A photo stolen from someone on Facebook. Perhaps the best visual embodiment of Blobby’s status as “libidinal ejecta from the class war machine“.
I’m not saying I have single-handedly rejuvenated Mr Blobby into the national consciousness but in January there was a picture of him every 100 metres where I live.
That #10YearDifference trend thing on Twitter has been illuminating and hilarious.
I didn’t think I’d bother joining in but then I found some pictures from a Hallowe’en party I went to in 2009 and they were too good not to share.
This morning I woke up to a drawing of 2019 me with 2009 Hallowe’en makeup on, emerging from a Mr Blobby costume, drawn by @PartyPrat, officially making her my favourite person alive.
Stop the attempted cooption of Mr Blobby. Cease and desist. We cannot allow his narrative to be rewritten by the powers that be.
A sacrilegious article over at Joe.co.uk has suggested that Blobby will be entitled to some sort of state funeral when he dies, as well as suggesting that he is the product of the normalised Oedipal structures of a nuclear family, that he is pervious to common illnesses, that he will be emblazoned on the national currency following his demise.
Ciara Knight asks the question: “So what happens when international icon Mr. Blobby dies?” and informs us:
Rest assured, there is a plan in place. A meticulous set of instructions that must be adhered to. These directions are locked away, with only two people in the world aware of their whereabouts.
The constitution clearly states that the United Kingdom will not be without a fully-functioning Mr. Blobby for a period longer than twenty-four (24) hours or one (1) rotation of the Earth around the Sun.
Blobby was hatched from an egg. We all know this. An egg from where? From the earth itself. He is the product of immaculate conception via palpable social tension. And you think he can simply be removed from this world by some sort of biochemical warfare? In the year of the Skripals, any sudden death of a public figure by curable disease must be treated with the utmost suspicion. It is common knowledge that Blobby will only transcend this mortal plane once the class war is over and full communism has been implemented after the demise of the late capitalist structures that birthed him as irrepressible libidinal ejecta.
So, come on then, Ciara Knight, if that’s your real name, what is this utter fucking bullshit? Who are they trying to kid!? This hyperstitional rehearsal of the death of Blobby would be seen as incredibly distasteful for even a D-list celebrity, never mind someone of Blobby’s stature, synonymous with the much-repressed national spirit in itself.
Blobby is not in the constitution. He is not akin to some former Prime Minister or the Queen Mum. Do not mistake his disruptive nature as being alike to that of Prince Phillip — removed from public life so as not to embarrass the establishment anymore from within. Blobby embarrasses the establishment from without. That is his power.
The only state funeral Blobby will attend is the funeral of the state itself.
As a case in point, I have been enthused to learn, via @oktokuiten, that Mr Blobby was once, at one time, literally possessed by a “hardcore, rave-loving S&M lesbian”, being embodied by the spirit of the age as much as he embodied it — Blobby: the revolutionary and reciprocal subject.
This is very important information and adds a whole new dimension to recent Blobby posting, giving further credence to the suggestion that Blobby was the mutant afterbirth of a repressed rave-era class war machine brought to life through the psychedelic colourgasm of a pink blob with yellow spots. This state-sanctioned image of Blobby is not mere poetic license — it is the reterritorialisation of a figure for the sake of pathetic clickbait. Whoever would do such a thing on a blog or website will be amongst the first against the wall. This is the cold, hard fact of Blobby.
The cooptive attempts do not stop, however. Many questions remain as to what Blobby will be for us. The war over his image and philosophy has been ignited at a moment that could not have been any less expected but also at a most convenient time, with so much of the country in chaos, that I have no doubt many are hoping this rewriting of his history will slip by unnoticed, like the small-print apologia in the tabloid press.
It is very explicit that Blobby is — must be — a positive figure, an anarchic figure, an emblem of desiring-disruption. But what are the stakes of his being coopted in this instance? What exactly are we fighting for? To understand the truth of Blobby is not to render him a costumed rave-loving lesbian as a caricature of another mode of living. We cannot allow him to be rendered grotesque and violent by a newly inaugurated neoliberal media elite.
I had begun to think more about this after I recently revisited a dual set of K-Punk posts, in which Mark Fisher explores the two sides of a contemporary psychedelia.
