2022 Slug

2022 has started sluggishly. After a Bank Holiday weekend spent out on the moors, I started to feel pretty rotten as the return to work was imminent. A week later, I’m only just recovering and emerging from my sick bed. I thought it was a nasty cold, which I was struggling to fight off on account of it being my first cold since late 2019… Now I’m not sure if it was the Omicron variant of coronavirus or not… I tested myself repeatedly and each test was negative, but I’ve since discovered all my symptoms were basically the same as Omicron, which does not present the same way as the initial coronavirus and its first few variants did. I’m inclined to trust the tests, and it was on the basis of these tests that my partner hasn’t self-isolated with me. But I’m nonetheless left with a deep dread and uncertainty that I’m not sure I’ve felt since this crisis first started.

So that’s how my 2022 is going so far. It has been dreadful — quite literally. Now I’m back to work, after a delayed start, and I’m already feeling exhausted by it. That seems to be the case for a lot of people. Christmas should have been a nice break, a pause, but now everyone I know feels ready for another one, as so many people spent most of the holidays being sick. But 2021 to-do lists have returned with the expectation we’re all well rested, and it does not feel good. One result of this, for the blog at least, is that it has led to a crisis of direction, and I’m thinking I might let the blog continue to slow down for the time being until I figure out what this space is for.

I say this every six months or so, of course, and acknowledging it publicly is often all it takes to shake off the cobwebs, but it feels more interesting to acknowledge right now, if only because a lot of people are talking about the direction of blogging in general.

I wrote something about all this in November, at least in light of some unfair appraisals of the old blogosphere. But the more pressing question is: how does blogging sit in relation to all else that is going on online, with the rise of newsletters and event-blogs and web3? Jay sent me a few links earlier this week on this, featuring a few other people’s 2021 roundups, and it seems there’s a lot of self-reflection in the air.

Venkatesh Rao had a lot of interesting things to say about web3 in his end of year round-up, for instance. I remember feeling quite excited about that last year, if only because the dream of being able to afford to blog full-time never quite goes away. It’s never about the money, but a lack of money nonetheless affects the amount of time I have to spend on this space. In fact, I’d wager a general time-poverty has led to a more fragmentary social media landscape and blogosphere. (Forget Johann Hari’s latest screed on our dwindling attention spans; a lot of us are just overworked and underpaid.) Rao writes on this increasingly fragmentary future:

We are in a liminal passage with blogging, where the medium has no message.

[…] It feels like the entire blogosphere (what’s left of it) took the year off to figure out a new identity — if one is even possible — in a world overrun by email newsletters, Twitter threads, weird notebook-gardens on static sites or public notebook apps, and the latest challenger: NFT-fied essays.

All those new media seem to have clear ideas of what they are, or what they want to be when they grow up. But this aging medium doesn’t. And while I have a presence in all those younger media, they don’t yet feel substantial enough to serve as main acts, the way blogging has for so long.

Perhaps there is no main-act medium in the future. Perhaps we are witnessing the birth of a glorious new polycentric media landscape, where the blogosphere will be eaten not by any one successor, but by a collection of media within which blogs will merely be a sort of First Uncle to the rest. The medium through which you say embarrassing things at Thanksgiving, with all the other media cringing. Maybe, just as every unix shell command turned into a unicorn tech company, every kind of once-blog-like content will now be its own medium. Listicles became Twitter, photoblogs became Instagram, and so on.

The entire blogosphere is going through perhaps its most significant existential crisis since the invention of blogging 22 years ago. […] Ironically, every couple of years through that period, there has been a round of discussion on “the death of blogging,” but now that it seems to be actually happening, there isn’t an active conversation around it.

If this is the end, it’s a whimper rather than a bang.

I’m not sure it is the end. Blogs still serve a function that these other mediums do not, at least when used as intended. Matt Web is a little more clear cut in his thoughts on this, echoing Rao but with less uncertainty in his tone. He writes:

I recommend blogging whenever I talk to people with interesting ideas, which is frequently. Start by writing down what you know, I say, in public. Writing things down (a) gives you stepping stones for thought so you can move past your ideas and reach for bigger ones; and (b) fizzes out brand new ideas because the shearing between a thought in your head and your thought in words makes a kind of generative static electricity.

That is something I couldn’t agree with more. Not every blogpost on xenogothic is a hit with mY aUdIeNcE, explicitly worth your time, pushing tHe DiScOuRse dramatically forwards. But every post indicates the movement of some sort of thought for me personally. It clears space for other things or rejuvenates some line of inquiry. That’s why Rao’s observation that blogging has often been preoccupied with its own demise isn’t that surprising. Every time this death is openly acknowledged, blogging acquires a new lease of life. That’s what happens on an individual level, if you ever take the time to paradoxically narrate your own writer’s block (it helps!), and collectively, as a whole community wonders aloud about its own direction.

Are other mediums as capable of doing that? Or resuscitating themselves? Probably, but the very function of blogging makes it easier. As Webb continues:

With email newsletters you can get obsessed with “audience” and making each edition “worth” hitting your readers’ inboxes… but with blogging you can let the idea lead. There’s just enough open air to keep you honest. Only do write regularly, otherwise each post becomes an event.

Rao comments on this as well, expanding a little more on the NFT-fied essay. In principle, it sounds like an interesting development towards sustainability. But the problem is that blogs, if we recognise them as often gargantuan archives of free information, ideas and discussion, don’t really lend themselves to the one-off essay every few months. Increasingly, of course, people do use blogs that way, but I agree with Rao, below, in that this way of working is fundamentally “unbloggy”. He writes:

Web3 does have its own native long form already — the NFTified essay, with mirror.xyz as the main current locus of action. The NFTfied essay is a natural outgrowth of a certain kind of laboriously wrought (in some cases overwrought) and produced (often overproduced) essay that became popular in the last few years.

These tend to “drop” like music singles by major artists. Publication as a notable micro-media event rather than routinely scheduled media flow. Very unbloggy.

I’ve been uncomfortable with this mode of essaying since I first spotted it. Most of my writing is improvised in a single session the day it is published, and it is barely wrought or produced at all. Much of it is also too lightweight to “drop” at all in Earth’s media gravity field. At best it can sort of float down like a feather.

I couldn’t relate to that more.

So, not exactly likely to turn into a native medium for me. I don’t think I can ever produce such a high-stakes essay.

But that said, it’s early days yet. There is a lot of richness to Web3 technology, and it’s going to support more than one mode of publishing.

