Funny how the politicians are like “Don’t listen to the kids, they don’t know anything about politics.” But the same politicians are like, “Listen to us. We know all the things about science." Tod was staring at the wall. It was cracked and broken, there were bullet holes and a fine cloud of brick dust was hanging in the air, preparing to slowly settle on us as, in the newly begun silence we lay back and rested. Thoughts might have been collected if we could find them but truthfully all our minds were running at 100mph. The events of the past few hours, the firefights, the chaos, the noises and the damage has shocked us all into a dazzled numbness. We were new to this. The older fighters seemed sanguine and confident, they'd seen times like these. We'd heard tales, played video games and watched movies. The real thing was completely different and an awful sense of quiet panic and entrapment hung over us all as we stared at those walls, drilling pin holes in them with our eyes and biting our lips. For a long time no one spoke.
I saw it in the eyes of the troopers, the soldiers, the helpers and then, eventually in the eyes of the wounded. The victims and the quarry, those on the wrong side for whatever reason. "Why are we in this place, this situation? Time has ceased to be and now we are caught, neither one side of a thing or the other. " A universal catastrophe in time is a hard thing to take in. To be honest nobody really got it. We just came up against a lot of reactions. A lot of extreme reactions, certainly below glacier level. That was where all the most dangerous people seemed to be gathered. Information was thin, scant, unreliable, people came to their own conclusions, some of them were just plain off the mark by miles. My eyes adjusted to the space, I looked around. It was ghastly and I was afraid. The area was lit by slow burning flares, red light, oozing on and fading off. There were crowds of people, agitated and waiting. Troopers tried to hold them in check. There was angry chatter and bursts of disjointed chanting. I found it hard to take in what was going on. This was my first time here, under the glacier. These people lived here, worked here and I presume froze to death here. Like some blasted, polished salt mine set in a huge tomb, the inner sanctum, the chamber was a noisy, eerie place. I took steps back as the noise grew. The words remained unclear to me, the language guttural. The troopers were waving weapons now. That brought reaction. More shouting and random movements. Ranks would break and then reform almost in slow motion, some frozen manoeuvres and steps back and forwards. "Every night it's like this" Said Tod. His voice filter through the half light and he stretched his arm in front of me. "Best we just observe from this distance". I wasn't about to argue. I understood the tensions and how, despite the posturing and cries, the lid seemed to be kept on the regular ritual. Stamping and name calling and then, once the cold bit harder there would be a retreat until the next time. It was all about showing force and solidarity, for both sides.
"I'm not angry about it, I'm not angry about anything. Of course people were taken away, some I cared about, some not so, but I believe it was necessary. We need to be fully productive, certainly when it's necessary. Time may have gone but competition remains and productivity can be boundless now, we can just produce and produce!" "No it's a bad thing, I feel like I've lost my anchor in life, it's unreal. No, I don't feel confident in speaking out, I never did, even through all the changes, I just kept my head down. They all seemed smarter than me and I didn't want to put my head up, take a hit, you know. I still think about those who've gone, that was tough but then I just get busy again and it's not so bad. There's always the Pineapple Juice, it's easy to get and cheap." "We made some good profits, nice healthy, clean business you know. The machines have been running really well and we've balanced out a lot of the systems so we can match demand almost to perfection. It was the Limitless Concept that turned it for us, we didn't have to think in buckets and schedules anymore, no seasonal highs or lows, no variation. I was all down to how we responded and it turned out we could do it very well." "If I have to I shoot them, they are rebels, that's all they are, I will. I have the tools. Clean tools. There's a good thing happening here, a movement, a change that's worth defending. I can see that, I can't understand how they can't. Some of them have never seen the UpWorld, just the arse end of a glacier. No daylight proper and never sunlight. They don't know a thing, don't know what they're fighting for. That's why we'll win, we understand our cause and we've rejected theirs."
