Oh My Guardian #3

“A theatre director and therapist, she had been volunteering in Calais since August 2015, initially distributing donations and then running workshops.” — Borderline: the play finding the funny side of the Calais migrant camp, The Guardian, 21/vi/2017.


Previously pre-posted…

Oh My Guardian #1
Oh My Guardian #2
Reds under the Thread

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Terminal Breach

It’s said that, if you hear “in terms of” 23 times in 23 hours on the 23rd of the month, the ghost of William Burroughs will appear and offer you a heroin enema.

I don’t know whether this is true.


Elsewhere other-engageable:

William S. Burroughs
Alan Moore, C.B.E.
Michael Moorcock
Will Self
Stewart Home
Cormac McCarthy
Dr Joan Jay Jefferson
Serpent’s Tail
Titans of Trangression

Bash the Pash

An heretical Guardianista keyly critiquizes a core component of Guardianese:

I recently considered nominating for a board position on a professional association to which I belong, so I had a look at the biographical statements of the incumbents. One claimed to be “passionate about helping individuals, businesses, and communities thrive”, another declared “a particular passion for thought leadership and executive profiling”, and another revealed “a passion for social inclusion”. Yet another claimed “a passion about creating valuable career development opportunities for the profession”. The best was the one that stated, without irony, “a passion for working on meaningful projects”.

In days gone by, job applicants listed hobbies. These days, it appears candidates are expected to declare, not merely interests or things they like doing, but things they are allegedly passionate about. — Being enthusiastic is no longer enough. Now we must all be passionate, Paul Begley, The Guardian, 13/vii/2016.


Elsewhere other-engageable:

Ex-term-in-ate!
Reds under the Thread
Titus Graun — Heresy, Homotextuality, Hive-Mind
Oh My Guardian

Metricizing Michael…

All right-thinking folk are agreed that the Peckham-based author and visionary Michael Moorcock is a core colossus of the counter-culture. As the Guardian put it in 2007, he’s “the incendiary keystone of the visionary vortex that crystallized around New Worlds magazine in the 1960s, sparking a transgressive tornado that has sculpted paradigm-defying narratives of mutant sexuality, psychology and politics on an almost daily basis for over fifty years.”

But how often have keyly committed components of the Moorcock-fan community wished they had some objective mode of metricizing the coreness of the colossusness of his counter-culturality?

Well, the wait is over:

site:http://www.multiverse.org/ “in terms of”

About 4,910 results (0.56 seconds)

• in terms of sci-fi recommendations, I gotta go — Moorcock’s
• They’re really rebellious in terms of gender, in terms of sex, in terms of politics, the portrayal of society and race, and I really want that to be …
• In terms of games I am rediscovering Zelda: Majora’s Mask with updated graphics and sound.
• … and to describe such elements in terms of Good and Evil seems (as I hope I demonstrate) a rather useless way of looking at our problems.
• We’ve reached a point, in this new century, that can be identified as both technologically and sociologically, futuristic, even in terms of the very recent past and …
• I’m wondering about stillborn-siblings in terms of esoterica: are they the next sibling born after the stillbirth, making a short appearance (i.e. is …
• I can say I’ve had one good experience with a press release distribution service, in terms of acquiring reviews.
• In terms of chronology, however, it would have to fit in somewhere between the novels The Fortress of the Pearl and The Sailor on the Seas of [Fate]


Elsewhere other-posted:

Ex-term-in-ate!

Les Sez

In Terms of My Natural Life

(a pome crafted by Les Patterson)

I am an Australian in terms of Nation
And a Public Servant in terms of vocation,
But there’s one thing amazes my critics and that’s
How many I wear in terms of hats:
I chair the Cheese Board, I front the Yartz
You could term me a man of many parts.
I’m a Renaissance type, if you know the term
And I’ve held long office in terms of term,
Yes, I’ve long served Australia in terms of years
And in terms of refreshment I like a few beers.
My opponents are mongrels, scum and worms
Who I bucket in no uncertain terms
And my rich vocabulary always features
Large in terms of my public speeches.
My favourite terms in terms of debate
Are: “broadbased package” and “orchestrate”.
But one term I never employ is “failure” —
Especially when talking in terms of Australia!
For in terms of lifestyle we’ve got the germs of
A ripper concept to think in terms of.
Yes, in terms of charisma I’ve got the game mastered
In anyone’s terms I’m a well-liked bastard.

