Saturday, 20 June 2009

Why I went missing is a fictional truth

Five weeks. A voluntary silence. I simply didn't feel like communicating anything with anyone. I simply didn't feel I wanted to exist at all, socially. I shut myself off even from the few friends I have. And then one horrific night I lost all control, almost (literally) cut off the arteries forever, simply could not face the legitimisation of fascism which is the logical aftermath of the mass's powerlessness against both centuries of division and the legacy of neoliberalism in our own time. I still wonder how I survived.

But I did, and it was only today that I wanted to engage myself again, felt some desire to make something of the present, tempting as it is to forever live in irrecoverables, whether you yourself experienced them (the Royal Festival Hall twenty years ago, singing my life out before it had even begun) or whether they were never within my reach in the first place (British industry when we could still con ourselves that it existed). I wanted to say something, at least. The thought cannot leave my mind that, if not quite a post-partition South Ossetia or Serb-dominated area of 1990s Bosnia, north-east England in ten years' time may at least be the equivalent of, say, the Russian-majority areas in Ukraine. The man I was most cowardly to isolate myself from (there can be an excuse, but there can be no true defence) is welcome to comment on that. I did, actually, feel a certain amount of relaxation and happiness today - perhaps it was having the best ride for ages on Friday afternoon, cantering to the point of quiet elation. And it's when that happens that I feel there's still a reason, and I want to engage again. I can only hope it lasts.


  1. There were some positives in the results - Greens gaining more than the BNP, just spread more thinly; Tories (and indeed the BNP, except in one or two areas) hardly surging, when compared with 2004. Look at the London vote; combined Tory / UKIP vote actually down. Yet, such trends tend to be in the more progressive cities. Very disappointing overall to see people aren't turning to more radical options. The reforms needed for the EU come from the left, and several parties were suggesting such. Too many simply did not vote, allowing the BNP in by default.

    The North-East; the only area to stay Labour, albeit with movement towards the right generally. (less than some other areas granted) Sunderland comes out of it badly (all BNP / UKIP / CON up a bit) Hartlepool comes out of it v. badly (UKIP actually topping the poll), Newcastle well with the Tory/UKIP % falling.

  2. I may have got ahead of myself above. I just wonder whether this might have been the last time.

    Did you receive the DVDs and Monthly Film Bulletin I sent you, and have you got anywhere with copying the material we mentioned?

    I will look back through the recent archives of your blog very, very soon. I'm stronger again, now.

  3. My blog has been stalled for far too long (bogged down with writing up the short stories, though there is interesting stuff to come; will also definitely do the week of children's stories at some point in the summer - as well as the musicians week, Peter Hammill and John Foxx included), though I the Pet Shop Boys / Newcastle United pieces are certainly worth a look.

    Yes, received the material; watched the first "Lefties", tying so much into the Baby Boomers story we all know so well - sixties radicalism and a different way of living subsumed by the 90s / 00s into a pact with the establishment; so many of them making money and with their traditional families, ideals now at best hats to don and ditch as the mood takes them.

    re. copying: Only "Traitor" so far; I need to free up more hard space (so much on recently; BBC2/4 poetry season, Miner's Strike programmes - including a c.2004 Channel 4 one with predictably crass and ghastly use of the pop music of the time - wow, pickets and police clash let's play bloody "Wild Boys" for the millionth time!) and also to buy a load of discs. Be assured, these will be on the way though I cannot make promises for exactly how quickly. The "Six Plays" are an immense achievement, and you must clearly see those... had you watched "A Day Out", again? I think you must have, but am not sure I recall you writing about it on any of your blogs?

  4. I saw 'A Day Out', and recorded it, when it was shown on BBC Four in 2004; hard really to write about it without repeating myself (and others), but suffice to say that it was (and I'm sure I'd still think this if I rewatched it, as I should) one of the most moving pieces of television I'd ever seen.

    I think I will lend you 'The Amazing Schoolgirl from America' (Schoolgirls' Own Library, June 1958 - basic scenario: 1950s Miley Cyrus equivalent is sent to stuffy old boarding school, and from that alone you *know* it's going to be sociological dynamite) for your children's week: as a story in and of itself it is every bit as tedious and uninventive as pretty much every other SGOL ever, but as a time capsule of Britain's surrender, the moment when its weakness and emptiness - the obsolete nature of its grandeur - became blatantly obvious, and *everyone* joined in and succumbed, it could barely be improved upon. Amazing that John McKibbin (who as either 'Janet McKibbin' or, as in this case, 'Elise Probyn', wrote most of the SGOLs which allude to the nascent pop culture) had been born in the 19th Century (I know Macmillan also had but all the same ...) and would die in 1963, and so would not live to see the full expression of the world to whose birth he was playing midwife - he seemed to have a remarkable understanding of what was happening and *why* it was happening, and his knowledge (displayed more clearly in another story, 'Her American Schooldays' from November 1959, of which I've only read the start so far) of US ways and practices suggests that he had spent some time there.