Categories
Politics Reviews Videogames

Disco Elysium Reviews

Here are some hilarious reviews of Disco Elysium. I found them in Disco Elysium Cunoposting and the general idea behind sharing them is that if you want to convince someone to play Disco Elysium, don’t show them the positive reviews, show them the negative ones.

Hyperbolic fit.
Thinking hurts my brain.
Nice touch, linking the Democrats and China. I wonder if this guy owns a MAGA hat.
Communism bad.

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Categories
Ambient Music Videogames

Citizen Sleeper (first impression)

A couple of days ago I Tweeted that I had just completed Elden Ring and that life is now empty. This was a little tongue in cheek, but I have played nothing else for the last two and a half months, clocking up around 190 hours of gameplay. There’s a strange feeling of loss attached to finishing a game which burrowed so completely into my consciousness. I have begun writing something about it so watch this space.

In the meantime, I have decided to try a new game called Citizen Sleeper, recommended by video essayist Jacob Geller (on his Twitter). The game has a distinctive art style, which instantly grabbed me, and is described as a narrative RPG inspired by tabletop roleplaying games. “Roleplaying in the ruins of interstellar capitalism” is the games tagline and now I’m on the hook.

I haven’t started playing it yet but I wanted to share the artwork and the music from the main menu and character class select screen. I’ve kind of frozen up here, unsure of what class to pick, but luckily the music is this gorgeous, echoey piano melody which oozes isolation and melancholy. I have been vibing to this for a good while now. Check out the three classes you get to choose from below for an idea of the art style and give the track by Amos Roddy a play. Watch this space for more.

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Categories
Electronic Music Experimental Post-Rock

Mogwai – Boltfor

Buoyed by the success of last years late career highlight, As The Love Continues, their first UK number one album, Mogwai return with triumphant new single, Boltfor.

Initially conceived during the studio sessions for As The Love Continues, Boltfor sees Mogwai at their epic best. Heavily dominated by atmospheric synths and glitchy percussion, the track begins lowkey, before ascending into a glorious crescendo of melodic synths and distorted guitar. The heroic melancholy of the underdog’s triumph.

Check out the fantastic video directed by Sam Wiehl, made up of generative CGI runners shedding light as they run through atmospherically lit environments. One shot might be a field of flowers while the next resembles the surface of the moon. Sam Wiehl says that it is “a visual metaphor for the constant movement in life and the unceasing urge to move forward as individuals.” Visual sentiments which reflect the music beautifully.

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Categories
Dub Experimental Indie Rock Industrial Post Punk

Jäh Division – Dub Will Tear Us Apart… Again

Before hearing Jäh Division’s imaginative deconstructions of classic Joy Division songs, I suppose I was already primed to accept this kind of thing. Due to the success of artists like Easy Star All-Stars & their guest-heavy reinterpretations of classic albums like Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, Radiohead’s OK Computer & Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, I was already quite receptive to the idea of hearing some of my life’s cultural touchstones rendered in Dub.

The idea of Joy Division’s music rendered as Dub calls to mind something that cultural theorist/political philosopher Mark Fisher wrote about Post-Punk bands like The Fall and Joy Division. He observed how their bass-led songwriting & production provided a white equivalent to Dub Reggae. The salient point here being that it is a white equivalent rather than a white version. Young working class white kids working out their marginalisation in bass-heavy soundscapes in much the same way as the working class black kids, but yielding completely different results.

So before I even listen to it, Jäh Division has pretty big shoes to fill. Does it succeed? Maybe. I don’t know. It’s quite enjoyable as a Dub album but it’s debatable how well the original songs hold up during the transformation. Opening track Transmission is barely recognisable with the tempo reduced to a languid crawl, only the bass line bears any resemblance to the original. It exemplifies how different an element from a song can sound if taken out of its original context. I have similar feelings about Heart And Soul Isolation too. Enjoyable enough Dub, sure, but almost unrecognisable as the Joy Division song.

Transmission, for my money, is a little more successful. The reduction in tempo & energy isn’t quite enough to ground the dizzy heights scaled by the songs gorgeous melody synth. The dubby delays even seem to add buoyancy to these heroically soaring melodies. Love Will Tear Us Apart also works quite well here. No accident that it is their most accessible and radio friendly song. It could fit into almost any genre without diminishing its appeal.