From the Back With A Vengeance Tour Brochure © 1989 Sir Les Patterson.


Elsewhere Other-Engageable:

Sir Les’s Website
Ex-Term-In-Ate!

Fiat Flux

Q. How many Guardianistas does it take to change a light-bulb?

A. In terms of an initial / preliminary response around this obviously loaded question, I’d like to begin by problematicizing the notion that it is possible to erect an overt illuminational hierarchy whereby notions of “light” are privileged over notions of “darkness” through deployment of an “objective” and/or “value-free” modality of environmental interrogation via soi disant “sensory” channels. Next, it will (of course) be vital to undertake an in-depth consultation-exercise / impact-assessment with any and all vulnerable minority-communities of ethnicity, sexuality, gender-fluidity and/or other alternate ontology. We must ensure, on a keyly non-negotiable basis of absolute core non-negotiability, that their “fringe” inputs are prioritized on an on-going basis in terms of the decision-making process taking place around the problematicized notion of “changing” the allegedly “dead” so-called “bulb”. Issues around adequate resourcing of the consultation-exercise / impact-assessment must be addressed as a matter of urgency, with ring-fenced contingencies in place safeguarding provision of all necessary trauma counselling for vulnerable communities and/or individuals adversely impacted on a negative basis by the “bulb”-transitioning procedure and/or (indeed) the consultation-exercise / impact-assessment it/them/self/ves. Furthermore…

Mi Is Mirror

I hope that nobody thinks I’m being racially prejudiced when I say that, much though I am fascinated by her, I do not find the Anglo-American academic Mikita Brottman physically attractive. It is her mind that has raised my longstanding interest, nothing more.

Honest.

This is because, for me, Ms B is like a mirror that reverses not left and right, but male and female.

Obviously, we’re different in a lot of ways: I don’t smoke and I don’t have any tattoos, for example.

But there are big similarities too.

We were born in the same year (1956) and we were both keyly core contributors to seminal early issues of the transgressive journal Headpress Journal.

And we have various other things in common, like our mutually shared passion for corpse’n’cannibal cinema, our Glaswegian accents and (at different times) our season tickets for Hull Kingston Rovers.

So it is that, looking at Ms B, I have the uncanny experience of seeing myself as I might have been, had I been born female.

But it’s not just uncanny.

It’s horrifying at times too.

Okay, I’m comfortable with the idea that, born female, I would have been less intelligent and more conformist. So I don’t mind that Ms B is a Guardianista. Not particularly. I can face the fact that I would quite likely have been one of them too, as a female.

But there are worse things than being a Guardianista, believe it or not.

Ms B has a PhD in EngLit.

A PhD!

In EngLit.

It’s not at all easy for me to face the fact that I might have had one too, as a female. It really isn’t. But how can I deny it? I might have. That despicable, deplorable, thoroughly disreputable subject might have attracted me. In fact, it would probably have attracted me.

<retch>

But it gets worse still.

Ms B is a psychoanalyst.

A psychoanalyst.

Ach du lieber Gott!

See what I mean by “horrifying”?

I mean, even if I’d been born female I wouldn’t have sunk to such depths, would I? Would I? No, I have to face facts: I might. But I don’t think so. I have a feeling that there’s more to Brotty’s interest in Freud than her gender statusicity and her key commitment to core componency of the counter-cultural community.

But I’d better say no more. Verb sap.

World Wide Watchmen

I prefer to self-issue books in a library. It’s quicker and more convenient. And you feel okay about borrowing books suggestive of sordid and socially unacceptable tastes. For example, who would want to hand a copy of Watch You Bleed to a live librarian?

Well, I wouldn’t mind. I find it amusing to be mistaken for a G’n’R fan, just as I find it amusing to be mistaken for a Guardian-reader. But there are limits, so I’m grateful for self-issue when I borrow, say, a biography of Martin Amis or that book about The Simpsons. The trouble is, nowadays we have to be more dubious about self-issue than we used to be. It’s all on computer and it isn’t just librarians who might be scanning the record of books you borrow. No, you also have to ask yourself: What will the NSA, GCHQ and MOSSAD think?

