Way back in the murky mists of time, when townies roamed the land and I had a keen dislike for myself and the world, I was once enrolled on a photography course.
This is somewhat the beginning of our story.
I sucked in the darkroom. I also sucked at doing coursework – mainly because I had a largely apathetic attitude towards it and everything else. I lived on a razor between nihilism, existentialism, hedonism and post-modern bohemia. The city was my wasteland. The city was my playground. Darkened rooms with stacks of CDs and MDMA were my natural habitat. Words and metaphor were my God. The beats’ and the beat went on. And on.
Man, I miss those years. When pretension was just another way of saying “I don’t give a fuck”.
I’d enrolled on the photography course because the previous year I had fallen in love with film after doing a film studies course. As film was just photography 24 times a second I thought it would be a good thing to check out. I had bombed out of my other A-levels through:
A) being in way over my head for reasons I won’t go into right now
B) aforementioned psychological states.
We worked with black and white film and analogue SLR cameras. And we worked in the dark, with the film, as was the mode for developing film by hand. As i mentioned, I sucked at it. I’m bad enough at doing things when I can see what I’m doing.
When I finished the course I ended up with an E.
Anyway, over on this old-ass blog you can see all the B&W pictures that I submitted for my coursework plus a bunch of colour ones shot digitally a few years later around the time I was at film school. There’s some nice shots of the freaky shit that you can find in prop departments.
I ain’t got a hope today;
all died when the sound flooded in and filled my head with faulty wiring.
My eyes only half open
in this false waking. Choking down stupid little pills for a facsimilie of comfort. Takes forever to leave
Streets wailing with people like caskets constructed from nerve-endings.
When the extreme extraverted thinking model is faced with a ‘problem’ requiring a certain subjective/introverted perspective to truely understand and grap a thing, he authomatically reduces the problem to his own accumulated objective/extraverted knowledge and experience. Viewing the ‘problem’ through this filter gives an extremely narrow view of the ‘problem’, with only a few molecules of understanding beingh attracted to and sticking to his pre-existant knowledge/experience. This personality type appears quite often in the short stories of Franz Kafka.
“it is a fact of experience that the basic psychological functions seldom or never all have the same strength or degree of development in the same individual. As a rule, one or the other function predominates in both strenth and development.” [584/346]
The basic psychological functions are split into 5 groups under the two headings: Extraverted / Introverted
These are: Thinking/Feeling/Rational/Sensation/Intuition
Thusly is Jung’s model of being mapped.
“[the extraverted-thinking] type will, by definition, be a man [Or woman. Use yr imagination peoples!] whose constant endeavor – in so far, of course, as he is a pure type [if such a thing exists in the world] – is to make all his activities dependant on intellectual conclusions, which in the last resort are always orientated by objective data, whether these be external facts or generally accepted ideas.” [585/346]
I think what Jung is trying to say in his use of the term ‘last resort’ is that if the individual can’t think it out for himself he will rely on preconceived external data.
The objective-thinking type seems, to me, to embody the personalities of the majority of politicians/right wing nut jobs.
“Their best aspect is to be found at the peiphery of their sphere of influence. The deeper we penetrate into their own power province the more we feel the unfavourable effects of their tyranny.” [586/348]
“The thinking of the extraverted type is postivie i.e., productive. It leads to the discovery of new facts or to general conceptions based on disparate empirical material. It is usually synthetic too. Even when it analyses it constructs, because it is always advancing beyond the analysis to a new combination, to a further conception which reunites the analysed material in a different way or adds something to it. One could call this kind of judgement predictive. A characteristic feature, at any rate, is that it is never absolutely depreciative or destructive, since it always substitutes a fresh value for the one destroyed. this is because the thinking of this type is the main channel into which his vital energy flows. The steady flow of life manifests itself in his thinking, so that his thought has a progressive, creative quality. It is not stagnant or repressive. But it can become so if it fails to retain prior place in his consciousness. In that case it loses the quality of a positive, vital activity. It follows in the wake of other functions and becomes Epimethean [an afterthought]. Plagued by afterthoughts, contenting itself with constant broodings on things past and gone, chewing them over in an effort to anlyse and digest them. Since the creative element is now lodged in another function, thinking no longer progresses: It stagnates. Judgement takes on a distinct quality of inherence: It confines itlsef entirely to the range of the given material, nowhere overstepping it. It is satisfied with more or less abstract statements which do not impart any value to the material which in not already inherent in it. Such judgements are always orientated to the object, and they infirm nothing more about an experience than its objective and intrinsic meaning.” [592-593/351-352]
“Its habitual mode is best described by the two words “nothing but”. Goethe personifed this thinking in the figure of mephistopheles.”
Everything in its right place.
“Whenever somebody defends or advocates a cause, negative thinking never asks its importance but simply: “What does he get out of this?”"
“The trick [to pure extraverted-thinking] is to make it appear dependant on something quite common place.”
