Works of 2017

I’ve gone back to study this year. After years of wrangling over whether to go back or not, I finally decided that I had nothing to lose by doing so. Additionally, it has enabled me to have a bit more thinking space, away from working 5 days a week. Because no matter what job you do, I find repetitious work endeavours to corrode the will to be creatively and intellectually engaged with life. Although now in my 30’s, regrettably there are many things I haven’t experienced or engaged with, and in many ways I feel deprived of so much, but partly because of this,  I still have much freedom from excessive responsibilities that many don’t, and this has enabled me to break free of 9-5, if only for 2 years.

I’ve still been working on my drawings, but spending much time considering and working on how the other main outlets for my work relate back to my drawings. I’m not a natural illustrator, I spend way too much musing things over than putting pen to paper, so it always feels a little disingenuous to go along with the ‘drawer’ tagline. It gives people the wrong impression about how I work.

It’s quite hard to explain this whilst also explaining how important my drawings are to the ideas and concepts that drive me to make and do. But the drawings are intermittent moments where the cognitive mapping of this chaotic world suddenly seems to come into focus, and make sense, even if this doesn’t seem to be the case for others who view the final outcomes.

Nonetheless, the current works are trying to take on the concepts of ‘dark optimism’ (which I borrowed some time back for my own uses, from ‘The Transition Towns Handbook’, by Rob Hopkins), and (my own) ‘punch-drunk idealism’, largely by pitting the capabilities we have before us, against the evidential mass mental breakdown that our current hysterical accumulation of modernity is causing. There has become within myself and my work an almost religious conviction that this moment, where we are at a saturation point regarding our ability to care and hope, will cause a tipping point where we will be forced to collectively transcend the ‘soul fracking’ of late-stage capitalism. I say religious to be cautious that I may just be fooling myself, but I guess if I didn’t at least have some belief that the future will be live-able the I’d be a nervous wreck.

One of the most important works, for me, was a written work, accompanied by maps, that sadly became an unrealised project‘How did I get so old? (Pre GE2017 musings)’ was a response to the then-upcoming snap election called by Teresa May.  Although Jeremy Corbyn himself would never pretend he was the ‘golden ticket’ to a post-austerity, potentially post-capitalist society, his unexpected popularity with symbolic of a desire to break out downer-fuelled neoliberalist Britain. And this work was an attempt at reckoning with the potential of choosing to vote to challenge these depressed, foreclosed horizons, alongside trying to come to terms with my own depressed experiences of adulthood, and a willing to change this, also.


I’ve always found the balancing act of these two seemingly separate issues very difficult to communicate, because the language to effectively communicate a notion of a societal depression is inherently flawed, whilst when I veer more towards my own experiences as a better form of explanation, it appears merely pathological, or, at worst, that I’m wallowing in it.

The election, however, did surprise us somewhat, and was probably the last period of collective optimism, before the absurdity of Brexit, and the sex scandals that seemed to hover around it like accumulating flies around its rotting carcass of [the illusion of] neoliberal society, began to overwhelm such capacities for optimism. I guess there’s always next year..



The biggest project was also to be the most spectral.

In 2017 The Retro Bar at The End of the Universe [the collective I am part of) was given the chance to curate a disused pub. The pub, which epitomises the weird and eerie landscape of post-industrial West Yorkshire, was situated on the relentless Otley Road, within the Saltaire/Shipley region. Yet, the building itself contained ghostly remnants of a political and cultural era which the RBATEOU argues is currently coming to an end.

Due to a location made ‘strange’ by our descent into a commuter existence, the event ‘Will The Last Person To Leave The 20th century Please Turn Out The lights?’ received NO VISITORS. This was an exhibition at the end of the universe, making the collective wonder “are we the last person?”. Perhaps it was meant to be?

We curated both floors of this large building, to create something that actually began to creep us out as a collective, as if we’d uncovered a truth about the era we arguably just leaving that wasn’t comfortable.

Rebekah Whitlam’s ‘Milly Molly Mandy Gets Loaded and Other Stories’, at the dead end of a corridor in the upstairs section, felt like the exorcism of this period. And I would recommend watching the video piece she made afterwards, with the help of sound artist Adam Weikert.

The Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade)

I have some projects that I am wanting to conceal until the new year,  but they will, without doubt, be documented upon here in good time. But perhaps the last point of interest to finish on would be my rookie attempts trying to map an idea of society’s emotional patterns in response to certain political upheavals during the past decade.

Working on ideas put down in 4 years back in ‘The Mary Celeste Project (The Scene of The Crash)’, The Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade) basically tracks the past ten years, since the year when the financial crash happened to now, asking if others feel the same way as I do: that with retrospect it feels like a lost decade (?).

Now, I haven’t been forced to rely on food handouts, had to choose between heating and eating, or found myself on the streets (an awful new normality in the past ten years). But in hindsight I feel like it has stunted me, almost caged me in a previous point of my life. I feel like when I shut my eyes and reopen them, I can’t remember the decade, as it has been sucked from under me.

The parallels between a long depression, and the memory loss it can cause are very closely tied, and I can only hope that it isn’t a lone experience, because I want the other aspects of the work to make sense to people, as they are where the optimism lies.
Within this submerged soundscape there are points of emergence that correlate with times within the past decade when I felt ruptures in default reality fabric occurred. For good or for worse, new horizons felt palpable, as was a sense to act. Ultimately the default reality fabric reasserted itself, and, arguably the depression/memory loss resumed.

From the 2011 English riots to Trump, from Corbyn to Brexit, constructive or destructive, the fact is that these ruptures offer(ed) alterior possibilities from the business-as-usual outcome. I don’t know, I just know how I feel /felt in these moments seemed to contain some kernel of something other, that allowed me to imagine myself in relation to the world in a different manner.

Next year is going to be a real challenge on so many levels. But I feel far less of the objectless and hopeless confusion I had in many of the previous years. I’m hoping I, and those I work closely with, are onto some great ideas for 2018…



Last Resort To Forgotten Fun

The Retro Bar at the End of the Universe

I have been re-working this text and image work I made late last year in a sound/image piece. Last Resort To Forgotten Funwas part of a series of works called ‘Stories From Time-locked Space’, which we included in our first publication, published earlier this year.

<p><a href=”″>Last Resort To Forgotten Fun (Stories From Time-locked Space)</a> from <a href=”″>John Ledger</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

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An Hypothetical map for a Regional Identity Dilemma.

In the United Kingdom many areas believe they are marginalised and overlooked in favour London and the South East. Although I’d argue the primary cause for such grievance isn’t geographically located, but located inside of us, from being subjected to the kind of society created through 40 years of fidelity to the ideology of market fundamentalism and market individualism – which personalises social problems, and affects people in London as much as the North (for example) – there are many reasons why people in the UK feel ignored and marginal to matters due to where they live. For example,  “London will see £1,500 more in transport spending per person than the North over the coming years”  a fact that is cause for bitterness for anyone who regularly has to use Northern Rail or Transpennine Express.

Additionally, the idea that a sense of belonging to a geographical location has been totally illegitimatised by these globally interconnected times has been proven to be totally flawed. I think it’s an impossibility to expect the human animal to thrive with no sense of connection to an area they have lived in for a number of years. And it doesn’t have to be forged around hard oppositionalism to other regions.  I’d argue regional identity can take on different forms, and doesn’t have to be borne from the alienation and humiliation many feel in impersonal nation states that can conversely result in a more ferocious fever of xenophobic nationalism.

However that’s a topic for another time. Also, I’m not here to make such statements of what type of devolution should be sought, whether they would work, and all that, etc. I am simply employing my years making mind maps around the South and West Yorkshire areas, to hypothesise about ‘workable’ constitutional boundaries that could deal with the ongoing dilemma of devolution between the Sheffield City Region and the Wider Yorkshire Region..


Residents in the Barnsley and Doncaster districts are being asked to ‘have their say’ on a decision over whether to agree to be part of a stronger Sheffield City Region (which they are currently the most northerly areas of) or as part of a Wider Yorkshire Region. Barnsley and Doncaster councils have voted against on their initial agreement to be part of a mayor-run Sheffield City Region, in favour of a Wider Yorkshire Region, for reasons, they say, are due to the amount of changes in British Politics since the original agreement was made in 2015.

