A dirty stomp around the Earth. Chimneys, cogs, pistons, buckled conveyer belts, murk - chug chug chug. It stamps another nation into mud. Crater creator. Death Freighter. It pisses petroleum and fills lungs with dust. We love the machine although it HATES us back. We endure and then die in the underpass of its rank and leaking belly. We love the machine because it shits money. Money money money floating down from its rumbling rusty orifice into our clasping clamour. All hail the money machine. The fiscal fecal fuselage empties as it swaggers and kills. Rat a tat tat. We're living the dream. Rat a tat tat. We excuse it in its wake. We look at the dead infants and debris and yes it's worth it, of course it's worth it, what would we be without it? We are soft and weak and organic. We are collateral. We are the expendable. We are the meat in its jaws. It chews and grinds us. It makes us worthy masticated mince. What else would we be? What else is there? Let's salute it. Let's sing songs about it. Let's define ourselves by it. We turned it on and we've forgotten how to turn it off. There is no alternative. Love the Machine! Another war starts tomorrow. Run for cover and watch it on TV. Kathryn Bigelow made a movie and it's in 3D. SAFRAN Thales SAIC. Lockheed Boeing BAE.
Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Monday, August 26, 2013
It's incredible what they can figure out about the past these days isn't it? Did you hear that they've discovered the first word ever? Just think, the first word ever used by our species. They found it plastered onto the walls of various troglodyte abodes. They carbon dated it and it predates the hell out of sanskrit. This first word was depicted by a single letter of sorts that was just a simple handprint. Seriously, the 'letter' looked like a basic outline of a hand. The troglodytes just had to daub their hands in pigment, slap them on the side of a cave, and they had written the word. They reckon that this handprint word was the only word used by early man for several generations. Early man never said anything else, just this first word, over and over. They've even figured out how the word was pronounced. Apparently it sounded like a bark. Just a big fuckin 'woof!'. Mad isn't it? Of course, this first word ever was eventually joined by other words, which led to sentences and grammar and a linguistic sophistication that allowed us to say complicated things to each other and drive each other crazy.
I've no idea how they know all this about the first word ever but the evidence has been peer reviewed and it all seems scientifically sound. It did take them a long time to figure out what the word meant but even that was eventually deciphered. For a long time it was assumed that the first word ever would mean something simple like 'danger' or 'hungry' or 'me' or even, as one sentimental anthropologist optimistically postulated, 'love'. But no, interestingly it turns out that the first word ever didn't mean any of these things. The first word ever meant 'pardon?'
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Did you see the moon up there last night? It was like a discarded dirty plate and the stars were scattered about it like shiny white crumbs. I was looking up and I found it very messy. I found the sight slightly obscene. We'll put order on it one day. We'll line up the stars in neat rows, like the ones on the flag of the United States of America. We will look up and see a regimented, disciplined, and comprehensible night sky. We have brought order to our world and we will bring order to what lies beyond it. We cut the grass and trim the hedges. It's what we're all about. It's how we roll.
We even put time in order. We made it a series of numbers on a dial. When the pointer on the dial is at a certain number you know that it's time to get out of bed. When it points to the next number you know that it's time to leave for work. When it points to the number after that you know that you are late for work. A few numbers later and you know that it's OK to go home and watch the telly. Before us time was a sprawling mess, an intangible nuisance, but we captured time on a dial and when we put time in order we put ourselves in order.
Before time, humans were a messy. They just did things, all willy nilly and whenever. They would eat when their belly grumbled, sleep when they were tired, plant stuff when it was getting sunny and reap it when it was getting cold. Nothing really got done when it should be done and when it should be done is when we say it should be done. Proper order!
When we put time in order we put work in order and when we put work in order we put money in order. Yes, money. We gave designated times to the earning of money and with money we designated objective value to things. Before money value was messy and subjective and sentimental. Now it is certain.
We have order and we, ourselves, are defined by order. We ordered reality so it would order us. Without order there is only disorder. Have you ever felt disordered? Not nice is it? Scary isn't it? Did you know that there are those amongst us that hanker for the disorder that lies beneath order? Yes, it's true. Some actually feel an aversion to the numbers on the dial and to designated toil and objective values. These people are feeling the atavistic longing for a world before order. These people are subversives and seek to reinstate mess. These people are inhuman because to be human is to be ordered. These people must be put back in order so that they once again appreciate and obey order. You see, to stay ordered we must obey our orders otherwise we'd be a mess like the dirty plate and crumbs scattered throughout last night's sky. Without order we'd be an obscenity. An insult to human cognition. An anachronism. We'd be mad people or even criminals. Without order, well, we might not even exist!
There is no alternative. There is only order. We decide order and we impose order. We are order and we must have order and to have order we must obey order. So quit messing. That's an order!
This message was brought to you by the Society for the Maintenance of Chronological and Spatial Ontology, Kinnegad Main Street, County Westmeath.