In that spirit, what’s next for 2022? How to start the year off with a bang? Maybe it’s not worth trying yet. It seems best to watch closely and see how things develop. I have no qualms with migrating this whole archive to a new place, if it makes sense for me and the whole blogging ideal. But I also feel like I have a few very unbloggy years ahead.

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to get out of this year, both online and out of life more generally. I’m anticipating, even hoping, things will be quieter around here. I think 2022 is going to be an important transition year, as I enter my 30s and effectively restart my life a bit, and as blogging takes a moment to continue thinking about its own raison d’être. I think that’s true of me as well. Without going into the details too much, the end of last year and the start of this one have been quite painful. Everything that has been stable for the last decade is about to change. Admittedly this amounts to, like, one central relationship and its surrounding entanglements, which do matter to me a great deal, all coming to an amicable, even exciting, but ultimately terrifying end. The prospect of new adventures is on the horizon, but it means saying goodbye to a lot of what I’ve known for the last ten years. This is a hard thing to acknowledge. It has meant the end of 2021 has been defined by a strange grief, as if knowing a present way of life is terminal and doesn’t have long left in it. Processing this ahead of time, rather than adapting by necessity in the moment, has led to a strange kind of mental distancing taking place, even though nothing has yet changed. But it’s about to…

Right now, there are a few more pressing matters. I still have my next book to finish, and whilst I thought I’d be able to have a first draft done by the end of last year — always with the wishful thinking; remember when I announced Egress was done 18 months before it finally hit the shelves? — it is going to take me a couple more months yet. This has less to do with the amount of work that still needs to be done on it, and more to do with the time I have available to spend on it… I took a week off work back in November to break its back, and am confident the first half is now complete. The second half could do with another week in the mind-oven, however… But I’m not sure I have the time to take another week off to finish it until at least the spring… I also have two commissions on the go right now — one short, the other long — and I desperately need to spend some time on those when I’m not doing my proofreading / copyediting day job. The longer commission is really cool, actually. It has a March deadline and I’ve already got the main scaffolding in place in my excitement over Christmas. But I’m not allowed to talk about it yet, so watch this space for more on that.

There’s also a lot of other life stuff going on. Another deadline on the horizon is for PhD funding applications. The various projects I’ve stuck pins in over the last year or two are all pretty major and require the sort of dedication and research time I just don’t have access to anymore, as financial pressures have accumulated over the last four years I’ve been running this blog, mostly whilst working freelance or part-time.

Though I’ve resisted it for a long time, a return to academia now feels like the only avenue left available if I really want a few more years trying out the writing life. To that end, I’m hoping to turn one of my various shelved book projects into a research project — the long-term going being to jump through its various hoops and then hopefully transform whatever I produce into something more readable for a general audience a few years down the line.

But I have mixed feelings about that process. Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard to get away from a lot of my more academic tendencies, picked up as a postgraduate five years ago. I think I’ve been quite successful. Narcissus in Bloom is relatively free of citations, for instance, in a way that Egress was not. In fact, the whole attraction of working on that book in particular, at the expense of the few others I have percolating on my desktop, is that it is building on ideas I’ve held onto and developed since I was an undergraduate, if not before. (One chapter pulls together a bunch of my art-historical interests — and even a few actual notes — going back to my school days in around 2008, which is quite weird, now that I think about it…) So this next book has written itself without too much further reading being necessary. That is not the case for anything else I’d like to work on, however, even with the blog functioning as a place to store and put out fleeting snippets of research and stray thoughts.

But the thought of going back into academia for a stint, in order to facilitate this, nonetheless makes me nervous. I have spent a lot of time learning more about the English language and its rules recently, for instance, having transformed myself into a grammar nerd over the last 18 months, in part as I decided to retrain as a proofreader at the start of the pandemic so I could work remotely. (Ten years experience as an arts administrator working front of house in art galleries made for a bleak CV when all those places shutdown for a year…) This has helped immensely with crafting a more formal writerly voice that differs from my blog tone but is still (if not even more) readable and non-academic, and I hope a PhD doesn’t undo that. Nevertheless, it feels like the only way available right now to properly start something new, to reclaim the time to read and digest and write properly, without going full grift and erecting paywalls and going back to the full-time freelance life.

It is also for all of these reasons that I am wondering about the purpose of this space going forwards. I’m also very aware that, at the moment, I’ve been posting a lot of photography and writing a lot about online drama. The latter is not really what I want this space to be used for, although it has long had a place and sometimes needs must. But using the blog as a space to respond rather than generate ideas has become increasingly normal these past six months, simply because I have so much less time and energy than when I first started this blog and my main writing project hasn’t needed workshopping.

So there’s lots to think about and consider and work on as the year progresses, and I’m not sure if any of this is really appropriate to discuss on this public platform going forwards. I’ll have to figure that out. Every time I say this, of course, it flicks a switch and beckons a new period of productivity, because blogs are nothing if not cunning receptacles for writerly detritus, alleviating writer’s block as soon as you moan about it, but the problem is that I really do need to channel that energy elsewhere if I’m to stay afloat this year.

At the very least, I’d like to increase the amount of photo posts I do here. At the end of last year, I was worried about my photos smothering my writing, but that led to a hefty 2021 backlog, and in hindsight, I wish I’d just embraced the smothering. Going forwards, I think I will. I’m still yet to write about the time spent in the Roussillon in September last year, when I spent a lot of time thinking about images and writing and the work of Claude Simon, so hopefully I’ll have that out in a few weeks or months. I’d like to explore how the photos I take can become their own writing prompts. As Matt Webb rightly said, it’s best to let the ideas lead the way. No use being precious about where those ideas come from or what form they take.

Vile Venerations, Past and Present:
Thoughts on Blair and Colston

The news that the “Colston 4” were acquitted this week was received with joy by almost all. Perhaps not quite as much joy as the initial dumping of Colston’s statue into the River Avon, which provoked an ecstasy that would be hard to replicate, but that their act was legitimated in a court of law was a welcome and heartening surprise nonetheless.

We all know it is rare for courts of law to follow the path of social justice, which is so often based on a critique of the punitive arm of the establishment that the courts themselves represent. The acquittal of the Colston 4 bucked that trend. For that same reason, it was no surprise whatsoever that some of the right’s prized idiots immediately questioned the jury, making pathetic attempts to stoke a moral panic about the precedent that their judgment may set for Britain in 2022. (Obvious answer: none.)

