Ruby draws the robofish

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Tell me the name that you think I should know. Pronounce it in tones which imply I should bow.

 I call these two my robofish. I draw them every morning, just before I start my shift. I always start with a billionaire’s name, a man of achievement: Musk, Kalanick, Gates.

Show me your faith that the things which you own will translate you to states of grace I’ll never know.

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 I break the name down into letters, then make them all happen at once on a piece of scrap paper no bigger than half of an inch. E becomes l becomes o becomes n. Then, on another scrap, I start again.

I’ll pretend I’m impressed by the money you make. I’ll smile and I’ll tell you to have a nice day,

The second robofish I usually use is Kenneth Pinyan, Patron Saint of the Humiliated Dead. Pinyan, immortalised in the Wikipedia entry for the Enumclaw horse sex case, was a former Boeing engineer who achieved notoriety when he died during what the entry dispassionately describes as ‘receptive rectal sex with a stallion at a farm in an unincorporated area in King County, Washington’. Already a figure of repute among those whose passion is for zoophile pornography, Pinyan crossed over into the mainstream when his colon was fatally perforated by an equine cock: the story of the philhippic Mr P became one of the Seattle Times’ most-read stories of 2005. Thus was Mr Pinyan spared the indignity of living on to become a whining boomer of the sort I find myself having to deal with most days. And became instead my robofish, my angler’s beacon in the foetid lake of English and American entitlement, my skeleton piper jangling his generational kin to their necessary doom.

as I make something beautiful out of your name. When I break what I’m making, my smile won’t be fake.

 Usually I use Pinyan but lately I’ve been using Cedrick Jelks as my robofish. Jelks is a somewhat more liberal sanction than Pinyan because his embarrassing misadventure ended not in death, but in the mere loss of a penis. Sitting down a little too enthusiastically in the front seat of his Nissan Altima, Florida native and convicted felon Jelks was only reminded of the firearm on the seat when it unloaded in his unit. To which injury Florida state law seems likely to add the insult of a mandatory minimum three-year prison term for possession of a firearm.

Here is the paper that’s all that you were.

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 I crumple the paper bearing the rich man’s name.

Jelks is alive, and younger than Pinyan, but his story contains just the right blend of haplessness and humiliation. He’ll be a good robofish for the overconfident, the egoists who think a seven-figure bank balance excuses their being too thick to understand how to delete the cookies in their browser, who think being a mean cunt from the other side of Skype will change the laws of physics. For the ones who never clock the gun or hear the truck because their world is protected by safety glass.

Here is the fire as that paper burns.

 I take my pen, push its end into the heel of my right palm and, on the word fire, force it through the paper on which I’ve made Jelks’ name happen, all letters at once. The paper gives beneath my nib as sure as skin makes way for needles. The paper is torn.

Here is the ash which is all you have left:

 I crumple the torn paper the same as the whole one, and flick each into its separate cardboard fate.

This cup of plenty, this cup of death.

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There. The robofish are drawn. The cups are primed. I can begin.

 

Chromaritual, or What I did during the Holy Days: an Intervention

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Ibarakou mollumba Elegguá ibaco moyumba ibaco moyumba

 I light the first candle.

Ibarakou mollumba omole ko ibarakou mollumba omole ko

 I light the pipe. I take a deep green breath. I exhale the dank smoke over the skull, its concrete spattered with dripped candle wax, the memory of rum, my blood, my semen. Irises of blu-tac recessed deep back in the sockets, with which I pin my sigils to the wall.

Elegguá.

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Immolator. Mutilator. Yemayá Oggute, virile, violent.

 I light the second candle.

Attaramawa, arrogant and proud.

 White candle. Blue candle. Lit from the red. Light passed on by the Opener of Ways. Light leaping the gap between candle and wick. One flame turned three. Firebreeding.

Olokun, the ocean maid, whose lovers dance in veils and painted masks.

 The candle held before me like a sword, raised and brought down to my eyeline in a warrior’s salute.

Your true face seen only in dreams.

 The tip of the blue candle points at my heart. A poor petitioner, beknighted.

Dream for me, with me, through me.

 I light the blue candle. Inhale and exhale.

