Necrotic Toxicity

Saturday, January 27, 2007

The apocalypse it appears is the property of Lacanians. Quite where this leaves the subject-supposed-to-burst-into-flames-and-die, I'm not sure. It is easier to imagine the end of the world than to imagine the end of analysis.

So...Celebrity Pig Fucker, eh? Haven't watched it. I'd much rather C4 filled that slot in their schedules with re-runs of Frasier, or even that weird, unremittingly miserable late series of Roseanne. What would Frasier have been like if Frasier had been a Lacanian? What would Roseanne have been like, if Roseanne's shrink had been a Lacanian? We need a counterfactual history of psychoanalytically-themed US sitcoms - not much, but much more than we need this frothing arse gravy.

Celebrity. Celebrity. What does it mean? What does it mean? The very concept is in crisis, beset by galloping inflation, distended and evacuated until celebrity - if it is anything - just is this crisis, this spreading ever more thinly of itself. Just as the Tate Modern is full of people saying "but is it art?", just as the entire edifice is sustained by their willingness to go on asking this question even though there is no answer other than "no" that could possibly satisfy them, even though the answer could not be other than "no" if there existed any concept of art with sufficient discriminatory power to make the question meaningful, so the celebrity status of the nonentities populating the Big Brother house is entirely dependent on the willingness of viewers to go on asking, mock-incredulously, "you call that a celebrity?".

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

This may not be immediately apparent to the casual reader, but my dedication to the things that drain you off and drive you off the hinge has already begun to flag. It's not a hugely inspiring rubric, after all; and the enterprise is beset by pitfalls on all sides. Perhaps the greatest of these is the ever-ready availability of the obvious target: thus far, I've expressed my personal dissatisfaction with NTL, Richard Dawkins, the Labour cabinet, Mick Hucknall and Bono, none of whom (or which) is actually liked by anybody as far as I can see. A quick browse through the pages of volume 2 of the best-selling Is It Just Me Or Is Everything Shit? further reveals that the market in grumpy anti-nowism has not only been cornered but pinned down by a crack team of professional whingers and viciously bored to death. Further mithering on my part would seem to be strictly supererogatory; not that the rest of the blogosphere is notably affected by such considerations, but still. I'm different - I'm special - and I need a new routine.

The trouble in any case is not with the present, which is merely the shucked-off condom of the recent past, but with the future; or, rather, with the moth-eaten, musical brocade that's been put up to cover the gaping void where the future ought to be (and, arguably, is). Accordingly, the task of this blog from now on will be to bask in the dark radiance of that void: to bathe in such necrotic toxicity as seeps from the pulsing, oily heart of its black sun. Onwards to extinction!

Saturday, December 02, 2006

"Watch Bono's video. Join Red. You Can Help Save Lives In Africa". Is this a joke? It is not. But it has the structure of a joke: specifically the one about the three drunks on the train, where the first says "Is this Wembley?", the second says, "no, it's Thursday", and the third says, "So am I; let's go down the pub". I'm pretty sure that the last time I read this joke, it had more exclamation marks in it and fewer semicolons. However, I'm not telling it to be funny: I'm telling it to illustrate a point about non sequiturs. A non sequitur is when someone says something like "watch Bono's video", followed by "buy a new mobile phone", followed by "this goatskin-clad tribesperson will now be given the drugs he needs to stop him from dying of AIDS". The entire scheme is a kind of moral Rube Goldberg contraption, except that the array of gears, pulleys and widgets connecting the supermodel's GAP jeans to the Maasai warrior's medical care has none of the joyful redundancy of Goldberg's diagrams: every bit of that mechanism has a purpose, and that purpose is - oh, have a bleeding guess.

Bono & co's "Red campaign" even has its own "manifesto". I don't recall that the communist manifesto was written in rasping marketroid-speak, or that it consisted largely of such portentous absurdities as "what we collectively choose to buy, or not to buy, can change the course of life and history on this planet", but perhaps a rewrite along those lines is indicated. Start off enigmatic - build a bit of a buzz - get a viral campaign going, visuals by Banksy, loads of little teasers hooking people into the website (www.spectre.eu). Then we unveil the value proposition:

Until now, no matter which society you chose to live in, it was nothing but struggle, struggle, struggle all the time. The landowners oppressing the peasants, the peasants revolting, the bourgeoisie exploiting everyone...like, bo-ring! I just want to get on with my life! Well, with revolutionary new Communism, you can say goodbye to all that fuss and hassle - forever.


What do you reckon? I think it's got legs...

Thursday, November 23, 2006

That Mick Hucknall is a berk is not, I believe, widely disputed. As is often the case with popular personae non gratae, the roots of the general animosity of right-thinking persons towards him are now difficult to trace: perhaps he violated some influential opinion-former's Pekinese some time back in the 1980s; perhaps he is merely a hapless victim of the anti-ginger racism with which the mousy-haired dullards of this nation perenially delight themselves. It probably all goes back to an NME interview with Julie Birchill in a pub in...oh, fuck knows where, somewhere in London I expect. Hounslow? Do the likes of Julie Birchill and Mick Hucknall conduct interviews in pubs in Hounslow? Wherever it was, no doubt her squeaks of fury agitated the canine population for miles around while Hucknall expounded his blindingly original philosophy of nicking the best bits of black people's music and turning them, via a unique and mysterious process of sonic alchemy, into mass-market dross for mousy-haired dullards to cop off to.

