Jun 27 2005

Comrades!

No, I can’t ever top the walking shed thing. It will sit as an all time webjunk. If one of you can build a fleet of them for me and sail them across the plains of the American midwest, complete with Mad Max punk gangs and bagpipe music, I will be eternally grateful.

But now: The Revolution!

More defunct propaganda here.


Jun 24 2005

That Walking Building

Charity links me to this:



“The Animaris Rhinoceros Transport is a type of animal with a steel skeleton and a polyester skin. It looks as if there is a thick layer of sand coating the animal. It weighes 2. tons, but can be set into motion by one person. It stands 4.70 meters tall. Because of its height it catches enough wind to start moving.”

Watch the video.

I am speechless with joy.


Jun 24 2005

Sinclair Interview

From The Londonist:

“How did you get involved in the William Burroughs event at Meltdown?

Sinclair: It came out of left field. A letter arrived one day saying that Patti Smith was doing this thing and the themes were William Burroughs, Blake, Rimbaud… I wrote back and said I’m very keen on William Blake and I’ve got some interesting thoughts on Rimbaud in London and Burroughs… I’m a long time enthusiast. By the time we’d actually got back in touch again Blake and Rimbaud had been dropped and I was asked to do something on Burroughs so yes I’m delighted to be involved.

I have no idea what the format of the evening is at this point, but my own connection and obsession with Burroughs began right back at the beginning when I first started to write. I was a student in Dublin and I wrote off to him and he sent me this incredible piece that was in three columns and it could be read across or down. When you’re 18 this is an amazing thing. I think he was the only person who responded from fifteen or so luminaries so he was in my good books from way back.

I corresponded with him in the 60′s for a time about a film we were going to do. It was sort of on the point of being done when he took up Scientology big time and disappeared into East Grinstead. I didn’t see him again for years and years until I went across to America doing a programme on the Beats for the BBC and he was really the highlight – going to visit him in Lawrence, Kansas. I’ve got a little piece based loosely on this visit. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do that on the night but that’s what I want to do.”

Link


Jun 22 2005

Internet Goblins

So anyway.

Down the page in the comments section of my Eve piece, Lithilk has posted a comment about the importance of finding decent people to game with. I wrote a lengthy reply, which was eaten by the Internet. Thanks, Internet.

I said something (excruciatingly clever) about how you have to work at net-based relationships if you want to make the most of online gaming. Sure, these online people can be switched off a lot easier than relationships formed in other contexts, but they need to be cultivated nonetheless. Having people to play with online can completely change the topography of the net for a casual player. The State guys are, I’m sure, playing more and indulging a wider range of experiences because they have worked to create a community.

I’m acutely aware that my own gaming experience is enhanced by having loads of acquaintances, on and offline, who are into gaming. Whatever I want to play, it’s likely that one of my friends will be there already, or ready to join me at the drop of a credit card.

Most gamers, though, still don’t really understand this world. They are, in a certain sense, socially constrained by gaming. They don’t see it as a medium for developing a particular kind of relationship, and as a result their gaming experience will never as rich as those who do. I grew particularly close to the European gaming community back in Quake III days and I still see names I recognise cropping up in games now. As each new game comes out, so familiar names (amongst of the ten of thousands of Dutchmen called De4thlord) make an appearance. Just as I recognise and get on a nodding and/or chatting basis with lots of people just by virtue of living in the same town for many years, so I’ve begun to encounter the same people in quite different games over the years. An old Quake III captain was in Ironforge in Warcraft just last week, and at Christmas I spotted a name I recognised from (gasp) Kingpin. It was a friend from when I played on Wireplay. I messaged, and yes, it was the same guy, still using the same handle. After our rival fleets had beaten the hell out of each other, we had a bit of a reminisce.

“Ah, nothing beats Quakeworld, but I’m getting a bit old now…”

“Yeah.”

What was my point again? I forget. Anyway, whether she realises it or not, Alice is one of the old names I recognise, a regular on pick-up Quake III. She wasn’t half bad, either.


Jun 21 2005

Apropos Of Nothing

The title of this painting is ‘Rossignol’, but I can’t remember where I found it, or who it is by. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know.

EDIT: Vicki reveals the artist – Edmund Dulac. A rather faded scan of the painting (entitled ‘Nightingale Bridge’) is here.


Jun 20 2005

Hypnodisc

Time for a bit of shopping.


