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.


Hastily written post: Behind the University Admission’s door


I’m not going to Sussex and this didn’t happen.

 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.


Hastily written post:  Behind the University Admission’s door

Foucault asserts the anomalous pox-marks of the anti-enlightenment against the steady succession of seemingly infinite progress. A bumpy but otherwise good sound-bite. I say people have always been stupid and I am one of them. My name is irrelevant. What matters is that I’m impressionable – an easily led membrane in the trough (or the gutter) open to swirling star field of ideology – constellations, co-ordinated positions of nuance moving further away.

With no stake in no nation state or voice in the cultural dialogue, you must learn how to ‘gut’ lines and learned Latin and Greek phrases from books for university interviews: ‘Move cynically and harmoniously. Like a Japanese Whaler.’ Sage advice. Or not. Implying more than I care to admit I understood and a crash course in how to be marginally more than the sum of your ill-educated parts in a big, deterministic machine on a swerving Tatlin spiral to the bottom.

‘Honestly it’s like you’ve never read Plato’s Protagoras.’                                          

No, but he was a heady mix testosterone-fuelled misogyny and fascism, wasn’t he?’ I reply. From the mouth of a serial gazer and infantile adulterer. No, not that. But I wasn’t so virtuous.

Pause. Silent except for the sedate shrill of crows outside the window.

‘What have you been reading?’

‘Oh, I was reading McEwan’s new one, Sweet Tooth on the train down.’ The inflections of Prome are more than a little evident after an unprepared entrance. If only there were a three-day week. That would put the fucking ‘markets’ in their place. This isn’t going super well.

The letter drops silent with intent three days later.

Pedestrian Paragraphs for 25.11

Currently working on an essay on Ideology and its place in Literature and Language (if any). Progress is slow. Knocked these unrelated (but always related?) paragraphs off this afternoon.




The need she holds for him to excel is itself the result of her own belief her own parents inoculated in her that she needs to be perfect. And their hegemonic conception of the word, like an aspirational fortress in the sky. Must it be essential to the idea of belief or judgement that there must ideals or standards to upheld?

The same true of his mother’s cloying intensity for and disappointment in her own son is the root of his neurosis. He was no dreamy sufferer, not a victim but a self-serving sneering individual afraid that the networks of people would find him  guilty, less of nothing than the hard work and metastasis of  discovery in labs or archives but more of a kind of dilettante conversation, a monologue with himself in the après-truth coffee house.

Compounded by an absence of a patriarch, much of what he accomplished so precociously been done in the eyes of a man who was no longer there to see it. Not for self-enrichment or ‘nobler’ thoughts, just to succeed and survive. Held in purely Darwinian parentheses.

Now that success had come in quantities and of a kind that his father had never dreamed of this conflict, far from being assuaged seemed to grow more intense and consuming. The message seems plain, even nuts-and-bolts pedestrian: leave at the right time.

‘Daydreams again?’

Unknowing: a thought for 28/10/12


A synthesis, a rambling for the ‘real’, a manifesto, a memo, a message to another, a fanboy-ish tribute to David Foster Wallace and maybe, an elitist sneer.

Always conscious of unknowing, the prescience of the Rumsfeldian matrix, like a black smudge at the peripheral vision.

Yet simultaneously aware of the hubris that accompanies the totalising impulse to consume knowledge. The hungry jaws of individual transcendence and an appetite for the grandiose: ‘Resign yourself to the lifelong sadness that comes from never being satisfied’. Is all literature the predatory, pathological obsession to retain two contradictory ideas? The consolation of all novels as journals, freed from cognitive dissonance and onto the page, the desire to create something ex nihlo, from yourself.

Or, to demonstrate, the insight of the solitary and heroic figure of a esoteric writer when the times are ‘strange enough’ for art.

Those that can an squat almost messianic over the twinkling sprawl safe in the knowledge, removed from the great multitude, that those below will never even attempted to have same neural inter-connectivity, (imagined in the iconography of Henry Beck’s Tube Map) between the fields as diverse as 17th century political theory and 20th Century mixed fibres (poor example?). Behind ordinary fears lurked stowaway-ing of the fear of just being ordinary.

And, their own ignorance for wanting to open the gates to the great beyond, the feeling of remorse for not engaging with the cynics, with the mass when some can barely exert enough effort to read the cue-card length headlines of rolling news. When the vaguest nod to the cerebral is presented in the wrapping of the cerebral: ‘True ignorance is not the absence of knowledge, but the refusal to acquire it.’ At least for Popper anyway.

Those wishing to spill their cards from their sleeves at once, to write what it would require a book to fill in a matter of a page and change. To make the reader feel like they’re the smartest individuals in the world, when their isn’t one:

‘Fiction for me is a conversation for me between me and something that May not be named – God, the Cosmos, the Unified field, my psychoanalytic cathexes, Roqoq’oqu, whomever. I do not feel even the hint of obligation to an entity called READER – do not regard it as his favour, rather his choice, that, duly warned, he is extended capital/time/retinal energy on what I’ve done.’ (David Foster Wallace)

The great quest to ‘know thyself’ when the unexamined life isn’t worth living, to wear the smile of falsity while lonely, alienated and stressed-out, to breathlessly scribble the minutiae of experience with Olympian speed so that you invariably begin writing about writing, with varying degrees of lucid but self-indulgent success. While others fill Facebook albums, while Empires shudder and fall.