The fact that Jake Skuse, Rhian Graham, Milo Ponsford, and Sage Willoughby were found not guilty of criminal damage was an utterly dangerous denial of reality, various right-wing pundits argued. But no one, not even the defendents themselves, claimed that no damage had been done. The suggestion here was that not all damage is physical and not all physical damage is criminal. As such, the statue staying put on its perch did more damage to the city and people of Bristol than its unsanctioned removal ever could. A jury, presumably made up of fellow Bristolians, understandably agreed that even the tacit veneration of Colston’s legacy in the 21st century was an ongoing insult to the people of Bristol.

This legacy was best and most starkly summarised by Zarah Sultana MP on Twitter, shortly after the trial verdict was announced:

Edward Colston was responsible for violently transporting 84,000 Africans to the Caribbean. They were chained, beaten and raped, with 19,000 dying en route.

Grotesquely, a statue was put up to honour him in Bristol, but today in court those who toppled it were rightly cleared.

Originally tweeted by Zarah Sultana MP (@zarahsultana) on January 5, 2022.

It was a legacy that had long clouded the city centre like a foul smell, particularly around the hall that, until recently, bore his name. As I mentioned online last year, even as a Cardiff resident, when I’d travel to Bristol for gigs as a student, some inside Colston Hall, I remember being handed flyers and asked to sign petitions about the name and the statue, and that was almost a decade before the latter was pulled down. Hatred of Colston was present long before then too, I’m told. The damage caused by the continued veneration of someone who brought unimaginable horror, above all, to the African peoples trafficked into the slave trade was clear to all.

In light of this, for those who decried the tearing down of Colston’s statue, it is unclear what their exact objections were then or are now. They seem to reject the tearing down of statues without due process or according to the whims of a particular political ideology — as if his continued presence in the city wasn’t a sign of their own; ideology is always most present where its influence is most vehemently denied — but I struggle to understand how anyone can think the veneration of slave traders is something that needs to be passed by a committee, or that really needs commemorating with a grand statue (even with some critical small print later attached). Such a position skirts close to defending the slave trade, and that is precisely how most of the poorly argued objections to his removal in the aftermath of the trial have come across.

Others seem to suggest that tearing down statues is rewriting history, but the point is instead that history has already been rewritten. In Colston’s case, no amount of philanthropy in the 1600s should wash away those historical crimes against humanity in the present. If anything, the fact this man has been dead some four hundred years makes his continued veneration all the more inexplicable, whilst only emphasising how integral money from the slave trade was and remains to the fabric of our country. That’s not something to celebrate; it is something to mourn, especially when you consider that many of the ancestors of former slaves still live in Bristol today.

If any statue is warranted, it is one to the victims, not depicting a man who once oversaw their violent enslavement.


Of course, we’ve heard all these arguments before. These debates were all had last year, and the right’s disagreements with Colston’s destruction are even more uninteresting today than they were at the time. But what is most notable about this judgement, to my mind at least, coming as it did on January 5th, is its proximity to the announcement of the New Year’s honours list.

This is worth mentioning in the present context, I think, because the issue of Colston’s crimes abroad, and how they are to be perceived relative to his philanthropy and influence closer to home, resonates profoundly with many other venerated establishment figures in our contemporary moment — not least Tony Blair, who received a knighthood earlier in the week.

Today it seems ridiculously short-sighted to publicly celebrate a slave trader just because he gave all his heirless wealth to the city of Bristol. But the same week a jury collectively acknowledged this, we have seen countless figures talk up Tony Blair’s SureStart centres and election victories in an attempt to offset the fact his illegal war killed an estimated 1,000,000 Iraqis overseas.

The conversation has changed with regards to our past, but the establishment is continuing along the same path it has been on for centuries, making the same mistakes time and time again. They may not venerate people with statues anymore, but they venerate villains all the same. We might argue this is some sort of improvement, but our representations of power and influence have only become more diffuse. If anything, statues give people something to target; a public site in which to act and enact change. Where are the sites of resistance against the Colston’s of today? Their venerations are less ostentatious, but this only makes them harder to resist.

A society that is slowly coming to terms with those whom it has venerated in the past must just as forcefully reckon with those it continues to venerate in the present. One way of doing that might be in seeing how these habits of veneration remain consistent across the centuries. We’re lauding the same old villains, who feign generosity at home and commit atrocities abroad. Yes, each of their crimes are arguably of their respective times, if you want to split that hair, but I think they are nonetheless comparable. Sir Tony’s knighthood is a Colston for the 21st century. But it will take more cunning to tear him down.

Contrary to those who have argued that the removal of Colston’s statue was a revision of history, including our current prime minister, we can say that Colston’s downfall was the correction of a historical mistake. That statue should never have been erected in the first place and its removal constituted an overdue acknowledgement of our establishment’s past crimes against humanity. As such, tearing it down was a valiant act, full of joy, addressing a long-standing wrong. But the same mistakes are still being made today, in other forms but nonetheless in our names. If the force unleashed on Colston’s effigy shows us anything, it’s that we don’t need to wait four hundred years to address that fact. It only takes an instant.

Spencer

I didn’t expect much from Spencer, nor did I care too much about yet another royal drama (fictionalised or unfolding in reality). But this film surprised me, and has left me a little haunted.

Kirsten Stewart feels like an odd choice at first. She doesn’t quite fit the role, and during the first 20 minutes or so, this is exacerbated by a clunky script delivered woodenly, not just by her but a few of the other fleeting cast members. Then, slowly but surely, this awkwardness starts to do its work. The performativity of it all, the ill-fitting roles, becomes a foundation for the film’s creeping existential horror.

Yes: horror. Less of a Crown spin-off, I was at times reminded of The Favourite, albeit with all the dark humour inverted. By the end, Spencer more often invoked The Shining as a tale of one woman slowly smothered by her surroundings and the ghoulish staff who shadow her every move, whether seen or not. They become ever-present eyes and ears, some sympathetic and others far from it. Timothy Spall, for instance, who plays Major Gregory, at one point beckons the Princess inside, but she has little interest in being shooed left and right by dutiful staff. This is true throughout the film, and it is notable that most demands and requests are disembodied, spoken through walls and doors. We never know who is speaking until Major Gregory tries his best to shephard Diana inside. As a last resort, he invokes the queen. “I speak with her voice”, he says, imbuing himself with a new authority as he stands over her. The character of the queen hardly says a word when on screen, but it is nonetheless her voice heard everywhere, and it is suffocating.