After much consideration, I started playing around with an idea for a map that de-draws constitutional boundaries that I think could potentially work.


Yorkshire is giant county in proportion with other England centres, with a massive sense of identity, which, in turn, has made it forget that some of the areas now in within its boundaries, weren’t always so.

The reason I would propose to change a Sheffield City Region (excluding Barnsley and Doncaster) into a place of its own called ‘Hallamshire’ isn’t out of some petty wish to exclude it from the bloated belly of Yorkshire, but to agree with the thoughts of the Writer/critic Ian Nairn when he visited the town in 1960’s. Nairn says:

“[I]t is the capital of an area which exists in fact but not in administration – Hallamshire, or the missing South Riding. …The industrial revolution gave it character which is not quite Midland, not quite Yorkshire, not quite Pennine…”

The reason ‘South Riding’ wouldn’t work, however, is due to one of the main obstacles to Sheffield being part of a Wider Yorkshire Region. Much of the south of Sheffield is situated, at least historically, in Derbyshire, especially as the housing developments continue to sprawl out towards the south and east. Additionally, much of the City Region that sees Sheffield as its nearest city is in Nottinghamshire. Although the nearest city to most of the Doncaster and Barnsley boroughs is Sheffield, they are also very close to the conurbation that has built up around Leeds.

I think Sheffield would fair well being known as the centre of aHallamshire’. I roughly propose it would begin in the north, following the Don valley from Dunford Bridge, taking on Penistone (which has much more in common,  culturally and geographically, with Sheffield, than it does being currently part of the Barnsley district). It would stretch to the eastern side of the Derwent valley in the Peak District, and follow the Rother valley from the south in Derbyshire and into Rotherham, and stretch out South East to include the former mining areas of north Nottinghamshire around Worksop.

There are historical reasons to suggest that Sheffield may have existed on boundary lands between the North and the Midlands. According to the historian David Hey, The river Sheaf, from which Sheffield takes its name, means ‘boundary in Old English’. he suggests, in his 2000 paper ‘Yorkshire’s Southern Boundary’ that:

“it might easily be thought that the boundary would follow the river Sheaf to its confluence with the Don, and so on to The Humber. This in fact may have been the division between the Brigante and the Corieltauvi tribes when the Romans erected their fort at Templeborough in A.D 54…”. David Hey (2000) Yorkshire’s Southern Boundary, Northern History, 37:1

Even though this map is purely hypothetical I felt it still it could offend Sheffielder’s who feel just as strongly about their Yorkshire identity. Yet, I am actually trying to point that Sheffield’s ‘uniqueness’ (often evoked more by Southern expats who moved to the city, surprised how different the city is to the dated perceptions of it being an ‘unsightly’ place) puts it in a category of cities whose identities have outgrown their origins. Despite it being considerably smaller than Manchester and Liverpool, it is of similar ilk, in not belonging to one area, but of forging an area all for itself. Leeds’ identity, for example, seems to be far more at entwined with a Yorkshire identity, seeing itself as the main Yorkshire city.

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As we move ‘into’ Yorkshire from the hypothetical Hallamshire, I tried to make districts that I feel could possibly work both geographically and culturally. ‘Southwest Yorks’ would follow the Dearne Valley from its source on the hills just west of Denby Dale to its end as it joins the river Don. However, it would also include the land that lies south of the middle and lower Calder Valley. The reason for this district is that although much of this area is closer to the centres of Huddersfield, Dewsbury and Wakefield, once you actually hit their respective urban areas you are clearly in a wider urban area that is more than the sum of its parts and, although haphazardly, spreads right up to Bradford and Leeds.

‘Southwest Yorks’ roughly spans the areas of industrial Yorkshire that never became so built-up because they were largely mining communities. The same applies for the Doncaster area, but the reason I felt this was a separate area was due to its geography being more like the vale of York, which is noticeable in the change in the colour of the rock formations,  which changes from the orangey brown sandstone found in ‘Southwest Yorks’ to a thin strip of ‘magnesium Limestone’ that runs north to south as the land flattens out almost completely.

