Thursday, 29 July 2010

Why it's easy to hate the world!

Not that I hate my world, this immediate flat at least, which is very nice indeed disguised neatly as a piece of archaic modernist shit in East London. But if you leave here, if you have to venture in to the world of 'Cash in The Attic' 'Loose Women' The Daily Mirror', Homebase and Cafe Rouge and the eager discussion of ringtone variations, if you have to sit amidst all this for longish periods of time through obligation, it is very easy indeed to hate the world.
Having spend twenty or longer years promoting some notion of 'populism' in architecture, I'm now almost proud to disavow it. Things have gone too far to passively study the machinations of The Machine, for it has grown so obviously monstrous in every way. Folks don't seem to realize it, but it fucks you over, twice, maybe three times every time. For instance, they make your life miserable so you can't get it up anymore because they have you screwed. So they will also manufacture some vastly expensive Viagra to help you out so you can screw and be screwed yet again.
Vegas was always great because you knew it was fucking you over, but to get fucked over so totally by the very people who would love to call Vegas a corrupt immoral hell wearing their cheap suits for values, is just sickening.
Read Badiou.

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Sick Again*

Once you've got over the initial sickness of being sick, sickness can be quite liberating. For instance, 'you just relax and do nothing' is suddenly a virtue. Meanwhile, and quite slowly, all the things you thought were important become unimportant and vice versa, you can enter a dreamy land of watching film noir gangster movies with the sound down with your partner, also sick, lying prone on the sofa. You can't go out, thats true, but nobody else can come in either, which is excellent. And of course you have a great deal of time to ponder whether your illness is physical and therefore quantifiable by the NHS, or whether it is mental and therefore considered a 'luxury item' best treated in Beverly Hills. Last year, Julie was told by her GP to 'drink less and go on holiday'. That spoke volumes.
With everything commodified, sickness may be a liberation (I'm not talking 'sickies' here, I'm talking situationally) A brief time for further contemplation on the 'times of reflection' you've already put in. No wonder I seem to get sick.
*for Zep fans.


I'm sick, Julie's sick, we are all sick. The explanation is not clear, but it must have something to do with our return from a four day party in the above village. Don't get me wrong, it was not that kind of 'party', it was very much another kind of 'party' (one richly deserved too).
But the village, in fact all the villages, were very 'Larkrise to Candleford' to the point of bringing on delirium. There is something very spacey about 'the village' these days, bringing on our lightheadedness. For instance, one character interviewed in this magazine boldly stated that he would take a 'fishing rod and a blow up doll' as luxuries on a desert island, and that his favorite movie was 'Emmanuelle'. Many strangenesses lurked behind the surfaces, even a Vivienne Westwood shop, and now we have to book appointments with the doctor to reset our worldly gyroscopes and get ourselves fixed.

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Two great rock n' roll moments

Jerry the landlord is hounding my 'moments of reflection'. Now he's rigged up all his TV screens to his DVD player, and this morning subjected me to a severe dose of 'sixties video classics'. Many of which were clearly, in the final analysis not- however I did get to see two sublime moments which every sentient being should be acutely aware of for historical purposes. The first moment comes in the middle of the Rolling Stones playing 'Satisfaction' on the Ed Sullivan Show in the USA in 1966. At this particular moment, and I'm sure other writers have noticed it which is why I noticed it, Mick Jagger glances left to Keef with a wry grin. It is a grin which says 'Christ we are on to something here....whatever you are doing keep doing it' (and then of course they do- seemingly forever) It is a wonderful moment of fulfillment for the two flat-mates once living on bacon sandwiches, and spells doom for Brian Jones (right) who stands there oblivious thinking he still owns the band.
The second is without doubt the sexiest and most ground-braking performance of all time, at least if you were eight when you first saw it on Top of the Pops, and may well be responsible, given my impressionable age, for many later difficulties. Its is Nancy Sinatra wiggling her fabulous thighs in the shortest of black mini-dresses to 'These Boots are Made for Walking'. Here we see the representation of the sixties, in one fabulous, almost accidental, sultry piece of utterly knowing liberation, even from Daddy.
Meanwhile Julie went to the Serpentine Pavillion and phones to say it has made her PHYSICALLY SICK. Trendy architects have a lot to answer for....fucking idiots (see last post).

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

An unusual late night post

I tripped over Rem Koolhaas's SMLXL as I got into bed. It sits there because I'm waiting to make an art event out of throwing it out the window. I glance at the blurb on the back of it, which concludes in the word 'world' at the end. You know what, that is not a good way to end blurb on the back of a book. I say this because I'm not sure Rem is interested in much more than himself, because the bigger the books you make, surely the bigger the problem you have (Tolstoy being an excellent example) So Paul gets up from bed, comes down here, says: CHUCK OUT YOUR BIG REM BOOKS AND FEEL SOMETHING!!!