The same is true of the film itself. At first, I thought, “well, the script sucks, but it’s wonderfully shot and choreographed”, but soon enough this too starts to smother too. The military pageantry, followed by everyone from armed guards to kitchen staff, becomes an imposition, like a Stepford Wives dance routine. The soundtrack, too, is inspired. In the end, it all starts to come together. Princess Di feels like a role Stewart was born to play. Her stereotypical angst and awkwardness brings an intensity to this film that I just didn’t expect, portraying Diana as someone who copes, often badly, with the pressures of her own entrapment.

Outside the film’s daring fiction, it’s been a year of all too real royal scandals, what with Prince Andrew back in the news following the Ghislane Maxwell trial. There’s also been more of The Crown and the BBC aired A Very British Scandal about the Duke and Duchess of Argyle’s scandalous divorce in 1963, telling the story of an aristocracy incapable of keeping a lid on themselves, despite their best efforts. But Spencer dramatises another tendency, that we’ve been hearing about since Megan and Harry’s Oprah interview, but have arguably never seen portrayed on our screens — the internal turmoil of those who find themselves swept up by a family that churns up those who do not come to heel.

It is hard to find much sympathy for the aristocracy, most days, but Spencer dramatises the horror of their own cloistered existence more palpably than anything else. In its tone and pacing, the film implicitly frames the royal family as a clan of weirdos and inbreds, who lure and abuse and do not take kindly to those even marginally outside their stock. It is refreshing to see them portrayed in this way — such a perspective is often left to hillbillies — but it still hits all the learned narrative points. It is truly a horror film in all but name, to the extent that Diana’s final escape, racing down country roads with her sons in the morning light, hits home with an infectious release of tension that I don’t think I’ve felt since the end of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

2021:
The Year in Review

This year has been preserved in amber for me since about March. Spring feels like yesterday. I wonder if that’s because it was the one-year anniversary of the first lockdown. Time seems to have stalled since then.

All that aside, 2021 has still been strangely busy. It began with the physical publication of Postcapitalist Desire — the success of which has repeatedly surpassed all expectations. (I still can’t believe it was just going to be an ebook because we weren’t sure there was any demand for it; now it is on its fourth or fifth printing.) And yet, despite that first lockdown project going on to have this wild life of its own, I’ve continued to watch it all unfold from home.

The year has ended with the Spanish translation of my book Egress arriving from Caja Negra Editora, and I am looking forward to the New Year, when I’ll properly begin discussing the book in earnest with a new audience.

In the midst of all this, I spent time working on a few different book projects. One on psychoanalysis and adoption, one on accelerationism and another on narcissism. The first two are substantial projects that are going to require a lot more research, but I have spent the winter applying the finishing touches to Narcissus in Bloom, a politically charged counter-history of the selfie. I hope that will come out sometime next year. In the meantime, I’m also applying to PhDs to start late next year. (It’s about time — I keep putting it off with “independent research”, but I think it will make me very happy to have that time and not have to make research and writing a struggle to fit around day jobs.)

Beyond the finished projects and those still to come, there are some other pieces of writing I’m particularly proud of from this year: my introduction to the Spanish translation of K-punk, Vol. 3 and my post “Bad Queer” were particularly important for me, as well as various posts orbiting questions of “the new”, difference and repetition in popular culture, and also Deleuze’s approach to Stoicism have helped contextualise more meaty projects behind the scenes. Also, it’s almost time for the next edition of For k-punk, but can we all reflect on how insane the lineup for the 2021 For k-punk event was?!

But onwards we go…

I’m somewhat terrified about 2022. I turn 30 just before the new years and, standing on the cusp of a new decade, I think a lot is going to change. It is going to be difficult, but I think it is also needed. I’m probably going to move again and branch out on my own. Having clung to (and otherwise struggled to sustain) a small support network throughout my 20s, I’m going to start out my 30s somewhat isolated as I work through some stuff. I’ve never really had a plan in life, but I think I assumed I’d be more self-sufficient and settled by now. The realisation that I’m not is hitting me different. Though I’ve achieved things I never thought I would, as far as my daily existence goes, I’m not sure where I want to be. 2022 is going to be the year that I make some overdue decisions about what I want, I think.

I hope I can figure things out next year. For all the continuing creative endeavours, I feel like I’m going to have to build myself back from the ground up. Wish me luck.

Mark Fisher

The Post-Capitalist Realism Generation: Notes on Students, BreadTube and Digital Psychedelia [04/02/21]
The Spectre of Acid Communism [14/03/21]
The Post-Vampire Castle Generation: Notes on Neo-Anarchy in the UK [17/03/21]
Introduction to K-Punk, Vol. 3: English Language Version [12/06/21]
Is There (Still) No Alternative: XG in Ljubljana [30/08/21]
Capitalist Realism and the Eviction of Culture: Notes from Ljubljana [15/09/21]
Total Recoil: Notes on the Body in Mark Fisher’s Feminism [15/12/21]
T+U ACID: Launch at Trafó, Budapest (22/12/2021) [20/12/21]

For k-punk

For k-punk 2021 [20/01/21]
Test Dept: Mark Fisher Memorial Lecture 2021 [22/01/21]]
“Why we started a club night for our teacher, Mark Fisher”: For k-punk in Huck Magazine [30/01/21]
“A teacher ‘who really gave a shit’”: For k-punk in The Art Newspaper [23/02/21]
“The critical legacy of theorist Mark Fisher is a creative springboard for a new wave of musicians and thinkers”: For k-punk reviewed in The Wire [11/03/21]
“Countercultural Bohemia as Prefiguration”: Time is Away on NTS Radio [24/03/21]
Repeater Radio present: K-Punk Marathon [07/06/21]
Solidarity at the Rave: For k-punk on Acid Horizon [23/08/21]

Postcapitalist Desire

Postcapitalist Desire: The Final Lectures of Mark Fisher — Hardback Out Now [12/01/21]
Postcapitalist Desire, Melancholy, Psychedelia and Mark Fisher: XG on Interdependence with Mat Dryhurst and Holly Herndon [13/01/21]
Post-Work with Will Stronge [18/01/21]
Psychedelia with JD Taylor [19/01/21]
Consciousness Raising with Hari Kunzru [23/01/21]
Desire with Dr Isabel Millar [25/01/21]
Postcapitalist Desire: XG in Conversation with James Butler — Now on YouTube! [17/02/21]
“Giving Up the Ghost”: Postcapitalist Desire in the LA Review of Books [21/03/21]
Postcapitalist Desire: XG on Hermitix [06/05/21]