Saturday, August 17, 2013
I've written a novel that contains an infinite variation of themes, narratives, and conclusions. The novel has a word count of about 80,000, the average length for these things, but these words do not come within grammatically ordered sentences in paragraphs on pages. No, the words of my novel come on separate pieces of paper in a jar. The jar also contains little pieces of paper featuring various punctuation symbols. The idea is that you shake the jar, pour out the words and symbols and arrange them. I have been very cunning in my selection of the jar's contents so that no matter what happens, no matter what order the words and symbols come out of the jar, you'll end up reading a story of some sort. The only thing that occasionally goes wrong is that you can end up with two punctuation marks or the same words next to each other or maybe a few in a row. If you are willing to overlook this and place the excess punctuation marks or words back in the jar you get a coherent narrative. It may be a comedy, a ghost story, a family drama or any other genre and it may or may not be to your liking. Whatever it turns out to be, you get a story. It might be the best story you've ever read or the worst or just OK. Like life, your enjoyment is mainly down to random luck combined with the attitude you adopt in reaction to this random luck. However, unlike life, if the narrative is a total pain in the arse or really boring you can give up, put the words back in the jar, shake it, and start again. There's also an app you can download that shuffles and selects the words for you should you want read the novel on your phone, Kindle, or computer. The app is quite good actually because it ensures that you don't get the repetition problem.
The story jar has been optioned by a major movie production company. The people running company are delighted to have the rights to the story jar as it means they'll never have to bother bidding for another book again. All the other production companies are fed up as they're bound to go out of business. Even if they continue to make films, they'll inevitably be done for copyright infringement because no matter what they make it will be a story that could very easily have come out of the infinite range available from the jar. The same applies to all publishing ventures in the future. All authors from this point forward will be done for plagiarism as whatever they come out with will be an exact duplicate of something that could have come from the jar. Of course, there's also some talk of the story jar being done for the same reason by the property holders of every novel that preceded it but our legal team will argue that you can't sue on grounds of potential semantic similarity. In short, the story jar can always plead innocence.
I use the story jar myself. Even though I've written the novels that come out of the jar, I've no idea what they're about or what is going to happen in them. I recently read a historical piece about a sasquatch that captained a whaling schooner off the coast of Nantucket in 1886. Then I put the words back in the jar, shook it, poured out the words again and read a science fiction story about a whaling schooner that Nantucketed a captain off the coast of sasquatch in 8618. Both stories were OK. Did I mention that sasquatches and whaling schooners feature in the all the stories you get from the jar? Well, they do. But this too is like life. Life, as far as I can make out anyway, largely comprises of sasquatches and whaling schooners. 'Hoist the mainsails', 'thar she blows', 'look at the size of that footprint' – this is the stuff of life.
I'm hoping to win the Man Booker this year and all the other prestigious awards in various genres for fiction for all ages. (I've already been awarded the Maltesers Honorary Philip Pullman Prize for deicidal children's fiction aged 8 to 12.) You see, no matter what my story jar novel is not about it's about that too and no matter how bad my novel may be it's also the best novel you ever read. Something for everyone. Unless you're not so interested in whaling schooners or sasquatches. If whaling schooners and sasquatches don't do it for you then you'll probably find the story jar a bit shit. Fair enough. Each to their own. ...wierdo.
Wednesday, August 14, 2013
The pylons are walking. Roaming the earth. Across fields. Onto motorways. Cars swerve and skid as they clank by. Shadows fall upon awestruck onlookers. Humming. Communicating. I've heard them passing in the night. I've seen their silhouettes on the horizon, moving under the moon and the stars. Mighty Byzantine crosses. Conjoined by conductor cables. A high voltage chain gang. Tethered. Terminal. Tension. Transposition. Power line suspension in transit. 'Hyperboloid Horror!' reads the headline. Helicopter news crews follow overhead. Rolling coverage. It's the talk of the nation. Pitiful punditry, at a loss but pretending. We're consulting Bernard Quatermass via Skype. 'Where are they going?' 'Has this happened before?' 'Could it be end times?' Novenas are recited. Shelters are constructed. They're steadily proceeding, en masse, to the coast, toward the sea. Steel skeletons wade into the waves. Lumbering lattices collapse into the depths. A fatal charge is administered to the whole nation. A population shudders. Eyes roll back in every head. Men, women, children, domestic pets drop dead. Corpses scattered and heaped. Livestock smoulders. The stench of singed wool. Starlings swoop and plummet ablaze. Boiled fish float to the surface of the sea. Every living thing united in ceasing to be. We were warned. We should have listened but we didn't, did we? Nobody fucks with the E ...S ...B.
Sunday, August 11, 2013
The scientific method is considered the most disciplined means by which to discover the 'truth'. Science is also thought of as the banisher of superstitious beliefs in 'untrue' things such as magic. Ironically however, it is through science that I, Professor Fugger, have discovered that magic exists. Let me explain...