The 2019 rerelease also features four bonus tracks which are actually original compositions rather than Joy Division covers. These are all fine, decent Dub tracks. I have no complaints but they don’t really stand out & they feel a trifle unnecessary so I won’t really dwell on them too much.

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Categories
Literature Poetry

Liminal Bridge

I thought I felt something brush past me
As I reached the escape velocity
Necessary
To escape the gravitational pull
Of gods.
In the dimly lit fuselage
Of the privately funded rocket
I stood shoulder to shoulder
With dead eyed depressives
Undiagnosed
Who should be social distancing
In this fading future.

When the big dumb boosters lit up
We found the systems
Syncing our cloud data
When we needed them the most.

Every week we drift further and further
From the promise of sepia:
The genius of photography,
The dust clouds of eternity.
Bloody red nebulae &
Radio chatter
The ‘Wow!’ Signal,
Orbiting Soviet spheres that bleep
& chemical dependencies
That help us to sleep.

In work-sore dead of night
I reach for prescription painkillers
On the dust covered nightstand.
Chemical dependency degenerates
Neural connections,
Enforces aphasia,
Panic and alarm, clenched fists,
Knuckles white in the confusion of morning,
Why is everyone in here?
Where am I?
Why am I here?

I’m wearing a cricket jumper
On Top Of The Pops
In 1990.

A solitary eyeball collapses
Crumples
Into a visionless organic mass.
Claws clenched like
Whitened knuckles,
Circling wings beating down
Dust storms rising into broken AC.
As we take off, the particles percolate
Into a swirling vortex of COSHH governed peril.

On orders from the old timers,
I throw some bleach around
Until they nod in approval.

White walls and cage doors,
Dragging Henry by the suction tube
Across familiarly patterned floors.
I’m wearing the carpet upon my chest.
Lights swing like ligatures
In the hospital heated mornings,
Flickering in the heat of neglect.
I eagerly anticipate
A fortnight of jet lag.
As I look on, heavy lidded eyes,
A fluorescent strip stutters and fades.

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Categories
Visual

Interesting pics & memes (Volume 1)

When I first began this blog, I started out by just sharing interesting pictures, memes and screenshots that caught my imagination or resonated with me in some way. Here is a kind of return to that format with some interesting, haunting or funny visuals found across the cyberscape we call social media.

More hauntological than anything but found in a Liminal Spaces group on Facebook.
Quality shitpost, found in a Punk shitposting group.
There’s a couple of layers to this one. Right Wing reactionaries in the US have been calling vaccinations Marxist/Communist etc. Big Bird tweeted (I know) a pro-vaccine statement on Twitter. Therefore, Big Bird is a communist.
Nice slice of nostalgia.
More nostalgia. The great Alexei Sayle, whose podcast you should certainly be listening to right now.
Finally, beautiful freeze frame from Star Trek: Lower Decks

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Categories
Art RPG Videogames Visual

13,000 SNES Sprites

I don’t particularly have anything to say about this incredible image, I just felt a need to share it. As a man of a certain age, this image which I saw on Facebook, then sourced to reddit, sparks a great deal of nostalgia in me. As a child in the ’90s, I had a SNES & can see many sprites from games I used to love such as Secret Of Mana & Final Fantasy VI.

Here’s a link to the original reddit thread on r/retrogaming.

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Categories
Fiction Literature

GC/BC

Something a little different from me today. Some microfiction. I hope you like it & let me know if you’d like to see more of this kind of thing. Cheers.

The good cop bad cop dynamic was thought to be the surest route to a bloodless coup, but reality like battle plans, rarely survives contact with the enemy. The two cops who exited the cruiser and strolled nonchalantly to the stopped car were huge, imposing units. They couldn’t, however, have been any different to each other if they’d tried. One had the predatory grace of a great white shark. Glinting eyes and jagged dagger teeth. His aspect was like death, animals dispersed and fled where he walked. The other was like a calm, contemplative elephant. Slowly striding forward, chewing tobacco in a languid jaw motion. His aspect was life. Cheerful demeanour of a spring morning postman. If he wasn’t chewing tobacco, he’d almost certainly be whistling. The shark grinned like the reaper’s skull, the elephant smiled warmly.