For Mark, psychedelia was not a general 1960s tie-dye aesthetic but rather the evocation of various potential approaches towards libidinal engineering in the era of Big Pharma and the violent repression of our global dissensus. This is an approach that could be used in various ways, both for consciousness raising and consciousness razing, and this is the same line in the sand that Blobby is being fought over.
Mark would first write about a “psychedelic reason” as a sort of natural egress from the confines of a subjugated inner experience. Whilst Mark advocated for a “getting out of our faces again“, this was not intended as a euphemism for hedonistic mindlessness. Mark would write, in fact, that drugs can be dangerous (ontopolitically speaking) because all they do is reveal to you, often messily, how fragile the subjugated self you hide behind really is. Rip off the mask at your peril. Better to do it carefully, with cunning; under the guiding hand of Baruch Spinoza…
Mark writes that what makes drugs, religious mania, mental illness, et al. dangerous is “not the state of ego-loss itself but the imprecision of the art of maintaining it, the fact that the organism might resume its rights at any moment, crashing you into psychic mini-deaths and melancholic catatonia.” Of course, the joy of Blobby is that there is no such recapitulation in sight; no fix on the horizon. He is on a pure line of flight that is all his own.
The problem with drugs is that they only put the Alien Parasite Entity (= His Majesty the Ego = the thing that calls itself you) to sleep. Their dissolution of the APE is temporary, all-too temporary. And after a while, the neuronal battleground — what you are fighting over AND what you are fighting with, i.e. the only resources you have — is itself damaged. APE has its way as you are dragged/drugged into permanent low-to-deep level depression.
[…] Drugs are like an escape kit without an instruction manual. Taking MDMA is like improving MS Windows: no matter how much tinkering $ Bill does, MS Windows will always be shit because it is built on top of the rickety structure of DOS. In the same way, using ecstasy will always fuck up in the end because Human OS has not been taken out and dismantled.
Blobby, on the other hand, is Linux-as-malware, ripping through the human security system that had tried to eject him. He is rogue code; the APE unbound from its oppressive architecture.
Later, Mark writes about the other side of this psychedelia: “psychedelic fascism”. He begins by quoting Stanley Kubrick, responding to criticism of his film A Clockwork Orange in a letter to The New York Times in 1972. Initially, the critic Fred Hechinger writes the following about Kubrick’s ultraviolent adaptation of the novel of the same name by Anthony Burgess:
“Liberals,” said Malcolm McDowell, star of A Clockwork Orange, “hate that film.” The implication is that there is something shameful in the liberals’ reaction — that at the very least they don’t know the score. Quite the opposite is true. Any liberal with brains should hate Clockwork, not as a matter of artistic criticism but for the trend this film represents. An alert liberal should recognize the voice of fascism.
Kubrick rightly responds:
Hechinger is probably quite sincere in what he feels. But what the witness feels, as the judge said, is not evidence — the more so when the charge is one of purveying “the essence of fascism.”
“Is this an uncharitable reading of … the film’s thesis?” Mr. Hechinger asks himself with unwonted if momentary doubt. I would reply that it is an irrelevant reading of the thesis, in fact an insensitive and inverted reading of the thesis, which, so far from advocating that fascism be given a second chance, warns against the new psychedelic fascism — the eye-popping, multimedia, quadrasonic, drug-oriented conditioning of human beings by other beings — which many believe will usher in the forfeiture of human citizenship and the beginning of zombiedom.
A Clockwork Orange is perhaps the perfect example to draw upon here, in orbit of Blobby. The violence and reckless abandon of both so often steal the limelight whilst it is in fact the language deployed in the midst of their actions that frames the debacles in front of you. From protagonist Alex’s “post-Joycean mash-up of Slavic, Cockney rhyming, Gypsy and Polari” to Blobby’s explosively expressive intonations of blobby blobby blob blob.
Where does fascism enter here? Through the violence of the individual or the smothering violence of the State that seeks to squash the libidinal individual? Mark writes, concurring with Kubrick:
Psychedelic Fascism legitimates and propagates a radically unSpinozist notion of being free: i.e. give free reign to your Inner Child = yr Inner Fascist.