Egress

Badiou’s Platonic Exit: Egress Turns One [10/03/21]
Communities of Loss: A Brief Reflection [14/04/21]
Egress: Live on the Hermitix Podcast [05/08/21]
Egress and Immanence: Hermitix Debrief [07/08/21]
Egreso: Sobre Comunidad, Duelo y Mark Fisher — Out Now! [01/12/21]
Diálogo con Matt Colquhoun: Discussing Egreso with Pepe Tesoro for the IECCS [13/12/21]
A Note on “Egreso” [14/12/21]

Narcissus in Bloom

Unconditional Love: A Note on Acid Narcissism [20/08/21]
Narcissus in Bloom: Talk at Newcastle University [08/11/21]
Observatory Crest: On Narcissus in Bloom [29/11/21]

Translations and Essays Elsewhere

一个无条件加速主义Primer I: Chinese Translation of the U/Acc Primer [08/01/21]
The Geology of Malls: XG for Plaza Protocol [19/02/21]

Hauntology and Accelerationism

The Philosophy of Salvagepunk: XG at the Association for the Design of History [07/01/21]
Hauntology: Where Were You Before ’92? [15/01/21]
Un-Popping the Bubbles of Pop: A Brief History of Anti-Hauntology [06/02/21]
Anti-Hauntology: Where are the New Forms of New? [06/02/21]
Anti-Hauntology: Further Notes on Temporal Specificities [09/02/21]
A Moment of Renewal: Notes on Badiou/Acc [16/02/21]
Badiou/Acc: A Response to Ed Berger [16/02/21]
Badiou/Acc: Further Responses from Vince Garton and Ed Berger [17/02/21]
Anti-Hauntology: Notes on Acid Horizon [18/02/21]
Badiou/Acc: Terror and Parody with Ed Berger [20/02/21]
The End of History 2: Stagnant Boogaloo (Snyder Cut) [02/03/21]
Notes on Lenin and Accelerationist Meta-Terrorism [08/03/21]
A Brief History of the new: Guest Lecture with Ctrl Network [17/03/21]
The Slow Cancellation of… Sorry, What Were We Talking About? [29/03/21]
The Slow Cancellation of… Sorry, What Were We Talking About?: Some Concessions and Further Notes [30/03/21]
Next Week’s New [15/04/21]
Third Actors: XG at the rA/Upture_2 conference, OFF-Biennálé Budapest [26/04/21]
Children of /Acc: Waiting for a Post-Pandemic Politics [14/07/21]
Orgies of Stupidity Fuck the Painful Present Away [23/07/21]
Parameters of Change: Notes on Queer Accelerationism and Libidinal Materialism [13/08/21]
A Brief History of the New: Recording Now Online! [22/11/21]
“What was needed was accelerationism…”: A Note on Robert Musil’s The Man Without Qualities [30/11/21]
Accelerationism and Ideological Breakdown: Notes on Recent Developments [23/12/21]
Accelerationism and Ideological Breakdown: Further Comments from Ed Berger and Other [24/12/21]

Coronavirus

Covid Libertarianism and Molecular Freedom [05/01/21]
Covid Libertarianism and Capitalist Realism [06/01/21]
Hype(rstition) and Unbelief: On GameStop and Coronavirus [27/01/21]
Covid Libertarianism: Notes on Althusser and a Spanner in the Works of Ideological Reproduction [18/02/21]
The Inertial Endogamy of Covid Capitalism [28/03/21]
Regarding the Pain of Royals [18/04/21]
Post-Covid Horizons [22/07/21]

Palestine

A Deleuzian View of Palestine (Contra Israel) [13/05/21]
Zionist Realism: What If We Had a Strike for Palestine and Everyone Came? [17/05/21]
Zionist Realism: Is There No Alternative? [18/05/21]

Politics

The End of Trump or the End of History [09/01/21]
Cutting the Knot of Incompetence [11/01/21]
National-Identity Politics: On the Contradictions of New New Labour [03/02/21]
What is an Institution?: On the Thoughts of the Police [15/03/21]
Kill the Bill: More on the Thoughts of the Police [23/03/21]
Ecologies of Class: Prince Philip’s Conservationist Politics [09/04/21]
Our Zany Ministers: On Matt Hancock and Boris Johnson, the Personal and the Political [30/06/21]
Olympic Refusal: Simone Biles and Herbert Marcuse [29/07/21]
Communism Within, Communism Without: The Paranoia of Capitalist Realism [12/08/21]
Reflective Centrism [04/10/21]
Toothless Critique: Free Speech in the Vampire Castle [28/10/21]
Elections on Acid: Notes on Boric and the Left for T+U [23/12/21]

Philosophy

Junk Capital: On the Anti-Burrovian Trajectory of Nick Land [04/01/21]
AI is Good Actually: Notes on Commie Grimes and Intelligence & Spirit [03/06/21]
AI is Good Actually: A Further Note from Hypnosifl [27/06/21]
Learning and Trauma: The Sharp Object of Ideology [07/07/21]
Postmodernism and Gender Realism [21/07/21]
RIP Jean-Luc Nancy [24/08/21]
Actual/Virtual [11/09/21]
Discipline is a Double-Edged Sword: Notes on the Misuse and Abuse of Foucault [19/11/21]

Personal Reflections

Richard Humble (1925-2021) [05/03/21]
Bad Queer [16/04/21]
Nine [09/05/21]
Under the Blood Moon [31/05/21]
Rest in Power, Dawn Foster [16/07/21]
Notes on Adoption [02/12/21]
A Note on Cold Rationalism [13/12/21]
An Adoptee’s Anchor [20/12/21]
30 [26/12/21]

Music

DOOMscrolling [01/01/21]
They do not live nature as nature, but as a process of production: On Lenz and Lorde’s Desiring-Productions [21/08/21]
DONDA [30/08/21]
Still Sucks: Transitory Music in the 2020s [02/11/21]
Merry Xmas Everybody [25/12/21]
2021 Playback: Selected Earworms [28/12/21]

Literature

Long Live The New Flesh: Notes on Madame Bovary [28/05/21]
Stronger Than Death: A Note on Poetry and Grief [17/06/21]
Interiority (After Sebald) [20/10/21]

Film & TV

Framing Adam Curtis [23/02/21]
How to Gener8 a Movement [29/04/21]
Mare of Easttown: 2021’s One True Cop Show [09/06/21]
Cruella [10/06/21]
The Tomorrow War [10/07/21]
Pierrot le Fou [06/09/21]
Happy Hallowe’en [31/10/21]
What Was Forgotten: Notes on The Shining, Doctor Sleep and Hauntological Stoicism [08/12/21]

