martes, 15 de septiembre de 2020

A lopsided history of the last 50 years

I wrote this story two years ago. Time to publish it again

I was six years old half a century ago when youths around the world caught on with the new craze which had sprung up the year before in USA and perhaps England: if we all take enough drugs to be peaceful, we might live life in a completely different way, not just the common people but the chiefs and the bosses, if still needed, as well. Now ain't that a gas? This wonderful sounding idea was pushed upon the nascent anti-Vietnam war movement, brought along by spaced-out eighteen year old nitwits who could only talk about music and love as a concept, with the express aim to dillute its resolve with indifference and inaction. Peace, man, all you need is love. 'Cause that's the thing, music was heavily involved in this scam, this psyop as it would be called these days. In Los Angeles in 1966, a number of bands were readily formed to convey carefully scripted messages, and thanks to lots of airplay and lavishly positive press they were big from day one. The whole show was organised and paid for by the CIA and involved talented children of families belonging to the higher ranks of military and intelligence. Famously, The Doors singer Jim Morrison's father was commander of the fleet which performed the Gulf of Tonkin false flag, and there were many more with funny stories. But things didn't exactly work out as planned. The youths, uneducated and unknowing, weren't necessarily stupid. So they did pick up on the war thing while perhaps some musicians forgot their designated role and became true spokespersons for the new generation, paying for this sin with their lives, and by the early seventies society in its majority felt it was time for a new approach, away from the war for profit scam. According to gonzo reporter Hunter Thompson, then US president Nixon at some point understood he couldn't fight the swelling tide and had better channel it into calmer waters. And that's exactly what happened in the next five years: everybody took a break from reality. The seventies (74-79) were a totally weird and goofy adventure where only fun and nonsense counted. The western world became a giant Brady bunch (and me desperately trying not to be one of those boys). It was all paid for by non-existing money of course, so when Wall Street invited Iran to pull the plug on them the wonderful dream quickly evaporated, leaving us with the cold turkey of a short deep crisis and a decade long aftermath.


With the new reality, no work, no housing, cheap drugs, came the need for new music as well. The pullers of strings had already set up the scene with the introduction of punk in 76, another hike at giving no shit, followed by a turn to computers as the saviour of pop music, and of the rest of society also. Punk was fun for a year, rolling out across the channel in waves and reaching the outlying shores latest, both in shine and demise. Yet again, the masses proved smarter than their overlords wish to see them. They understood punk's message as having nothing to expect from those in control. It's you and what you do, nobody else there, and many young people went for that idea. It took the nineties to cash in on the effort, suddenly there was money around again, but the attitude was born in those bleak early eighties.


Or perhaps they do know, our controlling elite. After a couple thousand years of manipulating society they perfectly understand our nature and that is why they like giving us hardship to get us back to work after we have once again become too complacent, which is of course our preferred state of being. Remember the noughties, anyone, how comfortably we were waiting for the next crash to happen? Well, it came when some started believing it might never happen after all. End of history, endless controlled growth, that kind of dangerous nonsense. They are poachers, our leaders, they hide behind trees and start financial crises, invent sanctions and declare war to get us off our lazy arses. You might think, if we were more responsible, wouldn't they have less need to unleash their wrath? 'Cause that's the thing, it's all so unappealing, so very byblical in its approach, full of moral outrage and deliberate punishment of the innocent to induce maximum fear, as if they honestly enjoyed the good book. I actually don't mind people being led by their beliefs, I like to think it is indeed a natural state of affairs for most. They are busy running everyday life and find letting other people have a go at organising the set-up a practical solution. They have always lived by this principle. This is why I don't believe people are easily desillusioned when an unexpected dream of honest affairs dies out, something our treacherous media love to stress, as they were sufficiently prepared for the coming disingenuity. Nothing new, here. People believe because they want to believe. They are sad, yes, an opportunity was lost, but they happily move on to the next challenge. This is how most people live their lives, full of love and energy, waiting for the day their leaders will finally understand those angry parent methods are absolutely dysfunctional.