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The ‘West Riding Metropolis’ was a hypothetical name that the writer Owen Hatherley came up with, to designate one of the most built up, heavily populated areas in England, which has never yet worked as a fully functional metropolis due to its incoherent and discontinuous urbanity; indeed, speaking of the current counties, as they stand, I feel it is accurate to call South Yorkshire a ‘discontinuous conurbation of villages’ and West Yorkshire a ‘discontinuous conurbation of towns’.

The western perimeter of the former industrial side of Yorkshire also has a separate geography to the ‘West Riding Metropolis, a side that is a mirror of the land just over the pennine border. This area is post-industrial, yet is more rural, but unlike the mining areas, seems to visualise not only its own history but the very beginnings of the industrial revolution. I struggled for a potential name and called it ‘Mill Town Yorks’, but perhaps ‘Uppermill Yorks’ would be better. The area would likely start in the south at Holmfirth and follow the western edge of the West Riding Metropolis up to Keighley.

These are very simple plays with the area of I know of Yorkshire best, and I don’t expect it to be taken too seriously. However, it would be nice to think it could help think differently about a wider area which certainly needs infrastructural rethought.

‘Anglo-Saxon’ (2017, mixed media on paper)


We are facing a crisis the likes of what we have never witnessed (political, and economic, but first and foremost, cultural). But who exactly do I mean by We? Well, according to the prolific online writer Umair Haque, it is ‘Us’ right ‘here’ (a place that cannot but see itself as the centre) in the English-speaking world. With its anti-socialist ideology that is so wedded to the idea that pure market freedom equals pure freedom per-se (and thus must be the best possible system), as its functionality seems to have congealed with crisis, “the English-speaking World is The New Soviet Union.” 

Haque, like many jaded Americans who can still see stains of social democracy in the European fabric that we here are blind to, sees the current American nation as a lost cause, whilst holds out hope for the other Anglo-Saxon countries. But perhaps whilst Haque’s American perspective helps him see still existing stains of our faded socialism, he cannot see the deeper dye of Christian values that are more surface level in his own country.  This conservatism has always been one part of the UK’s great social torsion with the nature of capitalist exploitation. But I wonder for how much longer.

An unprecedented amount of scandals are rising to the surface, the tax evasions are the most recent, but are totally overshadowed by the deluge of reports of sexual abuse and harassment perpetrated by individuals in positions our society underlines with trust and reverence.

I would argue that it has been caused by a three-way collision of trajectories all fueled on the rocket fuel that is capitalist culture in the ‘always on/always exposed-to age: the unprecedented exposure of corruptions that go on at the pressure points of high power and high pressure, first, colliding with the enlightenment principles of transparency, and secondly colliding with a culture that still holds true to Christian notions of what ‘sin’ is.

A painful, but necessary transformation has never felt so urgent. But left to the impulses propagated by deep-seated media tendencies, we seem to be hysterically heading towards a new age of show trials. The hysteria is tangible: “who is the next monster to be unveiled?” But where will such impulses lead us to?

I’m sorry, but anybody who is interpreting what I’m saying as acceptance of the institutionalized misogyny, and exploitation of people in vulnerable places, really has got the totally wrong end of the warning flare I’m waving around here. A crisis solved by ripping the plaster off as fast as possible is to allow blood to gush like never witnessed.

To ignore the male prison within patriarchy, to ignore that squeezing of desires into opposing sides; and then to ignore the extreme humiliations at one end of the male camp and them extreme lust for power at the other end that underpins the past 40 years, and then (!) to ignore the Pandora’s box opened by the capitalist cyber-sphere is to say, “I’d rather hysterically finger-point, and just hope the finger never turns on myself”.

A lot of men who have been made socially, and thus existentially limbless creatures, lunge out misogynistically into the mire of the patriarchal wasteland, before turning the violence back in on themselves. Whilst the men with all the power are slowly incriminating themselves, the men with no power are slowly committing suicide. With the advent of our ‘always on/always bearing-witness’ technologies, we are within a machine that stops at nothing to monsterise us. And the ghost of an Enlightened liberalism responds by saying “you don’t have to buy into it”. But this ghost is running out of bodies to possess.

