Driftwork

26/06/09

After the End of ther World (12)

Filed under: event, difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 11:08:00 am

The boy-microcomputer assemblage was resting on the squares raised bed garden wall, Macdonald and shake standing beside him on the wall, computer trilling and beeping as he played focused on the small grey system before him. The sun warming his multicoloured sun creamed face, the coloured stripes making him look more like a metropolitan indian than he was. Occasionally he’d pause the machine and emerge from the assemblage to take a swig of the cooling fast food, looking around the square as he did.

During one such pause the machine crashed, stopped, the screen fading to the uniform grey of the plastic case. He cursed the lost game and hit the solar power units a few times in a vain attempt to make it work. When he realised it wasn’t going to reset itself, looked around the square blinking owlishly a few times as he faced the external world for the first time in ages. He took a last swig of milkshake and wandered off to see what was happening.

In the alleyway to the main street an ashen faced man was sliding down the wall. He looked up, shocked, dying and wheezing. “It’s all right, my pace maker has stopped…” He stopped before the boy-assemblage could say anything.

After the End of the World (11)

Filed under: difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 11:05:36 am

The car engine stopped. I waited tensely for the expected crash, five, six or three minutes. I don’t know. I sat there until I was sure everyone had stopped. Surprised that nobody ran into me.

“Weird” I muttered to myself. My hippy youth returning to me in a flash, as it did in moments of high stress. I put my baseball cap on, the one with the Mayakovsky badge (they’d run out of the Brecht ) and got out of the car. Others were getting out of their vehicles equally tentatively. Not people were speaking, they looked rather dazed.
All the electrics were dead.

On the bridge above me a couple of guys were looking down onto the road. Their faces shifting from surprise to amusement.

There seemed no point staying with the car so I shoved the stuff that I wanted into my shoulder strapped brief case and left the road, clambering up the embankment towards the bridge. In the gradually growing noise of people beginning to speak an old tractor chugged reassuringly across the bridge.

One of the men on the bridge took my bag as I clambered over the bridge parapet. I asked them where we were.

He shrugged “This was the E303, but I guess its really the steppe since that idiot America set off the big one…”

After the End of the World (10)

Filed under: event, difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 11:04:32 am

The last TV programme was a ten year old repeat of Treasure Hunt. A million bored viewers watched the helicopter shrink into a while hole.

15/06/09

After the End og the World (9)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 09:39:35 am

He wrote in dark blue letters on an aluminion quert keyboard, with the letters appearing on the opal white 21 inch screen `C.G.Jung fergreift sich an Picasso` and then frowned at the screen as it died, the white screen fading into a small brilliant white dot, and then disapeared. The familiar led lights on the front of the computer had dissapeared. The hard disc whined softly as it slowed down and stopped.

“Shit, Sue the system’s gone down again.”
“Have you saved it ?” She asked.
“It just stopped”

12/06/09

After the End of World (8)

Filed under: event, difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 07:27:28 pm

We walked along the Australian desert road for an hour or so when we heard the diesel truck rumbling along at a snails pace along the road behind us. The aboriginal driver asked us if we wanted a lift. We asked how come it was still going, he shrugged laughed and said “ Magic mate, besides these things got no electrics. Hop in the back.”

Looking at the landscape passing at a slow mechanical pace it no longer looked like a pure desert but a hinterland running between the lines of desert and scrubland.

10/06/09

lifecycle of property

Filed under: culture, event, difference, text — sdv @ 09:24:34 pm

What is the lifecycle of property ?

The problem with the concept of ‘private property’ is that no single ownership can ever exist throughout the lifecycle of the object. One of the central problems with mass consumption, whether it is at the level of plastic packaging, tooth brushes or even housing and land is that the lifecycle of the object is never taken into account. I purchase a toothbrush for my personal use.  From the moment that it is constructed from petro-chemicals, owned by manufacturer, distributor, supermarket, then by me,  discarded into the now privatised company that runs the local waste disposal for my Local council/state waste under the rules imposed on the local state by the European rules and laws (EC).  Eventually the toothbrush ends up in a landfill or perhaps incinerated and reduced to carbon emissions into the atmosphere. So my toothbrush as a simple 7 or 8 step continuum of ownership, all of whom are collectively responsible for the toothbrush throughout its lifecycle. The plastic bag it came in is in the meantime floating out into the Atlantic… Logically then in an objects lifecycle there is no singular point of ownership and responsibility.  A person/user uses the object for a given period of time and then does not.

