Lug butter is retrieved by a new process, from the ears of drowning men. Lug butter: lardy, creamy & relaxed about being rich. Lug butter’s everywhere this season. It seeps out while you sleep. Interesting facts about lug butter: it was originally used to make crosses on top of Hot Cross Buns! What’s the better bit of butter that leaves everything looking new? Many answer, “Lug butter’s all we need to know.” Remember our slogan: “Guv loves lug butter.” We all eat lug butter. Eat lug butter now.
Tag Archives: politics
A cryptic note that just says “Nightjar”. Another one that just says “stairs”. Today must have been more confusing than it seemed. I had some pretty good news one way & another. But I never got over the poverty business. It seeped into my head & stayed there. “Nightjar.” “Stairs.” What was I going to do that involved the stairs? What did I have to remember about them? I had a look at them a moment ago. From one end they went up. From the other they went down. That seemed fine. Nothing to see there. Nightjar… Nightjar… Time to watch another bad film. November’s your month for bad films. The Poverty Business would make a good title.
The Eloi look vulnerable & waiflike but they are classic iron butterflies. After defeating the Morlocks via a programme of clever legislation, they begin to farm a species evolved from their own genes by neotony & epigenetic manipulation: the Teletubbies. All the Teletubbies want is a dependable world narrative. The Eloi get their energy by renewing it. They no longer need food the way we know it. They can go all day on a two-word alteration to the narrative & the consequent shine in eyes of their enslaved children. There’s a bomb in the corner of the room. There’s a paedophile in the very corridors where the story is cooked up. Delicious.
No “light” needs throwing on this. The whole point of going missing is not to have a light shone on the process. Besides which, what will a databank of the strategies people use to walk out on their lives achieve, except to turn a massively private personal event into a state concern? The agenda here is clearly to make it impossible to “go missing” in any meaningful way, while opening up to various concerned agencies a bigger slice of the action. It’s another invasion of privacy, which will end with yet another removal of a last-ditch psychological refuge for the individual. The act of wandering off & beginning again will be replaced by a set of social structures. There will be paperwork. There will be hoops to jump through. Qualified social negotiators will fight every phase of every case to achieve a more “positive” solution. There will be persuasion. What will be taken away is this: the right to decide one night, halfway to the local Sainsbury’s, that you’ve fucking well had enough. Instead you will have to book. The right to walk away will be replaced by the right to pretend to walk away. Contact will never really be lost; in the neoliberal style, decisions will be be blurred out, softened off. Avenues will never be closed, despite the individual’s desperate need to close them. These mechanisms will be tightened across the years until no one can go missing in their own own life without the involvement of the proper agency. It will be one of the new internal borders of the state.
X worked as a trainee teacher at a local school. His bicycle was stolen from the school racks. At lunchtime he went to the nearby police station to report the theft. The detective behind the desk listened sympathetically, took notes, then smiled & said, “Wait here just a moment.” X waited. Four or five minutes later the detective came back with another man, to whom he said, while pointing at X, “This is what’s teaching your little girl.” Telling the story many years later, X still seems ruefully amused. “I promise you,” he assures me, “my hair was at least an inch above my collar. I was wearing a tweed jacket. I was young for nineteen. I had no idea then what he saw when he looked at me & I’m not even sure now. But that detective was a better futurologist than me. He understood that for the next few years a major element of policing would be social policing. & that was the way it turned out.” I say, “But within ten years they lost that struggle & we had the beginnings of the world we have now.” X smiles. “Yes, the one in which we police ourselves.”
My head seems to have gone to the beach. I think it’s going to stay there until the UK left emerges from its doomed attempt to absorb the Olympic spectacle & enjoy a share of the theatre of nationalist sport. It’s one thing to cheer for Bradley Wiggins, it’s another to fall for watered neoliberal Riefenstahlism. Sandbagged by emotions they’re not used to managing, they’ve allowed the political arena to be dragged to the right again. As a result they won’t be winning their heat. The sheer quantity of defeat that’s been handed out here to an inexperienced team can best be described by this analogy: Jeremy Clarkson commissions Danny Boyle to do his opening credits & the UK left scrambles to construct a positive position re Top Gear. Nil points for accepting that gambit.