Spinoza rightly says that children are in a state of abjection because, unable to repress their passively-generated and self-damaging impulses, they confuse being free with ‘doing as you please’.
Ask yrself this: who or what is it that cannot or will not explain what it is doing or why it is doing it?
It’s the Inner Child, the Alien Parasite Entity, the Foreign Installation….
‘Don’t mess with my mojo man….’ ‘Hey man, don’t lay that rationality tip on me, it’s, like, the forces of the cosmos being creative, y’know…’
Where is Blobby in all of this? Is he not our Inner Child? No. He has no self-awareness of such a role in the mind of the Repressed Adult. He has no internal justification for his rebelliousness. He is always already abjectly outside the established order. He is an Outer Child at worst, but this is not what he thinks he is. He has no conception of the architecture in which he has been inserted or the anarchitecture that he represents. He is a nomad. He is an outsider absolutely.
But don’t take my word for it. Listen to the man who, as a child himself, brought Blobby radically into his life not as Inner Child but as Father Figure:
Blobby is an anarchist. A pre-internet meme-making, Andy Kaufman-inspired troll, whose sole purpose was to humiliate the questionable craft of Z-list celebrities. A creature whose rebellious anti-establishment blues – well, anti-BBC, too – made working class children smile from Portsmouth to Glasgow at a time when Britain was still recovering from Thatcherism. I like to think my dad would have been sort of proud that a toddler was emotionally-fathered by such a renegade.
This is not the fascism of an Inner Child. This is a hobgoblin, a friend to children and a horror to adults. He is the renegade we don’t yet know.
Today, as the Brexit process falters at another low hurdle, we might also do well to remember here that the first translation of The Communist Manifesto did not translate the “Gespenst” of the book’s opening line as “spectre” but, rather, as hobgoblin.
If there is a frightful hobgoblin stalking Europe today, it is surely Blobby, emerging from the shadow of a doomed-to-fail Brexit. The process has been dismissed by many as anarchy. Blobby is here to show them what real anarchy looks like.
Do not let the state coopt him as they themselves go out of their minds. He is the people’s unconscious. Not theirs.
I looked at him, lost in astonishment. There he was before me, in motley, as though he had absconded from a troupe of mimes, enthusiastic, fabulous. His very existence was improbable, inexplicable, and altogether bewildering. He was an insoluble problem. It was inconceivable how he had existed, how he had succeeded in getting so far, how he had managed to remain — why he did not instantly disappear. […] The glamour of youth enveloped his particoloured rags, his destitution, his loneliness, the essential desolation of his futile wanderings. For months — for years — his life hadn’t been worth a day’s purchase; and there he was gallantly, thoughtlessly alive, to all appearance indestructible solely by the virtue of his few years and of his unreflecting audacity. I was seduced into something like admiration — like envy.Joseph Conrad, “Heart of Darkness”
Mr Blobby has returned to our screens. Out of the wilderness, long thought discontinued, but now back. And I am glad.
Mr Blobby may not be the revolutionary figure that we want, but he is the figure that we need.
On This Morning, ITV’s offensively innocuous breakfast TV show, during a segment about the reality TV show I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here!, presenters Philip Schofield and Rochelle Humes were accosted by the blob whilst discussing — with Maggie Philbin — Noel Edmonds‘ prospects as he takes part in the Australia-based “jungle” show, in which a group of celebrities must survive in a contrived wilderness by doing gross-out tasks and not being “voted out”.
Blobby was introduced as an old friend of Noel’s — his best friend even — which he undoubtedly is: his infamous partner-in-crime from his 1990s heyday on the Saturday night TV sensation Noel’s House Party. Who better to comment on his jungle prospects than him? However, Blobby was not a mere blast from the past. He emerged from backstage timeless. He hadn’t aged a day.
Confused? Don’t worry. The people and their context are irrelevant. They are mere background noise to the return of Blobby. Although, that being said, it was fitting that Blobby should reappear as Edmonds entered the irreality of the celebrity jungle. Who better to represent the truth of the environ in which Edmonds now found himself? As Rochelle Humes joked, perhaps there is no better preparation for the “Jungle” than spending an extensive amount of time with Mr Blobby.
