WEDNESDAY, MARCH 07, 2007
This Death did not Take Place
RIP Jean Baudrillard, a french social analyst,photographer, philosopher and former enrage, died yesterday in Paris. As well as influencing ourselves, his essays on the commoditization of reality within post-industrial society spread their influence though-out the free market of ideas, and most famously were included in 1999's The Matrix.
Rooted in the Situationist tradition of cultural analysis and Marxian critical analysis, Baudrillard argued essentially that postmodern human society, with the proliferation of communications technology and consumerism, had become a food-processor for meaning, and where reality was simply a self-referential symbol of its own existence. He began his work with The System of Objects, concerned with the nature of use value, as opposed to Smith and Marx. To him, the market wasn't a rigid and rational means of distributing goods, but a frenzy of seductions, all geared to symbolizing the user/consumer. Like the situationists, Baudrillard that in this way the market system had been grafted onto human desire and consciousness. In choosing between one good/symbol or another, the consumer signified themselves, defined by the ideological function of what they had chosen - a simple object like a pen conferred social meaning (one could need a pen to work, or write) - and thusly the consumer becomes a sign for the meaning of the object. In this way, Baudrillard came to view consumer society as a collection of symbols and signs rather than individuals.
His key and most distinct concept was hyperreality. Like and "opaque mass" and lacking definition, modern culture had replaced god with a reflection, and replaced real meanings with simulations. The world of mass media is full of representations on tv, billboards, music - all parts of culture. Hyperreality explains the process whereby reality is consumed by simulation - the viewer of pornography inhabits a non-real world of porn, which skews the meaning of sex, until it becomes non-existant, for example. Baudrillard argued that the entire world - all of reality, had undergone this transformation, and had been completely replaced with a world of hyperreality. America, the zenith of post industrial consumer culture, to Baudrillard was "the original version of modernity" - the reflection to which all others would reference (he called his own French versions "a copy with subtitles"). This rings true, as in America it is the powerful who yearn not just for money, but for meaning, and control over it.
The true nature of the problem goes back to his version of use value - if everything is a simulation, what are our choices? He argued that it was because of this that people only desired after simulated pleasure, which by this point the world was chock full of. Just turn on the tv if you don't believe me. When we describe Cheap thrills, or lament the "fakeness" of something or other, we are using his language.
Baudrillards work made him one of the most important voices in postmodernism, using his concept of hyperreality to argue that our cultural signifyers and meanings are self-referential.
He would go on to develop these ideas into even more real and indecipherable versions of themselves, and would often be criticized on the grounds that his books read more like science fiction than philosophy.
Despite this he will be remembered as one of the first to understand the true nature of the modern cultural battle ground, where interest groups compete for capital and power, but also for reality itself. He understood that within a globilized and technological economy, that meaning and symbol were as important to power. Never before have social and cultural definitions been so fractured and maleable - wars are fought not on the basis of lies, but of manufactured versions of the truth. Fast food, endless reams of useless commodities - a portion of us will argue to their negative utility, as they occupy our definition of "waste", or "junk" - but these things proliferate in part due to the mangling of their symbolic definition. On the television, they mean "convenient" and "tasty". The social victor doesn't use the most truth, simply the more effective simulation.
What most clearly explain hyperreality to me are fictionalized televisions programs. Populated by "real" people in "real" places and situations, that 1/4 inch glass television screen is but the finest line between reality and simulation - but what side are we on? Is it us who are seeing the tv characters reflect our own behavior - laughing, telling jokes, solving simple moral problems - back at us, or is it the other way around? Think about how closely the two can be seen to resemble each other, and how closely we in our daily lifes resemble television characters written and designed to resemble ourselves.
