Henry Bond Blog

2022 08 11

What is the point or meaning of improvisation in creativity? My connection to improvisation is via jazz music. I had been collecting jazz music for thirty years until Spotify came in and then I stopped. The type of jazz that I like is very unpopular with most people. It is often referred to as free jazz or experimental jazz. I know it is a very niche thing. Look music is a very personal thing. If you are not familiar with this type of jazz search Spotify for Leo by John Coltrane. That is what I am talking about. You will either like that or you won't. It is very unlikely you will say: I quite like it. This sort of music is polarizing. Most people when you put on Leo by John Coltrane think you are having a joke at their expense. People can get very affronted by late Coltrane. Some of the people who get most affronted are those who think an album like Blue Train is good Coltrane. Look Coltrane recorded some very poor and middle-of-the-road records. It is called needing a fix. That is the reason for it. Needing to get juiced with a spike. A lot of those dates way back he got paid cash on the nail on the day. If you really want to hear the classic Coltrane sound it is not on many records. The most representative is Live at the Village Vanguard. The big thing with Coltrane is that he just comes up to the mic and starts soloing and that is it for about fifteen minutes. That was not how jazz was done in 1961. Coltrane introduced the idea that he was just going to solo indefinitely on every track. As I say something like India or Chasin' The Trane on Live at the Village Vanguard. People think Coltrane was quite chipper compared to the darkness of Miles but that is not quite right. They were both dark and fairly depressive people. Miles was trying to escape the influence of Louis Armstrong. Miles came up with his signature Harmon mute sound quite early in his career. The idea with Miles's sound is that until high fidelity audio recording came in in the late 1950s you would hardly have been able to hear a trumpet player who was using a mute. Miles realized that with good quality mics you can play muted and just stand very close to the mic which is what he did. Coltrane on the other hand was trying to escape the influence of Charlie Parker. Coltrane's attack is nothing like Parker's. Coltrane was obsessed with repetition and repeating figures. He was literally obsessed. He would take a melody like Greensleeves from 1580 and he would go almost insane improvising on a simple melody like that. The melody of Greensleeves can be played by infant school pupils. He liked My Favorite Things too. Coltrane could improvise on a tune like that indefinitely. You can hear one version of his Greensleeves on the album Africa/Brass. So Coltrane is about obsession and obsessing. Miles by contrast is about stripping out introverted soloing altogether so that eventually on say Nefertiti from 1967 Miles just plays the main theme through repeatedly with Shorter and that is it. There are no jazzy solos at all. He does not solo at all. The thing with Nefertiti is that you might think some solos are around the corner but they are not. This is the record where Herbie said to Miles at the recording: sometimes I just am not sure what to play. And Miles said: don't play nothing then. Meaning: do not feel obliged to play all the time. Just play here and there when it strikes you no need to comp or complement the brass players. And that is what he did. So with Nefertiti you get something that is very minimal whereas at the same time Coltrane had become oppressively maximal.

Look as I was explaining in my post dated 2022 08 09 I use my own eyes and ears as a crucial component of my research. I know some have said that this is not a rigorous approach. And on that count I bid you farewell. We need more people theorizing around what they see and hear for themselves not fewer. Anyway in a classical Lynchian—Peter not David—way I can reflect on the truly vexed status of the book in modern life. I can only speak about England. I don't really travel and soon I will not be allowed to travel anyway. May I just say that the puerile PR efforts of the publishing industry to confirm that all is well and book sales are growing year on year are absurd nonsense. Who can say why they lie like this? The people who control the main UK publishing houses could never tell the truth about anything. The truth disgusts them. The publishers exploit their writers in a 90 to 10 split of income. I would not trust what an exploiter says. Would you? An Amazon executive recently told me that books now account for less than 5 percent of Amazon's income. Anyway it is plain to see that the book has been comprehensively usurped and ousted by the smartphone. It is amazingly difficult for the book—fiction or non fiction—to compete with a device which is addictive and which is being used by an addict. We all observe phone addiction everyday. The user takes ahold of their phone and taps in a certain code which is almost always their date of birth. Then a certain agenda of checking and getting updated or getting fixed if I may occurs. It occurs very importantly in a cycle. The cycle begins with checking texts and WhatsApp messages. This review of the pending correspondance will be followed by carrying out some correspondance replies. Yes replies. The replies that are always needed to be typed up with great urgency—as if the world really depends on a reply being given as soon as possible. These replies often include emojis. Emojis are an aspect of ideological control intended to infantilize the people. Anyway the great alacrity around the replies this is the first priority. With current correspondance covered the user will then give themselves a sort of break or reward for all the hard work completed. And do you know what that break will consist of? Yes you know very well. It is the opening up of Instagram. And then the phone checking really gets into its stride. Now here again their will be essentially a review process that takes place. The review of recent posts by other members can take quite a while. And then ongoing as the reviewing is continuing comes the requirement to write something intelligent as a response to many of the posts seen. This intelligent reply aspect takes up quite a bit of time. Sometimes the intelligent aspect will go as the addict descends into emojis. Now what is up next? Yes you are right. Is is the coming up to date with news. Now this can be done on many apps so the user will take their pick. The fact is that it will be only on mainstream media. These are believed by the user to be reliable. Like say BBC News or a classic one The Guardian. And then one that many feel embarrassed about but it does not stop them going on it Mail Online. Now with correspondance done and Insta reviews done and news covered it comes to the forth element that can be called free time. This is the time for silly frivolous things. Many people go to TikTok for this but it could also be going on apps like TMZ about celebrity gossip. So there you have it a phone checking with four principal components. At the end of this four-step process the user will do something that is intrinsic to the cyclical aspect. Having completed the four steps then there is at that moment quite an attraction or craving to immediately start the process again with a second review of correspondance in messages and WhatsApp. I would say for many this urge to as it were go again is near overwhelming. Now in this context of contemporary leisure time I ask you is there really much time or space for reading a book? We all know very well that there is not. Or the classic reading a book with frequent breaks accepted for phone checking. That is just about 6.3 billion people we are considering here if we are going to extrapolate. Or in the UK 53 million users. 53 million addicts. Caught up in a horrifying addiction. Alas the book. The book is kind of over. Sorry to say that. Unless you could find a way of making the book addictive.

2022 08 10

Finally I have gone vegan. I don't know what took me so long. That means that I don't consume or wear animal products. The obvious ones being meat and leather. God knows this was long overdue. I have been vegetarian for about ten years. I think the slaughter of animals on a mass scale is fundamentally ideological. Every year in the UK approximately 2.6 million cattle 10 million pigs 14.5 million sheep and lambs 80 million fish and 950 million birds are slaughtered for human consumption—figures from HSA. This diet is not about nutrients or taste it is about glorifying death. Killing on this scale elevates death to a normalized ritual. It is all about normalizing death. Death must be celebrated. Our culture is built on death adoration. Every meal at which a person eats a dead animal reinforces and inculcates death. It is all about graduation. Killing animals is to me a classic gateway. You start with animals and who knows where it will end? The dominant ideology is very concerned to indoctrinate death and slaughter. It stands to any basic logic that humans surrounding themselves with this much killing is bound to have a psychological impact. If I might quote Macbeth Act III Scene 4: All causes shall give way: I am in blood/ Stepp'd in so far that should I wade no more/ Returning were as tedious as go o'er. You take the body of an animal into your own body. It is a very disturbing thing to do. The only reason more people don't balk is for the reason of the extreme normalization. All children at a certain age should be obliged to take a day trip to a local slaughterhouse so they see the ritual killing first hand. What is a fair age to do that? Then they make their own mind up about what they think about it and if they want to participate. There is an amazing level of repression of the slaughterhouse. What goes on there can never be witnessed. What goes on there can never be discussed. And in fact what goes on there can never even be thought about. I was vegetarian as an infant as my mother was a hippie. She started feeding me meat at a certain point after a certain incident around age seven. I was on a play date with a boy in Liphook Hampshire. His mother served up a meal and I asked: what is that? I had never seen meat before. She explained what it was. At that I burst into tears and insisted on going home immediately. After that my mother panicked and started giving me meat because she was worried I would become a social outcast. Do you see her reasoning? Anyway in the 1990s I drifted away from vegetarianism sadly. It was about eating in restaurants. Restaurants normalize the carnivore more than anything else. At that time in good restaurants there were no vegetarian options. You would be surprised the subtle pressure on one to start eating meat. It is like the subtle pressure to drink. It is always there being offered. People always try to convince me to eat meat. They are disappointed that I don't want to join in their feast of death. If there wasn't an ideological dimension why would anyone really care what I ate? It is taken as an affront. So is not consuming alcohol. What turned me back to vegetarianism was reading at some point PKD's story Beyond Lies the Wub. This is what genius is all about. A genius does not think like you and I. Of course not. All I can ask is that you read it. It is only about five pages. To me every person who gets a meal from McDonald's should be served with a takeaway cup full of raw cow's blood. It should be mandatory and then you can do what you want with it. Just pour it down the sink. It would be there to remind the diner what it is that they are eating and how they came to be eating it. That will probably never happen. The burger is there to create the maximum level of amnesia about what you are eating. The burger as a format for meat is absolutely ideological. Mince. Grinding mince.

At some moment the great powers are going to start carving up the world. Just like Orwell predicted. Orwell predicted three powers only—Oceania Eurasia and Eastasia. You have got to compete with China at some point by scale and by population. By the next pandemic or the one after that having a massive long unpoliceable border will be completely out of the question. I think at some moment with the USA the only option would be to extend the territory down to Panama. You are going to have to be able to control your borders whatever it takes. It could begin as something like a protectorate agreement signed with Mexico and the Central American countries but it is not going to be optional. Then you would have a completely impenetrable USA border at Panama City. It is very difficult to build up a significant hostile fighting force on the promontory of Eastern Panama. So I think the de facto USA border would be Panama City to Colón. That is 45 miles that the USA would have to protect. I think that is feasible because of the promontory. I think Eastern Panama would become an officially depopulated zone. So any fighting force making its way up from Colombia would have to pass through Eastern Panama. Once any hostile force entered the region of Darién National Park then they would come under fire. To the north I think the same kind of protectorate agreement would be signed with Canada so that the USA would have not just Alaska but all of that geographical region. Obviously Alaska would be massively fortified at some point. The USAF bases Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson and Eielson would be built up compared to what they are now and the bay area of Deering-Buckland would become a naval base. Only then are you looking at the USA having any meaningful border control. All residents of the protectorate regions would be handed US passports. That would about double the population from 330 million to around 700 million. It sounds quite wild but something like this will probably happen. Once we enter the next pandemic most of our ordinary assumptions will go by the wayside. When you have got a pandemic that is actually a virulent infectious disease with a fatality rate of anything more than say three to four percent then you are going to close your borders and if that means creating a new border then so be it. The fatality rate of Covid-19 is less than one percent. Of course for all protectorate citizens USA mandated vaccines would be obligatory. Protectorate citizens would not have freedom of movement into the Old USA.

What do they use Xkeyscore for? Xkeyscore is a so-called full-take software program. It collects all sorts of data including emails and browsing history and makes it all accessible with a single search box into which the intelligence operative enters a name or an email address or another so-called strong selector. One of the PowerPoint stacks that Ed Snowden shipped out of the NSA explains how the operative might proceed. You go looking for unusual activity. Now what could that be? Well it could be someone looking around on Google Maps at certain places. Why is a person visiting certain places on Street View? Would there be a good reason why a person keeps checking out a certain geographical site? Like maybe a well-known place that is known for being of symbolic or strategic significance. Does anything else they are doing online seem strange such as say using encryption for communications? You have got a complete digital picture of your target so you are looking for connections from one suspicious thing to another. Let's say a person keeps visiting a certain site on Google Maps well okay. So then you go and see if anything in their Internet browsing history looks odd. Like going on say Jihadist sites. What you are looking for on Xkeyscore is a leading indicator of suspicious activity and then you follow up. Is the person going on Tor? The NSA has a record of every person who has ever used Tor. Why would you be using it? Why would you be using it if you weren't doing something suspicious? Any person trying to protect anonymousness online is doing something suspicious on some level. Xkeyscore is essentially a software that allows the operative to do as it were detective work on any person. In the end you are either a troubling suspect or it seems you are not. Either way you will never know if you have been scanned and checked in this way so it makes no real difference to anything. You could ensure that someone will look into you on Xkeyscore. Go have a look at the US Embassy in Jerusalem on Google Maps a couple of times using Street View. Now try going on Tor for a bit. Then type a search for the term Salafi martyrdom into Google and then maybe search for Sarin attack. That should do it. Snowden did say that just searching for the term Xkeyscore automatically gets you on the list. The issue with Xkeyscore is that once you are on the system and it is collecting your digital footprint that is it. They don't really take people off the list.

2022 08 09

Why is the CCP allowed to press on with their totalitarian reign with impunity? One answer is to say that it is because other world powers are actively seeking to normalize autocracy. The way the CCP governs is a model you might say. It is the model to end all other models. Perhaps as both Orwell and Freud alluded to in the end the extreme desire of some to control others and reduce them to subservience is an unavoidable human trait that has always defined history thus far. This one really is 'Twas ever thus. What Orwell was really predicting was that the means to control billions at the same time has never really existed before. Surveillance technology is absolutely key to control in Oceania. The significant thing in China as compared to other dictatorships is the amount of people involved: 20 percent of all humans living in oppression and fear with few rights under a state that invades their privacy and seeks to control through coercion. Look Saudi Arabia do a great job of autocracy but it is 0.5 of a percent of the total population. That is serious small fry. It is kid stuff. You need an autocratic state with some big numbers if you are ever going to get this going. How many people actually set CCP policy? Less than a hundred I would say. The vast hierarchies below these men carry out CCP policy because of fear coercion or delusion. You could say that the CCP is the vanguard. As I mentioned in another post North Korea is a puppet state of the great powers it is perhaps allowed to remain on the basis that anyone who asserts that China is a totalitarian state can be rebutted with the argument: China is not totalitarian North Korea is. The state powers of Europe and the USA look on at China and they are observing with interest. Nothing like this has ever been mounted before so it is all a bit unknown. At some point you might turn to cultural differences. The idea that Europeans could never be subjugated as those of Asian stock. It relies on racism that argument really does it not? But if you look at the mass reaction to the Covid-19 measures in the West that argument cannot stand anyway. Under Covid-19 the independent spirit was conquered very effectively. It is all about the force of propaganda. Joseph Goebbels spoke and wrote extensively about the power of propaganda in Nazi Germany. Once you get the people believing a myth en masse it begins to become unstoppable. The myth becomes a self-sustaining mass delusion. The chief psychologists of the USA and UK were very important behind the scenes in advising on the Covid-19 measures. In the USA and the UK the people could not conceive that they were being manipulated. It was never allowed to emerge as a serious argument. The state set out what was required of every good person and that was enough. The interesting thing is that only very scant evidence about the disease itself was ever presented. This did not seem to be a big sticking point at all. There was an expectation that in the end you trust the experts. The next time they ask the population en masse to accept what a hitherto unknown group of experts are espousing this will surely mark the beginning of the next phase of control. It is of course also notable the extent to which dissenters were very easily dismissed as eccentrics or unpatriotic. I know from bitter personal experience that it is foolhardy to put your life in the hands of an appointed expert who it is said knows better than you. Rule number one: be sceptical of any expert who is demanding that you do something that undoubtedly carries grave risks. Why are they so intent on gaining your confidence? Is it entirely altruistic? How can you be so sure?

My critical philosophy is comparable really to the proposal Peter Lynch makes in his famous book One Up on Wall Street from 1989. You can use your own everyday life as a key indicator of things worth investing in and how brands are doing. That is what he says. So for example if you notice that everyone you talk to is ordering their stuff from Amazon these days then that may well be a leading indicator that Amazon stock is going to rise—obviously that started a very long time ago. Or you might notice that everyone uses a smartphone these days in particular an Apple one. So if you had noticed that around 2010 Lynch would say that that would have been reason to buy Apple stock. Or you might notice that everyone went over to Netflix and Spotify at a certain point. You can pick stocks just by looking at the world around you. You do not need to think that stock investment choices must be solely driven by reading long company reports and listening to quarterly figures and getting a subscription to financial papers and these kind of things that's all Lynch is really saying. Stocks seem to many people to be some kind of abstract entity so it is important to always keep in mind that a successful company will be involved with your daily life. A company is its products. It is what it offers to the ordinary person. There is not another special factor: it is all out there for all to see. I am not advocating buying or trading shares. So for me my attack is very similar. Critiquing begins with critiquing the ordinary everyday world around us. That's the foundation of what I am interested in. Thinking about how ideological and political the small things around you actually are and that for me is really the basis of critical thinking. As with stocks there's a myth that critical thinking is somehow separated off in its own highfalutin' world. To me everything around us is ideological. Everything. So let me take an example from today if I may. It is just as a for instance. I note that in London where I live it is certainly a fact that very few people can ever be seen reading a printed newsprint newspaper or a printed magazine. It is not something that you really see people doing that much anymore. So too it is obvious from observing others that people take their news these days from the Internet and from their smartphone devices with the news apps. That is not something that any newspaper owner knows more about than me that's really I think my central point here. The newspaper baron does not have some secret special knowledge. The newspaper baron can look at all manner of statistics around this topic but the basic reality is known as much by me as her. She and I can both plainly see that nobody really buys physical printed newspapers anymore they get their information on their apps and they get their information on the Internet using things like their iPads. The physical newspaper is updated once per 24 hours as compared to the app which is updated frequently and I do not need inside information to see that that is what people prefer. The same holds true for the green agenda. I know that people are into using less and less paper because it is considered wasteful and demands chopping down trees. And then with the newspaper and magazine there is also the aspect of moving the publication from the printing works to the corner shop and that takes a lot of vans which create a lot of CO2. And people are increasingly against CO2. Again I don't need to read some specialized research or stats to know all this. It is easy for me to assert based on what I have just observed that at some point soon enough buying a physical printed newspaper or magazine will be actually frowned upon. It might take a few years but that is inevitable. If you follow what you observe around you some things become very obvious. So you can see how I have arrived at quite a strong point of view based on the critical use of anecdotal information. That is just as a for instance. So that brings me to the second aspect of my philosophy which is about delivery. Critical thinking has to be about encouraging others to think critically and to that end I espouse simple clear prose published in places that will reach the maximum audience. Naomi Wolf is one of my idols. Of course. Have you got a better one? Exemplary in every way. As a writer I try to emulate Naomi Wolf: sharp observation. Honesty. Critical thinking always. One of the things Wolf says is that writing in a pretentious academic style is alienating the very people that could be your best audience if you want to bring abut social change. Writing in a pompous academic style is utterly self-defeating. She cites Freud Jung and Orwell as basic examples of clear straightforward prose. I would add J.G. Ballard Walter Benjamin and Jean Baudrillard to that. If you write in an academic style for a journal nobody reads then I would like to know what is your justification for doing that? Surely it stands to reason that if you have got a good point to make you would want to reach the widest audience possible? No? It is counter-intuitive to limit down your audience if you are in any way a critically engaged writer.

Let's say you work at Tate or Whitechapel and a big part of your remit is encouraging in to the gallery people who for cultural or social reasons have never popped in to Tate or Whitechapel before. So for example we know that a lot of people who are black British or Asian British tend not to go. So on this particular day a group of black and Asian friends decide to go have a look after all this time. After queueing up for tickets dropping their coats and having their bags searched they finally enter the space for art. And there it is before them a true masterpiece. And what do they see? A painting of a Ku Klux Klan member in full robes and hood smoking a cigarette. The Ku Klux Klan is a secret membership organization in the USA for white people which advocates harming and killing black people. The group of friends are stunned and upset. They leave the gallery immediately in a state of fright and anguish. That is the meaning of micro aggression. You could call that micro aggression or you could just call it the outright intimidation of a vulnerable group by the ruling class which is what that is of course. The ruling oligarchs love those paintings. A masterpiece of wry black humour. Very clever and of course subtle. By the way: you will never see that group of friends back in the gallery again ever. Which was surely the point. Scare them off. I know. I know. Freedom of expression. Think about that only after you have spent time consoling and supporting this group of visitor friends who are tearful and shaking. Why? That is what they are asking. And so you can say it proudly because you know it is so important: Freedom of expression. It is a Human Right after all. Article 10. If you look at the Public Order Act 1986 then that seems like it could offer protection to the victim: a person is guilty of an offence if he uses threatening or abusive words or behaviour or disorderly behaviour or displays any writing sign or other visible representation which is threatening or abusive within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment alarm or distress thereby.

2022 08 06

The pursuit of the bourgeois idyll is just so prevalent. It is a trap I know that now. The dream of being one of the bourgeoisie. It is just so imposing alluring and attractive. I grew up in poverty with an unfit mother. If you grow up like that then you are looking for an antidote. Of course you are. You put on a Prada jacket to dine at Scott's and you feel .. cushioned. You feel like you have escaped. It is a nice feeling. I have been chasing the dream of being part of the bourgeoisie since 1988 when Anya Gallaccio took me to lunch at L'Escargot on Greek Street. I thought this is great isn't it? I really had no idea what I was getting into. I was living in a squat on Coldharbour Lane in Brixton. Damien was living in the Barrier Block just up the road. People used to say that the Barrier Block was controlled by an armed gang and they would enter your premises at will. It was said that two men would enter. One would hold a gun to your head and the other would pad about the place looking for any valuables. It was said that this could happen any night. From time to time it would happen and you should just accept it as a part of living in the Barrier Block. A couple of streets away from my flat on Coldharbour Lane was Shakespeare Road where Jay lived. He had this townhouse from which he was selling art. The first time I went there he had two John Chamberlain sculptures of crushed cars. Beautiful. It was probably the year after he graduated St Andrews. He had not met Damien at that point. They did meet for the first time in Brixton I know that. Look Damien's degree show was in June 1989. It was just a row of white medicine cabinets. Totally minimal. With these neatly stacked pharmaceutical drugs in them. That was the Goldsmiths ethos absolutely. Goldsmiths was all about being cool and having deniability. Insouciance is really what we were being taught above all other factors. You cannot look like you are trying too hard. In 1990 Damien was still in his flat in the Barrier Block living with his younger brother. He was making his first butterfly paintings. These exotic butterflies stuck in wet paint. Because he had very little money then he was actually getting the butterflies as pupas and hatching them out under bright lights in his flat. This tiny council flat on one of the most dangerous estates in South London and he has got all these exotic butterflies hatching out. That is surely a scene for the movie biopic of his life. I never saw that going on but I saw the paintings at the In and Out of Love show that he did for Tamara. A lot of people who saw his work back then had their lives changed by the experience. Many people say that The Acquired Inability to Escape from 1991 is his best ever piece. It has the insouciance. I would say that for me seeing that piece for the first time was similar to say watching a Messi goal: it seems improbable but equally simultaneously completely inevitable. That is maybe a good description for how a lot of commendable art strikes one. Postmodernism in art in the late-1980s was a considerably more interesting epoch than contemporary art now. Where are the twenty year olds making art like that in London now? People sometimes do incredible things when they are young. Paul Weller wrote That's Entertainment when he was twenty-two. Ian Curtis was twenty-three when he sung the vocals on Closer.

What if Covid-19 was in fact a coordinated effort to set the scene for a single centralized global totalitarian government ruling by outright repression intimidation and disinformation at some point in the near future? It is easy to laugh isn't it? I guess at this point you either buy in to the official line or you question it. Either way it cannot be denied that the Covid-19 measures did include the temporary end of democratic rule. It was de facto martial law with an unelected band running the country. The measures brought in a ban on human pleasure in gathering and social enjoyment. The people were under house arrest. Laws were introduced to keep people physically apart from each other with plexi-screens and so-called social distancing. All of this we know all too well and can never forget. Ordinary life was stripped of all human qualities. These things add up to a totalitarian state or at least a de facto totalitarian state. Even today the state has never gone back and acknowledged the psychological harm caused to the people in those years. That is not logical at all. Surely the state would be the first to apologize for the permanent damage done? Naomi Wolf's book The Bodies of Others: The New Authoritarians Covid-19 and The War Against the Human from 2022 reveals the tragedy of what happened. You might come to the view that Wolf is no longer the same brilliant commentator who wrote The Beauty Myth in 1991. But at least read the book rather than just discounting it. Wolf is such an important voice. If you begin with the premise that the measures were absolutely an intentional dehumanization process then you end with the realization that the compulsory vaccination programme was a premeditated demonstration that the state even owns your body. You do not control what happens to your body the state does. It was the final removal of integrity and agency. If the measures were not intentional control then why were they instigated in a way that was so lacking in all compassion? The state gave out commands in a way that was authoritarian. Is that really explicable? It was all so bizarrely pitiless. It goes without saying that any predictive computer model is open to dissenters of course but there was no discussion. Suddenly all stats and graphs were to be taken as Gospel. You have to agree it was strange. You cannot just come along and say: this computer is telling us all what to do now. The politicians said they wanted to be guided by the science but a predictive computer modelling program is not scientific as such. The measures were to me patently unnecessarily severe and implemented in a very harsh way. Like for example making masks mandatory everywhere. Look the surgical mask is not going to stop the spread of a virulent infectious disease whatsoever. I mean people were wearing masks made out of cotton jersey. Obviously cotton jersey is not going to stop the spread of anything. It always felt like making masks obligatory was for another agenda. When you think about it all the masks did was underline and reinforce the dehumanization that was going on. All the measures could have been implemented with a completely different more compassionate attitude by the state but they weren't. The sudden eradication of compassion is not explicable. One day you are going about your life the next you are living in a repressive dictatorship with no end in sight. I think a lot of British people see Covid-19 as something that was unfortunate and a great inconvenience but life must go on. People have not stopped to comprehend the level of mass trauma that occurred. The extent of government disinformation during Covid-19 was in itself inexplicable and epic. Why were the dangers of the vaccines not published at the time? What is the reason? The state wanted everyone to get vaccinated so urgently that all sorts of risks were buried and not communicated. But was it really so urgent that all sorts of risks had to be hidden? Pfizer especially. It is horrifying. Maybe the weirdest thing is that the official Covid-19 Inquiry has not even started up yet. Such a monumental alteration to life in Britain and there has been no enquiry started? They have got a website and that is it. None of what happened rings true to me. Whether for genuine cause or not it does not change the fact that the Covid-19 measures were the greatest coordinated accomplishment of mass dehumanization ever undertaken in the UK. If you think about it if the state were in any way compassionate then there would be therapy and such like being offered to counteract the impact and consequences now but there isn't. In fact something very odd happened to the NHS GP system after Covid-19. You still cannot see a GP face to face. And it is now several weeks to wait for a basic appointment. It was not like that before. The national trauma has been glossed over. I myself do not accept the official narratives around what happened at all. It is for young people in particular to mobilize for the future. As Duran Duran's Wild Boys: They tried to break us. Looks like they'll try again.

The first thing to say is that calling someone a conspiracy theorist just because they refute and contest an accepted state narrative is uncritical and complacent. If you look at state power all around the world then you will know that many in power have abused that power—the abuse of power comes as no surprise. Remember that one? If you are seriously sitting there thinking that those in power are all upstanding citizens and carry on fairly correctly then you are ignorant of any basic sense of reality. Now take that position and let me ask this: are there probably at least some situations where those in power lied and manipulated and were not actually exposed? Yes? Well those instances would count as conspiracies for you up to the moment of their exposure as fact. If I would have said to you in the spring of 2013 that GCHQ and the NSA are collecting and permanently storing every email that is sent globally you might have dismissed that as a vexatious conspiracy theory. When Ed Snowden revealed that this was true a few months later—codename PRISM—the former conspiracy became nothing more or less than a known fact. Some things sound so outlandish when they are framed as a conspiracy theory. The formerly secret spying systems Xkeyscore and Tempora are a good example. The idea that there is a secret intelligence software system into which an operative can type the name of any person in the world and see all their recent emails documents browsing history accurate to the last five minutes seems to be beyond nonsense until you find out it is actually existing and in use right now—again as per the documents provided by Ed Snowden. I am just saying that the totalitarians keenly want all critical voices to be discounted as conspiracy theory. The state and the oligarchs seek to also discredit those who challenge the narrative and logic of events as being involved with misinformation: disseminating views that they claim are factually inaccurate. The dissident voices are accused of spreading misinformation .. The state on the other hand deals in disinformation: the intentional dissemination of lies propaganda and distortion. To some extent all states lie to their people all states use disinformation on some level. Like for example asserting that a Covid-19 vaccine is absolutely safe is disinformation since any medium term and long term complications are unknown. The state could have said: this is all a big risk but we think it is worth taking we hope you agree. But they didn't they simply said the vaccines were completely safe. Which can be called disinformation. In any country the state are the primary purveyors of disinformation it is routine and seemingly unavoidable. They do it all the time. They do it systematically in Saudi Arabia Russia Iran China Libya Myanmar South Sudan. But in the UK disinformation is disseminated habitually too. This is nothing new we have had television shows like Yes Minister and The Thick of It satirizing casual state disinformation for many years—Yes Minister was first broadcast in 1980. Antony Jay's scripts for Yes Minister focus not on disinformation as such which is a given but rather the arrogance cynicism and Machiavellianism that abounds in the ministerial departments. Today we can think of the relentlessly espoused idea that Ukraine was a rather kindly and industrious democracy up until the Russian invasion and that we are delivering weapons simply to aid a beleaguered democracy. That is a narrative that is essentially disinformation. A more realistic representation is that Ukraine was a corrupt oligarchy with extremist nationalism definitely on the rise. The same holds true for Zelensky personally who is relentlessly painted by the British state as this rather humble even naive man standing up for liberalism and integrity in the face of the controlling oligarchy. When the Pandora Papers documents leak of 2021 revealed Zelensky and his wife to have innumerable financial assets held off-shore of the British Virgin Islands he made no comment. The point is that the British state make statements and give briefings all the time which are intended to inculcate a certain preferred narrative. And that process can be described really in many cases as disseminating disinformation.

2022 08 05

What you have with Google is a company that has de facto control over what humans will find out about something or somebody using the Internet. They themselves describe their mission as a wish to: organize the world's information. Organize is a synonym for control. The problem with Google is that 93 percent of people who use the Internet use Google for their search queries. It is very centralized. It is an astonishing amount of power for any one single commercial company to wield. Every website is subject to being ranked by Google but there is zero transparency about how ranking is arrived at. Nobody except Google knows. You hear all the time of companies who for no known reason suddenly drop dramatically down search results and there is nothing they can do about it. There is a parallel with arbitrary arrest and detention. It is actually exactly what Kafka was writing about in his book The Castle in 1926. Google alone knows how you are being ranked and Google alone will decide how you are ranked. It is entirely undemocratic and in fact patently autocratic. I think Google should be nationalized into state ownership and the algorithms published to open source. That is one option. The status quo is not an option. They are far too powerful. If a website has been excluded from the Google indexing process very few people will ever encounter it—unless they have already got a specific URL to hand. There are one billion websites. Indexing is everything. As we know. The possibilities for creating bias and outright manipulation are immense. As a consequence of the influence that they have and the lack of transparency that they offer Google must surely be one of the principal targets for the world's spying agencies at this point. As long as the Tech Giants operate in complete secrecy and with such influence then getting a good sense of what they are up to will obviously remain an MI6 priority. Postscript: within an hour of publishing this post this blog was mysteriously removed from Google query results for Henry Bond for about twenty-four hours. I think that is what you call a polite warning.

2022 08 04

Who could argue that we have a fully functioning democracy in the UK when the technology that has taken over our lives is not really under the control of UK laws? The British people have no say in or control over the technology unless you include the option to refuse to participate in using it altogether. But is that really an option anymore? Tech has become near mandatory such as the Covid-19 vaccination certificates that are generated on each person's smartphone. UK laws are not able to impact on Google Facebook Apple Instagram TikTok YouTube Microsoft Amazon. Let us say for example that the British people voted for a political party taking a stand against the commercial collection of user data or surveillance capitalism as it is called. How would any such proposed law or laws be enforced? There is no possibility to compel any of the US tech companies to stop collecting user data. The Tech Giants act with impunity far beyond the reach of any UK law. That is patently an erosion of democracy but for some reason this does not bother people. The Tech Giants wield power and influence which is far greater than most states. They operate really as if they are states. From say an intelligence point of view infiltrating the ranks Google Facebook or Microsoft is much more of a priority than espionage activity in a lot of countries. The espionage efforts by MI6 to get people into these companies right now must be extreme and it is not easy. You have got to be fearless and good spy material and then you have got to go get yourself hired by say Google which is in itself notoriously difficult to do. And then of course their background checks and screening processes are going to be very rigorous so just some random cover story is not going to wash. The second approach is to make contact with existing employees and work on recruiting them to MI6. Also not easy to do. For all my enmity towards the security services and their habitual use of illegal mass surveillance I have to say that I do support MI6 in their efforts to infiltrate the Tech Giants. I only hope they are having some success .. Every year the oligarchy elite—about 0.1 percent of the population—continues to centralize and accumulate wealth. This is reported as rising inequality or the wealth gap. Few read such articles and if you bring this topic up in conversation a complacent chorus will usually ring out: we already knew this or the classic: 'Twas ever thus. The narrative has been built up so persistently over decades that the idea of a ruling elite of oligarchs who between them have amassed trillions of pounds is just accepted .. What is the meaning of Sky News? Sky News is of course pure propaganda. As the BBC but with a very different orientation. Sky News is involved with psychological operations—PSYOPs—or mind control. Comcast's agenda is morbid obsession and dehumanization through the desensitization of the people. The first thing to say with Sky News is that it is involved with a mission which is purely sadistic. It is an organization with the agenda of a death cult. A sadistic obsession with death pain and suffering. Death obsession is the thing. The people who run the channel are driven with a morbid death obsession. That is how you get a job there: you demonstrate your obsession with death. The role of the channel in British society is to constantly normalize morbidness. There are certain topics that Sky News fetishize: rape torture beheading suspected beheading. Above all other topics the terminal illness or death of a child is the single most revered topic. A story that concerns the death of a child or a child on life support will be returned to and repeated every fifteen minutes .. Picasso was a genius misogynist. Picasso is the worst misogynist in the history of art. Picasso is all about misogyny that is why men collect him. What do you think? Um. Really? I mean seriously look alive my friends. If you cannot read Picasso as a misogynist then I suggest you get out of art criticism altogether. Picasso is a patriarchal device to underscore misogyny. The ultimate status symbol of the misogynist oligarchs. If you have not noticed that yet then I would say that you are not a socially engaged art critic. Picasso is there for the patriarchy to mock women .. Between them the six Mega contemporary art galleries in London—Pace Ropac White Cube Zwirner Hauser & Wirth Gagosian—represent about 500 artists. These are the top 500 contemporary artists in the world by value and reputation. These galleries effectively corporatized the art gallery system by around 2015. The shows they put on are all free and are beyond excellent. It is wonderful that they are free to visit. It is important to see all the shows they put on. Look the fact is that the price for a piece of art in these galleries starts around £100k and up. To be frank the price for most established names is a lot higher than that. With the established names it is often over a million. The marketplace is rather tailored to the much fabled wealthiest one percent of the population—it is in reality about 0.1 of the population or 70000 people in total who can afford art at those prices. So contemporary art was at a certain point hived off as an amusement for the oligarch class. It happened over time. Nobody has ever complained or even really mentions it. The artists are the least political of any type of creative person. They make their work for the oligarchs. The oligarchs use these artworks as status symbols and entertainment via speculation. If you ask any artist about this they will say they are not in favour of it. So how did it all happen then? There are no political artists within these top 500 artists. They all love their cosy relationships with the oligarchs. It does not occur to them in the slightest that they are complicit and complacent.

