To begin with, I am sorry to all of the people I need to be sorry to right now. You know who you are.
I can’t fling last night’s dreaming into the Sleep Dustbin of the all the funny things your brain can do.
The non-linear nature of memory has reminded of me that I have only ever experienced dreams similar to last night’s a few times in my life. Last night felt like the past speaking to me directly, through memory in dream-scape.
Others have spoken to me of the uncanny dreams they’ve had when they’re lives have hit the rocks. I’m not sure I’m quite at the rocks yet, but I know there’s a truth to what they are saying.
It could be a self defense mechanism? When a crisis hits, the brain creates chemical formulas that we experience as spiritual moments? Maybe.
In last night’s dream state I went into my grandparents’ house, to check, or look over something for the family. Neither the fact that we haven’t had hold over this house since my grandad passed away 6 years ago, nor the fact that the dog, which died in 2003 before both of my grandparents, was present stuck our as being abnormal within a dream-scape.
The shock came when I went into the main room to find my Grandma stood there – a woman who, basically died when Alzheimer’s ate her up in 2003, but factually survived until summer 2007, was stood there as she would have been in the 1990’s and 80’s.
Prior to this the dream felt like a dream. This part didn’t, it felt like a presence.
The second equally weird moment came when, from shock, I ran out of the house, towards a shop that is still standing, across the road. I ran in to tell my mother.
But the shop was the shop as it was before 1999, and I wasn’t speaking to my mother in the way I would now. Nor was she the person who I interact with now, in a manner (unfortunately) massively mediated by my functional depression, and the shame and humiliation over my unfulfilled adult life; she was the woman I used to see as a mum rather than a reminder of my failure as an adult human being. It felt like another direct encounter with another time; it was un-dream-like.
Like all the mornings of this week, I haven’t been leaving my bedroom until noon. Unlike my ‘normal state’ of trying to critique our society’s nostalgiaism, I have been injecting pure nostalgia straight into my veins – it felt like the only option.
This morning I found myself listening to a song by long-haul Scottish indie-pop band Teenage Fanclub. I get like this when it feels like I can’t hold the depressive functioning together anymore, I get sucked in by anything that seems to speak of a life I had when I loved life, and didn’t function in it by a general deadness to time and space.
I first heard ‘Baby Lee’ on 6 Music some months back. I thought Teenage Fanclub had decided to cover a 1960’s pop classic.
Or maybe even a 1950’s pop classic? This is because as I walked along an unforgiving traffic-choked road earlier on, it sparked a thought in my head: maybe the mid to late twentieth century had more in common with the late Victorian (and even earlier?) than it does now. I exhaled, looked down so the white van drivers couldn’t see my slapped-face and thought of how horrific and disturbing our present social body is.
‘Baby Lee’ is pure nostaglia, but it isn’t the ‘zombie super-cut’ (Mere Pseud) of most current music, especially since The Strokes. Britain (and the world is too big of a project when it comes to Pain) is a dead dog, where all the flees (as in us) are fighting each other for ever-diminishing salvation from the life-stripping machine, and ‘Baby Lee’ evokes (even if nostalgically) a time where compassion and empathy were ‘natural’.#
This harking back to a post-war moment is nothing short of something that is bringing tears to my eyes. I admit I’m in a poor state as I write, and thus maybe I shouldn’t be blogging, but here I am. I never experienced the post-war period, and I am aware it wasn’t great either, but I certainly experienced it in dying gestures (seriously even the streets of the 90’s are a huge jump from now) , and experience that what gained from its loss as an awful feeling of lack that never ebbs, and forces its sad subjects into zombieist nostalgia due to lack of another option.
I wanted to go talk about one of the other few dreams that were similar to last night’s… I must have been 7 going on 8. It was around a time when our Junior School was going to Wigan Pier. The dream I had was in retrospect mixed up with my dad playing a song by the Rolling Stones about meeting a factory girl affter her shift (?).
All I can remember is that in this dream I fell in love with a mill girl.
And for months after (in fact it probably never really disappeared) I had a feeling that I can only think is the one I’ve never experienced in the my REAL adult life: heartbreak (I guess I was just about becoming a sexualised being at 8).
It was another when something occurred that WAS REAL, because I can remember fantasising about being able to travel back in time to meet her. I can also remember makign an utter fool of myself trying to explain the ‘experience’ to a fellow class friend after class registration (it must have been late 1991 or early 1992).
These dreams were not experienced as dreams, they were experienced as presences. But the disclaimer to this blog is that I am not particularly well at the moment, but with lack of connection with people elsewhere, I felt I wanted to post this – even if it I come through this shit and it all seems like nonsense. BTW, I’m not looking for comments. thanks for your consideration
The Manifesto for The Just-about-managing (2017, mixed media on paper)
The Manifesto for The just-about-managing is explicitly propaganda; it is propaganda for a kind of future that is worth living in for humankind. Surely this is not a disingenuous aim?
