All Watched Over By Machines (and Authoritarians) of Loving Grace

A short monologue – Perhaps it will become the treatment to something longer someday? If there’s anybody alive to read it, including myself.

 You can now donate to lowly student who posts infrequently and of varying degrees of evident quality. Appreciate anything for the time that goes into writing. Still have plenty of words left passing through me, I hope. Neo-Thatcherite, Feudo-Capitalism is biting hard.


‘Woe to the nation whose literature is disturbed by the intervention of power.’ Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Nobel Acceptance Speech. 

A non-violent anarchist who hates ‘coercion’. He can walk into the surveillance infrastructure willingly. He already has. Everything given to the swarming infiltration of consciousness. The history seems to have receded a great distance. Then deleted, encrypted. One state not built with bricks and mortar, UV solar cell or self-made turbine but with the micro-trends, the ephemeral and the collective.  Disembodied intranets exist only for them.

Disembodied like my senses, numbed as I claw my toes, pinkened above the permafrost (what Gulf Stream?) looking at the watchtower. I should be indoors, sleeping. Not much warmer. They’ll fire at any moment.

Here I am: the vertiginous feeling of being thrown into a world, retaining laughter like sneezes (they can’t take that for less than minimum wage, yet I toil for amusement to infuriate them), freezing and almost footless. Selling myself to the lesser devil. But now, here I am in the Tesco barracks. The lesser utopia. Intransigence was the last great utopia. The impossibility to resist the totalitarian key turn as someone had said. Assange. Wonder where he is. The state persecutes itself. Its idealists. All he believed in were markets and true data, true information.

I thought with despair at the anthropocentric world beyond. Thought with despair as the glassy modernity would be pebbled away. The haunts, the restaurants on the South Bank swept away in a moment of forgetting. Like memories, the unstored ones retrievable at a moment’s notice. The unreliable corrupted by solitary. Just, nothing. Just, darkness. Painful, painful oblivion. A living death for the trite inclined. Not that literature or affectation mattered. Not here. Not now. Probably not anywhere. The philosophers were not the Heideggerian sycophants of past. Not that Heidgger was a sycophant.

All the sedate stand-ups, the subversive ones could maintain a healthy distance (six feet below or some cases beneath the Thames). Meek and with little care for reality they had said. If I had concern for the plausible it was only because science-fiction had become redundant – The satirical possibilities of infinite, alternate worlds lay untread. The only to have recognized an ideology at work is always through a denunciation of another ideology, yet everything operates at a zero-level now.

I was scribbling solitary on a Wednesday noon in the Turbine Hall on morality and integrity and compassion and an understanding of value outside of pop culture and commerce when they came to take me. Plain clothed. Nobody but two. The screams would have travelled. I put down the notebook slowly beside me. It was quickly stuffed with the chewed Bic into a re-sealable bag. No facetious empathy faces. Pass the steady chrome Christmas trees of the City’s plazas, Black-hunched and depersonalised humans their backs congruent and hunched to the store fronts. Me behind a one-way reflective glass for the transparency, in the back of the van we faded all to grey.


Clumsy Doubling: A European History

A pretty poor attempt by myself. Perhaps I’ll rewrite and remould sometime (if Europe still exists). I just wanted to express some fleeting feelings.

Beyond bluer moods and satirical interludes
Of Icelandic amnesiacs in banks interrogate
That sank under geysers
Larger than Pfizer
No time to advise her

Mist and Spray
It’s getting late

Seas of green tear gas pay
For cultural debts and coke on the cabinet floor
Powdered opulence and empty line graphs
Clumsy doubling inflammatory to politicians and philosophers.

Two Troikas
Twos and threes
Dissidents down on your knees
The Stasi said to me

Spotlight shines stalemate

Generic platitudes and forms
Infested dorms
Adhere to the framework

The writers of the greatest fiction
Found in not-so prosaic zero-zero-slash-slash-b

Clumsy doubling
Clumsy doubling
And History repeats

My dear
It’s a Greek Tragedy

(How hackneyed)

Then you’re sorting peas
Clumsy doubling

On grubby knees
And History repeats.

Four Quartets and we’re courting

Disaster in the Dardenelles

Slowly smouldering
Existential crisis grills
The precipice behind the Parisian Townhouses
The humidity of Belleville in Summer
Beyond recognition crumbles concrete
The precipice behind the cul-de-sac
Out of view

Awkwardly devoted to the derailed gravy train
I grow not hot with eternal winter
Clumsy doubling and grand narrative
Clumsy doubling and grand narrative
Grand and derailed.
Strasbourg smiles.

The cascade down the mountain 

Dreaming, perhaps, of a night of fear.
And thoughtless technocrats.
‘Credit rating ‘U’

There’s no you!’
Clumsy doubling
Reduce, reduce

And silence eclipses sanity.

Unreal city

Soup queues stretch in Surrey

Salzburg, Seville, Southwards down the Seine

Tanks, repression ensue

Clumsy doubling

Clumsy doubling

And History repeats.