Buddies Without Organs — Episode #08:
The War Machine

ICYMI: episode #08 of the Buddies Without Organs podcast is now live in all the places you can get podcasts. We were joined by Lucy from Wyrd Signal, reading the nomadology chapter of A Thousand Plateaus.

Head to buddieswithout.org for more info.

After the Maestro

A few weeks ago, Sean, Lucy and I were invited by Tom K. Kemp to play After the Maestro, a prototype TTRPG he has been developing “set within an ‘anthropomorphised anatomy’.”

Players adopt the roles of groups of microbial and cellular workers during the aftermath of a successful labour emancipation within the inner body, where the ‘Maestro’, or centralised vital force of the body, has been removed. Each session of the game generates a new narrative of anatomical and social re-organisation, complicating and estranging common body-politic metaphors into a tale of emancipatory body-horror.

We each chose a different organ or organism to role-play and navigate through a body in crisis. Sean, in true Bataillean fashion, plays the Pineal Gland; Lucy plays Toxiplasma-gondii; Tom plays the heart; and I bring the tone down by playing as Spermatazoa. But in each instance we learned a great deal about what these particular parts of the body do, and what they could do if emancipated from predetermined roles.

You can listen to episode one above, and episode two below.

Recorded at Rupert Residency, LT, I was joined by Matt Colquhoun aka Xenogothic, and Lucy and Sean of the horror philosophy podcast Wyrd Signal and Deleuze and Guattari podcast Buddies Without Organs. Over these 2 episodes, Matt, Lucy and Sean and myself use the game to tell a semi-improvised story incorporating biological fact, phenomenology, political analogy and ‘the body without organs’. How might toxiplasmosis parasites articulate their desires? What responsibility does spermatazoa have to its origin body? What lies beneath the ruins of a stopped heart?

These episodes are kindly hosted by fanfare Amsterdam and MKG Hamburg as part of Radio Orsimanirana.

Postcapitalist Desire:
XG on Hermitix

I was the first guest on the Hermitix podcast, back in those heady days of late 2018. I am now also the 78th guest. Many thanks to Meta for having me back again, on a podcast that covers such an insane amount of ground, to once again talk about Mark Fisher and, more specifically, the recently released collection of Fisher’s lectures, Postcapitalist Desire. Always a pleasure.

Listen above via YouTube, or over on Podiant. If you enjoy it, make sure to follow Hermitix on Twitter, and subscribe, donate or become a Patreon to help keep the show going!

Extinction, Apocalypse and Desire:
XG with Thomas Moynihan on the MIT Press Podcast

I really enjoyed talking to Tom about his work a few weeks back, hosted by Sam Kelly at the MIT Press Podcast. Tom and I have been friends for a few years now, since Cave Twitter coalesced into the Vast Abrupt. The last time we saw each other, he and Laurie Kent came round for dinner at XG HQ after the Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture and we broke bread with the Gruppo Ni Nun. I’m very much looking forward to pints when we return to the before-times.

Having known each other for a while, it was quite strange to come together like this and talk business, but it was also a good excuse to just gush over Tom’s work for an hour, which I hugely admire. Listening back, my questions for Tom were big — perhaps a little too big — but that is why his work is so interesting. To think about things at the biggest possible scale is something I struggle with — a lot of my own work struggles with this quite openly, actually. But Tom’s work makes it look very easy, and it is thrilling for that.

Check the podcast out below or search “MIT Press Podcast” wherever you get your podcasts.

Buddies Without Organs:
Episode #01: Body Without Organs

I am very excited to announce that Sean the hauntonaut and I have started a new podcast together. It is called Buddies Without Organs.

The premise is that we are two buddies making neither head nor tail of Deleuze. Each week we pick a concept from Deleuze’s writings, read a relevant chapter from one of his books, and then try to guide each other (and you) through it, throwing it against our various interests as we go.

For the first episode we tackled — what else? — the “body without organs”. We’re hoping to do another episode every two weeks from here on out.

You can listen below via Soundcloud, follow us on Twitter here, and also follow the podcast as an RSS feed here.

Also, go and check out George Rennie, who has written a magnificent theme tune for us.

Welcome to the inaugural episode of Buddies Without Organs.

Hosted by Sean Pearce and Matt Colquhoun, BwO is a podcast exploring the concepts of Gilles Deleuze. Perhaps the best known of the French post-structuralists of the second half of the twentieth-century, Deleuze is a notoriously difficult thinker to read closely. Together, Sean and Matt hope to better their own understanding of his body of work as well as open up new entry points for others.

We began our adventure with our podcast’s namesake — the body without organs.

The BwO theme tune was written and recorded by George Rennie

Tornadoes: XG on Come Internet With Me

Over the weekend, I followed @thejaymo down a clickhole for his incredibly wholesome web show, Come Internet With Me. We spent an hour talking about what I’d probably be writing about if I wasn’t doing all this other nonsense — tornadoes — as well as Microsoft Excel…?

Towards the end of our hour-long chat, we ended up reading about tornadoes in London — one that occurred in 1091, apparently destroying London Bridge and another that happened in 1954. For some reason, there’s only footage of the aftermath of the second one but its a terrifying sight. It is reminiscent of the London Blitz in a way must have been pretty traumatic for people.

I promised Jay I would continue this click hole to see where else it led me.

I ended up looking up two further storms to strike Britain in the twentieth century — not just singular tornadoes but “outbreaks”. One was in 1913, which led to two tornadoes in England and three in South Wales — this website provides a pretty thorough timeline of the destruction — and the other was in 1981, the largest tornado outbreak in European history. This resulted in tornadoes touching down in Liverpool, Birmingham, Hull, Manchester, the Welsh town of Holyhead and the Warwickshire village of Stoneleigh. Over a five-hour period on the 23rd April that year, there were 104 confirmed tornadoes. I found this very dense 2016 academic paper with diagrams galore re-examining the conditions that led to the outbreak.

I think part of my interest in tornadoes comes from the few I used to hear about happening over Hull. I remember one year there were reports of one that felled a tree and flipped a few cars. I tried to find a few reports about this but couldn’t find one I recognised. There were, however, various reports of other tornadoes forming (if not quite touching down) over Hull with a surprising frequency. The most recent was in 2019 (with video here), another in 2014 which caused considerable damage (with another report here). The one I heard about must have been in the mid-2000s.

I wonder if East Yorkshire experiences these things more frequently than I first thought? It would explain the strange synchronicities I’ve found in relationships with people over the years. I will never forget the first time I ever met my birth mother, we somehow ended up on this topic and I told her that it was a secret dream of mine to live in a van for a year and just chase storms full-time. She literally replied, “oh my god me too!” And that was weird…

Anyway, tornadoes are crazy and fascinating and wild.

Go check out the rest of Jay’s stuff on his website. He publishes a wonderfully diverse range of content and is legitimately one of the most interesting people I know.

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