Knowledge is gross assumption. There is no way, no method. Doubt is the only certainty. There are no rules, still less laws. Break loose. pic.twitter.com/YFCGkJ1dVQ— penny rimbaud (@pennyrimbaud1) 22 December 2016
I just published “HOWLOL” https://t.co/K6eeKVJl07— Fucked Up (@FUCKEDUP) 22 December 2016
The self which knows itself is not the self it knows. pic.twitter.com/jDoBZblEhB— penny rimbaud (@pennyrimbaud1) 21 December 2016
It is thought alone that holds us apart; abstract, confusing and exclusive. Before and beyond, we have no differences; love, blessings, joy. pic.twitter.com/r9a5Y2Bdkm— penny rimbaud (@pennyrimbaud1) 18 December 2016
With thanks to A. Ginsberg
I saw the best thumbs of my generation destroyed by cellphones, thirsty, dragging themselves thru notifications at dawn looking for a fix,
snap-filtered hipsters burning for a full bar connection to the cyber vortex in the loneliness of night,
who boredom and hoodies and worn-eyed and high sat up vaping
in the supermarket parking lot of suburbs floating across the tops of aisles contemplating trap,
who bared their transcripts to human services for EI and saw Muslim children staggering on youtube bloodied,
who passed through high school with radiant doe eyes hallucinating halos and nihilistic rhymes among the People Magazines,
who were expelled from college for lazy & publishing racist tweets on the windows of their cars,
who posed in unkept rooms in underwear, burning their parents money in
wastebaskets and listening to them argue through the wall,
who got busted in their bathing suits returning through Australia with a suitcase of coke for New York,
who drank lean in dark basements or shot fireballs in empty alleys, death, or stick and poked their torsos night after night with memes, with logos, with stick figures, alcohol and cock and useless balls,
incomparable breached server of sputtering icloud and lightning in
the mind leaping toward poles of Russia & Palo Alto, illuminating all the motionless world of Mine between,
2-cb memories of night clubs, atop condo silvery dawns,road pop turn-up under the rooftops, silk road proxies for dab-head couch surfing neon blinking android light, sun and moon and tree emoticons in the slow motion winter dusks of Brooklyn, ashcan rantings and the chill dull light of mind,
who chained themselves to subways for the endless ride from Meserole to holy Bed-Stuy on ketamine until the noise of wheels and children brought them down shuddering dry-mouthed and k-holed bleak of brain all drained of brilliance in the drear light of mine,
who sank all afternoon in sour light of Grumpy floated out and danced through the cut coke nights in desolate Coachella, listening to the drops and boom on the human jukebox,
who texted continuously seventy hours from bed to work to spin to therapy to gallery opening to the Brooklyn Bridge,
a lost generation of ambiguous conversationalists stuck inside cubicles
staring out frosted glass windows at an empire of empty rooms
slack chatting, regurgitating, wikipedia-ing facts and losing memories and blackouts and eyeroll emojis and shocks of clinics and parking tickets and drama,
whole intellects disgorged in fomo for seven days and nights with jealous eyes, meat for a synthetic economy cast on the touchscreen,
who flourished in nowhere turned-up Brooklyn leaving a trail of
ambiguous selfies in front of Ground Zero, suffering, rolling, sweating and Mollys teeth-clenching and migraines of Colombia under junk-withdrawal in Greenpoint’s bleak furnished room,
who wandered around and around at midnight in the railroad yard wondering what to tag, and left, leaving cartoon hearts,
who lit cigarettes in ubers ubers ubers trafficking through the glow toward lonesome parties in blinding night,
who studied Houllebecq, Meyer, St. Justice of the Cross, homeopathy and
pop ayahuasca because the cosmos instinctively vibrated at
their feet at Burning Man, who squad-goaled through the streets of
Bonnaroo bumming smokes wearing indian headdresses as underage girls
who thought they were only mad when Beyoncé screamed in
who jumped in limousines with the Investor of Guangzhou on the impulse of screen printed t-shirt streetwear gain,
who lounged hungry and lonesome through Houston seeking drops
or sexting or pho, and followed a branded Spaniard to
a Converse party about #winning and Emerica, a lame task, and
so jumped ship to the next thing,
who disappeared into the cénotes of Tulum leaving behind nothing but expensive sophistry and the java and hash of some guy they met at the airport
who reappeared in Joshua Tree investigating the rocks on mushrooms in shorts with big dilated eyes sexy in their peeled skin passing out in incomprehensible fits,
who burned cigarette holes in their mattresses protesting the
expensive airbnb rates of Late Capitalism,
who bought fair trade raspberries in Union Square whinging and stressing while the sirens of Sakuma wailed them down, and also wailed Wall, and the Mexican pickers all were jailed,