Many ordinary westerners have sworn off their gods and try to live by the heavily pushed ideal of universal brotherhood, another psyop if ever there was one, deliberately blind to the immediate effects on their personal situation this position creates. Mind you, being a well-embedded big city professional is not the same as always being the last to find work, in this respect. It's all too easy to tell off the downtrodden who feel they have little to gain from the deliberate mash-up of the world's cultures. To them it's just new rules and more competition. Why can't the lords come up with a better script? one wonders. If we all work together in smart ways and stop reproducing for a while, we might sail those rocks in unison. No need to cut away at the playground. Unfortunately, the master's image seems to be the total opposite: just them in their computer generated garden of eden and the memory of us some old fable about how we did it to ourselves. Not to be repeated, precious children! You can see the little ones chilling at the thought of having to live through such horrible times, not yet aware that with ten parents each they should be cool on the matter. Next phase: population reduction is so successful that it becomes a hype and all types of back to zero cults spring up. And, by the way, should it all come to a sudden end, they can forget about surviving anywhere beyond ten years in their South Island hide-outs. A droplet of time in eternity, is that worth mocking nature for and bringing it to its final destruction? Only to those who don't believe in survival, one would say.



jueves, 10 de septiembre de 2020



as sung by Iggy Pop back in 1970



image by BrittPM


In the midst of the covid craze, the subterranean traveller could no longer go underground, as there was nowhere to go anymore besides the metro, which was forbidden territory for him as he wasn't going to wear a fucking facemask. No cattle yet. So he cruised the streets and the parks of his city, the latter pleasant and cool hideouts from the ticket police. He saw people everywhere wearing the mask, some he knew and some he thought he knew. It got difficult to recognise people because so many adapted their behaviour to the new rules. No contact? Fine, then it's just us and the internet and the neighbours we quietly pass by. Poor subterranean! In his measured existence, there was no room for obedience. He had always roamed the lower circles of society to come up with stories of resistance. He was a mood reporter and it was all he knew. He wasn't a real human being and he was aware of that, so how should he make the change-over normal people so easily seemed to make? The traveller was who he was made to be and he certainly wasn't ready yet. Remember, you can't change attitudes all the time as a character. It's like a Hollywood make-over, they don't usually go back. Besides, it wasn't even September, so enjoy the summer a bit more.


There were some beautiful girls in his neighbourhood. They were still walking up and down the high street, showing their amazing legs and laughing together. Their boyfriends were often busy with their telephones, causing the subterranean in passing to search their eyes for a moment and mutter a few words with marcello innocence. Now that they were wearing their mouth masks, his interest was changing. He couldn't talk to them or even come near – which was a good thing in itself – so what he was left seeing were their bodies. Long, tall bones and cutie eyes, but no expression. To be sure, even as a character the subterranean traveller considered himself a bit old for these gazelles, he just loved having small talk with all women he happened upon, an impossible ideal which nevertheless deserved being pursued. Or so he felt.


The subterranean meets his equally unreal friends when they appear in a story together and he hasn't seen any of them for a while, his entertainer busy understanding reality. He feels he has no other choice than to go out and meet real people. But those masks! And the fear behind them, or the sullenness, the bored acceptance, the miraculous hope that this will soon be over, a message many parents feel pressed to tell their suffering children. Six-year-olds tortured at school while there are hardly people dying anymore! All these emotions are related to the mask. It has so far proven devilishly difficult to see people with masks as people without masks, a necessity if we ever want to recognise each other again. Fortunately, there is the internet. Depending on your connection, you get to see slightly weird images of your contacts with telephone quality voices. It's similarly not real, but it doesn't seem to affect people's thinking so much. In the end, the traveller needs his neighbours, plain and simple. He can still go to bars, but if he is the only one sitting there's nobody to listen in on. So there's the street and the masks to get round to. The subterranean traveller suddenly feels a strong urge to grab the first person and hold them tight to his aging breast. Might get him in all kinds of trouble though.