The spatial intensity of an actual jungle is absent from I’m a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! It is presented to participant and viewer through the enclosed quasi-studio representation of culinary horrors or glorified adventure-playground spelunking. This is not a Real jungle. The “Jungle” of I’m a Celebrity… has rules; boundaries. The celebs exist, supposedly at risk from the elements, but nonetheless protected from the world of the non-famous. The Jungle of the Real has no rules. It cares not who you are. It is a lawless energetic expanse. It is a natural anarchitecture. It is Blobby.
Blobby is the last remaining television junglist. He is a mutant; an anarchic mess of desiring-disruption. His violence is in his ineptitude, his inability to conform to the burgeoning sense of neoliberal propriety that was to take hold of the entire nation in orbit of those years when he was first conceived. As such, we might think of Blobby as the national unconscious of this infamously repressed isle, masochistically let loose on ourselves, at the very moment it was to be neutered — for good? Blobby was the last great cultural horror that our nation produced. And we loved him. We needed him.
We still need Mr Blobby today. Perhaps now more than ever.
Writing for The New York Times in 1994, Elizabeth Kolbert notes:
Some commentators have called [Mr Blobby] a metaphor for a nation gone soft in the head. Others have seen him as proof of Britain’s deep-seated attraction to trash. Mr. Blobby “is not some aberration of taste but an intrinsic part of British culture,” one columnist wrote in The Sunday Times of London, adding, “But it’s not the part we like to boast about, especially around the Americans.”
Blobby is the spectre of an unconscious not watched over by a globalist superego. He is not “trash” but a working class hero, unbound from the cultural trappings of bourgeois capture. He is a libidinal entity unleashed upon the bourgeoisie. This was demonstrated most clearly in Blobby’s encounter with Hyacinth Bucket of Keeping Up Appearances — a sitcom about the futile pretensions and inauthenticities of the British petite bourgeoisie. Blobby is the one true authentic being, unrestricted by the oppressions of our micropolitical niceties.
Of course Blobby is not the hero that we boast about. He represents everything we seek to repress: our all-too-human nature. And of course it has been the media class that has long sought to repress him. He is their Frankenstein’s monster, birthed to the masses, and they have been repulsed by the love he received for his chaos, pulling down the curtain, the illusion of their over-scripted and airbrushed lives.
They perhaps intended Blobby to be a warning, a caricature, but he has instead become an icon.
In this way, Blobby is a Lovecraftian mirroring of the self with his Cthulhic stature reduced. He nonetheless remains both king and jester in the court of the symbolic order. To look upon him is to recognise the best of our unconscious qualities — our desires, loves, enthusiasms — given reckless autonomy. The fact that we are baffled by his form only marks our distance from our sense of our true selves.
As this most recent television appearance demonstrates, in the quarter of a century since Blobby emerged from the mind of a TV prank writer and proved too unruly to be restrained by the narrative that birthed him, Blobby has not been tamed. 25 years ago, Blobby was a regular feature on This Morning — or, as it was then known, GMTV. The chaos Blobby brought to that live television environment was like an act of self-harm, shattering the illusion of a suffocating state-sanctioned British propriety.
Was there something in the water? Did the nation really once fall about laughing at the clumsy antics of a bloke in a big pink rubber costume with yellow blobs all over it?
Yes. Bizarrely, Noel Edmonds’s daft sidekick was so popular his single bumped Take That off the top of the charts in 1993. (And has since been voted the most annoying Christmas number one ever.)
It was not a Blobby aphrodisiac that was in the water but the molecular pollutants of Thatcherism: an individualism that sought to purify our dissident natures. Blobby was resistant for far longer than most could have anticipated. He survived so long that many tried to market him, make him an agent of capitalism by creating a theme park in his honour, but all such attempts failed. Blobby was a figure of the fete, not the ticketed enclosure. And so, in the end, he had to be forcibly put down.
In the years since Blobby used to frequently frequent our screens, ITV’s breakfast show has only emboldened itself further, attempting to embody and dictate to the nation a neoliberal moral standing. Arguably, as a result of this, the show has become increasingly Americanised — the studio clinical and over-lit; the presenters the epitome of a soulless straight-toothed respectability. The show’s producers continue to parade guests before the nation who are seen as mutated avatars of their normative values, existing out on the fringes of society. (Most recently, for example, I saw that veganism remains a newsworthy cultural curiosity for some.) As such, This Morning presents itself as a revolving human zoo, under the auspices of public-interest interviews with the nation’s nonconformists.
