Monday, July 05, 2010

Monday 5 July 2010 – X-DAY

Dream: my neighbour (the owner) is giving me shit regarding my attitude towards my current neighbour (the tenant).  He tells me that I am being a hypocrite over the bin bag issue.  I take this comment on board.

I am on the drag this morning, everything is delayed, late and holding me up.  Digging out fresh clothes today proves more troublesome than is rational and by the time I am eating breakfast and sorting out my flashdrive to take to work it has long since passed time to leave.

As I exit our building I spot The Ghost who as visibly already been in our courtyard for a long time.  Pulling away I notice that my bedroom window is still wide open but I don’t really possess the time to get out of my car to close it.  Here’s hoping we do not get visited by burglars today.

The drive to the station comes with some kind of mantra based on “Don’t Stop Me Now” by Queen which goes along the lines of “don’t get in my way”.  In the end my song is not successful, if anything it appears to prompt more things holding me up.

Pulling into the train station I spot Epiphany Girl who is also visibly late for the train too.  As ever her look is of distress but my suspicions would lead me to believe that this is just how she looks anyway, the expression she has on her birthday, the expression she has when she is having sex.

My march of disaster gets completed when I spot some old fucker parking in “my space”.  This alone is the most surefire sign that I am going to have a hard time today.

As I stomp from my car to the station I spot the train I need to be on pulling into the platform.  The platform is far away and there is not much likelihood that I am going to get across to board it in time.  In the end despite not standing a chance I arrive just ten seconds late where I witness the train pulling away on time for one of the first times in history.

From here I find myself resigned to catching/boarding the 7.03AM train that I used to get daily.  Immediately I spot Ric Flair Guy who appears to recognise me along with Epiphany Girl who evidently missed the 6.59AM also.

It is weird being on this train again, strange and unpleasant.  It appears to fills quicker and more so than the 6.59AM and as a result it doesn’t make for a fun journey.  When the train stops at Stratford I am reminded of just how much it clears out at this stop, those poor slobs that have to head over to the Docklands to make their millions (for others) being evil bankers.

The train eventually pulls into Liverpool Street at 8.05AM which is as about as late as I remember it being, something that always frustrated me last year considering that when I first caught the train when I started commuting it would generally pull in at 8AM.

Unsurprisingly off the back of this streak of annoyances the computers are down when I arrive into work.  Frustratingly as I step in and before I have even sat down my boss is bothering me to do something about it.  From here three times I enter the server room pressing random buttons on random machines.  Scotty from Star Trek I am not.  Eventually we get back online thanks to the efforts of the operations manager.  Then at this point my boss asks me to do the bank.  I haven’t even checked my email by this stage, I just need to sit down and gather myself.  This is too much to deal with immediately on a Monday morning.

Eventually things calm down and by the time I get going it is already lunch.  I throw caution to the wind, fending off carb fears and going for penne Arrabbiata and chargrilled chicken.

Today is X-Day, the annual day of celebration for the Church Of Subgenius.  On this day the end of the world is always scheduled but thus far has not occurred since its inception in 1998.  These days there are symbolic effigy burnings of Bob Dobbs, a baptism where participants can have their sins washed away and receive new ones in return and various other events to mark the day which one day just might include the end of the world.  I begin to wonder if the annoying events that have happened to me already this morning are as a result of this big day.

Into the afternoon the balls gets rolling at a so so rate, not exactly along the lines of the productivity of last week.

At the end of play tonight I head straight down to the Southbank Centre to see SLAVOJ ZIZEK speak at the London Literature Festival.  This is a hot ticket, this is the guy that appears to be fronting the festival and here I am with a ticket in the fourth row of the Royal Festival Hall.

Naturally I get to the place early which sees me hanging around beforehand trying not to look awkward and wrestling back a sense of feeling uncomfortable.  Tonight I have told somebody that I will record the set for them on my iPhone and having cleared space on the sim card I feel I am ready to go.  Unfortunately as potter and arrange my belongings it would appear some residue from my bottle of water seeps into the cracks of my broken iPhone and suddenly it freezes, refusing to function.  Even worse it suddenly begins to emit and incredible heat that I have never experienced from coma mode before.  This just might be the final end of said iPhone.

Regardless SLAVOJ ZIZEK turns out to be a real star (as expected).  He opens the event in lecture form as he delivers a talk describing and demonstrating why global capitalism is now nearing an end.

By introduction selections from his Guardian Q&A are read out in front of him which offer/give a decent measure of the man, not least in his lack of embarrassment in exhibition.