Under Soviet state crises everybody was expendable for the cause; under extreme Anglo Saxonism everybody is held individually responsible for the crises. If we allow our deep-seated media structure to guide our impulses we face the Anglo-Saxon equivalent of Stalin’s show trials, where everybody is forever watching their back from an out of control justice system that will become indistinguishable from a mob.

That our current cultural structures are utterly dysfunctional in the face of the conditions that have been thrown up by this collision is the biggest understatement of 2017. I’d argue that beyond our reactions, there is a post-crisis stage that the painful transformation the internet age has precipitated could arrive us at. It’s the hardest path to take in the long run, but my word it is the better one; the one where we, to quote the brilliant words of Yorkshire poet Gav Roberts, we can Put All Weapons Down. And That means fully-loaded penises as well as fully-loaded guns. I suspect the sense of liberation this would allow for, would make owning your own gun seem laughable.



The Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade) and other works in progress

I’m really in a work-in-progress point at the moment. I’ve got a bit more time, because I’m doing a part-time Masters, and working less hours.  Getting into more debt by taking a loan and returning to further develop my art may seem like a foolish move to some, but with working five days a week (no matter what that work is!!) the sheer lack of time was meaning my ability to think creatively and strengthen my work was being starved. Fair enough some may say: ‘that’s life’. If I was to stay working 5 days a week I would have had to give up making my work, because it had no room to maneuver and expand, and could only contract. But I saw an opening to keep on working on it, and that’s what I’ve done.

The Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade)

<p><a href=”″>An Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade)</a> from <a href=”″>John Ledger</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



Timeline of opening and closing of horizons (2008-2018)

For years I have been reeling from accusations that not only is my work very negative, but I also am negative. I have never accepted this, and from a person who suffers quite a lot of anxiety, I think it’s a given that on first impressions I’m not as warm and accommodating as I’d like to be, even though I nearly always come around, when I have chance to ‘breathe’.

The work (or ‘what I can contribute’) is more difficult. I’ve felt that my work has been trying to help harness a ‘dark optimism’ or a ‘punkdrunk idealism’ for some years now. But maybe it hasn’t been a strong enough element. I have become tired of trying to piece together how fucked up the grand scheme is, if it shows no sign of leading anywhere, especially when the grand scheme, and the awareness of it, isn’t offering yourself out of a future of deteriorating mental health and behavioral patterns.

It may not seem evident within these works in progress straight away, but there is a concerted effort to try to reach out to others in the work. The Eternal Blip (A Mary Celeste Decade) basically tracks the past ten years, since the year when the financial crash happened to now, asking if others feel the same way as I do: that with retrospect it feels like a lost decade (?).

Now, I haven’t been forced to rely on food handouts, had to choose between heating and eating, or found myself on the streets (an awful new normality in the past ten years). But in hindsight I feel like it has stunted me, almost caged me in a previous point of my life. I feel like when I shut my eyes and reopen them, I can’t remember the decade, as it has been sucked from under me.

The parallels between a long depression, and the memory loss it can cause are very closely tied, and I can only hope that it isn’t a lone experience, because I want the other aspects of the work to make sense to people, as they are where the optimism lies.

Within this submerged soundscape there are points of emergence that correlate with times within the past decade when I felt ruptures in default reality fabric occurred. For good or for worse, new horizons felt palpable, as was a sense to act. Ultimately the default reality fabric reasserted itself, and, arguably the depression/memory loss resumed.

From the 2011 English riots to Trump, from Corbyn to Brexit, constructive or destructive, the fact is that these ruptures offer(ed) alterior possibilities from the business-as-usual outcome. I don’t know, I just know how I feel /felt in these moments seemed to contain some kernel of something other, that allowed me to imagine myself in relation to the world in a different manner.

Below is a series of maps that work with the same motives, which are an extension of mapmaking I have been doing for around 5 years now.

Battlegrounds between potency and impotency








Sometimes I Need My Ghosts

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





Manifesto For The just-about-managing

Manifesto For The just-about-managing

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

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