Out of the land of shadow and darkness

June 16, 2017

12th to 15th June

Past couple of days, glorious sunshine. The waterlogged moor thankful for it. Mornings misty, muggy and mysterious. Me, a little sun-tanned; a little stupid.

The proliferation of pornography around us, may, as Jim Ballard once joyfully suggested, be mankind’s way of stimulating a flagging birth rate across the western world: the internet acting as a conduit channeling all imaginable forms of erotica into our homes – this to encourage procreation.

Ummmm.

I feel poor Jim was wrong (after all he was wrong in so much else, wasn’t he?), and that the glut of pornography we experience currently simply encourages more solitary pursuits, especially amongst the male of the species. It tends to divide and isolate, not combine.

Jimbo was a strange one (but then aren’t we all?), with his head full of surrealism, ‘the People’s Guro’ and patron saint of grunge simultaneously, his writing this sallow wash of light exposing multiple futures that would have been equally at home on Green Party election posters or within the manifesto for the ‘Born Again Nihilist Party’.

In my mind’s eye I see him smoking a hookah or three in Zanzibar surrounded by fleshy sensualists.

Jim loved women – correction – he enjoyed casual sex with numerous women, and drank often to excess, he created a fetish of automobile accidents and mutilation – no mean feat in itself! And his writing was (and still is) an unexpected diet of loco weed, peyote cactus and magic mushrooms – yes, truly, Jimbo was ‘the Benign Catastrophist’; he saw the in-built self-destructiveness of what was to become New Labour and Cameron’s Conservatism and a new moneyed-society where the creation of wealth is far more important than the individual.

‘Civilised life,’ he told Susie Mackenzie in an interview, ‘you know, is based on a huge number of illusions in which we all collaborate willingly. The trouble is we forget after a while that they are illusions and we are deeply shocked when reality is torn down around us.’

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It strikes me that over recent years our politicians have looked on social dependency as an evil. A social evil. It should be eliminated because it is ‘evil’; and ‘austerity’ was (is) seen as the ideal way to eradicate it – in the same way as insecticide eliminates vermin from the world. Oh, if only there were a simple pharmacological answer. A chemical that would act on the brain to either a) drop all these unfortunate people with their various mental and physical disabilities into the wastebin (unnoticed); or b) cause them all to ‘man up’ and become real ‘go-getters’. Any poor bastard who happens to be out of work is a scrounger – the only thing worse than a scrounger, is a foreign scrounger! An immigrant! Social evils to be removed. Hence Brexit and a national election without winners. Balzac, you may recall, depicted the world of his own time in ‘The Human Comedy’. We, boys and girls, are now living in that world. But I don’t hear any laughter.

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