2022 08 03

When I was eleven years old I was in 11T Mrs Truelove's class. This is at Potters Gate Primary School in Farnham. Something quite weird happened when that year started. Right from the beginning of the year boys always with older brothers came in and told the most extreme sexist dirty jokes almost every day. In rare extreme cases these jokes were being passed down directly from father to son. Things like: what do you call a women with no legs? A slug. And much worse all the time about rape abuse women's personal hygiene and so much more. Honestly I have to say looking back I do believe that this was ideological. The hatred and misogyny had to be handed down to the new incoming generation of men before puberty. It was I am sure looking back a definite system. The reason I think this is that the jokes were not at all funny. The tellers were not even looking for a laugh they were just passing down the hate. There were so many of these jokes coming in it was a daily thing. Absolutely relentless. There was also the language inculcated at that time about the name for one's penis. Up to that age a penis was generally known as a willy. It is interesting that all people cringe at that term. Because we are inculcated to revel in the replacement terms which are mandatory. Anyway in 11T the language changed overnight. There were now many names for a penis and these could be used at all times interchangeably: knob wang prick cock dobber fireman thrust .. you get the idea. So there was this vulgarizing and misogyny passed down. It is as specific and ideological as the inculcation of the desire to spend money. Of course it is. You have to be taught how to hate women and you are.

2022 08 01

When I talk about ten years of indoctrination at school one of the basic things that must be instilled in all children is the urge to spend money. It could be on anything for any reason really. It is solely the urge itself that has to be inculcated and normalized. British society in its current form could never function without a steady stream of new consumers so the state will do whatever is necessary to establish this urge. It is much more important than where to get money from. In adult life few will ask where your money has come from as it is not important—earned loaned gifted stolen borrowed. It really doesn't matter to most. Just that you spend it is the only important thing. Looking back to my own childhood this expectation to spend money began really with spending money in the newsagent's on the way to and from school on things like carbonated drinks sweets magazines football cards bubble gum chewing gum ice creams. The common thread really was sugar. Sugar is as addictive as cocaine as we know now. So there really was something ideological happening: addiction and desire becoming connected to money being spent. Or better: cravings and money being spent. It is not much discussed but the role of the local newsagent's or paper shop as they were known was crucial as a gateway or stepping stone as regards addictions. The retail relationship began as I have said with sweets and carbonated drinks and evolved eventually to addictive pornography addictive cigarettes and of course addictive newspapers—news is a national addiction it is in effect an inculcated addiction to propaganda. I don't know if it was just Farnham but the proprietors of the newsagents in those days were consistently creepy characters. At that time the normalization of a desire to spend money also came from television adverts on ITV. The adverts on television were significant in the 1970s. The consumerist propaganda was so honed and forceful. The adverts were intentionally far more gripping than the actual television programmes they were aired during. But the principal technique used was not the dramatic force of the advert per se rather the scale of repetition. There were only so many adverts out at any one time so you would see each advert several hundred times. These ads were seen so often that many who grew up in the 1970s have never forgotten them. Many can still recall the jingles and straplines from maybe a hundred or more adverts from those times—Campari Tic Tacs Caramel Toblerone Weetabix Worthington E Hamlet Benson & Hedges. Probably the important thing to note was that no distinction was made at all at that time between adverts for sweets and adverts for cigarettes or alcohol. There were no warning messages as regards addictive substances being advertised. Something that remains in British culture since those times unchanged really is the importance of Christmas as a mandatory celebration of consumerism. An Amazon executive recently told me that Amazon makes 45% of its global annual profit during the month of December—so in 2021 that would have been around £15 billion profit. At school the culture of consumerism begins with the inculcation of envy and jealousy as regards material goods at Christmas. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas? That was the question that everyone always asked. Christmas morning for children remains this supercharged moment of receiving material possessions which is ritualistic and surreal.

If you buy yourself a coffee from a coffee shop every day did you know that you are spending about £1000 a year on that? That is a lot of money for most people. It is a grotesque waste of money. May I suggest having a coffee at home and using that £1000 to build a library of books on philosophy and critical theory? You could buy around fifty theory books. It is a much better thing to do with that money. Only a suggestion. If you are going to do it buy primary works only though—Nietzsche Freud Lacan Baudrillard Benjamin for example. The golden rule is: avoid all guide to books. Even if you find the primary work difficult resorting to a guide to is not the way to go. It is like getting Cliffs Notes on Tender is the Night or The Brothers Karamazov. The original book alone is genius nothing needs to stand in between you and the text. The Cliffs Notes are not genius. They are not even interesting. It is the same with academics who claim to offer a guide to the theorists and philosophers. Go for books that actually seem daunting. Baudrillard Symbolic Exchange and Death could be a good book to start off with and Debord Society of the Spectacle. Edward Snowden Permanent Record is also fairly vital. Marx Das Kapital. Butler Gender Trouble. Don't support Starfucks though. They are a dreadful company. Minimum wage. Terrible conditions. They pay no UK tax to speak of. Howard Schultz is an astonishing exploiter. He has made from Starfucks at least £3 billion as a personal fortune. But this is not about him being a capitalist it is about the emergence of a ruling elite of oligarchs. It makes no sense to back the emergence of a clique of oligarchs who operate with impunity beyond the rule of law. Same holds true for Pret which is owned by the billionaire Reimann family. The Reimann Nazi past is beyond shocking: they used hundreds of female Jews as slaves in their factories in the 1930s and 1940s many of whom were beaten raped and murdered. But what is so disturbing is how the family descendants managed to cover all of this up for 70 years. No doubt using bribery the falsification of documents and much more. Coffee?

2022 07 31

There are 223000 UK academics. That makes up 0.3 of one percent of the people. It is a lot less than one percent of the population. It is one third of one percent of the population. Now these academics are some of the smartest and original independent thinkers in the country. I think that is a fairly uncontroversial point I make. Now if you are involved with state power you will naturally want to exercise considerable control over these people who could easily be at the vanguard of mobilizing opinion against how you are carrying on—illegal mass surveillance illegal CCTV systems enabling the emergence of a controlling oligarchy the routine dissemination of lies and propaganda through the media and the rest of it. In short your completely unreasonable and unjustified authoritarianism and corruption of democracy. So what do you do? Well the first thing is that you make sure the academics are grossly underpaid. Being underpaid is ideological in this instance. It is a form of state control. Most academics can hardly keep body and soul together from one month to the next. They are involved with survival. This keeps them very quiet. Then very important you inculcate the convention that academics write books in a literary style that the ordinary person could never hope to understand. Books written in classic academic style are near impenetrable to the lay reader. To the extent that the content is pretty much completely ignored by all except those in the 0.3 of one percent and some students. As long as this command to write in an intellectual academic tone is in place then almost all of what the academics write will never be read by enough people to ever spark a national debate or cause any challenge to the status quo. The small number of copies disseminated as regards academic books is quite astonishing. I had a conversation with a well known academic book publisher not long ago about a book deal on offer. They were thinking 500 copies sold would be a fair number. I was outraged. I said 500 copies? Is that all? And they said: you don't understand that would be a big success for us. So there is a dreadful complicity through complacency. Surely if a piece of new writing were important or significant then there should be a concerted effort to get beyond 500 readers? This blog has more readers. I might add here as I have written in another post—on 2022 06 30—that academic book publishing is an impenetrable rip off. The publisher takes 90 percent of the proceeds of the books sold and gives only 10 percent to the writer which happens to be gross exploitation. You get 10 percent of the sale of a book that is 100 percent your own work. Then there are the academic journals. Journal papers are also written in a notoriously impenetrable and tedious academic style and tone. Even other academics—the brightest 0.3 of one percent only—find journal articles fairly heavy going. If I can talk from personal experience of forty years then I would say that I often begin an academic journal article with high hopes and slowly lose interest as I go. I rarely finish one. They are too dense and boring in the way the are written. One of the issues is the constant referencing of every point made. The level of referencing that his required just knocks the stuffing out of the reader. Might I note that there is not a single academic reference in the entire works of radicals such as Nietzsche or Baudrillard for example. Anyway these articles are near impossible to find outside of a university library system. Even if you do find any such journal online the subscription to just one magazine is more than the cost of a monthly broadband Internet connection—which is prohibitive. The peer review system in place at all journals functions very well to ensure that dreariness and tedium remain as an effective barrier to the spread of radical ideas. So the idea all the way along the line is to make sure that the academics are marginalized and sidelined through their own decision to write not for any meaningful audience but for other academics and university students only. Then there is the orientation of their research. This is also a major point. The convention with research is that it has to be some tiny niche. It has to be specialized research into one specific topic. So that all academics are compartmentalized into their given specialism. Known in the REF as the unit of research. Of all the thirty four currently listed units of research only Politics and International Studies would really cause the state any shivers. Anyone teaching on such a degree course is surely under close state monitoring—the Politics departments are definitely under special measures. Most of the rest of the units of research are trifles to the state apparatus. The intended effect here with the insistence on the division up into units of research is to limit down the number of academics who can give a fair picture of the general overall prevailing conditions that the state are imposing. You only know about your one tiny area of research and that is that so you have at that point been effectively sidelined. As long as things go on this way the state is quite content. They know there is always a potential danger of things changing. That is why they have infiltrated the only union for academics in order to ensure that the members never take decisive action regarding pay. The main technique here has been to ensure that only about forty percent of academics ever join the union and so hence critical mass for a full scale national walk out across the unis could never be achieved. The discouraging factor for membership is of course a silently imparted knowledge that no one in a management role will participate in union action. If you want promotion you will think twice about being involved in the union. Then just to be safe some of the most extreme establishmentarians are selected for the role of VC in the 120 UK universities. They are there to enforce the state culture particularly low pay for the average academic. Many of them are surely selected solely for their extreme lack of empathy with their workforce. This is achieved by ensuring that the Board of Governors who select the VC at each university is heavily pre-loaded with extreme establishmentarians—it will be CBEs and OBEs most of them already rewarded by the state for determined and extreme conservativism. The proof of this element of control and lack of empathy can be observed at any UK university where none of these people will ever be in evidence on site. They run the universities as if any physical connection to the staff and students were disgusting to them. Like many control situations currently in play state power can hardly believe how brilliantly it all works. The brightest and potentially most dangerous 0.3 of a percent have been effectively cowed and stifled.

The totalitarian revolution that is taking place is a silent invisible incremental revolution based around something called the chilling effect. Nothing to do with teens chillin' at all. The chilling effect sounds like a joke but it is not one. A chilling effect is when you decide of your own free will not to express something that you would otherwise have said or done because you just don't want the aggravation it might cause you. Another word for this is control. You are being silently invisibly controlled. Even another more clear word would be fear. You are being controlled because you fear the consequences of what you were going to do. So the chilling effect is more bluntly expressed as control through fear. That is a form of tyranny. The chilling effect is a pillar of modern state control. The apparatuses of the chilling effect are: state surveillance of all communications and mass video surveillance on the street. There are historical precedents and contemporary examples that can be looked at. All totalitarian states in history have sought to control through fear. It is pretty obvious. The chilling effect in Saudi Arabia for example is rather more advanced than the UK so that any lively cultural and social life has been completely wiped out through something called self censorship. A Saudi person does not want to be arrested and interrogated so they just abstain from doing anything that could be deemed to be controversial. And that is what we are heading towards in the UK too. Call it the chilling effect or self censorship it is the same thing. The control is internalized. It is when you are about to do something and you stop and say to yourself: I don't think I will because I prefer a quiet life to be honest with you. That is all it is. It is about people living in a way where they don't want to do anything that could be interpreted as controversial or too risky. The evidence building against the individual is incremental these days. Your entire digital life is being monitored when you are at home and when you are out in the street you are being tracked and watched. Obviously this has an effect on the people. It is absurd and illogical to think these two things have no effect on behaviour. With these control strategies there are two elements first building the infrastructure and then most importantly the normalizing of its use. In both cases here the essential driver in the UK was: the threat of terrorism. It will always be used. It is what Hitler used too. The supposed communist threat was the sole reason for the introduction of martial law after the arson attack on the Reichstag the German parliament building in Berlin in 1933. There is no possible way the National Socialists could have imposed martial law without that event taking place which is why so many people presume they did it themselves in order to justify the provision of a police state. The fact is that in the UK almost any form of control is generally accepted as long as it is deemed to be for the prevention of terrorism. Bag searches everywhere you go in the UK are ideological. They are about getting you used to gross invasions of privacy. It is a classic technique of dehumanization.

2022 07 30

Where I work has got one of the most highly rated fashion degree courses in the UK. They will actually say the world. Anyway I was talking to this colleague and I was espousing as is my way. And what I was espousing is this. As regards the attire of men there has never been a comparable moment in history. We are at this point where the two piece suit with lapels a shirt and a necktie is a pervasive convention across a lot of the world—and not just the Western world as some spuriously call it. From Kolkata to Abuja to Helsinki it is the same apparel that dominates for men. If we estimate the global population of men to be just under four billion then how many of them wear a business suit on a daily basis? Maybe half of that number—around two billion? Whatever number you put on it it represents the highest level of global fashion conformity in human history. China Japan Russia USA Brazil Argentina Europe UK and many more. No fashion garb in the history of the world has ever been so dominant. The two piece suit the shirt and a necktie. It is not like there are regional variations at all. The variations on a modern suit jacket are infinitesimally minute. These are suits that are the same the world over. You would not be able to tell me where in the world a man was from just by looking at his suit. It is a global male costume. Sorry but to me there is something sinister about that. I don't see that as just something that can happen and so what? That level of conformity is worrying. Why has it emerged? The symbolism of the shirt and tie is of course the testicles represented by the two collar leaves of the shirt and the necktie which represents the penis. It is a symbolism which is intended to underline male dominance in the patriarchal society. Anyway you give this conformist man a smartphone to go with his business suit and you have got a picture of the modern man par excellence. A truly global conformist.

If voting changed anything they would abolish it. Remember that one? I do. Do you think Labour would change anything? Yes? So they would repeal the Investigatory Powers Act? They would stop GCHQ bulk harvesting data? They would stop GCHQ using XKeyscore and Tempora? No. Of course not. You will never hear Labour mention these things. Look the spying that goes on at GCHQ is secret. How would you ever know if they had stopped bulk collecting or using Xkeyscore? You couldn't. It would never happen. These are not things that are up for discussion. They could never really be outlawed because there is no mechanism for checking that the secret softwares and databases would have been deleted. You would have to have something like weapons inspectors going in to do an appraisal of what GCHQ are using every day. Do you really think the political party you are voting for can do anything about what is going on at GCHQ?

Whenever you are being asked to swallow something that flies in the face of self evident common sense then there is a malicious agenda at play. For example the other day I was involved in a dinner party conversation during which I asserted that a billionaire should never serve as British Prime Minister on the basis that there is an inherent bias and conflict of interest. To which I was told that that is nonsense and that I have a prejudice which is manifestly unfair towards billionaires. It should be decided solely on who would do the job the best. Gaslighting happens when you are being coerced to stop believing something that you know to be a self evident truth. The pillars of your sense of reality. The manipulative abuser will demand that you must doubt and contradict your basic common sense. This usually results in a catastrophic loss of self-esteem over time. Undermining the victim's basic values and sense of logic is integral to interpersonal dehumanization. Undermining and attacking simple self evident plain truths is a crucial strategy of the abusive manipulator. At the level of general mass communications a long time ago now spurious rumour replaced factual statements based on verifiable fact. This to such an extent that to say to someone their thesis depends upon a baseless rumour has come to be seen as a form of idiocy. If you say to someone: what is that assertion based on? They will say to you the classic comeback that defines our age: everyone knows about this don't be so naive. A good example is the outrage I feel at mass control through illegal mass surveillance being carried on by GCHQ. Confronted with the facts of Xkeyscore Tempora or Stellarwind the comeback is inevitable: everyone knows about this don't be so naive. The digital age or the computer revolution has ushered in a scene in which daily attacks on formerly uncontroversial self evident truths are automatic and unavoidable. I think this has led to billions of people suffering a loss of self-esteem. The computer revolution has allowed a culture of mass gaslighting to emerge.

Even the totalitarian oligarchs had no idea what would be the consequences of the introduction of the smartphone and social media from 2010 onwards. It was understood that it was to be a vast social experiment with the outcome very unknown. Above and beyond anything else it is the first time that the totalitarians have had a crack at the control of the global population en masse. Something unimaginable at any other time in history. Once you have access to 6.3 billion people via their phones then you are well on the way to control of the global population. For the first time in human history it becomes possible for the totalitarians to think about control of the entire population through one common device—the COVID-19 digital vaccination certificates were the first big test of this new apparatus. I think the whole outcome of social media being something that affects the user's mind was very unexpected. Twitter in particular seems to disturb the user's mind in a fairly powerful way. That was a bonus for the oligarchs. They did not know about this in advance. They welcomed it. It was a surprising bonus. The culture which has emerged since the release of Twitter is dangerously anti-intellectual. Since the arrival of Twitter it has become nigh on impossible to sit with people and have a reasoned discussion about engaged topics. All discussions are instantly polarized. Intransigence and intolerance abound. It is the age of mass bigotry. This affects the entire adult population. The defining comeback in all political discussions today is: you are so naive to think that. Every person has to appear to be the most brilliantly informed individual. You can say: Cui bono? And the answer rings out fairly loud and clear does it not? It is extremely unpleasant to exist in a culture of mass bigotry. Everything is experienced as waves of effrontery and intolerance at all times. Man cannot sit and discuss things with fellow man any more. So what is the outcome? If every political conversation ends in frustration and a sense that nobody is listening then this has a definite impact on the quality of life. Political discussion these days turns people against each other in the most pitiless way. In a way that has to be understood as ideological. The culture that has emerged is defined by a pervasive atmosphere of merciless disgust between man and fellow man. That is to say on the most obvious level Twitter is above all a force for dehumanization which is the principal aim of the totalitarians.

Let me set out my intended meaning for the term bourgeoisie in this instance. According to the Great British Class Survey or GBCS a survey conducted in 2011 by the LSE and the University of York the top tier of the British class system is the elite—6 percent of the population or around 4 million people. I describe this 6 percent as the bourgeoisie. For me the true elite is actually 0.1 percent of the population or 70000 persons sometimes also known as the one percent. So this group the bourgeoisie are the upper tier economically on the financial status pyramid directly below the true elite. The bourgeoisie dream literally dream every night of being part of the wealthy elite. The wealthy elite know full well that any such ambition is nothing but pure vanity but they tolerate them. The elite recognize that they gain a lot from having the bourgeoisie constantly there legitimizing and defending them. The bourgeois spends most of his life attempting to parrot off and imitate the behaviour of the wealthy elite: the skiing holidays the rented yachts the tennis lessons with a pro the rented holiday villa in Tuscany and all the rest of it. The bourgeoisie dream of being part of the one percent and if anyone ever tells them they are not part of the wealthy elite they become incandescent with rage and humiliation. The greatest boast for any member of the bourgeoisie is to say that one from the wealthy elite is a very close friend. Knowing someone from the wealthy elite bestows honorary membership after a fashion in their eyes. Of course they are not friends at all and never could be. They usually know them through work. But they will always say without fail that the person is a close friend or a very close friend. They will say things like: we speak everyday yes it is like that with him and me. Among the bourgeoisie there is no shame in name dropping and every one of them does it. The names they love to drop the most are those of the most well known members of the wealthy elite. There is no point in mentioning a name that nobody is aware of. Bernard Arnault is a good one to drop for example because everyone in the bourgeoisie has heard of him. Arnault is the CEO of Louis Vuitton Moet Hennessy a transnational company worth £300 billion. Arnault's personal art collection is worth in itself at least a billion pounds. Just his art. The bourgeoisie know him as a mononym. Simply Bernard is enough. Pronounced in the French way. So one of them might venture: I spoke to Bernard again this morning he is very pessimistic about the global outlook. Any such statement will have no basis in truth. It is just vanity. The bourgeoisie know all the names of the wealthy elite. They study the Sunday Times Rich List for days. Of course they would never admit to that. They will say if you ask them that they are not familiar with it. They will say something like: I have heard about that yes but I have never seen it. And they expect you to believe that. The fact is they all expect you to believe the most unfathomable untruths all the time. Almost everything they say to each other is a falsehood. I think it is fair and accurate to say that the currency or language of the bourgeoisie is falsehood. The wealthy elite quite rightly despise the bourgeoisie for all their scrambling and scraping to be like them. And they rightly despise the obsequiousness that the bourgeoisie present to them at all times. For many of the bourgeoisie there is a definite intention and strategy to make sure that they fill up all their social interactions with conversations of staggering banality. It is not entirely clear why they do this. I think for me the reason is that the bourgeoisie genuinely abhor politics and social justice. They cannot bring themselves to discuss anything political ever. They do it under pain of death and when there is no other way to turn they come out with views which are spurious and not actually held by them at all. They will just pay lip service to any view that they think sounds impressive to hold. They would never under any circumstances do anything that could be called a political act. I think the reason is that the entire life of the bourgeois person is scrambling and scraping to parrot the wealthy elite and nothing but nothing must ever get in the way of that primary pursuit. Socially the accepted idea is to talk about the truly vacuous for as long as possible: diets restaurant recommends school recommends yoga recommends travel plans the mutual interrogation of each other's upcoming travel plans is interminable. There can be literally hours at a time spent covering this topic. Generally speaking the bourgeoisie find encounters with working class people fine as long as there is absolutely no chance that the two are meeting on an equal footing. To the bourgeois person there could never be any equality between themselves and a worker. Most of them only meet members of the working class when they arrive in their homes as tradesmen or cleaners or of course the cab driver and also places like the nail bar the hair dresser's and the gym. As you might have guessed the bourgeoisie despise the working class. Of course many of them spout nonsense about their near socialist values but these values are not met and reciprocated in lived experience. Proof of this complete lack of connection and empathy can be seen in the horrified self consciousness a bourgeois person displays when suddenly the ordinary master-servant power relation is removed for whatever reason. It is very hard to get anyone in the bourgeoisie to admit to this class hatred because it is their darkest secret. But the fact is that the bourgeois person actually thinks the working class person is inferior to them. And more than that they find the lifestyle of the working class person disgusting. The bourgeois person is an appalling snob. But as I say you will never get any single one of them to admit this. They would never admit it to anybody. In fact the opposite is true under all circumstances: they will appear to defend the working class with ever more idiotic lip service. To the bourgeois person the prospect of taking a walk down say the Walworth Road is humiliating and disturbing but this is only in theory for in reality it would never happen. They would never do this of course not. Even contemplating such a thing would throw them into discombobulated anxiety about catching airborne viruses getting raped mugged and so forth. Ask a member of the bourgeoisie to meet you at the Elephant and see what happens. They might agree to do it initially but in time some excuse will come as to why there must be a change of plan. It is the excuse of the person who intends to defend their excuse whatever the cost. The only thing I can guarantee is that the proposed meeting in the Elephant will not take place.

2022 07 24

My friend who does not want to be named asked me about Warhol. He basically asked me: what is the big deal? As I said to him the big deal is precisely this: Warhol's work from the early- and mid-1960s is some of the defining and indispensable art of the twentieth century. To some extent the paintings I am about to describe to you are some of the most influential artworks ever made. And he was like: I see. How so? Is Warhol as important as Van Gogh? And I said well Van Gogh is a good reference point. Look everyone can agree that Van Gogh's paintings are extraordinary and so unique. Imagine a different set-up: an artist gets a photograph which is a movie publicity portrait of a famous actress. Now he gives that photo to his assistant in his studio and he asks the assistant to make up a large silk-screen of the photo. Then when the assistant has made up the silk-screen he gets the assistant to go ahead and print a few images of the actress onto some raw canvas and then he tells the assistant to stretch up the printed canvas pieces onto wooden stretcher frames thus creating a series of paintings. So the assistant goes ahead and does that. And that is it. Paintings done. Warhol's Marilyns. Pretty easy. Do you see? Do you? I mean the big artist at the time was Mark Rothko who is so dark and profound and serious. His abstract paintings often blow people away. Warhol comes along and says look here are my paintings. What's up? My assistant did all these yesterday for me from a generic photo I gave him. Do you see? Do you see that you could not make a painting that is any less engaged with the things that people like in say Van Gogh? I mean he did not make the paintings. Or even touch them. And the image was someone else's photo. I mean what was his input? Do you see? Then he comes out and says he wants to be a machine. Then he says: If you want to know all about Andy Warhol just look at the surface of my paintings ... there's nothing behind it. Do you see? So he actually went out of his way to tell people that his paintings had no deep meaning or any meaning at all. I said to my friend: do you see the force in what he did? Those paintings are so valuable now that they are near uninsurable. One of them is on permanent display in the Museum of Modern Art New York. It will never be removed from display. It is that important. Another one from that series just sold for $195 million at auction. This is for a picture an assistant printed and stretched up. I said to my friend that every person in art considers Warhol to be a genius. It is not an artist you get to hold an opinion on as in like or don't like. He is like Beethoven or The Beatles. You can actually say without exaggerating that Warhol changed the course of Western art history. And do you know what my friend said? But he didn't do the paintings himself did he? I said: Dude no he didn't actually you are right.

2022 07 23

Look one of the things that Ed Snowden brings up is the cloud. Cloud computing as it was dubbed. Actually you can think critically about how Apple Amazon Microsoft and Google conspired. Yes conspired. To come up with this agreed name. It is nothing to do with a cloud is it? It is not a cloud at all. It is transferring your data by way of an Internet connection to their hard drives in a data centre or data farm as they are sometimes known. It could be called data centre computing or data farm computing but it isn't. Anyway it is not a cloud it is a second party who offer you to rent some space on their hard drives. Their hard drives are traditional HDDs that is a hard drive with a spinning platter and a retrieval arm. These are the hard drives that we have always had for twenty years or so. The cloud as it is dubbed is just a location where there are thousands of hard drives being protected by the company in an air cooled temperature controlled environment. HDDs don't actually get that hot. I have heard an urban myth that some of the cloud data centres are under the sea to keep them cool. What nonsense. As I say HDDs don't really get that hot. I for example use Google cloud computing Google Drive it is called. As I hope is clear rather than keeping your data on your local machine meaning laptop or an external HDD you transfer your data over to their HDDs. It means that you are suddenly reliant on your cloud provider. They have got all your data. That is really what Snowden is saying. What if one day you went on your cloud and your files were gone? What are you going to do? Do you realize that Apple Amazon Google and Microsoft are taking control of the world's data? What if they said one day: sorry but we have had a catastrophic event at one of our data centres and a lot of data is gone. And it was all your data. There is not much you can do at that point. That is one argument that Snowden advances. Another point he makes is that once they do have your data they are scanning it and probably indexing it. The data is not encrypted on the HDDs. They can read the data. They reserve the right to delete data that breaks their terms of service like hate speech and extremism and so forth. They might just decide to delete something that a bot finds offensive. I think what Snowden is drawing our attention to is: do you really want to hand even more power to these four companies to the point that they physically own between them the world's data? Isn't that counter-intuitive? I mean when they control all the world's data between them at that point they really will have become omnipotent. Look what if it was revealed that say the Chinese state the CCP had been recording videos clandestinely using the built-in webcams of men in front of their laptops masturbating to free Internet porn videos? That could happen at some point. Maybe ten or twenty million videos dumped somewhere online. That is not a big step. That could easily happen. I do think something along those lines will happen at some point. It would be a message sent about debasement and dehumanization. It would be British or American men. GCHQ harvested by mass surveillance millions of webcam videos for operation Optic Nerve. The staff assigned to the case complained of the stress of seeing so much sexual activity all day. They were getting counselling about it. I just think that as a motif in contemporary culture it has yet to be used in some significant way. Surveillance and Internet porn together. Look I am not picking on China. When MI5 and the FBI make a joint statement saying that China is a hostile actor in terms of cyber attacks and hacking—attempting to get access to privileged information and IP—and that we need to get real then I myself am happy to listen. They have no need to come out and demonize China unless they are seriously worried about what China is doing. And by China the CCP is meant. That is my view. The other possible view is that the recent MI5 briefing was indeed intended to whip up Sinophobia and racism. It is for each to decide I guess. What I care about is the plight of the ordinary Chinese person and the rights and liberty of the ordinary Chinese person. I know the CCP is a fascist organization. Of course it is. It is a horrifying dictatorship they have built.

2022 07 22

In London it has become largely impossible to hail or flag down a Black Cab in the street. Formerly one of the great joys of London was the ability to leave any venue and hail a taxi. Taxi! Taxi! Those were the good old days. That has gone. What happened is that Uber came in and undercut the Black Cabs savagely for two years. The Black Cab drivers were going out of business so they came up with their own apps. Apps on your phone to get a Black Cab. Gett and Free Now. Free Now is owned jointly by BMW and Daimler-Mercedes. Two companies that thrived under National Socialism in Germany. Two companies that armed the Third Reich using forced labour. By their own admission. These companies have Nazi histories both of them. Interestingly Gett on the other hand is owned by an Israeli company. That is to say neither is owned by a British enterprise. They take 20 percent of the ride off the cabbie but Gett is unbelievable it charges something listed as Technology Charge and Peak Time charge to the customer on top of the ride charge. Regardless of whether it is at peak time whatever that may be. You know like 2pm. That is peak time is it? I am not joking at all they charge £27 to get into town from Kensington Palace to Baker Street. Anyway there is a competition raging between these two apps for control of London's Black Cabs and it is between ex-Nazis and jews. There is something odd about that isn't there as if it is a proxy war in a way? Of all the many countries in the world it has to be Germany against Israel? Whatever. Anyway since these apps took over you can no longer step out into the street and find an empty Black Cab with its light on. It is a shame. For me that was a feature of London life. The second thing that is insane in London is that all of Central London known as the Congestion Charge zone is now 20 miles per hour speed limit. It is absurd. No one I have asked has any idea what the purpose is. Nobody knows. It has never been communicated to London drivers. 20 miles an hour speed limit is crazy. Bicycles travel at about 18-25 miles per hour. A taxi at this point is slower than a bike. I mean joggers are doing 8 miles an hour. No cabbie can tell you why this has come in. The fact is that if you research it it is beyond comprehension. The speed restriction is to reduce death and serious injury to pedestrians. That is not a lie. That is actually on TfL's website. So first you cannot find a cab anymore in the street. Second the cabs are an outrageous rip off and third they have to drive at 20 mph. Which is very slowly. This then is a classic Cui bono? To whom is it a benefit? It is not hard to work it out. The new regulations and changes are disliked by all and do not seem to be of any obvious benefit to Londoners. However the two app companies in Tel Aviv and Munich are minting it. Bayerische Motoren Werke is minting it at this point. The app companies also benefit from the slower driving of the Black Cabs because Black Cab meters charge for distance and time spent on the journey. The slower they go the higher the fare. These app companies are getting 20 percent of every Black Cab journey taken in London. You know 24/7. All day every day and they have no costs. They are running an app. It is a few software engineers doing tweaks and that is it. There really is not much else to do except watch their 20 percent of everything roll in. It is minimum effort. Actually it is zero effort. It is basically free money. Can I do the math? Say for example an average Black Cab driver takes in £200 in a shift. That is conservative. That is £40 going to the apps from each cab driver. There are 21,000 Black Cabs so that is £840,000 every day going directly to apps before you take into consideration the extra Technology Charge and Peak Time charges that they take on top from the passengers. So on its face it is all about exploitative and unreasonable profit. No big surprise there at all. 'Twas ever thus. But there is another dimension and most possibly a more important one. As things were in former days if you paid cash for a Black Cab that you had flagged down in the street you were essentially travelling about London anonymously. For example when The Met were investigating the theft of £50 million of jewellery from Tamara Ecclestone's home on Kensington Palace Gardens detectives had no choice but to interview around one thousand Black Cab drivers to see if any could recall having picked up the gang of thieves who were caught on CCTV making their getaway from the scene by hailing a Black Cab on Kensington High Street. The state do not want people moving around the capital namelessly and unidentified.

Look at me now. Here I am. I am sitting with my Apple laptop and my Apple iPhone in Kensington in London. Let's have a look at the level of control that is being exerted over me as I type up this blog post. I know you know all this but I want to lay it out. First there is the research I am doing on the Internet. All of that research is being recorded—twice as it happens. First it is being saved by GCHQ and second it is being saved by Google. Then if I send an email that is being saved by GCHQ too and very likely by the NSA in Fort Meade Maryland USA. Did you know that they are doing mass surveillance like that? Well they are. Just read Ed Snowden's book Permanent Record. Next my phone is tracking my exact geo-location and saving that as well as my relationship to my nearest Vodafone cell mast which is actually atop Imperial College. A university that is nearby. Let's say I decide to go buy a cold ginger beer. Well I will step out of the house the back way and walk across Launceston Place where there are three RBKC CCTV cameras recording my movements as I go. And at this point my phone which I have with me is also recording my movements both GPS and relationally to the Imperial College mast. Then I walk into my local convenience store Ross Food and Wine. Of course I am on CCTV in Ross Food and Wine. At that point I pay for my ginger beer with a card. I don't carry cash any more because everyone says you can get COVID-19 from cash. So I pay with my bank card which creates a permanent record of the exact time I was in the store and how much I spent. As I wander back home I spot another RBKC CCTV camera on the corner of Queen's Gate Terrace. That is a crafty one. So forensically speaking every single action and movement I am doing is being recorded as well as a log of research and my email being harvested by GCHQ and most probably the NSA in Fort Meade Maryland. If you believe Snowden which I do. Snowden says the the plan at the NSA was to collect all emails in the world all email traffic to be stored in perpetuity. That has never been denied by the NSA since the revelations. Anyway my point is that that level of mass surveillance going on is unnecessary. It is actually immoral. And it is a gross invasion of my privacy. That is not something I can fight against. I mean I could stop carrying my phone but my family want me to have it in case of an emergency and I can't really argue against that. And so too I could use TOR for web-browsing so that my history becomes impossible to record. So there are some steps. I could have used cash at Ross Store but my trip would still be recorded on at least three different cameras. It is intolerable. I don't know why there is not greater unrest about the level of surveillance we are under in London. Every single thing I do is being recorded and logged. Even now if I take a break to watch the news on my laptop the exact amount of time that I was streaming the news will be logged. A bit later if I go and watch some Netflix the exact time that I start watching a TV episode will be recorded and logged forever. It is actually wild if you have never done it to look at your watching history on Netflix. You can bring it up under Account and then Viewing Activity. It records every time you login to the system and what you watched for how long going back to the first day you signed up for Netflix. The same is obviously true for Spotify. Every song you have ever played is recorded. By the way the same holds true for Amazon. You can now bring up a complete list of everything you have ever bought on Amazon since the day you signed up which in my case was 2001. You can literally see what you have bought going back through more than twenty years. So too YouTube. Every clip I have ever watched is in my history. You go back and have a look and you think Ah Yes I forgot I watched all those clips in 2017 when I was into the C-17 Globemaster. I love that plane. That plane is the plane of choice for US Special Forces missions. They will tend to use a C-17 if they can. Four P&W F-117 engines each 40,000 pounds of thrust. And it has this huge tail seventeen metres in height. $340 million that is the going price for a C-17 if you want to order one. The only person I know who could afford one is Damien but it would be all the money he has ever made so he probably wouldn't want to do it. The C-17 is a motherfucker. You just open the aft ramp and there you are standing watching the world go by at 30,000 feet. The P&Ws roaring like Hell. Fuck knows how much JF those engines burn through but it is a lot. And at that point when the man says the word everybody walks down the ramp and jumps. And the mission has begun. That is just what Special Forces do. That is called infiltration. Infiltration into a hostile territory. With a mission to fuck something or someone up. As they famously say: Arrive. Fuck Things Up. Leave. Or the rougher version: Arrive. Fuck Shit Up. Leave. Anyway my point is that there are nine million people living in London and every one of them is in the same situation as me. Tracked and traced and under surveillance at all times and not one of them has ever been asked if that is okay. Not one of them actually wants their every movement and activity logged like that. To state the obvious it is manifestly dehumanizing. It is intolerable what has happened. Can it be reversed? I don't think it can no. I don't think that is being defeatist that is just being realistic. What the state are going to come and remove all the cameras in the street? Google are going to stop recording my search history? No of course not. That is what is on offer. Take it or leave it. If you don't like it the only thing you can do is attempt to go off grid. Why has this happened to our society? Technology has created a prison of surveillance and data collection. The totalitarians are slowly and steadily achieving their long term aim. Which is complete and comprehensive access to our every movement and decision. Please join with me to try and stop this.