There's people in cars who all are wearing breath masks, even the little ones, and the windows well-shut. They usually drive very unsafely. These people don't believe the government. They check the internet for the harshest measures anywhere in the world and they apply them on themselves. Ain't no virus gonna catch us, they think. At the grocery store everybody is wearing masks, as has been customary in shops since day one, but at least distancing is impossible, so some smells are exchanged in passing, even if we don’t fully notice. There's a mother of two outside waiting little ones whom the traveller fancies. He pretends to be looking for a peach opposite her apples and gives her his curious look, once again marcello style. She smiles under her mask, he can clearly see. His return smile tells her to liberate herself from the signal cloth for a moment, but she can't. Mothers can't make mistakes. That's okay, the subterranean acquiesces, take care of your babies. It could have sounded condescending and it would have in previous circumstances, but her guilt stigma made her embrace the traveller's outreach with unrestrained desire. Not to be outed, of course, this desire, as desires were dangerous, but heartfelt nevertheless. Don't worry, she smiled again and this time the subterranean traveller saw she had a really nice face.


People who can't breathe behind the damn thing often free their nose and sometimes even their mouth, having it hanging below their chin as if they were back in school again. Others wear it on their wrist, elbow or even ankle during off limit activities. These are exercise, eating and smoking. People love off limit activities. They can be free again as long as they have the occasional beer and snack. Bars without terrace meanwhile are quietly closing. The measures favour some businesses and kill off other ones, it's easy to imagine many owners nervously awaiting the next rule jumping out of the hat. Will it crush me or do I get to live another day? It's all becoming a lottery. On a long ago written novel the traveller's entertainer had glued the title Tombola!, an in those days perhaps not fully understood description of fate which was now coming apparent in rather perverted fashion. Then again, the novel did not pretend to go beyond cynicism as a solution for human suffering.


The subterranean traveller is ready to get hot over those mouth-masked girls. There's the mother whose life he is not going to upset, not unless she pertinently so wishes, that is. And then there's the girls, the only other ones who seem to be aware of his presence. He sees them one night at a sidewalk terrace, showing each other their smiles, and manages to share their table. Boyfriends are out of sight. Tonight they are their normal selves, as they engage in two of the off limit activities. The idea of some exercise suddenly nestles in the traveller's brain. He gets over it by giving them a funny old geezer story and elicits some laughs. Paqui, the one with the beautiful face and not so beautiful legs, hits back with a story of her own while Elsa, the pretty one with the amazing legs, is throwing him all kinds of assurances, using her whole face and personality to lure him into her world. The subterranean feels totally intimidated. Not so fast, girls, I don't think my entertainer had such developments in mind. Then again, they could be equally unreal, put here to give his report a needed edge. So he is bungling between two possible outcomes, as is his preferred stance. He asks Elsa if she has an adventure to share and she has. She tells it straight to his face and it's about sex with two men at the same time. The subterranean traveller smiles and tries to hide his growing interest. All ears. And something else too, laughs Paqui. The traveller is now wondering whether he will soon be introduced to the other man or that Paqui turns out to be the number three. It's a whole new bungle position and a good lot further down the road. 


Nothing happened in the end. The subterranean had an entertaining evening with two early tweens who told him a lot about young people's thinking and after he had paid for their drinks, he said Elsa and Paqui goodnight. I'll be waiting for the next time, Elsa said with a hot kiss and a shameless hand in his crotch. Smelling her sweat, he promised somewhat stupidly to keep the dream alive. Paqui then did exactly the same, she was the better kisser in fact, leaving him aroused and assured Elsa's story was about them and those girls had a clever way of operating together. Need to plea with my maker, he thought. After a deeply satisfying sleep the subterranean traveller once again hit the streets of his sterilized neighbourhood. All wearing their fig leaf, forbidden to breathe and speak, forbidden to make contact, forbidden to work, forbidden to make money and live. Our new safe world is as empty as a stock photo, laced with fear and disinfectant. Angst essen Seele auf (fear eats your soul), as the ever more popular and accurate Fassbinder quip explains. Meanwhile people are being expelled from consumer paradise in growing numbers.



