Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Severn Gurls

I thought, given that Katy Perry is signalling the death of postwar western civilisation through her evil song _California Gurls_, that I would try to persuade myself and anyone who wishes to read that life goes on. Building, making things, creating families goes on. Even after Katy Perry and her festival of zero.

Well, to be honest, it's not easy.

Because sun-kissed skin so hot it'll melt your popsicle, even though or perhaps even because it's so self-contradictory, so utterly meaningless given its stated objective, its clear innuendo-meaning - because that is so shit, language seems to have been finally shat out after a 50 year curry and 50 years of crap, factory made lager; because, ultimately, even pop music has conflicted itself in its own greatest exponents, and they, as they speak, have called for erectile dysfunction in the midst of "undeniable" hot sex teenage girls -

because of all that, meaning has now finally been flushed down the karzee.

Meaning has finally, thankfully, been disowned. We no longer need a word or a phrase to correspond to an idea.

Think about it, you twats, think about it: a pop song asks to you want to fuck teenage girls. Then it tells you they're so hot your popsicle will *melt*. You will just go soft, just sort of being there.

I really don't think that it means you will come in your pants.

Really. I don't.

It means the literal opposite of what it intends to mean.

Language is dead. Words have no purpose.

Katy Perry killed language.

Dante is too dead to save it; Chaucer too ironic; Shakspear too involved in non-existent persons;Pope too into the sounds of words; Austen in ghastly inter-human relations;Dickens in the...the...play of words, pictures and sentences. After Dickens everyone is toying with their own history. Plath is killed doing it, Hughes after having sex with words; Larkin hates words too much; Roth just has too many of them. Orwell thinks words mean something, for fuck's sake; Hardy thinks they are about how there is no God (probably) and Amis (jun) veers from the play of words to the play of his memories.


Language was killed by Katy Perry. She sliced it open with an auto-tune.

Open and its guts spilled into the air, to be eaten by the Eagles and vultures and Beatles and flies and Airplanes and to be left alone, token gut by chitterling, to fly away.

Fly away.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010


Well, time moves on and if TTD didn't, he'd be dead.

Accordingly, the world of TTD has changed and now the village of Hill is the Drummer-heimat (yes, he changes his past, just like the Party). Sadly, Hill is too small even to merit a single nuclear warhead, although both Berkeley and Oldbury-on-Severn both count, probably.

The closest serious target then, apart from the two nuclear power stations (alright, alright - only one, and even it isn't sorted yet), is Thornbury.

Wikipedia defines Thornbury thus:

which seems about right.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The Air Attack Warning

Well, while I'm here (not I'm not pissed, just couldn't sleep), I thought I'd update the world on the TTD Doomsday Clock. This interesting device measures the nearness of Threads to my imagination. At the moment it is quite close: the ideas and vocabulary of the teleplay are constantly at hand. For example, on Saturday the Thornbury Tesco suffered a powercut. Clearly my first thought was that a nearby nuclear explosion was to blame. It turned out to be rain. There was no need to panic buy, and no chance of hearing Five Live interrupting their premiership coverage to tell us that a US Carrier had been sunk in the Persian Gulf.

Bloody hell- the end of the world, as read by Richard Bacon. It's enough to make you seek out the prompt radiation.

This might have been influenced by a recent re-reading of Children of the Dust by Louise Lawrence. This is an intriguing book, published in 1985, which posits a nuclear war as seen from er, the banks of the Severn (the other side from Berkeley and Hill). In this novel, written for teenagers, there are explosions at - Bristol, Oldbury, Cheltenham, Gloucester - everywhere. And the destruction is so complete that mutations become dominant from the next generation onwards. These mutations eventually form the basis of a new species of human, one with the memory of nuclear war embedded in their psyches. The curious thing about this novel is that there is a strong biblical subtext - this is a kind of Noah's Ark, except that the flood was caused by us, given space by God to do so, for reasons of his own, namely the new, superior race that was to emerge. In short - we, homo sapiens, had failed. We were to be allowed to fail in order to be destroyed by our own hand. The replacements, a kind of cross between Stone Age man and the Tomorrow People, would not repeat the mistakes.