The laboratories of the Fugger Institute have recently been researching if fizzy drinks are harmful to children. Coincidentally, this research is sponsored by a fizzy drinks manufacturer. The fizzy drinks manufacturer offered its financial support on the condition that the institute discover that their product is in no way harmful to children. The Fugger Institute accepted this offer despite knowing that it would corrupt the integrity of its findings. The important thing is that the institute continues its research and if this is to be the case then money is required. It's a small lie in the cause of a larger truth. The larger truth will also be for sale though, just as all truth is ultimately for sale to the highest bidder.
You might say: 'for shame Professor Fugger, you're a disgrace to all scientific endeavour' but you would be missing an important factor - the ultimate factor. You see, the very first discovery of the Fugger Institute was that there is no 'truth'. We used beakers and test tubes and microscopes and large colliders and nomothetic and idiographic questionnaires and put rats in mazes and gave monkeys electric shocks and there wasn't an inkling, not one iota, not a single particle of truth to be found anywhere. All is perception and objective fact is a fallacy. In short: the truth does not exist. So, if the truth doesn't exist then selling the truth is making money out of nothing and making something out of nothing defies the principle of mass conservation and is therefore magic. Q.E.D.!
( I have forwarded the Fugger Institute's findings to all media outlets, public relations firms, political figures, and cash strapped academics so as to counter any unnecessary qualms or pangs of guilt on their part for lying and/or obfuscating the 'true' 'facts'. I am sure this will be appreciated by the parties concerned in the unlikely event of said qualms or pangs actually occurring. )
You've probably already heard that we've stopped wearing lab coats down the institute and started dressing in pointy hats and capes with stars on them. We've quit using all the regular scientific apparatuses too and taken to waving wands about and throwing eyes of newts and the like into bubbling cauldrons. You should drop down. It's great craic altogether. We've even had the words 'alakazam, alakazoo' engraved into the plaque at the institute's entrance. The commissions are flying in. I'm working on a study right now that is set to prove that cigarettes are good for bone calcium – sponsored by Philip Morris International. Hey presto – another load of dosh out of thin air!
Now, repeat after me – 'I am not a liar, I am a WIZARD! ...going forward.'
Monday, August 5, 2013
Mysterious buildings. You see them all the time. Nowhere places in places near places between other places. Intermediary architecture, filling the gaps. Perceptually vague. Both ugly and beautiful. Wind moves around them. Sun beats upon them. Traffic sighs beyond them. You don't know what's in them or who built them. You don't know what they are for. Maybe no one does. You rarely remember them and may have just dreamt them. Sometimes there are words writ large upon them. Words without context. Words like 'Paradigm', 'Felt', 'Sunrise', 'Best', or maybe a name like 'James Reid' or 'Tom Evans'. Imagine if you saw one with your name on it. Would you go inside? What would be in there? A load of filling cabinets containing the details of your life. A distant descendant asleep behind a reception desk. A crackling Tannoy playing soundtracks from obscure and forgotten moments in your past. Corridors that look like the streets you were raised on, played on, bought property on, started a family on. An endless maze of such. If you went inside a mysterious building with your name on it would you find your way out again? You might be frantically running around trying to get out and pick up where you left off. Maybe there'd be an emergency exit or maybe these are buildings you enter when you are dead. Once you go inside you stay inside, forever.
Maybe all buildings are mysterious. Even buildings you are familiar with can become mysterious if seen at an unfamiliar time of day, when caught off guard. A closed down supermarket. An off season holiday home. When I was a child I broke into my school at night. Empty classrooms and halls. Silence. Could this place really be my bustling school? This is what it was like when we weren't around. This is what it really was. Unoccupied, inert, indifferent. Not lonely, just alone. Staring into space. Bereft of the human life that provides meaning and purpose. The world without people is just a stone. Buildings without people are just so much concrete. People without people are the same, revealing normally unseen, emptyish aspects. Once, as a drunken teen staggering home in the early hours, I passed the father of a friend in an empty car park. He was sitting on the bonnet of his car. He was normally an ebullient sort, the life and soul, jocular and genial, but not at this time. He didn't notice me as I walked by. He was zoned out, expressionless. He was rolling a cigarette. I could have sworn I heard him muttering the word 'cuntish'. I wonder if that would've been the word writ large upon him if he was an empty building. All I know is that he passed away soon after and I felt duty bound to scratch that word into his tombstone in an effort to commemorate a facet of the man that was not widely known. To help people appreciate that there was more to him than just a 'loving husband and father'. His family didn't understand. They were hurt. They assumed my intention was disrespect. The court made me pay for my work to be removed. I tried to explain but was misunderstood. 'Misunderstood', I think that might be word writ large upon me if I was an empty building. That or 'Dickhead'. I get called that a lot. Sometimes, I even mutter it to myself. I hope no one scratches it into my tombstone.