previously unknown might be found in the politics we mistakenly think we already know, reinstantiating a politics to come.

I was invited to write an essay for Krisis, Journal for Contemporary Philosophy, back in January.

Their latest issue, “Marx from the Margins”, is an A-to-Z exploration of all the strange places Marxism has spread to in the 200 years since Karl Marx’s birth back in 1818 in the German city of Trier.

Specifically, I was asked to write a short entry on “Acid Communism”, Mark Fisher’s corrosive play on Marx’s original manifesto and it has finally gone live.

I’m really proud of this one. You can read it here.

Continue reading ““Acid Communism”: New Essay in Krisis Magazine”