The Extraverted/Introverted Type
What does this mean for the screenwriter if the extraverted reacts to external objects, and the introverted with his own internal subjectivity? Surely, within a film script, protagonists must be of the extraverted type because, according to the screenwriting guru types, Protagonists are defined by action/reaction? (Okay, this may not be the complete truth, but stay with me here).
What if the external objects are in fact manifestations of the protagonists subjectivity? That everything within the diagesis can in fact be mapped, directly or indirectly, back to the protagonists unconscious? What if that’s why they came into existence in the first place? If you map your protagonists’ conscious/unconscious first, then develop the story and sub-characters second, what kind of film are you writing? How does this effect everything? Does this open you up to new realms of creative expression, or just picking a way to filter that creative expression in the first place?
( i’m thinking outloud here, btw )
Consider the play of the extraverted/external and Introverted/internal outlook in both Julian and Gethin, with each sliding between the these two extremes throughout the plot, in a kind of counterpoint. A character in a film could be considered extraverted by the very nature of the medium i.e. external factors (preassures cause the actions of the protagonists and sub-characters) but this does not mean that these external forces cannot be, in actuality, manifestations of the internal.
As there are two Protagonists (Julian and Gethin) in this paticular narrative, and neither one supercedes the other, do they in fact become in actuality two sides of the same character? Is this a useful way of looking at them? Also, as they also represent a comedy double-act, is this what the comedy double-act can be viewed as?
“A normal extroverted attitude does not, of course, mean that the individual invariably behaves in accordance with the extraverted schema. Even in the same individual many psychological processes may be observed that involve the mechanism of introversion. We call a mode of behavior extraverted only when the mechanism of extraversion predominates. In these caesd the most differentiated functions are in part unconscious and far less under the control of consciousness.” [575/340]
“…There is a constant influx of unconscious contents into the conscious psychological process, to such a degree that at times it is hard for the observer to decide which character traits belong to the conscious and which to the unconscious personality.” [576/341]
“Introverted thinking then appears as something quite arbitarry [to the extraverted thinker] while extraverted thinking seems dull and banal [to the introverted thinker]. Thus the two orientations are incessantly at war.” [581/345]
I recently excavated an old shortlived blog of mine on which there are about three posts worth saving. Here’s the first one. These notes were taken during a period of my life which was spent on the dole, skating into town everyday, hitting a few spots, knocking on friends, and generally putting myself about. I have a few poems from this period that seems to embody it quite well. Got them in a notebook somewhere. I’ll dig them out. The notes i was taking were research for an as yet unrealised screenplay.
“On one level this activity appears as urban escapism… it was a repositioning of the urban… The modernist spa e of surburbia was found, adapted and reconveived as another kind of space, as a concrete wave.” (refers to erly surf-style skating) (p.33)
“New hillside housing tracts lost their hideous urban negativity and emerged from the metamorphosis as a smooth uncrowded ribbons of winding joy.” (33)
“This recombination of body, image, thought and action lies at the heart of skateboarding – an integration of abstract and concrete, object and performance…”
“the third stage [of skating up a bank that goes vertical] is that stalling space-time where the skater reaches the top of the trajectory, hangs momentarily, and begins the kick-turn – for the skater, this is a highly phsyical yet simultaneously fantastical and dream-like experience, where space-time are confronted and frozen in a dynamic, yet stable instance.” (35)
“these aural salvos remind us that ‘space is listened for, in fact, as much as seen, and heard before it comes into view,” that hearing mediates between the spatial body and the world outside it, and that it is therefore not only in a cathedral or cloister that ‘space is measured by ear’. This is ‘sensuous geography’ created by a phenomonal experience of architecture, a ‘sensory space’ constituted by an “unconsciously” dramatised interplay of relay points and obstacles, reflections, references, mirrors and echoes.” (35)
note: ‘sensuous geographies’ (Paul Rodaway)
“…’working the surface’ involved thinking less about the pool wall as a concrete wave, and more as an element which, together with the skateboard and skater’s own body, could be recombined into an excited body-centric space.” (36)
Must… entertain… my masses. Okay, maybe masses is the wrong word. I mean the cool people that condescend to visit my blog. I mean you. I must bring you content. If i do no the interweb pixies will eat my girlfriend. They told me so!
so here’s another post from my old blog.
The following is a synopsis for Pull my Daisy, which Jonas Mekas called “The first truely beat film.” It’s copied out of Naked Lens by Jack Sargeant, which is one of the rare books on beat cinema. if Jack reads this please be aware that I’m gonna reword it before I use it in my dissertation. Honest. It’s up here so I don’t lose it.
God, I hate essays.