Or so the story went. A silly one, at the end.

I also re-read Martin Amis's Einstein's Monsters last week. This is a collection of 5 short stories on the subject of nuclear war. 3 are crap, two are good. The worst bit, actually, is Amis' introduction, which is typical 80s Amis, when he was still full of his own shit. He routinely denounces writers he doesn't agree with as "subhuman" but does not appear to have done *any* research on his subject beyond reading Jonathan Schell's book on it - he hasn't watched Threads or the Day After or The War Game, for example. Like a lot of writers, he pulls bits of quantum theory out of his arse and pretends he knows about physics and maths. He also completely gets geopolitics arse over tit and confidently announces we cannot possibly defeat the Soviets on any level, nuclear or otherwise, ever. This was written in 1987.

"Formal First"? Fuck me, Mart, not in maths, mate; not in maths.

I also had the deflating experience of re-reading The H Bomb Girl by Stephen Baxter, which on a second reading turns out to have been copied straight out of Threads, and to have utterly mixed up 80s and 60s Civil Defence, and to have snuck in some shit references to Reagan and Thatcher as wanting to prolong the Cold War - how dishonest can you be? I mean really, how much of a liar do you have to be to think that Reagan, who instigated and carried through summit talks with Gorby with the ideal of getting rid of all nuclear weapons, just wanted to keep the conflict simmering for ever? And Thatch? Did she *really* want a strong USSR in perpetuity? Bollocks did she - she wanted it defeated by its own subjects, as it was (and the forces of economic necessity, etc etc). Bloody hell - I'll say this for your lefty writer - they can be utterly, deliberately, ignorant.

In that respect, maybe Daisy Dukes and bikinis on top have their attractions after all.

The TTD Doomsday Clock stands at 11.42pm


I forgot to mention that the Air Balloon is the worst-sited pub in the world. At the top of a hill, several miles from any settlement, at the interjunction of three stupid roads, all heading to or from Gloucester, Cheltenham or (shudder) Swindon.

Ghastly place, ghastly road.

Here it is, kind of: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A417_road

California Gurls(Daisy Dukes, Bikinis On Top)


Yes, life is sweet and dandy, &c, &c.

But I've just downloaded, not entirely by accident, a piece of silence. You see, I thought I heard a clever, postmodern (tsk) satire on sexual politics this afternoon. I was driving up towards the Air Balloon, on my way back to the Cotswolds from the netherlands of South Glos, so I was kind of trying to drive at 80mph between a caravan and a lorry hurtling downhill. I had this idea that "Daisy Dukes, bikinis on top" was some kind of dazzling wordplay, some new style of subversion based on crap early 80s children's TV.

Accordingly, I downloaded the track.

But really, it isn't - not at all. It is 3.56 of utter, utter silence. Sure, there are ritual incantations about sun, palm trees, jeeps, sex on the beach (aha! ambiguity) and a bit by Snoop Dogg. But apart from that, it says absolutely nothing in 3.56. Not a damn thing. There isn't even any real music, just the "savage, barking rhythm" of the Two Minutes Hate.

Can you imagine how O'Brien would have reacted seeing Katy Perry on his massive telescreen?

Regardless of that, the fact is that the modern type chart music can sometimes conceal serious intent beneath the froth of a Belgian beer - namely, Bulletproof by the girl whose mum was out of The Bill and also Calvin Harris' I'm Not Alone. To name but two. They sort of take the vocabulary of drugsex music (hey, neat) and manage to coil a meaning around it - sometimes, like Bulletproof, a non-verbal meaning.

But this - this is shite.

I say that, but my guts actually produce more substance than this track does.

Luckily, I've also downloaded Jump by Van Halen.