As they approached the stopped car, it took off suddenly in a screech of burning rubber. Cool as a cucumber, the elephant unholstered his sidearm, aimed it and released the safety in one fluid movement. He squeezed the trigger gently and a bullet tore through the air before penetrating the rubber of the escaping vehicle’s rear right-hand tire. The car fishtailed wildly across the road before smashing with force into a lamppost, crumpling the front of the car inwards like a crushed beer can.

-Fucking hell Brian! said the shark, I’m supposed to be the bad cop.

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Categories
Literature Poetry Science Fiction

Taxidermy #2: Cyberpunk Hauntology

Another literary taxidermy I have worked on for the past several weeks. This time the first and last lines come from a novel rather than a song, William Gibson’s cyberpunk defining Neuromancer.

Taxidermy #2: Cyberpunk Hauntology

The sky above the port was the colour of television, tuned to a dead channel,
Greyscale mashup of crusty pixels,
Launching the careers of a million YouTube video essayists,
Flickering lines in horizontal drift
Across convex surfaces of CRT screens.
With sunglasses affixed, like Mollys eyes,
I slide a cassette tape into my portable cyber deck
And flip
Back and forth
Through advertising pop-ups
For dating apps
& how to manage your crypto portfolio.
Flip.
The other side is games on tape,
Pixelated faces in two colours
Or two shades of the same colour.
He told me Molly was his soulmate,
In this semiotic swirl of neon billboards,
Fake tanned robots & whitened teeth,
She was the only thing that brought him joy,
He said,
The only thing he thought of as pure, good
Correct.
She tattooed a Molotov cocktail on her left cheek,
Just below the eye, the legend read:
“A toast to the rich.”
It’s all over social media:
Guillotines outside Bezos’ mansion,
Pitchfork & torch mob chasing down Musk,
Gates crucified,
Rihanna spreadeagled.
Molly licks her lips & cuddles up closer
To Kurt Cobain & Eugene Kelly.
Flip.
He had proper insomnia for the first time in months,
Propelled by podcasts & hope for denied futures,
Spectres haunting Europe in the sickly light
Of late-stage capitalism.
He thought I was a robot, for some reason.
Maybe it was my telescopic, go-go-gadget arms
Or my electrified hull.
Have you never seen a guy with tank tracks before?
Flip.
She said she’d take me anywhere,
Pasted in gum Arabic,
Monochromed by xerox
& stapled in a bedsit.
TS Eliot wanders in & asks me if it’s his.
Mayakovsky commodified
As social realism is used to self me junk food.
Here, in the desert of the real
The mirages take on the aspect
Of heroic scenes of miners at the coalface,
Writ in mosaic
On the marbled plinth
Of a six hundred foot Lenin statue,
Loyally guarding the industrial dock lands
From the predatory approaches
Of Union busters
& Pinkerton patrols.
Flip.
He found her next
At a union meeting, waving a red flag,
Armed & dangerous, bullets for bailiffs,
1312 carved into the stock of her rifle.
She smiled at him warmly & offered him coffee.
It was like a support group,
Name badged workers sitting in a circle
On plastic chairs.
“My name’s Colin & I’m a communist.”
“My name’s Andy & I’m an anarchist.”
We escorted the Nazbols out, at gunpoint.
All through the meeting
She made regular eye contact with him.
It reminded him of bus journeys
From petroleum-choked city centres
To endless fields of humming pylons,
Brutalist substations & grazing cattle.
Terraces & tower blocks giving way
To reservoirs & army bases.
Liminal transition:
Burial into Boards Of Canada.
The urban rain nestles up against
Bucolic pastoral mellotrons.
Flip.
It was here, amongst the effigies,
That they were finally separated.
Burning haystacks hummed
Like an overcharged oscillator,
Birds singing like circuit bent toys,
Folkloric mythology depicted in pixels.
My avatar is a pagan deity,
My alt anon account is a denizen of the underworld.
I see him running, mind scrambled
Like a CRT between two magnets,
Flickering lines of snow whisper prophecies
Foretold
In ancient hard drives.
I never saw which way Molly fled,
Or if she survived,
But he woke up screaming
In a soft walled room.
The medication soon soothed him.
Empty bliss of depersonalisation.
He never saw Molly again.