Empty Space is published on July 19th 2012 by Gollancz. Here’s another chapter, less to whet the appetite than taunt it–
Last practitioner of a vanishing technique, with specialisms in diplomacy, military archeology and project development, R.I. Gaines–known to younger colleagues as Rig–had made his name as a partly affiliated information professional during one of EMC’s many small wars. He believed that while the organisation was fuelled by science, its motor ran in the regime of the imagination. ”Wrapped up in that metaphor,” he often told his team–a consciously mongrelised group of policy interns, ex-entradistas and science academics comfortable along a broad spectrum of disciplines– “you’ll always find politics. Action is political, whether it intends to be or not.”
Some projects require only an electronic presence. Others plead for some more passionate input. Today Gaines was in-country on Panamax IV, where the local rep Alyssia Fignall had uncovered dozens of what at first sight seemed like abandoned cities. Microchemical analysis of selected hotspots, however, had convinced her they were less conurbations than what she loosely termed “spiritual engines”: factories of sacrifice which, a hundred thousand years before the arrival of the boys from Earth, had hummed and roared day and night for a millenium or more, to bring about change–or, more likely, hold it off.
“Close to the Tract,” she said, “you find sites like these on every tenth planet. You can map the trauma front direct on to the astrophysics.”
Because I’m repulsed by the very pronunciation of Gove’s name–not to say by the narcissistic self-righteousness he can be seen visibly repressing on every public outing–I haven’t been following this. How extraordinary. Is it from a bucket list, do you think, written age 13 in the first flood of pubescent religious fever, “100 things I’ll do to make people love me and God when I become
Leader King” ? Is it a “vow” ? Meanwhile, by pretending, in a kind of Swiftian gesture, to support the Guv, Dawkins shows once again that scientists can’t do politics because they are always too distracted by their own intelligence.
Empty Space: I did my corrections in pencil on hard copy.
Today will probably be the last time in history that an author puts a manuscript in a plastic bag & lugs it across London in the piss wet rain to a publisher’s. At least I didn’t write it in longhand. Actual paper: actual sopping wet rain: a proud if defunct moment, rehearsing all that’s memorable about the hack life. If you see me on the tube, give me a smile. I’ll be the one with the confused semiotics. White beard & adolescent coat. There’ll be an air of the Seventies about me, as if the ghost of stagflation has picked an inopportune moment to call. Surprise, surprise. You won’t want me at your party, I can assure you of that. I’m a living message from one dystopia to another. I mean, honestly, haven’t you just looked up at the Shard & thought “comic book Babel” ? You look at that structure & you don’t know whether to laugh or cry. It might as well have Ayn Rand Babel Doom written all over it. It might as well have every chapter of The Wind From Nowhere inscribed on every pane of glass. BASE jumping isn’t just the most interesting use it could be put to. It’s the only use.
(That should have been “from one dystopia to the next”. Much better.)
I never liked that book much but at least it took the piss out of sf’s three main tenets: (1) The reader-identification character always drives the action; (2) The universe is knowable; (3) the universe is anthropocentrically structured & its riches are an appropriate prize for
the colonialist people like us. TCD tried to out space opera as a kind of counterfeit pulp which had carefully cleaned itself of Saturday night appetite, vacuuming out all the concerns of real pulp fiction to keep it under the radar of the Mothers of America or whatever they called themselves. Pulp’s lust for life was replaced, if you were lucky, by a jaunty shanty & a comedy brawl. Otherwise it was lebensraum & a cadetship in the Space Police (these days it’s primarily low-bourgeois freedom motifs & nice friendly sexual release).