Gaming

Peak Boring Dystopia: On the Legacy of FarmVille [02/01/21]

The Blogosphere

Knowing the Unknown Knower [13/04/21]
Blogging as Infinite Conversation: Preamble [26/06/21]
Blogging as Infinite Conversation: Lately I’ve Been Feeling Like Arthur Rimbaud [04/07/21]
In Defence of Pop Philosophy: Notes on Philosophistry [09/11/21]
A Further Defence of Pop Philosophy: Comments from Terence Blake [11/11/21]

NFTs

Solidarity and Cryptocurrency: Notes on NFTs [19/02/21]
Are NFTs Frigid Stars? [07/10/21]

Memes

Memeing History [30/06/21]
Memeing Politics [01/07/21]
Imagine You Have Two Memes…: On Memetic Negativity [23/07/21]
The Met Gala [14/09/21]
(Funko) Pop Modernism? [23/10/21]

Repeater and Zer0

Repeater Takes Over [24/10/21]
Against Individualizing: Personal Beef or Group Critique? [01/11/21]
Perpetual Yawn: More from the Ex-Zer0 Set [10/11/21]
Spiked: Notes on Psychedelic Fascism in the UK Media Landscape [13/11/21]
Repeater Takes Over… Tariq Weighs In… [27/11/21]
A Pure War?: Late Dispatches from the Authenticity Olympics [07/12/21]
What’s Next From Zer0 Books?: A New Series from Buddies Without Organs [10/12/21]
An Inexplicable Reference… [11/12/21]
Accessibility and Post-Punk: Thoughts on the Difficulty of Pop Philosophy [12/12/21]
New Missives from the Cranks [17/12/21]

Kingston-Upon-Hull

Hull and the Bomb [25/02/21]
Hull and the Rise of Neoliberalism [14/06/21]

Podcasts

Buddies Without Organs — Episode #03 [19/01/21]
An Introduction to Eerie Aesthetics: Now on Mixcloud! [14/02/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #04 [22/02/21]
Extinction, Apocalypse and Desire: XG with Thomas Moynihan on the MIT Press Podcast [09/03/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #05 [22/03/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #06 [12/05/21]
Literary Ley Lines: XG in the Liminal Lounge [19/06/21]
After the Maestro [23/06/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #07 [02/07/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #08 [13/09/21]
In Conversation with Liara Roux: Live on Instagram [28/09/21]
Buddies Without Organs — Episode #9 [27/12/21]

Photography

Brontë Country IV [06/02/21]
Winter Walks VI [13/02/21]
Winter Walks VII [20/02/21]
Winter Walks VIII [27/02/21]
Winter Walks IX [06/03/21]
Winter (Acid) Walks X [13/03/21]
Winter Walks XI [20/03/21]
Winter Walks XII [27/03/21]
First Lambs [29/03/21]
Winter Walks XIII [02/04/21]
Burning Heather [06/04/21]
Winter Walks XIV [10/04/21]
Encounters with Photography and Community: Alumni Talk at the University of South Wales [21/04/21]
Untilted #23 (With Notes on a Migrated Archive) [28/04/21]
Untitled #24 [04/05/21]
Untitled #25 [20/05/21]
Untitled #26 [16/06/21]
Untitled #27 [03/07/21]
Untitled #28 [17/07/21]
Untitled #29 [31/07/21]
Untitled #30 [14/08/21]
Untitled #31 [28/08/21]
Untitled #32 [04/09/21]
Untitled #33 [25/09/21]
Untitled #34 [09/10/21]
Untitled #35 [23/10/21]
Untitled #36 [06/11/21]
Untitled #37 [20/11/21]
Untitled #38 [04/12/21]
Untitled #39 [05/12/21]
Untitled #40 [11/12/21]
Untitled #41 [12/12/21]
Untitled #42 [18/12/21]
Untitled #43 [19/12/21]
A Persistent Stitch: Winter Walks 2021 [29/12/21]

Patreon Posts

XG Reading Group 2.0: Without Further Badiou [10/01/21]
Blogger’s Digest #5 (01/02/2021) [01/02/21]
XG Reading Group 2.1: Much Badiou About Nothing [12/02/21]
XG Reading Group 2.2: Brassier’s Critique of Transcendental Materialism [26/02/21]
Blogger’s Digest #06 (01/03/2021) [01/03/21]
XG Reading Group 2.3: Situationist NFTs and the Intensification of the Commodity Form [12/03/21]
Blogger’s Digest #07 (01/04/2021) [01/04/21]
XG Reading Group 2.4: A Grift in Space-Time [03/04/21]
XG Reading Group 2.5: Narcissist Realism [16/04/21]
XG Reading Group 2.6: Capitalism’s Transcendental Mirror Factory [30/04/21]
Blogger’s Digest #08 (01/05/2021) [01/05/21]
XG Reading Group 2.7: Bad Actors [27/05/21]
Blogger’s Digest #09 (01/06/2021) [01/06/21]
XG Reading Group 2.8: Interlude [11/06/21]
XG Reading Group 2.9: The Social [18/06/21]
Blogger’s Digest #10 (01/07/2021) [01/07/21]
XG Reading Group 3.0: Revenge of the Real [30/07/21]
Blogger’s Digest #11 (01/08/2021) [01/08/21]
XG Reading Group 3.1: Post-Pandemic Patchwork [15/08/21]
XG Reading Group 3.2: Trust is Key [25/08/21]
Blogger’s Digest #12 (01/09/2021) [01/09/21]
Blogger’s Digest #13 (01/10/2021) [01/10/21]
XG Reading Group 3.4: The Sensing Layer [22/10/21]
Blogger’s Digest #14 (01/11/2021) [01/11/21]
XG Reading Group 3.5: Positive Objectification [05/11/21]
Blogger’s Digest #15 (01/12/2021) [01/12/21]
XG Reading Group 3.6: Agamben and Neo-Anarchy [03/12/21]

2021 Playback:
Selected Earworms

MF DOOM — Mm.. Food

As we planned the 2021 edition of For k-punk back in January, it was announced that MF DOOM had passed away. Passing mixes back and forth, my ears turned to his back catalogue, as they did for many.