Knowing that ever-growing reading list will outlive you. Timeless literature seldom means little when 50 hours a book x 500 plus books equals an insufficient, finite to experience life, to share with her, them and ours.

Too busy approaching the ‘real’ in prose that has been attempted ad nauseum – the pen as pole vault attaining the geographic, historical grounding so too with the groundings of the flying stimuli of ‘a day in the life’ – the peculiarities, bisecting irregularities in thoughts, the way an image of a loved one’s favourite meal springs to mind when gazing at a partially torn billboard for cathedral city cheese across the concrete flyovers of the North Circular and the verdant haze of the Epping Forest hills beyond. A great sea of possible mode of thoughts, tones and textures unknown: “What goes on inside is just too fast and huge and all interconnected for words to do more than barely sketch the outlines of at most one tiny little part of it at any given instant.” (DFW) 

Do we really think we know more than we did yesterday? Or once the mind expanded to the pressures of a task, to swallow the edifice of knowledge, the hard-to-vary assertions of truth, the testable conjectures, the critiques it [the mind] can never contract?

Memories merge, coagulate. Not so much racing thoughts as thoughts that ‘twine in a boily and clotted and altogether nauseous way’ (DFW).

Damn, I need a nap.


Thought for 22.10.2012

That’s what he wanted to place into words – the racing of the heart and mind in an exalted panic before the existential drop-off. A brain that couldn’t maintain the pace of intentions. Well, at least that’s what he thought.

A kiss that shudders and shakes, weaves in-and-out and oscillates through the monkey-frame of time and space. Time folds inside out like a Clifford torus or the beanie she ordered him to take off.

Fusing with the landscape, the accumulated unconscious bundle of history, topography, textures, memories, could-have-beens shared with the multitude, shared with him, shared in photos, in a ‘cloud’ incorporeal. Shared in the spaces in between from the first pillar to the final crumble.

He felt no cataclysm, no catastrophe could sweep him away with the alliance of a love, something more eternal and a priori than themselves.

Everything was renewed, everything irksome held away. If only for a one millionth billionth of a millisecond on a cold misty morning.


Sleep Alone

Alone — Awake — Again


The lapis lazuli

dungeon dome of the morning sky

Brings cirrus streaks

on teary eyes

Without a kiss



Like an adolescent who learns a sesquipedalian word and attempts to  shoehorn it in every sesquipedalian sentence, the feeling, like the words to articulate it sufficiently engulfs everything. It is repeated until it becomes meaningless. This happens until it is hourly, invisible and inaudible like the bell bongs of the clock tower he weeps under in the church yard where they drank fruity Spanish wine in red glasses.

The black pebbled mass of the crows perched on the crenulations 20 feet above indifferently survey the 12th century graveyard and the curvature beyond. Almost hawkish. Almost dead.


Sadness clouded like a great, nebulous haze of incorporeal purple nothing – she was gone. The stimuli, the steps through the linoleum (I presumed) the gates of Victoria Coach Station, Joe’s hug. It would seem too easy to call them all hollow. It would too easy to say anything. She was gone. I tried to focus a cracked, unreliable lens through the haze in those weeks.

The urge to rationalize the disordered, the fragmented and the disembodied. The want for dramatization was destructive, knowing that this too will fall into memory, into notebooks, into a seldom clicked document and ultimately a biography or an obituary, if you were lucky and at best, a speech.

Where to begin? How to chronologically order everything that was said. Everything she smiled, scoffed or laughed at. The trips to the Tate (Modern and Britain, and the ubiquity of CCTV past Millbank, the Google Maps route that advocated parkour), the peregrinations and walks along the South Bank. Past the BFI. The innumerable underground journeys.  The way she nibbled, squirrel-like on soft mints, her coiling sea-monster tongue ravenous. The Freuds, The Kusamas, a richness of experience in those weeks that could only be alluded to. Perpetually fatigued from waking at 7am most mornings, it mattered not.

It shall descend into a breathless, vertiginous spiralling list of everything, every idiosyncrasy I adore. Everything we share. There isn’t time to write 400 pages. I want to continue living it. With her. Without a second wasted in fruitless, absurd struggle. Nor should it negate the value or  purpose of dramatizing experience into literature or documentation. The unexamined life isn’t worth living, after all.

In Derrida’s own words, “any apparently coherent system of thought can be shown to have underlying irresolvable antimonies, such that there are multiple and conflicting readings that must be held simultaneously”

Too much dissonance. Too much to say. Words can barely etch a line of something much larger at any one time…

I just want her back.