Then he goes off.  Before long he is using the term “emergency state” with regards to the current world climate.  He then moves onto the role that religion plays in controlling the masses and how he has experienced similar (satisfactory) morality in hedonists away from such direction/dictation.

To exhibit his theory he plays three video clips as examples – a song from both The Sound Of Music and Cabaret followed by a harsh clip from a Bertolucci movie called 1900.

Particularly amusing is how he heavily reads into the performance of “Climb Ev’ry Mountain” in The Sound Of Music, commenting how when he saw the movie as a youngster in the former Yugoslavia that it was cut out.  Then after the “Tomorrow Belongs To Me” clip from Cabaret, ZIZEK scolds the audience for not clapping/applauding this scene when they had the former.

The arguments of ZIZEK are rapid and realistic, sensible and considered that do not sound wild despite their frequent reading between the lines and into gestures with potentially unnecessary depth.  The guy speaks at 100 words per minute as ideas wrestle their way to the surface while all remains laymen.

Eventually he brings his lecture to a conclusion taking a seat next to Anthony Grayling for the Q&A session commenting “now “Super Ego” tells me where I was going wrong.  Again he talks at length and a rapid rate as barely three questions get asked off him.

It begins on the topic of the relationship between faith and the vanguard.  In no time ZIZEK is claiming how the workers movement is really no different to more frowned upon rulers and soon he is commenting on the failings of George Orwell and communism.  Basically he smashes down idealised notions and soughts to expose corruption and hypocrisy in the conventional perception of these things.  It taps into my own theories and fears of the beneath the surface hostility in an age when people very much take things, such as racism, at face value.  Although certainly I do feel it is a failing of the left to over think and over analyse things, to rationalise too far, I do think sometimes the surface positive and thus populist appearance of certain lefty movements and conventions does prevent fair and necessary review.

From here the conversation moves onto ideology structures between religion and government and how they’re used to control.  The opinion appears to be that autonomy (an easy life) is what the masses desire and this is how/why both religion and communism thrived.  In the words of ZIZEK “freedom makes life nervous”.

About an hour in he finally mentions Obama and naturally it is critique.  The example is in the context of ecology and the recent reaction to the BP disaster.  ZIZEK discusses how it involved the wrong kind of finger pointing, how when it became politicised the story became more about blame rather than repair.

In another movie comparison ZIZEK compares trends to Terry Gilliam’s Brazil and how life is becoming several small freedoms rather than sweeping totalitarianism.  ZIZEK appears of the opinion that capitalism is now in terminal decline and that once it is over a new kind of communism with a new/different kind of subjectivity.  In response this he says “friends do call me “Fidel”.”

Ultimately it comes down to human nature and ego, human desire and hedonism, which are the origins and urges behind capitalism.  And to some extent the logic of envy, the attitude that it be important “not so much that I win but the other guy loses”.  This however will apparently be adjusted by ecology and biogenism which will change human nature as it gets faced with new issues.

While the interview is conducted and Grayling asks questions ZIZEK furiously scribbles notes to order and when he later drops his pen on the floor without realising watching him struggle to find it is a funny moment, observing him distracted outside his comfort zone while still managing to remain focused on the job/task at hand.

Eventually the questioning moves onto inquisition from the audience, albeit thankfully already prepared than live.  The first question is great: who is it permissible to hate?  To this he responds he “has no problem with hatred” and that the problem is with love.  Beware of regimes that demand love for their leaders.  However he doesn’t appear to want to name names.

Then after a non-delivered “completely censored” question (no doubt about the ignored Islam) the grilling is thrown out to the audience for questions “that will prompt a short answer” to which ZIZEK responds “you want me to play a Buddhist fool”.

The first question asks if from the failings of Christianity and communism in the 21st century, whether they can learn from each other (not much it seems) and then finally a question of the process of Hugo Chavez and the like in Latin America.  He is not a fan of the way such revolutions are interpreted in Europe.  The popularity and excitement is all in theory, the reality can’t sustain.  The trap Chavez is falling into is populism.  Eventually this side steps to him discussing Mugabe and the situation of Black Africa in general and the financial failings there.  It ends with him calling for “humanitarian racism”.

In absolutely no time his hour and a half slot flies by when it really feels as if he is just getting warmed up and he has it in him to talk all night and retain an interesting and captivating hold on proceedings.

I leave the Southbank feeling exhilarated and enthused.  Tonight I feel one of the smartest people in town because I was savvy enough to here, savvy enough to be in the fourth row.

Beyond this I soon find myself back at Liverpool Street at a decent time and quickly wheeling my way home where I step in just after 11PM.  On top of this I even find time to watch the NDubz documentary.  Those people truly are scum.

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