“Deep Fried Frenz” became a fixation, both scathing and joyful, with DOOM’s production cutting Ronnie Laws’ vibrant jazz-fusion with the cold hip-hop minimalism of Whodini. It’s schizo sentiment of friendship and suspicion felt appropriate to weeks spent organising a Covid party to be attended alone and held entirely online.

aya — im hole

When we moved to Huddersfield in late 2020, I started my usual habit of exploring the local area’s cultural history. There was a real thrill in reading Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath or Wuthering Heights or Ben Myers’ The Gallows Pole in the environments in which they were set. At the same time, I was kind of missing the experience of this kind of transhistorical exploration in London, wandering around listening to jungle and reading Virginia Woolf. The psychogeographic tension of different cultural moments existing on top of each other was something I really missed. But Aya came to the rescue.

The cover of her 2019 EP, and departt from mono games, would greet me every time I looked out the bedroom window in the morning, as the Emley Moor Mast towered over the city. When her debut album im hole was released in 2021, her Yorkshire poetics connected this poetic region (and Plath especially) to now. For an album recorded entirely in the area of London I’d just left, im hole felt like it constantly evoked a linguistic landscape that I was now getting to know intimately. A tongued cartography for West Yorkshire rambles.

Proc Fiskal — Siren Spine Sysex

Proc Fiskal’s second album was another perfect soundtrack to a year of post-London decompression and viral mutations. It is a sonic palette that blurs city and country, folk and modernity, with an impish ease. Coming off the back of an obsession with Mark Leckey’s O’ Magic Power of Bleaknesswhich I’d transcribed in late 2020 for the vinyl record release, telling the story of some kids on the Wirral finding a fairyland under an underpass — Siren Spine Sysex feels like the sort of music those kids went and made after the fact, still buzzing, back in their bedrooms, city life stalked and infringed upon by an occulted wilderness. That’s the vibe of my 2021 in a nutshell.

Clairo — Sling

Clairo’s Sling was a revelation earlier this year. She’s surely the underdog of a generation of female singer-songwriters who have been lumped together for their collaborations with Jack Antonoff — think Lorde and Taylot Swift. But just as the attention paid to their producers earlier this year only serves to dilute their own voices, it has to be affirmed that Clairo’s second album sounds like nothing else. She has carved out a sound all her own on this record. Following her rise as a viral bedroom pop queen, Sling embraces a kind of Steely Dan decadence, with some of the catchiest and ornate instrumentation you’ll hear on any pop record this year.

But amidst the Seventies soft-prog studio layering, we’re invited into the same confessional songwriting that deals frankly with interpersonal problems for the 21st century, with “Blouse”, in particular, feeling like a scathing analysis of performative male friends and allies in the #MeToo era, all of its power coming from the understated disappointment of catching yourself in a friend’s gaze. It feels like Clairo has inaugurated a new subgenre all of her own on this record. This sort of deeply intelligent songwriting upends and adds significant weight to the cool studio decadence of your average Adult Contemporary record. There’s a fury here and a youthful dissatisfaction that makes it more of an Adolescent Contemporary outing. And I’m into it.

Space Afrika — Honest Labour

Blackhaine’s drawl got on “B£E” gets under the skin. It’s the centerpiece of an album that bounds back from the criticism often thrown at more “ambient” records in recent years. It’s usually Twitter’s grumpy techno boys who go on about this predilection for quietude and ambience in an age of social dissolution and injustice. But Honest Labour undermines their tautology between peace and quiet. On the contrary, it violently simmers. At a time when the most vocal protests are organised by mindless anti-vaxxers, with the heat of eruptive Black Lives Matter protests dying down, there is no sense our discontent has gone away. It’s music for the skeleton crew. “There’s a grave inside your mouth I press against.” There’s something about leaning against the void that disturbs in its absence, affirming the negativity of negative space.

Low — Hey What

Low have consistently been one of my favourite bands over this last decade. With a sound entirely their own, which is always serene, they nonetheless know just how to shake up their sound in really exciting ways. The degraded grunge of Double Negative felt like the defining album of the Trump years, which was both a beautifully orchestrated and punishing listen. (Seeing them at the Barbican just before the pandemic made the album all the more astounding, at it was clear they had purposefully destroyed some of the most beautiful songs of their career to date — but this destruction was no less of a pleasure to listen to.)

Hey What is an appropriate follow-up for the Biden years. No less nihilistic, no less furious, no less beautiful, no less serene… No less of a paradox. The songs are able to breathe a little bit more here, but for what? The negativity of the present has never been rendered so poignantly.

Graham Dunning — Mindscape from the 7th Level

So much of what got stuck in my head this year was a reflection of the stuckness all around us. Everything is a little woozy, haunted, long-drawn. Not this. Dunning has seemingly done the impossible by making a set of “bedroom recordings”, presumably the product of lockdown, that are, despite everything else, utterly propulsive.

This was my go-to driving album this year. It’s perfect for taking country roads a little too fast…

THE ANXIETY — Meet Me At Our Spot

That TikTok song… “When I go to sleep / I can’t even fall asleep / Something’s got a hold of me / Feel it taking over me.” For many nights this year, it was often this song’s chorus for me. A sleeper hit, first released in 2020, it became inescapable in 2021. It’s rapid-fire staccato syllables are like a woodpecker against that part of your brain that loves a musical hook. It’s a song that most people have heard seconds of, but which only lasts two and a half minutes as it is. It begs repeated listening.

What’s strange about it, and all the more enthralling to me, is the paradox of the vibe its talking about. The live rendition above presents the song with all this strange set dressing. It’s underpasses and nu-metal trouser chains and grunge rips. It’s a 90s vibe that the kids singing weren’t alive to see. But the song’s theme seems to know it runs in reverse, talking about being excited to be younger. There’s a weird death drive to the whole thing, knowingly striving for a cultural moment that was only ever, for them at least, in utero.

The set dressing is what makes it for me. The ubiquitous underpass. Is this a Mark Leckey set? Once again his O’ Magic Power of Bleakness haunts, catching the vibe, the zeitgeist.

But this is a vibe about disconnection, surely? A song that begins with a drunk text and then dreams of disappearing into a suburban wilderness and getting high off the grid. An attractive sentiment these days, and one that has the magic of a pre-online adolescence scrawled all over it. But it’s still a song catapulted into the hit parade by the libidinal trap of TikTok loops and endless scrolling. It’s as if the kids want out but can’t be heard. Their complaints are smothered, emerging as sleeper hits through the algorithm, which doesn’t care what the vibe is, so long as it circulates.

But the vibe is a desire to get out. Meet me at our spot.