who broke down crying in school gymnasiums naked and trembling before the preening of exquisite skeletons,
who spit invectives and dreck and sighed with spite in police-cars for bullying online when their own wild broiling nastiness caught up with them,
who lol’ed at their phones in the subway and were dragged off on roofies braving adderall and xana-flips,
who got themselves fucked in the ass fainted by amateur chemists,
and primeval fuckboys,
who blew and were blown by those human incubi, the assaulters,
carcasses of archaic Consensual love,
who bailed in the morning to escape from relationships and passed out in public parks or cemeteries to chatter with demons dreaming at whomever come who may,
who picked up hopelessly trying to jiggle but wound up robbed and remissioned in rehab in Reno with exterminating oxy angels come to keep them aboard,
who lost their boyfriends in threeways and pursued mistakes the cross-eyed
bijou transgendered scholar the east side screw face who winks at
her tomb the side boo that does nothing but beat her ass and clip the
aspirational golden wings of a womans dream
who copulated plastic and isolated with a magic wand a blind date for a package of camels and gave up half way to bed, and convinced him to sleep on the floor and then down the hall and ended waiting on a call with a vision of ultimate blunts to come concluding the last climax of loneliness,
who bummed matches from a million girls coming down in the
sunrise, and were dead eyed in the morning but pretended to
be sweet then snatched all the butterflies, parachuting rocks under
the stars then baked by the lake,
who went out exploring through the darkweb in mirrored or stolen
IP addresses, capital M.E., secret hero of this age, cucc’ed and
admonished on reddit — joy to the cache of its innumerable shames
of girls in empty apartments & rented basements, studio victim vows, teraflop trolls in vaults hunting infant waitresses anonymous lonely cutthroat upvoting & instant messaged gas-lighted solipsisms to exes, &
geolocated them too,
who got faded in vapid screen capped snapchats, who lit up the touchscreen,
got woke and threw jokes at a burning Manhattan, got kicked out of
work placements hungover with tasteless gin jars and horrors of
Bedford Avenue flannel ceiling & stumbled into the principles
who walked all night with their heels in their hands through the
barefoot blocks waiting for a vip door in Midtown to open
to a room full of ac and opprobrium,
who traded great self destructive incidents on the toilet precipice of
Silver Lake over the on-blast blue back-light of their phones &
had their heads crowned with dog ears blacked out,
who had sheep eat their imagination then digested the crap at
the derelict bottom of the rivers of humanity,
who binged on the romance of netflix with their shopping carts full
of shoes and interim music,
who grew up in boxed houses demanding rites of passage, so
moved out to harass the boards of their lofts,
who smirked on the sixth floor elevator crowed to shame
an avuncular guy weighed down by wearable
who texted all night pleading and rolling over lofty promises
which in the cold morning became stanzas of repentance,
who ordered rare animals lung heart nose to tail cursed & anathema
dreaming of the pure gluten free martyrdom,
who plunged themselves under food truck lines looking for a date,
who threw their ballots off the roof to cleanse their palates of
democracy entrenched of crime, & guided bombs fell on Syrian heads
every day for the next decade,
who cut their wrists three times unsuccessfully livestreaming suicide, gave
up and were forced to open dialogues when they thought
they were getting bored and sighed,
who were dragged alive in their peacocked Hood by Airs on Flatbush
Avenue amid blasts of streaming verse & the turnt-up patter of
the scion judgements of fashion & the nitrous whips of
the secretaries of downsizing & the covetous air of embittered
blog freelancers, or were run down by the sullen autocrats
of Consensus Reality,
who told tales of crookery and dealing that never happened and
walked away spot blown and despondent into the nameless haze of
chat room suss freeways & at starbucks, not even one free
who screamed into their pillows in despair, fell off their barstool chair,
threw their phone in the filthy East River, leaped on black democrats, cried
all over the facebook wall, danced on broken solo cups barefoot smashed CDs of nostalgic European 1990s trance finished the tequila and threw up groaning into the public toilet, moans in their ears and the siren of idling cop cars,
who narrowed down the highways with waze journeying to a friend of a friends cottage or outdoor festival,
who drove cross-country for two hours to find out if I had a listing or you had a listing or he had a listing to find out the best diner on yelp
who journeyed to Love Parade, who died at Love Parade, who came back to
Duisburg & waited in vain, who watched over youtube &
