Friday, 29 May 2009

Action required!

The very morning after the strange prophetic half-dream about the lovely, lovely, lovely Stephen Thomson relentlessly grilling a blind lady who in the dream was Jeff Hilson's friend (though not really - not Jeff's fault he's lovely!) about wiping her bottom comes this bombshell. The bombshell, in a nutshell, is that when it comes to protecting minority interests against corporate rapaciousness and lobbyist gimme-gimmes, Barack Obama and the people are no longer on the same page. Or are we? We can't know, because we're blind and he's seized our gizmos, no doubt fearing the penetrating critiques of the erudite visually impaired who are immune to many of his charm ray attacks.

Come on people, stop them with the internets then smooch!

Friday, 15 May 2009

Dappy Ideas for Democracy no. 2

I don't want scapegoats -- unless it's an entire "state"-goat!! -- & I don't want David Cameron's "swift" resolution; I want the very bright limelight which our voluptuous political class currently enjoys to linger for an uncomfortably long time, almost as if up in the techie box someone had missed the cue for a scene change, or was dead.

Despite that hope, I can't help sharing an idea which I'm sure will attract a prompt and deep consensus, and solve at least part of the problem. MPs must of course maintain a home in their constituencies, but also must be accommodated when they come to London, unless they have Skype, to sit in parliament. A wing of HMP Pentonville should be adapted for this latter purpose.

Dostoyevsky's old saw, "the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," is a background rationale, as is a long republican-democratic tradition associating public office with private austerity, as is the issue of securely housing our public officials till the war on terror is won. But I'm mainly thinking of the system of parallels between parliament's legislative activities (ROFLMAO) and the practice of release on temporary licence (ROTL).

Like the incarcerated, our representative legislators (1) may pose a threat to society (though the mix of powers & inclinations may be significantly different) and so must be contained by a system of checks and balances, including a separation of powers, high walls, dogs and machine guns; (2) owe a substantial debt to society (beyond the obligations of citizenship); (3) function to deter socially disruptive uses of power through those same uses (raison d'état ought to preempt, and delegitimise, vigilantism and private militarism -- still a little muddled about this one); (4) face the imperative of internalising a complex and alien texture of normativity and organising it as objectively meaningful morality (the "recuperative" goal of sentencing); (5) use cigarrettes as currency and have tattoos which signal gang loyalties. Nonetheless, there are circumstances where it becomes impractical to keep an elected representative or a criminal locked up.

I am available to head a commission!

Maybe we could also involve Dostoyevsky's new Saw! "When Don Touhig MP wakes up, he discovers that his head has been sealed in a box, which quickly begins to fill with water. A self-administered tracheotomy using a pen keeps him breathing until the Chief Whip arrives at the Gideon meatpacking plant . . ."

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Countercabinet reshuffle

Al-"square"-eity! A minor change really, Teresa Carmody replaces Eddie Izzard who is a bit shambolic bless him and has been doing films.

Lol Coxhill - Leader of the Shadow Shadow Cabinet
Gordon Brown MP - Shadow Shadow Chancellor
Frances Kruk - Shadow Shadow Foreign Secretary
Mark E. Smith - Shadow Shadow Home Secretary
Prof Peter Singer - Chairman of the Counterpower
Sarah Maple - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
China Meivelle - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Health
Prof Chantal Mouffe - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Alan Moore - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Alice Mahon MP - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Dr Esther Leslie - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families
George Monbiot - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change
Sharon Borthwick - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Stewart Lee - Shadow Shadow Leader of the House of Commons
Prof Angela Davis - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Charlie Brooker - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport
Paul Sutton - Shadow Secretary of State for Wales
Prof Roger Scruton - Shadow Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
Milan Rai - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for International Development
Miranda July - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform
Teresa Carmody - Shadow Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Dr Eric Griffiths - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills
Dec - Shadow Shadow Minister for Housing
President Barack Obama - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Steve Aylett - Shadow Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
George Galloway MP - Shadow Shadow Minister of State for Europe
Sarah Haskins - Chief Whip

Saturday, 9 May 2009

Dudgeon & Dragons

Hurrah, the dialectic of the mock heroic and the middle classes has just done another little Aufhebung-fart with the arrival of Chore Wars! "Chore Wars lets you claim experience points for household chores. By getting other people in your house or workplace to sign up to the site, you can assign experience point rewards to individual tasks and chores, and see how quickly each of you levels up."

As Jeff Hilson once wrote, "fun is not the only fun." Of course this is only the first step. Next I require advanced VR interfaces, such that feathers dusters seem to me vorpal swords, dust bunnies become beholder cubs etc.

The benign quasi-Matrix effect approach obv.