Reading Hucknall's defence of the extension of the term of copyright to significantly beyond the useful lifespan of most human beings (e.g. about 25 years), it is freshly apparent that if by some happy accident he were to be segmented into millimetre-thick slices the word "berk" would be found inscribed in each one, like a - oh, I don't know, help me out here: Suppose that a technology existed for injecting letters into a solid body, such that if one were to segment such a body into millimetre-thick slices the same word would be found transversely inscribed in each one. Such a technology would provide the perfect metaphor for the kind of deeply-ingrained berkishness I am attempting to describe. Perhaps this is all too much of a stretch. If so, I propose that you attempt to imagine Mr Hucknall with the word "berk" stamped - or, better still, branded - on his forehead. With some sort of stamp or branding-iron. Now do you see what I mean? If all else fails, simply try to imagine Mick Hucknall himself. That's the kind of berk I'm talking about.

The reckless fatuity of Hucknall's argument is blazingly self-evident, so I will not attempt a detailed refutation here. No, my purpose on this occasion is simply to point and laugh. Hucknall is addressing Guardian readers, whom he apparently believes to be socialists. The best - indeed, the only - way to convince a socialist of the merits of an idea is to demonstrate that the idea is itself a socialist one, such that if one were to segment it...I mean...well, anyway. Here, according to the Gramsci of the music industry, is why copyright is a socialist idea:

Copyright is fundamentally socialist - it is radical and redistributive, subversive even. How else would you describe a form of property that anyone can create out of nothing? Copyright's democratising effect is seen most clearly in the music business. Anyone who can speak, sing, rap or hum and operate a simple sound recorder can create a copyright song. Imagination is the only limit.

"Copyright's democratising effect is seen most clearly in the music business". C'est à crever de rire. Or, to borrow Larkin's words: "A perfectly vile and foul / inversion of all that's been". Not that borrowing Larkin's words is an activity Hucknall would approve of, unless appropriate monies were made over to the Larkin estate on each occasion. As for this business about creating property "out of nothing": one can only suppose that Hucknall regards the musical terrain he plundered to create his own "copyright songs" as some kind of terra nullius, ripe for expropriation. Then again, the whole piece has the distinct feeling of having been ghost-written by music industry PR goons. It says a great deal about Hucknall's credentials as a berk of the highest order that one is nevertheless prepared to believe that he wrote it himself.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

I promised service, once the man from NTL had reconnected my broadband. I should have said "time permitting". Time does not permit: it forbids. But there is a secret 25th hour in every day set aside for the reading of novels by French authors with loose morals, the commission of the sin of Onan, and the posting of material to one's second blog.

I have already committed the sin of Onan numberless times this afternoon, and my French is still not really up to getting the best out of Gide, so second-blogging it is. I thought I might start with a list of people who definitely, absolutely, no questions asked should be taken round the back of the septic tanks and shot in the head; but as we all know who they are, there doesn't really seem to be an awful lot of point.

A far more interesting problem is what to do with the ones who might, given a smart tweak of the nose and a guided tour of the facilities, be persuaded to see the error of their ways. I'd bet money on a really skilled operator's being able to effect the religious conversion of Richard Dawkins - to Rastafarianism, why not? - in under 48 hours, given the right combination of sleep deprivation, kazoo-and-swanee-whistle renditions of famous show-tunes, and a really menacing way with a small tortoise-shell comb. But would it take?

I imagine Richard Dawkins would make a pretty insufferable Rastafarian, rather like the sort of dread-toting white-middle-class Oxbridge student who dries out banana skins and tries to smoke them (ah, deathless vindictiveness! I love thee still!); and pretty much anything one can imagine Richard Dawkins being insufferable whilst doing seems a fair match for his overall personality, so the chances of success there seem fairly high. Somewhat more difficult to imagine is the conversion of Gillian McKeith into a nutrition scientist, or of any of the present Labour cabinet into a human being.

You could doubtless get Blair to sign up to - well, anything, really: illegal invasion of a foreign country, suspension of habeus corpus for brown-skinned people who look at us funny, on-the-spot fines for covering any part of your head with any sort of textile whatsoever (cowboy hats and Mark Knopfler head-bands exempted), city academies... - and he'd be perfectly sincere about it, only in that particular way he has of being sincere that makes you want to drag sincerity round the back of the septic tanks and shoot it in the head. We like a challenge at the Institute, not conniving teachers' pets. Curing Blunkett of his priapism (and associated truncheon fetish), or David Milliband of himself - that sort of thing.

Well, enough. I remain unsure of the purpose of this blog - it came into the world title-first, like many good things (and most heavy metal bands formed by teenage boys: I recall myself and an accomplice wanting to name ourselves SAM, for either Surface-to-Air-Missile or - wait for it - Sheer Animal Magnetism), and now demands egregious ransom; but my hour is up, and I must to bed. Later...

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Service will commence once NTL - whom we might rebrand Necrotic Toxicity Limited - get round to reconnecting my phone and broadband...

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Welcome to Necrotic Toxicity - a blog devoted to the things that drain you off and drive you off the hinge.