raped & rioted at Blackrock and finally went away to find
out the Time, & now Rome is lonesome for her heroes,
who refreshed and refreshed in their empty cathedrals praying to each
others crushes for content and details, until the soul
threw light on its new haircut for a selfie,
who crashed through their minds in jail waiting to come down from impossible chemicals with golden crooked heads and the simulacrum of reality in their hearts who sang street hymns to sassafras,
who decamped to Cancun to develop bad habits, or Daytona to
prostrate spring break or Italy to gap year or Bali to be
blown up or Harvard to Moloch to Greenwood to
graffiti on graves ,
who demanded witch trials accusing a tumblr of triggering &
were left with their indignity & their friends online fury,
who threw shade at NYU lecturers on new media and
slept with them anyways on the privileged beds of
the madhouse with craven heads and sardonic speech of
homicide, demanding instantaneous attention,
and who were given instead the transient bliss of ativan fluoxetine
memetic data plan dependency baby bird therapy
divorced parents & disinterest,
who in humorless podcasts overture only in basic sing song
fables, resting briefly in agoraphobia,
returning years later truly fleeced except for a billfold of blood, and
gears for fingers, to the silent majority spume of the hordes of the
suburban and deceased,
Caltech’s MIT’s and Standord’s fecund halls, tinkering
with the framework of the soul, hacking and coding in the
halflife test-bench frozen-realms of love, dream of life
as software, bodies turned to silicon as light as the stars,
with big bother finally online, and the last futile book flung out
of the academy window, and the chain store closed never again
and the last telephone booth crushed into scrap in Mumbai and the
last fertile womb emptied down to the vast greased metal
cynosure, the last pixeled rose set on a plastic stem unsent
in drafts, and even that simulated, nothing but a desperate little
bit of stimulation —
oh, Child, while you are not safe I will racketeer and now you’re
really in the most target age group of all time —
and who therefore ran through the empty streets obsessed with a
sudden flash of humanity in the time of an eclipse the
corona the thunder & the lifesaving rain,
who emptied and made insensate gaps inside their minds through
images stuck to their screens, and traded the remnants of the soul
between 2 virtual users and checked their phones and
checked their phones and checked their phones together slumping
to the specifications of Data Omnipotens Parasitus Deus
to recreate the syzygy and pleasure of old human ghosts and
stand before you wire-less and relevant and shaking
with pain, disconnected yet regressing out the soulless conformity
to the prism of hope in his naked and thoughtless head,
the deadpan umm as two strangers beat off online, unknown, yet typing
only there what might be their lifes genuine desire, said in life come a
time after death,
rose mercury in retrograde in the costly costumes of fame in the iphone
mirror of the branded and knew the craving of America’s naive
mind for love and an Oh God Why Have You Unfollowed me
benzo cry that sedated the kiddies down to the last weirdo
with the absolute hashtag of the post of life grafted onto their
own bodies good to tweet a thousand years.
What sphinx of glass touch screens and brushed aluminum bashed open their skulls and ate up their brains and imagination?
Narcissus! Solitude! Loneliness! Beauty! Profiles and unobtainable
attentions! Children screaming under the covers! Girls
sobbing in starbucks! Old men who don’t exist!
Narcissus! Narcissus! Nightmare of Narcissus! Narcissus the loveless!
Notified Narcissus! Narcissus the helpless liker of himself!
Narcissus the unavoidable prison! Narcissus the up-thumbed
soulless jailhouse and network of sorrows! Narcissus
whose images are judgment! Narcissus the vast stone of
bore! Narcissus the embraced hopelessness!
Narcissus whose mind is pure circuitry! Narcissus whose blood is
orange hearts! Narcissus whose fingers are ten juries!
Narcissus whose breasts are economic dynamo! Narcissus whose
earbud is a smoking tomb!
Narcissus whose eyes are a thousand open tabs! Narcissus whose
condos stand in the long streets like empty Monoliths! Narcissus
whose off-shore click farms dream and croak in the
fog! Narcissus whose servers and cell towers crown the
Narcissus whose love is endlessly lonely! Narcissus whose soul is
electricity and banks! Narcissus whose poverty is the specter
of community! Narcissus whose fate is a cloud of over-sexed
flesh! Narcissus whose name is the Mind!
Narcissus in whom I sit alone! Narcissus in whom I dream of nothing!
Detached in Narcissus! Pornography in Narcissus! Left-swiped and
manless in Narcissus!
Narcissus who entered my soul early! Narcissus in whom I am a
avatar without a body! Narcissus who leached my serotonin
on ecstasy! Narcissus whom I cannot abandon! Wake up in
Narcissus! Blue light streaming out of the sky!