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Categories
Journalism Lists Pandemic Politics

Notes: things I don’t remember

So, this is basically a note I found on my phone, dated 20/04/2020, where I’d saved a bunch of memes, Tweets etc. alongside some records of conversations I actually had (with names changed to protect the [sort of] innocent). I think I intended to write something about the Pandemic, which I never started, & these notes were related to that. Obviously that date is the date of the last thing added, & some of the conversations recorded here definitely happened before the laughably light, & late, lockdown which came into effect in the UK on 23/03/2021.

Nothing I present here represents my own thoughts or feelings.

The title comes from the excellent song by Ugly Casanova, which I will include at the bottom of this post.

I don’t know if this is of interest to anyone, but I think that it offers a fascinating insight into the levels of horror, confusion & paranoia which I personally experienced, both in cyberspace & the meatspace. These notes represent a world in the grip of uncertainty, a far cry from the blasè acceptance of the pandemic & it’s deadly mismanagement of today, 18 months on.

You don’t expect this sort of thing in a country which voted overwhelmingly for dogmatic free market fundamentalists

[Gaslighting the population into confusion over the seriousness of this virus 🦠 a shambles with a serious agenda? ]

[the world became intoxicated with fame and glamour and lost the yardstick of true value. how can the guy who kicks a ball around a field be more valuable than the person who looks after your children? or the star of a movie franchise be worth more than the nurse who risks contagion to wash you and feed you when you are seriously ill and vulnerable? the person who performs the back breaking job of pulling the food from the ground that magically appears in your shopping trolley may be an itinerant EU worker but try living without him.. Time we all reassess what is important, and why???]

Roy: Dave, if I don’t come back from dinner it’s because some bastard has bought all the Irn Bru and I’ve topped myself.  

Roy: the state of the world now is that if McDonald’s closed some people wouldn’t eat at all. 

Me: that’s Darwinism in action.

Roy: yeah I agree, let them starve.

My aunties kids would starve cos that’s all she feeds them.

[Wife going into work at the bank people still not distancing, as I quote it’s my money and I’ll stand we’re I want.

They have not been given any ppe when money us unbelievable for carrying… and possibly bringing it home to there families]

[Ugh, I keep seeing parents of high school kids saying how “the government stole their babies year over some old people who’ll die anyway” and that they’ll put on a dance privately just to spite everyone.]

Roy: there’s this new virus in China

Comes from bats 

It’s so contagious that the doctors who were treating the sick guys even caught it through their hazmat suits

We’re all gonna get it anyway

Roy sweeping the lanes. Complaining about the large amounts of dust he’s inhaling.

me: hey silver lining, it’ll probably kill the coronavirus if you’ve got it

Roy: well, Turns out marijuana kills it. I’m probably immune.

Me to Bob: I wonder what Roy’s source is, that marijuana kills corona virus.

Bob: don’t know but I bet it’s website has got a cannabis leaf in its logo 

Above is based on a meme which shows a mock up live, breaking news broadcast. Made to appear like a BBC news broadcast. 

Alex: this is ridiculous 

Society is breaking down

I think it’s man made. My theory is that the economy is gonna collapse and that China will bail us out. They’ll buy us. 

J: it’s crazy. They’re closing things and banning things. I’ve got tickets to Disney land in three weeks.

Me: I’d get in touch with your travel insurance if I was you 

J: well we got it on credit card so we can get money back. It’s just daft though innit. There’s no need to close things. It’s probably not even real. 

Me: I think it’s actually a lot more serious than you think

J: yeah I guess. I’m just so confused. You don’t know what to believe do you. How do you know what’s real anyway? Is this real? I don’t know. 

*

J: what happens if we have to close down?

Generic Management Figure: name me one company that’s closed down

Jake: what?

Generic Management Figure: name me one. No company has had to close and none will.

Me: but it’s a possibility isn’t it. 

Generic Management Figure: yeah but it’s not very likely

Somewhere between Bladerunner and Soylent Green 

(Jason Manford, comedian: Sat watching the news with the kids when they announced “shoppers will only be able to buy 3 of any item”

My 7 yr old son “hang on, what about grapes?”

My hysterical daughters are now acting out the scenario of a shopkeeper giving 3 grapes to each shopper.

(Yes we’re going mad!))

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