July 07, 2004

LUKE'S LONDON

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We're not messing about now, people.

Those 'lull' posts of a while back were profoundly misleading. The network isn't dying, far from it. Look around you, it's obvious now that 'cyberculture' doesn't just have to mean Wired-reading corporate silverbacks or dysfunctional geeks. Only rearview mirrorism prevents us from seeing that blogs are part of a new cultural configuration that is unique as it is unprecedented. If blogs were initially parasitic on other forms and other media (isn't anything when it first emerges?), they've now established a space of their own. For, ultimately, blogs are nothing but space. Space is plentiful out here: you get the opportunity to stretch your legs, develop a style, a conceptual repertoire, luxuries that are increasingly rare in the overcrowded print world.

These reflections have been prompted by the return of the maitre, but if he's the clearest case of a cultural production that has no equal outside k-space, he's by no means the only example of the phenomenon.

But I defy you to find any contemporary writing as accomplished as this anywhere. Perhaps it was the enforced period of deprivation sharpening my palate, but it seems to me that Luke has returned more powerful than ever, his proetry sharper, more honed, with even less redundancy. Nothing wasted.

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The verdant plenitude of NZ is easy meat for an imagination as developed as Luka's. Not that I'm in any way decrying a post that bristles with resonant imagery and a sage's insight. He's our Marker, the discoverer of an omnipresent sf immanent to our irretrievably artificialized nature . 'Unnatural nature. Against a New Zealand background, familiar birds, like sparrows or blackbirds can appear ever so slightly out of sync with their surroundings, as if superimposed onto them, like a movie star playing his part in front of a blue screen. Something hasnít gelled. The land and the creature donít belong to one another. The mind wonít accept them as part of the same picture.'

But for all the magisterial qualities of Luke's post on his mother's homeland, his greatest strength lies in surveying the scurf zones of the city in which, like all its best poets, he is both completely at home and half-an-outsider, his beloved London. So here is, walking, always walking, disconnected from the media matrix, that smothering extra nervous system that does all your seeing and feeling for you, hunting for haecceities, alchemically transfiguring the city's trash into shimmering epiphany. 'all the litter is ten years old. the remains of burnt newspapers. fragments of old stories. old sporting failures and coups in hot countries. cans of McEwcans lager, R.Whites lemonade and Golden Wonder crisp packets emblazoned with superceded designs and discarded logos. The colours are fading. fading engrams. as the colours seep away so do their place in the memory. here you can see the last remnants of the recent past decay.' Luke's London is becoming as immediately identifiable, as vividly realised as Blake's, Sinclair's or Moorcock's: a London of abandoned towpaths, overgrown relics of the near-past, teeming dereliction.

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Join Luke on one of his riverside walks from Stratford and you're often reminded of Tarkovsky's Stalker: nature reserves towered over by electricity pylons, semi-mythical turtles swimming under fetid water clogged with crisp packets. Like Tarkovsky, Luke disdains the easy option of rhapsodising 'pure' nature, preferring to explore an industrial sublime in which human dereliction commingles with a tenacious, indestructible flora and fauna. If they could see past the end of their gangster-loving noses, the inbred custodians of the justly ailing Britfilm industry would recognize that there's a ready-made movie set all around them. But you'd need Luke's eye to detect (or project) all those micronarratives, the steampunk traps, the still-warm memory trails, the half-concealed possibilities.

Luke makes you see the world anew, again. What more can you ask of writing than that?

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Posted by mark at July 7, 2004 01:48 AM | TrackBack
Comments

Hear hear! (or: here here!) Spot on.

Posted by: oliver at July 7, 2004 11:29 AM

Yeah right. Wish I could add something but I could never put my finger on what it is about Heronbone's writing that is so fantastic to me. Never can be enough keep the faith shouts to the bloging community. Is such a mystery to me how any of you guys ever feel conflicted about blogging. Its a thrill of each new day just to read the blogs, let alone to be part of, creating, shaping this whole thing.

Posted by: Karl Kraft at July 7, 2004 02:47 PM

What you dont know is that Luke turns into a werewolf after four pints.

Posted by: jim at July 7, 2004 03:41 PM

I feel conflicted about living, not blogging.

Posted by: Marcello Carlin at July 7, 2004 03:59 PM

His description of New Zealand attributes are agreeable,
"Men assume gigantic proportions. Fists the size of an ordinary man's head. Enormous arms and tree trunk legs. Women tend towards the Betjeman ideal. Tall, athletic, strapping gels with clear skin and lustrous hair, strong shapely arms and powerful thighs."
He also made sense of the bird world with a magical - yes outside- view. He identified things that are purely incredible without question, he also excelled at subtly defining the differences in the two countries. I am so feed-up with people assuming things are the same here as they are there. The nature and law of the land dictates the opposite. Im off course slightly bias.

Posted by: snozzle5 at July 7, 2004 05:26 PM

great tribute, Mark...Luka is indeed a writer/god/dess :)

Posted by: Rob at July 7, 2004 06:36 PM

that's nice of you to say so mark. bit flattering, bit embaressing.

i dunno what jim's talking about, i think he's just making stuff up.

Posted by: luke.. at July 7, 2004 11:41 PM

me and jim and his bruv are going to make a film anyway, it's going to be amazing.

Posted by: luke.. at July 7, 2004 11:57 PM

werewolf - after 2 x brandy

His London is most honest, and kind of pretty for it

Posted by: cake at July 8, 2004 11:58 AM

whats wrong with werewolfs - bored wolfs are worst, and vegetarian wolfs must be hungry or dead?

Posted by: snozzle5 at July 8, 2004 08:19 PM

I can say with sheer confidence that your blog has no importance. Who wants to read your snivelling contemplations? If wanted to read a pile of horse shit I'd buy 'Naked Lunch' and not your blog. Now that's saying something.

Posted by: Tomato at July 13, 2004 09:26 PM

It isn't saying anything very much at all, actually.

Anonymous - or rather pseudononymous abuse - eh? How courageous.

But being compared to Naked Lunch, that doesn't happen every day. Thanks.

Posted by: mark k-p at July 14, 2004 07:32 AM