domingo, 31 de mayo de 2020

Hami’s sneeze

While socially distancing himself well beyond the minimum limits set by the nunormle on a sunny Saturday morning, Hami let go a wild, explosive sneeze. And another one. And then another one. Always three of those liberating monsters. Many airmasked heads turned his way, some in anger and fright, others merely out of curiosity. Don’t worry! Hami, on his way to the nearby supermarket, called out, it’s those pollen again, happens to me every spring. While some people accepted his excuse, others grabbed their phones to take his picture and send it to a snitch page. That won’t be necessary, Hami yelled nervously, clasping his hands over his face, suddenly aware of the possible consequences of his sneeze. He turned and made his way up the hill where he could disappear between the shrub and tree of the municipal park there. Let things calm down while lying under some roots.
He was never going to make it, of course. Within thirty seconds of his movement, two police cars approached, one from either side. Hami couldn’t be bothered to look for an escape. With three guns pointing at him he had little choice but to accept defeat. Wouldn’t want to disturb the good neighbours with my blood spatting, right? They put him in the back of a car which had a glass partition like a London taxi and raced off to a nearby hospital.
In younger years, Hami might have seen the fun side of it all, enjoy the ride and remember the experience and stuff, but as a happily married father of two beautiful daughters he feared he might not be there for them for a while, just when they needed him most with the lockdown keeping them away from school. The whole madness was turning ridiculous, Hami thought, a tragicomedy with too many victims in its wake.
Look, I’m fine, he said when they pulled him out on arrival and handed him to a muscle-toned triage nurse with a giant moustache. See, it was just pollen.
That’s what we’re going to find out, his nurse said, handing him an airmask and latex gloves. It could be covid.
Hami felt the fear the word covid was causing him flush through his body and mind, so he had to close his eyes for a second and pretend life was as before, just to feel some strength flow back. Sure it could, he responded sympathetically, wrestling with his equipment, though it equally couldn’t. In fact, the chance it is something else is much greater still.
He felt the facemask condemning him to eternal silence and it hurt more than his pride, it hurt his soul. Ooh, ma soul, Little Richard already knew. They were not going to keep him here, were they? Had he become cattle already? We should be owned by now, another favoured singer reminded him.
The nurse threw an ever so short smile and started moving towards the interior of the hospital, inviting Hami to do the same. Such dangerous words can only be your individual responsibility, sir, he declared. Here we are fighting the disease.
Both the verb and the definite article shocked Hami more than he would have liked. Is it that bad? he struggled for words.
The nurse slowed his step and allowed for a short eye-meet which Hami, naturally inclined to the supernatural, accepted. We’re doing all we can. We follow the rules and we work hard, but people keep dying on us. We don’t understand.
He seemed honestly distressed, hence his willingness to inform a stranger, one delivered by the police and therefore suspected of bad intentions, why would he tell me? I can’t help you, mate. I can only make life easier for you by going home. Wouldn’t that be the best? Hami saw in his eyes the nurse totally agreed with his reasoning, yet acknowledging it was impossible.
You can’t, I’m afraid, we must all follow the protocol, he uttered with a pleading smile. With two policemen still following discretely behind them, in case he might get funny ideas, Hami was going to embrace that damned protocol himself, as well. It started with a quick temperature read which gave off 37.1. Oh, that’s quite normle for me, Hami shouted, but the damage was already done. I’m afraid we will have to keep you with us for a while, sir, his nurse announced. The norm says 37.0.
But I’ve got a family waiting for me, Hami tried.
Don’t worry, they will also be checked.
That sentence triggered an uncontrollable fear in Hami. He had been sitting in a chair while awaiting his verdict but now he jumped up and grabbed his nurse by the shoulder. Now don’t you dare touch my family, he snapped. The other pushed him away. Now don’t you dare touch me, mister, he rebuffed in a similar feline sound.
He was right, of course. And the policemen were already there to apprehend Hami.
Lock him up somewhere, nurse said, it’s not his turn yet.
Again a quick glance from soul to soul, trusting you to leave my dear ones in peace a while longer, my friend.
The agents pushed Hami ahead of them, discussing what to do with him. I ain’t gonna drive ‘round town with this here fucker. No worries, mate, I’ve got a nice place for him. Will nobody come and find him there. Out on the street, they pushed Hami into a narrow alley between the hospital’s old ward and the next-door apartment block, full of darkness and bad smells. Hami was freaking out. This is it, he knew, they’re going to shoot me, I’m going to die in some lousy alley. He wasn’t. They sat him on a stone doorstep and locked his waist to a bull’s ring lain in the wall.
Ain’t nobody gonna get ya outta here, mister, the other agent explained. But ya got ya arms and legs to defend yaselves.
Thanks for the comforting thought, Hami tried sarcasm. But it was true, he felt comforted by the idea they weren’t going to shoot him yet. The other policeman didn’t bother to check for any reaction to his words and walked away.
Don’t scream, the original agent advised, you will definitely attract the wrong people. Then he too was gone. It is possible that one or both of them had a quick look back before emerging from the alley. Though not advisable, these things keep happening.
Little has been heard from Hami ever since. He hasn’t used his telephone in any capacity. One could go and see that the lock had been opened cleanly, the bull’s ring was in no way scratched or damaged, but further tracks of Hami’s whereabouts remained undisclosed. Was he still alive? Was he being turned into a secret agent? We don’t know. All we know is his wife and kids have been left in peace so far.