The steady stream of lies the oligarchs recite is relentless. There is no possible context of integrity. They constantly lie to distract from and disguise their Machiavellian behaviour. So if one of them gets interviewed for the FT they will say: I am a man of simple pleasures really family comes first. If you read that then you can safely assume that the person being interviewed is a Machiavellian oligarch. In almost all cases what they think will be the opposite of what they say. Speaking is nothing but a chance to lie. Many of the lies are rehearsed so that when you hear them they seem quite wooden. Some of them speak in a strangely wooden way all the time. Nothing they utter has any integrity. Most people read Machiavelli The Prince from 1550 and set it aside with a shudder. So too there are people who read it and don't set it aside at all. They read it and are inspired by it. It is a book that is not unlike Let Us Be Muslims by Sayyid Abul a'la Maududi. People get drawn into Islamist extremism after reading Maududi. It is a classic text of radicalization which basically exhorts Muslims to seek power and influence in whatever country they find themselves in and by whatever means are necessary. And it is the same with The Prince. Some people read it and that is it they are off. Being immoral actually appeals to some people. They aspire to being immoral. It might sound odd but that is true. There are raging immoralists out there. Boris Johnson is a famous one. He read The Prince and then that was it. He began his career as an immoralist. Not everyone is into integrity and honesty. The immoralist feels that integrity is annoying even offensive. For example I came into the artworld in 1990 with a preoccupation running since 1983 with transgression: Bataille Sade Throbbing Gristle Kathy Acker Nietzsche stuff like that. I said to my friend in 1992: but you were not telling the truth were you? You are just lying to get what you want. And instead of apologising to me do you know what this notoriously obfuscating and supposedly political plexi-lover said to me by way of reply? I find people who fetishize the truth depressingly conventional. In that moment I was actually stunned. I thought my God it is easy to wax on about transgression until you are finally confronted by rank knavery isn't it? That particular man has always found victims aplenty since then. He mocks morality as a sort of petit bourgeois constraint. Most of the oligarchs are immoralists. All of them really. The oligarchs have no time for integrity. They will talk about the importance of integrity all the time as an intentional deception. They will often assert that they have the highest moral standards when in fact they are an immoralist. What I think strikes the immoralist very often is how astonishingly gullible their victims are. Boris Johnson is a good example. He is 58 and has been ousted as Prime Minister for being an immoralist yet he is not humbled. Not in the slightest. He is actually preparing for his next role. The immoralist can always find another victim. There is no shortage because the fact is that many are entranced by immoralists. Many are fascinated by them. That is how they gain power. The charm they have is in the fascination that people have for darkness and Machiavellianism. It is attractive. It draws people in. They would get nowhere if it were not the case. You might go so far as to say that charisma is a quality of the immoralist. People always look for examples of someone who had charisma who was not an immoralist and they say Gandhi. That is a fair time ago isn't it? What about more recently? I don't believe that anyway for me charismatic charm emanates from the immoralist alone.

We talk about the wealthy one percent—the wealthy elite. That number is shorthand I know but it is inaccurate. The wealthy elite is around 0.1 percent of the population. 0.1 percent of the British population is about 70,000 people. These are the wealthy few. Most of this 0.1 percent just get on with living their lives of luxury and a never-ending pursuit of enjoyment. The fact is that they don't want anything at all to get in the way of their enjoyment schedule. The weekends in the country the holidays to anywhere in the world the parties and dinner-parties that abound in an endless social schedule of balls banquets cocktails. Then the shopping of course. Buying all sorts of valuable objects clothes shoes watches cars. Proof of their addiction to enjoyment can be observed whenever someone gets in the way of its smooth running. Like say for example when their table is not yet ready when they arrive for lunch at a restaurant. Or when their Bentley is stuck in traffic on Hyde Park Corner. Then you will see a merciless fury vented. As I say nothing must ever get in the way of their enjoyment. Life is there to be enjoyed is it not? The language and vocabulary of the 0.1 percent is also coloured by this idea of enjoyment: marvellous magnificent outstanding excellent delightful sensational perfect. They run out of words to describe how wonderful everything is. Then there is a very different group: the oligarchs. The oligarchs number around one percent of the wealthy 0.1 percent. They are the 0.001 percent—around 700 people. Between then they run the largest companies organizations and control trillions of pounds in investments. The oligarchs are very different from the rest of the wealthy 0.1 percent in that they are not fascinated by enjoyment and luxury but by power. Power and control. You can say that that is their obsession. Many of the oligarchs are clinical megalomaniacs. Meaning that they have a clinical obsession with power. In art Damien is a good example of a clinical megalomaniac. No amount of money and status will ever suffice for him. He will not rest. He cannot. They cannot help themselves in this pursuit of power. These oligarchs wake up with a craving for power. As I say it is an illness. These are people who feel humiliated if they do not have the Prime Minister's mobile number on their contacts. They want to be dining at Clarence House not once but regularly. And sitting next to Charles not merely on the same table. They would want to holiday with say Abdallah Nauphal who has £800 billion under management—meaning he decides where that £800 billion gets invested. The oligarchs want to influence these people and they do all the time. That is what they live. The seduction of power and influence. This is how the obsession of the oligarchs goes. To be close to power to be involved with power. To become power. You cannot really say it is a conspiracy as such. It is not. It is just that a certain clique of people are continuously seeking to exercise power over decisions being made. It is not in any way a secret. This is the 0.001 percent. These are the people who are in control. I think that it is impossible to stop such a clique emerging. What possible law can you put in place to stop the behaviour of the oligarchs? There is none. You cannot even draw up a draft Bill. What would you put in it? Certain members of the wealthy elite should not be allowed to seek undue power and influence? Right okay. So how is that to be enforced? That is the reality of the pursuit of power and influence: it rings out down through the centuries. It is what Shakespeare wrote about. 'Twas ever thus. 'Twas ever thus my friends. Do not think you can try and change it in any way. You are merely a civilian. A worker. Probably a cultural worker. You know nothing of the ways of the oligarchs.

2022 07 21

Have you ever listened to the Oasis track The Masterplan? It was released as the B-side of Wonderwall in 1995. Noel has always said it is one of his best songs. It is the last track on The Masterplan album. It has got 40 million plays only. Noel played guitar and bass and sang it. Liam is not on that song. Anyway it is a great track and I have to say that for me whether Noel is really completely aware of it or not it does have a definite Christian message: Dance if you want to dance/ Please brother take a chance/ You know they're going to go/ Which way they want to go/ All we know is that we don't know/ How it's going to be/ Please brother let it be/ Life on the other hand won't make us understand/ We're all part of the masterplan/ Say it loud and sing it proud today. So for me that is a great Christian anthem. We're all part of the masterplan. I think Noel would be happy with that? I don't think he would have a problem with that interpretation. Perhaps that is why Liam is not on the song? He didn't like the Christian message? I would like to ask Noel about it. I shook his hand one night in the Groucho a long long time ago. He was out with Russell Brand just the two of them. Those two should be knighted of course. When you are thinking of what genius is then you can think about those two. I am sorry Noel but I think your song writing mind knows more than you care to disclose. We're all part of the masterplan/ Say it loud and sing it proud today.

2022 07 20

To me Ed Snowden is a hero. Of course. The journalists who used his documents got the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service. So if they are getting the Pulitzer then what is he getting? I honestly don't see why he had to go grovelling as an asylum seeker to Putin of all people. I want him out of Russia with a full United States pardon as soon as possible. Obama is a delusional imbecile. It is very sad that people actually perceived him as a valid President. The picture that Snowden builds of mass surveillance being carried on by the USA and the UK is frightening. It is beyond frightening to me. For some reason it is not a big problem for many people. They just shrug. I don't know why people are not bothered. It is not necessarily the mass surveillance as such it is the attitude of the state that this surveillance reveals. The state or the deep state or the IC—as it is known to Snowden—are involved with fascist control techniques that are simply illegal. They have never been authorized. This is the point. Mass surveillance on this level is only a short step away from totalitarianism. Once you have control of all communications you are well on your way. If you are not worried about Snowden's revelations regarding mass surveillance then what might bother you? Is it possible to understand that mass surveillance is a pillar of totalitarianism? Snowden is saying that in the USA they are collecting all emails that have ever been sent. A searchable permanent record or digital memory as such of all emails in the world that have ever been sent. Does that not bother you? They have not stopped just because Snowden revealed they are doing it. In the UK the reaction was to just pass a law that makes some mass surveillance legal. Check out the Investigatory Powers Act 2016. From 1984 people always remember O'Brien's description of state power and totalitarianism as a jackboot stamping on a human face forever and that is a shame because that is not how it is going to be. In the same passage just above it O'Brien says something far more telling: always there will be the intoxication of power constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Here is O'Brien's complete description of a dehumanized population. Probably one of the most important passages in all literature. If you have the ability to memorize it and recite from it all the better:

Obedience is not enough. Unless he is suffering how can you be sure that he is obeying your will and not his own? Power is in inflicting pain and humiliation. Power is in tearing human minds to pieces and putting them together again in new shapes of your own choosing. Do you begin to see then what kind of world we are creating? It is the exact opposite of the stupid hedonistic utopias that the old reformers imagined. A world of fear and treachery and torment a world of trampling and being trampled upon a world which will grow not less but more merciless as it refines itself. Progress in our world will be progress towards more pain. The old civilisations claimed that they were founded on love or justice. Ours is founded upon hatred. In our world there will be no emotions except fear rage triumph and self-abasement. Everything else we shall destroy—everything. Already we are breaking down the habits of thought which have survived from before the Revolution. We have cut the links between child and parent and between man and man and between man and woman. No one dares trust a wife or a child or a friend any longer. But in the future there will be no wives and no friends. Children will be taken from their mothers at birth as one takes eggs from a hen. The sex instinct will be eradicated. Procreation will be an annual formality like the renewal of a ration card. We shall abolish the orgasm. Our neurologists are at work upon it now. There will be no loyalty except loyalty towards the Party. There will be no love except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy. There will be no art no literature no science. When we are omnipotent we shall have no more need of science. There will be no distinction between beauty and ugliness. There will be no curiosity no enjoyment of the process of life. All competing pleasures will be destroyed. But always—do not forget this Winston—there will be the intoxication of power constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. Always at every moment there will be the thrill of victory the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless.

Anyway if you take the above as a basic picture of the totalitarian aim then complete control of all communications is a natural step. The essential aim of the totalitarian is the dehumanization of the population. The totalitarian is driven by the desire for power and control. It is not something logical and meaningful. You could call it insanity in the way that you can call Nazi Germany insane. What other word can you use? Demented? Demented is a good word. It is hard to find words for what drives the totalitarian. Evil is resorted to so often. The totalitarian is demented and evil you could say but that still does not really capture it. What motivates the totalitarian Voldemort in the Harry Potter books? As O'Brian sets out in 1984 the totalitarian state will be achieved incrementally in stages step by step not overnight. There will always be the bogeyman the terrorist threat who is the catalyst for all of the actions taken by the state. They are not going to turn around and say: we are in the process of taking complete control of your life and this is the game plan. No they are actually cleverer than that. There will always be an enemy so dangerous that all sorts of measures are required. The bogeyman. Have you noticed for example that many Met police officers now carry a Heckler & Koch MP5 submachine gun? It is symbolic. Heckler & Koch weapons carry a direct link back to Hitler. Why carry a German gun? Made by a company that supplied Hitler? Well it was called Mauser during WWII. After the war Edmund Heckler and Theodor Koch who had worked for Mauser started Heckler & Koch. Look the MP5 is a statement gun. It is used all over the world to enforce state control. There are many different gun companies that the Met could have turned to but they didn't they turned to the classic symbol of the state monopoly on violence. The HK MP5. As used by some of the most feared and determined state soldiers in the world. The MP5 is a status symbol can I put it that way? There will always be more attacks. The attacks are there to justify the measures. The measures are implemented because control is actually the principal motivation. If you want or need an attack you just fail to stop one happening so you do have control on these attacks. You can let one happen if needs be. I know it is cynical to say that. As O'Brien says: always there will be the intoxication of power constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. That is the line from 1984 that people should recall at any moment: always there will be the intoxication of power constantly increasing and constantly growing subtler. That is much more relevant to us now than the jackboot quote. Constantly growing subtler that is the essence. Like the CCTV cameras in London that were installed they said as traffic cameras solely to monitor traffic. And everyone accepted it. Even though they did say that these cameras can read car number plates as they pass and look them up on a database of every car and then charge then a fee for passing into central London. It did not bother people that the camera can intelligently pick out number plates like that and read them. It did not occur to people that this was the introduction of mass surveillance. No people thought it was just cameras to read the number plates. Even though the cameras were set up at every intersection. Then CCTV cameras went up in every London borough. Hundreds of them in each borough. Again it did not bother people. They said it was for crime purposes. For the prevention of crime. And people went for that. So mass surveillance was installed and functioning across London without even a grumble. Without it even being a talking point. And here is the kicker: it was accepted as if it were simply inevitable. That is the brilliance of state control. When the people accept deprivation as a matter of course. Which is how it did in fact unfold. And now they will slowly begin to admit at some point that the cameras that can recognise a number plate and look it up and charge someone a fee can also recognise a face and look that up too. What do you think? Of course. Would you raise the alarm then? Yes? The essence is the normalizing of the process. Right now in London we are under sophisticated mass surveillance and we do nothing about that. We are under surveillance like the people of Guangzhou. The London camera system is probably more advanced than what they have in Guangzhou. Does any of this mean anything to you?

Face ID is the biometric authentication system that Apple owns. The facial recognition software and hardware on an iPhone is wild. A tiny infrared dot projector throws over 30,000 dots of light onto the user's face which are then captured by an infrared camera. That is wild. That is how your phone recognises you every time. Apple: The technology that enables Face ID is some of the most advanced hardware and software we’ve ever created. The TrueDepth camera captures accurate face data by projecting and analysing thousands of invisible dots to create a depth map of your face. It also captures an infrared image of your face. A portion of the neural engine of the A15 Bionic chip – protected within the Secure Enclave – transforms the depth map and infrared image into a mathematical representation and compares that representation with the enrolled facial data. So every time you use facial recognition to access your phone you are getting all these invisible IR dots on your face. The projection system is actually lasers known as VCSEL. Did you know that? A lot of people don't. It is interesting that Apple don't advertise how Face ID works. A lot of people think the biometric software is just measuring your facial characteristics directly from the LCD display. Personally I have got Face ID switched off. There are legal questions such as could a police detective force you to look at your phone with a view to opening it? It is safer just to use a passcode. A six digit passcode has exactly one million possible codes. I don't actually want 30,000 laser beams being projected on to my face. Who knows what that can do to someone? Of course there have never been any health studies on it because Apple are not interested in your health. They are interested in profit. Look there is no way I could do the photography I used to do now. Of course not. I would be thrown in jail it is that simple. Hanging around young women in places like changing rooms and so forth taking pictures without their consent or knowledge. People will stop you and haul you out. You literally would not be safe. You get branded a pervert—voyeurism is a taboo perversion. They will brand you a sex offender. You can argue that taking those kinds of images that I was into could be characterized as a sex crime. It is an invasion of privacy and it is taking a picture for the purposes of obtaining sexual gratification. It is quite wrong. Things were very different in 1997. It was a different social climate. There were no smartphones then. So things like The Cult of the Street would not be possible at all now. Society has moved on completely. You cannot go cruising around taking pictures of women's bums and stuff like that. Obviously uppies are completely outlawed. You just cannot do that kind of photography anymore at all. These days you get arrested and thrown in jail if you are a voyeur. Sex pest. Perv. Call the Old Bill someone. You will get put on VP wing on remand. You will be in cells with paedophiles. You will be on the nonces wing. Yes. Are we getting the message? People don't realize that UK prisoners have been in their cells 23 hours a day through COVID-19 and still many prisons have not relaxed that regime even now. Family will be visiting you on the nonces wing which has its own separate entrance for the families of sex pests and paedos. And all this for making art? So to all the people who ask: why don't I do my photography any more? Do me a favour will you? Come and visit? VP Wing Belmarsh Prison London SE 28.

How would you go about it if you wanted to achieve for whatever reason global fascism or global totalitarianism. Of course it would be a slow process going country by country. First you normalize fascism with some vanguard countries getting involved such as China Saudi Arabia and Russia—North Korea plays a pivotal role in this in that the vanguard countries can point to that state and say: look we are not a fascist state North Korea is a fascist state and that is nothing like what we are. I suppose a true cynic would say that North Korea is actually backed and allowed to remain solely for this reason of making the vanguard fascist states look moderate. So you have got these vanguard states and with these the language is manipulated so that fascism is given the name authoritarianism. It is a rebrand. Authoritarianism becomes an option. It is promoted as a very effective way of ruling when compared to democracy. The promoters will cite things like the idiotic barracking that goes on in the House of Commons. If you watch all the MPs shouting out Hear! Hear! when the Commons is on it does seem like a very puerile and embarrassing way of deciding anything. It is not that hard to make it seem irrelevant in today's world. If you compare it to say the decrees of a Crown Prince. Some states like the UK play the long game: slow but steady. Then there are volatile states in which the people are known to be easily confused or impulsive and even perverse. In such a state an authoritarian government could come to power by free election overnight. Just like Hitler did. I think that could happen in France or Germany—once again. Once you get one of the big European states to go others would follow quite quickly. At some point the demonization of democracy would begin to be a pervasive consensus as if we were all leaving it behind for a glorious future. That is what Hitler was actually offering. For the UK it is really not necessary for an authoritarian government to be swept to power because the security services and the oligarchs are already running everything no problem. The incremental change towards authoritarianism will continue though. The Met use stop and search to intimidate people but it has been kept to crime hotspots in the main. At a certain point stop and search may become more prevalent so that you come to expect it at any time. And the Old Bill that do it will be armed I am pretty sure. It will be solely for the purposes of intimidation. The UK population have already been cowed. The side effects of Twitter Instagram and TikTok are taking hold. The people have lost the ability to read books. Even a book like 1984. Twitter takes hold of the mind and meaningful debate and scrambles it. Twitter scrambles the mind of the user. To the point that they become not a zombie exactly but nevertheless a broken person. At some point authoritarianism starts to look alright to many people. Johnson could come back as an authoritarian leader for example. That is possible. You can see from how he operates how a dictator could rise in Britain. But as I say the UK is moving at a good pace in the authoritarian direction without the need as yet for an outright dictator in power as Prime Minister. The office of Prime Minister has been so debased at this point that the elected Prime Minister cannot actually hope to render his will over the security services and the oligarchs. Someone like Rishi would be a perfect puppet in that he is already a part of the wealthy elite one percent. I think when Charles becomes King there will be an incremental nudge in the direction of authoritarianism. Charles has already shown that he has no human compassion as a person and is likely to exercise that or parade it soon after being crowned. The smugness of the ruling class will become much more in evidence than it has been. Remember the English landed gentry aristocrats are also part of the wealthy one percent elite. Don't believe the lies they spread about not owning much and not being that wealthy. And the aristocrats play an important part in the force of the wealthy elite's complete lack of compassion for the plight of the ordinary person. The Duchess of Cornwall is important in that too. She projects the idea of the ruling class as being genetically set aside as a group of people. The idea of being born to rule she projects. The idea that the ruling elite will never care for the ordinary person. It is just something they cannot and will never do. Of course that is where Diana comes in because she was the one who refused to take up her position of projecting indifference. You are not given a choice in this. William's compassion is wooden and staged as is Kate's. It is an act they put on. But Charles does not put on an act at all he simply projects indifference. Charles will demonstrate that as a message soon after his coronation. It will be in the form of an overt insult or put down to the English working class and the English middle class. The middle class are the worst in that they think they are very nearly part of the wealthy elite when they are not at all. The one percent has completely different horizons. I think climate change could become a driver or catalyst for authoritarianism as well. It is a prompt for all acting as one in unison for a certain good cause. Survival is a very good cause. Survival becomes so pressing that any reduction in liberty is accepted as it was with the instruction to Stay Home and Save Lives. The British have shown that they will comply when the reason given seems urgent enough. With COVID-19 no meaningful evidence was ever presented about the virus and the naysayers were immediately monstered and cancelled. The message really was that having any thoughts to not comply rendered you a vagabond a nutcase an eccentric and a person with no basic common sense. It is so easy to write dissenters off and that is actually what happened. Listen to the science. Be guided by the science. It has worked once so it will work again. The demand to Stay Home was accepted without any confrontation at all. So that will happen again at some point but it will be scaled up to ten times what COVID-19 was.

Look my date of birth is 13th June 1966. My date of birth which I type into websites that ask for it is: 13 6 66. 13 666. That may strike you in some way or not. It does say in Chapter 13 of Revelations in my ESV Holy Bible:

It performs great signs even making fire come down from heaven to Earth in front of people and by the signs that it is allowed to work in the presence of the beast it deceives those who dwell on Earth telling them to make an image for the beast that was wounded by the sword and yet lived. And it was allowed to give breath to the image of the beast so that the image of the beast might even speak and might cause those who would not worship the image of the beast to be slain. Also it causes all both small and great both rich and poor both free and slave to be marked on the right hand or the forehead so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark that is the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast for it is the number of a man and his number is 666.

No worries. It doesn't bother me only except for the fact that to get that date of birth I had to be born prematurely for no particular known medical reason. It just so happened that my mother went into labour on that day completely unexpectedly a month before her due date. So it is a bit weird. If you think of the chances of getting that DOB: born on the 13th day of the 6th month in 1966. You are not going to get that DOB again. Obviously quite a few people do have the same DOB. It is a mark your DOB isn't it? Probably it is just nothing. I think I will talk to my Vicar about this anxiety that I have. Forget it. I am not marked by the number of the beast. No way. I am one of the good guys. Believe me I am one of the good guys.

2022 07 19

Your mobile is a computer that you carry really for the benefit of the state. It is your very own unique allocated track and trace device. It is your responsibility to purchase it carry it with you and to keep it charged for which the state are very grateful I can assure you. That is one way of looking at it. You get your own benefits and they get theirs. First as long as you carry it about your person it is recording with GPS your physical position on planet Earth wherever you go. Then as you may know the mobile phone network is divided down into many hundreds of cells each of which has a broadcasting tower of some kind. Known as the coverage. Your phone is also continuously recording which cell mast you are transmitting to and receiving from. So all of that data is recorded by the network provider and can be interrogated in real time or retrospectively. You see it all the time in criminal cases where the Crown shows the route that a defendant took based on phone provider cell records. These are enough to get you nicked as there is no defence against such records. You cannot send your barrister into court to start contesting these phone tracking records. They are considered rock solid evidence. So God forbid anyone ever creates a false set of records for you because these will be accepted in court. So too the COVID-19 passport is such a brilliant innovation if you are thinking about control. All you have to do is get the people to accept that it is for a common good and bingo you have got an ID system in operation just like that overnight with no fuss or bother. It is better than an ID card really because the individual shoulders the financial burden for creating the ID system so therefore there is no big debate about who is paying for and implementing it. Which has been a sticking point in the past. Then of course you as the state say that these certificates will be needed to do a lot of things in life that people want to do. Such as entering and leaving the country. At that point your control over 90 percent of the population is pretty tight. And all of this we have Steve Jobs to thank for inventing the smartphone. It's ironic isn't it? All of these utopian ideas he had about freedom and opportunity. We are slaves to our smartphones and the state love it. I know. I know. There are many people who will say: Look I am sorry but I have no problem with any of this. It is all fine. I am happy with this set up. To which I would only ask: what loss of freedom and privacy would you definitely not be happy with? That is a serious question because there is not that much more left to give up. You are tracked and traced in everything you do and everywhere you go by your phone. Clearly some people have never looked into the idea of personal freedom and liberty with a view to discerning what it might actually consist of. The most absurd thing is the Conservatives arguing that they are the party of freedom and liberty and a small state and so forth. I mean all of this—not to mention CCTV everywhere—has come in under the Conservatives in the last twelve years since 2010 when the smartphone was first released.

2022 07 18

The recent hot weather hysteria demonstrated once again that Sky News is involved with psychological operations—PSYOP—or even mind control if you really want to go there. It is hard to know to what extent it is driven by Comcast or the UK state. For a couple of hot days of sunshine there was at least five days of continuous fear-mongering in the run-up up to the point that when I went into the park at 10 am on the Monday to walk my dachshund with the temperature still at 21 degrees I found it completely deserted. There was not a soul in sight. People had been scared off. At that time in the morning there was no issue with heat at all. There is a very worrying subjugation of the British people which has set in since COVID-19. People are much more compliant. The people have been effectively subdued by COVID-19 restrictions. Sky News is a brilliant vehicle for propaganda. They do it so well. They are like a purring Mercedes of disinformation. It is owned by Comcast these days. All of Sky is owned by Comcast. Comcast is a rather unpleasant U.S. transnational. Obviously Murdoch is a sick and evil man. But Comcast seems even more sinister. If you look at the list of board members you just know it is as corrupt as any organization can be. What is the point of this company? Transnational control. That is the only possible answer. Hot weather was another opportunity to force the British people inside their homes just as happened before with COVID-19. There is no logical reason to have a news broadcasting channel running constant warnings about heat as if it is not common sense how to behave in hot weather. I mean they are telling people to stay hydrated and wear a hat over and over again. And if you do have to leave your home make sure to pack an emergency survival kit. 40 Celsius is high for the UK. Maybe the highest ever. But that is an average temperature in Ethiopia. We all know very well what to do in hot weather. It is demeaning. The implication is that some people really don't know that you need to keep hydrated in hot weather. Even a five year old does know this. A four year old even. So there is something strange going on definitely. The broadcaster is giving out information that would be suitable for infants to an adult audience. There is an intention to infantilize of course there is. It is quite distressing.

Look the links between autism and premature birth are really proven beyond doubt. If you are born preterm then that could actually cause autism. That is quite likely. The chances of being autistic if you are born preemie are much higher than for those born on time at full term. I myself was born at 36 weeks or one month premature. The situation for me as a newborn was this. I was put in a neonatal incubator for a month in Forest Gate Hospital in East London. The hospital was attacked by Nazi bomber planes in WWII and received two direct hits. So it must have been completely rebuilt after the War. The maternity ward probably had classic 1950s institutional decor. An incubator is a large clear plexi box. My mother had PND or postnatal depression. She was making fleeting visits each day. My father cannot remember if he visited which tells you everything you need to know. As far as I can establish my Mum was not allowed to pick me up out of the incubator. I was hardly picked up or held in that month. Neither by my Mum or by nurses. I was not given human bodily contact. In many ways I was treated as if I had not actually been born. I was born and then ignored and given no love for a month. It is beyond obvious that that is going to affect you for the rest of your life. Even to a layman that is obvious. You do not need to be a professional neonatologist to get that. They keep you in the incubator to keep you warm and to reduce the risk of infection. Preterm babies are at risk of hypothermia. I also had pyloric stenosis which is a condition where the baby projectile vomits the milk given to it and actually requires stomach surgery. So as a newborn I was vomiting dramatically which caused no end of stress to my Mum too. I hope things are very different from how it was in my day for preemies who are being kept in hospital now.

In 1999 James Sinclair Ed Morris and Trevor Beattie made an advert for PlayStation. It is considered one of the best adverts ever made—Double Life. It is classic. It is James Sinclair that wrote the script which sums up perfectly what J.G. Ballard predicted many times which is that digital technology will inevitably presage the normalization of psychopathy: For years I've lived a double life/ In the day I do my job/ I ride the bus roll up my sleeves with the hoi polloi/ But at night I live a life of exhilaration/ of missed heartbeats and adrenalin/ And if the truth be known a life of dubious virtue/ I won't deny it I've been engaged in violence even indulged in it/ I've maimed and killed adversaries and not merely in self-defence/ I've exhibited disregard for life limb and property/ and savoured every moment/ You may not think it to look at me/ but I have commanded armies and conquered worlds/ And though in achieving these things I've set morality aside/ I have no regrets/ For though I've led a double life at least I can say: I have lived. That script won several awards for advertizing copy. Very good. But to that second life J.G. Ballard actually added a third level of reality. The inner space of imagination and fantasy. So to account for reality today you have: concrete reality; your online social media or gaming self; and the third level of inner personal imagination and fantasies. So it is a triple rather than double life.

When I was at Weydon a perfectly ordinary type of entertainment was to go up into the maths block get into a classroom on the second floor lean out of a window and gob on people. That is to say spitting down from above a unique mixture of saliva and mucous onto unsuspecting passers-by. That was seen as an amusing thing to do during any given lunch break. This kind of deranged delinquent behaviour was just accepted as perfectly normal. It was seen as a natural part of school life. People spitting on you from high above. This is what Weydon School in Wrecclesham was like. I wonder if they do that at Eton College? The reality of The Big Sleep is that the movie is rather toned down for the crucial scenes due to the infamous Hays Code. My favourite scene in the film is the Acne Book Shop scene. They say it was improvised. It is not in the book. Dorothy Malone is beyond compare. The sexy librarian is a cliché I understand that. But so what? That is how to direct. If you can direct a scene like that then the rest is going to be easy. Most directors in Hollywood today couldn't direct that scene. They probably don't even know it. The scene celebrates heterosexual desires both male and female. They are both interested. It is very mutual. Malone is interested in Marlowe. She is not being coerced. Not at all. She is enjoying being desirable. She is actually seducing Marlowe and the way she does it is when she is describing Arthur Geiger. If you watch her range of facial expressions while she is describing Geiger's appearance they are all flirtatious. When she pulls the blind down with her bum that is so wonderful. She is brilliant. When she takes her glasses off and waits for him to look up at her is a classic moment in all of cinema history. For me because of the photography connection the most fascinating passage in the book is Marlowe's arrival at Geiger's home: Neither of the two people in the room paid any attention to the way I came in although only one of them was dead. One has been murdered and the other Carmen Sternwood a young heiress and gambling addict is stoned out of her mind on ether and laudanum sitting naked: She was wearing a pair of long jade earrings. They were nice earrings and had probably cost a couple of hundred dollars. She wasn’t wearing anything else. She had a beautiful body small lithe compact firm rounded. Her skin in the lamplight had the shimmering lustre of a pearl. Carmen is sitting in front of a hidden camera that has been installed for taking candid pornographic photos: a thing that looked like a totem pole. It had a profile like an eagle and its wide round eye was a camera lens. The lens was aimed at the naked girl in the chair. There was a blackened flash bulb clipped to the side of the totem pole. Of course the exposed film containing the pornographic photos of Carmen is missing. Upon his discovery of a drugged naked woman and the body of a murdered man Marlowe reacts by ignoring the dead body completely and instead spends quite some time helping Carmen back into her clothes.

2022 07 17

There is one more thing I need to ventilate. Another appalling behaviour I encountered at Weydon School in Wrecclesham near Farnham in Surrey. I was at this school in the class of 1982. There was a maths teacher called Harding believe it or not. And we had set two maths with him. Now this is no joke he used to get an erection in his pants when he was addressing the class. He used to look at two girls in particular Julie Neighbour and Imelda Kelly. They turned him on. They were fifteen. Now they immediately recognized it and we laughed about it. They used to stage whisper out: Hard on! Hard on! whenever it happened. But seriously now I look back I just can't believe it. None of us thought to make a complaint about it. I mean you could see his trousers bulge in the most obvious way. It was disgusting. He knew that we were on to him I am pretty sure. I mean they used to call out quite loudly when it happened. It was like it was involuntary. He just got very turned on by young girls. There are countless witnesses to this. Guy Garrard for one. I mean what would it take for this man to be punished for gross misconduct in retrospect? I mean if this pervert Harding is still alive. He is probably dribbling away in a care home now. Must be. It was a long time ago but justice has no timeline.

There is a definite intensity to rap music but a lot of it normalizes psychopathy and criminality in very much the way that J. G. Ballard predicted many times. It is wrong to argue that it is just songs and a form of entertainment or personal expression. If you listen to the lyrics the singer will often glorify things like ABH murder attempted murder drug dealing drug taking participation in organized crime homophobia violence to women degradation of women. For some reason because it is in song it is not considered offensive. For me this is similar to the accessibility of porn on the internet. It is just accepted and normalized. It is not reasonable to say that normalizing violent criminality is a matter of freedom of expression. I cannot understand why young adults are not more outraged and offended by it. There is a definite desensitization going on. I myself interpret some rap as an intentional desensitization technique aimed at vulnerable young minds. I am talking about Pop Smoke DaBaby Tyler the Creator Drill rap. It is very dark. It goes far beyond musical entertainment. Look I know people hear Human Rights Act and assume it is a great law but there are problems with it. The fact is that the articles of the HRA are very broad so they are massively open to legal challenge and dispute. So for example you have the Right to Privacy under the HRA but what does that actually consist of? What about the CCTV cameras everywhere? What about email harvesting by GCHQ? What about Facebook and Google collecting your data? What about your phone tracks and records your every movement across each cell that you transmit to? What about COVID-19 passports on your phone which greatly impair any chance of personal privacy? So apart from anything else it is a fairly ineffective law. Also points of law around the HRA get decided in Strasbourg in France at the ECHR. So the HRA opens up the prospect of a court in France making significant judgements for the UK. I mean this is a court that we know very little about. Anyway the point is that the HRA is so broad. I know that my right to privacy is being violated all the time so can I take someone to court about that? No. Not really. Can I sue Facebook using the HRA? Can I sue GCHQ using the HRA? Not really. So there is a question about how meaningful the HRA actually is. I myself am not in favour of the UK being subject to Strasbourg rulings. I think we should redo the HRA with final judgement being in the UK Supreme Court. The idea that a court outside of the UK with judges who are not British can determine a judgement regarding a point of UK law is not logical. Seriously I would like to understand what privacy actually consists of in the UK in the digital age since 2010 and the smartphone revolution. What is one to cling to that can be called privacy at this point?

2022 07 16

I love Euphoria I think it is a great show. I have only watched the pilot. But I do feel strongly that there should be a big warning at the beginning. I think that any show which seems to celebrate drinking drug-taking and casual sex should be obliged to mention these at the outset and state clearly the dangers associated with such behaviours. It is obvious that this should be so. For me this warning would be about thirty seconds or even one minute long. The current situation is intolerable. That there are no warnings is just wrong to me. One can say that any such warnings will have no impact whatsoever and will be ridiculed but I am okay with that. It is important to get the information out. Obviously one cannot guarantee that viewers will heed any such warning but it should be statutory. My feeling is that normalizing and actually glamourizing such behaviours is necessary within the context of the show itself so I accept that. I am not looking to censor it. The certificate system is irrelevant isn't it? No child cares what certificate something is. Euphoria is TV-MA which is a joke. Parents are supposed to tell their younger teens not to watch it. It is not going to happen. That is why one needs a warning boilerplate at the beginning of each episode that one cannot fast-forward or skip.

