Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Light and Magic

Curiously, I'd expected Ingmar Bergman to keep going until he was around 120, making periodic returns from retirement every 20 years or so. The most recent of these, Saraband, exemplified quite why I love Bergman - its unrelenting cantankerousness and emotional barbarity conflicting and aligning with crystalline, harsh beauty. There's a version of him via Woody Allen that is worth ignoring - the overrated angst of Wild Strawberries, the drawing room wit and the solipsistic misery, but there was always Bergman the experimentalist - the mediascape running alongside the psychodrama and bared devices in Persona, the stark palettes of Cries and Whispers, the post-punk horror of From the Life of the Marionettes; and then there's Bergman the unreconstructed sensualist, as in the joyous carnality of Summer with Monika...and like Fassbinder (or Jarvis Cocker...) his best work was usually about women, and far from the peevish male self-dramatisations he's usually lumped in with. We shall never see the like, etc...

Anger is an Energy

Resentment is a worthwhile point of entry...but what then? asks one of K-Punk's interlocutors. See also Dominic's brilliant post on Politics of Envy, Politics of Truth. In my original post on Resentment, which was frankly rather tossed off - if I'd known it was going to help cause this particular chain reaction I would have made it a damn sight sharper - what I was trying to get at was a certain usefulness in resentment, and more generally in anger or bitterness. My problem with the 'leftist critique' of resentment that Dominic delineates is that it assumes that we should want a politics without affect: that instead, one accumulates a quantity of knowledge about capitalism's contradictions and calmly realises the necessity of its destruction. The peculiar idea that the class struggle should somehow exclude class anger, class hatred even.

For one thing, this is a misunderstanding of how revolutions actually work: usually couched in terms of avenging the last revolution, of taking some sort of final vengeance for the long history of defeats and brutalities, driven by raw wounds and by concrete grievance. There's an anecdote in Victor Serge's Conquered City, a semi-autobiographical novel of the Russian Civil War (which Vaneigem cites as well) in which a working class Red Army man is driven by a sense of personal and historical grievance, specifically avenging a Paris Communard he'd read about in a history class. Particular affects of rage or resentment at the 'scandalous' can, of course, be reassimilated and presented as merely exceptional. Yet that sort of shock, the visceral reaction, is surely what makes people revolt in the first place: not just through a reading of political economy, but from particular affective charges, from the concrete example of the intolerable - and this is why resentment seemed to me to be worth reclaiming in the first place, for its power.

Friday, July 27, 2007

After the Deluge

An interesting question is – what happens when the waters recede? The thought of such Tory strongholds as Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Berkshire being left with trails of debris, sewage and toxic waste is too horrifying to contemplate. The apocalyptic pronouncements are being put in early, and as ever sound entirely plausible: the carefully demarcated border between the safe-for-human-consumption and the disease-ridden, virulent by-product is being forcibly breached, by what newsreaders have been calling with nicely religiose fatalism ‘an act of God’.

Of course, being a leisurely stroll away from the Thames Barrier (and have I ever been more thankful for this fantastic parade of steel and concrete crustaceans, rising majestically out of Charlton to provide the capital’s salvation) my own patch of overpriced asphalt and brick is entirely unaffected, as yet, though whispers about how one shouldn’t drink the water have been going around. Potential other interesting upshot of this Biblical catastrophe: the only major area of new development in the UK, the Thames Gateway, is on a flood plain and after 10 years or so people are starting to ask questions about this, which is heartening, if a little ineffectual. When the first, much derided 'utopian' phase of Thamesmead was constructed around there in the 60s by the GLC, the whole complex was raised above the ground in case of such an event: a safeguard that Barratt Homes seem less likely to make.

What it all can’t help but remind me of is some recent reading, Ellis Sharp’s novel The Dump. Far from the calm urbanity of his blog, this is a gleefully putrid pile-up of waste and detritus, akin slightly to Stalker if Russian Orthodoxy was replaced with narked Trotskyism. Set in a sort of waste-camp on the outskirts of Walthamstow, ringed by impassable and invisible walls, this takes rather perverse joy in the washed up crap that we can be fairly sure is soon to be pervading all of Tewkesbury, savouring used condoms in jam jars, the encrustations of baked bean tins, the consumption of old copies of the Financial Times and the sexual possibilities of vegetables. This will, no doubt, become an increasingly familiar landscape, particularly after the riverside luxury flats have been abandoned and their denizens escaped to the hills.