sábado, 23 de mayo de 2020

Fake Answers for Real People

Things are becoming clear. Our numbers are being reduced through anxiety and starvation. As long as people have money, they can sit at home and consume, waiting for developments. Those who don’t will have to find a job in any online service still in demand during and after the implosion of Western civilization. Remember the twin towers? They turned into a giant dust cloud floating out over the ocean. People said it was from the airplanes crashing into them, but that was silly nonsense. What exactly happened, nobody knows. With covid it’s the same. There is a condition, quite obviously, but the official version of what it is and what it does is not very convincing. It’s scary, yes, but the best conspiracy theories are way more frightening.

So where do we take it from here? We know we are being lied to, but we don’t know the truth. This is all part of the anxiety agenda. Feed questions, give no answers. All media are involved, both fact-checked and inspired, if only because it is in their nature to be so. We will have to come up with our own answers. Meanwhile the economy is being consumed as if she were cancerous. Tuberculin, perhaps, as it seems more in the style of covid. Anyway, all we can do in the meantime (all we have been able to come up with so far) is wait until we get are freedom back from those who stole it from us in the first place. In my childhood this was never a winning option. Therefore, we’re heading for disaster. That it may not seem like that is because we used to be rich, meted out on a global scale. We’re still comfortable.

Starvation is already happening in the Southern hemisphere and it’s spreading upwards. How long is this going to last, you may wonder. Will my resources reach until the new normal sets in? Am I going to make it there? People who are not able to answer this question with a heartfelt yes - and outside Netherland they are a majority of the population - will start getting nervous. Government handouts are all very nice, but in many countries where this routine is now practiced state largesse has never been a safe income bet, making a return to a steady job the preferred and inevitably hoped for solution. A real pity that so many people find themselves in similar circumstances, we’ll soon be fighting over slave wage work.

