October 26, 2007



Saturday November 17th Housman’s Bookshop, Caledonian road N1 7pm


    Posters, drawings, zine signings by Laura Oldfield Ford Projections, films, readings – Savage Messiah Collective

    John Wild anarchitect, activist, and psychogeographical explorer of data space will be transmitting a pirate radio signal, from a secret location in the Kings X area, constructed from locative data collected on the previous king x drift. A radio in Housmans book shop will be tuned to the audio broadcast.

    “Walking through London is a melancholy experience. The phantom of an invented, slickly choreographed future haunts the landscape. Where are these photoshopped families, the joyful inhabitants of the yuppiedromes? They are not here yet, but their avatars stalk us. Amidst the rubble and chaos, Polish construction workers in luminous garb skip in and out of vans for papers and fags. Oily leatherskins deconstruct the rusting heaps. Sometimes there’s a group of kids with a nicked scooter, always the same, taking apart, a destructive urge, parts examined and strewn across the Greenway path. The area is cut, examined, destroyed, not rebuilt but cast off as parts hurled across a flat expanse. The sewage pipe was the conduit, it sliced through the wreckage and gave a god's eye view across the marshlands.

    IN THE WORST NIGHT OF RIOTING LONDON HAS SEEN SINCE THE POLL TAX, HOODLUMS LOOTED AND BURNT THE BRAND NEW EURO STAR TERMINAL AT ST PANCRAS. RIOTERS WERE WITNESSED HURLING THEMSELVES THROUGH WINDOWS AND RANSACKING SHOPS ONLY TO SMASH, BURN AND DESTROY THEM. A spokesman for Eurostar said he’d never seen wanton vandalism on such a scale but assured customers that services would resume normally as swiftly as possible. “We won’t be sidetracked by a few mindless thugs”. The rioters left chilling messages in spray paint across the gleaming terminal building and promised to return. The metropolitan police failed to catch the rioters as they disappeared into the network of service tunnels and escaped through ventilation shafts, “ The horses couldn’t follow them there.”


    Take a look round the new euro terminal, great coffee shops and places to hang out! Why not relax in the new champagne baror browse in some of the great new retail developments?”

    Savage Messiah Issue 8: Kings Cross to Hackney Wick.

    “Savage Messiah is like Heronbone with politics and pictures, Burial's London in words and image instead of sound. The collage form - text, photographs, Laura's own drawings - decomposes London from seamless, already-established capitalist reality into a riot of potentials, the city rediscovered as a site for drift and daydreams, a labyrinth of side-streets and spaces resistant to the process of gentrification and 'development' set to culminate in the miserable synchronized SF Capital festival of 2012.” Mark k-punk




November 5th - 9th

provisional timetable:

Monday 5th 5-7pm Introduction to mental health and the NHS today - Psychological and Counselling Services (PCS)
History of mental health - MIND?

Tuesday 6th 6-8pm Talk about a personal experience of Mental Illness
Autonomous cinema: mental health film?

Wednesday 7th
5-7pm Pacification Program: capitalism and mental illness - Mark k-punk
Mad brighton?
eco-psychology - Joe Hinds
art and music - sound minds

Thursday 8th
6-8pm setting up a mental health collective

Friday 9th 12-2pm
Practical Workshop (each person has been given a topic but it will be more of an interacting session and the topics overlap):
Food and exercise - PCS/MIND
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy - PCS
Peer/Self Help - MadNotBad/MIND

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October 17, 2007

Disclaimer and adverts


I'm going to Florence for a little break until Saturday. I'm going to really try not to check any email while I'm there, so bear with me until the weekend if you want to contact me.

In other news....

Call off the backlash now... The new Burial LP is as keeningly, ravishingly compulsive as I'd hoped it would be, utterly beguiling vocal science, painfully sad... Imagine Wenders' Wings of Desire if it weren't 'Everybody Hurts' portentous, and set in London instead of Berlin... London as a city of mutilated, betrayed angels, their wings of desire clipped...

Do check out my interview with Underground Resistance in the Wire when it hits the newsstands in the next few days...

My review of Cronenberg's Eastern Promises is in the new ish of Sight and Sound, and is very much in tune with Steve Shaviro's assessment of the film...

Posted by mark at 07:56 AM | TrackBack

The Weird


The Weird

Room RHB 309,
Goldsmiths University of London
Saturday 1st December
11 am - 6 pm

The Uncanny and the Fantastic have been extensively theorised, but the Weird awaits conceptualisation. Following the success of the Weird Realism: Lovecraft and Theory symposium earlier this year, this event will aim to discover if a crisp definiton of the Weird can be produced. What makes an object Weird? What examples of the Weird can be found in fiction, film and science?

The event will not follow the format of the standard academic conference. In keeping with the format successfully adopted for the Weird Realism event, no papers will be delivered. Some written materials will be circulated in advance, but the event will be devoted to structured discussions led by participants.

Participants include:

China Miéville – acclaimed author of Perdido Street Station, The Scar, and other tales of the Weird and Fantastic.