Look Nikon is basically about to close down. They have no way of competing with Apple. They will limp on with things like KeyMission. But it is really the end of the glory days. The iPhone cameras are made by Sony but the force of the iPhone camera is in the intelligent software which Nikon could never catch up with. They know nothing about software really. Nikon probably won't close completely but the game is up for sure. What Apple do with the software connected to the Sony cameras is years maybe decades ahead of anything Nikon could offer. The force of the iPhone camera is that the software continuously seeks to interpret the scene before it and effect the exposure accordingly. The Apple camera uses HDR or high dynamic range. You can take any camera you like and compare the set up with a picture taken on the iPhone and the iPhone picture will usually be better. That is just the way it is going to be from now on. They are making documentary movies for Netflix on iPhones. The iPhone camera knows approximately what it is looking at and intelligently compensates for what it sees. The exposure will top any DSLR from Nikon and the HEIF image will be immediately available anywhere in the world on any screen. That makes a difference to me. Look Nick Knight is using iPhone. You know we really should be getting the message. It is not about the lens anymore. The large glass-element lens is going. We lens-lovers are going to be a niche. We are already a niche. It is what the iPhone does with exposure that is so extraordinary. We have witnessed the complete miniaturization of the photo-lens down to a lens that is only a few millimetres in diameter. It is wild. You know you pick up the lenses with tweezers in the factory. That is how small they are. And the files are HEIF 16 bit images. These images you put them in Photoshop and you can do so much with them. You are talking about 281 trillion possible colour shades. That is complete overkill when we know that the human eye can only perceive a few million shades of colour at most. But that is where Apple is at. Complete control of the colour spectrum. I mean do any DSLRs even shoot 16 bit? Most of them don't. You really do have to have a good reason to get a DSLR out at this point. You need it for flash-sync in the studio still. They should put a flash-sync on iPhone now that would be so wild. Can you get an attachment already? You could do the photography course I teach with only an iPhone definitely. I used to drool over Nikon products. I will always be a Nikon man. I might get a Nikon tattoo at some point. I can spend hours in Grays of Westminster. They throw me out at a certain point. I love Nikon cameras. The F3 is the best camera ever made. Bury me please with an F3 laid on my chest. That would be nice. Comforting. An F3 is a profound object. Giorgetto Giugiaro for Italdesign. It was designed by an Italian. Did you know that? So Japanese and Italians together really. First available in 1980. Those were the glory days.

2022 07 15

You may not think of it as that much of a big deal but to me there is a message in Gary being paid £1.35 million to present a television show that any presenter in the world could easily do as well or much better. He is not that good. He certainly is not exceptional. There is no opportunity to do much anyway. But when he does speak it is pure banality and utterly predictable drivel. There is nothing to what he does. Any competent person could present that show. It is a football highlights show he presents. The idea that he is paid more than a million to do that is a message of some kind. It has to be decoded admittedly. The way I decode it is this. The initial striking thing is the absurdity of it. It is beyond ridiculous. So the message is one of defiance. The BBC is a dangerous liberal propaganda machine of course and this is a message from the BBC. This is tax money being paid to Gary. What does he represent? I think he represents spineless banality. If you judge him by his appearance his smirking idiocy and his banalities. So the BBC is saying: this is what we want you to be. This is your role model. A puppet an idiotic puppet who has nothing to say and nothing to contribute. Your role model is a man who smirks. Your role model is a white heterosexual man who smirks and has nothing to say at all. Your role model is a spineless man who we pay a fortune with your money. So part of the message is about ridiculing the audience: look at this spineless puppet with nothing to say well we pay him a million of your money. This is your role model that you pay yourselves to do a piss average job on a football highlights show where he hardly speaks and when he does it is platitudes and banality. It is about rewarding a person who has nothing to add to anything. A person who will never upset anyone or do anything controversial. A role model who thinks polite conversation and banality is the full extent of how he should speak on television. It is about not thinking and becoming a machine. Gary is a machine isn't he? Maybe he is literally a machine? The message is this: fuck anyone who has anything to say or is even human. Look at this role model that we have invented. He is a puppet of the BBC liberal media machine and you pay his idiotic wages anyway. We don't pay him. You pay him. And you watch his inept presenting every week. All he does on screen is gloat and smirk. The message to the audience is clear: fuck you to Hell. To which I say: fuck the BBC to Hell. And make sure you stay there. The BBC has to go. It is a biased and partisan organization which supports absurd liberal myths and is basically spewing liberal propaganda twenty hours a day. There is nothing but nothing objective and neutral about the BBC. The only problem is that they have a legal obligation to be neutral. They don't give a hoot. They are a liberal propaganda machine paid for by all voters. We all pay up for the arrogant liberal propaganda machine that mocks us. It is pure effrontery. Any reasonable government would cut them off instantly. Instantly. You know: everyone can go home because we are all being made redundant as of today with immediate effect. Goodbye.

Artwashing happens when a company that makes profits by unethical practices attempts to sanitize their reputation by getting involved with art. So too artwashing happens when an individual who has accumulated a fortune by making dubious investments attempts to legitimize their reputation by getting involved with art. They might sponsor art exhibitions or become an art collector with a desire to be perceived as a philanthropist—a person who does good for the world. Artwashing is rife. The big example recently was the Sackler family who went around the world funding art institutions in an extravagant way as a means of normalizing their unethical business and business practices. They are the owners of the license on a synthetic opioid drug called OxyContin which they were pushing doctors in the USA to prescribe using questionable high-pressure marketing. They got millions addicted to their drug and made a few billion from that. It took considerable pressure from many activists before anyone in art made even the slightest effort to lift a finger. Eventually the Sacklers became persona non grata. Photographer Nan Goldin led the charge. The entire art industry depends on the idea that nobody really asks too many questions about how a collector's fortune was earned. The fact is that in many cases with private individuals it is not at all easy to find out where their money has come from. Not much is published and people don't ask. There is no obligation to make any declarations. One of the justifications you hear all the time is: All money is dirty money in the end so why pick on X? The other classic one is: 'Twas ever thus. Meaning that suspect money from the wealthy elite has always bankrolled artists and culture in this way so why complain now? I think the most important thing to do is to call out artwashing wherever you find it. The offenders have to begin to feel that there is a hostile atmosphere. So important also is to try to encourage the artists become more cautious. The artists have lived in a bubble for decades with no thought ever being given to the ethics of their collectors. An artist who sells to an unethical collector or company is supporting and enabling artwashing and they must bear responsibility for that.

2022 07 14

I was talking to this guy who is twenty-two and he said the problem is that there is so much shit in the world that you don't know where to start. You have got these big companies that just do what they want. There is nothing you can really do about them whether it is Facebook or Pfizer. Then there is Putin and Xi tyrannical dictators creating fascist states. We said what if there was an uprising in Russia you know of several million people? The feeling was that Putin would turn his weapons on his own people. If he had to he would do it. We talked about the factory conditions in China like for people working making Huawei and Apple products. They live in compounds offered by the companies like Foxconn. They pay rent to live on the compound. At these compounds they have anti-suicide netting across the stairwells because there have been so many suicide attempts. Then we were talking about COVID-19 and the idea of getting pumped full of whatever vaccine every year is just unthinkable. I mean a vaccination is a vaccination against a certain disease. They are not going to do this every year. And then we talked about the Conservative Party. It was just the feeling that there is nobody you could trust there. Sunak is married to a billionaire's daughter. That is a conflict of interest that skews any chance that he would act without bias. I am not sure Sunak gets that. We started talking about industrial factory farming and how it should be outlawed. We agreed on that definitely. And that companies like KFC McDonald's and Nando's are appalling. I agreed with my friend that animals raised on traditional English farms live in different conditions altogether. Ethical farming like that is not the same thing. The problem with global warming is that you just don't know where to start that is how my friend laid it out. I mean what are we going to do to get humans to stop generating CO2? It just seems impossible right now it really does. And what about Elon Musk? You get these figures like Musk but what are they doing to help really in any of this stuff? Musk was thinking of buying Twitter and then he changed his mind. But what is he doing about the climate crisis? And then the War in Ukraine: my friend felt that we are just pouring fuel on the fire arming Ukraine in the way we are. It is not a winnable war for Ukraine acting alone. At some point a UN peacekeeping force has to go in to stop what is happening. At the moment it is just death and carnage without end. Ukraine cannot hope to defeat the Russian army. It has to be stopped as soon as possible. With Russia and Ukraine you have to ask: Cui bono? To whom is it a benefit? And I would say of course it is a benefit to Putin to create an atmosphere of destabilization in Europe. Putin wants the war to continue as can be seen in his military tactics. His forces never advance en masse. The Russians rarely advance as a surge. They could easily invade the region that they say they are fighting for and that be it. But taking the contested territory does not seem to be the objective. If it was it could have been achieved long ago. The purpose of the war seems to be primarily to produce destabilization and chaos in Europe. The purpose is to destroy Ukraine's economy and status as a country. Every day the warfare continues is another day of success for Putin. When will we move to stop a psychopath like that? The point that my friend was making was: Look I am twenty-two and this is the world that I wake up to every morning and it is heavy. It is hard. You know you just don't know what to do. On the way home a song came into my head that seemed so apt based on the conversation I had just had: Funeral Pyre by The Jam written by Paul when he also was twenty-two. There was one lyric that came back to me sharply: As I was standing by the edge/ I could see the faces of those who led/ pissing theirselves laughing.

Honestly if you are in any way interested in the circumstances of the death of Diana then David Icke's discussion of the events is essential. It is chapter 19 of his book The Biggest Secret from 2000. The chapter is called The Goddess and the King. There is nothing anti-Semitic in his reading of the events that I can see. Correct me if I am wrong. His picture of the death of Diana concerns a group known as the Babylonian Brotherhood and a long-planned ritual sacrifice I mean it is only for people who are fascinated by the death of Diana. You can call that a conspiracy theory. That is a poor term though in that it is used to dismiss anything at all that contradicts the official version of events as a fantasy. I think it is foolhardy to accept the official version of events in almost any setting. That would be my view. The official version of events is always by its very nature tailored and finessed at the very least and then on the other side of the dial is just corrupt lies. It is like contesting Boris Johnson. Some people are liars. Telling lies is corrupt. It is wrong to normalize unethical and immoral behaviour. You need to know if someone is lying to you. If they are then they are a dishonest person. Putin for example. Everything he says is rehearsed deception. But everyone agrees on that and Xi too and Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Such people are not talking straight. Or Biden you cannot take what he is saying at face value. It is nonsense. I am not in any way saying I accept Icke's view of Diana but it is a brilliantly written essay. Diana knew that her life was in danger. You just cannot take on the establishment in that way. You cannot leave the establishment in a position where they have no idea what you are going to do from one day to the next—that was the decisive factor. You cannot just become a hostile actor with complete freedom to do harm at will. I think Icke's version events is so bold and original. You can only say it is nonsense if you have actually read it otherwise you are not able to comment. They took ninety minutes to get her to hospital. If you are interested in the events you have to account for that and you have to account for what happened to Henri Paul for three hours before he arrived to do his job of work as Diana's driver at the Ritz. You have to account for what he was doing 7-10pm that evening. He might have just been at home laying on his bed watching television. But that is unlikely. You can discount Icke but it is still required reading. Look I once was talking to Jay Jopling and I said something to the effect of how can you possibly represent Marc Quinn? It just happens to be an artist that I cannot abide in way whatsoever. I could pull the work apart but who can be bothered? So I said to Jay something like: Marc Quinn give me a break and do you know what he said? He said: Henry do better! Meaning if it is so bad then you will naturally do much better work than him and you will be able to demonstrate that his work is awful by making work that is far better than his. I have always kept it in mind for some reason as quintessential Eton-speak. I do not accept Jay's position that much. As an art lover I am entitled to hold a view on his work under any circumstances. That is my privilege. That is the pleasure of art appreciation. A big part of art appreciation is articulating who you don't like. Believe me that is a crucial part of any art discussion. A conversation between art lovers goes like this. What do you think of Robert Nava? And then the conversation starts. In this example both will usually concur that his work is not good at all. It is reasonably easy to assume agreement on that. Kaws you will also get automatic agreement on. That is the establishing of range. And then the typical next step of the conversation is to mention an artist that is only a little controversial say Condo. And then the two will see how feelings are running on Condo. It is okay to like or not like it is okay both ways. And then the next step you see if there really is any real common ground. At that point you might say an artist that is good and wait to see the reaction. The reaction at that point will define the conversation and probably the friendship. At that point I would probably say Dana Schutz. If the person sneers at Schutz then I might say Issy Wood to see where they are on her. If they sneer at both of those then there is not much of a conversation to be had. That is how art appreciation goes. It is just as important who you don't like. If someone says to me I really like Wolfgang's work then I am already looking to move on to pastures new. There are artists I can entertain and there are those where I am not going to hold a conversation. I can talk about Damien for sure that is a good conversation but Wolfgang? No sorry. I honestly like art that is arresting and demanding. I cannot deal with his brand of melancholy liberalism at all. I do believe that good art should be quite shocking in a way. A shock to the system. Something that takes time to process. You can say that processing is intrinsic to appreciating art. You attempt to assimilate the work that stands before you. If you have processed it in five seconds that is a bad sign. If you are still standing there in front of it ten minutes later then that bodes well. You cannot walk away from good art it becomes magnetic. You feel a compulsion towards it. For the collectors that is when they enquire the price. When they get that magnetic feeling. With great art you get the feeling that you have made it yourself or that you have always known of this work somehow. As if you are greeting a long lost friend. It is fairly supernatural. That is how it is. Trust me you do not get that feeling very often.

2022 07 12

The Online Safety Bill will hopefully be passed at some point soon. For me the most important aspect is making porn harder to access. For children yes of course but just generally. The current situation is appalling and wrong where you just open your browser and porn is one click away. How do the largest porn sites actually make money when they offer so much porn for free? The porn videos they have up are disgusting and disturbing. Porn available like it is is dehumanizing. It is an affront to every British person. Like with so many things these days it is just accepted. This is the age we live in where everything is just accepted. The fight has gone. It is the age of learned helplessness. Mass learned helplessness. Giving up. The assumption of powerlessness. I think that learned helplessness seems to be a side effect or unexpected consequence of the digital revolution which began in the UK in 2000 with the first introduction of broadband Internet. With the porn websites there has to be some explanation as to why action has taken 22 years to happen and a law is still not passed. I think you can only read that as ideological like so many things. You cannot say well it has taken parliament this long to get around to this topic. That is not a serious position. As ever we may ask: Cui bono? And for me I would say the benefit of exposing the entire population to porn like that must be understood as an intentional desensitization process. I cannot say more than that. Only that it is clear that state power wishes to desensitize the people. In preparation for something specific? Or is it just state misogyny? Women have to be put in their place and reminded of their status as sex objects. I feel the same about the lockdowns as they were patently disproportionate and can only be understood as being ideological. But again: Cui bono? I have seen the effect of the lockdowns on teenagers. It is quite shocking the pervasive malaise that has set in. There is a definite mass impact on mental health. I cannot say more than that. One can only read it as a form of intentional subjugation. There really no other logical way to talk about the lockdowns. Again was it as preparation for some forthcoming event or action? I honestly wonder if there is any intention to actually pass the Online Safety Bill I really do.

2022 07 09

I experienced Elvis as an intentional attack or affront. Hollywood cinema is a massive ongoing campaign to vulgarize and debase. Hollywood must always insult the viewer's intelligence. That is what the studios do: they make films as insults. So for me there is an ideological dimension. I genuinely don't believe it would be possible to make a film so trivializing and synthetic by accident. I think the message of Elvis is this: we will take a man's life story that had depth and significance for our culture and we will retell it by stripping it of all authenticity and nuance leaving instead only a series of ludicrous caricatures. It will be clichés that will mark out the film. These will be resorted to at all times. It does not matter the facts of the well-researched biographies or the countless hours of film and television archival material existing. All these things will be cast aside. We will take something that you hold precious and turn it into nonsense because that is what we like to do. We will ridicule and devalue your hero whilst maintaining that we too are fans. The technique used in Elvis is to isolate certain life events and then fabricate around them with pointless set-pieces wooden acting and idiotic prosthetics. It is nauseating. Every single scene in Elvis is historically inaccurate and concocted. That is actually the modus operandi: concoction. I don't accept that coarseness is something that happens organically. Hollywood mounts a campaign of disinformation. It is warfare by propaganda. It is a PSYOP. And the war aim is perverse enjoyment: the thrill of debasement. The studios love doing it. It is what they crave. Warner Bros. has a sick affliction. An era of outrageous vacuousness in film began at a certain point: X-Men in 2000 was the first superhero film based on Marvel comic characters. Since then Marvel have made $16 billion from comic adaptations. Disney is the owner of Marvel but all of the five large studios have conspired together—Disney Paramount Sony Universal and Warner Bros.—to turn cinema in the superhero era into something that is flippant brash tiresome. I think superhero films should also be understood as perverse in that they are knowingly and intentionally puerile. The creators produce something that is a denigration of cinema as an art form or even cinema as a spectacle. Watching a Marvel film is embarrassing. There is also the factor of the production budgets. It is patently unreasonable to spend $250 million on making a film. Perhaps what is most galling though is the idea that being interested in cinema as a vital and profound art form somehow makes me old fashioned and out-of-touch. When I saw Tilda in Doctor Strange I actually did throw up my hands. Not for the whitewashing thing but I was just: not you as well? Bob Chapek and Ann Sarnoff are presiding over the demise of cinema and they are responsible for it happening. Imagine screening a Marvel film for Hitchcock or Fellini. Or making them watch Elvis. What do you think their reaction would be?

2022 07 07

The CCP is a sickening and oppressive authoritarian regime of course it is. Mass surveillance systems including CCTV with facial-recognition—the feared and reviled Hikvision cameras—and the Social Credit Initiative are being used to subjugate the people of China in ways that can accurately and fairly be described as Orwellian. Equally Orwellian is the ceaseless flow of media propaganda and indoctrination. As Ken McCallum the Director General of MI5 has noted: any perception that China is slowly opening up and becoming freer is plain wrong. Also a recent extraordinary MI5 briefing has revealed that the CCP is involved in coordinated campaigns of spying and hacking in many countries including the UK. What MI5 presented is a scene in which the secrets of diverse small and medium-sized British businesses are at risk due to being under-protected. The CCP strategy is to steal intellectual property and trade secrets from businesses—the details of innovations and inventions documented as things like blueprints models diagrams technical dossiers proprietary computer-code pharmacological formulas ingredients lists product designs operating manuals and the like. Why spend years developing these things when you can just steal them? To Xi this is all rather obvious. Xi is more Machiavellian than even Putin. As MI5 made clear in their briefing their warning should not be interpreted as creeping Sinophobia but as a raising of the alarm: a desire to increase awareness of the real and significant threat posed by a committed rogue state. For Ken McCallum the British people need to recognize that vigilance against such attacks is as pressing nowadays as being on guard against a terrorist attack by extremists. When MI5 starts appealing to the public for help you know things are not right. What has to happen before we start to sanction China? When is Apple going to stop legitimizing the CCP regime? Apple will tell you that Foxconn is incorporated in Taiwan but their factories are in China. Everyone knows the iPhone is made in China. And what about Rem Koolhaas? He went out there and did the main CCTV building—China Central Television. The CCP-owned national broadcaster. It is the Ministry of Bias Censorship and Indoctrination. It does not occur to him that he is being manipulated and used. Koolhaas is not cool he is an apologist for state terror. Koolhaas justified his position with this doublespeak: In China there's a very authoritarian regime that is doing wonderful things in many ways for its citizens.

2022 07 06

I come from a deprived or disadvantaged background. My parents divorced when I was eight years old. When Jimmy walked I was left with Deirdre and my five year old brother in a new town in a tiny two-up two-down cottage next to a busy pub. Deirdre had been depressed dissolute and argumentative for a long time before Jimmy walked—in fact that is why he walked. It did not occur to either of them to seek medical advice about Deirdre's psychological state. Deirdre had nothing but the cottage. She had no income so she got a job as a cleaner initially. Unfortunately Deirdre was not happy in those first years in Farnham. My brother and I were living in poverty with a mum who was mentally unstable and volatile. She was tearful a lot of the time. She was on her own battling through those days. It was a dreadful situation. I felt unsafe and vulnerable. It is horrible living like that and then going to school only to get bullied by teachers and pupils at St. Andrew's School in Farnham. It really was misery. What can you do in that situation? I think Deirdre needed help. She needed to see a psychiatrist. When I look through the DSM now I think she could have been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. She was so isolated. There was no money around at all. There was just enough to eat at night. The food was horrible cheap stuff. The cheapest economy supermarket own-brand food. I never ever select own-brand products to this day. The sight of them strikes fear into my soul. Deirdre used to give me a flask of black coffee to take for lunch. I used to be the only pupil in my class bringing in sandwiches. Deirdre used to make me Ryvitas with cheese. I used to wear a traditional navy Guernsey jumper with a cloth slogan badge sewn onto it: Save the Planet. I knew I had difficulties with social communication but it was not recognized as a disability or anything like that. Kids mocked me and seemed to feel I did not fit in. I started to suffer with asthma because of the stress of it all and that kept me off school a lot. I was wheezing away. I could hardly breathe. I was at home on my own during many school days watching a portable black-and-white television all day. I literally watched it all day and evening. I watched that television from the moment the schools broadcasts started at nine in the morning until ten at night with a break only to eat my dinner. Deirdre used to get back at about six or six thirty and cook. It was no life really: the television the cheap food the asthma.

2022 07 05

What is the colour of the Thames? It is grey with some green. It is greenish-grey. It is a horrific colour really. I cannot stand to think of drinking Thames water I just cannot. The thought turns my stomach as much as thinking about Nando's or McDonald's. Factory farming should be banned with an all powers blanket law in the UK. If you want meat and poultry it should be ethically sourced. Companies who rely on factory farming should be closed down with winding-up orders. Why must people insist on eating al fresco? Why do they want to sit out on the pavement at a rickety table and hard wooden chairs? I do not see the attraction at all. I cannot be near cigar smoke even outside. It gets on my chest I have an allergic reaction to cigar smoke. Also I cannot have a drink made with ice cubes or any ice in it. I don't drink Thames water. I can just about bathe in it. I take showers in it. On holiday they say the ice is made with mineral water which I absolutely do not believe. If you ran a bar where all the ice was made out of mineral water you would go out of business. Anyway I avoid ice. So for me it is always better to sit inside at any restaurant. Sometimes on holiday I do enjoy sitting out on the beach but not the pavement in London. The anti-capitalist movement in the UK is a pitiful rabble. Do they even exist anymore? The anti-capitalist riots of 2000 are remembered for protesters putting a disrespectful Mohican hairstyle on the Churchill statue and that is about it—the Mohican is a hairstyle worn by many punks and anarchists. What have they achieved? They have not even achieved any chaos or disruption which is supposed to be their forte. Some traffic disruptions which were pointless. All they do is wind up the cabbies. They do circus skills and take bikes everywhere. Look the English people are very fond of their ruling class. If you go to a middle class wedding in England it will be dinner for a hundred or more guests in black tie and evening dress at some country estate with champagne served as an aperitif in the impeccable ornamental gardens and so on. The model is the lifestyle of the ruling elite. When you get married you play at being the ruling elite for one night only. There has never been anything that I can remember to suggest that the English have any problem with a ruling elite living in luxury on vast tracts our land. Unless you go back to 1649 and the execution of Charles I. One of the impacts of the Internet age is many people taking issue with objective neutral provable facts—the post-truth era. For example there are some who question the fact that Earth is a sphere floating in a pure vacuum known as space. Everything is up for debate. Nothing can be taken for granted. Many people have been dumped into debilitating confusion. To counter this it is quite typical today for a person to have a guru who they have come to respect and rely on. Joe Rogan is one. Joe Rogan has many guests on his show who are gurus in their own right. If you get talking to someone it is very standard for the person to enthusiastically recommend their chosen guru to you and you avidly nod about looking them up. The usual thing is for a person to recommend a podcast. You are supposed to go home and listen to a two-hour-long podcast by somebody who has got life all sussed out and sorted. But my point is that these days everyone has got a different guru they are recommending. It is the age of a thousand gurus. I have an inability to follow up any such recommendations. I can't do it any more than I can go on Instagram and start liking things with a love heart symbol. And I am sure when I recommend Walter Kaufmann's The Portable Nietzsche as one the greatest books in the English language that it is not followed up either. Nobody follows up on these street-corner and bar-room recommendations do they?

2022 07 04

OnlyFans normalizes participation in the pornography sex trade. OnlyFans is a demoralizing development. OnlyFans demeans the participants who foolishly upload their homemade porn. Pornography is a form of violence against women so it is illogical to argue that getting involved in OnlyFans is a positive choice for a woman. How can something that is dehumanizing be empowering or feminist? OnlyFans should be blocked in the UK by direct state intervention. OnlyFans is one of the most corrupting websites to ever be launched. Participating in pornography can affect the rest of your life. It is not something to be entered into casually. OnlyFans is essentially a form of grooming of young adults. Participating in pornography is very likely to cause long-term consequences such as depersonalization or depression. And maybe more importantly there is the factor of genie-in-a-bottle. You cannot ever recall those images or get them deleted they are out there for life. OnlyFans lures young women into pornography and should be banned. Tim Stokely is a man who has become rich from immoral earnings. Why does the UK state accept OnlyFans to continue trading when it is so obviously harmful? Is there an answer to that question? Some might say it is because they actually approve of the desensitizing of young people to pornography. Is it for the same reason that Pornhub and YouPorn have never been blocked? The state wants people to be involved with pornography to the point that it is normalized. But why? What is the reason? The reason is that it sends out a strong patriarchal message. There really is no other explanation. It must be intentional that the state does nothing to act about OnlyFans or YouPorn or Pornhub. That is the only logical reading that there can be. There is no other way to read it than as a message that is being sent out: This is what we think of you women. This is how we treat you women. You women are objects to be used. You women will be exploited by us. The patriarchy will never be challenged while pornography and prostitution flourish. The two million uploaders on OnlyFans are being subtly corrupted while a man keeps the profits. Look for me it is not cool to support the World Cup in Qatar. It is dishonourable and really I would say unethical to engage with the Qatar FIFA World Cup. Qatar is not a reasonable country to support doing anything. It is a totally backward homophobic sexist culture. Also some of the teams playing are being fielded by countries who should have no right to participate in any such activities. Iran for one. Saudi Arabia obviously for being a brutal authoritarian regime. Jamal Khashoggi was executed by assassins working for the Saudi state this has been established. Cameroon is a failed state which should not be participating in such a competition until the government can secure its territory against terrorism armed gangs and so forth. In any case it is unacceptable to move the World Cup to winter. It is an affront to the football fan. Gianni Infantino is corrupt and pitiable. He is the corrupt president of a corrupt organization. Has it really come to this? Why have we let these sick countries get involved? Qatar is sportswashing—normalizing and sanitizing their state by sponsoring sport. Qatar and Saudi Arabia should not be welcome to be involved in the World Cup. What is going on? No football fan can really understand what is going on.

2022 07 03

Of course at the centre of feminism is the question of how to deal with the pervasive heterosexual convention of getting married and having kids. Women don't necessarily want to become wives who don't work. That is fairly basic. While I was raising my child I met many women who had given up a burgeoning career as a lawyer or a physicist. One prevalent solution in London for women who want to maintain their career and income is to pay for a nanny for the first five years for each child. That is fine but the standard of nannying that you encounter a lot of the time is abysmal and many don't speak good English which means that the child's learning of spoken English is impeded. And they are so expensive—at least £2400 per month if you pay them as a proper employee which is why so many are paid in cash. Having a nanny is no magic-wand at all. Like when the nanny rings in sick and you realize you cannot go in to work even though there is a big presentation on. Once you are married there is a definite social pressure to have children and feminism has had no great impact on that heteronormative convention. So people who think the work of feminism is largely done should think again and realize that that is nonsense. Young women who are feminists should be thinking about the convention of marriage and kids and working out new ways of dealing with it. The most idiot phrase is post-feminist. People should understand what is and isn't feminist. Selling your dirty knickers on Sofiagray is not feminist. Selling pornographic images of yourself naked on OnlyFans is not feminist. Becoming a pole-dancer is not feminist. Becoming an escort is not feminist. Escort is a genteelism for prostitute. Don't kid yourself that you are an escort. You are a prostitute. Prostitution is not a feminist activity. Prostitution demeans women. Prostitution creates trauma. Think about it you cannot be empowered by doing something that creates permanent mental and bodily trauma. That should really be obvious.

2022 07 02

Society is male dominated. Our structures both physical and institutional were created by men. UK society was put together by men and remains largely controlled by men: it is a patriarchal society. Everyone in our society is conditioned by the patriarchy. Patriarchy is a form of control which includes indoctrination from infancy onwards. So for example beauty standards for women are a male construct. They are an aspect of patriarchal control. That being the case it is right to challenge many of those beauty standards. One of which is the received idea that a heterosexual woman must be as physically attractive to heterosexual men as possible. I understand lipstick feminism—feminists who want to use allure and sexual attraction as a mode of self-expression or in fact as a technique to manipulate men and so gain power over them. But I respect heterosexual women who don't want to buy in to those conventions of attractiveness and allure. I think it is long overdue to dispute the socially constructed conventions of femininity. As long as the conventions are still dominant then not that much has changed as they are a basic pillar of patriarchal control. Crucially the control often works by attacking the woman's self-esteem. It is psychological warfare: the woman feels herself to have flaws defects and imperfections when comparing herself to prevailing beauty standards. This is where enlightened attitudes in fashion photography are so important. The mannequin fashion model body-shape is just as pervasive as it has ever been much of the time. Plus-size models seem a positive development but do they then encourage and normalize an unhealthy BMI? The fact is very few human bodies are built like those of a catwalk fashion model. As long as there continues to be undue emphasis on a woman's appearance then the patriarchy is still in control. As I said I am an ally so I am waiting hear more always. I am a white heterosexual cis man. I have benefitted throughout my life from being a straight man in a patriarchal society. The problem at the moment is that many posting to Instagram and TikTok tend to reinforce body shape stereotypes and beauty standards. There has been a regression really since 2010.

Dream: I am sitting with Ed Sheeran chilling in a domestic interior like the one in the video where he is interviewing Stormzy. We are sitting there and Ed checks his phone he scrolls down and then he stops on a message. After a minute he says: Oh wow look who has just asked to collaborate with me I am so up for this. And he holds his phone up to me. It is a picture of a black man with pronounced sideburns wearing peach loon pants. Then I see the name at the bottom of the text. But Ed I say Prince is dead. What is fake and what is real? This was one of the preoccupations of the genius Philip K. Dick known to fans as PKD. PKD was a science fiction writer. PKD died in 1982. He was a schizophrenic. In the Internet age PKD's preoccupation has become central in human civilization. At least five billion use the Internet everyday to access information. But how reliable is any of it? That is the world we have created for ourselves. It would have been amazing to have PKD now talking about the future as he sees it because all his work deals with the question: what is authentic? The Internet has created a scene in which very little is accepted as a definite objective neutral fact. Even the idea that the Earth is a sphere floating in a perfect vacuum known as space is contested. A lot of people think there was something odd about the 9/11 attacks on the WTC. It does seem totally improbable that the towers would collapse down like that in a way which looked similar to a professional demolition. As an example I believe that Diana's car crash was an SIS operation. A lot of people believe that there are many things we are not being told. I recently spoke to a full-blown conspiracy theorist. The overall ideas she espoused were these. There is a group called the New World Order who seek to control the global population. They are also known as the Global Cult or simply The Cult. They control numerous governments industries and the global media. The Cult is essentially Satanist and includes a global paedophile network as well as many operatives who have been brainwashed from birth. There is a very cheap clean fuel technology that is known about by the New World Order but they are intentionally suppressing it. A lot of the research that The Cult do—particularly into AI which they plan to use—is carried on at secret facilities in Israel entirely unbeknownst to the Israelis. The reason being that no state is going to interfere in Israel. Indeed this untouchable dimension of Israel has been effected by The Cult for these purposes. My friend believes that the vapour trails made by planes in the skies are actually chemtrails—they contain chemicals that are secretly being added to the air we breathe including strontium. The green move to electric away from petrol-driven internal combustion engines is a form of control. The global population will eventually be entirely dependent on the electricity grid which will make them very vulnerable if ever the power was to be turned off—the instigation of a kill switch. And COVID-19 was a hoax. The chief idea was to introduce people to losing their rights and freedoms and to gauge the reaction. And of course the experiment was a roaring success. People just accepted what they were told to do with no more than a grumble.

2022 07 01

Look there are some art forms that did not manage to make it out of the twentieth century: opera performance art poetry jazz the symphony. Art photography? I would say that for me it is a twentieth century art form yes. In my schema the first epoch of photography ends in 2010. In the second epoch of photography you have got 6.3 billion photographers all making quite interesting photos. But you are never again going to have a canon with Man Ray Brandt Kertesz and so on. The canon is over. Photography in the second epoch is beyond any sort of critical consensus like that. There is too much to be able to critically review for a start. Where would you begin? You can't review the work of 6.3 billion photographers can you? In the second epoch the question of what is a good photo does not have much to do with learning from Man Ray or Brandt or Kertesz. Those days are long gone now. I went to a school which had a full-blown toxic culture. There was a dominant group of teachers who were enabling each other to bully demean and humiliate pupils. It is called Weydon School in Wrecclesham near Farnham in Surrey. This is forty years ago. Most of the teachers must be in their eighties now if not dead already. In my view there should be some sort of investigation and reparation by the school acknowledging what went on. I know they won't do anything. Of course they won't. But they should. The men were called: Stoker Carlton Dodd Fairchild Glazier Holland Monk Hodgson Tyrell-Grey Robinson Haymer and Stonnard. These people were all perverts and bullies. Shame on them. People think: Farnham what a nice place. But it wasn't at all. It was a grot shop. The thing about that school is that pupils were made to feel that the ordinary enjoyment of life was a myth. The pervasive atmosphere was that everything can and will be undermined to the point that it becomes a pointless joke. The intention was to normalize a loss of basic morality so that the bullying and the demeaning would become accepted as commonplace. And it was. The ethos was this: life is misery ... so what is your problem? I think for many ex-pupils the normalization of misery was so successful that it does not occur to them that something was very wrong at that school.

2022 06 30

I was at school with delinquent boys and girls. People who were not taking school seriously. They had made the decision to learn nothing. Nothing at all. The idea in the lessons was to be as disruptive as possible to the maximum up to and including the teacher getting the Deputy Head into the classroom to restore order. I learned from these kids how to be delinquent. The Deputy Head would always come in and say the same thing to the class: you are a shower. To the whole class. You are a shower. What on Earth was he intending by that? But these boys and girls I was with had no reasonable limits whatsoever. The punishments were not serious to them. They just derailed every possible lesson except for lessons with teachers who were violent bullies like Peter Holland who was the most feared. He was an outrageous sadist. Today he would have been arrested there is no doubt. You had to work in total silence and the slightest whispered remark to another pupil would warrant being shouted at for five full minutes and then sent out and given after school detention for a week. It was grossly and manifestly cruel and unfair. In that context the delinquents were temporarily cowed. Weydon School in Wrecclesham near Farnham in Surrey. In forty subsequent years I have not heard a person describe to me a worse school. Two of our teachers were active paedophiles. Two in the same school. Both of those nonces are dead now thank God. Monk and Hodgson. Guess what they taught. Biology and Religious Studies. It is incredibly difficult to regain control of a classroom once you have lost authority. Trust me I saw many teachers try. Guy Garrard Graham Bevan Julie Neighbour and Imelda Kelley are the ones that I really remember most vividly. The delinquent disruptive presence was in a way just something I came to accept. If you were to say to them: but I want to learn. They would just laugh at you. There was no chance that they were going to desist. The teachers threatened a lot of things but never said the most obvious thing: carrying on like this will affect your job prospects in the future for the rest of your life if you leave with no GCSE passes. I am talking about people hanging out of windows or letting French bangers off in a desk with the top down or locking the teacher in a store cupboard. One classic strategy to derail a lesson was to bombard the teacher with intentionally irrelevant questions about say their personal life or any topic not related to the lesson. Of course sometimes these disruptive ones just did not come in at all to the lesson or another classic strategy come in halfway through and then completely disrupt an otherwise settled lesson. I learned that there is only so much you can do to appeal to a delinquent and that attempts at building trust are a complete waste of time. The delinquent will always sell everyone out for no reason. There is absolutely no loyalty whatsoever it is always every man for himself at all times. The nihilism of a delinquent cannot be altered by any ordinary person. We had one teacher who could appeal to them: Mr Waldron. His technique was this: show them that he was more brutalized and outrageous than they were. He used to talk about another school which was in London where he had worked previously. He spoke of a teacher there who was known to all as Stinker. That got them laughing. Then he spoke of a couple of boys who skinned a cat in the playground during lunch break. That shut them up for a minute and then his pièce de résistance: he gave us an extract from The Naked Lunch as our text to study in class. Drowning in rivers of vomit and God knows what else from Burroughs's twisted mind. That was good. He floored the delinquents with that. You fight fire with fire. He once gave us a lesson on the techniques that advertisers use to persuade you to buy their products which was excellent. It was not in any way part of the curriculum. Respect to Peter Waldron.