Set in an apartment in downtown Manhattan, it opens with an establishing shot; tracking around an empty room. Kerouac’s voice begins the narration which, save for a few short breaks, runs for the length of the film: “Early morning in the universe…”. A woman, whom the narration describes as a painter and the wife of a “railroad brakeman” enters the room. The wife walks to the windows and opens the curtains, letting the light stream in, her young son Pablo enters to eat his breakfast, before rushing off to school. Shortly before they leave for school Alan and Gregory enter, carrying bottles of beer.
Alan and Gregory sit down and begin the discuss poetry, the camera roving back and forth between them, in close up a joint is passed between the two poets. Alan and Gregory begin to argue about Apollinaire, and in a long shot Alan stands up, frustrated with Alan’s argument, and this becomes emphasized by the rhythmic aggression of the narration, juxtaposing the velocity of Alan’s frenetic speech patters (“that’s right/that’s right/that’s right/that’s what I said/ that’s right/that’s right/that’s right” [punctuation Sargeant’s]) with Gregory’s sullen weariness at Alan’s continued dancing movements. At the end of the argument, in established shot-reverse-shot style, Alan states: “The Lower East Side has produced all the strange gum chewing geniuses”, to which Gregory replies, “Ah you make me – I could tell you poems that would make you weep with long hair, goodbye, goodbye…”
The scene is interrupted by the arrival of Milo, as he walks around the apartment the three poets follow him. Flute music plays on the soundtrack, switching from the (supposedly) diagetic sounds produced by Gregory’s flute playing to the extra-diagetic music of Amram’s score, the music serves to emphasize the almost child-like enthusiasm the poets have for the railway worker. Ells them that the Bishop is coming “you guys have gotta act a little better […] no flutes and no nonsense”. A shot from the window looking down into the street depicts the Bishop’s car arriving. The wife goes to welcome the Bishop and his entourage into the apartment while the three poets excitedly anticipate the Bishop’s immediate arrival.
Milo dances around the apartment, a movement which is directly constrained by the apparent stoicism of the Bishop. The Bishop and his family (mother and sister) are introduced and begin to settle down. Gregory begins questioning the Bishop about Buddhism, before rapidly sliding into ‘nonsense’ talk (“goofing […] playing around with words”), apologizing and then asking more serious questions on Buddhism.
With a burst of the jazz soundtrack, Mezz Mcgillicuddy enters the apartment, shaking hands with everybody. Peter begins to talk to the Bishop, asking him “Have you ever played baseball and seen girls with tight dresses?” and then “Is baseball holy?” while swinging an imaginary bat.
The scene fades to an exterior shot, the soundtrack becomes more melancholic, while in long shot the Bishop preaches to a congregation of, predominantly, women and children. As he delivers his sermon an American flag, held by Milo’s wife who is standing at the Bishop’s side, blows over his face (“The American flag is a recurring motif in Robert Frank’s book The Americans, where it was used to simultaneously symbolize both identity and lack of identity; belonging to a national culture and being excluded from it. For many Americans the flag also functions as a visual signifier of their own freedom. The American flag is also a ‘thematic’ of Alfred Leslie’s paintings from the early fifties; ‘abstract’ works such as Spots and Stripes Painting (1952) and Hoboken Oval (1953) are characterized via the repeated use of stripes (both vertical and horizontal) which are visually contrasted with painted areas of circular shapes.” – Sargeant, pg51, 16.). The camera tracks to a medium close-up over the faces of the street congregation, all of whom are speaking, although, crucially, there is no narration at this point in the film.
Cutting back to the apartment the film continues to track across the faces of those around the Bishop (Alan, Gregory, et al). Kerouac’s narration: “The angel of silence hath flown over all their heads”, the narration continues but begins to turn into ‘music’, no longer emphasizing ‘real’ sentences, but ‘pure’ word plays which seek to evoke the spirit of the evening. Not only is the silence of the apartment articulated by Kerouac’s narration, it is also emphasized by the shots of the tightly shut lips of all in the parment, and contrasts the extra-diagetic silence of the animated congregation of the previous exterior scene with its images of speech.
Gregory slumps drunkenly while Milo’s wife berates him for the Beats’ behavior. From the wife’s seated position the camera flows around the room, to the mirrored door of the bathroom; “The Queen of Sheba takes a bath in this bathtub every day”, then across the cooking surfaces, where Kerouac’s narration describes the cockroaches that inhabit the apartment: “cockroaches, cockroaches, coffee cockroaches, stove cockroaches, city cockroaches, spot cockroaches, melted cheese cockroaches, Chaplin cockroaches, peanut butter cockroaches – cockroach cockroach – cockroach of the eyes – cockroach, mirror, boom, bang”. The narrative rap is accomained by the jazz soundtrack, along with a quick-fire montage of images of Alan dancing with gun-fingers pointed like a child playing cowboys. Then, as the rap ends, the film resumes its track around the room. As the bookcase comes into shot the narration states “Jung, Frued, Jung, Reich” as if reading the titles from the bookcase. Returning to long-shot the Bishop states “Strange thoughts you young, uh, people have.” Gregory walks over to the Bishop and sits at his feet, simultaneously Peter walks to the table asking “Is everything holy, is alligators holy, Bishop? Is the world holy? Is the organ of man holy? [the narration continues] The Bishop says, what, holy, holy? He says, Oh my mother wants to play the organ.”