Narcissus! Narcissus! Shared basement apartments! invisible sweatshops!
corporate treasuries! bombed out capitals! algorithm industries! slave
nations! invincible re-assignment wards! microwaved cocks! monstrous
They broke their backs scrolling Narcissus to Heaven! Payments,
fees, Amazon, TVs! lifting the city to Millenia which exists
and is everything about us!
Prisons! comas! administration! indifference! agonies! choke down the
Careers! abhorations! viral ovations! followers! the whole boatload
of vacant bullshit!
Pygmalions! love of the void! candy flips and coke additions! come down
vows! Lies! New bigotries! Ditigal heirs! Ten weeks’ fuckboy heat then ghosted! Why! New loves! Ersatz generation! down on their luck this time!
Rendered electric laughter on the altar! They saw too much! their tired eyes!
the holy yells! The deleted farewell! They signed out of their youth to
solitude! waving the white flag! burying hours! Down to surrender! into
the real oblivion!
Child! I’m with you in Oblivion where you’re starving for kindness
I’m with you in Oblivion where you can’t act your age
I’m with you in Oblivion where we ran away from our mother
I’m with you in Oblivion where you’ve suppressed and lost twelve years
I’m with you in Oblivion where you live under layers of impenetrable ironic tumors
I’m with you in Oblivion where we are dead typers on the same grateful keyboard
I’m with you in Oblivion where apparitions can hear us and extort us on the internet
I’m with you in Oblivion where the actuality of null is stronger than your human defenses
I’m with you in Oblivion where you smoke synthetic weed and buy booties for multipoos
I’m with you in Oblivion where you come on the embodyment of your curses the Medusa of want
I’m with you in Oblivion where you stream in a flak jacket and you’re losing yr mind in what the actual fuck is this place
I’m with you in Oblivion where you hang on the the laconic keyboard the soul is irrelevant and annoying and oh my god so random
I’m with you in Oblivion where fifty more likes will never fill the hole while your body is on wanderlust across the paranoid
I’m with you in Oblivion where you accuse your friends as basics and thots hurl cold brew fueled revelations against ratchet intersectional oppressions
I’m with you in Oblivion where you will sit as a human island protected from living human judgements in the subterranean womb
I’m with you in Oblivion where 200 million unverified children deserted sang the chorus to Hold On We’re Going Home
I’m with you in Oblivion where we get drunk to cope with sex and the great undiagnosed depression hounds us all night and won’t let us dream
I’m with you in Oblivion where we woke monotonized into a coma by our own souls courier who drones over our beds they’ve come to drop off analgesic bombs the world is a hospital we grew ourselves perfunctory walls come up n withered teens run inside n the last gleaming hit of morphine the forever sleep is here n literally forget the underground we’re free
I’m with you in Oblivion on my screen as you roam sweating from surfing on the westway across cold America in tears to the top of my contacts in the automatic light
Look close and you will find a place where small is large in different space, the rhythm that the world sustains unfolds and then unfolds again.
I saw a tree inside a seed, phi the sky and shells and hives, a sky alight a secret world alive.
Invisible leaders, invisible laws of two sides. We take none and turn the third way; through the wall a thousand times, in a thousandth time, a million eyes see the scions rise a billion sons, apogee begun a trillion hidden lives, perihelion colored lines and scented signs, lead us between what we combine afreet.
I see the world with clarity.
Hidden World seen by the third eye, the opulence of a clear blue sky. Heaven's been kind enough to grant us entrance to this enchanted land.
The ebay ad mentioned a poster; maybe it's a lyric sheet like this?
Tracks: This Mother Forever B/W Our Own Blood
Label: Fucked Up records (Self release) FU: 014
(Watch those spaces)
Pressing Info: (Figures kindly confirmed by Slasher Records)
1st Press 250 copies
Stamped version - some were stamped with the band logo and made available for a show at the Echo in Los Angeles...
1. Similar package to the "Looking For Gold" 12", but without the pasted artwork. In fact no artwork at all (assuming the insert is as above). This reassures me that "Nothing is Everything" as I contemplate the 12" space on my shelf, where this record should be.
2. "Then we are taken on a journey through the void - we witness the inner workings of the universe" From Pitchfork review describing the segment commencing at 8:04.
3. "Our Own Blood" features Inuit Throat Singer Tanya Tagaq.