Book publishing is a joke. The publishing industry exploits writers in the most obscene way. You get ten percent of the cover price of the book. It is a ninety to ten split in the favour of the publisher. In contemporary art it is a fifty-fifty split and people think that is bad. All publishers exploit their writers. Writers just accept it even though they don't make enough to survive. I am not interested in giving my work away for ten percent of the book price. I have done it before. It is demeaning. The attitude of publishers is all wrong and I do hope that most of them continue to go out of business. Their job is pure exploitation of creative people. Go into work. Exploit people. Go home. Why do the authors accept it? The reason is this: 'twas ever thus. Writers have always been exploited so their exploitation has been normalized. When punk started there was a feeling that things could change. Crass tried to change things with their record distribution and prices. Zines were something. Now the Internet and Instagram means the end for most book publishers. The big book publishers in the UK are corporate giants with sick pasts. Bertelsmann for example is the German company which owns Penguin. Bertelsmann were one of Hitler's main publishers during the Third Reich. They thrived in the Nazi regime. Bertelsmann used forced labour in some of their printing works. They were printing anti-Semitic literature for years. Millions of anti-Jewish books and pamphlets. This is by their own admission. I would not want to be published by Bertelsmann. And why was Penguin even sold to them? People need to get real and Boycott Penguin. There should be a direct government intervention to ensure that Penguin is always one hundred percent UK owned. Authors are the sappiest group of people on the planet they have no gumption no moral compass and no income they are just stood there getting ripped off from dawn till dusk. And need I add that nobody reads books anymore. Seriously authors need to change outlook at some point and smash these corporate publishers. But the fact is that academic publishers are just the same. At MIT Press I get ten percent of cover price and even that is paid a year in arrears. If you say something they just threaten to drop you. I myself will never again sign a contract for ten percent of income. And by the way for the author that ten percent is taxable. So you are losing twenty percent of that miserly ten percent to the state. So you actually end up with eight percent of cover price. Eight percent of something that is one hundred percent my own work. Next time you meet an author ask them if they know the reason why their income is so low. Most of them are not bright enough to spot gross exploitation even when it is slapping them in the face every day.

Lord Templeman said in the Appeal Judgement for R v Brown 1993: Society is entitled and bound to protect itself against a cult of violence. Pleasure derived from the infliction of pain is an evil thing. Cruelty is uncivilised. He was speaking of consensual gay sadomasochism which resulted in ABH. It is usual to attack what he said as being moralistic homophobic and heteronormative. For me it is about the status of the sadist in society. The sadist will say that they get sexual satisfaction out of inflicting cruelty and that is just their sexual preference or orientation. But to what degree can that actually be tolerated? This is really what Ballard was talking about. The coming realm is one in which psychopathic behaviour is normalized accepted and actually celebrated. This idea that there is a plentiful supply of willing victims who enjoy cruelty being done to them is not enough. Being a cruel person has to be taken in its own context. You know: I am a violent vicious person but that is just how I get my sexual enjoyment. Is it? I see. And I am supposed to find that endearing? There is this dimension of sadomasochism as being just role-playing so that it is to be understood as a form of acting. The sadists are actually not at all cruel in real life. That is fine but the violence remains real it is not faked. The pain is real. The inflicting of pain is real. Honestly I am not bothered about the plight of the masochist. Masochists are pathetic to me. However the masochist is the enabler for the sadist that is my issue with masochism. Liam Howlett is a genius. Music for the Jilted Generation is a masterpiece. Howlett should be given a knighthood for that record alone. People do not necessarily recognise that Howlett is a genius and that is alright. Just put on Poison on Music for the Jilted Generation. As Liam Howlett says at the beginning of the track: For fuck's sake I am trying to write this fucking tune man. Meaning that writing the track was causing him stress. That track Poison is a snapshot of the creative dynamic in action. Listen to that track and you can see that creativity is a sort of battle. It was so sad that Keith hanged himself. Why did he do it? His contribution to British culture should be celebrated. He was a brilliant performer and entertainer. Our culture is richer because of him. Smack My Bitch Up is quite a sick lyric on its face but it is actually about injecting one's girlfriend with heroin as an act of kindness you know injecting someone as a thoughtful and intimate act. It is quite dark but it is not about domestic violence at all. That is my reading of the song anyway. I still think bitch is an unacceptable term really. I don't listen to that song. I don't think heroin addiction should be celebrated. I used to listen to Heroin by the Velvet Underground when I was a young teenager and I do think that looking back there should have been a much clearer warning on the record cover. I think for me it normalized the use of Class A drugs. On the cover of the Banana album there should be a warning. And on The Fat of the Land too for that matter. Any song about drug addiction should have a warning. Nobody really sees cover art much anymore so an audio warning at the beginning of the track would be the best for any song that celebrates the use of Class A drugs.

2022 06 29

RBKC that is my manor. The Royal Borough. It is Royal because of Kensington Palace where Diana lived until her untimely assassination in Paris in August 1997. Now William and Kate live there. You see their motorcade coming in and out all the time. Two police motorcyclists stop the traffic for them wherever they go. I don't agree with that at all. It is demeaning to ordinary road users. I mean where are they going that is so important? Nowhere. When Diana was killed by the SIS there was this thing of taking a bunch of flowers to leave outside the gates of the Palace. There were tens of thousand of bunches of flowers out there it was slightly crazy in that cut flowers require water and none of the bouquets were gathered up and put in water they just wilted and died in these huge piles. It was odd. The Palace should have thought to put troughs of water out. I think at the time nobody really thought it was just a tragic accident. I was a photographer then and there was this resentment toward the press paparazzi who were chasing her car. The paparazzi were on the scene seconds after the crash. There were photos taken of Diana in the wreckage of course there were. There were about ten papps that were there at the scene. She was alive in the mangled carnage but could not speak. Of course those photos are astonishing this absolutely glamourous woman trapped in a tangled Mercedes wreck. Those photos are unethical. They could not get her out she was completely trapped. The chances of it being just an accident are so low it is just too improbable. Something very wrong went on that night. I think she was pregnant and that was the red line that was crossed. She was pregnant with Dodi Fayed's child. It was the fact of Dodi being Muslim which was unacceptable to the Crown. There was also the fact that the reviled vulgarian Mohamed Al-Fayed would have become a relative of the future King William which I am sure played a part. Diana was conducting vengeful warfare against the Queen and Charles after she divorced that is clear. Diana must have known that what she was doing was reckless. I think the British people know that something untoward did happen that night. I have visited the crash site. It is difficult to get down there. It is just by Pont de l'Alma. People did say it was Ballardian at the time. It is bizarre how Ballardian the scene was: a crashed black Mercedes a world famous glamourous woman a concrete underpass a sticky late summer's night a group of rampant photographers snapping away their flash-guns illuminating a scene of devastation. It is so close to passages in The Atrocity Exhibition or Crash. He must have felt strange about it. It was a pre-planned murder of course it was. There is no way the driver had intentionally accelerated. The fact was that Diana and Dodi had no seatbelts on. Trevor Rees-Jones was the only one in the car with a seatbelt on. There was some sort of remote control fitted or some other intentional sabotage. The SIS can do these things. And why would he lose control of the vehicle on a straight clear stretch of road? An intense bright light suddenly shone in the driver's face would have made controlling the car much more difficult.

2022 06 28

Look if you were to ask me: what is the DNA of Chelsea? I would start with John Terry. John or JT is a living legend to Chelsea fans. What is it about JT? I would say it is the fact of him being British and a lad. JT is from East London. He is geezer. He is a little bit edgy. He is not exactly a gentleman as such. He is a great guy don't get me wrong. But there is an unpredictable aspect of JT that is what I am saying. That is why when he gave Alexis Sanchez a dead-leg off the ball in the 2012 Champions League semi-final and got sent off nobody was really surprised. It is important that JT was a defender rather than a striker. He defended the cause always to the end. Obviously there are many other players but JT comes to mind. Then I would think of one Chelsea chant in particular: Carefree wherever we may be we are the famous CFC. That to me embodies the Chelsea spirit. Carefreeness: unworried untroubled unconcerned. This fits with my interest in the flâneur who is a stroller a wanderer. The Chelsea fan is not stressed or anxious about life. And then there is of course the animosity towards Tottenham. It is not at all racially motivated. There are a lot of Tottenham fans who are not Jewish. Tottenham is just a team that Chelsea fans really detest that is the way it has always been. The barracking and hounding of the Tottenham players when they play at Stamford Bridge is relentless and harrowing. The chant to Harry Kane for example: He spits when he speaks he spits when he speaks Harry Kane he spits when he speaks. So that is part of the DNA. And may I mention the Headhunters? The Headhunters are the Chelsea hooligan firm who used to be very active and feared before CCTV ended most football violence. Some in Headhunters are reputedly members of the neo-Nazi group C18. A lot of people know the BBC documentary Donal MacIntyre made about Andy Frain Jason Marriner Stuart Glass and others in 1999. Chelsea typically field a team that includes black players and of course Headhunters are passionate supporters so there is a disconnect there. But this is a component of the DNA too: the historical force of Headhunters. I am not saying it is good I am just saying it is there. I distance myself from any such extremist views. If you watch a match in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge it is another world away from anywhere else in the stadium. The Matthew Harding is the only place to be if you want to know what it means to love Chelsea. Fans in the East and West home stands don't even chant—prawn sandwiches they are called. These other fans the majority do not represent what Chelsea is at all. Matthew Harding down the front. That is the place to be. In the West stand it is considered uncool to wear a Chelsea football shirt. Why? Look collecting painting is a expensive hobby but that is not all. Let's say you want to get some of the significant names in painting right now like Robert Nava Adrian Ghenie George Condo Mark Bradford Glenn Ligon Issy Wood Cecily Brown Peter Doig Wade Guyton Michael Armitage Hurvin Anderson and Dana Schutz. That would definitely get you going. If you had a collection with all of those names you would be a known and respected collector internationally. You could just reel off those names and find that you would have respect in the artworld which is what most people want. The thing is it is going to cost about £35 million at least to buy those works but that is not the sticking point. The fact is they are not at all easy to come by. You can't get hold of many of them—Condo excepted. What is coming out of the studio is often spoken for. There is a serious shortage of product at this point in art history. Having money does not really mean that much. There are many members of the wealthy elite who would like to build a collection like the one above but it really ain't that easy. That is where art is at right now. People dream of owning these artists. They literally dream of it. And it is not the money that is holding them back it is just supply.

2022 06 27

When I asked Ben Jones what he thought of the term postmodernism he said that it is a term used in architecture and that it is not relevant to art. We were talking about Issy Wood and Henni Alftan. I said what term would you use to describe them then? And he said: contemporary painting. Look Man Next Door is a brilliant song. The Paragons original recording from 1968 is sublime of course but the Massive Attack version is overwhelming. The subject matter of the song is something I relate to having lived in a council block in South London for a decade. It is about how noisy neighbours can make your life a misery. It is dreadful to listen to drunk neighbours arguing in the middle of the night when you are trying to sleep. Shouting. Thumps on the ceiling and the sound of glass smashing. The front door slamming. I don't know why they chose that song I really don't. Their version is obviously intended to be claustrophobic and it is. They are really becoming climate change activists now. I am not that interested in local action being taken. It is far too late for piecemeal local actions that will have negligible impact. The first step is to compel China and India to stop using coal and to stop building new coal power stations. At the same time a draconian complete ban on all petrol cars globally. How to enforce this? That is the only question. The time for polite conversation is at an end. At some point there has to be mass unrest. How are you going to ban the petrol car in the USA? I don't know but it must happen. Thirty percent of all CO2 emissions globally are produced by cars using petrol. We cannot afford to phase these out. A complete immediate ban in every country is required. Things like what Massive Attack are doing are far too unambitious. They should be using their influence. We are talking about civil unrest that is the only thing we are talking about now. That is really what Greta is advocating. Slashing the tyres of petrol cars to immobilize them is one action that people might think about. The time for joking around has long gone. All petrol cars off the roads now. That is the number one thing. I think it probably will create showdowns. If people are not hearing the message then at a certain point the time for niceties ceases and action begins to become the order of the day. Seriously commissioning a report into how the music business can respond to climate change is nonsense Robert.

The theory of Adverse Childhood Experiences or ACEs clearly shows that children who are subjected to neglect or domestic dysfunction have statistically increased chances of depression anxiety suicidal thoughts or drink and substance abuse in later life. But more than that there is also a raised chance of stroke cancer heart attack due to toxic stress—stress which suffuses through the body and mind and takes a toll on the physical body as well as mentally. A sort of irreversible stress one might call it. People who suffer unfit parents in childhood are affected for life. Even your life expectancy is impacted. People who have had ACEs often find it difficult to learn too. Brain circuits can be altered by toxic stress. Those who have been subject to ACEs remain vulnerable for life to many hazards including reckless behaviour. A human can be more or less resilient. Those with ACEs are just more likely to find themselves struggling. Unfit parents should be fined so that there is a deterrent—like points on a driving license. You cannot go from no action to a care order with nothing in between. Offending parents should be liable for retrospective compensation claims. Children are getting their first smartphones around eleven these days so collecting evidence is getting easier. Kids should be given awareness training in how to audio record and video things that they see or are experiencing. And they should all be given lessons about what ACEs are. All should feel informed and confident to take action. There should be a mandatory parenting course in the UK for all soon-to-be parents that would focus on ACEs. And there should be many more payouts from the state where there was no timely intervention. Reckless or incompetent parents getting punished for harm caused should become commonplace rather than unheard of. Of course prison for the worst and the exploiting gangs. But I am talking about the kind of domestic dysfunction that is basically normalized—not the nonces and the gangs. It is London's dirty secret: unfit parenting. Every Londoner has seen incompetent parenting going on. This is not about a certain socio-demographic. The things I have seen in forty years in this Smoke. Children should have a right to a life without bearing the consequences of toxic stress. Here the smartphone revolution should make a vital difference.

2022 06 26

With Martin Amis I honestly think he will be remembered for his non-fiction. In the days when people bought the Sunday newspapers long ago it was always a great pleasure to see that there was a Martin Amis article. He is a brilliant reviewer and he used to do these go-see pieces where he would go and meet someone famous and then write an article about it. There is no basis for his fiction being remembered is there? Maybe London Fields. Keith ... darts! Who can forget that grotesque? But was it just class hatred? Amis seems to love demeaning Keith so much. The title of that book is just so profoundly perfect that you can write anything after that. Young people don't read him. What do they read though? You just know it is going to be something second-rate. It is like all they want is to avoid the entire literary canon and substitute it with a hair-raising first novel they have bought. The big thing these days is to lie on a sofa or one's bed and scroll through social media. That activity has largely replaced reading as a pastime. Anyway the canon is no longer. The canon is a white Western male construct which we are decolonizing and gender balancing. The canon has been deconstructed. I cannot read fiction that much. I struggle to read it. Bret I can read easily and I am looking forward to The Shards which they are saying will come out at some point. The funniest piece in American Psycho is the chapter Genesis in which the author attempts to write from the point of view of a Genesis fan in the 80s. It is a great exercise. What kind of person can listen to Genesis from the 80s and actually like it? It is almost impossible to put yourself in the mind of such a person but there were millions of them. Donna Tartt became so pretentious and horrible. The way she writes now is a disgrace. It is like she has no clue why The Secret History was so brilliant. The Secret History was good precisely because it was not pompous middle class writing. People love The Secret History because it just tells this beautiful haunting tale. You know from the first four sentences that it is genius: Does such a thing as the fatal flaw that showy dark crack running down the middle of a life exist outside literature? I used to think it didn’t. Now I think it does. And I think that mine is this: a morbid longing for the picturesque at all costs. Look I know that book is unrepeatable of course. Everyone who reads it knows it is unrepeatable. For me Damien is a genius. Sorry. I know that will pain some. But the spin paintings and the medicine cabinets are brilliant. A very good friend of mine was saying The Acquired Inability to Escape from 1991 is his masterpiece and I do agree. And I love A Thousand Years from that era too. I know it is not easy to say it because of all the appalling nonsense that he makes now. But that does not negate entirely what has gone before. It is called fair do's. I think everyone has their own pinpoint moment for when Damien lost the plot but Treasures from the Wreck of the Unbelievable has to be a final cut off really.

2022 06 25

The brilliant photography expert Lou Proud has handled vintage prints all her career and she told me that of all the prints she has had in front of her appraising two stand out as having obvious strange vibes coming off them making her blood run cold and giving her a shiver down her spine. A definite presence. A supernatural dimension. Francesca Woodman and Robert Mapplethorpe. Those two don't surprise me at all they were both very dark characters. Look they are both absolute genius. Two of the greatest photographers who have ever loaded a camera with film and taken the lens cap off. Woodman's work is photos of rituals really isn't it? Mapplethorpe intentionally created this unbearable tension in the studio. It is said that he never took a photo without first smoking a joint. His work was about ritual too. It is very different seeing a vintage photo print in front of you than it is seeing it online on a screen. A vintage print is an object with as much aura as any painting. The Unforgiven. Fade to Black. Nothing Else Matters. You have to choose just one of them. It is impossible isn't it? They are all essential to life. What I would give to go back in time and watch them play in 1991. Or go back and see them with Cliff that I would rather do honestly. The videos of Cliff soloing are just totally out there. Anesthesia is just too good. Anesthesia live at the Lyceum is beyond compare. And then Orion on Master of Puppets. Who has ever played the bass like that? It is just pure genius. If I had to go back for just one night I would want to see Cliff play Anesthesia more than anything. Most bassists don't even do solos do they? Poor bastard getting killed like that. What a terrible tragedy it was. Aritra Sen is a brilliant director. Homecoming Song is superb. Tora's story is wonderful. Ishaa Saha is amazing. These people should be making whatever they want in Hollywood. I used to be a vinyl junky like Matthew Higgs. I cannot be bothered anymore. I have got some nice records like a first pressing of Bitches Brew which is another record people cannot handle. I have got a Technics 1200 one of the last ones from the original production. It is unimprovable genius as a product design. It is in mint condition never used in a club. It is worth a fortune. It is not audiophile though as such. The audiophiles will always tell you that. I actually have got a Pro-Ject turntable with the same Pro-Ject carbon arm that they put on Linn LP12s as standard. The problem is that these records from the 60s are so old now. You just cannot find mint records anymore. The first records I bought on vinyl after I bought my system were Closer and Sandinista! Sandinista has got this magazine inside. You do need that magazine. There are stickers on the front of many copies of Sandinista! saying triple album for the price of a single album. I would honestly prefer it without that sticker on it. Topper wrote and recorded Rock the Casbah on Combat Rock. He wrote the riff. It is the only The Clash song that he wrote. He recorded the bass himself on his own in the studio. He had his own lyrics about having sex with his girlfriend. Strummer's lyrics are lame. Strummer ruined the song completely. You get like fifteen people queuing up outside HJEM coffee shop near where I live. I mean you are talking about a twenty minute queue it is absurd. If you were to ask anyone in the queue what coffee they use in HJEM they would not know. It is just sheep-like behaviour. I am not going to queue to get a coffee like that. Will Self is obviously great as a figure but his actual literature is a massive disappointment isn't it? His writing is so laboured and tedious. Look if Nick Knight is working with an iPhone that should tell you something. The exposure algorithms that Apple have developed are way beyond what anyone else has. Nobody else has got these intelligent exposure analysis systems anything like what they have got. Apple are years ahead of Nikon anyone. Emojis demean intelligent people. That is just obvious and you don't have to cave in to them. They are the stupidest thing ever but everyone dabbles don't they? I don't.

Look I know Andrew Motion came out and said the lyrics to Visions of Johanna are the greatest song lyrics ever written. Ain't it just like the night to play tricks when you're trying to be so quiet? We sit here stranded though we're all doing our best to deny it. I do like that song but I never put it on I think Sara has got good lyrics. One song that has got very dark lyrics is Street Hassle by Lou Reed. It is a song about a cynicism that is associated with being an addict a sort of ultra streetwise nihilistic outlook: I guess I won't and I know this ain't no way to treat a guest but why don't you grab your old lady by the feet and just lay her out in the darkest street and by morning she's just another hit and run. Dylan's version of Auction Block is so good but there is no way he could ever sing that now. Of course not. A white American guy singing about the first-person experience of being a slave. You couldn't do it. Blood on the Tracks is my favourite Dylan album. I think it is for a lot of Dylan fans. Buckets of Rain. That is a good one. Everything about you is bringing me misery. It really is very hard to know what to do about people cycling on the pavement. It is something that has happened in London since the last last few years. It slowly dawned on people that it is a crime nobody will ever be prosecuted for so you just do it. It is very hard to know how to enforce the law in this instance. You just have to accept it. It is one thing that CCTV has no impact on. Why do people do it? The other crazy thing you see in London all the time is people cycling or on an electric scooter with no helmet on. A lot of people who get on a TfL bicycle have no helmet. Cyclists who think they are in the Tour de France with the whole kit on are just loathsome. Runners who run on the street are a pain. The street is not a place for runners. Go in a park or on a treadmill. I don't want to be walking up to the bank having to dodge joggers and cyclists. But nothing can be done I do know that.

2022 06 24

In the USA the five largest tobacco companies have admitted to adding between them six hundred different chemicals to their cigarettes. Chemicals like ammonia hydrogen cyanide pyrazines and so on. None of this has anything whatsoever to do with nicotine. Nicotine is not toxic to the body really any more than caffeine is. Nicotine is the least of your worries if you smoke. I detest people smoking anywhere near me and those that do I look at them and think my God you really are not that bright are you? All this has been revealed about the tobacco companies and still you smoke their products? For example it is proven that the filter on factory-made cigarettes does nothing at all it was a conspiracy by the tobacco companies. It is a con. It does not filter anything at all. These are insane people making these products. It does not take more than a few minutes on the Internet to get a sense of their malicious intentions. Nicotine is nothing in this so people who say well I am addicted to nicotine are regressive. You can get patches and gum and so on for nicotine addiction it is not a big deal at all. Inhaling smoke of any type is obviously poisonous to the body it is toxic. They add a lot of the chemicals ultimately to make the smoke taste more palatable. It is not about health anyway it is about buying a product made by evil disingenuous people. I mean how thick can a person actually be? The European Commission's Strengthened Code of Practice on Disinformation 2022 is quite absurd. They wrote this huge long document on ethical approaches to the Internet and social media and then got some big companies to sign up to it like Adobe Google Facebook Microsoft Twitter and Vimeo. But not the state-funded actors in Russia or China. You have to sign up to the Code of Practice and of course the primary offenders are not involved. It is a total waste of time. We all know what ethical practice looks like. I love it that they came out with a new version called the Strengthened Code when they noticed that the Code was not having any impact. Look some designer clothes I like and I enjoy innovation in dress like Rick Owens for example. But what I detest with designer brands like Off-White and Palm Angels and most of the big names like Givenchy and Balenciaga is the way they sell a branded t-shirt or a hoodie which makes no contribution to fashion at all for hundreds of pounds. They are so lazy both by the designer and by the consumer. You know 500 for a Balenciaga hoodie and 300 for a t-shirt is just nonsense. That is not fashion at all. A t-shirt is not fashion. It was when Vivien and Malcolm were making them for Too Fast in 1976 but they were unique in fashion history. The zips the chicken bones the works. They are literally in the V&A now the only known existing examples. Fashion is not about t-shirts and hoodies and trackies. These people who buy Balenciaga trackies are total nerds. Look have you seen how milking cows walk with full udders? They can hardly walk. It is cruel to have these cows just in great pain with massive full udders like that. I myself cannot abide dairy milk at all. The cows moo and bellow for days in the most haunting way when their calves are taken at birth. And this goes on once a year for life. They only produce milk when they have had a calf. It is rather sick system and it is unnecessary. We have so many non-dairy alternatives to milk now. They pump God knows what antibiotics into them too all the time and other meds. I went down to the farm at Heckfield and I said to the farmer this pig is absolutely lovely how long has he got left and the farmer said: about a week but don't tell him. For what? Organic pork chops and sausages. Why must we normalize killing? For me something of London died when they put up the London Eye in 2000. That for me was the end of the era. That was the end of London as a place that I was in awe of. Nobody who cares about London would have allowed that idiotic ugly monstrosity to go up. It is like a magnet to people with low intelligence. The view you get is not in any way spectacular at all. It just is not. What is it doing there? The best ever views over London are when you fly in coming up the Thames from Essex that is incredible and a lot of people don't even look out of their window. There probably will come a time when planes will no longer fly directly over Central London. At some point it will be deemed too dangerous I'm sure. I mean you see everything. Tower Bridge awes me.

2022 06 23

I think art gallery press releases are a misguided convention. The descriptions explanations and interpretations they proffer are generally pompous and unnecessary. You don't need a Ph.D to enjoy art you really don't. Cosmic Hunt by Matthew Barney at Sadie Coles was a wonderful piece of art that was on view in 2020. You don't need a press release to enjoy it. It is a weird and strange object that is completely unique. You just enjoy it as you wish to. It might make you think of certain things that are quite unusual and uncomfortable but that is no problem. It is both futuristic and antique. I like to think of it as fossilized evidence of a former human civilization that might have been dominant on Earth long before the present Homo sapiens emerged—as William Burroughs suggested. It just makes you think about the future and the past at the same time. It is cast in stainless steel. The artist has produced an object of wonder and fascination that makes you think about abandoned civilizations and ancient rites as much as unimagined technologies. It could be an object from a dream. Gazing at this weapon or telescope is a great enjoyment. An object like this is sui generis meaning it is one of a kind. It is original as opposed to cliché. But you really don't need to read even what I have written here the best art just resonates without words without extrapolation or commentary. The cast-steel Cosmic Hunt object was a personal favourite that year in art definitely. I would not want to see it in a group show. I don't like mixed group exhibitions as a rule. Barney has never participated in any as far as I know. They diminish the force of art really. What is their purpose anyway? The point that is of significance with Cosmic Hunt is that no photo or virtual tour can be used as a substitute for an encounter with the object itself. You can call that the aura of the object meaning that which cannot be captured by photo or video or virtual tour. The object has its own presence and that is undeniable. Like say a certain tree that you might love and have good feelings when you visit it. If you think about it a photo of that tree is no substitute is it? That is why you still have to go to art galleries too. Photos of Cosmic Hunt give you very little idea of what it is like to be in a space with that steel object.

2022 06 22

Trust me I have heard every counter argument and pointless come-back a million times all of them. You say you are vegetarian and you hear these idiotic statements. They are too obtuse to write down. You can't get a balanced diet without meat because of the amino acids it contains. But you are wearing leather. That is good one. Humans have always been meat-eaters since the Stone Age. The one thing you never hear is: yes you are right the cow pig and lamb abattoir is a truly demented place with demented workers in it. And how many hundreds of times will people come back with: but you eat fish no? Is a fish a vegetable? A four year old knows the answer to that question. In fact abattoir is a genteelism isn't it? It is called a slaughterhouse. Most people if you were to take them to a slaughterhouse would recoil in utter horror. Beyond horror. They would not go in for the smell for the blood for the slow-witted weirdos who kill all day long. Most people you would not be able to get them in through the entrance let alone to the killing floor. Trust me you would have no chance they would not enter. But if they did enter they would probably a lot of them come out vowing to never eat meat again. So one thing is this idea that the slaughterhouse is taboo and it cannot be mentioned ever. Even cancer can be mentioned sometimes but not the slaughterhouse. Freud called this mechanism repression. Some things we push out of consciousness very effectively. Like if you go to the cinema you will almost never see a scene with a person going to the toilet. It is very rare. I used to have a list. In Pulp Fiction Vincent Vega gets shot while in the toilet. Wim Wenders Kings of the Road begins with Bruno Winter taking a shit in clear view. It is quite shocking. The sex scene at the beginning of 37°2 le matin is brilliant in this regard too. The bravura of opening the film like that is just wonderful. I used to work in a cinema showing 37°2 le matin. Obviously the point is that it makes all viewers feel very uncomfortable. Which I have seen for myself. In the original version there is no preamble at all. The film just starts with a single locked-off shot and that is it for at least three minutes. It is about the fact that many people go to the cinema with their partner. The audience do not want to see this so early on in the film. We do not know anything about these characters. They do not seem to be acting anyway. Of course in so many films it is precisely this full sex scene that is missing. You know the couple are kissing and then it cuts to their post-coital chatter. They never make films like 37°2 le matin anymore. They don't. Sorry but they don't. The Souvenir is good. Bergman Island is not bad. But they are not really up there are they? Jean-Jacques Beineix is another dearly departed B man. There are some things that most screen-writers don't want to show you like going to the toilet. To me if you are going to eat meat then you should be obliged to go on a day-trip to a slaughterhouse where you must say help to hose down the blood on the killing floor for like ten minutes and then you can go home. This should be strictly enforced for McDonald's customers who would need to show that they have done the day-trip with a certificate on their phone. That would be great it really would. The burger is the most dreadful food idea. Smart people don't eat burgers. They don't. They find something else on the menu. Eating a burger is a subtle way of normalizing the absurdity of the USA. A burger is a form of food for obtuse people.

2022 06 21

I wonder what the sound was like at King Tut's Wah Wah Hut the night Oasis played with Alan McGee watching them? It was probably quite loud. The early Oasis sound is really based off Helter Skelter isn't it? The evening of 30th May 1993 they played King Tut's. They played Glastonbury on 26th June 1994 one year later in the middle of the day on the NME stage. Their version of I Am the Walrus on that afternoon is quite frightening more than anything. The Beatles should have recorded it that heavy. Lennon said: It's serious but it's also not serious. It's true but it's also a joke. Oasis playing I Am the Walrus is I think you can say quintessentially English perhaps the epitome of Englishness. I mean they came on at about three in the afternoon or something like that. There is a crowd but nothing like the formidable baying masses that would become commonplace for them. It is funny because the headliners at Glastonbury that year were Peter Gabriel and Elvis Costello. People might sneer at Oasis but would you really prefer to listen to Peter Gabriel or Elvis Costello? One 1994 version of Walrus is on The Masterplan. Liam is heard before the intro starts: It doesn't matter if it's out of tune. Doesn't matter if it's out of tune because you're cool. How Liam was able to innovate his vocal delivery is just so mysterious it is improbable the way he carefully pronounces every syllable with a bizarre drawl. It is totally unique but where did it come from? Was it John Lydon that influenced him? I don't think he can tell you. There are live versions of Walrus at the bitter end from summer 2009 that are raucous. The River Plate stadium performance is engrossing it really is Liam is in another world the seething vitriol is palpable in his delivery and the sound is so heavy. I don't honestly think you can play a rock sound heavier than their Walrus without drifting into pure noise. It is a beautiful parka he is wearing. I adore this thing about performing with a coat on fully done up. Walrus was actually the last song they ever played live as a band on 22nd August at the V Festival in Staffordshire. You look at Liam and you have to think My God he has seen it all in those intervening years between 1994 and 2009 but there he is still singing magnificently: Yellow matter custard/ Dripping from a dead dog's eye/ Crab-a-locker fishwife pornographic priestess/ Boy you've been a naughty girl you let your knickers down. Lennon's lyrics are pure Bataille. I mean: sitting on a corn flake. What a lyric. Look The Beatles ended in rancour Oasis ended in rancour too. Adulation in that way is unendurable you can see that at River Plate. There is nowhere to go. Noel: Thank you we'll see you sometime in the very very very very distant future. Blur's The Beatles homage is beautiful the languor that they got on Beetlebum is wonderful this listlessness. It is a White Album sound too. Some say it is about heroin some say it is about having an affair with an older woman. When they render it live they often play it much darker and desperate as a set-closer with Coxon going into a fairly wretched solo. I just slip away and now I am gone is a mantra an epitaph. Girls & Boys by Blur is really the anthem for the Gender Trouble era. Song 2 has got 500 million plays on Spotify which is a lot for any song. It is not really a Blur song at all is it? Song 2 is a Nirvana rip-off really it is them doing a grunge song it probably started as a piss-take in rehearsals.

Look I have a very vexed relationship with black cabs. One thing about me is that I absolutely detest getting ripped off for anything. My radar is constantly on for the prospect of getting ripped off in London. I actually got that reflex off my friend Liam Gillick. He was always noticing it and being aware of it—this is decades ago. I'll give you a for instance. Recently I was in Pret at Heathrow and I paid with a card. The team member said your payment didn't go through but I could see it had. I said it has gone through. She said no it didn't and asked me to tap again. I looked at the girl and she looked high. Her pupils were pinpricked and she had a sort of mischievous I don't give a shit look on her face. Given that I was at the airport with my wife and daughter seated at a table waiting for their drinks I just let it go. When I got to Corfu I told my friend Mark about it and he was like: you were stitched up like a kipper good and proper there mate. I checked my app and it came up twelve pounds charged twice. I sent an email complaint and nothing happened so I sent another email this time threatening to Tweet about it. Then I got an email back they wanted my bank statement which I sent attached to an email. The first time I sent it they said it was only showing pending payments and this was not enough so I had to wait several days and sent it again. It was a different person writing back to me each time so I had to re-explain several times what the problem was. So I added that I wanted to a goodwill payment for the inconvenience of having to complain. Eventually I got an envelope in the post with a Pret gift card for ninety pounds. No comp slip or apology just the gift card. Anyway black cabs are are a form of extortion. To go from my house into Town is fifteen pounds so to go into Town for a meeting and back is thirty pounds minimum. I mean you can get a return train ticket to Manchester for that it is an outrage. Restaurants in London are prize rippers of course and there just is not that much you can do about it. The weird thing is that the better the restaurant the less of a rip off it actually is. Scott’s is excellent value in my view. I am happy to pay for excellence. So yes a black cab has got this aspect of insanity about it. Firstly they are insanitary disgustingly dirty. Much more filthy than the bus for example. Many of the drivers seem addle-brained. They are not functioning well. You are getting in a cab with a driver who will often drive erratically or get incensed by anything. They always complain bitterly about traffic conditions which I myself don't care about at all. The genius Stewart Lee had this great bit about getting in a black cab and the driver turns to him and says: These days you get arrested and thrown in jail if you say you are English don't you? Look a lot of white back cab drivers have aired racists views to me too. I think it is pretty well known at this point that some white black cab drivers hold intolerant views. It is to some degree fostered by listening to talk radio phone-ins for years. Listening to talk radio during the run up to the Referendum would have caved anyone's brain in irreversibly. Black cabs as they are are not acceptable at all they foster an atmosphere of disillusion and nihilism and are corrosive to common decency in the ridiculous prices charged and the most galling thing is that they always complain that they are hard done by. It really is quite grotesque. I always take the bus whenever I can the 49 the 9 the 52 are all classic bus rides except the redesigned New Routemaster by Thomas Heatherwick CBE RA which has absolutely no ventilation whatsoever and the windows don't open. I mean what a total nitwit that guy is. Go on a New Routemaster and see for yourself. It is an absolute disgrace. If someone says I love Thomas Heatherwick that just tells you that they never take the bus. I interpret the complete lack of any ventilation to be a considered and intentional slap in the face to the working class bus users by the middle class designer. His statement is very clear.