In a mass-consumptive society all objects should be considered against their lifecycles, one of ownership and one of the object itself. Within such a framework the idea of ‘private property’ and ownership becomes increasingly problematic and exceedingly difficult to deal with, as the concept of private property seemingly obstructs our ability to consider the object virtually and actually.  (difficult this) I own a car, however we humans and non-humans are collectively responsible for the damage and pleasure that this car-object will bring, we are all collectively responsible. So that if I dispose of the car irresponsibly, others will be forced to dispose of the car responsibly. From a toothbrush, car to nuclear power station it’s a question of  re-constructing the relations around the object within this our collective imperative.

I am not saying that private property is necessarily evil, just that the concept itself doesn’t help us understand what the object and our relationship with the object is, whether at the level of a toothbrush, a sports utility vehicle  or a nuclear power plant. All objects are ultimately collective rather than private  because during the objects lifecycle they are our collective responsibility.

Finally then the lamy pen in front of me,  which I have had for ten years or even longer,  is of course my ‘property’  and will remain so until it no longer is… which is fine - however my neighbours sports utility vehicle will be removed from her ownership and destroyed long before its natural lifecycle is over, because collectively it is simply unacceptable that she uses it….

05/06/09

After the End of the World (7)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 01:43:55 pm

Clive and I stopped the car on the bridge over the M25, the cassette playing Cassandra Wilson singing New African Blues, smoking some north african. It was a kind of ritual we’d engaged in for close to half a decade. Leaning against the bridge railing watching the cars and lorries passing below gradual relaxing in a cloud of illicit smoke. The music stopped. I turned and looked at the car.

“Hey” Clive said. “The roads stopped rolling.”

I turned around and watched the cars drifting and braking to a stop. We waited for them to panic. They didn’t. The motorway had always sounded like the sea, but now it was low tide. The drivers and passengers began to get out of their cars. Dazed and silent for a while and then they began to talk about what had happened.

We stood their and smoked some more, an old diesel chugged by pulling a trailer. The driver mutely offered us a lift. Clive refused saying that we didn’t have far to walk and it suddenly turned into a beautiful day. All of which was true.

After the End of the World (6)

Filed under: event, difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 01:38:04 pm

35000 feet the engines stopped. The lights died. 525 miles an hour. The ground. A jet without engines is less aerodynamic than a bumblebee without wings.

After the End of the World (5)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 12:57:32 pm

The last piece of music on the radio was Tom Waits singing ‘That Feel’

03/06/09

After the End of the World (4)

Filed under: event, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 08:06:43 pm

He walked out of the small town on the trust path carrying is flight gear, Addidas shorts over orange lycra. A peregrine tattooed on his forehead its wings flexing as his forehead wrinkled from the effort of carrying the folded micro-glider, Printed on the back of his jacket another type of flying creature, his personal emblem and myth, half falcon and half man.

The other flyers were similarly dressed. Walkers and ground overs watching and moving aside as they passed. And then on the outskirts, a tram stopped in the middle of the street, high sided and narrow like ravines. But walking to the flying spaces was like nothing else that had ever happened, a stuttering ‘aaannnnnnnddddddddd’ preparing for a neo-religious experience, the worshipping of space and wind. As he finally left the towns boundaries they carved up the sun baked slope eventually peaching the edge of the cliff and the sea appeared, blue, white and green. Above the edges of the cliff flyers hanging and swooping like seagulls.