Blobby is truly antithetical to its nature. He flings himself across the divide; across the delineation between host and guest. The show invites him onto their sofa knowing full well that he’ll flip it over. Why do they do this? In the hope they can defeat him; tame him? Perhaps they too cannot resist the chance to be in the presence of his expenditures. After all, he is their unconscious too. They still do not realise this fact and it is remains their tragic flaw.
The media class had mistakenly thought they had won, overcoming the nation’s hysteric love for this monstrosity, believing they could write him out as easily as he was written in. And so, the media turned on Blobby, declaring him “unfunny”, a symptom of a national dementia, and, unfortunately, it seems like these panicked rejections of the Blob, who threaten to rupture the internal processes of neoliberal subjection, ultimately won out.
We forgot ourselves. They forgot themselves too. But Blobby remains the last true embodiment of rave frivolity, of impolite abandon, of libidinal excess. Blobby is all that we have repressed given a life of its own.
Attempting to explain Mr Blobby to the American public, in her same article for the NYT, Elizabeth Kolbert also writes that
watching Mr. Blobby at work, his green plastic eyes spinning maniacally, one has to wonder whether his appeal to this nation of Shakespeare, Milton and Philip Larkin isn’t a bit more complex. His frozen smile has a malevolent curve. Blobby is Barney without his medication.
But of course he shares this appeal. Barney is surely medicated — just look at him! He is just another victim of the therapeutic imaginary. Blobby represents something too old and too primal to succumb to the modern politics of individualism. He is Shakespeare’s Caliban; Milton’s Satan. Philip Larkin, too, was famous for his beautification of the national unconscious. Blobby is what Larkin could not contain within the pretensions of an intensely English poetics. Blobby can only be expressed through his own immortal tongue. “Blobby blobby blobby!!”
To bring Blobby back in 2018 is surely to unleash that which was long thought vanquished by the transcendental miserablism of the media establishment.
We might understand transcendental miserablism, via Ben Woodard, as that “impregnable form of negation which places all negation in one entity”. For Nick Land, for the British left, this entity is capitalism. What is that entity for the capitalist? Surely it is Blobby.
Blobby is useless. Our negative image, as Woodard suggests, which is devoid of utility. Or perhaps the real danger of Blobby was that he is all too useful, too easily captured by libidinal forces, too easily reduced to our political whims. His alinguistic “blobs” too easily filled as false signifiers.
This is the danger of Blobby but also his revolutionary utility.
In Cyclonopedia, Reza Negarestani writes of a “blobjective” point of view which he attributes to the functionality of “petropolitical undercurrents” — the world as seen by and through oil. Blobby may not resemble the material consistency of oil but he is nonetheless absorbent and free-flowing. He likewise interconnects “inconsistencies, anomalies or what we might simply call the ‘plot holes'” of our neoliberal existence. Blobby travels through the wounds of class war. He is the libidinal ejecta of the class war machine itself, levelling all other idols in his burning immanence, a mutation emerging from the molten intensity of sociopolitical flows. He is, as Reza writes, “a manifest degenerate entity for which wholeness is but a superficial distraction.”
It is this irreverence for the whole that makes Blobby such a threat to the neoliberal order — and so, in 1999, he was extinguished. Now, he has returned, perhaps summoned by the calls of a false jungle. Who knows how he might be able to aid us in future…
His philosophy of life will steer him through
And as far as he can see
He’s the same as you and me
There’s nothing in the world he cannot do
No hill too high, no desert too dry
No road too long, no tide too strong
No bridge too far, he’s got a car
No slope to steep, no thought too deep
No star too bright, no squeeze too tight
No tale too tall, no cat too cool
No bass too low, he’ll give it a go
No end to his talents, no sense of balance
Blobby, oh Mr Blobby, when disaster strikes you never get depressed
Blobby, oh Mr Blobby, you’ll always prove that Blobby is the best