22 06 20

Passwords are a real chore aren't they? Just logging in to your accounts on the Internet is a real pain isn't it? I mean how many times do you have to add your details and address and update password and get face ID and account ID or get a verification code sent to your mobile? It is mind-numbing it is a form of torture. There is always one more to do always and one's passwords are always not strong enough. How much stronger can they get? You think the torture is over and it says you know add card details or CVC number required. This is nothing compared to actually having to try and get something done by making a call to a call-centre. That is truly psychotic it really is. You are waiting with insane music for half an hour. It is impossible that someone could have selected the music for any other reason than as a form of torture. Then eventually someone who sounds a bit off comes on the line and starts asking you all manner of security questions and for your digital passcode or your pin which of course you cannot remember. Sometimes you do feel like saying look I called you. Please I called you. I am the one with the question. Then when you have actually finished there is no way of validating that anything has been done at all. You are on your knees to these people hoping they will do something for you. You start to feel that working in a call-centre must be hellish of course it is. Calling Vodafone is hellish working for Vodafone in a call-centre is more hellish for sure. You know as soon as you realize that you have to call a call-centre then it is finished. You are trapped. People are forever guessing their own passwords these days that is what it has come down to. It is just a sort of madness where you are resetting your account to do something like pay a bill. Having to guess your own password is a joke. Someone attempting to guess your password to gain access to your account is called technically a brute force attack. We are all doing brute force attacks on our own accounts. I am not joking about any of this to me it affects quality of life it really does. Passwords are strong enough. The people should have some say in this. This is what I mean by post-democratic. The people should have some input into how strong passwords are to be. The logic has completely gone. If a password is so complex that it can't be memorized then of course users will write them down and store them somewhere safe and that is less secure than memorizing. Passwords should be able to be memorized or they are not really that secure so adding special characters and so forth is just silly. There is not a soul on the planet who wants to gain access to my EDF electricity account. Or my Battersea Dogs Home account.

22 06 19

In any context I prefer to be sitting at the back of the room with the back wall directly behind me. That is what Rupert Ross used to do also. That is a known thing amongst the drug dealers he said. You always have your back to the back wall and a clear view of the entrance. Probably a gun pointing towards it under your jacket? They are generally armed that is why Ross shot Darcy Austin-Bruce outside Wandsworth prison because he knew that that would be the only time that Austin-Bruce would be unarmed to go into the prison to visit a prisoner. Thirty years Ross got handed. Because it was a pre-planned execution not only that but in broad daylight with people pushing prams and taking kids to school. Ross's Mum owns Ad Hoc on the King's Road. Ross was in control of the Clem Attlee Estate off Fulham Broadway. Nothing goes in or out without me knowing about it. I lived on a council estate in Burrough from 1988 to 1996 so nine years. Tabard Gardens Estate it is off Long Lane. Look it is all gentrified around there now I know but it wasn't then at all. I used to be walking all the time between my flat and Anya Gallaccio's flat who was my girlfriend. Her flat was in a council block on Mill Street off Tower Bridge Road. Her studio was down the back of Mill Street in Jacobs Studios she had a space there with Ian Davenport and on the floor below was Damien and Angus. Anya's brother Chris was a couple of years younger than us and was also an artist. He was working in Wild at Heart flower shop. He seemed fine perfectly normal guy nice guy. I had a problem with his wife who was one of these people who got offended at everything I said ever and then would start scowling and getting riled up. She was from Pontefract in Wakefield I do believe. So there was this thing about seeing them that I had to not get her upset. As far as anyone knew Chris was fine and then when Anya was doing a show in Wapping Pumping Station the news comes through that he has taken his own life hanged himself in his studio around lunchtime. I had to tell his Mum the news on the phone. Can you believe I had to do that? I got in to the flat in Mill Street and nobody was there. I listened to the answer machine and it had all these devastated messages about Chris people screaming messages. There was one from Andrew Renton that was heartbreaking and then at that moment as I was listening to these messages Anya's Mum rings. I said look I am sorry but I think Chris is dead. I was with Anya when the family gathered at his flat with his wife and his Mum that night. That has to be the most harrowing night of my life easily and I have had some harrowing nights. Some pain is unbearable and time does not repair at all that is how it is. When people say give it time they should knock that platitude on the head.

22 06 18

The Perseverance rover has sent back 280,000 photos from Mars. Perseverance has got fifteen cameras mounted on it. They are the most audacious landscape photos ever made of course but they are rather repetitive. Look there isn't much on that planet is there? They say it must have had lakes and water at some point but you are talking about billions of years ago. Perseverance is on Mars looking for evidence of life. You know was there life there at some point millions of years ago? There isn't any advanced life form there now because if there was they would have taken control of Perseverance. Or destroyed it with ray guns. I mean for the Martians it would be an alien visitation so there is no way they would leave Perseverance trundling around for a year. So it is all a bit disappointing. Could there have been life there at some point in the past? The atmosphere on Mars is more than ninety-six percent pure carbon dioxide so NASA must have some idea of what organisms can breathe pure carbon dioxide. There really is nothing much there at all it is just the dust and the rocks. There is no real benefit of humans going to Mars in person. It is a total waste of money. They are going to walk around in the dust for a bit and maybe make it back home. It is going to be an iconic photo though isn't it? The Five-star red flag of China flying on Mars. That would really piss NASA off because they really do think they own Mars right now. The photos made by Perseverance do awe me: the images of the delta at Jezero Crater. Photos of sunrise on Mars really do get you thinking. The strange thing really is how familiar it all looks. If you didn't know for sure it could easily be somewhere on Earth.

I think if someone had introduced me to Stockhausen and Ligeti in 1984 I would not have been into them at all even though a lot of it connects very much to the Industrial music I was listening to. If someone had come along and said: have you heard Kontakte by Stockhausen from 1961? Or if someone had said: what about Atmosphères by Ligeti from 1960? Well I don't think I would have really bothered. I thought the groups I was into were the first ones to be exploring noise. I mean TG was a cult like Crass was a cult. Those two cults were the first cults I had been exposed to. Under the right conditions it is very easy to be drawn into the realm of influence of a cult. I know what it feels like. In art Relational Aesthetics was a cult. It was preposterous nonsense to all but this tiny band of initiates. Even today people come up to me asking me to explain Liam's work to them and I have to say: look sorry please go away or ask me about something else because I don't have anything to tell you so can you maybe go ask HUO? HUO will give you a very clear explanation of anything. Bourriaud actually moved on with several other theories which as far as I can comprehend them are concerned with decolonizing Eurocentric art culture and engaging with the climate crisis. Relational Aesthetics he will always be remembered for. It is special because absolutely nobody has a clue what it is supposed to be about outside of Nicholas Esther Philippe and Liam. And the interesting thing is if you do ask them about it they will say it was misunderstood or they were not involved. You will never ever get a straight answer out of them that I can guarantee you. Look postmodernism is a way of making art that is above all an ethos. Postmodernists struggle with say Schnabel because he thinks he is doing something truly original and it makes us feel embarrassed—he is not cool and knowing enough he is just so earnest. As an art lover I am principally a postmodernist. The basic idea of postmodernism is that you cannot be too earnest in what you do. It is unseemly and not in keeping with the times we live in. In music you can begin with Bowie and Roxy Music. Seriousness has its limitations as The Clash realized. In a Brechtian sense you cannot just make art you have to produce an art that challenges the idea of making art at all. As Brecht demanded of the play: you cannot just give the audience what they want and let them get swept up in a drama. There has to be the production of a challenge. You can do amazing work but you have to be at least a little bit knowing about what you are doing. So Doig or Saville are not postmodern. Tracey is not. Adam McEwan is. Koons is. Richard Prince is postmodernist. In postmodernism everything has to be sarcastic to some degree. I mean you can debate who is postmodern or you can even just reject the term. I am still fond of it myself. Picabia is really a good early example when he was making paintings copying photos found in soft porn magazines for instance. That is why people cite Picabia so much. Then you go really from Picabia to Warhol who made his cynicism a basic component of art. So when you get Koons in 1988 he follows on directly from Warhol in the cool mocking loss of earnestness. The centre of postmodernism is this idea that the artistic ethos is to ridicule scorn tease. John Currin is postmodern for example in this ceaselessly mocking tone. Or Glenn Brown. Damien's spin paintings and dot paintings I would include and the cherry blossom paintings. Christopher Wool is very debatable. I would say yes he is and I would also include Richter's Abstraktes Bild abstract paintings as the whole idea is that they are done without earnestness. They are done using a machine process that is guaranteed to produce an astonishing abstract painting every time that is the point. That is in part why he made so many to press home the point that he could make one of these any time at all with his huge plexi squeegee. They are not meant to be admired as such any more than a Warhol Electric Chair is painted to be admired in the way a Rothko is. The tone is always this sort of mocking knowingness. That is what you are participating in. The Abstraktes Bild paintings can be seen as a riposte to Baselitz and Kiefer. They are flippant on some level. And then also in Germany you have got Polke and Kippenberger. Polke is a good example of this Brechtian idea of the Verfremdungseffekt. You never know quite what you are looking at. Polke never lets you get comfortable. Kippenberger was world class at mocking and undermining earnestness. Urs Fischer of course. Urs Fischer sort of takes the place of what Kippenberger might have done in the twenty-first century if he had not been a terminal alcoholic and died age forty-four. There is a quality of irony which is in every piece by Fischer. So this knowing tone that is really the essence of the postmodernist. I would say that now these days this is no longer so much of a currency at all. There is no irony in a Mark Bradford or a Theaster Gates. I would not say that Glenn Ligon is postmodern. 24 Hour Psycho is classic postmodernism but a lot of Douglas Gordon's work is not really any more. Not being completely overly earnest about what you do is considered a requirement to postmodern art. Damien is not a good example overall because his immense greed is not cool and knowing enough. Koons is very much still postmodern. I suppose people would include Condo because of his mocking tone and there is no denying that really. Issy Wood I would include as postmodern. Charles Ray of course in his absolute coolness of attack in everything he does. You can compare him to say Anthony Gormley who is completely earnest and you can see the difference.

22 06 17

One mass surveillance programme that Snowden's documents revealed was GCHQ's brazen Optic Nerve which clandestinely harvested webcam portrait images from the massive bundle of cables that take Internet traffic across the Atlantic along the ocean bed. The programme produced still images of at least 1.8 million British people while using their webcams. The idea is that criminals and would-be terrorists might use their webcam for conversations assuming themselves not to be at risk of surveillance. The captured screenshot photos were fed into a facial recognition database of known suspects. This was revealed in 2014. GCHQ has never denied doing this and Snowden had documentary proof some of which The Guardian published so we can be sure that it happened and is very likely still happening. I mean how are you going to stop them? They do what they want GCHQ has always acted with impunity. They operate beyond the law because most of the time they are not caught doing what they are doing. And when they do get caught because of whistle-blowers not much happens except fuming outrage which changes nothing. We must be thankful to Snowden who at least enabled us to see that not everything reported and surmised along these lines is a spurious conspiracy theory. In terms of theorizing photography these images are fascinating: a sort of national portrait project which apparently also produced many unwelcome pornographic screenshots of genitals that were upsetting the GCHQ operators. The Optic Nerve photos can never be viewed. GCHQ has never admitted that they exist. They are a ghost archive. They exist as a series of images of human heads interspersed with pictures of penises and vaginas that really is like a piece of conceptual art. The complete series should be shown at Tate Modern.

2022 06 16

Shu and Orlowski will always be remembered as innovators in the gig economy which created a new type of precarious worker who uses a smartphone to get jobs and gets paid for each delivery completed. This is of course another aspect of the smartphone revolution which began around mid-2010. Deliveroo started in 2013. With Deliveroo there is no set amount that you are paid for a delivery it will be between £3 and £6 and as you might expect the computer will tell you how much you earned after you have delivered. It is demeaning and demanding dead end work which offers no possibility of progression of any kind or any financial security. It is just getting money to live. It might be okay on a midsummer's evening but in the rain in February it is hellish. You inevitably get lost all the time. There are four million addresses in London you are never going to learn them all. Riders in London on mopeds and electric cycles delivering food to people in their homes has become a common sight over the last ten years. It has become a London fixture: a Deliveroo rider on a moped engine whirring up then stopping as he goes up and down the street sheepishly looking for an address he has been given. They are an underclass. The unskilled underclass who live in precarity without basic employment rights like sick pay. The worker class and precarious class are quite separate now. The worker is someone who is able to get a job with full employment benefits. The underclass work without benefits. We have come to expect and accept this underclass: men or women who seem doomed to work the most dreadful jobs like Deliveroo rider with no way out. Many of these workers are immigrants who can barely speak English. Their lack of any proper language skills only adds to the likelihood that they will find it difficult to move beyond precarious work while also remaining easier to exploit: they cannot effectively challenge negotiate with or make complaints to the management. With Deliveroo there is no management to complain to it is just you and your account on your phone. If you take a look at a photo of Will Shu he does not immediately look like a person who exploits others in order to grow rich but nevertheless that is what he is. The most mordant image today that really sums up today in a quite specific way perhaps as much a photo of a Deliveroo rider is a photo of a couple naked standing in front of a classic photo-portrait style backdrop like an Avedon set say. The man looks fairly cool he has got a beard and short hair he is quite ripped he has got his arm very affectionately around the waist of a woman who has got a tribal style tattoo around her left bicep. They are both smiling at the camera. The picture is captioned: Rowena and Sally lesbian couple. You read the caption and then you realize that it is actually a picture of two women.

2022 06 15

In the UK the consequence of Edward Snowden was really that the law was changed to allow most of what he revealed to become legal. That is it in a nutshell. The Investigatory Powers Act 2016 makes it legal for GCHQ to bulk collect email Internet browsing and phone records of British citizens. Of course in reality they collect a lot more than that—meaning they don't stop at the British only. They are sniffing all that data using AI software and other recognition softwares for suspicious things. Nobody is manually reading your emails. But the real change with the IPA is that GCHQ now hold on to the data so that if a person becomes a suspect at any point in their life then their Internet browsing email and phone records can be consulted for example by police detectives gathering evidence. As Liberty have been arguing and still are arguing you cannot have the Human Rights Act and the Investigatory Powers Act both in force at once if you are trying to be a sane country. You cannot have a legal right to privacy and the IPA together. One expressly undermines the other. That is what is still being argued in court by Liberty. But you have to look at it in relation to Instagram and Google. Google's bulk data collection—retaining the Internet search history of ninety percent of all Internet users—is obviously not compatible with Article 8 of the Human Rights Act: Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life his home and his correspondence. From a right to privacy perspective GCHQ's collection of data at least has the purpose of foiling terrorism and seeking to stop people being drawn into extremism whereas Google's bulk data collection and Instagram's bulk data collection is done solely for the purposes of making profit. That is where the idea of post-democracy comes in. UK nationals have no realistic legal means to challenge Google Instagram or ByteDance. Email is not really a secure way of communicating with another person I think we all know that by now anyway. Our Internet browsing history is being recorded that is just a fact—and doubly by the UK state and Google. Would-be terrorists don't use email to plan an attack so there is only limited use in the vast expense of interrogating our emails anyway. Look there is not a soul on the planet who believes that WhatsApp encryption could not be cracked in five minutes flat if access to certain messages were suddenly required by the NSA or the CIA. What kind of encryption is it? It is the kind that can be cracked and is already cracked most certainly. I mean I bought a copy of Let Us Be Muslims by Sayyid Abul A'la Mawdudi because I like to be informed and it is a classic radicalization book. That is fine but if I were to recommend that book to one of my students in an email well that would be a different matter. In fact it would be highly suspicious and possibly illegal. It would be a breach of my workplace prevent policy that is for sure. So I don't do that. I think my point is that it does not take much to drift over the line into what could be interpreted as creating an atmosphere conducive to terrorism like buying a book on Amazon and recommending it to a student.

2022 06 14

Making and sharing a photo is just a basic utility something that everyone with a smartphone does anytime. There is nothing special about taking a picture at all. It is just something that we all do. Or to be more accurate it is just something that 6.3 billion people do anytime. There really is not much more to say about the JPEG at this point beyond the fact that it can fairly be described as ubiquitous. The ubiquity of the JPEG. Instagram uses JPEG for all images displayed on its platform. All images are converted to JPEG when they are being uploaded. JPEG is the most profuse type of photographic image ever known to humans with several billion being created each day. The most successful image format ever devised. Maybe ten billion each day. The Joint Photographic Experts Group created the international standard for compression in 1992. Many of the names of the original committee are unknown as it was an ad hoc association. Only Graham Hudson and Gregory Wallace are known. The creation of the JPEG compression standard in 1992 is one of the most significant moments in the history of photography. I wonder if there is any way anyone could begin to estimate how many JPEGs have been created in total since 1992? It is more than a quadrillion. It could be a quintillion.

2022 06 12

You have got China slowly emerging as an authentic authoritarian dictatorship with the introduction of mass surveillance and the Chinese Communist Party Social Credit Initiative which is making ordinary life intolerable for one and a half billion residents. You have got Russia which slowly morphed from potential nascent democracy into a horrifying dictatorship. You have got the absolute monarchy in Saudi Arabia who regularly execute dissenters—many of whom confess to their supposed crimes under torture. Who can forget the state sanctioned execution of Jamal Khashoggi who was anesthetized and then dismembered with a wood saw by his assassins? How many of the one hundred million in Afghanistan Iraq and Syria want out of their failed state because life there is unendurable? What of the plight of the five million people living in subjugation in the autonomous entity of Palestine? And what of the forty three million in Ukraine? So too the hundreds of millions of African people living in the failed states of Somalia South Sudan Democratic Republic of Congo Central African Republic Burkina Faso Chad Sudan Ethiopia Cameroon Burundi Eritrea Mali Niger Kenya Côte d'Ivoire or Mozambique. Are they to be left to their fate? The stress and anxiety for the ordinary person living in say the city of Juba is unimaginable with the daily threat of robbery car-jacking ambush assault kidnapping mugging or shooting. As well as navigating civil unrest and armed conflict—with militias often setting up arbitrary ad hoc checkpoints. The FCDO advises British citizens do not travel to most of these countries which are deemed to be too volatile and dangerous to enter. If you go anyway against FCDO advice then they have no obligation to get you out even in extremis. Or you have got the USA. People used to admire the USA in the 1950s—artists like Peter Blake or Hockney. There are three hundred and ninety three million privately owned guns in the USA. What would be a better definition of an insane country than one in which you can walk into your local shop and buy an M4 Carbine military rifle with as much ammunition as you might need? An M4 is lethal up to about five hundred metres and can fire at the rate of seven hundred bullets per minute—that is really a technical number as no soldier fires continuously for a full minute they fire in very short bursts. The M4 Carbine is the primary gun of the United States Marine Corps. This is really just to underline that an M4 Carbine should never be made available to a civilian. I mean you don't go hunting with an M4 Carbine. It has been developed by Colt solely for killing other humans on a field of battle. Most of the time in the UK we just let any thoughts about the reality of daily life in any of these countries go to the back of our minds and nothing to be done. Life goes on and we enjoy our freedoms while millions elsewhere are suffering. In order to enjoy our freedoms and walks in the park and ice creams on lawns we have to forget about all of it. That is where the question of engagement comes in. Do you want your work to engage with any of this? Can you make work that is relevant to global politics? Or is there something more pressing? That is why I like the work of sixty-five year old Swiss artist Thomas Hirschhorn. I don't find it didactic I would say I find a lot of other art too disengaged from politics or just posing around politics which is the worst. Look fine art photography is a great career but you have got to be realistic about what you are getting into at this point. If you want to protect art photography in its current form of a photo framed up on the wall then you have got to go out and protect the galleries by supporting them as a regular active spectator. The state-funded ones are one thing. And you have got to also encourage the photography buyer—or collector as they are called. It seems a lot to spend say three thousand on an art photo for your wall at home but some people will do that. Without that then there is no means of art photographers making a living at all. At some point they have got to sell pictures to the wealthy. By convention the gallery takes half the money off the photographer. So it is not easy. A Jeff Wall photo is priced at several hundred thousand pounds. There are very few people on Earth who are going to spend that on a photograph at this time. There is always plenty of fuss about Photo London and Paris Photo in terms of going to have a look at art photography. That is fine but in the end these galleries have got to sell or they are going to go out of business. Things have changed a lot since 2010 when the digital image revolution began. If you are scrolling through images all day and night do you really want photos hanging on the wall at home too? People think the commercial galleries selling photography will always be there but that is not certain. If you look at the commercial art galleries in London you can see that they don't show much photography any more. As for the Megas: Tillmans Ruff Gursky Sherman Eggleston Wall Taryn Simon Christopher Williams Philip-Lorca diCorcia. It is this list of rather predictable names isn't it? It is not easy to get excited about the names on that list right now.

2022 06 11

It all starts with the panopticon. Jeremy Bentham designed a cylindrically shaped prison with a central guard-station. The guard-station view is up above and allows the guards to see into any of the cells at any time. At a certain point the prisoners assume they are being watched even if they are not. They cannot know so they expect that they are. His first drawing is dated 1791. The whole of CCTV culture emanates from that 1791 drawing. It is the same dynamic operational. You cannot know if a CCTV camera is actively watching you or if it is even turned on or if there is someone in a control room scrutinizing you so you just assume that there is. This is the basic deterrent that dominates everyday life in cities around the world. The CCTV camera may be recording your every move. The CCTV camera is capturing you. Implicating you. There are cameras everywhere. Little black domes. If you do anything illegal it will be captured on CCTV. If something happens they will go back and look at the CCTV. CCTV is being recorded for your safety. The interesting thing is that so many people welcome being under twenty-four hour surveillance. A lot of people just feel safer. There has never been a more successful deterrent to criminals. And it is all about video. It is video technology that has enabled CCTV culture to emerge. London before the cameras came was different. It was more dangerous you can say that at least. CCTV brings reassurance. Look particularly for women. I sometimes ask my students what they think and usually they are in favour of the cameras. Both Bowie and Iggy sang prophetically about CCTV. Bowie's lyric is so memorable: Keep your electric eye on me babe. Put your ray gun to my head. It is the all-seeing eye that is what it is. That is what we have got now: security cameras in operation. You can go and consult the original drawings they are in the collection of University College London on Gower Street. Bentham was born in the East End he is famous for a lot of things not just the panopticon. Look Louise swears that this is true. And she is a reliable witness. She is a Senior Lecturer now in an Arts Faculty in a University in the North of England. She has sent me a map of how the room was and the painting itself. So this in the summer of 1983. Louise and I went Interrailing with backpacks to Europe. We went to Amsterdam and to the museums and had a look around. We stayed on a barge of course. Then we went to Paris. We went to several art museums we were art students or about to become art students. So we went to the Pompidou and she took a photo of me sitting under a large Electric Chair. I do remember being quite obsessed with touching famous art at that point. I definitely touched that Warhol. I stroked it really. Then for sure we went to the Musée d'Orsay looking at the French masterpieces. We went into one room in which was hanging Le Déjeuner sur l'herbe an 1863 painting by Édouard Manet. It is one of the most famous paintings in all of art. Louise says it was in a smallish room and there were definitely people in there. There was no guard. According to Louise I leaned over and picked a piece of paint off the painting using my fingernail and put it in my pocket. Now honestly I do not remember doing that and I do not have any such fragment. I have asked Louise if there is any chance at all that she dreamed that and she says no not at all. She says it was from the lower left. Near the picnic basket. She was horrified she froze. She could not believe what I had done. Time stood still and amazingly nothing happened. So apparently I vandalized one of the most important paintings of the post-impressionist era. I mean I am not adamant that it didn't happen but I myself do not remember doing that.

2022 06 10

When I was at sixth-form college I listened to a lot of industrial and experimental music: 23 Skidoo Cabaret Voltaire Test Dept. Throbbing Gristle and Einstürzende Neubauten. I still think highly of all those people. Genesis has gone. Sleazy has gone. Stephen Mallinder did a Ph.D and teaches at Brighton Uni now. DOA by TG is a good record. The Culling is Coming by 23 Skidoo is a special record. When it came out it was said that the LP covers cost four pounds each to print—this strange dark reflective material that had been over printed. So that they were making a loss on each copy sold. I saw all of them play live. Test Dept. played at Cannon Street station and they had an Olympic style trampolinist as the support act. Some at the sixth-form were into Elvis. Some really knew nothing at all about music. My friends Matthew Jez and Dave formed a band called Two Dead People. Jez was the lyricist and guitarist. He had to play and sing. Like Kurt Cobain used to. I am only a few months older than Kurt—I am a contemporary of Kurt. It is a long way from Farnham to Aberdeen Washington but growing up we were the same age. Looking back it is hard to say who 2DP sounded like. They did not sound like Nirvana. Jez had much earlier been into The Beatles Crass and The Stranglers. Both Jez and I loved Clock DVA. 4 Hours by Clock DVA. The Southern Death Cult and Theatre of Hate were influences certainly. Westworld by Theatre of Hate is an astonishing album which was produced by the great man himself Mick Jones. The Southern Death Cult by The Southern Death Cult is a sublime record. So Kirk Brandon and Ian Astbury were Gods to us. There was this subculture at the time called psychobilly. Jez was a psychobilly he was into The Cramps definitely. The big thing was going up to London to get shoes at Robot. Jez had this perfect blonde flattop. The song I remember so well even now was called I Just Can't Believe What's Goin' On Inside My Head. Jez was with Anna Stark. She became a model—she had attended a Roman Catholic school for girls. Mark Golding was one of our friends at college. He left and moved to London. He died in December 1986 of a methadone overdose. He was friends with Boy George I think he was at George's house when he OD'ed. There were tabloid headlines George's Friend Dies of Overdose. My girlfriend was Bella Courtney also known as Bella Keyworth and of course whatever her married name is. She lives in Italy in Turin. I got in touch with her at some point through her brother Philip who lives in New York. It is always a bad idea to do it I know. What can you say? You know reminiscences. Bella's father was Nicholas Courtney the Brigadier in Doctor Who. When Laurie Anderson did United States I-IV at the Dominion I went up on my own nobody else was interested to go up with me. I remember putting on Coup by 23 Skidoo at Ben Inman's eighteenth birthday party and getting shouted down quite roundly. It does sound amazing really loud. I was in a car accident later that morning with Rachel Inman and Nick Foxall who was driving. It was so frightening. I was in the back when Nick lost control of the car near Tilford in Surrey. He was completely smashed and stoned. Totally out of it. Only a reckless idiot would have got into a car with him driving. He hit the kerb a couple of times before he flipped it. It was surreal as people always say. It felt like the actual crash took minutes it seemed to unfold so slowly as if in slow-motion—which is also a cliché. I got out of the upturned car through the back window. Everyone crawled out moaning. There was this flattened wreck with the wheels spinning freely and the engine creaking. Rachel started screaming at me to leave because there were three of us in the back and she was worried about Nick's insurance. She was adamant. There were no other cars on the road it was absolutely deserted. In the Surrey countryside. It really was quite filmic. So silent. Dawn was breaking. It did not occur to me that leaving the scene of an accident is a crime. When it was in the local paper the following week it said I was a passenger so who knows? I cannot actually remember how I got back to Farnham I must have walked. It was about six in the morning. I went to my work which was at a petrol station in Upper Hale. I had the keys I had to go and open up. I opened up and then when I sat down behind the counter I went into shock. I did not know what to do so I called the guy who worked the other shift and asked him to come in and he did. In the following days everyone was saying to me how lucky I was to be alive. I just blamed myself for getting into the car with Nick. It was entirely my free choice. I mean he was stumbling all over the place as we all walked towards his car and slurring. I have always looked back on it as a death wish—an unconscious wish to die. If I shake hands with someone I just wait a few minutes and go the bathroom and wash. I get very bothered by people who tap me on the arm or slap me on the shoulder. I carry anti-bac wipes a lot of the time. As regards sound I find dreadful background music intolerable. Rubbish music is just painful to me something like Heart. If I go into a shop and there is Celine Dion on I will just leave immediately. I cannot have the radio on in a taxi. I have to ask for it to be turned off. I generally detest background music. Also I have got tinnitus. My ears ring like they do after a loud concert. I have been told that it comes from listening to music loud on headphones for years. Particularly when I was doing my Ph.D I listened to very loud music for probably six hours a day seven days for three years—Led Zep Metallica Sabbath stuff like that. It just did not seem obvious to me at the time that it was a risk. There really is not that much that can be done about it now. I just have to live with it. It is fine during the day but at night in bed it feels loud and disturbing. Another thing I cannot deal with is cooking smells. For one thing I am vegetarian and the smell of roasting flesh does upset me. But things like steaming broccoli or cabbage are a hassle. I really need fresh air at all times if possible.

2022 06 09

Kingston School of Art is divided into several Schools for example The Design School. I work in The School of Arts—which is a little confusing. And then from The School of Arts there is a further hierarchical ordering into Departments. I am in the Department of Film and Photography. And from there it breaks down into the Film course team and Photography course team. We never see the Film academics they are somewhere else in the building. I have never actually met them all together. I have met one or two of them. It is a shame because I love film and I love nattering about film especially to people who know a lot about it. When I was a student at Goldsmiths I used to work at a cinema in Hampstead called the The Everyman. I was an usher. It was a repertory cinema meaning it showed great old films—different films every day. There are very few of those left now. Maybe none. When I worked there I saw a lot of the films from film history as 35mm prints. You would never see them really today—except maybe at the NFT which is a dreadful place. So I saw 35mm prints of Tarkovsky Fellini Antonioni Godard Hitchcock Vincente Minnelli a lot of films. I mean some of the prints were in really poor condition. The projectionist would spend all day splicing the film together and repairing it before the screening. Those will never be shown again I am sure. At the end of the evening I used to have to get the Tube from Hampstead to Brixton where I lived. At the time it never struck me that that was a long Tube ride. The last Tube from North to South. Camden Town was the big interchange. Those trains were so noisy. Incredible thunderous sound and the screeching round corners. Those were the old trains with wood strip floors. There was the Rio Cinema in Brixton so I should have tried to get a job there. There are six of us working on the Photography degree course. Anthony is the Course Leader. Shane is our Head of Department and above him is the Head of School who is Alistair. Above Alistair is the Dean who is called Mandy. The fact is that the University is not ranked very highly on the Complete University Guide which is the most autonomous and independent rankings. CUG is owned by IDP Connect. They really do have quite some power. I am not sure if they realize just what sort of power they do have. They don't publish their algorithms at all. Every university scrambles to get up their rankings. Of course they do. You are getting scored out of 130. There are 130 universities in the UK. We are currently 79th on the list. The Guardian do do one and we are 45th on that. But the CUG is the one everyone uses. My office is up on the second floor. It is okay as an office it has a window onto a corridor which does not open and there is no proper air-conditioning system. The temperature often goes over 23 or 24 degrees so it is quite stuffy in there. Sometimes I have to abandon working in there completely. I mean the commute is a killer. It is an anti-commute really I go from central London to Kingston to get to work rather than making a journey into Town. It is only about ten miles from where I live but it takes over an hour to get there. It's pretty slow. And you have to change trains. I get on the District Line at Gloucester Road where I live and the Tube takes me down to Wimbledon. Most of the travel is overground. The train crosses the River at Fulham Railway Bridge—a 418 metres-long iron bridge built in 1889. You can look down into the dark-brown flow of the Thames water below it is roughly the colour of baby's poo. Most passengers don't even look over to acknowledge it. At Wimbledon there is an interchange to South Western Railway. SWR has trains going as far as Exeter Weymouth and Southampton. But my route is via Raynes Park New Malden and Norbiton. I only know the names but I think of these places as some of the most boring places in the world. New Malden in particular I think of as a dire place—a classic dull suburb. The trains to Kingston are actually bound for Shepperton which always reminds me of J.G. Ballard as that is where he lived until his death in 2009. Ballard is one of my idols. Kingston is in the Oyster card pre-pay system so you don't need to buy a ticket you just tap your Oyster at Kingston Station. I get different charges at different times I have never been able to work out exactly what the correct fair is. The charge changes depending on if it is peak time or not. The worst thing really is people who get on and then make a phone call right next to you often speaking loudly and with abandon to their interlocutor—talking usually indescribable drivel which disturbs the mind. Of course there are no quiet carriages on this route. I always get up and move. I am often on the move on trains. I always have been. Escaping from people. Moving away from people that are annoying me and there are a lot of them. Like people who get on eating hot food or body odour. I can't be near someone who smells. I cannot suffer that at all. I think the heaviest record I had when I was a child was Closer. I always use the opening of Decades as a reference whenever I set up a music system. Martin Hannett was an unquestionable categorical genius. He was an addict: food heroin alcohol. Whatever he could get his little hands on. The percussion is playing this simple quite hypnotic beat. But that percussion is metallic. It is not a drum kit sound at all. It is icy cold. It is metal on metal. If you have the system set up well then the initial percussion will resonate and you hear the left and right pan signals as distinctly separately recorded tracks of the icy beat. When the bass comes in it is low and smooth and right in the middle. You hear the bass smack in the middle and the percussion far left and right pan. Then the synthesizer keyboard comes in with this sound that is like a science-fictionalized harpsichord. So you have got these three aural outputs and the soundstage is really very clearly set out. Then Curtis comes across the top of everything with a vocal sound that seems like it was recorded in a Victorian bathroom. To me it sounds like the vocal track is very slightly slowed down in the production. I am pretty sure. He probably didn't tell them. He was creating that track. It is Hannett's music really. That is why the band didn't really like what was going on or so it is said. He had taken over. You cannot reproduce that on stage. No one is ever going to record a track like Decades again. They recorded the album at Pink Floyd's studio in Islington in London N1. Two months after the recording Curtis hanged himself. It is hanged not hung. Most people get that wrong and it irks me.

2022 06 08

Look we do need some seminal critics to take commanding positions in British art criticism. To give direction with depth and weight to their arguments not just the journalistic. What work has changed anything? What have you got before 1988? You have got Gilbert & George Helen Chadwick Bacon Hockney Riley Auerbach who is not British Freud and Hamilton. And the Lisson sculptors. Then comes Hirst and what? Saville. Hirst Saville Emin and Doig who is maybe not a British artist. So I am not sure after that? Jeremy Deller and Douglas Gordon. Jake and Dinos. Ofili of course and now comes Michael Armitage. Lynette too. You know Sarah's early work is so salient there is no doubt about that absolutely the savageness of it the couldn't give a damn attitude—you know that has gone out of her work now completely. But that has to be remembered that raw attitude. That is a priceless aspect of British art in the 90s. So I would say for myself Sarah's early work is just incredible and brave. I know Tracey has been brave too and has Saville been brave? Of course critics should be grappling with Hirst and possibly helping him in what he is doing. I mean influencing him. He cannot be entirely above influence. Surely somebody could get him to come to his senses. What he is doing makes no sense. He does not need the money. What is he doing? Can somebody ask him what is going on there really is no need to make you know seventy cherry tree paintings or however many it is. I don't know with some of these new series how many he is doing but you can see the paintings all propped up in the studio in Beak Street they are literally all around the wall propped up like thirty paintings at a time. I can't speak to Damien. I wish Angus was still alive. Anyway for me the sort of writers I would have liked to really take a commanding position and role in British art criticism are these: Matthew Collings Andrew Renton and Julian Stallabrass. All three of them should put down what they are doing and write major serious books about British art that do start inevitably maybe with a Damien dot painting or Sarah with her legs apart on a sofa with boots on. Or better start from say Bridget's first solo show in London which I think was 1964. I am not talking about a book with quotes from Sir Michael Craig-Martin. No not that all over again. There have been umpteen mid-market books that gloss everything. I am talking about depth and weight. That is what I am craving. Jon Thompson could have done an amazing book. Anyway Matt is doing his drawings and he is happy doing those for the time being. People cannot necessarily repeat what they have done. Or match it. Weller on his own has never recorded anything ever like the immensity of The Jam. He knows it. The worst was The Style Council. Morrissey is a special case to study because if you accept Viva Hate as a separate instance in that he was working with the genius Vini Reilly then bar that record has never recorded a single interesting song in more than thirty-five subsequent years of recording. Not one. Not a single song that comes anywhere close to what he wrote for The Smiths. It is bizarre. Creativity is like that. It comes and goes but in truth we all know creativity is a born innate talent. Some people are born with artistic talent. It is like footballers. Some are just very talented and you cannot train that or cause that to happen in a player—we have all seen goals from Messi that are sublime and seem improbable when you watch them. They are beyond what any ordinary player could do. They are unimaginable. You can hone it but that is all you can do. Look like a fat booty Celine Dion/ Sex is on fire I'm the King of Leona Lewis/ Beyond the truest/ Hey teacher teacher tell me how do you respond to students?/ And refresh the page and restart the memory?/ Re-spark the soul and rebuild the energy?/ We stopped the ignorance we killed the enemy. You cannot explain that. With the best art there is nothing more to add. You just get awed. And that is how it should be.

