Roll up! Roll up! Sheffield Zine Fest 2013

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Assembling my print for the zine fest.

I will be at Sheffield Zine Fest 16th March 2013 12-5pm as Black Daffodil Press. Come and see over 30 zine-mongers at Electric Works (sandwiched between the rail station and the bus station).
http://sheffieldzinefest.wordpress.com/
http://blackdaffodilpress.wordpress.com/

No promises, but they might even let you have a go on the helter skelter…

http://electric-works.net/

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Worked, finished, published. Doh!

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It’s been a long time coming but I have finally made a book of “World X”, and the day after delivering my first batches to the bookshops, I spotted a typo. Oh well, I’ll claim the first 20 are collector’s items.

It feels like I have been living with this for a long time and I’m glad it’s out there now and I can move on. Rather like my first Hard Shoulder CD back in 2000, I feel like a psychological barrier has been overcome and I can publish other stuff that has never made it to print.

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World X – A Speculative History – Version T-minus X & Version XX

It’s available from, like, actual shops as of yesterday. Currently, that is The Old Sweet Shop, Nether Edge Road, Sheffield S7, and Rare & Racy, Devonshire Street, Sheffield S3 7SG.
http://www.theoldsweetshopsheffield.co.uk/
http://rareandracy.co.uk/ (under construction)

There is a PDF online here.

Too Much Rope – Holocaust Memorial Day 2013

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Wedding rings removed from Holocaust victims. (commons.wikimedia.org)

I can’t deny having mixed feelings about being part of Holocaust Memorial Day (HMD). Not because I believe my opinion is neither valid nor sufficiently informed, but because, to my knowledge, I have no family of cultural connection to the Holocaust and that made me question my right to say anything at all about something I have no experience of. However, I am reminded of a line from a song called “Too Much Rope” by Roger Waters on his album “Amused To Death” (1992).

You don’t have to be a Jew to disapprove of murder.

The song is concludes quite coherently with the lines

Moslem or christian, mullah or pope,
Preacher or poet, who was it wrote,

Give any one species too much rope
And they’ll fuck it up

I was also reminded of what Adrian Mitchell said about his very famous poem “To Whom It May Concern” (often referred to as “Tell Me Lies”) that it was not about being in Vietnam but that it was about being in Britain during the war in Vietnam.
http://www.bloodaxebooks.com/poemsample15.asp

Waters is a heavyweight neurotic, and I don’t think of myself like that, or an activist, or a committed pacifist like Mitchell, but the horror, destruction and injustice of the world that I see, mostly at a distance, makes me very angry. But what can you do?

Well, you can do something, anything.

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My single-page giveaway leaflet of “World X – A Speculative History”.

I will be reading an extract from my prose-poem “World X – A Speculative History” at a HDM-inspired event at The Riverside in Sheffield, UK, organised by artist Trevor Tomlin. I wrote the first version in 2008 and it references Waters’ album directly when it mentions vultures and magpies. The work is an allegory on the dangers of implementing technology without resort to morality or ethics.
http://trevortomlincommunityart.tumblr.com/
http://www.riversidesheffield.co.uk/
http://hmd.org.uk/

Regular readers of this blog or Black Daffodil Press might know I am preparing a book of “World X”, but I have made a single-sheet giveaway of the entire text for the event. It’s free, so if you are in Sheffield come down to the excellent Riverside pub and have a drink and listen to a wide selection of poets and musicians. And remember, in the words of PIL from 1986:

Anger is an energy

Everything X – Visions, variations & versions

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Several years ago I decided to treat every piece of art as an ongoing work and to publish or show them in versions, rather like software is published, and I found this approach extremely helpful in combatting that old tyranny of the “is it finished?” question.

I am not a painter or sculptor, nor any other sort of artist that makes discrete objects. I use a number of media that are reproducible, sometimes infinitely, and working with digital media allows any number of versions to be made of any work, and that’s the rub.

Q. In a world of infinite possibilities, and infinite versions, how do you finish anything?
A. You just stop working on it.

“World X – A Speculative History” is a prose-poem I wrote in 2008 for an event entitled “Life 2.0”, and is an allegory on the dangers of technological advance without recourse to morality or ethics.

The first time I read it at the event I had a slideshow of appropriate images, maintaining a circular motif throughout. Version 1.0.

A friend told me she didn’t really listen to the words because the visuals were so arresting, but also said it would be good as a book.

Seeing as the text was the important part, I expanded it slightly and the next time I read it was without the slideshow. Version 2.0.

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I expanded it further, and it’s only about 1,500 words, but I read it again at a performance event that I organised with artist James Price in 2009 (above). Version 2.1.