With this in mind, I’d like to put it clearly on record: I got that book out last year for research purposes only. Nothing more. I am not – repeat not – a fan of Iron Maiden. The same applies to that other book this year. I got it out for research purposes only, I swear. Inter alia, I had a hypothesis to confirm. I am not – repeat not – a fan of his.

Front cover of Iron Maiden: On Board Flight 666

And was the hypothesis confirmed? Yes, thanks for asking, it was.


As for Big Numbers, Moore asserted: “It is the most advanced comic work I’ve ever done in terms of the storytelling.” — Magic Words: The Extraordinary Life of Alan Moore, Lance Parkin, pg. 266 (Aurum 2013)


Elsewhere other-posted:

Ex-term-in-ate!

Guns’n’Gladioli

Front cover of A Light That Never Goes Out by Tony FletcherA Light That Never Goes Out: The Enduring Saga of the Smiths, Tony Fletcher (Windmill Books 2013)

Coke, booze, earsplitting volume. Not a combination you associate with the Smiths. But it was there, as you’ll learn from this book. Towards the end, they were almost turning into Guns’n’Gladioli. Morrissey, of course, was the odd one out: he wasn’t battering his brain-cells with drink and drugs on their final American tour. But back home his Lichtmusik was also lout-music: the Smiths didn’t just appeal to bedsit miserabilists in rain-hammered humdrum towns. No, they appealed to some football hooligans too, including a Chelsea fan who didn’t mind being asked, “You still wanking off over that miserable northern poof?” as he travelled north by train to do battle with Manchester United and Manchester City, who also supplied hoolifans to the Smiths (pp. 509-10). So did football clubs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. The Smiths are easy to caricature, but the caricatures don’t capture their complexity.

Tony Fletcher does capture it: the band, their music, their fans, friends, producers, studio-engineers and record-labels. He’s definitely a Guardianista, but his prose is plodding rather than painful and he does a good job of putting the poof and his partners into context. The 1980s is one important part of that context. So are Irish Catholicism and Manchester. When you look at pictures of the Smiths, you can see two clear divisions. One of them separates the singer, guitarist and drummer from the bassist: the dark-haired, bushy-browed, strong-faced Morrissey, Johnny Marr and Andy Rourke clearly belong to one race and the light-haired, lesser-browed, milder-faced Mike Joyce to another. They’re Irish and he’s English: the British Isles are rich in language and rich in biology too. But Morrissey’s height and handsomeness also separate him from Marr, Rourke and Joyce, like his polysyllabic name. Both must be related to his intelligence, his creativity and his ability to turn himself into the Pope of Mope and become much more famous than any of the other three. Fletcher doesn’t talk about this biology – as I said, he’s a Guardianista – but it’s implicit in his descriptions of Irish settlement in Manchester and of Morrissey’s genius.

Mozza with some flora and fauna

Mozza with some flora and fauna

Is that too strong a word? Maybe. Morrissey is certainly the interesting and original one in this book and it ends with his story only just beginning. You can feel the tug of his later career throughout the book: it’s not discussed, but you know it’s there. But Fletcher isn’t concentrating on Morrissey and doesn’t seem very interested in Carry On and Brit-film in the 1960s, so he’s less good on what might be called the Smythos: the world created by Morrissey in his lyrics and interviews. Morrissey’s influences are better explained in Simon Goddard’s Mozipedia (2009), which isn’t just about the New York Dolls, the Cockney Rejects and vegetarianism. It has also entries for everyone from Hawtrey and Housman to Williams and Wilde by way of Sandy Shaw, Shelagh Delaney and Jobriath. No-one will ever devote an encyclopaedia to Marr like that: music doesn’t have as much meaning and metaphor in it. It has emotion and beauty instead and Fletcher is good at describing how Marr created a lot of both on albums like Meat Is Murder and Strangeways Here We Come.

