Blockbuster economics carpet-bombed the West heading East. The American New Wave now seemed an apprenticeship to bigger budgets that conferred graduation. Ego was corporate convergence on the head of a pin. Tom Wolfe, who thought we never had it so good, identified The Me Decade without realising the consequences. Society became nothing-to-do-with-me. So people did what every sheep-herded class has done ever since when the lesson plan has nothing to say: paired off. Double Fantasy.
David Bowie in Berlin: lost between the Seventies and the Twenties — but between he synthesised the Eighties ahead of the game: New Wave; automatic clipped rhythm. And the Eighties plunged The Young Ones over a cliff on a bus. I have no explanation. Disco, music to dance you away from protest, would replace the band with a DJ, then hip, hop and rave over one transient pill.
Scratching records on twin turntables to stutter and repeat the b-b-beat-the-beat-beat-beat turned every DJ into Elmer Fudd just as current events snagged on one d-d-decade. The Eighties are a continuity error, starting in and never ending. You must have noticed how hollow were the new millennium celebrations sixteen years ago.
Find x. They call it an essay film. Who does? At least the misnomer acknowledged a Welles patent; so then Welles spoke of essay films too. But what essay has this transparency, verve, cubist perspectives, characterization, storytelling, author presence? No essay on Welles. Conformist disquisitions on a nonconformist turn a blind eye to a howling discrepancy. Welles scholars analyse by routine rhetoric a director who scorned academic interpretation. The Humanities pass for white lab coats in an autopsy; on the slab, art.
If not fabricated, the latest University Press output is pre fabricated. Its template is akin to bogus objectivity and tramline methodology in conventional reporting, imputed by The New Journalism in It was the most inventive film of , so original it had no genre. Some nominate The Wicker Man for that same reason. But F for Fake was prophetic.
The content had no insurance: what toured, it turned out, was a print. How Elmyr would have laughed had he lived. Then scowled. The transaction was fake, the tour was fake, the press asleep, and Welles, dead now, saw it coming. Which painting was it? History ceased as a public service.
Redevelopment flattened the future as well as the past. But slumps do happen, and we are in one now. My generation was nothing to shout about, in our nondescript thirties in the Seeming Nineties. All craning up at the clock-tower at a minute to midnight. We might have been waiting for extraterrestrials, our only saviours since humanity betrayed itself. A minute later it was one minute to midnight.
Earthlings silent, waiting for chimes. It slowly dawned on the best and the brightest in the crowd that the Town Hall clock had stopped. Some lone soul started cheering anyway if only to break the tension, and then so did everybody else. Happy New Year — I forget which. A decade walks down the street: it says, Why am I just like the other ones? Why am I just like the others when the rest of my life is so hard?
How do the Eighties manage this never-ending roll-over with diminishing returns? The casino is run by corporate economics and the crooked croupiers are for the most part you and me. Practically the only job to be had manufactures suffering, as much as the market will bear; requires the holder to cheat himself out of a life, keeping the wolves from the door.
We are accountable to psychopaths. Not me and Nostradamus: Some slumps sag whole civilizations into the abyss — Mayan, Aztec, Greek, Egyptian — Nero twitters while Rome burns — and history finds it inevitable and no one sees it coming. Five years ago in , Allen Ginsberg pissed against the wind like so:. The sickness may even be irreversible already; Burroughs thinks it is. Soylent Green was the most important film of Unless The Exorcist was allegorical. The answer is yes.
Terry Gilliam stuck it out. It was all about the usurpation of the Seventies. The law said that was illegal, so the Eighties changed the law. Between a female prime minister and a black president, the Eighties co-opted anything including the kitchen calendar. Around the time time ran out, as AIDS eroded our immune system, something similar bombarded our capacity for scepticism, leaving the blank stare of global village idiots.
Log on, tune out and switch off. Your world just got smaller. It was neither here nor, in fact, there. Scholars want references: . Meanderthal Man can have his ephemeral say today on anything and nothing changes, more gone-tomorrow than a Sixties underground newspaper blown in the wind; as democratic as invisible ink. Thinking is whatever passes for a twittering soundbite.
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Writing at pm, December 31 st , Protest — focus — encounters — understanding — going gone … I clock another digit. Mass media fragmented into multi-media. What truncheons and tear gas once did best is done by cable and Internet rerouting. Top-down, upscale business runs the other way: wolfish mergers converge on diversity but still masquerade as folksy companies faking name-recognition. Overpopulation is more manageable than bureaucrats imagined. Ten times the population and less than a tenth of the audience. Ten times the revenue for less than a tenth of the takers.
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Long division tallied by cardsharps with longer sleeves. The exponential recoil is loaded every time it doubles. Our progress narrative comes down to a yoyo on a loop after infinity itself has quit. Eliot, Poems Written in Early Youth]. Cavafy, translated by Rae Dalven]. Snow, A Cost of Varnish]. Auden, Juvenilia: Poems 1 ]. Thomas and God]. I to XX, edited by Peter Davison]. Rolph, Books in the Dock]. Connell Jr. P', 9 February [Poetry event celebrating Ezra Pound]. Leavis, ', 21 April Merwin, The Moving Target].
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