Mezz Mcgillicuddy positions a chair in-front of the pump organ so the old lady can play something “holy”. Noticeably the music the mother plays is the same as which was heard during the exterior scene depicting the street congregation. In a separate room of the apartment Gregory asks Milo, “When are we going to blow man, what are we going to do?” The soundtrack changes to jazz and the tempo increases, emphasized by the increased speed of the editing. In the bedroom McGillicuddy begins to play the French horn. A woman laying on the bed tosses and rolls away from him. While in the living room Alan has joined in the ‘confrontation’ with the Bishop asking him, in quick fire questions, punctuating the jazz rhythms, “are holy flowers holy? Is the world holy? Is glasses holy? Is time holy? Is all the white moonlight holy? Empty rooms are holy? You holy? Come on Bishop tell us. Toy holy? Byzantine holy? Is mock holy? Izzamerican flag holy? Is girl holy? Is your sister holy? What is holy? Holy, holy, holy, holy, holy? And car holy and light holy? Is holy holy?” Each question is punctuated by the cutting of the film to illustrate it, which serves as an emphasis to the quick-fire Kerouac as Alan narration. The music becomes increasingly frenetic as Milo picks up a saxophone and begins to blow. The Bishop states that he should be leaving, and Milo’s wife sees the Bishop and his family out.
Pablo ambles into the room, where he is asked by Milo if he wants to play too. Returning from his bedroom clutching a horn he joins in the impromptu session. The soundtrack becomes punctuated with random blasts of out-of-key horn, emphasizing Pablo’s playing.
Cutting to a long-shot of the table, with more relaxed music on the soundtrack, Milo picks up Pablo, the camera focuses on the action moves to capture the smoke rising from the cigarettes in the ashtray on the table. Kerouac sings: “Up you go, little smoke. Up you go little smoke. Up you go, little smoke.” Each line is higher in pitch. The smoke about which he is singing being both the actual smoke from the ashtray, but also – and more importantly – the child being lovingly carried on his father’s shoulder from the room. Mezz plays alone while, outside, the wife waves goodbye to the Bishop.
Alan announces “Wow, let’s do something we’ve never done” and suggests that they “play cowboys”. Milo – who has returned from his son’s room – begins to tell a story about a cowboy. Milo’s speech is delivered in Kerouac’s driest quasi-William Burroughs-styled tones (indeed the story could almost be a homage to William Burroughs’ blackly humoured routines). The story describes a cowboy who shoots a wino who is sitting at a Preacher’s feet (the story is a reference to Gregory’s behavior). Milo enacts the story while recounting it, finally – as the cowboy shoots the wino – Milo points his finger-gun at Gregory’s head. A close up of the finger-gun death shot to gregory’s head illustrates Gregory’s anger at being the butt of the story; “What’d you do that for? – Pow!”
Milo’s wife returns and once again berates him for his behaviour. The three poets – all sitting in line, wdged onto the sofa – appear like naughty school boys. Led by McGillicuddy the poets run from the apartment, calling for Milo to follow them “Come on down those steps. Let’s go. We’ll go somewhere, we’ll find something. Maybe we’ll play by fires in the Bowery.” Milo argues with his wife, then angrily kicks the rocking chair which rocks back and forth as he leaves the room. In a visual counterpoint to the movements of the rocking chair in the apartment, a ceiling rose in the dark entrance hall swings back and forth: “And the rose swings. She’ll get over it. [Milo appears on the stairs to be greeted by the poets] Come on, Milo. Here comes sweet Milo, beautiful Milo. [In Milo’s voice] Hello gang. Dad a dad a And they’re going dada dad a dada dad a da” the narration becomes accelertated, in an affirmation of joy. The group run out, laughing, into the night.
OMG, what is it? Wee hours of the morning? Have i been drinking whisky for a while? Oh yes i have! Time for a poem pulled out of the past tense! You know you love it.
Thursday, February 23, 2005
grar. Dissertations are boring; constant reading, notemaking, cross-referencing, structuring… Barely any room for creativity at all. Yawn-o-Rama. Was reading up on Pull my Daisy last night before taking a little break to do a little random stream-o-conciousness, out of which I pulled the following piece. The title has just this second been thought up, well, remembered. I think I had it set as my microsuck messanger name for a while and its alot more interesting than the original title; let he without sin cast the first stone.
= * =
the shell, the skin
wrapped in plastic
soda sloshing around your insides
These times, they are d-caying
ice cap melting, ozone depletion
please don’t mention where all the happy gone?
Just two right feet writ big in our souls
stick needles in our neighbours
for blood and oil and jesus christ
got high with Mohammad and the Buddha
you fools! I’ll scratch your eyes out. Don’t look at me cock-eyed
you’ll lose more than your pretty face.