Yemayá.

strange fall

 

I pull the book and stickers from the void beneath my bed. Spreading the sheet of blank rectangles out on a comic-book anthology of conspiracy theories I open Jarman’s Chroma to the chapter called ‘White Lies’. I read. I pull the thin adhesive border from the sheet of stickers, smudge it with smoke from the pipe. First breath of life.

‘When God made the first clay model of a human being, he painted in the eyes, then the mouth, then the sex.’ Greenaway, not Jarman.

I open the book to the chapter headed ‘Black Arts’. The hairpin N of the Palace chimney, Coco dancing, the wonderful long quote from Ovid, luck came at a price for the climbing boys. I read again, and then begin to draw.

It begins as a double-headed arrow, bending in the middle so both arrowheads point down. Then, from the left of the lowest of the arrows, curves all the way to the right of the point, then extends another, larger, longer curve which turns into a third, bigger arrowhead, pointing up, and finds its way back again to the base of the second. Like a flower, like a beast. Within the space created by the first curve, a circle is made, filled with a lowercase t like a single malevolent eye.

I add a date and three words from a radical poem, drawn in my best attempt at pixacao, a Brazillian graffiti style. Then I light the pipe and smudge the sheet a second time with smoke.

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I reopen the book, to the chapter called ‘Into the Blue’. Jarman writes of refugees and AIDS wards, tower blocks on fire. Plane crashes. A man who looks like Jean-Luc Godard. A pilgrim with a drip. A wink and the slyest of smiles.

The passage read, I take the felt-tip pen and fill the space around the creature’s eye a deep and haughty blue. Blue the priciest of dyes, the blood we’ll have to spill. Plunge the mind beneath the blue and when the circle’s filled, you smoke, you smudge.

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Open the book once again. ‘Seeing Red.’ Marches and Sparta, the red of the square is the root. Red Cardinals betray. Burn the blue out of Britain! Italian business, the way the Brits slip through a bill. With the first act of arson the child realises transgression is not always punished. Cytomegalovirus. Fill the space within the second, turning curve which changes to an arrow reverb red, reverb red, in the red room of the head.

Reverb red in the red room

Reverb red in the red room

In the red room in the red room

Reverb red in the red room

 

In the red room

In the red room

In the red rum

In the red

Red

 

Reverb red in the red room

Reverb red

Reverb red

Reaver bread

Reaver bread

 

Reverb red in the red room

Reverb red in the red room

In the red room in the red room

In the red room of the head

 

Reaver bread

Reaver bread

Reverb red

Reverb red

Reverb red in the read room of the head

Trespasses anew

Smudge, smoke, allow the Orishas to skinride if there’s time.  Repeat the oral incantations, blow the candles out with chronic breath, install the stickers on the altar, tip the ash into the bottle labelled with a cartoon devil. Take a moment. Take a breath. And rise.

Rise like a lion.

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Solstice 2017

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It begins as towers burn.
A Solstice morning thunderstorm.
Raven, spider, moth and skull.
The wax begins to wane.

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Replace with hat the pompous crown
and ring the ritual curtain down.
Killer, monarch, Doctor, Gull.
The last act of your reign.

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Eminences undermined,
witness we the undersigned:
outcast, outwith, unconfined.
It’s happening again.

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Theresa May is not autistic. She’s a sadist.

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Theresa May is not autistic, as I understand some are saying. The truth is worse.

Theresa May is a sadist. Look at the microexpression that crosses her face when she sees how upset BBC journalist Emily Maitlis is by the Grenfell Tower tragedy. She clearly WANTS to smile, but represses it.

Sadism and bullying defined May’s time at the Home Office. Sadism in the treatment of LGBT asylum-seekers, in the brutal and underhanded immigration raids, in the detention of vulnerable refugee women in the Yarl’s Wood rape camp and trans women in male prisons where they were persecuted so intensely they took their own lives. In the glee she took in threatening to rip up the Human Rights Act.

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Theresa May is not autistic. What she is is a sadist who can only mask her genuine pleasure in the pain of other people with the most robotic, tedious, rote circumlocutions.

The Home Office is a good place to hide a sadist in a cabinet. But a sadist as Prime Minister is too exposed. She has to go.

