Monday, 16 December 2019

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

Thoughts on "Cruel Optimism"

(Cruel Optimism is a text by Lauren Berlant. This is kind of related, but very much a meander).

It's a real cruelty, the optimism we're expected to go into the world with; this idea that without hope we're nothing - without hope there's nothing to fight for. So much of the time this version of "hope" (for hope read optimism) borrows its mantraic ableism and mawkish heraldic call to some imagined battlement from management jargon. If we can understand that the next fight may well not be the one we win; nontheless it is worth fighting, get the managers out of our heads etc. then the inevitable comedown might not be so dispiriting. And this is a note to self, really, and one of the underlying narratives that has emerged in writing "Hopelessness", it is that the minutae hopes that well up sporadically here and there are very real, and that echoes of management optimism are the forward thinking impreative of a manager's line of coke; giddy, short term, inflexible, boundless in false promise and unempathic expectation. That the languages of self help, personal motivation, "getting better" etc. are contingent parts of the slow isolationist deaths that grind away at our subjectivites; a false consciousness that will do anything to stop us thinking about what is at stake in "getting worse" (what radical possibilities may lie there). Solidarity in isolation. Solidarity in fear. Solidarity in distrust. Solidarity in collective living, in snatched experiences beyond the imposed schema. We are massively outflanked. We can and will keep at it, and re-form into whatever is needed next. Don't let optimism grind you down. There is so much more to live for.

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Out of Print!

My book "The Mutiny Aboard the RV Felicity (Tipped Press - 2017) is now out of print. If you'd like a PDF copy drop me an email at

You can have it for free. Donations / swaps also kindly accepted.

Tuesday, 3 December 2019

Some music, a lot of quiet.

Hello, if there's anybody still here. I've been really quiet for ages. I'm trying to finish writing / editing this enormous book called Hopelessness which is feeling like a huge fatberg in my throat waiting to be able to sob itself out. Luckily there are a few sewege technicians down there working on it with their hands, shovels and power hoses. It'll undoubtably fall to bits, form up again in some different configurations and block another sewer.

I want to write something here son about the passing of my friend Sean Bonney, but who knows if I will... Everything that could be said seems to be flaring up everywhere I look and in his poems and the music he showed me... We gathered for Horseplay this month at the Black Dove in Kemptown to remember him, celebrate him, read his poems etc. This was my slightly bleary response the next day:

'Hard to put into words how much last night meant. I've honestly never known a poetry event like it. Devastating. Joyous. Defiant. Radically tender. We read Sean's poems, read things for and to Sean, sat together and really listened. It was incredible to hear all these varied and vast responses; how Sean had moved through so many different stratas. Hearing about a him turning up to a poetry conference in the 90s and talking about autonomous space travel, conversations about nursery rhymes, exerpts from Walter Benjamin, some very early poems from an anthology of "free form and acid house poems", miniature reviews and responses etc etc... and then at the end we all read together. The third set of The Commons, passing the book around the room. I just can't describe it. I can't do it justice. It was beautiful and tender and empowering and devastating and all night there was this feeling that he might just appear. Remembering how delighted he was when he read at Horseplay, and he saw that broken little armchair on the stage and asked how long he could read for; his joy at being told "as long as you need to", and that reading which had someone who had just wondered in lying on the floor in ecstasy. Hearing a story about a teenager who had been thrown out of school detouring Sean's ACAB poem and performing it at a poetry event, and chanting it together. Thank you everyone. I'm not going to start listing folks. There were so many people crowded in it would be impossible anyhow. There were also a great many people who weren't there who I know would have wanted to be. The room was also teaming with ghosts; the ghosts I know Sean is swirling around with now. God. I'm crying writing this. Totally overcome with emotion. My friend. Our friend. Our comrade. Our ridiculous man. Our ghosts. Our poetries. Our eternal fires, solar winds and reveries. Sean Bonney. Love.'

Here's an exerpt of the communal reading of The Commons. Apologies for the poor quality. Reading The Commons at Horseplay

As I said before, I have been pretty quiet, more or less unable to write. I have been meddling with some musical bits and pieces though. Below is one of them. Following a beautiful chat with a friend in the Collondae Bar in Brighton where we discussed care, empathy, acid communism etc etc... It is a bit all over the place but I am quite pleased with it.

Acid Communism - Firs Improvisation

More soon. Tara for now. Send my love to Mabel. xx

Friday, 1 November 2019

Hot Foot 3

Radio silence, nothing happened

how do you feel ill. What's the length

a worm. Nibbled shit. Brighton Law Courts

komboloi, ill divised factional resent. Pass.

Hot Foot 2

My name removed
my traces scattered

away my door, away
for the motive charred

we burned and touched
our hands we loved

a brighter face a grave
a cold a wasp malfunction

Hot Foot 1

Quiverring, grave dirt,
asked the stones

cold fingered
pulled up
shaken, quivvering 

body body body
no, body,
indelicate motive

away my doors