Cast stones not he with out sin.
tripped over my touchtyping feet into an irc pm… private messaging, that is. this guy i know. he’s alright. Waiting for the stock market to make him rich. Good luck. I say. Anyways, we’re talking about movies and after aronofky we’re onto choke, based on the chuck palahnuik novel. Then i remember writing this prose poem back in 2004, a travelogue of going to toronto and back to cardiff again. I’d posted it on a writing group style forum and someone had compared it to palahnuik. I go looking for it, but it’s gone. Lost in the cracks of the web.
Takes me a while to find the fucker, getting desperate, was hosted on somewhere defunct, thinking that i’d lost an important part of myself. Then i hit the waybackmachine, look up my old blog there, and i find it.
So i’m reposting it here. There’s a few good lines, i guess. Worth saving i figure.
Like plum stones sunk in neon
Look so clean
Smell so sickly
Drifting through duty free
People sleep with arms wrapped around their heads
Waiting in limbo for connections.
Wispy voices float in the air
With names on their tongues like cherry bombs.
I want to sit and smoke and drink
so pay £2.99 for a pint of stella
and smoke and sit and drink and write
my second ever poem about being in an airport
whilst my eyes sink further into my skull
and I cry for sleep as if for a lost lover.
*I’m tired and hung over in Toronto.
The air feels like electric syrup
Again leaving me sticky to the touch.
Everybody stares here
Eyes like needles
Shooting straight for your nerves
Which light up light bulb wire
And burns just as much
They filter you through their system
Kino balls dropping around pins
punching through your wall
Searching your being for fuck knows what.
In Britain it’s polite to leave you the fuck alone.
Not so here.
Here people get right up in your face, strip you naked
With their eyes
“How you doing?”
*I used to eat until I was full.
Now I eat until I am bored of eating
This fat Rosedale bitch is walking around the perimeter of the field.
Around and around.
I don’t know she’s a bitch.
And she ain’t really fat, just middle-aged, and the obvious victim of multiple childbirths, the weight of motherhood.
I watch her across the field, passing a set of goal-posts, walking.
Not even power walking, which is like a national sport around here.
She can’t be trying to lose weight. If she was she’d run, right? You know, break a sweat?
Around and around.
They sure do like their sport around here. Little league football teams, decked out in their kit, huddle around soccer mum coaches (and it is mum, not mom, this is Canada dude) Father and son toss a baseball between them, catching it in mitted hands. Children play tennis. Everyone locked in that healthy living paradigm, living out careful conditioning. Can’t help but think of Canada as a utopian dictatorship.
The American football game I was watching has broken up, the men gone to drink beer and sit around on the couch.
Rosedale is full of nice big houses full of nice big middle class families.
An area ripe for subversion.
Walking to the subway station, the day after I landed, Jennie wondering how much charly they go through around here.
Must be a lot.
There she is again, slow easy steps, her sandals flip-flop in dust.
Me and Jennie saw a racoon the other day
its insides smeared across the road, its tongue flat against the concrete.
Glassy eye looking nowhere in particular. We nearly went back for Jen’s camera, but she wasn’t in the mood for the extra walking.
She never is.
This is what it must feel like to be a housewife;
I’ve washed the dishes
I’ve tidied up
Had a shower
Did some grocery shopping
Read a book
Watched a DVD
Sat in the park drinking Bacardi and coke from a plastic coca-cola bottle watching other people exert themselves.
And now I’m waiting.
Jennie said she should be home about 6:30
Is now 7:15
I have no money
And without Jennie, I have no plans.
So I sit and read, listening to my iPod play through tinny television speakers.
There’s not much to eat; Froot loops, some bacon
- no bread
some cheap noodles…
The bacon is Bob’s bacon. Who the fuck is bob? And is he gonna want his bacon back?
Bob, of course, does not exist. The idea is for you to think he does. He’s a marketing device, the personal touch, to make you think your dealing with a real person instead of just another corporation that takes in people and spits out bacon. And pigs too. I think there might be pigs involved.
Marketing is where writers with no integrity go
That or TV.
“Please mister! I’ll be good! I don’t wanna write scripts for Melrose place!”
Downtown. Two black guys dealing in Dundas park. Sitting, Chilling, shaking hands. A guy comes along on a bike, buys a bag, talks a bit, then carries on.
Actually, it might have been a woman.
Got 23 cents to my name instead of the $600 my mum should of wired to me; phoning her at 3am (8am there) stressing how important it was that she did it that day, how broke and desperate everybody was, forgetting to mention the fact that we hadn’t eaten properly for days and Jennie can’t figure out why she feels so sick all the time.
I guess she forgot.
Tried calling her earlier (had a veggie burger last night and a bowl of froot loops this morning) to find her not yet home (9PM there) and my sister not being helpful at all, bitching about how late it was, and how she didn’t know where mum was at, again failing to pull her head out of her own arse and realise my situation.