This is the final work I’ll finish before I begin studying a Masters part-time. Most of my most recent works have attempted to make my jaded idealism manifest itself, finding a way of expressing a conviction that the darkest of times can conversely be the times when the brightest of futures are galvanized. This is because over the past few years I’ve begun to feel that the only route possible except for oblivion borne of war and ecological collapse is one that harnesses the wealth of knowledge we have accumulated for a common purpose – no matter how long and painful that road is. It’s what I’ve been calling The Hope of The Nihilized.
It’s hard to remind yourself of this when the nihilism finally demolishes your spirit when the day in hand has done you . The goal I’ve set myself for this MA is the goal I’ve realised everything has to lead to: to fight through pessimism and depressive solitary pleasure seeking borne from burnout, to ignore the demons of the spirit so to work more with others, and to use whatever tools I may have as part of a constructive collective project I can’t even see yet.
And to be honest it’s a big ask, and towards the completion of the work the negativity from the exhaustion of workaday anxieties has crept over my spirit, and I was propping up its completion with cans of cider, a story readers familiar with this blog will know too well.
The Manifesto For The just-about-managing is the manifesto of depression. The sense you get when you turn on the news and text scrolls past you stoking fear of Other, whilst eclipsing Otherness – an ability to think beyond the norm. Its the sense you get when the sparks of political optimism in the spring of a new year disappear under the white noise of consumerist commands in the deadness of mid-seasons.
The Manifesto For The just-about-managing argues against all naive goodwill; promotes the pursuit of happiness only in loneliness. It screams at us to enjoy but yet creates a structure to cope with the scattered fallout of depressive-pleasure-seeking, or (as I prefer), dead-end pleasure-seeking.
It’s what makes you cynical of everything; cynical of climate change, cynical of good-will to others.
It is all that makes you reach for your drug of choice, because ‘there’s nowt you can do’.
Yet, the drawing is an argument that a miserable status quo is becoming harder and harder to maintain. The toxicity of the manner in which we are pumped up like battery farm chickens on information isn’t just making us into the consumer addicts of the 20th century, but soundbite addicts, super-aware of just how disagreeable the status-quo of things is. We know too much to be content. We have seen too much for our well-being. We are becoming deeply unwell as the structures built to make reassuring sense of life dissolve. We don’t need another Hiroshima, because it is happening in our heads. The interior landscape is being forced to recompose itself, and its craving for a new horizon is being suppressed by the Manifesto For the Just-about-managing. But below the crust the earth is moving.
The Manifesto For the Just -about-managing is being bombarded by more and more proof of its stupidity and folly. This piece of work is like no other I have made before, and I have used as many of the most telling quotes as I could find. Due to this, it is also like an essay, which means I have had to list my reference points. Which are below:
The Coming ’17, Franco (Bifo) Berardi
Art and Revolution, John Berger
The Soul and The Operator, Expressen, John Berger
Pascalian Revelations, Pierre Bourdieu
Culture Design Labs – Evolving the Future, Joe Brewer
The Look and Feel of 21st Century Science – Joe Brewer
Injustice, Danny Dorling
Humans are Most Atrocious When We Live under The Weight of Great Inequalities, Darling Dorling
Is Inequality Bad For The Environment?, Danny Dorling
Abandon Hope (Summer is Coming), Mark Fisher
Good For Nothing, Mark Fisher
What We are Fighting For, A Radical Collective Manifesto, Mark Fisher
Four Futures – Life after Capitalism, Peter Frase
We Already Grow Enough Food to Feed 10 Billion People – And Still Can’t End Hunger, Eric Holt Gimenez
The End of The American Experiment – Bad Words – Umar Haque
The Likely Cause of Addiction has been Discovered, and it’s not What You Think, Johann Hari
A Storm is Brewing in Paradise, Dalarna University lecture, Dougald Hine
David Graeber interview: ‘So many people spend their working lives doing jobs they think are unnecessary’, Stuart Jeffries
London, Patrick Keiller, BFI
This Changes Everything: Capitalism Vs Climate Change, Naomi Klein
The Robots are Coming, John Lanchester
The Case For Despair is Made. Now Let’s Try To Get out The Mess We’re in, George Monbiot
Neoliberalism is Creating Loneliness, That’s What’s Wrenching Society apart, George Monbiot.
Sick of this market-driven world? You should be, George Monbiot
The Age of Loneliness is Killing us, George Monbiot
Philosophy and Human Values, lectures, Rick Roderick
Capital’s Hunger in Abundance, Andrew Smolksi
Island Story: Journeys Around Unfamiliar Britain, JD Taylor
Super-intelligence and eternal life: transhumanism’s faithful follow it blindly into a future for the elite, Alexander Thomas
We are all very anxious , We Are Plan C
The Spirit Level: Why More Equal Societies Do Better, Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett
Inventing The Future: Postcapitalism and a World Without Work, Alex Williams and Nick Srnicek