2022 06 07

These days I drink Evian from the small bottles 33cl or 50cl. I am always thinking that I am getting dehydrated. I always feel that I have not drunk enough water. I guzzle water sometimes and then I am running to the loo every five minutes. I feel guilty about drinking Evian. Evian is owned by Danone which is a classic massive corporate with companies all over the world Russia India China Africa. It is not really my kind of company. Do I really need to be drinking water brought all the way from eastern France? They say it is shipped mainly by rail. I have tried many times the Brita Maxtra filter but I have never managed to become a devotee. The big thing with Brita water is that it filters out most of the calcium carbonate so with tea you don't get that scummy ring on the surface. I just cannot face drinking Thames river water. English tea is the best drink in the world as long as you make it correctly and that isn't easy for some people. You really do have to know how to make a good cuppa. English breakfast tea you have to call it now which is stupid. We drink it whenever we want. It is just tea it is a drink that sustains. There are so many people who really don't know how to make it though. In the old days you would go into a caff and you would get a mug of the best tea in the world. You don't get many caffs like that in London anymore. I hate it when you get a really poor effort for a tea with water that was not boiling coming out of a spout on the cappuccino machine and the tea bag floating there on top and you get handed that and then they say three pounds fifty. A packet of PG Tips tea bags is two pounds for eighty bags. They are two pence each. A tea bag is like two pence. So for adding hot water that is an extra three forty-eight. Why must this go on? There should be something like a tea tariff in London so that you can only charge fifty pence for a tea. Whoever sells is it still making a profit and their main profit will come from the cappuccinos. So that is me: a legal tea tariff to keep teas at a reasonable price. Let them charge what they want for Italian style coffees no problem. Fancy drinks you can charge loads for them. Maybe a pound as a maximum for the tea: a quid. A squid. A sov. I know it seems like a small thing but to me it isn't. Four quid for a tea should not be allowed. It is about quality of life: I don't want to spend my life getting ripped off for every last thing I buy. Stop people taking the piss. That would be a thing worth doing. Corruption begins at the level of everyday life. There has to be some kind of protection from the unscrupulousness which is just so endemic in London. I think they do have a one Euro cap on an espresso in Italy. But I am not going into McDonald's to get tea. I don't support industrial beef production and the mass slaughter of cows. Put the abattoir and the slaughterhouses on the High Street. Let the people see what they are eating. Of course you can't. You never could because it is too much. At least there should be some sort of access to the McDonald's slaughterhouse. Where is it? It must be more than one. There are two hundred and fifty killing houses in the UK in total. Death barns. As long as the blood and the death is safely sanitized with plastic toys and the reality of the production of minced beef is kept far from the mind of the customer then all is well.

2022 06 06

Let's say you are not a creationist. So then what do you propose when it comes to an explanation for how life on Earth began? I mean I do feel that interstellar panspermia is plausible. We know that bacteria can definitely survive in space. So the thesis that life forms were deposited from elsewhere such as by a comet crashing into the Earth with living cells on it is quite credible to me. Obviously it does not actually answer the question of where life came from at all. It came from another planet is not a full answer is it? If you look into the scene of abiogenesis it is quite funny. I am afraid it really is chicken and egg but it is at the level of the earliest single-cell organisms: the earliest ones from 3.4 billion years ago have fully developed DNA which of course all life forms must have. They have got their full genetic material so where but where did that come from? That is the question. You know many scientists offer the theory of the RNA world. The idea is that RNA evolved and then DNA evolved and then proteins and somehow they all came together as would be required before any single-celled organism could be created. The feeling is that in the end RNA must have just started evolving because there is no other possibility. There really is no convincing thesis for how life occurred. Nobody knows. That is just the way it is. Abiogenesis is one of the most absurd areas of scientific research you know putting chemicals together under certain conditions to see if life will spontaneously occur. Of course it never does. A lot of people say I believe in the Big Bang. Well okay but the Big Bang is not a theory of how life on Earth occurred at all. The Big Bang basically says that if you work backwards in time at some moment you get to a gravitational singularity when all known laws of physics collapse and what happened at that point cannot be fully explained. But it does not touch on the question of the emergence of living organisms. I must say I follow Burroughs in his interest in the Silurian Hypothesis. It was not called that when he was writing about it though. That is quite a new term that has come in since the 60s. As Burroughs argued it took humans only 300,000 years to go from the Stone Age to our present advanced civilization. So this could easily have happened before given that the Earth has had a breathable atmosphere for 4.6 billion years. If it happened long ago then fossil evidence might be very scant indeed. It is possible that technologically advanced human civilizations have emerged before and left no evidence behind. Perhaps they incinerated all evidence of their civilization in an all-out nuclear war. As Dave has it: It's nuts Fam. The truth is madder than fiction Fam. It's nuts out here.

I grew up with some of the worst music on the radio every morning getting ready for school and on Top of the Pops. You would think it is nothing but I don't see it like that for me bad music is an affront—it's auditory pollution. There is plenty of bad fiction but people don't subject you to James Patterson or David Baldacci do they? We had DLT on in the mornings when I was at school. The misery of listening to DLT. I don't know why I didn't act to turn it off. I used to think I was quite powerless over things when I was a child. Madness is one band that I really have always disliked. Our House is a bad one. Baggy Trousers or My Girl. I wish they had never formed. Mull of Kintyre was number one for nine weeks in 1977 that was an affront. Why did Paul write that idiotic song? Why did people buy it? You do not need more evidence than that to say that Paul on his own without John is just so paltry. Ebony and Ivory is another one. Ian McDonald's demolishing of Maxwell's Silver Hammer in Revolution in the Head is so valid. The fact that Paul insisted on recording it without John playing on it says something. Why was he so intent on recording that pitiful song? Paul on his own just writes utter trivia. Bohemian Rhapsody was an unpleasant song. I did not understand that it was camp when I was a child. I just thought about this man who has committed an execution-style murder and I was quite distressed whenever I heard it. It was number one for fourteen weeks. Don't Give Up on Us by David Soul that was bad. Boney M the Rivers of Babylon. At the time Summer Nights came out it never struck me that they were both fondly recalling their rampant sex sessions in the song. I mean U2 were just a dreadful band weren't they? I wish they had never formed. The Edge has to wear a beanie forever but why? He is a nitwit. Looking back Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall was actually a very accurate and brilliant commentary on life in a British comprehensive school in the late-1970s. No dark sarcasm in the classroom. That is what it was like the teachers mocking and putting the pupils down all day with jokes at their expense and undermining them at any moment. The teachers at my school every one of them was either a self-obsessed puerile prat or a demented sadist. There were no good teachers there was only one other way they could be and that was boring—but boring to the point that the lesson is driving you up the wall. It was impossible to enjoy being at Weydon it was just endurance. That was the school ethos: whatever happens one way or another you will hate this four years of your life.

2022 06 05

Look I don't want to be a major bring down but think about it you have got 6.3 billion people with a smartphone now—that is the Ericsson Report figure for 2021. That means a phone with a pretty good digital camera. I mean seriously it has got to be self-evident that that is going to have a big impact on photography as a profession—how exactly are you going to stand out from the crowd? I mean what do you do as a photographer that the ordinary person can't manage? I don't honestly know. Advertizing photography is easy work if you can get it. It is always being undermined these days by influencer marketing which is a celebrity endorsement really: I use this product and I recommend it. That is known to be such a powerful strategy in advertizing. People listen to others whom they respect and revere. Instagram influencers recommend products in their posts that are seen by their followers. For these sorts of posts the influencer takes their own photos for Instagram. This is a big deal actually from a photography point of view if you think about it because suddenly everyone wants to promote their products in a way that does not actually require a professional commercial photographer at all anymore. The influencers themselves become the photographer. So this is just another way that professional photography is fizzling out big time since 2010. If you do want to do it you have got to get on Instagram and build up your following and that isn't easy at all. And I am not talking about 5-10,000 you have got to build up 50-100,000. It is a form of insanity. It just cannot be done. And some of the photographers who have big followings are like cliché machines. Honestly an AI photographer would be as good or better as most of them so it is hard to know what you are competing against. I just wonder what you know Mapplethorpe or Arbus would have done at this point I really do. Stuck with these little windows. What would Fran Woodman have done? There has to be a feeling that it is over. I really don't want to be a bring down but it is the same for the novel too. People just don't read books like that anymore they read stuff online instead or they just stay on their phones. Scrolling through Instagram and responding to Snapchat or WhatsApp messages just like 1.4 billion others do every day and night until the juice goes and they finally think about sleeping which of course they can't because their brains are fully stimulated and aroused with God knows what envy jealousy possessiveness insecurity doubts.

2022 06 04

Seriously for me the first epoch of photo-history runs from 1839 to 2009 which is 170 years. So you have this first historical age of the medium which is absolutely involved with ever-increasing proliferation and the rise of the ordinary person taking snapshot photographs. In the same context you have got artistic or serious photography which has got this amazing history especially through the twentieth century—Atget Sander Walker Evans Man Ray Robert Frank Winogrand Friedlander Arbus Boris Mikhailov Brandt Martha Rosler Cindy Helen Chadwick Goldin and so on up to Tillmans as maybe the last great name. You have also got the rise of commercial photography including fashion in this first age: Avedon Bailey Penn and so forth. Then from 2010 you have got the emergence of mobile global instantaneous interconnectedness with the smartphone: billions of users making and sharing billions of photos every day at a rate unprecedented in the former epoch—using apps like Snapchat WhatsApp and Instagram. I date the epochal change to the launch of Instagram in 2010 as it is that app which most defines the new age in which photography becomes decisively linked to global instantaneous sharing and engagement. In the late-period of the first epoch you do have hundreds of millions of casual snapshot photographers but they are making photos that are still seen by only a few. A few friends and family members. And of course the most basic change is the movement from the physical photo to the on-screen image. Digital images were already being shared using desktop-based websites like Flickr and of course Facebook towards the end of the first age but these desktop sites are really quite different to the watershed of Instagram. So this second era begins under my schematic in the middle of the Obama administration nearly nine years after 9/11 with Kevin Systrom's much-debated first Instagram post—the first ever Instagram post—on the 17th of July 2010. Most likely either a picture of his dog or a lit window-display of some badges or a very skew-whiff landscape shot at night depending on which source you accept. His actual account Kevin currently shows the picture of the badges as his first post. And like that the world of photography was changed forever.

2022 06 03

Look the smartphone revolution is the biggest change in the history of photography. There is the history up to 2009 and there is the history since 2010. It's like that. 2010 is when you get the cell-phone coverage the smartphone and the apps all coming together—Instagram launched in October 2010—to give us the mobile global instantaneous interconnectedness that we have become so accustomed to and can't really live without now. The scene of profuse photo-sharing that has overtaken us all. In 2022 over eighty percent of Brits have got a smartphone. The important thing to realize with the smartphone revolution is that none of those who innovated the hardware and software apps had any real idea of what would happen—they were not in control of it. Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger were not sitting there saying: we are about to change the history of photography quite profoundly forever. They had no clue what was about to go down. It's like the Trinity nuclear test in 1945 with Robert Oppenheimer and the rest of the gathered scientists in Jornada del Muerto in New Mexico. None of them knew really what was going to happen it was an experiment—there were some among the group of observers who thought that there was a chance the test nuclear explosion would set in motion a chain-reaction that would be self-sustaining and would eventually engulf the entire planet. I think that is partly why we can call this epoch a revolution because everyday life is transformed but in ways that are not yet fully understood. These last ten years have been an overwhelming social experiment. We have all been involved in a gigantic social experiment. And this is not something that any government has had any ability to affect really so far. There are very few laws around social media and smartphone use. What can you do? You cannot stop the emergence of this technology. The people want it. They sign up for it. So there is the dimension of the post-democratic too. Are executives from Snapchat Twitter WhatsApp Instagram Samsung and Apple regularly briefing the Prime Minister on their upcoming developments and plans? I don't think they do that at all. I really don't. I don't think he knows much more than you or I. I mean the UK probably has MI6 agents working undercover in these companies who know more maybe? And what does GCHQ do? All these companies the UK government really has very little knowledge about or influence over are driving many changes in the daily lives of the British people. So that is what I mean by post-democratic. It is beyond anything the elected government really has much control over at all.

2022 06 02

One of the real issues with the Internet is how searchable some material is. If you post images of you and your mates pissed those pictures are getting indexed on search engines. Sometimes pictures pop up that you had forgotten about from years ago that are actually quite embarrassing. And of course potential employers and HR staff do search for you on the Internet before deciding who to interview of course they do they are not stupid. Anything posted from years ago can come back to haunt you many years later and affect your career. For that reason you have to constantly watch your back these days. Or God forbid there is a news story about you because that will never go away. You have to try and write to Google to get them to stop indexing it and good luck with that. It is not funny it is like having a gun to your head every step you take. A good example of the normalization of sociopathy is the recent action and treatment of Will Smith at the 2022 Oscars at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles. The whole sequence of events helped to normalize violent thuggish behaviour. The act of violence and the foul order: Keep my wife's name out of your f--king mouth. This was broadcast to around two-hundred million people. And then watched by hundreds of millions more later as news. First there was the demonstration or tutorial in how to behave as a thug. There is this factor of the pretext for violence—Are you disrespecting my wife? This is so often the case. The provocation is minimal. And the violence tends to have the effect of transgressing established rules such as the tradition that you don't physically attack a comedian. It is all about going beyond ordinarily accepted boundaries. The whole scene seems almost rehearsed if you watch several times as if a certain message was always intended. The outcome is the desensitization of the millions watching on. If you have seen violence like that once you can see it again and you get used to it. You start to expect it. What is portrayed is the behaviour of the classical gangster: the law and all etiquette must not only be ignored but ridiculed. That Smith was then rewarded and continued to party definitely upheld the message that the thug can operate with impunity because very often the social group will either fail to react to a bully or in a more Ballardian way actually support and enjoy his actions—even if it be unconsciously.

There are no examples of a significant artist from art history whose work requires a ten minute preamble to foreground it. Even really a one minute preamble is quite a lot. I can explain Warhol or Carl Andre to a novice in one minute no problem. Richard Hamilton: sure. Duchamp: no worries. Iza Genzken: easy. The best art actually requires the most minimal preamble. The best of what art has to offer is aimed squarely at an ordinary person of ordinary intelligence. There are no elites in art appreciation. That is a myth. If it seems that the work can only be understood by those with some special knowledge that is a very bad sign—especially if there is a patent disconnect between the preamble and the work that is actually before you. The simple fact of being given a preamble at all should be a warning sign. If you are told that the work is a sophisticated critique of capitalism that is usually a bad sign. If you hear the phrase critique of neoliberalism that is a bad sign. The term neoliberalism means capitalism but is used by some to make their work seem more important and in the know. If you hear the word sophisticated that is a bad sign in itself. If you are at the Tate Turner Prize show and the work seems to make no sense at all to you then it is quite reasonable to assert that the work is too obscure or cryptic to be any good. The 2016 Turner Prize show is a good example because the art there needed all manner of explanations before you could even get started. If there is the lingering feeling that only some rarefied cognoscenti can participate in appreciating the work that means that the art has failed to hit its target and will certainly not be remembered. If the art before you fails to resonate in any way at all then it is the artist who has failed not you the viewer. As Ballard predicted downright cynicism has become acceptable and even really fashionable in the digital era. The standard retort to anyone who holds an opinion which is rooted in any sort of morality these days is: Come on don't be naïve. The person with antisocial personality disorder will justify their lack of any moral code by dismissing the views of others as Pollyannaism. Scepticism is a symptom of the digital revolution. In a world of fake news and random opinions distrust and suspicion becomes inevitable. The problem is that scepticism soon drifts towards giving up and surrendering into apathy. If there is one state of mind that has become tied to the daily reality of participating in social media it is the mood of being blasé. SOED: Cloyed with or tired of pleasure. Bored or unimpressed by things from having seen or experienced them too often.

2022 06 01

People will eventually come to understand that constantly providing free content for apps like Instagram and TikTok is too involved with relentlessness. Relentlessness and misery. Your content is precious. Of course they want you to think it isn't. That is the whole ruse. That is the essence of how they make a profit. You give your content away for free in the hopes of boosting up or retaining your followers and so it goes. I am glad TikTok is Chinese-owned. There is no way ByteDance would ever sell it to Meta not for any kind of crazy offer so at least there is still direct competition between these platforms. ByteDance vs. Meta is the first big tech stand off. China vs. USA. I wonder right now what TikTok is worth for a cash purchase? It has to be at least $100 billion. Or $200 billion. ByteDance is under the influence of the one-party authoritarian Chinese state so it is insanity to share personal information with TikTok. In the end these platforms suck all possible content out of every user for the purposes of making profit. So many people I used to follow on Instagram have given up their entire life stories and their wealth of opinions to the platform. I mean I do do this website as a self-promotion and I am offering free content to any reader I know but at least I have full UK copyright protection and I am not making anybody else rich by doing it which is actually important to me. It is about having control. My website is HTTP. I really don't need HTTPS. There is absolutely no necessary reason to encrypt the content on this website. Instagram should be obliged to make an annual payment to every user for the right to license their content—a once-a-year goodwill gesture. If they had to pay just $20 to each end-user that would be $26 billion paid out annually. That gives an idea of how important free content is to them because that amount is about their total profits. And what about the damage that they are doing to our society? What are the reparations going to be for that? That is another question. It is like smoking you cannot just say oh it is up to the user to do as they please. Because we are talking about something that is proven to be addictive. The harmful effects are known about—phone addiction eating disorders anxiety reduced quality-of-life social isolation. I strongly doubt ByteDance is ever going to compensate anybody for anything but Meta yes. They will have to eventually. If you are vending something that is known to have negative health implications then you have to do something about that. It is the same with the gambling apps in the UK which should be regulated. Brits are wasting £6 billion a year on them and it is money they cannot afford in many cases. It is affecting young men more than any other group—this is a known fact so it is obvious that online gambling companies should not be allowed to sponsor football club shirts. The FA is a sick organization isn't it? They should not have accepted Newcastle to be taken over by the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. Of course not. Does Jamal Khashoggi mean nothing? This is the dissident that the Saudi assassins anaesthetized and then dismembered with a wood saw. Look Saudi Arabia is an authoritarian one-party regime with no free press. It is a sexist plus massively homophobic state both in law and in entrenched culture. I know the defence is that PIF own stock in so many companies so why pick on Newcastle? The answer is that Newcastle is something that we in the UK could easily have said no to for the sake of our own peace of mind. Why does PIF want a football club anyway with all the drinking and swearing that comes quite naturally to many supporters of our national sport? Why get into it? And as for the companies that PIF owns minority stakes in then just avoid those too: Facebook Citigroup Disney Bank of America BP Uber EA games. None of those touch me at all. Boeing is the only one that is difficult to avoid really. PIF own like two percent of Boeing.

2022 05 31

We have become so accustomed to the word misogynist: a person who has a pathological contempt for women. Burroughs was a misogynist. I know he was married or had a common-law wife before he came out but he did kill her. We rarely see the inverse in print or even used in speech: misandrist. There must be misandrists out there it is only logical isn't it? I have met one or two over the years I am sure of it. You know people who think that all men are the lowest and the most despicable. The whole point is that it has to extend to all men not just the ones that have pissed you off. Just having extreme contempt on the basis of a person being you know a male of the species. One old friend comes into my mind in particular and I can remember some of the prejudiced comments: all men are turds. All men are led around by their penises. They are all big babies aren't they. I was born in Forest Gate. Forest Gate Hospital which is not there anymore. It was on Forest Lane E7. Forest Gate is in Newham. I was born in the East End. I am a Cockney. My nearest club was West Ham. So I should have supported West Ham from infancy really but I didn't. When I was growing up we moved to Farnham in Surrey and I supported Liverpool. It never occurred to me that I had no affiliation with them it was just that they were successful and had Keegan. It was all about Keegan. I think he was the first star that I really became fascinated by. I remember watching the 1977 FA Cup final when I was ten and being deflated when we lost to Man U. Lou Macari scored a deflected goal to win it for Utd. In those days the winners of the FA Cup went absolutely wild after the final and the BBC used to stay with the celebrations for like half an hour. I lost interest in football at age twelve when I got into skateboarding. Skateboard culture does not accept football at all really. I mean skateboarding is hollowed out now and it is an Olympic sport. I am talking about being a skateboarder in 1979. We were getting skate magazines on mail order from California. So as a street skater in 1979 I drifted away from football and then after that I became a punk. It was not until 1996 when I moved to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea that I got back into football. I started supporting Chelsea. This is pre-Abramovich pre-Chelski pre-Mou. It was the era of Ken Bates. When I started following them Hoddle had just been sacked and replaced by Gullit. Then it was Luca Vialli and then The Tinkerman. They were all exciting managers in their own right. Mou's first press conference was June 2nd 2004. I'm not one of the bottle I think I'm a special one. JT's first match was in October 1998 so I followed all of his playing career. I know his sex-life was a comedy farce and then people do remember him changing into a match kit in Munich when he had not played. And the reason why he was not playing as well—giving Alexis Sanchez a dead-leg for no apparent reason off the ball in the semi-final. But all these things we forgive him. In May 2010 Chelsea won both the Premier League and the FA Cup—the double—under the Italian coach Carlo Ancelotti. Since then a chant has become one of the mainstays of the vociferous supporters in the Matthew Harding Stand at Stamford Bridge: Double double double/ John Terry has won the double/ And the s--t from The Lane [White Hart Lane then the stadium of Tottenham Hotspur] have won f--k all again/ As John Terry has won the double. I am truly sorry to say that to me Abramovich's criminal past was not at all clear or understood until the scale of his corrupt activities under Putin was revealed in 2022 and he had to sell. What I had always understood was that he got out of Russia and was using Chelsea like a shield. Meaning he bought the club so that he would be too high profile to be assassinated. I thought the whole point was that he had walked away from Putin. There is also the factor of his affable smirking. He just did look quite harmless didn't he?

2022 05 28

Another classical composer I got into is Anton Bruckner. Amazing. One of the most brilliant conductors of Bruckner is Sergiu Celibidache. He is very controversial because he takes everything so slowly. Much slower than the tempo says in the score. He just made that call. He died in 1996. His recordings with the Münchner Philharmoniker are sublime to me. There has to be room for real interpretation. Then I also got into Beethoven's Piano Sonatas. Gilels is pure granite. I used to have about every recording of the Hammerklavier opus 106. The slow movement of the Hammerklavier is a devastating piece. Glenn Gould is so mannered it is like he is poking the keys and he vocalizes he is actually humming in some places. Solomon Cutner is electric fizzing. John Ogdon's recording is mind-blowing. But you have to set the right conditions to listen to it. You do need some space and time to take it in. I think it is getting harder to set the conditions for listening to Beethoven like that in the context of the smartphone revolution. John Ogdon's Opus 106 has only got 1,200 total plays on Spotify. It is crazy. I mean David Helbock one of the most wonderful new jazz pianists has got only 4,800 monthly listeners on Spotify. I went to see David Helbock at Liverpool Hope University in 2017. It was in the lecture theatre not a massive venue and it was not even half-full. It was his trio. The bassist Raphael Preuschl used an amped-up bass ukulele. Helbock uses a prepared piano like the Cage Sonatas. That is another one that I started collecting every recording of the Sonatas for Prepared Piano. So immortal. Boris Berman is a good one John Tilbury Joshua Pierce. Lilian Nakahodo is beautiful intense. You can tell from literally the first two bars of Sonata One what the attack of the pianist is going to be like.

2022 05 27

1. Rear Window 2. Blade Runner 3. Blow Up 4. Hiroshima mon amour 5. Chinatown 6. Stalker 7. Solaris 8. A Clockwork Orange 9. La Dolce Vita 10. Taxi Driver 11. Marnie 12. Two or Three Things I Know About Her 13. Performance 14. Peeping Tom 15. Get Carter 16. La Jetée 17. Blue Velvet 18. Memento 19. Gilda. Just watch those films and you have already introduced some of the key themes in critical theory like voyeurism authenticity artificial intelligence the horror of war conspiracies unconscious desire violence sociopathy state control the British class system seduction media manipulation debauchery the fallibility of memory ... and much more. There is nothing better than these movies really—get them on 4K with Dolby if you can. People say: ah yeah well I have seen those. As if a single viewing is really all you would ever need. Even better find a cinema that is playing one of them. The last ever film at the Chelsea Cinema on the King's Road before they knocked it down was Stalker. Tarkovsky was a God. Some people ripped out seats at the end as souvenirs. There were amazing speeches from the managers who had been there decades. There were tears streaming down the faces of some in the audience. Seeing Stalker on a massive screen was incredible. You see details that you could never see at TV screen size. The best screen in London for many years was the Lumiere on St. Martin's Lane. The worst thing was when the Odeon redeveloped the Odeon Leicester Square during the Lockdowns. They should not have been allowed to do that. It is dreadful now. There should have been a preservation order of some kind. It is obvious. Westminster City Council is a joke. Look what they have done to Soho. They have destroyed it everyone knows that. I mean some art is just so dire that I don't want to even think about it. Peter Bradshaw was reviewing a film recently and he said something like this film was so bad that I cannot believe I have actually seen it. That is how it is when I see really dreadful art. I mean the piece at Tate Britain that is truly bad and the piece before it was so awful too—Heather Phillipson and then Hew Locke. Both those installations are appallingly overblown and tedious and such a waste of money to produce. To me a certain aspect of minimalism is really quite essential. It is just too much going on. Thank God Tate have done the Sickert. What a show. That is the best show for me. Much better than the Bacon Man and Beast. The theatre room and the nudes room are both wonderful. You don't have to look hard to see his influence on Bacon and Auerbach. Sickert is the man and he was not Jack the Ripper. No way. What a joke that was. Patricia Cornwell. The best book is From Hell by Alan Moore. Alan Moore is a unique and brilliant contributor to our culture. In From Hell it is Sir William Gull who is The Ripper. If somebody does not get comics you just show them From Hell or Watchmen.

2022 05 25

I think honestly if you have got photographic images that you care about I would say that putting them on Instagram is maybe not a good idea. The license that you sign up to is very broad and while it is operational you have really handed everything over to them. I think the best guidance is to make images that are solely for Instagram and to that extent they are pictures that you accept to enter their licensing system with all that that implies. Much of which is really quite mysterious and unknown such as Instagram demanding the right to modify ... publicly perform ... and create derivative works of your content. Why do they think of such permissions in their license? Who knows? I am quite judgemental about dating apps. I think they are a depressing waste of time and a great way to meet a sociopath or someone with HPD. But what is interesting is that they do depend on photographs. You have to post images of yourself by which your suitors make a decision about their level of interest in having sex with you. Of course as is rather well known those pictures are usually not very honest at all. It is wonderful really that photography still functions this way. Every user must look that much better than they actually appear to the naked eye. The whole thing is rather disingenuous but this doesn't deter people at all. Tinder and Hinge both require six photos. It is funny that everyone plays this game. It has been endemic to photography since the first day in 1939: a person must always look their best in a photo. It is human nature. It just is. It cannot be changed and it never will be. A photographic portrait must by default be at least somewhat flattering. These days if a photo is not flattering it gets instantly deleted. Everyone has their own idea about what passes for a flattering picture. People are very picky and definite about what flaws they want to disguise. Everyone has these things that they are not really satisfied about in their appearance to the extent that if you don't have that reflex you can be seen as in love with yourself and conceited. One of the problems with Instagram as a platform is the inevitability that your images will be viewed by users on a smartphone screen at a size no bigger than 8cm square. This is quite annoying really. You can pinch using two fingers to zoom in on a photo but it is not convenient for scrutinizing an image as we in photography are used to doing. When I was taught by Ian Jeffrey at Goldsmiths he told me that half an hour is about a fair time to look at a photo before going on to critique it. The fact is that Instagram is literally a diminution of the photo as an object of study and aesthetic delight. How can one really look at a photo on Instagram and say oh yes that is really an interesting image? It is fine for most users I am sure but for the photographer I think there has to be some kind of pause for thought. I know that it is too late and there is nothing to be done about Instagram now but it is worth noting that this platform is not at all well suited to photography appreciation.

2022 05 24

RAF Marham is equidistant from the small Norfolk towns of Swaffham Downham Market and King's Lynn. If you drive past Marham you really do not get any idea of what is there. It is just very rural and picturesque. The pilots of the F-35 Lightnings stationed at Marham are some of the best fighter pilots in the world—they would have to be you are giving them a £90 million plane to fly. The RAF laid this highly specialized runway for the F-35s. They spent £200 million getting the base ready for them. It is sci-fi space-age technology. The helmet of an F-35 pilot costs at least £300,000. They fly in 3D with three-sixty spatial awareness. The F-35 is the most astonishing object. Ominous otherworldly menacing it looks to be from another civilization on another planet. Marham is exactly one hundred miles from Nelson's Column. If you are flying an F-35 that is not much of a distance as your top speed through the air is Mach 1.6 or 1200 mph. You are going to be flying at around twenty miles per minute towards your combat target. So you are looking at five minutes or so. The time it would take to get you airborne has to be estimated—there are crews always on quick reaction alert. So depending on how long it were to be between the order being given and take-off a group of F-35s could be defending London airspace in about say twelve minutes or thereabouts. There is no plane on Earth that can out-manoeuvre an F-35 or hope to defend itself against an all-out F-35 air-to-air attack. And the hostile is not going to know that much about the F-35's position probably until direct visual identification from the cockpit. There are F-35s permanently on stand by you know watching over us really.

2022 05 22

Listen to the lyrics of Kendrick Lamar's Worldwide Steppers Father Time or We Cry Together. I think when Dylan complains that nobody as talented has come to take over from him he should listen to those tracks. I mean these days Dylan is just for us bores isn't he? But he should listen to those tracks really. Kendrick is psychopathic but that is just the way it is. Worldwide Steppers is Tangled Up in Blue written for the digital era meaning an age in which—as Ballard predicted long before—the psychopathic has become commonplace and even accepted. My psychiatrist recently told me that those with personality disorders are misunderstood and should be admitted into society. I fear those with antisocial personality disorder. We all do. Criminal psychopathy is you know a different way of thinking that should be honoured? The NHS website gives it straight: Antisocial personality disorder is a particularly challenging type of personality disorder characterised by impulsive irresponsible and often criminal behaviour. Someone with antisocial personality disorder will typically be manipulative deceitful and reckless and will not care for other people's feelings. That is what the Internet has produced: a society in which ethical principles integrity honesty and so forth are generally ridiculed and scorned. It is a gangster culture. Values are for dopes Muppets squares civilians. You know people who really don't get it.

2022 05 21

Having a good dictionary is so important. The best dictionary in the world is the OED. The Oxford English Dictionary. It is a privilege to consult it. They have a full set in the reading room at the V&A. The National Art Library. It is twenty volumes. I cannot write anything without a proper dictionary. My main dictionary is Angus Stevenson and Lesley Brown the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary on Historical Principles (6th edition) 2007. And my second dictionary is Angus Stevenson the Oxford Dictionary of English (3rd edition) 2010. Both by Oxford University Press. They are both brilliant. I mean Angus Stevenson what a God. Totally. It is amazing that there is no Wikipedia page on him. I can't do anything without them. If I have so set up a new computer that is the first software I install my dictionaries. I can't do much without them as I have to look up all sorts of common words all the time. I can never remember how anything is spelled. And I am forever getting definitions muddled. I looked up obtuse today. I thought it meant being deliberately unintelligent. But the SOED says: not acutely sensitive or perceptive dull stupid. I thought that is a good word but it was not quite what I was thinking of. Disingenuous is closer to what I was thinking about the ODE says: not candid or sincere typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does. I know some people who are disingenuous. Being disingenuous is very common. It is really quite standard for people to be disingenuous most of the time apart from when they are being obtuse. Well that is just a few people. I prefer people who have the ability to speak frankly and candidly about themselves and their life. I prefer that to a line of insipid banalities that are uttered really as an affront to the interlocutor.

2022 05 20

London tap water smells distinctly of chlorine—it is chlorinated to disinfect it. Thames Water that comes out of the tap is actually purified and disinfected Thames River water. You actually drink Thames water so there is a connection there back to the river. Most of the water is extracted into the purification system at Teddington—this is known as water abstraction and Thames Water hold a license to abstract from the Environment Agency which is a part of DEFRA. Amazingly large portions of the stock of Thames Water is owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority the China Investment Corporation and Kuwait Investment Authority. It is madness that this is allowed to happen. It makes sense for any country to have complete autonomous control of basic domestic utilities. And anyway I think it is wrong that countries with sickening human rights records should be allowed to own our fresh water supply. All I would say for myself Thames water does not strike me as a very clean liquid to be purifying. I mean what does it take to disinfect that stuff? It must take a lot of chemicals. It is interesting that Thames Foreshore Permit-holders are asked to: be aware of the possibility of Weil's disease which is spread by rat's urine in the water. Infection is usually through cuts in the skin or through eyes mouth or nose. So rat's urine is definitely something that is purified out of Thames water before you drink it.

2022 05 19

Harrison Birtwistle is another one on Spotify with an unbelievably low number of listeners. Birtwistle's Gawain is just so good. The Elgar Howarth recording with the Royal Opera House orchestra is crazy—if you play it loud it is hypnotic. The opera Punch and Judy from 1966 is amazing. I went to one of the premiere performances of The Minotaur at the ENO in 2008 which was extraordinary. Birtwistle was in the audience in a normal seat about eight rows back. After the curtain call he just got up to leave with everyone else. I stopped him to shake his hand. I think there were only eight performances in total and it is not going to be staged very often so he probably went to all of them. It was John Tomlinson singing the Minotaur. The bull's head was made of thin steel gauze so he could sing with it on. It was an beautiful piece of costume work. I don't know who made that bull's head but it was so well done. Music awes me. Some things in music awe me. Music was so important to me when I was a teenager. But I was quite a naïve listener. I had never heard The White Album for example or Abbey Road. I thought the Beatles were a joke. I think the heaviest record I had then was Closer. I mean imagine sitting down and writing Siegfried Idyll. The story of Wagner getting members of the Tonhalle-Orchester to play it to Cosima on Christmas morning 1870 is sweet. But imagine sitting down with a pencil and manuscript paper and writing something like Siegfried Idyll or the Prelude to Siegfried. The Prelude to Siegfried is my all time favourite piece of music. I heard it once at the Royal Albert Hall and I was sitting in the chorus seats so you are literally next to the musicians and I was right next to the tubas. That was incredible. But there is a lot of music like that. If you listen to Golden Slumbers/Carry That Weight to me that is genius. So I do enjoy music. I have got my Mac plugged in to a Rega amp with B&W CM1s. The Rega Brio is a special amp. The story of how Terry Bateman made it is online. It is based on a Quad amp from 1952. It is really a wonderful bit of engineering. I also like Stockhausen. The estate won't put his music up on Spotify. The complete official Stockhausen CDs is 106 box sets. I think they should put them on Spotify. The full set of CDs is about £5000.