Emma DJ — Godrime

It’s hard to imagine any album sinking deeper into the urban depths than Space Afrika’s siren call, gliding over the surface of Manchester’s canals like the river Styx, but Emma DJ’s Godrime comes up behind it like a drowned beat cassette dredged from the very bottom of the Seine. I drown in it.

Still — { }

I tend to have a hard time keeping up with Hull’s music scene when I’m not living there, but I try to. There are probably few things the city itself is prouder of than its bands, but few make it to the ears of non-residents if they haven’t moved to London and adopted it as their point of origin in their band bio. (Lots of bands do this, but Hull bands have long had an aversion to it, ever since the release of the Housemartins’ debut.) I see this not to temper my own compliments, as if to let you know they’re probably down to hometown pride. On the contrary, Hull’s music scene, as much as I love it, is frustrating for how rarely it impresses me. For that reason, it fills me with a special kind of joy to be able to say that Still’s { } is easily one of the best albums of this year. A black metal post-hardcore power house record that is probably one of the best albums from that genre I’ve heard in many years, never mind just the last one.

It’s still winter. Crank it loud.

Klein — Harmatten

Gentle with a twist. This is an utterly enchanting record. There’s something about the kind of percussive piano playing here that I’ve always adored. It’s like you start off thinking you’re listening to a Dollar Brand / Abdullah Ibrahim performance, and then someone tells you he’s dead and what you’ve got there is some haunted piano and it won’t let you leave, but you sort of don’t mind about all that because it’s pretty good company. And before you know it, he’s got his mates round. Vangelis is coming too, and he’s promised to do his Blade Runner routine…

Of course, at some point, playing sonic allegories with a record this singular starts to become insulting. This is a Klein record. ‘Nuff said.

Les Mouches — You’re Worth More to me than 1000 Christians

Owen Pallett’s oddball project Les Mouches was a peculiar Limewire discovery for me, back in the 2000s. First released in 2004, it was past around internet forums like this scrappy, rarified object. The MP3s I had at the time were all out of order and incorrectly labelled, but I was obsessed with it regardless. I have a distinct memory of getting the train from Hull to Bridlington with friends one winter weekend, for a pointless day in the rain and an ill-advised sprint into the sea. Then it faded away into the depths of an old hard drive.

I rediscovered it this year, some 15 years later, and have listened to it constantly. It has been a special aural experience this year, becoming reacquainted with an album that might be one of my favourites of all time, lost to memory for so long. It is rare to rediscover an album after that long and to find it has lost none of its shine. A real treat.

SOPHIE — Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

When SOPHIE passed away at the start of this year, Oil Of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides was back on rotation for months on end. Her death was announced the same day as our For k-punk night, and the Discord chat was filled with memories and love for her. But with all the sets pre-recorded and planned weeks in advance, there was no sonic presence to be had.

As if to make up for it, she soundtracked lots of long drives in the aftermath. In the spring and early summer, as lockdown began to ease slightly, we visited Oxford and now, every time I hear “Immaterial”, I’m back behind the wheel of our car, flying down the motorway, going on something resembling a holiday. A lot of pop records want to convey a sense of abandon and liberation, but few songs manage it and embody it as completely as “Immaterial” does. That’s the sound of unbridled and unrestrained joy.

Lee Gamble — Flush Real Pharynx

Lee’s EPs have felt like a constant presence throughout this whole pandemic, with the first being released in 2019. But the culmination of this trilogy gave the entire suite a new lease of life. It’s an incredibly ambitious project and one that is feels sprawling in its final form.

Lee’s music has always been amazing driving music for me, with KOCH staying in my first car for about two years. It felt like it was made to be listened to that way. The album’s quieter moments would merge with the hum of my car’s battered old engine and I wasn’t sure what was Lee’s sound design or the spatial soundscape of the rust bucket I was hurtling along within. At first, it annoyed me. It was clearly too dynamic a listen for the car. But I grew to love it.

Flush Real Pharynx feels made for that experience. It acts as a counterpoint to the noise surrounding it. It interrupts the urban semioblitz but also complements it, engendering a kind of sonic red-shift to the sounds around it. Everything sounds displaced through Lee’s aural prism, denaturalising our denaturalised world. It might just be his best work yet.

Bo Burnham — Inside

In a defiant embrace of my own whiteness, I must admit that Bo Burnham’s Inside brought me a lot of joy this year as well. The comedy album released alongside his Netflix special has been a go-to when I just want to lift my mood. At times, it’s an oddly disjointed listen. It’s neurotic self-awareness occasionally trips up the sense of escapism it simultaneously provides, but for a show about being stuck inside during the pandemic, it’s hard to be too mad at the album’s conceptually consistent, if internally inconsistent, Covid pathologies.

More often than not, the track “Comedy” has proven to be the most insistent earworm, to the point I’ve tried to completely wipe the album from memory, driven to near-madness by its ever presence. This is less hyperbole that a genuine concern at one point. In peak lockdown mania, I would wake up with the song in my head, like an alarm clock I couldn’t turn off. It had imprinted itself on some short-circuiting part of my lockdown brain. But it was the album’s more morose “That Funny Feeling” that has felt like a genuinely affecting lockdown anthem, speaking to the hole in your chest where some now-mythical old life used to be and giving it a tickle.

David Kauffman and Eric Caboor — Songs from the Suicide Bridge

Burnham aside, David Kauffman and Eric Caboor are responsible for this year’s most melodramatic lockdown earworm. The sluggish delivery of “Kiss Another Day Goodbye” feels like an almost phenomenological peon to depression, written and recorded in the depths of things. Mumbled to myself throughout a year-long plunge into Foucault’s oeuvre, I thought repeatedly about his insistence that madness has to be understood from within. It cannot be comprehended through a scientific objectivity, that others and removes it. You have to enter into it. Songs from Suicide Bridge is a tribute to this. Every song feels like a postmodern bard’s tale of inner city pressure. For better or worse, it’s the perfect album for urban lockdowns.

Buddies Without Organs — Episode #9

ICYMI, the ninth episode of our Buddies Without Organs podcast was released just before Christmas. It’s about the event. We branched out from The Fold after it left us pretty defeated, but picked up what is arguably its central concept and explored what Deleuze had to say about it in a few other places, including Logic of Sense and his final essay on immanence.

Listen above via YouTube, wherever you get your podcasts, or head over to our website.

And don’t forget: there’s going to be a lot more coming from us in 2022, as we’re teaming up with the relaunched Zer0 Books YouTube channel to present The K-Files. More on that in January…