Front cover of Mozipedia by Simon Goddard

Front cover of Mozipedia by Simon Goddard

I’ve never liked him much, though. I like what he did with the guitar and in the studio, but I don’t like what he did to his body and mind. Or what he put on his body: he didn’t have Mozza’s way with weeds either. In the photos, you can clearly see Morrissey’s narcissism and Marr’s weediness. It’s no surprise that Marr smoked a lot of marijuana, preferred working at night and didn’t eat properly. But he’s weedy in more ways than the physical: there’s also a photo of him with Billy Bragg, the committed socialist behind Red Wedge. This was a collective of musicians and bands who wanted to make the world a better place by fighting Fatcher, fascism and free speech with their fantastic music. Morrissey had his lefty opinions too, but he didn’t like collectives and he didn’t scorn just Margaret Thatcher and the Queen: Bob Geldof and Live Aid got the sharp side of his tongue too. Which is good. Mozza is worshipped by Guardianistas, but he’s not a Guardianista himself.

Or not wholly. The hive-mind hasn’t been able to hum him fully into line, unlike Marr and Bragg. As for Rourke and Joyce: their politics don’t matter and the most interesting thing one of them does in this book is get stung by a sting-ray (pp. 539-40). They were competent musicians, but they weren’t essential to the Smiths. Joyce is most important for causing trouble, not for strumming his bass: first there was the heroin addiction, then the 21st-century court-case in which he sued for more money and earnt Morrissey’s undying enmity. Fletcher barely mentions the court-case and ends the book in the 1980s, with the Smiths exhausted, antagonistic and unfulfilled. They never achieved their full potential and though few bands do, few bands have had more to offer than the Smiths. The Beatles were one and managed to offer it from the nearby northern city of Liverpool. They were Irish Catholic too. But, like the Smiths, they achieved success in England, not Ireland. That’s important and the younger band captured it in their name. “Smiths” is an Anglo-Saxon word with ancient roots and difficult phonetics. It seems simple, but it isn’t. Rather like light.

The Term Turns dot dot dot

In Titus Graun, I interrogated issues around the Grauniness, or Guardianisticity, of two keyly committed core components of the counter-cultural community: the semiotician Stewart Home and the æsthetician John Coulthart. Seeking to utilizate their usage-metrics for the core/epicentral Guardianista phrase “in terms of” (i.t.o.), I interrogated their personal websites like this in terms of January 2013:

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “in terms of”
About 2,180 results

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “the”
About 8,860 results

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “and”
About 8,150 results


site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “in terms of”
About 123 results

site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “the”
About 602 results

site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “and”
About 599 results

Noting that Coulthart’s site used “the/and” approximately 14 times more often than Home’s, I adjusted Home’s raw i.t.o.-score accordingly: 123 x 14 = 1722. I concluded that Coulthart, with an i.t.o.-score of 2180, was approximately 26·59% Graunier than Home – exactly as one might have hoped, given that Coulthart is not merely a Guardianista (good), but a gay Guardianista (doubleplusgood). But that was in terms of January. When I re-interrogated their websites in terms of June 2013, I discovered that the semiotic situation had transitioned in a most disturbing and disquieting way:

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “in terms of”
About 1,080 results

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “the”
About 8,680 results

site:http://www.johncoulthart.com “and”
About 8,010 results


site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “in terms of”
About 119 results

site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “the”
About 541 results

site:http://www.stewarthomesociety.org “and”
About 536 results

I was aghast (literally) to see that Coulthart’s i.t.o.-metrics have spiked (in reverse). Other lexicostatistical metrics have transitioned relatively little: his site now seems to use “the/and” approximately 15·5 times more often than Home’s. Home’s raw i.t.o.-score is 119 and 119 x 15·5 = 1844·5. So it is now Home who is approximately 70·78% Graunier than Coulthart.

This can only be described as highly suspicious. What has Coulthart been up to? Has he been spraying his site with verbicide? Has he donned a black Savoy nihilinja-suit™, crept out under cover of darkness and clubbed innocent i.t.o.’s as they lay basking in the feral radiance of Manchester’s Most Maverick Messiahs? If so, this is “‘Pushing the Transgressive Envelope Too Far’ Too Far” too far. Even M.M.M.M. must look askance at behaviour like that. Surely.


Previously pre-posted (please peruse):

Titus Graun
Ex-term-in-ate!
Reds under the Thread