This is our new reality: if you show weakness you risk being wiped out and if you have no money you risk being wiped out. It’s a game designed for the young, and many Xers are being forced to play this game at the moment, just trying to stay alive. Have I still got anything to offer or is it all about being young? I think it’s a natural, healthy reaction when you are young, to feel that anybody above forty should shut up and be glad they’re still alive. Pandemics usually strengthen such notions because the young will survive and they know it. They can feel it in their lust for life. Oldies, on the other hand, are all about damage control. We will have to accept this difference and its consequences. For one thing, the young are certainly not to blame. They’re just waiting to take advantage.

This is our situation. The economy shrinks and shrinks and every next round another batch of oldies will be forced out. Is there no solution to this? Of course, there is. But it requires a serious change of our societies. To begin with, we will need to change our attitude towards money. Once upon a time, money was invented to enhance bartering and in order to make it acceptable it was given real value, by using precious materials. Then one day the idea of buying shares was born and money became something invisible. You couldn’t really see it, as it wasn’t there, but it was supposed to be there. And suppositions were just as valuable as the real thing, as long as everybody were willing to play along. Those with serious money, that is; ordinary people were still using coins, though they had become cheaper than their printed value. Nowadays, nobody uses actual money anymore. We just sway our bankcard or telephone. Money is your right to participate in society.

I’m not saying this is wrong. I’m just noting that some people have had to get disturbingly rich before we reached this stage. If a mere two thousand of your local currency can keep you alive, somewhat, then what does two billion buy you? A million lives? If the enormous sums of money rich people have been allocating themselves over the last forty years would ever spill into the economic realm of ordinary consumers and their fifty quid for a night out, spiking inflation would blow up the system instantly. So, they keep both worlds well separated. It makes sense. Yet, I wonder what will happen with their money when we normal people (who want our freedom) will have run out of ours, which we inevitably will under present conditions. Will they start bidding for their best services, which of course is all they have, the best? After getting rid of the poor, and this time it seems to be meant quite literally, as in dead, pretty much as Alan Vega foresaw in 1983 when he sang of avenging angels defeating the poor in his aptly titled Wipeout Beat, one two blues, after us, the rich may turn on themselves. So used they are to hurting other people, that they can’t help their sadistic instincts. They must hurt. One feels tempted to say it’s in their genes. Now would you be able to laugh at them from an astral position?

If you don’t believe you can, you should perhaps contemplate revolution. I am quite sure you are not the only one who would like to see things go back to normal, the old normal, a very old normal in fact, when even in poor Spain income progress seemed to be the future. But then we would have to get rid of the few and powerful. What exactly does their power consist of? We like to say money and the doors it opens. We also know power is enforced by armed humans. Who are these fools? Does anyone know one? Don’t they understand there won’t be much policing left to do once there is no public anymore? Can’t they come over to their own family’s side? There’s a job to do here for families that raised soldiers and policemen. Criminals, too. Fuck all of them, they are wrong, period. You have always known this but you didn’t want to disturb anyone with your conservative views, as they were never very hip. Now they are. Now that we are losing everything, the only thing we have left is our conservatism, our willingness to survive in close and intelligent collaboration with our Mother who has been suffering so much from our behaviour. If you believe in the end this will be our only way out, that we should go the smart gardener road rather than embrace the decadence of the wipeout beat – too hollywood, don’t you think – then it’s high time you accepted the inevitable. The only way to get out of this mess is being wonderful. We really have to start accepting each other.

So much for sloppy feelings, time to get serious about the when and how. Changing society, or whatever you want to call it, is a long game. It’s a bit like playing poker. We shouldn’t pretend we can take over public life as it is. Or was. It’s too expensive still. We would have to let its value deteriorate and then strike at the right time. We will need to let society implode until sufficient has been destroyed to claim the leftovers ours. But once we do, we must be strong and believe we have something to offer to ourselves. That we can create a new society simply by being stronger than our adverse circumstances. Such a thing can almost never have been done alone (some have shown they could). So let’s reach out to our neighbours, for a starter.

More to follow.