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White

 

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for Derek Jarman, England’s dreamer 

White is not white. White is not pink
or Caucasian. White is the colour
which comes before colour, white
is all colours when seen through a prism.
Through prism see spectrum.
Through glass spectral vision.
Refuse the white prison.

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A spectre is more than your white superstition.

If it’s good for the goose…

FB_IMG_1495269000008Protector of rapists in privileged places.
Supplier, through Saudis, of weapons to ISIS.
Our Lady Theresa of Tory tax havens,
and relieving your grandmother of her life savings,
and tipping the wink to electoral fraud
while funnelling funds to her husband offshore,
and letting toffs off as they rip apart foxes
still wants you to stick your cross in Tory boxes.
So this Thursday, don’t let her make you a mug:
vote this villain evicted, and then LOCK HER UP!

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Theresa May Thinks Like a Rapist

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Another day, another low, as our unelected Prime Minister, reeling from her humiliation in a much-vaunted TV debate, invites us to imagine her increasingly charismatic and popular opponent naked. Yet the true unveiling is not that of Jeremy Corbyn’s dad bod, but the stripping away of the last shred of the pretense that Theresa May is anything other than a deeply twisted human being. Because this bizarre episode in an unrelentingly weird campaign gives us an insight into the way Theresay May thinks, and it isn’t pretty. Because Theresa May thinks like a rapist.

What politician, in normal times, has ever evoked such a disturbing, prurient image of their opponent? Even in the low, dishonest years leading up to the 2010 election, as media trolls gleefully queued up to engage in the disability bullying of Gordon Brown, David Cameron didn’t stoop to asking us to picture the nude body of the former Chancellor. And while the Tories’ bizarre 1997 campaign may have submitted for our approval the contention that Tony Blair was an actual demonwe were not enjoined to envision ourselves making the beast with two backs with TB. However hungry for power these people may have been, however much they may have hated and wished to smear and damage their opponents, they recognised that there were some boundaries you do not cross. And yet Theresa May, lashing out with the vicious bitterness that has characterised so much of her laughable campaign, gleefully violates that boundary.

 

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This, the deliberate violation of boundaries, is how rapists and abusers operate. They push boundaries to see how far you’ll push back, to see what they can get away with. They get off on the feeling of having violated your autonomy, your consent, your integrity.

A couple of years ago, a friends’ rapist followed me on Facebook. The rapist knew that I knew what they’d done, knew that I knew about the rape, and knew I’d feel sickened to see their name pop up in my follower list. They probably also knew I’d block them pretty much immediately, but they did it anyway because the goal wasn’t to find out what I was up to, the goal was to violate one of my boundaries.

We see this same dynamic of gleeful boundary violation when May’s soulmate Donald Trump boasts about grabbing women by the pussy, or muses salaciously on the menstrual cycle of a female critic. The goal is not simply to boast or humiliate, but to test, and to violate, boundaries. I, a rich man, am telling you I sexually assault women: your chummy laughter tells me you will defer to me, that you will submit and connive with me, that I define the boundaries between us, and not you. I, a man, am talking about blood coming out of one of your intimate orifices: the media’s fixation on and gleeful repetition of my remarks tells you there are no boundaries you can protect against me.

 

Once you realise that musing on Jeremy Corbyn’s nakedness is not a bizarre gaffe in May’s campaign, but an illustration of her truest nature, many other things fall into place. Why does she get on so much better with an admitted rapist like Trump than she does with Emmanuel Macron, a man who respects women deeply? Because she thinks a man who respects peoples’ boundaries isn’t really a man.

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Why did she include the sickening rape clause in changes to tax credits legislation? Because she likes the idea of rape victims being further humiliated; because being forced to prove your rape to the tax authorities feels like an absolutely delicious boundary violation.

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Why she lost all those files on historic establishment child abuse? Because she doesn’t believe the abusers did anything wrong. 