See also: the Tomb on impending doom.

Fly-on-the-Wall Class War

Just occasionally, I regret not having a TV, and most recently I have regretted it because of The Tower, one episode of which I caught this week. This documentary series is set just up the road from my former locale in Deptford, and essentially catalogues an act of straightforward class warfare dressed up as Regeneration – the carving up of the Pepys Estate for the benefit of the stockbroking contingent, most glaring in the recladding and extending of one of its three towers, swiftly rebranded as the luxurious Aragon Tower. The incomers and the council tenants are profiled week-by-week, with only occasional interjections or juxtapostions of a conciliatory nature (eg, a family from each gets married, which is shown parallel to prove that we’re all the same, really) to dress up an unequivocally grotesque spectacle.

I wrote about the Pepys Estate a while ago here, and its chopping up for the benefit of developers, sharks and bankers is startlingly mendacious, even by New Labour Council standards. One of the key phrases of this is of course the creation of ‘mixed class’ areas: which, if not thought about too closely, sounds a wonderful idea: after all, no-one wants to create ghettos, etc – but the upshot is always poor areas being encroached upon by the rich, not the other way around (as opposed to Estates being built in affluent areas, which was once not an uncommon occurrence). As someone points out in The London Particular, the idea only really makes sense if we move into their areas: one block of luxury flats in Deptford in exchange for one council tower block in the heart of Hampstead would be the only fair approach. Quite how far we’ve sunk can be ascertained by the fuss made by the fact that Gordon Brown is said to be considering decriminalising council house building, a measure that would make him approximately as leftwing as Stanley Baldwin: and even that seems like a surprising move in the current climate.

Concrete Cunard

At Nothing to See Here, me on what is perhaps my favourite building in the whole wide world, Lyons Israel Ellis' Wyndham Court in Southampton, 'the world's only Brutalist ocean liner'.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

White House in Germany

A few of the pictures of my Deutsche excursion are up at Flickr, including some appropriately monochrome shots of Dessau, a town which I must write about at length, although perhaps not here (any publishers/magazines who fancy a hauntological modernist travelogue around a depressed DDR town, let me know!) It's my birthday today, only due to some Crohn's related unpleasantness I may just spend it sitting around drinking cider and watching telly, and listening to wistful birthday related songs by the Junior Boys and the Sugarcubes. Hmph.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Luft Hassle

Or, reasons why I'm a Bad Ballardian, part 4. The gap between the Platonic form of the airport and its grim reality is best encapsulated in an anecdote of Eno's, where he goes to an Airport and someone actually plays Music for Airports over the tannoy: only it's deafeningly loud, with all its limpid elegance lost in a dodgy speaker system. So, when I go to an Airport I may want to drift around it in a Ballardian manner, and Stansted must be the best to do this in: Foster's hexagonal canopies are perhaps the only works of his where you can tell he used to work with Buckminster Fuller. So it should be sterile, placid and antiseptic, the interzone where all is un-English, and 'vast populations, measured by annual passenger throughputs, are entirely transient, purposeful and, for the most part, happy' but it isn't, it's horrible.

Architectures of Control has posted on how Airports are essentially made as unpleasant as possible without inducing the consumer to riot, and much as one would like to imagine them as glamorous Eero Saarinen fantasies, they're a fantastic example of the cumbersome nature of neoliberalism. Old-school public transport on trains might take longer, but involves no pointless waiting for check in, no little bus to take you from one bit of runway to the other, no nonsense about face creams - just buy a ticket, sit down. One can enjoy a train ride. Planes, after the (always admittedly fun) initial woosh are just deadly dull and pervaded by endless regulation and bureaucracy. The interminable queueing, dithering and corporate mean-spiritedness suggests an entire mode of transport based on the experience of 21st century England.

Rubble, Tears and Dreams

Where I went on my holidays. Part One: Alexanderplatz

In Goodbye to Berlin, Christopher Isherwood claimed that 1920s Berlin had two centres - the garish commercialism around Bahnhof Zoo or the Imperial Pomposity of Unter den Linden and the Museum Island. Today you'd have to add a third, rather less lauded, except by Alfred Doblin and Fassbinder, who were depicting a very different place: Alexanderplatz, and the Stalinist plazas and squares that radiate out from it, with their vast streets, prefab towers, wide open roads and fragments of socialist realist public art - a place where, aesthetically at least, the Cold War never ended.