Doesn’t she know I’m hungry!!??!
No money for subway so had to walk from Rosedale along Yonge rd (long street that) for like an hour. Expecting the money to be there – $1.23 in my pocket, which won’t even buy me a can of jolt cola after tax. My trusty iPod shows me the way. Got to Lush and Jennie hungry and thirsty and standing patiently while she checks her British account to find…
Nearly wigged, my mood plummeting like a half brick tossed in a canal. Then comes the head ache. I moan to Jennie who tells me to shut the fuck up, and she’s right. Gotta Getta grip. Gotta getta some sugar. Buy a can of coke and drink it in Dundas park watching skaters and squirrels. Try to write but realise it is shit even before I put pen to paper. After a while caffeine and sugar flood my system, and with the help of some good tunes from Interzone (mah iPod), causes a positive emotional cascade, propping up serotonin levels.
Ding! I’m cool now. Don’t feel so desperate. Look around a bookshop and pick up a few free weeklies (of which there are many, including two GBLT type ones). Hungry? Drink lots of water and don’t think about phat pizzas with pepperoni the size of dilated pupils.
Jennie finishes work at 8:30.
Not too long now.
Each of my words is a weight around my neck
Each word sets me in stone whilst my head remains fluid
Sometimes stuck after people say “But you are this, you said so yourself” and I slowly turn to granite, immobilised by the weight, until I start picking at rock like dandruff, examining each piece in the light, before tossing it away.
I forget who I’m supposed to be and carry on like I’m no-one in particular.
There are constants.
Few and far between
The flotsam and jetsam that sticks to me because I really don’t know, who am I to say? Can’t completely trust anything, too many moth-eaten ideas taken as gospel, sun don’t spin around the earth, nobody listens when you tell them there’s a hole in the ozone layer, because you aren’t screaming with money and boardroom power you gotta be myopic ‘fore anyone even listens like your worshipping your own ideals like they truly are the word of the almighty. Everyone just the sum of how and what they’re told in that special way like a key turned in your brain and then you become so easy to push around and you’ll smile at your tormentors cuz you think they’re saints – even me, I am no different, but at least sometimes I sit up and spit in their faces.
*Sat watching the skaters again Dundas park. Two pidgeons have made a home for themselves in the gutter above a bubble-tea shop on spadina avenue. Watched them building, the male bringing twigs to the female to lovingly weave into the patchwork of the nest. Occasionally one of these twigs drops to the street below. When this happens I toss them back up.
Found a whole bunch of studio Ghibli DVDs in a Chinatown audio-visual shop, including all the classics I haven’t seen. When that money comes through I think I’m gonna have to come back.
Everything is spinning but staying very very still. I close my eyes and feel like I’m on a rollercoaster that never stops and treats gravity like human trash.
I can’t stop scratching, fingernails tear through layers of dead skin, collecting in nooks and crannies, forensic evidence for later use, for when I put myself on trial in front of the whole world and whisper my subjective truths like they mean shit, apart from confirmation of my guilt. I am guilty, there’s no denying that. Hook, line, and sinker.
*Toronto International airport lacks the frenzied duty free consumerism of Gatwick, but tries feebly to give it a run for its money. While I wait for boarding I read in a smoking room occasionally glancing up at the Canadian elections running on the tv in front of me. Airline staff come and go, along with the occasional individual or family. On the plane I do not sleep and watch the horizon line separating night and day, wishing I could just stick my head out the window to get a better look. I want to chase it across the sky.
“Dirty little maggot, you stealing juice?”
I look up at the security official, my sunken eyes peaking from beneath my hood, and measure his humanity – can I bend his will with pretty words and a sad smile?
Could I convolute his thought processes with overcomplicated language?
He looks working class, down to earth, the common London twang. I just look a mess. I’m not sure he just said what I think he just said, the aggression and condescension, my brain probably scrambled from passing through too many time zones. I decide to appeal to him on his level, slipping into colloquial wordage, kinda cockney -
“alright mate? just charging up me iPod, dint mean no ‘arm…”
He appears to relax; I guess I tend to come across as a bit of a queer bugger, long hair, permenant dark rings around my eyes, missing front teeth… just gotta let them hear what they want to hear, the familiar, non-alien. Just another one of the boys, innit?
“Just watch yourself mate. Management are wankers ’round ‘ere.”
“Sorted man. Nice one.” That weak, sad smile.
I see pity in his face – guess I look a state; all jetlag and sleep deprivation, which is pretty much the truth. Can’t sleep for shit on planes, sometimes takes all my will not to wig and threaten the other passangers with plastic cutlery. “Listen, you little shit. Kick the back of my chair again and I’ll cut you up real good, got that fucker?”
