November 22, 2004

A cheap holiday in someone else's sensuality

There are few sources of greater jouissance than going clothes shopping with a woman.

So it was that I spent the afternoon in Camden with the one that Steve Hyperdub insists on referring to as 'Gluebot', an all but helpless bystander bearing witness to a blizzard of consumption.

Now the official view of Camden is that it is the most embarrassing and naff of London locations: a tacky tourist trap testament to the commodification of the so-called Alternative.

Yet some of my most intense memories of London centre on Camden:

Coming down on a starstruck visit to the Capital from the midlands to see Nick Cave at the Electric Ballroom as a back-combed sixteen year old suburban hick, and spending the night wandering around central London because it was impossible to get a train home...

Maggie Roberts' former house in Agar Grove.... One of the HQs of the cyberpunk culture that enjoyed a sickly but doggedly persistent unlife in the intensive space between Camden and Warwick during the nineties. Nick Land's explosive schizotechnic-txts - 'Machinic Desire', 'Meat, or how to Kill Oedipus in Cyberspace', 'Cybergothic', 'No Future' (without these, people, it goes without saying, there would have been no k-punk) - fed into and hatched out of conversations that happened in this oddest of houses.... Collectives came together and fell out here (Maggie's own Orphan Drift and also Ccru, which, when it was exiled in Leamington, used it as a kind of occasional base in a London that loomed opaque and impenetrable....

Even then, the house seemed semi-mythic. Maggie was every bit --- and in every good way ---- the sim-aristocratic quasi-catatonic burnout and POW from the future Simon described when he interviewed O-D in 98, and the Agar Grove place was the perfect Brit cyberpunk habitat for such a female replicant --- half-deserted, demi-derelict, overgrown like the abandoned villas in Ballard's The Drowned World... there was a room lined with early eighties coin-op vidgames (including to my delight, my pubescent fave, Scramble) ... and a downstairs living space, if you can call it that, barely heated by flickering calor gas... at night, when you'd sleep there, it unseen rodents would twitch and sniff ike something out of the Freudian unconscious... and then the snakes arrived in the house....

The Abstract Culture launch for Digitial Hyperstition in Compendium bookshop ... all gone now... set up by the tireless Sphaleotas, Abcult's one-man promotion and distribution team (a thankless role for which he has never got anything like enough credit)... Me too depressive-sick and auto-medicated on alcohol to do anything but function on android default... Slipping towards the lowest circle of psychiatric hell in what was in retrospect a collapse synchronized with the disintegration of the bubble economy and the non-event of y2K...

Sometimes you need to let yrself die in order to allow something else to emerge through you...

Posted by mark at November 22, 2004 01:07 AM | TrackBack

It's cool to read about memories of the CCRU. If kinda weird.
See, a professor I was close to in undergrad was a student of Nick Land's at Warwick. He is a huge fan of Land's (actually, after I finished reading Land's book, I realized how often it got quoted in class without verbal citation). One day I was reading Lyotard's Libidinal Economy, and I went to ask my prof a question about it. He started talking about Grant and Land and the CCRU and giving me all these articles and a copy of Virtual Futures. I found
online, and kept reading. About a year ago Reza responded to something I posted on a D&G listserv, and I started read Cold Me. Recently remembered and decided to check it out, and suddenly found hyperstition.
The whole CCRU project(s) really interest me. I dunno, I was reading Gibson and Bakunin in middle school. High School it was Burroughs and Kafka, Foucault and Haraway, Ballard and Beckett, Nietzsche and Lyotard. Undergrad was one long commentary on the works of Deleuze and Guattari.
It's crazy reading these blogs.


Posted by: TheScuSpeaks at November 23, 2004 10:17 AM


Who was the prof btw?

Consider this the first of a series of ccru anti-memoirs lol

btw, just discoverd that, incredibly, the old k-punk site, with a wealth of nick materials plus other stuff, is still up, here:

Posted by: mark k-p at November 24, 2004 08:02 AM

Yeah I discovered your k-punk website almost two years ago exactly.
The link to your online version of Meat was not working then, either. :)(I read the version in the TC&S).
The prof was Matthew Buyert. I'm not sure how close he was to any of you one way or another.

Posted by: TheScuSpeaks at November 24, 2004 02:16 PM

Matt Buyert and I did our MA's at Warwick together. He is an extremely sound person, although I haven't heard from him for a couple of years. If you are still in contact with him, I'd be grateful if you could ask him to drop me a line.

Posted by: johneffay at November 24, 2004 09:19 PM