With yesterday’s speech, the true horror of who and what Theresa May is stands revealed to us in all its prurient glory. The ‘vicar’s daughter’ whose media mouthpieces proclaim her piety and virtue is a sociopath who gets off on violating peoples’ boundaries. The force which drives her malicious perseverance in prosecuting those who disagree with her, and her Home Office’s open contempt for LGBT refugees, is nothing other than a desire to humiliate and degrade the Other. Indeed, her well-documented homophobia is something we see again and again in rapists, another aspect of their refusal to grant others physical and sexual autonomy.

Theresa May thinks like a rapist. It’s really that simple.

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Ghosts of a Divided Kingdom 3

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Perhaps I was wrong about the botched machete attack in Paris being the reason for all the Lee Rigby priming in the UK media. Because whatever you think about the motives for the disgusting attack on an Ariana Grande concert on Monday, the usual mouthpieces in the media are heavily pushing its links to the death of England’s sacrificial drummer boy.

Metro, the Mirror and the Star all make note of the synchronicitous timing, the Star helpfully pointing out that ‘dates matter to jihadis’. That those dates might also matter to other parties goes unmentioned.

The masters of tabloid manipulation at the Scum work the human interest angle with a story about how Rigby’s father is ‘physically sick’ because of the attack. I’d probably also feel physically sick if some tabloid scumbag was after me for a rentaquote in the aftermath of such a tragedy. The paper tells us he’s off somewhere to ‘get away from it all’ – ‘it all’ presumably including the reporters pumping him for juicy quotes about the deaths of children.

Interestingly, there was a flurry of Rigby-related stories in the run-up to the attack. The Metro reported on vandals attacking his memorial, on May 18th. On the 19th, the Scum reported on the trial of binman, former BNP member and Muslim convert Aabid Ali, taking care to make sure his views on the Rigby killing were front and centre in their headline on the case. And on the day of the attack itself, the Manchester Evening News made space for a piece on the Rigby Guardians bike ride, a hot news story which has happened every year since Rigby was beheaded, and which, this year, attracted ‘more than 100 people’ – i.e. not exactly huge numbers. So why is it important? Because it keeps the Rigby killing fresh in our minds. Available. In case something should happen.

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And happen it did. Was it conspiracy? Did the authorities let it happen? Who knows? Unsurprisingly the bomber, Salman Abedi, turns out to have been known to the security services  – just like Michael Adebolajo. But it certainly gave Theresa May an opportunity to flex her authoritarian muscles. Britain is now under the jurisdiction of Operation Temperer , with armed troops drafted in to help the police guard ‘key sites’ and ‘large events’ – like the FA Cup final this weekend. Handy that. Expect May to show up in the stands, with a large contingent of squaddies on hand to burnish her ‘strong and stable’ credentials.

And if you don’t think all this is being used as security theatre, to try and big May up as Our Strong Leader, note this. The announcement of any increase in the terror threat level is usually made by the Home Secretary alone. But yesterday, who made the announcement to the nation? You got it: Saint Theresa, doing her best Mama Maggie impression.

This whole thing stinks.

Koalition Kaos?

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As I predicted at the beginning of this year, 2017 is proving to be a very bad time to be an authority  figure. Donald Trump, America’s Chief Snowflake, is having almost daily meltdowns in the Oval Office, and has been despatched on a glad-handing mission aboard Air Force One to give him something to do while the Republican Party work out how to get rid of him without destroying themselves in the process. It’s all very reminiscent of the barbaric game of musical chairs described in Going Clear: at this stage, the one thing that’s crystal clear is that pretty much the entire GOP machine is implicated, so the whole pack of them are scrabbling around desperate to ensure they aren’t the one whose ass gets hung out to dry. The Machtergreifung of the so-called ‘alt-right’ is proving to be a somewhat less glorious seizure of power than they were promised: Hell, they can’t even lift anymore, bro.

Meanwhile in the UK, Theresa May continues to provide a fascinating case study in how not to behave in the face of the imminent eschaton. After weeks of hiding from voters, engaging in stage-managed photo-ops on deserted industrial estates with bused-in rentacrowds of Party faithful, and wheeling out the tall drink of water she calls a husband for fawning appearances on soft-touch chat shows as Britain’s best-loved couple since Ian and Myra  Posh and Becks, the Plague Nun of the King of All Spite took to Facebook to whine that we were all being jolly, jolly rotten to her, and if she lost only six seats then Corbyn would be in and where would we be then, hmm? Serve us right if we ended up without St Theresa at the helm, she sniffed. And, no doubt, comforted herself with the thought that if she does lose those six seats, and we do wind up led by what she tells us will be a ‘Coalition of Chaos’, and all the accumulated filth of our talk of human rights and democratic process foams up about our waists and we look up to her and shout ‘save us!’, she will look down and whisper ‘no’.