You gotta be careful these days. One wrong move and your being striped-and-cavity searched and having your heritage questioned. Might not see sunlight for months, held indefinitely under the ‘patriot’ act, or whatever. But then, one mans terrorist is another mans freedom fighter.
*In Cardiff I feel strange. Don’t wanna be here. JetLag sucker-punches me up and down the streets. I sleep so weird, getting bursts of energy and fatigue. Like a comedown without the knowledge that you’d dropped the night before. My cousin mocks this, he does not understand, and does not want to understand. He just wants fuel for his mock-a-thon. Wish I could throw his broken body into a sarCasm.
This life is not my own and never was but somehow this is where I find myself, constantly frustrated suffering mediocre static feet stapled for stability. All tied up in Gordian knots, banging fists against fictional walls. Habits like Parasites crawl into my ear while I sleep and try to move into their former homes to find themselves replaced with determination and kinda focus but feast and laugh anyway in gleeful UltraHighFrequency tones on their prey which, so weak, still growing, fight in pointless fits of rage. If I go someplace quiet and close my eyes I can still hear myself in Toronto, eyes popping out of my skull with the possibilities but when I open my eyes instead I see that familiarity breeds contempt and that I don’t want this space/time no more.
*Lying in bed
Pretending to sleep
Wishing I was
Eyes squeezed closed
Waiting to dream.
Supposed to be hitting the job agencies today but don’t feel like leaving the house. Couldn’t anyway, only pair of shoes resembling sponges. Got caught in storm last night, walking home from grangetown, wind ripping through me, rain like plastic bullets. Got home looking like a drowned rat. Felt like one too.
Took off all my clothes
lay in bed
closed my eyes.
*Converse trainers rattle around inside a tumble-dryer, beating out syncopated rhythms. I push my fingers deep inside and come out with grains of sand clinging delicately to skin;
Me and Jennie sat on a sandy beach on Toronto island. The waves lap at her feet as she stares out into the incomprehensible waters, trying to take them into herself, whilst I stand, knee deep, trying vainly to skim odd-shaped stones along the surface.
I met a girl last night
in a dream.
Down my ear canal.
Named by her father
who lived in text-books
And dreamt of dead civilisations
Like others did of Hollywood starlets.
When she spoke of him
Her eyes fell
in mousey whispers
like he might be watching
she told me
That she could only
love in dreams
like she was broken
on the outside
And as she spoke
I fell into her eyes
And span in blissful vertigo
We stood in a garden
And blossomed together
sat beneath a tree
She told me her story
And I told her mine
Before I woke
She asked me
If I would
Meet with her again
And I said I would
But how would I find her?
Then my eyes
Fell open like smoke
And she was gone.
Trying to find someone
Music pouring into my head
Smoke floating around my brain.
A seagull flies over and I tip my head back
to watch it pass over a lamp-post.
*In ‘small man’ a guy on a bicycle races another guy on rollerblades
Around the knotted paths
Whilst another judicates from a pedestal
I sit and smoke
And listen to the blanket of sound
I wrap myself in
Far too much.
Snake bite and black in the park vaults
With Sean and Mike
And on old school raver called Dee
And the usual alcoholic poet at the bar
With dreadlock man
Who I sometimes pick up off of.
“Ain’t you the guy who deals smack?”
“Nah, man. Not smack.”
“I seen you go outside with a lot of people.”
*Tonight is black and PVC
glow sticks and MDMA
dropping base and pills
in toilet stalls with friends.
Dancing and hugging
riding the bliss till 2am
then falling home
talking and singing
with a small goth girl on my back
When we reach our destination I drop again with Vicki
who makes hardcore seem like silly putty
and whilst everybody else has crashed by 5
we stay up till 8
enjoying the morning air.
in 2008 I was faced with the mixblessing of being the sole provider for myself, my girlfriend and her son. My girlfriend had being going nuts in an effort to complete her teaching degree, us living off her student loan, and I figured it was time I gave something back. It was only a couple of months but I kinda got a buzz out of being the breadwinner, due to my somewhat detached, surreal and ironic view of the situation and life in general (“look at me! I’m bringing home the bacon! Who woulda thunk it?!?”)
What I didn’t get a buzz out of was the job itself: I was a kitchen porter in the kitchen at a 5 star hotel. The work was hard and monotonous, the hours were weird, and most of the people were pricks.
Seriously, have you met many chef’s in your life, let alone worked with them? They are, for the most part, complete and utter arseholes.
In an effort to get something out of the experience (apart from the money and access to the espresso machine which I used neigh-constantly despite being told numerous times that the espresso was for guests only and that I was only allowed to drink the filter coffee) I thought i’d start a blog detailing my thoughts and experiences. Well, that was a bust. I wrote two posts then quickly forgot all about it.