The last time I read it (with very slight alterations) was at one of the Northern Lights spoken-word nights at the Rutland Arms, Sheffield, UK, organised by Jude Calvert-Toulmin in 2012. Version 2.1.1.
http://judecalverttoulmin.blogspot.co.uk/

Part of me still wants to write more in order to make it longer, so that it will stand on its own as a performance work, but that just hasn’t happened. Maybe it never will.

Also, having struggled on and off for a few years trying to lay it out as a book, suggested by my friend, I am currently laying the original monologue out, page by page. There is no print version yet, but an ongoing PDF can be viewed online here. I hope to finish draft version 1.0 of text version 2.1.1 by the end of this week.

I wrote a separate section about Adam and Eve that I tried to weave into the main narrative, but it just doesn’t work, and so that will be a separate chapter that happens in the same universe, but not necessarily in the same chronology.

Stay tuned for Version X.X.

Is World X really Planet X? – Apocalypse sooner or later

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This is just awesome! In 2008 I was asked to be a part of an event of, like, writing and spoken word about, like, technology. And it was to be called, like, “Life 2.0”. And I was, like, whoa that’s totally what I’m all about. And like, I wrote this awesome text, and it was, like, a total satire on technology and shit, and like how everyone’s like, totally worshipping technology, and nobody gets the the bigger picture, and there’s like this blind-leading-the-blind thing going on and governments are in on it, and the military’s in on it, and no-ones sees it and it’s, like, totally in plain view but, like, everyone’s been, like, brainwashed, and I’m, like, the only person who sees it.

And I called the text “World X”, and it was like about how history repeats itself, and how like no amount of technology is like going to save us and those guys who, like, want to live forever just totally don’t get it, and how death is, like, part of life, and how we need to totally make room for the next generation, and like everything. You know, and it references all kinds of shit from, like, classical literature, and movies, and like, popular culture, and religion, and, like God’s in there and Adam’s in there, and it like asks questions about religion versus evolution and stuff, and it asks questions about race and gender and stuff, and I’ve like, totally got way more of it that’s partly written and stuff, that like involves Lilith and all that stuff that’s mentioned by different religions and stuff, and God is like this God who could be, like, any religion’s God and, like, could also be totally man’s invention, but like it’s never made clear. And the original text ends like when the Fourth World is created at 9/11 (and I mean, like, whoa, don’t even get me, like, started on that one!).

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Anyway, it’s like, yesterday was the night of 20th December 2012, and like, I just totally couldn’t sleep, and I got up and starting, like, checking my emails and stuff. And I got this email, and it was like this email had been sent to me and only me, although, like, I thought I was just on an email list, but the guys at Prezi, like sent me this email with a link to an online presentation that was, like, packed with awesome info about the Mayan calendar and doomsday and how we’re coming to the end of, like, what they call the Fourth World and everything. And one slide is like totally about end of the world theories and mentions this planet that’s totally going to destroy the Earth and it’s called Nibiru or Planet X!

And it’s talking about this planet that’s, like, hiding behind the sun and it going to collide with the Earth and, like, totally destroy it, and it’s like a totally obvious metaphor for Mankind’s self-destructive nature. And I’m like, hold the phone! And its like after midnight now, and I totally wrote this “World X” without ever hearing about Planet X, and guess when I heard about it? 21st December 2012!

Hello?

It’s like, too much of a coincidence. It’s like my whole world is aligned, and the cosmos is just, like, totally telling me that I’ve just got to write another section that’s, like, about the Fifth World.

And I totally had already written an extra bit where aliens land and bring us all this, like, cool technology and totally new ways of thinking about shit. And they’re, like, killed off by the Black Death. The Mayans really got this, and we’ve like, totally lost it. And they had all kinds of alien technologies that we’ve just, like, lost, or the government’s covered it up so they can use for secret weapons and shit.

And “World X” has, like, only been read a few times in public, and I’m like, I have totally got to get this thing out there and spread the word. So I’m like publishing it one page a a time, and it’s a PDF and you can read it online, and you can like share it and spread the word before the government stops it, ‘cause they, like, totally get it, and they can see that I, like, totally get it, and they don’t want, like, you the people to like, totally get it. The text is, like, finished, but there are, more chapters to come, but here are, like, some of the first few pages. Enjoy and spread the word. Is World X really, like, Planet X?

You can read it online here, or download a working copy of that bad boy here. World X – V4

And this cool site, like, told me all about the Mayan calendar.
http://mayan-calendar.com/ancient_longcount.html
And just totally look at the date counter at the bottom of the page.

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Awesome.