On the high point he and the others in the group began configuring the microgliders, carbon fibre struts slotting into place. Orange, blue and green plastic and nylon sheeting pulling taut over the frame, beginning to catch the wind. None of the flyers were speaking much any longer, the mixture of technical and gentle ribaldry had gone as they began to put them together. Too serious perhaps. A gentle rush to be the first off the cliff face.

“I suppose I believe in Krondratieff waves. We rest on the height of the wave of state, before beginning to fall through the crest into the trough.”

Orange plastic swooping and fluttering in the wind, stepping out from the cliffs edge, dropping down as the wind tried to push him against the cliff face. Gravity pulled him down and giving him airspeed. A ten metre drop and his airspeed increased and he swooped up above the lip of the cliff poised between gravity and the wind. Finally he smiled into the air. Relaxing in his competition with the seagulls, the other flyers and a peregrine high above, dancing in the wind stooping playfully down through the flock of gulls. Wondering at the silence of the machines.

Capitalism 2.0

Filed under: culture, text — sdv @ 12:41:29 pm

On Tweet a number of references to Capitalism 2.0 - reading a few blogs about the area it seems clear that the concept is founded on the crisis of neo-liberalism.

01/06/09

After the End of the World (3)

Filed under: event, difference, text, narrative, fiction — sdv @ 09:10:03 pm

Three hundred feet up the sunny side of the Millbank tower. Susan relaxed. Hanging suspended on a white nylon rope. It thrummed softly in the breeze. All the lights in the offices that she had been climbing up had gone off ten minutes or so before.

The other had traversed across the vertical to look into the down staircase. The office workers were trudging down the stairs, some were now spilling out of the building far below. Probably thinking that the buildings systems had gone down.

Susan signed at the other “Up or down ?”

It shrugged, looking down and then up, then pointed upwards, smiling. Traversing across and upwards, they began to climb towards the sun.

After the End of the World (2)

Filed under: event, difference, text, fiction — sdv @ 08:19:31 pm

I escaped from the management seminar at lunch time , I’d suffered from a day and a half of the historical failings of Just in Time and Total Quality Management, and I had the rest of the week to go, in which they intended to sell me the future of management. I left the office block and walked down through the tow, past the micro-surveillance cameras, the blue-tooth adverts and the identikit town centre precinct with its standardised chain stores, across the non-slip payments. The high street jammed with pedestrians and traffic, diesel and electric buses, hybrids and petrol cars and bicycles.
I walked through into the town park buying a cup of tea in a brown and green card cup, with twining’s china teabag and a single dose of soya milk and a wedge of pale yellow fruit cake. I sat at a table in the sunshine and began to read my copy of Wright’s Wild Knowledge. Halfway through my cup of tea I was almost asleep, drowsing in the summer sun, unable to concentrate, wishing I didn’t have to go back and pretend that I was interested. When there was a series of load crashes, metal impacting on metal, metal on plastic, metal on wood, dying car engines. The jet engines 7000 metres above stopped. I don’t know where it crashed. Machine silence.
The waiter from the cafe came over and said “Everything has gone off…” He’d taken his pinafore off.
“Any last tea ?”
“We can try….” He looked up at the abruptly ended contrail and shrugged.
I followed him back into the cafe. There was still some hot water, we drank some more tea and talked about the absence of machine noise.
Birds were singing. I could hear children in the playground cross the park.
I stayed until the water was cold and then walked back towards the office block, The streets were crowded with people standing around talking about what had happened, nobody knew.
The seminar leaders were hanging around outside the office trying to be managerial, full of the qualities of leadership like headless chickens. Some kids rode by on bikes, with friends sitting on the panniers, weaving through the stationary cars. I said good-bye to the better looking of the headless chickens and began the long walk home.

Handke, Die morawische Nacht...

Filed under: culture, event, difference, text, narrative — sdv @ 12:49:33 pm

Handke’s latest novel Die morawische Nacht has had its english language rights purchased by Farrar Strauss… it will be interesting to see whether this novel gets published in the UK - unlike the last two. Personally I suspect he would need to receive the Nobel prize before they would be published here…

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