Sensitive girl, our Theresa.

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And she’ll give you such a look, just see if she doesn’t (image courtesy of Another Angry Voice)

But let’s say Aunt Theresa is right for once – there’s a first time for everything, after all. Let’s say she doesn’t win those six vital seats, let’s say the other parties do all opt to enter into this Chaotic Coalition she’s so afraid of (along with debate, tough interview questions, brown people, the gays, and meeting the voters), let’s say all of that actually happens. My question is: would that be such a bad thing?

Chaos gets a bad rep. Sure, one meaning of the word is ‘complete disorder and confusion’, but chaotic systems in the mathematical sense are ones in which apparent randomness is actually the result of highly complex, dynamically interacting processes. Chaos conceals an implicit, emergent order, an order arising – one is tempted to say Erising – from the interactions and interference patterns of intersecting complex systems. Now ask yourself: which sounds like a more accurate description of reality – a mesh of complex, interacting elements, or Theresa’s World, where the Internet is under strict control, the state owns your house when you die (so much for ‘property-owning democracy beats communism any day’, huh?), and there’s honey still for tea – provided you’re an oligarch who can afford to get it imported, because no British worker wants to bring the harvest in.

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We live, or are supposed to live – this government’s contempt for Parliament notwithstanding – in a representative democracy. If our reality is increasingly a world in which complex systems intermesh chaotically – where Brexit-voting pensioners eat cabbage grown by Poles while Czechs watch over them and keep them safe from harm – then why shouldn’t our legislative chamber reflect that? Why should we remain trapped in the zero-sum game of first past the post politics? If it did nothing else the Referendum last year showed us that system is no longer fit for purpose. The electorate, quite simply, is operating at a level of granularity which cannot be accurately represented by simple binary choices.

Which is to be expected. Living as we do in a time of greater apparent disorder, a time when established power structures are being rocked to their foundations, it makes much more sense to lean into the chaos than it does to resist it, or, as Trump, May, and ultimately Putin are trying to do, to surf the chaos current part of the way but then, Cnut-like, to try and bid the tide be still. It doesn’t work like that. Horus simply doesn’t like being told what to do. The Scorpion will stab your back before you ford the river. The fox will eat your chickens, and when you chase her, in your ordered band, your men will be unhorsed. You will die in the woodland, gored by the horn of a tree. Our words for fear and forest share a root, as you will see.

Gradually, as I write this, as you sit here reading it, May, Trump, and even Putin and his Wormtongue, Surkov, are coming to realise that their sneaky little ordo ab chao play is not going to work out the way they hoped. Even if May successfully fends off Corbyn, the overwhelmingly positive reaction to the Labour manifesto has shifted the Overton Window way to the left of what the Tories want. Choosing to make Corbyn and not the manifesto the target of her attacks has the bizarre effect of legitimising the manifesto, of suggesting the daring possibility that the same manifesto, under another leader, might go down like gangbusters. Conversely, May’s ‘if you don’t give all your votes to me then you’ll get him‘ play undermines her own manifesto – but given that said Tory manifesto basically boils down to privatising the NHS, killing foxes, censoring the Internet and stealing your Gran’s house, you can see why she doesn’t want to draw attention there.

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A Chaos Coalition forming on June 9th would be no bad thing. English and Scottish Nationalism would at last be forced to find some accommodation. The dangerous polarisation of the country between Leave and Remain could find the space to get more nuanced. As we negotiate between the different factions in our own country, as we see how divided we are, we will realise we need to adopt more flexibility in negotiating with the EU27. An administration which owes its existence to the repudiation of zero-sum games will have less interest in imposing them on others.

A Coalition of Chaos, you say?

Well then I say Io muthafuckin Kaos, Mrs May.

COC