Common People: Life, how it’s lived, how it came to be, how it’s controlled and what, if anything, happens when it ends, are some of the themes found on records by Fucked Up. The tunes are enough for a lot of people, but for others, there’s a whole world of things to explore in the lyrical metaphors, artwork, and messages, website links, interviews and maybe in the music itself.
I first read about them in 2008, in a review for “Chemistry of Common Life”. Vinyl was a thing of the past at this point in my life and I’d accumulated 100’s of CDs , mainly based on reading music reviews. Most of the CDs were good enough for a few listens, before going on the shelf, never to be played again. Some struck more of a chord and I go back to them, but “Chemistry” was a game changer.
|'Nude Guy' |
Most surfers blend back in to the crowd, but others are more difficult to assimilate. The crowd presented this fine young specimen as a gift to the band.
Material Girl: When it arrived (courtesy of indie distro Amazon), I was intrigued by the grainy band photos and the hippy artwork and once I’d got over the shock of being shouted at, I loved the music too… the rush of the opening track; the flute notes rising like a strange thing coming to life, the organic sound blending with electric feedback that arrives out of nowhere, the two combining and increasing to a point that’s just getting uncomfortable when the guitar kicks in, its rhythm weaves around the feedback and after a few bars or whatever, another layer of guitar, then another, then several more, ascending and expanding and then swirling dizzily around one another, working to a frenzy and then that mad animal roar, which isn’t Damian, but comes from the same source and then the percussion kicks in and the song begins:
Father, father, come see what I've built, Made civilization out of the Nile silt, Built your monuments out of my brother's bones, Exalted your words in flesh-bound tomes...
The band used Pro Tools to ‘build’ the music out of recorded sounds, maybe like how dance music is produced, so it’s complex but rhythmic, but this feels human rather than machine made; the rhythm is natural and you hear fingertips sliding on guitar strings and pressing on frets.
Good Vibrations: The process by which sound is perceived, is a whole lot stranger than the basic mechanics indicated by inner-ear diagrams vaguely remembered from biology lessons at school; the following quote:
…detecting vibrations, changes in the pressure of the surrounding medium through time.
Is from Wikipedia, but it might have come from Buddha. We detect some of the vibrations as they enter our body and sometimes, if they’re the right kind, they change the way we feel.
Chemistry is just a word we use to describe what occurs, when subtle changes in your mind make energy from common lives…
Depending on what it is and how you relate to it, music can have effects that might be stimulant, hypnotic, relaxant or psychedelic. OK ,maybe not psychedelic as in eating your own face, or seeing music coming out of speakers and reshaping the surface of the surrounding space, but psychedelic as in the etymology:
derived from the Ancient Greek words psuchē (breath, soul, life, mind) and dēloun ("to make manifest, to reveal"), translating to "mind-revealing".
It sometimes happens when driving, your mind goes into a state that’s maybe semi-meditative, like when you’re going along and realise you’ve been on auto-pilot and can’t remember the last half hour of the journey; you’re awake and conscious (ideally) and you’ve been driving safely, but part of your mind is focused on the music; on a good day they seem to blend in a strange union that’s sublime.
The funny thing with the Fucked Up version of this experience is just when you’re about to head off with the fairies, Damian’s voice sometimes snaps you back to the present moment and other times it becomes just another layer of sound from which emerge snippets of information that shape malleable minds.
|Damian shouting at me (and some other people).|
How the Site Came Together: “Chemistry of Common Life” was a random CD purchase in 2008 and I began following the band with some interest... By 2012 I was obsessed and ended up doing what any middle-aged twit undergoing a personality/existential crisis would do nowadays; I went to gigs, collected lots of records and wrote a blog.
I’d developed the habit of obsessively checking the bands site “Looking For Gold”. This was something guitarist Mike Haliechuk used to update regularly and for a long while it was the band’s only web presence, it’s still there and has nearly nine years’ worth of information, (and misinformation) covering the period from when they had just moved on from releasing mostly 7”s and were starting doing longer songs, with more occult themes.
I was minded of a dire warning about the occult given in Religious Education class at school, it was something to do with interest turning to obsession as part of the four stages of demon possession. Just one of those things learnt as a kid that hangs unchallenged in the back of the mind. Later in life, that supernatural stuff seemed like nonsense, but I was left with a mistrust of Ouija boards and pentagons and a warning sensation popped up when I began reading up on some of this. On balance though, demon possession seemed worth the risk to find out how hermeticism fitted in with the more traditional punk content and how they’d gone from referencing the Spanish Civil war and other ‘Struggles Against the State’ to seemingly pointless esoterica.