I stumbled across those two posts recently, gave them a re-read, and decided they were quite amusing and well written. So, despite being an abandoned project I figured I would resurrect them from the blogging afterlife for your amusement:
Employment. It’s inevitable. Unless you’ve got a trust fund or are happy to dance the poverty conga-line of the benefits system it’s not really something you can escape. Bills must be paid. Food must be purchased. In order to live you must auction off your time to whoever will pay you for it. Chances are the that your job sucks too.
This is the way of things. Wouldn’t be so bad if you could section off a part of your being and dedicate it to work, have two distinct sides of you so that you could carry on an independant life seperate from work, but It seeps in through your orifices and starts to mould your spirit into its own diabolical shape, fills you with its shadow. It affects the way you think, the way you look at things, ways in which you react to different stimuli. Even when not at your place of employment, the diabolical shape impedes upon your thoughts and feelings. You are no longer the same person you were before you started working, your changed, and who knows whether or not you can ever get that person back, that spirit, that part of your soul that was untouched by the infectuous and scum-encrusted tenticles that seek to crush your mind. If only you could take a step outside of yourself, observe the process by which this erosion takes place, document it’s machinations so that when, if ever, you manage to break free of the vicious cycle of conditioned wage slavery you could retrace your steps, rebuild, and stand a chance of regaining your self.
This blog is an attempt and this. The diary of a wage slave, A kitchen porter at a luxury resort with more stars than you can count with half a hand. The names have been changed to discombobulate and misdirect suspicious minds. Or maybe they haven’t. Maybe nothing has been changed because nobody who works with Samzidat will ever read these words. Maybe only some things have been changed, just enough to throw these minds off the scent. Maybe this is in fact a work of complete fiction, the product of a brain in a belljar, haulicinating a life of servitude and slowly maurinating in its own miserable juices. None of this really matters. What matters is insight and understanding. What matters is the narrative, fractured as it may be, the documentation of process. Hopefully it’s worthy of a read, is of some use as entertainment or meditation; the reflections of a creature who has found himself ensnared in this universal antagonism of life.
This is the beginning of the end.
Work makes me panic; It’s the whole mechanism; this new class of relationships and priorities, it sets me on a paranoid edge. I stand at the sink shifting through the stacks of dirty dishes, sorting and characterisng them into groups based on a dozen factors, loading them onto racks and shoving them into the gaping, crooked mouth of the ancient dishwasher whilst my mind spins onwards, detached. Physical reality wraps its tendrils around my brainstem. Thoughts flicker and loop. Will I be fired? Does everybody hate me? Am i too slow? Is my boss, the one with the fruit machine problem, secretly out to destroy me? Am i secreting the right false sense of servitude and dedication?
For weeks my sensorium has been so completely filled with working that independant thought has been impossible. Except when I’m on breaks, lurking around the smoking area eavesdropping on conversation fragments and drinking in the sea and sky with starving eyes. Recently though there have been moments. Murmuring glints of cognation that make me think i could possibly function on some level other than that of unrelenting repetition of actions. Just the other day, whilst brushing and mopping down the back corridor, shortly after 6am, I had an idea for a dissertation, an idea so good i wished I could go back in time and rewrite my own. The idea was to explore the moralistic undertones of traditional narrative structures and how these undertones sought to influence the social and psychological. This topic is of such a wide berth that it ties into at least a dozen fields; Linguistics, Memetics and Anthropology to name but a few. It’s these moments that almost give me hope that I can exist within the work structure without losing an important part of myself.
Fresh off the fingers comes this lyrical stream-of-consciousness creation; bearing thematic and rythmical similarities to this much older piece.
Oh youth of fickle eyes avert
with mindless sighs and vacant strides
directionless and constant tripping over
nothing sweet unsober everything
will be whatever when the great
fail to endevour for the meaning in the thunder
that is heard under the wonder/where we’ll be when it all
crumbles collapsing down upon our aching
heads in dawning understanding
when was all this mess created?
Was it yonder maybe nearer to the present
that gets queerer by the second
hand that’s ticking always onward
always fleeting, never not was in this gleaming
solid state mind engineering
where’s the screaming? should be echoes on the screen
reflecting dreams, reflecting schemes
that cascade into endless scenes fractured
forever by the beam that gets
rejected in the seeing.
Ovaries are thought machines
they spawn all these pathologies
they spawn all these pathologies
Whilst one turns right the other goes the otherway against the flow
or so it seems
it might just find
that in a blink the paths collide.
We’ve read that script and now we’re bored
let’s cash our chips, remake the lord
a different shape to be adored
a different soundtrack will be scored
Whilst i lie hear on the floor.
siphoned off the reveriestream fresh this afternoon!
This building is sick; it seeps out of the walls,an accumulation of a hundred frustrated lives spent working corridors, shuffling in hush puppies.like a naughty child bearing the weight of judging eyes. I ain’t cut out for this concentration-camp existence; Walls make me panic, barriers trip me up. Sometimes can’t get nothing straight; thoughts collide and make orphans of good intentions.
If I cut myself open and bleed all over your filing cabinet, can I please go home?