Jun 20 2005

Constructivist No More

More decay, this time from Russia.

Via the incredible We Make Money Not Art.

I feel vaguely inclined to rewatch Stalker.


Jun 19 2005

Myths Of The M25

3QuarksDaily posts about “demented magus of the sentence,” Iain Sinclair.

I republish my own review of London Orbital:

Iain Sinclair’s writing seems to give us sudden access to details. His paragraphs burst open like stomped anthills, ideas milling about all over the place:

“In my mythology, the M25 is born of the Thames: conceived at Runnymeade (by Staines), dying at Dartford. In bloody twilight. Echoes of Eliot: ‘Burning burning burning burning.’ Misbegotten in an upriver canoe. Expiring in oil slicks. Grey to grey: the immense skies of the Thames Estuary. Liquid to light: an Aegyptian temple beneath Runnymeade Bridge (with its golden bars, its smoky shadows). Out of these mysteries comes a metalled ribbon of consciousness, that saga of simultaneity: a tidal motorway carrying the psychic freight of all the landmass it contains.”

The fact that it’s taken me over a year to write something about this, a book that has had more impact on me than any other in that period of time, is in some way a consequence of the delicious density of ideas that London Orbital exhibits. I simply haven’t been able to digest these multitudes to any satisfactory way. After each application of this medicinal text I come away cured of something, some negativity, and desperate to write about the world as I find it. I want my review to simply be a swathe of text from the book. Look at this, I want to say, pointing and beckoning others over.

Despite all the traffic that London Orbital has diverted into my choked and congested brain, this isn’t some abstract work of weird thinking, but rather the story of the author’s walk around a circuit of the London Orbital motorway, the M25. Taken at face value that sounds dull, if a little eccentric, but quite the opposite is true: this is a high-bandwidth work of cascading description, deep historical unearthing, and enthralling psychogeographic study.

Each page is crammed with ideas (perhaps engineered, Tardis-like). Reading is always an act of decompression, but here the words and concepts expand to formidable size and depth as you traverse the sentences. These might be references to prose, poetry or television, or simply delicate descriptions of the pedestrian landscape – each revealing the mixture of ancient, prosaic and ultra modern that makes up the M25 corridor. Meditations on road-side cafés collapse into historical remembrances. Each new turn demonstrates Sinclair’s seemingly bottomless capacity for researching factoids, themes and ephemera from all ages of the countryside he walks through. His mind plays host to the psychic resonances of the monstrous circular highway, just as its passage plays host to him and his travelling companions. Sinclair has spent years indulging this bizarre and beautiful project and that investment has paid off in an astonishment of intellectual riches.

Every passage is carefully noted. Hundreds of anecdotes, meetings, conversations, roadsigns, meals, and blisters make up the tapestry of a unique account of a deliberate ramble across time and space. This vast journey feels like The English Road Trip – slow and quotidian, but possessed of a determined inevitability and surprising scale. It is a perambulation of an absurd order, in which the walkers engage in acts of strange catharsis, taking care to appreciate the scenery and to analyse its diverse histories as their minds are restructured by the massive input/output equation of a long and arduous trek.

Sinclair’s writing is murky, slow and clogged with psychic nutrient. Elegiac and acutely self-aware, I can scarcely imagine a more intelligent book. I’m quite happy, on just the evidence of this five hundred page tome, to acclaim him as one of the masters of the English language. A travelogue like no other, I’m sure it’ll be marked down as a masterpiece, and nothing less.

I should say, that having read more Sinclair, I can understand that he has quite an esoteric appeal. There’s something distancing, perhaps even confusing, about his writing. On reading his work I feel that I’m brushing against something far greater and more profound than I could ever hope to be. For other readers, it doesn’t get processed like that: he’s alienating, fragmentary, troublesome.

For me though, Sinclair’s work consists in those moments, when faced with great works of culture, where I’m forced to think something along the lines of: ‘that’s what I would have said and done, if only I were as intelligent, and as dilligent’. Other people, I can understand, just feel a bit bemused. They don’t get that feeling. It’s not what they might have said, or might have wanted to say. Sinclair isn’t talking to them, though. He’s part of quite a different conversation.


Jun 17 2005

Gotta, Gotta, Gotta!

Murray tells you about the weekend.


Jun 15 2005

Robots From Junk

Holy Shit.