Alexanderplatz was my first proper sight of Berlin on my first visit a few years ago, and with the instrumental half of "Heroes" playing on my headphones it was the most perfect meld of sound and location I have ever had the pleasure of experiencing. Alexanderplatz and environs is perhaps the most sublime example of East German planning. There is a sense of incredible vastness here - not because the buildings are all that high, apart from the TV Tower they're all pygmies by Canary Wharf standards. Rather, there's an uncanny Scale: everything is too wide, rather than too tall. This collection of towers and Spaceage accoutrements (the best of which being the wonderful atomic clock) is being actively cut down to size by the 'critical reconstruction' demanded by Hans Stimmann, a planner bent on restoring a Wilhelmine 19th century unity that never really existed, with pointless roads cutting into the public space. His blank, ponderous contribition to urbanism is catalogued in Igor Paasch's excellent short film 'Danke, Hans'.

The metallic Kaufhaus has already been 'critically' reconstructed into a stripped classical block that evokes Nazi architecture more than anything else (and more of that later). In the 1920s Berlin's socialist head of planning, Martin Wagner (more of whom later too) commissioned the likes of Erich Mendelsohn and Mies van der Rohe to remake Alexanderplatz into a Modernist showcase, something only really achieved under the DDR in the 1960s: fittingly, the individual buildings aren't exactly wildly individualistic, but as an ensemble they have an undeniable power that most affect to find intimidating - yet Jane Jacobs-types should note that it worked just fine as the public space where protests forced the collapse of the DDR. The most remarkable of its buildings, Hermann Henselmann's Haus des Lehrers, is notable for being rather sweet, with its glittering Walter Womacka mural of jolly proletarians.

Henselmann, designer of the towers of the Stalinallee/Karl-Marx-Allee, the one time 'Leninplatz', and the first draft of the TV Tower, is a fascinating character. A bauhaus modernist banned from practice by the Nazis, he was a pal of Brecht's, one one of whose Herr Keuner stories concerned Henselmann's dilemma when he was required to adopt the Stalinist wedding cake style for this colossal boulevard, designed to demonstrate the DDR's anti-modernist populism and grandiose ambitions. Mr Keuner reassures the architect that after a few years the ornament will crumble off and the pure lines could shine forth. Which it did, but post-renovation the Stalinallee towers are in pristine condition, encrustations and all, so the lines in question are encumbered by richly fascinating and perverse over-ornamentation. The nearby Leninplatz is perhaps what he would have done without Party pressure: curvaceous, brightly coloured, prefabricated and stripped down, topped with a stepped central tower and a whacking great statue of Lenin: replaced, on its 1990s renaming as United Nations Platz (from action to inaction) with some random boulders.

Leninplatz was Henselmann's only essay in Plattenbauten, the standardised prefab construction method that pervades practically all East German building, high or low rise. Plattenbau has long been a fetish of hipster folk in the city, and its easy to see why - for all its quite astonishing lack of inspiration or originality, this is naif architecture: childishly simple blocks upon blocks upon blocks, with pretty 60s patterns and tiles strategically placed. Accordingly, one of the Alexanderplatz towers, the Haus des Reisens, now has a club on top, WEEK12END, which I went to for Ellen Allien and Sascha Funke. Alas, despite the rather terrifying view, the club was decidedly frumpy. Annoyingly, I've never managed to find the place in Berlin where the people look good and the music is loud. A few years ago I was fixated with the Des Essientes disco of people like Ada and Superpitcher, or Michael Mayer (circa 'Amanda' or 'Falling Hands') with their neurasthenic elegance and precise blurts of noise, but I've totally lost touch with microhouse, minimal or whatever we're calling it now. The flip towards electro-house might have been the reason for this - I liked the records, but look at a picture of Booka Shade or Tiefschwarz - eurgh. And when something is described as 'the new Daft Punk' my heart sinks (the best house things I've heard in the last couple of years are the decidedly un-hep recent Armand van Helden stuff so my opinion is perhaps moot). Nonetheless, if anyone has any recommendations, please do comment and help me not to miss the boat, again.

Much, much more fun was sitting watching the clones a-jacking to some rather punishing techno in the stunning red leatherette Ostmoderne Cafe Moskau basement, further down the Karl-Marx-Allee - which resembles an Eastern Bloc Eames in its pretty glass surfaces and cubic elegance. Nonetheless, the missing link that aesthetically joins the minimalism of one period/art form with another is still somewhat mysterious.