You think that the bodily affect of housework are the wrong microfoundations for the molar behaviours of swords & sorcery (at least, satisfying roleplaying with proper characters, and an inkling of New Weird in the air - WE ARE IN A POST-LACUNA, PART 1 ERA HERE PEOPLE!).

I say: to a point yes, but what if production as a whole were taken as the base? I.e. your virtual quests are coordinated with those of millions of others to ensure that all the goods and services society decides it needs (including those decisions!) get produced. Across the realm, individuals flow in and out of different factories and homes and HQs, subjectively pestering drows and rust monsters, objectively, a coercionless synthesis of the action manifold.

You may argue, not everyone likes RPGs; some people prefer real time strategy or first person shooters or Chelsea FC or love, well those people suck. They are hostis humani generis.

Reading between the lines, the Complex Terrain Laboratory want me to hunt down and kill Miss Jill Louise Starr, so in a way it's already begun. How many XP is a troll worth again? (While we're at it, who will rid me of this troublesome Jamie Oliver, also Poppy etc. to be on the safe side). Burning Angel's Chapel and Dane Cross have already conducted promising pornographic research into the intersection of fantasy and fantasy, roleplaying and roleplaying, and oui, of hard and wet. To label this "not work-safe" would rather beg the question! And as Herbert Marcuse points out:

"[T]he sociologist-observer [...] speaks of 'the growth of a strong in-group feeling in each crew' and quotes one worker as stating: 'All in all we are in the swing of things . . .' [...] The phrase admirably expresses the change in mechanized enslavement: things swing rather than oppress, and they swing the human instrument -- not only its body but also its mind and even its soul. A remark by Sartre illuminates the process: 'Aux premiers temps des machines semi-automatiques, des enquêtes ont montré que les ouvrières spécialisées se laissaient aller, en travaillant, à une rêverie d'ordre sexuel, elles se rapellaient la chambre, le lit, la nuit, tout ce qui ne concerne que la personne dans la solitude du couple fermé sur soi. Mais c'est la machine en elle qui rêvait de caresses . . .'"

Saturday, 2 May 2009


Triply topical, the lovely, lovely, lovely Geoff Manaugh has a fascinating post about Ballard, zombies & swine flu!

"You could even reverse the game's moral order and require players to create the ideal city for disease transmission: whoever kills off their entire game's population in the shortest period of time wins. The all-time winner infects the world in less than a second."

Room for Manaughvre!

Some people who are NOT dead!

I hope The Guardian publish Harry Gilonis's lovely, lovely, lovely letter (below, sans the indents! I don't know how to do them, sorry Maggie!!)! Or at least Sean Bonney's lovely, lovely, lovely mandate (on his blog!)!


Dear Sirs,

Without remotely wanting to take any of the lustre off the poisoned chalice which Carol Ann Duffy has just accepted, can I take issue with Mark Brown and Patrick Wintour's weird assertion that she "consistently pushes the limits of form and language"? Ms Duffy is, as befits someone doing her new job, an extremely competent poet working within a self-defined "mainstream" which occupies perhaps an octave of a wide keyboard. Even mainstream poets know, really, that there's a lot more going on than what they are doing - as, of course, do avant-guardists; why must we pretend that this isn't so? If your journalists - or literary staff - don't know this, they should perhaps work a bit harder. ("Investigative" is I think the term?)

I could name dozens, if not hundreds, of UK poets who actually are consistently pushing the limits of form and language, but it would be more useful to invite your readers to decide for themselves:

Peel of Heather -
Omit Not
The New Moon its
clamoured sevens its
Sea-Saw Chambers

Nor the mind
Swung on Hooves, Vexed on Hinges


to a dance
to a Horse
(Horses we kept)

= = = = =

Full moon. Her carriage brings her home. I see
her every movement in my head ... Undressing,
taking off her jewels, her slim hand reaching
for the case, slipping naked into bed, the way

she always does ... And I lie here awake,
knowing the pearls are cooling even now
in the room where my mistress sleeps. All night
I feel their absence and I burn.

= = = =

Both of these have pleasures to offer; but the former, which is NOT by Ms Duffy but by Maggie O'Sullivan, actually does do something new both formally and linguistically. There's little in the former (Ms Duffy's most famous poem, I should think) that hasn't been done - often with more zip and brio - in English poetry from Wyat on. To say this is not to downgrade Ms Duffy's work, but to state a factual truth - part of journalism's job, I always thought.

There's a good sampling or work in print and audio form from many more form-pushers at, which it might be kind to draw to your readers' attention. It might also be helpful to Messrs Brown and Wintour, come 2019.

Yours sincerely,

Harry Gilonis