2022 05 17

For hundreds of years from 1839 to 2000 we looked at photos on a flat piece of photo paper. As we entered the digital revolution something happened to photography. Photographs stopped being pieces of paper and became images that were encountered on a screen. Specifically the laptop screen the iPad screen and the smartphone screen. We have become accustomed to looking all the time at backlit LCD screens. Images on LCD screens glow out the photo radiates light. It is very different to looking at a printed photo on photo paper which is rather flat and dull by comparison. This is one of the basic changes that has happened for photography in the digital revolution: glow. My website is only about 100 lines of HTML code in total. Have a look with View Page Source. I honestly do believe that there is too much code on so many websites. I think it is better to keep it simple I really do. There is no need to have a head with 1000 lines of code. Just use basic HTML. Tim Berners-Lee. I mean what a God. What have you achieved in life? Oh well um. I invented HTML coding and wrote the first version myself in 1993 and it has subsequently been used to create about 1 billion websites. How about you? I used to collect jazz CDs I have still got them all. I have got hundreds. It is experimental jazz. Most people say they like Miles Davis or John Coltrane but put on Coltrane's Meditations and people can't take it. The Father and The Son and The Holy Ghost is the first track. That is my music. It is the same with Miles. If you put on Agharta people can't deal with it. Unit Structures by Cecil Taylor is one of my favourite records. Cecil was incredible. You can see videos of him demonstrating his technique. Ornette Albert Ayler. Ornette Coleman Live at the Golden Circle is an incredible recording. Some people call it free jazz but I dislike that term. Not many of the exponents really ever used that term. They used to say it was Out jazz. Like that cat is quite Out. Lester Bowie I like a lot. I like Bowie too but Lester Bowie was beautiful. Urban Bushmen by Art Ensemble is a good record.

2022 05 12

I like good spaces to see art. Gagosian Grosvenor Hill isn't bad. Hauser. I loved the old space they had in Piccadilly. The best show there was Christoph Büchel’s Piccadilly Community Centre in 2011. That is my idea of using the possibilities of the art space in an interesting way. There are a lot of artists that make me groan. Artists like Cattelan or Kaws. I mean what happened to Koons? At some point his art became rather silly like the Gazing Balls. Jeremy Deller's piece where he toured a bombed car wreck from Iraq around the USA asking people what they thought of it. That was was profoundly moving. Douglas Gordon 24 Hour Psycho is utter genius to me. I don't think he will ever top it. It was just one of those one-off moments. I guess Cerith's light pieces I do like a lot. The first time he did a big squiggly one at White Cube Bermondsey was superb. Cerith did a piece with TG too and he edited Jarman's films. Chris Burden is a God. There was this piece at Gagosian a while back with a very minimal scales in the space like ten metres across perfectly balanced. On one side is this massive boulder—a rock. And on the other is a renovated vintage Porsche. If you are thinking about photography Thomas Ruff the pixelated images series. It is difficult with photography. It doesn't really work in the art space a lot of the time. I used to collect different versions of The Ring. It is a bit difficult because there are so many Nazi connections. Herbert von Karajan was a Nazi he joined the Party quite early and carried on conducting all through the 30s and the War. Deutsche Grammophon carried on recording under Hitler. There are so many connections. I used to think Reginald Goodall's Ring was fine. I did not realize at all that Goodall was a British fascist—he was in the British Union of Fascists. I don't know about Andrew Porter who wrote the English libretto. The obvious thing to do is to just completely discard Goodall's recording. Solti's Ring is considered to be overwrought. At least you can listen to it without fearing he was a Nazi. I mean there are films of Wilhelm Furtwängler conducting with a massive swastika behind him. Karl Böhm was a Nazi. Joseph Keilberth was a Nazi. It's nuts really. A lot of the recent recordings are live. The thing with the Solti recording is that there was so much effort put into creating the sound-stage. If you hear some of the Germans conducting it the music is much starker more mysterious and frightening. Solti is really lyrical full of melodiousness by comparison. I think some of the German recordings are just extraordinary of course. I think all Wagnerians do. But I don't listen to them now. I wouldn't want to.

2022 05 10

I haven't taken any photos for twenty years now. I used to be a real voyeur as a photographer. That was my thing I was forever creeping up on people. A woman changing in private was I suppose my ultimate photo subject not that I got many such images. The first time I went to New York my friend David was a photographer's assistant and invited me to a shoot I cannot remember where it was. About five minutes after I got there around a dozen nubile models came into the room where we were sitting talking and stripped off down to their knickers. It was very much like a Vanessa Beecroft performance. I think it was a casting. It would never happen today. David just turned to me and winked. This was in 1986. In modern language my work objectified women and can really be called sexist or even actually perverse at this point. I mean not more so than many others in photography like Helmut Newton for example. Some of his images really are misogynistic.

2022 05 09

Caffeine is addictive and it is really unnecessary. There is no need to be more alert because of a drug in your system. Humans are already naturally alert. The idea that you need a drug to become alert is ridiculous. This is the big thing with coffee. We are all so addicted that we feel we really need caffeine in the morning. I mean the most obvious thing with caffeine in your body is that it will affect your sleep. Caffeine inhibits feelings of sleepiness and the onset of drowsiness and the effect can last for more than ten hours. It is in your body for ten hours at least. Personally I resent paying £4 for a coffee. The work of the barista is a classic fetish of capitalism. The barista takes ingredients worth maybe five pence in total and blends them creatively together to make something suddenly worth £4. So once the barista is paid for her time the rest is all profit. Starbucks makes around $4 billion a year profit. It is crazy to keep paying like that for a cup of coffee that you don't even need and is likely to affect your sleep. I only have one coffee in the morning and that is it. Personally I use the Alessi 9090 stainless-steel moka pot designed by Richard Sapper in 1978. It is a good example of how great design cannot necessarily be improved upon. It is a stove-top coffee-maker. Jony Ive really designed for Apple following Dieter Rams's ten principles of good design. To me Jony is a disciple of Rams more than anything. Marc Newson has designed some beautiful things. I have got a Helice floor-lamp from the original bare-aluminium production in 1993. People go crazy for Sottsass don't they? I have got his Memphis table-lamp on my desk—it's a bit of a cliché I know. Sottsass was a functionalist-minimalist at the beginning though—like the Olivetti portable from 1969.

2022 05 08

Thirty years ago I was together with the French artist Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster for I don't know I think a year starting March 1992. She really changed the way I think about art. She was aware that she was super-intelligent and recognized that other people around her might not be so smart as her. She used to be constantly reading books all day long. I am really not into her work at all these days though I must say. I just don't think superior intelligence is a good starting point for being a great artist. Damien has special kind of raw intelligence—he has never read any critical theory I don't think. I think if you try to make art and read critical theory you end up with art that grad students like but not much else. I don't like being browbeaten. Art should not be incomprehensible due to being too intellectual—if an ordinary person of ordinary intelligence does not get it then you are doing something very wrong in my view. Like Joseph Kosuth for example. The idea of art is not to cause the viewer to be scratching their head wondering what it is all about. It means the work is too obscure. Art lovers generally react quite violently against art that is too clever by half. I am not being obtuse. It makes no sense to be cryptic as an artist. Look I am not interested in Marx myself at all. To me Marx is a joke. An obscenity really. Humans will always war and seek to persecute one another. Capitalism is not an ideology. Of course it isn't. Is the school playground or the prison wing an ideology? Of course not. Marx has also produced China and the former Soviet Union. Marxism is just a route to a totalitarian state. It is horrifying to me that some people swagger around thinking that being a Marxist is really quite cool. I myself am a Freudian. There are so many people these days who tell me very clearly that Freud is no longer taken seriously but to be honest it doesn't faze me in the slightest. The point about Freud is that the idea of the unconscious was schematized by him but it can be seen in literature in Shakespeare or Coleridge. We all know that we are sometimes drawn towards desire by forces that we cannot really explain rationally. I understand that some of Freud is hard to take if you are a feminist but the idea that part of the mind is not visible to consciousness is basic for me.

2022 05 05

I have never been able to get anywhere with Ulysses really. I do revere it. I gave my daughter an extract of Finnegan's Wake to read the other week. Her face was classic. I met this guy Ahuvia Kahane recently who claimed to have read it cover to cover. Fine. I sent my Dad A Thousand Plateaus as a gift. Just because we had observed that people always quote it as a reference. We both agree with the Introduction that it is really not intended as a book that can realistically be read cover to cover. I still revere it. There is an amazing book about them writing it. They used to have these mega sessions at Guattari's psychiatric unit La Borde. I think if it had been written by one person the book would not have the force it does. I don't really get on with novels that much. Stewart Home I love his irony and intelligence is wonderful. To me he is exemplary. Brilliant guy. Crash and The Atrocity Exhibition I love. I used to be a massive Burroughs man. I really did. The non-fiction stuff I used to hang on every word. I have copied sections of Junky out before just to learn how he got his pared down effect. Junky is really Burroughs trying to write like Hemingway but I prefer that to Hemingway personally.

2022 05 04

The first half of The Executioner's Song is just brilliant. People always balk when you say it is Mailer but that is life the fact is it is better than In Cold Blood. It is a work of genius to me. I mean some writers you go back to and you think God this is actually dreadful not at all how I remember it. Bret is like that for me. I mean I was young and impressionable when I read it. I guess American Psycho will never go out of print but Less Than Zero is dire. If you mention it people always say they saw the film and it was rubbish. Some things you go back to and they are even better than you remember them GB84 by David Peace is like that. What a writer. Blue Velvet is really a very Freudian film. We do not necessarily know why we are drawn to certain people situations but we know that they are sometimes hazardous. We can map out the unconscious in that in therapy a person might figure out that they are always drawn towards say a certain type of man with certain masculine traits and these are magnetic. Or for a man he may find a certain trait in a woman will cause him extreme desire. These things can be assessed and really recognized in psychoanalysis. The pattern will become quite transparent. But as Žižek has said it can be a dehumanizing denouement really. Do you actually want to know the contents of your unconscious? It is a sort of deconstruction of the self that leaves all the mysteries of life exposed.

2022 05 02

I like Jake and Dinos Chapman. Their work is superb. I really don't know if they have stopped now. The best one was the show that Jake alone did at White Cube in Mason's Yard of the Nazis with burned up faces looking at modern art. That was funny and haunting. I love the first ever piece I saw by them which was the cyborg upside down hanging from the ceiling of the ICA upstairs dripping blood. That was a wonderful work. And so right in that space. I think it is the best thing I ever saw in that space. I remember one show many years ago I was at the opening and the artist just left the space bare did nothing at all Bethan Huws it was. I was there bang on time at 6:30 and Iwona was in great distress and Bethan comes out of a door and sticks up a short text explaining why she isn't showing anything. And of course Helen Chadwick's piece with the rotting material in a glass box. I had a couple of tutorials with her at Goldsmiths but I just did not really listen to her at all. I should have listened to her much more closely. I was sad when she died. She was a great spirit. I mean I have tried to read Jake's new book but I don't have the stomach for it at all. He is much better as an artist. I saw a video of Jake he was talking about how he likes Manuel De Landa A Thousand Years of Nonlinear History from 1997. I have not read it mainly because it is not on Kindle. I cannot buy books anymore I just read my Kindle. I cannot face reading a book at all. So hopefully it will come out on Kindle at some point. Every record for me by The Clash is like a sacred object. The albums have the same force for me as people had with The Beatles.

2022 05 01

Each record opened new doors and ways of thinking. Give 'Em Enough Rope is a classic punk record and from it I learned to think about music as a way of expressing disgust anger and resentment around social issues. When I got London Calling I was perplexed: this is not punk. I slowly realized that The Clash were no longer punk. I mean London Calling is sort of bluesy jazz rock. It is a very mellow record with sax and piano on many tracks. Some of the songs are still about social issues and authentic experience like Rudy Can't Fail. Guns of Brixton by Paul is wonderful but I really don't think it is written from experience of police raids—there is a theatre to it. And that is really what London Calling is about complete theatricality. Spanish Bombs is a beautiful track. And then there is Mick's Train in Vain written about Viv Albertine. You can see videos of him performing it live much more intensely and heartfelt than on the album. When Sandinista! came out I was fascinated. People say Metal Box is the archetypal post-punk record but I think Sandinista! is so experimental and sometimes absurd. I was still a punk and some of my friends who were also punks took it back for a refund. I was the opposite. We used to have postmodernism at that time and I realized immediately as an art student that Sandinista! was postmodern. It is a model of experimentation in a recording studio. It is still a quite impenetrable record though even in the fact that it is a triple album. Combat Rock their last record is like Abbey Road in that every track almost has a sentimental dimension. On the cover picture they are so far from home—on the Petchaburi Road railway line in Thailand. Topper is a junkie. They are outlaws. They are songs for Baudelaire or Rimbaud really. Death is a Star and Straight to Hell are songs for outlaws. Ghetto Defendant was the first time I had ever heard of Ginsberg. When you listen to the record you know it is over. I played Death is a Star to my daughter once and she was like are you actually serious? Is this even a song?

2022 04 30

These days in professional photography people expect you to have thousands of Instagram followers so that is a challenge for photographers starting out. How do you stand out from the crowd when there are one billion people posting images to their accounts every day? It is mind numbing. If you were to review every post to Instagram covering just one single day and you looked at each post for ten seconds it would take you three hundred and seventeen years to look at them all if you were to work twenty-four hours a day without breaks—not that you'd live that long. That is the sort of scale of image profusion that we are into. All we can ever talk about in image production from now on is samples—indicative images. And from there it is so easy to drift into generalizing. I came off Instagram. I think my account is still there hbond66 but I am not using it. In the end I just found the constant subtle boasting so insulting I just felt affronted by it. It is just so contrived and irritating. I really do wonder if there isn't something quite destructive about it. And then of course there is all the time spent scrolling through it which to me is a waste of time. I personally am not interested to keep up with what several hundred people are doing each day. I cannot take it all in and I question if I want my mind filled up with all this middle-class trivia and diversion. I mean Twitter I cannot handle at all. What is an opinion worth in the context of Twitter? Three hundred million opinions but how many of those are really informed in any way? What is the point of so many opinions? And given in such a short text.

2022 04 28

What about Beuys was a German Luftwaffe Junkers Ju 87 pilot in WWII? And the whole thing about the fat and the felt is just invented. I mean my only visceral connection to WWII is my uncle Alan. Alan Bond was killed in 1942 on a bombing mission to Bremen. He was the navigator and bomb-aimer. He was one of four in a twin-engine Handley Page Hampden on the way back from Germany when he was shot down. All on board were killed. He is buried in Holland. They had already dropped 1.8 tons of incendiaries on Bremen. It was a night bombing mission. One document that is worth reading is the Giancarlo Massei Report from the original Amanda Knox trial. Read it and then make your own mind up about what happened. It is four-hundred pages. Why would two innocent people behave as Amanda and Raffaele did on the morning before Meredith's body was found? It makes no sense at all. If they were innocent then what were they doing? For example Marco Quintavalle owner of the local shop near Raffaele's flat said under oath that Amanda was waiting outside his shop as he opened his shutters at 7:45am and then when he had opened up she went straight to the cleaning section. Why did they clean Raffaele's flat so scrupulously? Especially when Raffaele actually had a cleaning lady. But that is just one thing. There are so many more.

2022 04 26

It was only when I got together with Anya Gallaccio that I understood what being middle class actually meant. Up to that point I had just never thought about class or the fact that I was poor. I adopted much of her middle class behaviour. It came on almost instantly. The desire to go shopping having a credit card having things of quality in life. Anya actually went regularly to the opera. The idea of a living room with strip wood floor and an expensive sofa. The idea of having interior design. Shelves with books art books. The expectation of going to restaurants such as a restaurant that has recently been reviewed in the Sunday papers. Cooking things that have been discussed on Radio 4 or in the Sunday papers. Actually living as opposed to how I had been just getting by for years on salami cheese-on-toast and pasta Napolitana. Anya took me out to lunch at L'Escargot at 48 Greek Street. It was actually the first time I had ever been in a nice restaurant. I had only been to the Pollo Bar and the Tower Tandoori before that. I had not been into an Italian or French restaurant. As soon as we sat down Anya ordered a glass of kir royale—champagne with crème de cassis. She told me she was an Epicurean sensualist. It was my twenty-second Birthday. I learned a lot from Penis Envy by Crass. Gee Vaucher is amazing. I am an ally of feminism. I love the work of Hélène Cixous for example the project of Écriture féminine has hardly even begun. Gender Trouble has become one of the most influential works in the entire history of critical theory. I sometimes wonder how Judith Butler feels about it. It was no way expected. The interesting thing about the book is that it is influential in spite of the fact that it is actually very dense and academic in tone vocabulary. Gender performativity. It has become more than a phenomenon it has changed history. That is how people felt about Dylan. Gender Trouble was published in 1990 so it took a while to reach the mainstream—thirty years.

2022 04 24

Recently I bought a fairly rare pair of Jordan 1s and wore them to work. I had students stopping me all day telling me how cool they were. But for me I would rather not be wearing Nike I just feel the brand is too mainstream. They are made in China. There is nothing really authentically American about them. It is just the association to rap music that makes Jordan 1s what they are. The Dave lyric is so indelible: Jordan 4s or Jordan 1s/ Rolexes got more than one/ My AP cost thirty-one/ Millimetres forty-one. He is alluding to his Audemars Piguet Royal Oak watch which cost him £31,000. It has a 41mm diameter face—the largest that this venerable Swiss watch maker have ever produced. So it is just him boasting about conspicuous consumption in the end. Verdansk is astonishing too. How does he rap like that? It is profound. Absolutely astounding. I used to listen to rap all the time in the 1990s. At a certain point I started to feel the violence and rage was not good for me to be continuously exposed to. There is something desensitizing about rap. There is a normalization of the almost psychopathic cynicism that many performers express. The Chronic is an incredible record untouchable. Triumph by Wu-Tang is an extraordinary track. Verses: Ol' Dirty Bastard Inspectah Deck Method Man Cappadonna U-God RZA GZA Masta Killa Ghostface Killah and then Raekwon. It is the intensity that draws me in. Kanye is certified as genius. Dark Fantasy is priceless with the wonderful Nicki Minaj intro. Gorgeous is really the most authentic and personal rap on that album. I mean who else would sample 21st Century Schizoid Man? Juice Wrld could freestyle for more than hour there are videos of him completely improvised. If you are making art or photography compare what you have done to Verdansk by Dave and see if it has anything like that intensity that gives you a shiver. Or maybe you are not into intensity—some art is slow-burn I do get that. Like Eva Hesse her objects haunt the mind.

2022 04 23

I was on Foundation at Farnham when I met Julian Woolatt. He came up to me in the street and said he wanted to photograph me and my friends—we were dressed as punks with shocking fronds as hairstyles. He had long hair in a bob. He was drinking a can of Special Brew at eleven in the morning. One day after the punks shoot he showed me the main darkroom at Farnham. It was the first time I had been in a non-improvised darkroom. I was immediately reverential—there were at least twenty people printing in this vast dark work space. I was in awe really that this place even existed in Farnham. Next Julian showed me the photo studio. There was a shoot going on with studio flash again I was deep in admiration as Julian talked to the photographer. I had gone from the red tinged darkness of the darkroom to the bright white light of the studio in a few seconds. Then Julian showed me the book Tulsa by Larry Clark and I think Weegee. Again I was stunned I was stupefied by the book—the first photo-book I had ever seen. In a way everything I have done in photography began on that day. I always come back to that day as a reference point. I had had such a dull life as boy growing up in Farnham. I had done my work experience not so long before in the photography studio on Downing Street where I had sat for a week literally doing nothing at all just sitting in a chair. They said there was nothing that needed doing—I got so low during that week. They did not show me anything at all. I should have complained. So this visit to the art school with Julian was just thrilling. There was no photo studio on the Foundation and the darkroom was in a wooden shed with two unbearable technicians hovering at all times. In my recollection of the first visit with Julian there were no technicians around. The students were confident with the equipment and the processes. There was no need for technicians. In the darkroom they had the soundtrack to Taxi Driver playing. As I teach today I so often cast my mind back to those first moments. Those are my two primal scenes—the dark and the light. The quality of being in this darkened room which invites on reflection and patience. And then brightness of the studio flash bulbs that throw off this affecting jolt of strobed light—a penetrating forensic light. Everything seems organized for maximum light on the sitter. These two spaces of photography are to me places to be honoured as indispensable because the are so unique to photography. When you are in the photo darkroom everything on the outside just fades out. The feeling is of time standing still. As if the hour of the day means nothing. And that is true too in the studio—what is going on outside begins to drift away. The two spaces are the yin and yang of photography. One bright the other dark. One intense the other reflective. One involved with body performance the other with the loss of the body in darkness. Recently I made contact with Julian. He lives in Southend on Sea now. He didn't really remember when I explained the tour he had taken me on.

2022 04 22

When you think about art now and someone writing a history book you have to be realistic. The chapter about 2020s is going to start with Mark Bradford Theaster Koons Doig Iza & Gerhard probably Tracey. But with photography it gets harder. You can say Tillmans Ruff Wall Gursky but that is not really the story of what has happened to photography in this digital revolution is it? The chapter would have to begin with an iPhone. Six billion photographers. The selfie. Instagram. That is the story of photography now. That is just the way it is going to be. Photography history as it was in the twentieth century doesn't really exist anymore. Who are the great names now? Nobody really. Carrie Mae Weems. The narrative is about profusion instantaneous sharing. That is the only narrative of significance. With the book Point and Shoot I did for Hatje Cantz I had several different cameras. I had a Leica C1 point-and-shoot. I had a Ricoh GR1 which has a beautiful 28mm f 2.8 lens which is as sharp as a Leica lens. Incredible. I had a Fuji Finepix which captured 900 kb images. Also I had a Nikon Coolpix 990—you could twist the screen and use it as a waist-level finder which was a very good design. For some of that book I used to ride on the top deck of the Big Red Bus tourist tour of London with a 500mm f 2.8 sports lens that I rented.

2022 04 20

One great way into basic critical theorizing is the book of collected Ballard interviews Extreme Metaphors. We are experiencing a revolution: the digital revolution ... the information age ... the Internet age ... the smartphone revolution. It is all the same thing. We are in the middle of it. It is like the famous Marx line: All that is solid melts into air all that is holy is profaned ... That is the age we are in. As Bowie once said: you may like it or you may not like it. It doesn't really matter because that is what you are going to get. He was talking about music becoming free to the end-user which it was for a while in the glory days of Kazaa peer-to-peer file sharing. It took several years for the music biz lawyers to work out how to block Kazaa. I mean now £10 a month for Spotify to access 1.8 million albums at CD quality is not bad. The issue is the payment that the Bands get. It is $0.003 per stream isn't it. If I were to recommend a place to start with critical theory it would be Debord The Society of the Spectacle. They say it is Marxist but I don't see that so much. How did he predict in 1967 how things would go? If you read the first few pages it is hard to believe it was written forty years before Instagram. So yes start with La société du spectacle and then personally I would recommend as a second book Baudrillard's America from 1986. But forget the Geoff Dyer Introduction. God knows why they asked him to Introduce the new edition of that book. Seriously what does Geoff Dyer know about Baudrillard?

2022 04 18

McCullin is a weird case. His own website content header reads: Don McCullin is arguably Britain’s greatest living photographer. For the past 50 years he has proved himself a photojournalist without equal. Honestly I don't know why he has to be so self-important. I suppose it is really between him and Bailey unless you include Hockney. Nick Knight and Martin Parr come behind and then maybe Tim Walker? ... Paul Graham? The thing is with Bailey is how many times are we going to see those same old images from Box of Pin-Ups? Sir Don does not get my vote particularly. Parr is so English. He is a wonderful talent but if you compare him to Nan or Eggleston then he isn't really in the same league because his treatment of his topic is so light—he is like Gilbert and Sullivan. You cannot call G&G photographers exactly but I would say that they would be top of the list for me. The Dirty Words Pictures by Gilbert & George is I would say the best series by a living British photography-orientated artistic duo. The thing that I learned to do at Goldsmiths was print in a black and white darkroom. I was in there most days. It was a small one down a few steps most of the time I was in there on my own. I have never printed anything since those days but I retain a tremendous sense of fondness for the hazy red light in the black and white darkroom. When you are in this darkened windowless room all day you lose track of time. It is like the outside world really fades out. I never used tongs at all. I had my fingers in the chemicals all the time. I started trying to learn colour printing but it was too much for me. I think black and white printing is one skill that is so foundational. If I ran a photography course I would make it mandatory as the only way to print. I honestly think that would do a lot to raise standards. Absolutely no automatic printing of any kind allowed and no digital submissions that would be my course. Love it or loathe it I am sure it would do good. The way that photographers are today I suppose that many would not want to become subterranean like that. So for three years at Uni I was either out with my Leica IIIf or in the darkroom printing my pictures onto sheets of Agfa Record Rapid double weight fibre-based paper—they don't make it any more. Agfa don't make photo paper at all any more.

2022 04 16

Soon after I started at Goldsmiths I came under the influence of another student Joe Dillworth and he was into Leica III. So I got a Leica IIIf from the 1950s with a 5cm Elmar. I used that for a long time. That is an amazing camera. The design of it is just beautiful. The lens is just four glass elements. It is unimprovable. They are not expensive. Joe was also into Rolleiflex and he did all his degree work on an f 2.8 Rollei. Whilst still at Goldsmiths I bought at great expense a Leica M3 which I used to do all my degree work. The thing about Leicas is that there is no depth of field preview. At some point I became a Nikon man. I got an F3 and that became my basic camera. For a lot of my candid work I used a waist-level finder and a 180mm f 2.8 lens. I used to shoot fashion like that. I did use a dreadful camera the Nikon 801 for a long time. It was made of plastic. I honestly don't know why I used that. I would still recommend Leica III and all thanks to Joe who first turned me on to them. My first 35mm camera was a Cosina CT 7. My Mother had asked someone at the Art School what would be a good camera to buy for a student and I think they had said Pentax K1000. For some reason I was hell-bent on buying a camera that had been recommended in the camera magazines—the CT 7. Of course I did not realize at the time that these reviews magazines are a scam and fixed by the big camera companies in order to sell their newest products. So I bought this horrible camera that I never got on with and it soon stopped working anyway. So after that I got a Nikon FM 2. I bought that on Tottenham Court Road. A long time ago there were numerous camera shops there and you could go looking around them to see what was in stock.

2022 04 14

Look so much photography drifts towards being sexist nonsense. There are so many nude women soft porn images in photography auctions and it is just so normalized to see naked women everywhere. It is all supposed to be sassily erotic and tongue in cheek but it really isn't. It is a bit like Picasso. Slowly but surely the art historians are beginning to call out his blatant misogyny. Many of the photographers from the 70s and 80s who did nudes look so dated now and really quite offensive. And they are crap photographers too people like Michel Comte or Herb Ritts. There really are some awful photographers that come up at auction. One of the absolute worst is Sandy Skoglund. The grey room with all the orange cats. The blue room with all the fish. It is embarrassing. If someone tells me this work is in the spirit of surrealism I honestly know what to tell them: go and have a look at Europe After the Rain by Max Ernst from 1942. That is surrealism. Start from that if you are interested in surrealism.

2022 04 12

Jeff Wall's work follows Brecht's Verfremdungseffekt. You are forced to look carefully and critically at something that ordinarily you would not look at with a critical eye. The scene seems quite mundane until you look again and see that it has all been meticulously set up. Verfremdungseffekt is one of the most important ideas to be aware of in art film and photography practice and I find it to be really quite foundational. Brecht argued that in the theatre often nothing was really achieved as the audience were in an uncritical relationship to the events unfolding on stage—they were enthralled in a sort of narcotic swept up hypnotized he said. Brecht offered a number of devices to stop this enthralled state occurring. The cast deliberately overacting or speaking their lines ironically. Exposing the actual construction of the play such as making visible the lighting or other production elements like having the stage manager in view. Anything at all that breaks the magic spell that would otherwise captivate the audience. A character stepping out and addressing the audience directly—sometimes known as breaking the fourth wall—is another. Not like a Shakespeare soliloquy. Just talking to the audience out of character just talking normally. There are some films that use this effect such as Annie Hall Trading Places Fight Club and Deadpool—usually in films actors must never look directly into the camera as it breaks the illusion that the events are taking place without a movie camera present.

2022 04 11

Mario Testino was an abuser of power. He had me strip butt naked for him. And this was for a knitwear casting. A knitwear shoot. I actually did get the job. I mean I do not know why I didn't tell him to piss off. I honestly thought it must be normal to strip for a casting. I was dreadfully naïve at the age of eighteen. He spotted me working in the bar of the Riverside Studios arts centre in Hammersmith while Michael Clark was on. This was at his house on Lambeth Bridge Road. I think it was door number 10. He was not rich and famous at that point at all. I would like my reparation to be Mario stripping naked for me now. I will have him in my kitchen just standing there stark naked while I make a coffee which is only what he did to me. Photography is doing so badly at auction. I mean art photography. But why? First is that many collectors coming into the market understand art with a quite narrow idea: it should usually be a painted picture of oil on canvas. And at the heart of that is the idea of buying something that really is unique. Particularly if you are paying a lot of money it feels right that what you are buying is a one off. Art photography is in editions of six or ten or what have you—as well as the idiotic convention of the AP or artist's proof on top of that. Nobody knows what APs are. What are they? Don't buy one. And when you do buy there is the spectre of some other gallery or the estate printing your photo again at some point. There is nothing to stop them and many of these photographs have indeed been reprinted again at a later time so you really don't know what you are getting into—it is a minefield. Some photographs by Nan Goldin Larry Clark Bill Brandt Helmut Newton or Araki as examples have been printed in various editions and versions at different times. The buyer has no protection regarding further editions. One big euphemism is the term printed later if you see that on the catalogue data then it means that it could have been printed last week and probably was. A photo is a print—meaning prints-and-etchings. It is not a unique thing. And in the end even the convention of artificially limiting down the edition size in order to increase scarcity—and so justify a high price—as Wall Crewdson and many others do does seem to be a bit of a scam. Gilbert & George works are unique. So that is easier. Could be a good one to to go for. I met this guy the other day and he said he worked as a creative in an ad agency. He was really quite proud about it and I was like I didn't know there were creatives anymore. The only adverts left are those awful depressing spots for Fabreeze and yoghurts and Lidl. I mean he was building up this picture of how they have you know a pool table at work and get treated like Gods and I was thinking but for what? For a Fabreeze advert? Nobody cares about TV adverts at all except at Christmas to watch the John Lewis one. TV adverts are an inversion of creativity. Creative in that context is a disingenuous euphemism for maker of clichés. It is a misuse of the term as there is nothing creative whatsoever in a TV advert. And these are adverts that nobody actually watches anyway. TV adverts are a twentieth century phenomenon.

2022 04 08

I am quite fussy about my data. Fussy or paranoid. I don't keep anything on my local machine at all. I store everything on Google Drive. If my Mac crashes it will not be much of a problem for me. How vulnerable is data on Google Drive? It is hard to say isn't it until such a day comes that there is some sort of catastrophic event. People do make some outlandish claims about how much electricity it takes to run cloud servers. It is a good example of how difficult it is to get precise information from the Internet. You can make any bold claim you like really: it takes as much electricity as is used by the whole of London or more. It takes the same amount of electricity as is generated by thirty nuclear power stations. The European Google servers are said to be in Eemshaven and Groningen in the Netherlands and Mons in Belgium. I actually have my MacBook set up in a quite unusual way. I have three different partitions for job home-office and general Internet browsing and TV. Meaning I have got macOS system installed three different times on three different partitions. It is just the way I like to work—you could do the same thing with different users. But why do it the easy way? With my general TV streaming and Internet browsing system I don't have any email clients installed so it is just for leisure and no distractions—that is important. If you are relaxing then just do that. Don't answer emails at the same time. My work partition runs an older macOS than my home one. I do not use iCloud at all. I do not even log into my Apple account. I do not want anything at all happening on my computer with data automatically. I had someone talking to me the other day who was arguing that the photographers of the photos Warhol appropriated should be credited on all museum title cards and I suppose he does have a point. The photo of Marilyn that Warhol used is from a publicity shot from the studio of 20th Century Fox for the film Niagara from 1953 in which she appeared as the character Rose Loomis. But I don't think the actual photographer has ever been identified. The interesting thing is that the photo was quite old when Andy used it. He could have just used the most current but he didn't. The point was it was very soon after her death that he made the piece—in 1962. So the piece is about her death or her death and her fame together. Meaning it fits in with the car accidents and the electric chairs.

2022 04 06

I do love Guston. I have always liked his pictures. These days everyone likes Guston and the prices are sky high but I have always liked them. Total genius. I mean the thing about the KKK hoods is a difficult one. I have tried explaining the concept of microviolence or microaggression to people in art but they just won't have it. They hear the idea and then they start shaking their head as if the most absurd thing they have ever heard has just been uttered. The big comeback with the KKK hoods is that they are justified because they are self-portraits. So what can you say? I myself would not put one on display in a museum as I think it is insensitive. I think the main Internet porn sites should be blocked by the UK state. I do not think it is acceptable to just open an Internet browser and click once for free porn. I do not really care if that is described as censorship. It can be called whatever people want but to me it is dealing with a public nuisance and should be under state intervention as many websites already are. The UK government blocks any number of extremist radicalization sites for example. Porn available like it is is degrading to both the viewers and the participants. Also why is there no interest in protecting children from porn? Young children watch it of course they watch and it is harmful for the obvious reason that it tends to debase sex from being a private intimate act to being a disturbing and quite frightening pantomime in which all sincere emotion is removed and mocked. What happens when an eight year old boy gets online with his iPad? Of course like all his friends he looks at stupid porn videos. This is damaging and detrimental.

2022 04 04

Any philosophy of the digital image has to start from the fact that a JPEG is not an image but only a set of instructions for a computer to display: a number pixels each of a certain colour. It is a long list of instructions but nothing more than that. Build a grid of a certain number of pixels by a certain number of pixels. The first pixel on the first row should be colour #FF5733 and so on and so on sometimes twelve million times. That is quite mind-blowing isn't it? The image becomes only this series of pulses. This long string of numbers. Instructions to a screen. The photo image today is continuously subject to scepticism. Is it a fake? Is it photoshopped? Is it real or actors? Where was it made? When was it made? Who was the photographer? All these things are mainly things that cannot be proved or determined even by the BBC Reality Check unit. In many cases it is just impossible to say. The photo is no more to be believed than someone's blog can be believed. For the casual user any photo is just another image that is there to be scrutinized for the customary few seconds before moving on to something fresh or more pressing. There is no real critical engagement. There is always something more pressing to do on one's phone. There is always another photo to look at and there always will be. It is never-ending. One photographer I have never been interested in is Gursky. It is annoying because people always ask about him. The first thing to say about his work if you are thinking of buying a piece is that the work is not archival. The way he mounts up the picture behind plexi is called diasec it is a patented process by which you stick the front face of the photo to a piece of plexi. It was innovated for advertizing sites not fine art. This process is not in any way archival. The thing with it is that the pictures do tend to yellow down over time. The white part of the image border goes a very unpleasant yellow colour. And there is nothing at all that you can do about that. Some people have gone back to him requesting a new print with mixed outcomes. So as far as conservation goes a Gursky is a horrible investment.

2022 04 01

Objective facts often have no more credibility than opinion and conjecture on the Internet—we know that. We live in the post-truth era—we know that. We live in an age in which nothing is true and nothing is untrue—which is a definition of nihilism. Everything can be both proved and disproved simultaneously—which is sort of a definition of psychosis. That is the epoch of the Internet which dominates over us. It is a strange type of domination. The thing really about the Internet is that nobody really predicted how omnipresent it would become. Even in 1995 or 1996 it was still not clear what was going to happen. I remember a friend called Guy saying to me: if you are going to use the Internet then you are going to need a search engine. And I was like. Well sure okay. Where do I get that from? There is a pervasive cynicism that set in a while ago now. I think Internet awareness should be added to the national curriculum in schools from the age of twelve. A weekly lesson on the timetable with an exam at the end. It is needed in order to counteract the nullity and confusion that the Internet generates so voraciously.

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