Next up: what the various versions of the City of the Future of the DDR, the BRD and the GEHAG are like on a day trip. Title, btw is from the self-description of the Karl-Marx-Allee's Cafe Sibylle. And ta again to my hosts...

Friday, July 20, 2007

Prefab Holiday

So, despite still being cosily enconsed in Central Europe I shall wake up the sleeping tragedy...posts on Berlin and the East German approach to Urbanism (better known as the huge roads, huge buildings, huge spaces method), Plattenbauten, the bleak joys of Dessau and more are on their way, plus longer pieces on Southampton brutalism, Richard Pare's tremendous The Lost Vanguard, 'Speculative Surrealism' and all sorts of other bits and bobs. Nonetheless I am aware there has been some rancour while I've been away. Aside from some adolescent bluster there have been some very interesting posts which I'm sure most reading this will have already read, but hats off regardless to the usual suspects, and to Dejan for surprising pithiness. I've posted on these matters so many times that it seemed superfluous to make any further statement on the issue. Anyhow: normal service shall be resumed soon enough, and in the meantime here's me on Hadid in Socialist Worker.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Berliner Schnauze

For the next ten days I'll be enjoying my annual trip to Berlin, staying just off Rosa-Luxemburg-Strasse (how can that not be exciting...?). So posts may well be thin on the ground for a bit. In the meantime go here, here and here for grim hotels, hauntogeography and capitalist realism, and Moorcock, respectively.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Hadid 'Wholesome' Claim

The Zaha Hadid - Architecture and Design spectacular at the Design Museum is, perhaps slightly irksomely, very difficult not to like. In particular, the first section, of her early 80s paintings and models, is apocalyptically exhilarating. At a time when fashionable architectural folk were busy rehabilitating various Fascist architects - Guiseppe Terragni for Peter Eisenman, Albert Speer for Leon Krier - what we have here is a violent, jagged near-chaos, taking up Malevich's unbuilt Architektons and spatialising them into a 'Suprematist Geology' rammed into the heart of London in some explicitly anti-pomo designs. Mind you: what Malevich or Melnikov would have thought of the functional use of The Peak, basically a country club for Hong Kong businessmen, is a point to ponder.

Yet the later works seem almost as powerful, for the most part: as much as one can tell from videos and photos, her buildings for Leipzig and Wolfsburg resemble a roaring, bulging neo-Brutalism rather than the prissy fripperies and facadism of many of her peers. There are big caveats though, some of which will be in a forthcoming SW review. And not mentioned there but irksome are her towers (for some reason verticality isn't her strong suit: they seem far more contrived and whimsical than the terminals, a sort of glassy, organicist 2001 equivalent to Koolhaas' CCTV tower) and much of the Design is simply twee: this Louis Vuitton bag is particularly insufferable.

But to encompass the thing that was making me uncomfortable throughout, there was a little brochure in the press pack from Omniyat Properties, the Dubai property speculators that are building her 'Opus' towers. Proclaiming their buildings to be 'singular, unique, wholesome and very well received by the market', it outlines all the joys awaiting anyone who wants to have their office in this bulging globule of capital, such as 'extravagant indulgences' alongside the more expected 'everyday amenities'. The very start of the brochure is 'born of differential thinking, the Opus is a work of art that will change the way you look at offices, and at working for that matter.' Whether that'll extend to the non-unionised homo sacer that are more than likely going to build the bloody thing is a moot point.

Doctor on the Buses

Overheard on the 188, amidst a crowd of teenagers being taken out for an outing by some very young looking teachers. This, and the fact that some of the youths are sucking their thumbs, implies the school is of the 'special' variety. 'Which is your favourite doctor, Tom Baker or David Tennant?' asks one. 'David Tennant, he's always so excited about everything' replies the teacher. Clearly unimpressed, the youth asks - 'yeah, but you don't know anything about it. What do you know about William Hartnell?'

