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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Categories
Indie Rock Literature Poetry

Taxidermy #1: Strength

I recently became aware of the concept of Literary Taxidermy. The general idea is that you take the opening & closing lines of a poem, story or book & write an entirely new poem, story etc. between them. Instead of following this formula precisely, I have written this poem using a lyrical couplet from one of my favourite songs, Zürich Is Stained by Pavement (see below). The opening couplet here is about self-doubt & the fear that you’re not as strong as you need to be. I took this theme & ran with it. I hope you like it.

As a side note, I know I usually post poetry on Slow News City, but as discussed in the recent post A few thoughts about the direction of this blog, my approach to what I share on my blogs is changing slightly. Thank you.

Taxidermy #1: Strength

“I can’t sing it strong enough.”
Well I might be able to,
No promises,
But I’ll give it a go.
Maybe I’ll be able to find new reserves
Of deepest, strongest strength to tap
Way down deep where I wouldn’t expect.
Maybe I’ll absorb that strength from others,
By osmosis while holding hands
Or shaking hands
Or hugs
Or fist bumps.
Maybe I’ll fall within the range
Of an area-of-effect buff
From one of my stronger,
More confident companions.
Maybe the strength I seek
Will be found in spirituality,
Although I must admit,
That is incredibly unlikely;
A long shot, to say the least.
Maybe I’ll find the strength I need
In the unshakeable belief
In my fellow man,
Solidarity in community
& rejection of competition.
Solidarity not selfishness,
Sacrifice in the face of solipsism.
Maybe the strength required
Can be found
In the wisdom of the dead,
Dusty library words,
Observances and inventions,
Artistic enlightenment
That gradually evolves
Into feelings of encouragement
& spasms of renaissance.
The worst-case-scenario, of course,
Is that there is no fresh,
Untapped well of superhuman strength,
External or internal,
Waiting for me when I need it the most.
No secret inner quality,
No unrealised ambitions
Or dormant skills.
Maybe there is nothing but weakness,
Doubt and disillusionment.
Maybe, just maybe,
“That kind of strength I just don’t have.”

 

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Categories
Literature

Remembering William S Burruoghs

Today marks the 24th anniversary of the passing of William S Burroughs. The hugely influential Postmodernist and key figure in the Beat Generation is loved and revered to this day, as much for his raw & paranoid prose as for his gruff, antiauthoritarian personality. His crowning achievement in literature is surely his nightmarish sequence of vignettes, Naked Lunch. The novel, which famously had to fight several bannings and an obscenity trial, was a nonlinear torrent of vile images and scenes, many taken from Burroughs own personal experiences as a hard drugs user.

As well as his feverish depictions of drug manias and psychoses, Burroughs is well known for his use of the fabled cutup technique which involved cutting up newspapers, magazine articles etc. and rearranging them to form new, bizarre prose. Burroughs believed that he was tapping into something here & potentially seeing glimpses of the future. This method, & Burroughs more generally, were a huge influence on many cultural icons going forward, most notably David Bowie. Lyrics to several of Bowies tunes were written using the Burroughs-esque cutup technique. A particularly great example of this is his Time of the Assassins, a cutup of a full issue of Time Magazine, in response to their review of Naked Lunch.

I myself became enamoured with the cutup technique and created several pieces of poetry using the style. See the Slow News City Poetry Index for links (Cut up or shut up #1-8). You can find a useful online cutup generator here, if you fancy having a go yourself.

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