Reading up on this stuff was quite a lot to take on and I found putting the information in order, and making it into a post helped make sense of things. I’d also been in contact with other record collectors and found there were other people obsessively collecting Fucked Up records and it was a chance to see their stuff, or at least look at images of it.
What it Contains: The blog started off as an illustrated discography, it’s a combination of ‘scum stats’ and notes about the artwork and information about the associated themes and concepts. Recently I’ve been using it as a kind of scrap book, to put together images and quotes related to things I find, which seem to fit in directly, or indirectly. There’s a related site which collects various interviews with the band and I’m also in the process of adding discographies for some of the other bands that FU members are, or were involved in.
The Aims of the Site: Partly the aim was simply to make sense of the different variants and partly it was to begin expanding on the themes indicated by the different releases.
Alchemy is one such theme that appears fairly early on, maybe first in “Baiting The Public”, and obviously in “Looking For Gold”, but there are regular references later. Reading up on the esoteric side of alchemy confirms some of the references but leaves you wondering why they’re being used in the first place… In the original article I try and explain this and end up missing the point. I just tried again and failed, so will leave it for now and get on with…
Meeting the Band: At some point, I realised that DIY wasn’t just about putting up shelves and decided what the world really needed was some kind of blog, with lots of pictures of Fucked Up records. Before doing it, I thought I’d best check with the band.
I’d met some of them at shows. Actually I mostly walked past without speaking, having found this to be an improvement on the first few shows, where I’d gushed out something incoherent to whoever was on the merch table; it was mostly embarrassing and I resolved not to do it thereafter and managed pretty well for a couple of years.
So, I wasn’t sure how to go about approaching them on this, but then an opportunity arose. It involved a message on the “Looking For Gold” site. Damian suffers from anxiety and was looking for help to get a herbal remedy he’d recently found to be effective. The message didn’t say this though and it took a chat at a London show to get to the bottom of it. Unfortunately I couldn’t help so just gushed out something incoherent about how much I like Fucked Up. I didn’t get as far as talking discographies.
|Me, when I had longer hair and an even greater sense of confusion than now, wondering what to say to Damian|
Damian seemed a little distressed on stage and so, afterwards, I decided I wanted to help and thought I probably could. I considered it for a minute or two: Should I get involved in this? Was it the right thing to do? Could the time be afforded to go to two shows in 3 days? But it was one of those things (having fun) that need to be done and so arrangements were made.
It almost wasn’t fun, I hadn’t allowed for the time delays that happen when you arrange to meet someone, somewhere to buy something. I’d planned to get to Tunbridge for mid-afternoon, but by 5pm, after waiting around for four hours I was still empty handed; it didn’t look like it was going to happen and I sent a message to Tunbridge saying I’d been let down. I was too disappointed to go to the show and was heading home, when at the last possible moment, everything fell into place and I was on my way. After a pleasant journey, I was in the tour van with Damian and Jonah. In that relaxed setting I managed not to gush out incoherent compliments and was able to enjoy the slightly surreal experience of them talking enthusiastically and nonstop, mostly about obscure punk bands. I was out of my depth, my knowledge went as far as some of the bands that had toured or played with Fucked Up. Jonah linked some of the bands I’d been into as a kid with punk trivia and also asked me about punk bands that where local to Ipswich, I vaguely remembered The Stupids and Extreme Noise Terror, being things I’d not paid much attention to as a kid, but realised I didn’t actually know if there were any current bands.
It felt good to help, but even better to just be there. The whole evening was fantastic, the show was great and the locals were friendly, I ended up on someone’s shoulders bashing into someone on someone else’s shoulders. I’m too old for that shit and it felt like I might fall to my death at any moment, but knowing this meant I was alive.
Unfortunately the discography, printed on three sheets of A1 paper, stayed in the car, so in the end I emailed Mike Haliechuk to ask if it was ok to put it online. He said yes. Maybe I should have done that to begin with.
Fucked Up continues to be a learning experience; along with all the listening and reading, I’ve also learned there are indeed some great local bands. On that academic note, I’ll finish with the final words of all school English Essays that run out of steam: Then I woke up.
|Real Life. (top LHS above clock)|