Monday, July 09, 2007

Political Messthetics

Have been at Marxism all weekend, for some fine debates and scuffles. Highlights included an unusually measured and non-contrarian Zizek, Esther Leslie on art against art and a wonderfully clipped discussion of conspiracy theories from Lenin: but the stand out for me was China Mieville’s Marxism and Rubbish, or as it might have been titled, ‘Why Socialists Should Support Rubbish Monsters’. This was a potted history of rubbish as a political/aesthetic category, from Philip K Dick’s disintrestedly malevolent, self-generating Kipple, through to the garbage monsters in a Friends of the Earth children’s book that fight a willow tree (the young China sided with the monster, unsuprisingly), and then to Bristol City Council’s 'Uncle Tom' rubbish monster, which promotes recycling. This was a ‘Rejectamentalist Manifesto’ (he can turn a phrase, this man) in which rubbish is, like the proletariat, capitalism’s byproduct that it desperately disavows.

It began by invoking the rubbish that makes up the basic building material of the favelas, what Zizek described earlier as the ‘white areas’ on the map, and politicising it. Rubbish as something that is obsessively expunged by administrative, managerial neoliberal capitalism. Meanwhile ‘rubbish is inherently collective’, with each bit of mess of no more worth than the other, and something which offers a genuinely uncanny counter to neoliberalism’s totality – to humanise it, make it mawkish (as would Folk Art) is to neutralise it. He cites Tynan’s adding bodies to the debris of Beckett’s Breath – ‘by adding humans to the rubbish, you demean the rubbish’. (whether the cheery frequenting of jumble sales, junk markets and charity shops by art students and fashionistas is a political act being quite another matter, as Martha Rosler’s garage sale maybe inadvertently demonstrates). I was also reminded of a late 1920s Brecht story, 'North Sea Shrimps', where a couple of WW1 veterans visit an old friend who now dwells in an impeccable Bauhaus Wohnung - on finding a small part of the apartment contrived to look untidy and unmatching, one of the old soldiers tears pages from magazines and sticks them on the wall, rearranges the furniture, throws crap everywhere...

Brilliant as this was, it hit at something I’m very ambivalent about (and which I raised, in a very rushed and garbled manner) The political aesthetics of Schwitters’ Merzbau or Hannah Hoch’s collages, of (de)assembling the fragments, and of Lenin’s claim that ‘we will build the new society out of the bricks that were thrown at us’, versus the Brechtian-Benjaminian, Productivist/Constructivist imperative Efface the Traces! The Watts Towers or Tatlin's Tower. In the debate, someone mentioned the Haussmannisation of Paris, and slum clearances, whether there or when Shaftesbury Avenue was built, are frequently about purging the slum dwellers as human refuse, Yet – isn’t there a counter-tradition to this too?

That is, the occasionally rather seductive notion that in order to create the new society (or merely the new aesthetic) you ruthlessly vaporise the remains, the remnants and the detritus, lest they maintain their grim, phantasmagoric hold on the new world after their death. Gropius vs Schwitters, or The Fall vs Kraftwerk. Purity or Mess, both have their ideological elements – an obsessive purging being every bit as dubious as a fetishisation of picturesque dilapidation. But then these aren’t always irreconcilables – both were responses to the same conjuncture, both stressed collage and fragmentation, both were hostile to the world as found. After all, Moholy-Nagy helped out building the Merzbau. But as much as a question of monstrous trash, this is a question of Ghosts. Benjamin had two conceptions of this, the raging commodity phantasmagoria of 'Dreamkitsch' that claws at attempts to escape from the chintz, waste and ornament of the past, and on the other hand, the unquiet debris of the Theses on the Philosophy of History: the rubbish heap of history as a spectral avenging horde.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Supermarket Sachlichkeit

Overrated shamanic poseur Joseph Beuys once made an installation called Economic Values. This was a cabinet filled with what he considered to be consumer goods with a certain sachlichkeit - anything in packaging that didn't make a fuss, that announced what it contained without dishonesty and cant. These packages were mainly taken from the former DDR, where presumably consumerism was unencumbered by the need to aggressively flog the product - a familar Ostalgie trope, as seen in sites like the Sammlung zur DDR-Alltagskultur - and one that rests more of the unchanging nature of the design, where it is seemingly 1960 forever, than the properties of the design itself, which has much in common with midcentury design in the west - accordingly, a few BRD boxes had crept into Beuys' cabinet as well.

If there is a contemporary British equivalent to this it would be the various no frills ranges of the supermarkets. Arguably, the plain facade of the Tesco Value package is in some sort of lineage with DDR design and its 1920s antecedents - a decidedly Fordist approach, reminding of why Throbbing Gristle were so fixated with the place, slotted alongside Dalston and the Death Camps in their geography ('Tesco Disco' indeed). By far the finest though is the Sainsburys Basics Range. While the design lacks the strictness and starkness of its competitor, it impresses most because of the terse little slogans that they feature. They have a curious function, seemingly intent on inducing a certain shame in the purchaser while ostensibly trumpeting the attractiveness of the product despite certain defects which we acknowledge.

