September 13th, 2003


No One Is Innocent

According to the radio just now, the US managed to 'accidentally' shoot about eight Iraqi police officers yesterday which will do wonders for their recruitment drive. Whilst I appreciate these as the actions of a terrified and incompetent armed force, honestly... There's a very dark sitcom to be made one day about this ever deepening hole. 'Deep regret' has been expressed. How about just giving up and going home?
Sitting round at a friend's house two days ago and it struck me that this was it. The feeling that back in the 1920's would have had you thinking that this stinking National Socialist party were going to try and drag the world into the an infernal realm of death. Paranoia, yes, but the argument started falling into place.
There's no way to defeat a guerilla/terrorist style campaign. Well, that's not quite true, time can weaken these things eventually, but there will always be a group of men (and it is almost always men) stuck to their cause even as it drops out of the third division of relevance. Look at ETA, how many people actually give a shit about Basque independence gained through the bomb? It will never happen, but this isn't the issue. Similarly in Northern Ireland, the IRA finds it hard to get people to decommission because that means giving up the preposterous dream, it means men (and it is almost always men) having to admit they have become wrong. Political arguments are prayer flags slowly shredding in the wind and ours are pretty much torn right through. It is time for some new ones to go up.
A guerillla war fought on a number of fronts will be a heavy drain on expenses with minimal financial outlay on the guerilla's side. You only need the perception and the occasional outrage. The US (at least under Bush) can be goaded into ever overreacting to threat. As long as horror is realised domestically from time to time. It is the actions of the US - however understandable - that will drag us all down this road. At a point, the loosely coalesced Islamic world - and maybe others besides - will come to a tacit agreement that they can't put up with this crap for much longer and who can blame them. However powerful and rich the US may be, it will eventually be cornered and it will predictably lash out. Unfortunately, this is a spoilt child with a nuclear arsenal and very unpopular with almost every other kid in the playground. Okay, enough with the analogies... Something needs to hold the US in check. Soviet Union! Where are you now we really need you?
That earlier dream about the army. Yes, I never expected to experience war. It looks like we all may be very soon. And who the hell do I have to fight for? It's you or them. If only it was WWII, I'd fight with the communists: defend Russia, defeat fascism. But there are no communists now. Russia has scuppered its chances through Chechnya, Serbia didn't do Orthodoxy any favours in Bosnia and Kosovo.
Oh fuck, I thought the other night.
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The Man In Black

There's all kinds of celebrity in this world, layered like a Dantean inferno. Fortunately, mention of Angelina Jolie has dropped off in the media recently but the names are hardly important. Her layer is an interminable white noise of psychic distraction from the actual world around us. Willing or not, she is cast in this dark spell.
I can't even mention Johnny Cash in the same paragraph. I remember when Elvis died. Holidaying in France and the headlines 'Elvis est mort fou' - it may not have actually read this, but this is what I remember. What? He's gone mad? I didn't have much idiomatic French at that age but I had visions of him flipping out like George Jones - talking in duck voices or mooning Vegas. No, he was actually dead. Jerry Lee is the only one left of the Million Dollar Quartet - who would have believed it?
A sadness hung over the day. I saw 'Spirited Away' yesterday which I was really impressed with. I'll always go and see Japanese movies, partly to keep the language going, but I had found Princess Mononoke rather annoying and was unconvinced about Studio Ghibli (they certainly don't spend much on the website). But this one really worked, mostly because of its dream logic. If you were in a different mood you might call this poor scripting though. Hardly any annoyance, but I did jump out of my seat and leave the moment the end title song began. Aaarrrgggh!
I came back home and read through some obituaries and tributes. I watched the 'Hurt' video. Oh my, there's June on the stairs. It's almost an end to country music, to that strand reaching back to Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter Family. Cash's marriage into the Carter family was as powerful a union as anything the Borgias ever came up with and now they're no longer here with us. Who's left? George Jones, Merle Haggard maybe... But neither of them have that gravitas that Cash developed, where he became almost like a biblical figure of suffering, humility and vision. Simple as his songs and singing always were, there was always something of the mystic about him. Ralph Stanley is coming over to London in a month or so. Let it be so!
The America I believed in, a quest I could have followed, this highly disparate childhood dream of musicians and writers, almost all gone: Cash, Elvis, Burroughs, Dick - not sure that party would have worked out in the real world.
Once I was sick with the obituaries, I had a look at Genesis P Orridge's old site which has become hijacked by some American phone company. Always like to know what the old man is up to. However, I did find a current site for him. I was astonished to see that next year, the original Throbbing Gristle line up are reforming for a weekender down in Kent! What? A whole weekend? At Pontin's? YES! Makes that Wild West Weekend seem sober by comparison. I must go, I thought. Only catch is that you have to book a chalet for four (and those may go soon) and that means a minimum outlay of £500! Unfortunately I'm the only TG fan I know these days. I could just about put it on the credit card, but it's hard to rationalise it. What the fuck has Throbbing Gristle to do with the rational mind though?
I dreamed I was there. The chalets were a let down - they turned out to be mud filled tents and the friend I was with, well, she understandably wasn't happy with this and left. The dream ended with me wandering into some industrial estate filled with sexual disappointment at her disappearance - which is probably how the weekend will go in the end should I manage to make it.
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