Ray Brassier (Middlesex) - author of the forthcoming Nihil Unbound

Benjamin Noys (Chichester) – author of The Culture of Death and Georges Bataille: A Critical Introduction

Graham Harman (Cairo/ Amsterdam) – author of Tool Being and Guerilla Metaphysics.

The event is free but anyone interested in attending should email James Trafford (jamest@solar.fsworld.co.uk) to register.

Posted by mark at 07:26 AM | TrackBack

October 11, 2007

The signal is still out there...


    I love the UK underground sound because it’s moodier, more rolling than anything else around. But I also love the euphoric stuff that’s in UK tunes too. I feel like it was stolen from us...I’m too young to have ever gone to a warehouse rave, but I want to show the ravers that someone is still holding a light for that old sound…that the signal is still out there.

Burial, in a superb interview by kek-w for Fact, confirming what Blackdown's interview with him last year had already established: that, not only is he one of the best producers around, he is also one of the most articulate.

    The sound that I’m focused on is more, you know, when you come out of a club and there’s that echo in your head of the music you just heard…I love that music, but I can’t make that club sort of stuff…but I can try and make the afterglow of that music.

I heard Kode9 play Burial at DMZ last year and - because of the ex-centric, muffled beats as much as its mottled melancholia - it fitted uneasily into a club environment. The idea of Burial as an 'afterglow of [club] music' reminds me of V/VM's 'Death of Rave' project: except that the 'Death of Rave' is based on actual flashbacks, whereas Burial's craving for collective euphoria is mediated through the ecstasy traces left behind on records from the Rave era. Burial longs for what the two big post-millennial hardcore continuations - Grime and dubstep - have defined themsleves by omitting: the 'becoming-feminine' of the ecstastic body, machinically expressed in Rave's pitched-up vocal. Gratifyingly, early reports from the Hyperdub bunker suggest that the new Burial album, with 'little bits of vocals glowing in it, flickering around and burning in the tune', will be spectral 2-step as opposed to the spectral jungle of the first record.

One of the reasons that I and others found the comparison between Burial and Martin Hannett's productions for Joy Division so irresistible is that both producers' sounds are architectural. This chimes in with one of the many fascinating observations in Fangirl's Joy Division piece:

    What I loved about Joy Division as a teenager was the fact that their despair sounded bodiless, completely untied from the burden of being alive inside of skin and fat and hair. This is a part of Joy Division's great and enduring power, the fact that the physicality of their songs is not so much human as architectural: arenas, roads, wastelands. They take you right out of yourself, onto some immense spectral plane, hovering above the city.

This brings out the point I was trying to make in my Fact piece on Metamatic about the Ballardian being essentially architectural. (See also Owen's post on social democratic counterfactuals.) Whereas Foxx - and the virtual populations that Metamatic projected - found a new kind of jouissance in brutalism's angular arcades and the disassembling of the self into neo-Surrealist collages ('he's an angle/ she's a tangent'), it was as if Joy Division were seeing Ballard's high-rise Britain through the eyes of a neurasthenic Romantic. At the same time, they foreheard - and were a forehearing of - the No Future that would ensue once rock ran aground on the terminal beaches at the End of History, where depression amongst the young is normal...

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October 05, 2007

Here are the new kind of men

Badiou: The new man is a real creation, something which has never existed before, because it emerges from the destruction of historical antagonisms. The new man of communism is beyond classes and beyond the State.
..[T]he new man is conceived against all envelopes and all predicates, in particular against family, property, the nation-state. This is the project of Engels’ book The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State. Marx had already underlined that the universal singularity of the proletariat is to bear no predicate, to possess nothing, and in particular to have, in the strong sense, no fatherland. This conception of the new man – anti-predicative, negative and universal – traverses the century.
Bernard Sumner: There was a huge sense of community where we lived. I remember the summer holidays when I was a kid: we would stay up late and play in the street, and 12 o’clock at night there would be old ladies, talking to each other. I guess what happened in the ‘60s was that the council decided that it wasn’t very healthy, and something had to go, and unfortunately it was my neighbourhood that went. We were moved over the river to a towerblock. At the time I thought it was fantastic; now of course I realise it was an absolute disaster.

I’d had a number of other breaks in my life. So when people say about the darkness in Joy Division’s music, by age of 22, I’d had quite a lot of loss in my life. The place where I used to live, where I had my happiest memories, all of that had gone. All that was left was a chemical factory. I realised then that I could never go back to that happiness. So there’s this void.

MetamaticJoy Division

Two pieces on 1979-80, two versions of Ballardian pop: Metamatic as the anticipation of a new kind of human being that wouldn't arrive, and Joy Division as the mourning for an era that was already gone and the (unwitting) anticipation of a time to come, ours... Bernard Sumner's comment above is telling: 'We were moved over the river to a towerblock. At the time I thought it was fantastic; now of course I realise it was an absolute disaster.' At the time... now of course... But what if a population had been produced that could found have enjoyment from tower blocks? What if anti-modernist commonsense ('now of course'...) had not prevailed?

Also well worth a look: this on Joy Division, myth and suicide...

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