So, yesterday I filled a basket entirely from the aforementioned basics range, and can now regale you with a few of my favourites of these slogans. Simple, still in mint condition. Mixed bag, all colours and sizes. Less fruit, spreads more smoothly. No fancy packaging, just a good bar of chocolate. All shapes, all sizes. Simple recipe, brightens up meals. Washes, no added frills. Simple recipe, plenty to chew over. From concentrate, from around the world. Not so nutty, still crunchy. Less chunky, still meaty. Some broken, still fluffy when cooked. With 5% fruit, a real thirst quencher.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Bloody Tragedy

A really rather sad yet forensically precise assessment of the Prime Minister's depressing political trajectory ('rather than trying to invent a working class background for himself, Brown was the first to invent a capitalist background') by John Newsinger. 'Whereas, for Blair, the embrace of neoliberalism involved no great personal struggle because he had no previous beliefs to dispose of, for Brown it involved a deliberate decision to change sides. The effort, one suspects, damaged his personality.'

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Down with the Academies

For political reasons I really don't want to like this, but alas, I do. So I shall be going to this imminently and trying to justify my liking for Hadid and her corporate Constructivism...

Microhouses in the Microrayons

A plucky young architect and composer of my acquaintance recently declared his intention to nick details from Eastern Bloc Functionalism. There is an almost-cliched comparison made (most prominently in The Filth and the Fury) between Britain in the 1970s and Eastern Europe. Without being drawn into this dubious comparison, I did find once on the outskirts of Budapest that the first thing that sprang to mind was Thornhill in Southampton. Slab after slab after slab surrounds the outskirts of East and Central European cities, almost begging to be used as film sets. Bee Flowers, whose What's Wrong with This Approach, Comrades? profiled these Microrayons (as they are known in the former USSR) in the Manmade Molecular Megastructures issue of AD, has a site dedicated to them, with some of his astoundingly gothic, imposing photographs. Eastern Bloc Functionalism in all its imposing glory, akin to a Ville Radieuse where the sun never shines.

It's not an aesthetic I would be inclined to make a case for, unlike its interwar forbears - there does seem something indubitably cruel and frightening about them, and the process thousands of people live in enormous Mondrians spaced out among pointless countryside. This is surely the dream after it has long since curdled and gone sour. Yet I can't deny a frisson here, some hint of the sublime about the whole operation. One almost wants to argue for them, suggest that just given an allotment or two and an injection of cash they could be fine - yet surely, here if anywhere are the limits for the apologist for system building and untamed modernism (heheheh, he says). Yet this is where 80% of Russians actually live, and to dismiss them off the cuff is as callous, surely, as the original aesthetic impulse. And isn't there something decidedly dubious about getting one's jollies from contemplating the sublime inhumanity of others' homes? So what is valuable in these pictures is that they make the Microrayons look, in their sombre, obsessive way, rather beautiful.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Formica Liberation Front

A few quick links and things: IT, newly arrived in her Berlin summer flat, has posted up an excellent piece on Makavejev, Sexpol, Otto Muehl and other such things at the Kino Fist site; I Like's postcards are going like the proverbial hotcakes and are very much recommended (my personal favourite being this, whatever exactly it is); lots of new things are up at my flickr, including, eventually, my photos of Denys Lasdun's UEA ziggurats; and finally, skullduggery from Westminster council unknown since the days of Shirley Porter is leading to the almost certain closure of the New Piccadilly, months earlier than its neighbours presumably in order to avoid protests. This magnificent caff is not only perhaps the only one to open after 4 bleeding PM, it is also a work of art in technicolour formica, standing untouched for fifty years. Myself and others are considering ways of resisting this affront, including possibly somehow chaining ourselves to said formica tables.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

The (Repressive) Function of the Orgasm

Bat on WR: Mysteries of the Organism, shown yesterday at the newly salubrious Kino Fist. 'Our tradition (ie the SWP) has always argued that the existence of prostitutes in Cuba means that it's not socialist but state capitalist. The fact that there were Hippies in Yugoslavia leads to the same conclusion.' For a somewhat more nuanced take, Limited Inc has coincidentally just seen it.