Monday, 19 July 2010

Reading Theory

Reading Alain Badiou's 'The Century', and I wont pretend it's not an agonizing experience, but I know it's worth it. His thesis, that the C20, in all it's terror and flux in every field, was at least dedicated to an encounter with 'the real' (or at least an interrogation it's companion 'semblance') where very many very bad things happened in the name of finding out what life was all about is convincing.
And as ever, when somebody concentrates us on exactly what that century was, it leads us to consider how this century isn't. This, our C21st century (it's clear to me, beginning with 9/11) is a century dedicated, in inevitable reaction, to insurance in all it's forms. This, plus our dedication to consensus, leads us to an endless diet of 'Go Compare' adverts on tv, and nothing to read except various forms of agony in the popular newspapers, and entertainments; 'Cash in the Attic', 'Bargain Hunt' and 'Antiques Roadshow'; alongside anything to do with transforming your life out of one hell in to another via some sort of celebrity that by definition 'Means so much'. The marxists despised the family, now we are dependent on them for the inheritance, and who and where, is anybody 'interrogating the real'?
Theory may fuck you up, but it is useful.

Friday, 16 July 2010

The last forward planning meeting is over. That does not mean there will not be others, or that the last forward planning meeting achieved anything at all, but it does mean something of a fresh horizon for yours truly, a time 'for reflection' as they call it (I don't like this term, but it is now almost universally used to politely suggest you are hardly on the right side of the fence, but I'll take the opportunity anyway) . Of course I decide to reflect in the pub, at least to start with, round 11am. For some reason, the landlord has taken to playing Mark Knopler records whenever I appear, and this is lovely, but also slightly unnerving, for there are some very poor MK records as well as some pleasingly good ones, but hell, I'm just gazing out the window at the passing girls and busily 'reflecting' anyway.
I return home to read the 'London Review of Books'. This is somewhat of a first for me. I have never found myself in a position to do such a thing before other than out of pretension. Now I settle down like a dog in his basket with the lovely thing, and read about Tolstoy and Edward Heath and the history of cosmetics. It makes me think; there are things to do at different times of your life, and if you get the sequence wrong you can make a right balls up of it all.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Time for the inverted pyramid again. Went to a staff meeting today (unusual I admit) with big 25% cuts written all over the Powerpoint. Sitting through it (and it wasn't easy) I realized a couple of things, firstly, in large organizations, almost universally everybody has forgotten what they are supposed to be doing. So when you have a situation which is 25% cuts (ALL PLACES OF LEARNING HAVE RECEIVED A LETTER FROM VINCE CABLE!!!) the immediate reaction is do 'fuck all' or 'hope that it's alright' and 'we're optimistic about bla'. In the inverted pyramid, the thing that has to be cut is the size of the pyramid, which means you must cut management first. You can't cut the point of the pyramid because our model is closer to football than industry, ie; you can't replace lecturers or footballers with machines (at least not yet). Do you think our universities will do this? No fucking chance. The second realization is just how callous members our institutions have become, rather Ballardian actually, a la 'High Rise'. Precisely because they will not reduce the pyramid, the people at the point of the pyramid will therefore become psychotic...thats me.
Later ran in to my pal Nick in the White Horse who says my bogs are getting too depressing. Well when the Stones 'got depressed' they wrote 'It's Only Rock and Roll.. but I like It' a true classic, but also, they wrote lots of shit.

Saturday, 10 July 2010

You should always build a pub in front of a hospital. I understand why it might be unreasonable to build one inside a hospital, but after a day of sitting waiting staring at ceiling tiles and formica table tops eating the odd melancholic sandwich avowing organic credentials in Barnet's finest, I think you need a pub. Peterborough has one, in the form of a victorian folly, standing proud and prominent, right in front, so well done to them. Luckily that's my parents nearest hospital.

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

So, after encounters with Larry The Lamb and Patricia the Pig; the realities of Tesco. I fancied a gammon steak; good with pineapple and chips and football. Looked at the gammon suddenly labeled 'May or may not include smoked or unsmoked ham'. It was until very recently one or the other. So this is machine made gammon and my heart sank with such a confrontation with the 'real'.

Monday, 5 July 2010

Crikey...CUTS! CUTS! CUTS! non stop from our new toffs in charge. Extraordinary revelations almost every day- if you can't work - TOUGH, if you can't function- TOUGH, if your stuck in a crappy school- TOUGH. If you drink 'for a reason' -TOUGH.
But at least the hand has been shown- bankers 'CARRY ON AS NORMAL', if you are wealthy ' CARRY ON AS NORMAL'......
Next we know it 'Eastenders' with become 'Westenders' (from Maida Vale) and we'll be served an endless array of toff fare on the television. Oh hold on, that's just what happened. Tonight there were back to back country appreciation societies on BBC and ITV- Countryfile was interesting, we have just been to the country and found it 'interesting' too, but still a little obtuse for your average Johnny Jack Tarr on fingering ram's balls since that doesn't exactly help down the job centre. And as for antique shows and property; both ends of the same thing.
Yeah, we were up at a country wedding, and by our age, our emotional baggage and still thriving thirst can be problematic, but no, we survived, and even give thanks for beer in pewter mugs.
Just how did the proletariat become a minority? (Ans: by shopping at Primark)
University Challenge will be just Oxford vs Cambridge, and according to Panorama tonight, all 'incompetent' teachers should be sacked. But hold on, I'm surrounded by incompetence everytime I walk down the street - so what is this silly middle class mum with her pianos and bay windows saying about the education of her children? I can only think she is looking for conformity on a rather horribly fascistic level.