So that was time, it was fun while it lasted, while it was real. Now it's ruined, completely discredited. There is no such thing as time and so we live in a non-time world where things happen but in no particular order and unbounded or unrestrained by the false construct that we found time to be. Strangely it was that most time driven of things, computer science that killed off time. Some simple, strait forward calculations, some manipulation and some adjustments and time stopped. Oddly it took time for all that to sink in, we needed to adjust. So many things to switch off and then allow to settle. For some it was like sinking into mud or quicksand, the refusniks who couldn't grasp it. Poor tiny,shackled minds. They badly need the boundary and restraint that time kindly offered. They failed to see what a restrictive constraint it was, and it was. With no time to hold us bad productivity soared. Economic booms burst for as the maths re-imagined limitless capacity, all the time in the world and no time at all. I was driving, without limits of course. A police cruisers flashed past me, blue lights and rain spray across the road and windscreen. There had been many crimes, it's indicative of how the Time-Boom had played out. There was money and disposable wealth on every street corner and mall entrance. Money was swallowed whole and spat back out into industry and investment. Great blocks of brutal concrete rose, glass and new materials decked these Christmas tree icons out. The robots pushed out more product, more raw materials, more synthesis, more scope, no barriers. Some workers were troubled and began disputes. These were quickly quelled and the ring leaders would vanish. Perhaps the police or the army sorted things, it wasn't clear. Memorials were raised, to the "Time Revolutionaries", faithful comrades who just missed the point a little. It seemed like a good idea to remember, despite the lack of passing time, those who couldn't quite make the leap into a non-time driven world. The sun had been put back in it's place, we ruled it now, we revolved around it no more, it did what we said. The gears of the universe were running but not in any way past masters would recognise, the pattern was still, steady and random. We were in the clouds, driven by a the revelation of superior knowledge and a new dimensional world view. Drugs were of course regularly (?) administered. They help some with the shock, others with the reality and others who need the edge taken from their anger. They'd lost a cornerstone and the old reality came back like some nightmare, one in which your legs were stuck in a swamp and your head was stuck in a fog. We drank a lot of pineapple juice spiked with an A20x@ Fluid. The Russians had invented it, so the story ran. Just before the Ice Age and the Shutdown. That fluid helped me find sleep in a way I'd never done before. Reality blended well with it and the stupor was a perfect place to live but not to work and as there was infinite free space now, that hardly mattered.
Dateline 2018. What does that even mean? Time is somehow linear now? We can predict it's path? No! That's the thinking of the primitives. Sun worshippers and savages, savage scientists and philosophers even. We now know better, time never was linear, it just appeared to be that way and that notion or foundation piece provided comfort for generations. When the research was over and we understood a little better there was no need to look back, that was unrealistic and also unscientific. Time is just a big, huge cloud. Not circular, not linear just nebulous, unbounded and at any time (sic) you can be at any time because in this form there is no time. The clocks are neither running backwards or forwards they are still, time you see just floats and we, in whatever form we might choose for ourselves, just float along amongst it.
Back at work today, mostly on some kind of auto pilot. One that allows random whistling and the inner humming of tunes in no kind of order. There is also a certain amount of day dreaming or flights of fancy. This includes imagined conversations, replayed conversations, prize winning scenarios, inspiring talks to both myself and a variety of others and of course well worded rants of justification from all sorts of sources i.e. the merits of adding cream to fruit juice, ways to remove Mr D Trump from office, other miscellaneous acts of political revenge or downright revolution based around the current UK set up, why I did what I did (or why I do what I do), remembering gilt edged rants from previous daydreams and attempting to reconstruct them and also, by way of a break, thinking a few positive thoughts about the future. Of course by the end of the day these various long winded acts of twaddle are completely forgotten but will not down reappear on my return to the hotel.
So as we reach the ending points of the year known as 2017 I've come to realise that I've pretty much neglected this blog for a whole year. A year in which I've been unwell, better and then fully fit. I've been retired, recruited and then resolved to maybe not to be working quite so much. I've been to Ireland and Germany but no further and I've clocked other unplanned miles unexpectedly. I've produced some good pieces of work and a lot of mediocre, I've made plans and failed to carry them out and I've decided to declutter (but that's in the future). I've taken exercise, been to the top of Ben Nevis and dipped my toes at chilly sea level, been caught out in the mists, drenched in the rain and from time to time "had my chips". I've been comfortable, looked after and hungry. I've been exhausted and ghostly, I've renounced and purged and I've fallen down a flight of stairs. I drink a good deal less alcohol these days, I still waste time, I've been disillusioned and inspired, I've been alone and in great company. Mostly I've been loved and listened to and in the right place (most of the time). I just haven't fed the wild birds regularly.
"There's a revolution coming", said the Ivo young revolutionary (I presume they all say that at some point). "I can feel it in my blood, rushing, coursing, almost making me light headed with it's vigour. We are living in extra special times, so much injustice, so much corruption, so much unnecessary violence, so much that needs to be put right. The people, our people know it, they hunger for it, they hunger for fairness and decency, things that this regime cannot and will not provide. We have no alternative than to over throw our oppressors and grab hold of those things we long for, our freedom, our land, our entitlement!" His voice sounded strong, firm, encouraging. It was a good, simple message. There was a small crowd around him with more gathering, flotsam and jetsam, workers, students, young and old. He looked across at their faces, eyes wide, weight shifting from foot to foot, left and right. Some clapped as he finished speaking, some shouted encouragement and then an awkward silence fell. He though he heard a derisory laugh from the back. He felt a flash somewhere inside and outside his head. He knew he was saying things that had been said many times, many places across the world, often with the same fierce intensity, the same belief, but said many times...what had the outcomes been? What had changed? Bloodshed? Punishment? A worse regime setting itself in? He mustn't think like that, only a few seconds ago the blood was up, his pulse raced, but now...now that split second of silence, it had shaken him. It's a horrible moment when you suffer self doubt, when all the strength of your argument deserts you, supportive faces seem far away. Everything had turned around in seconds for him. He was strong, speaking out, encouraging, drawing attention and gathering an audience. Now his mouth felt dry, nervous, he'd pushed too far and his mind had turned blank. He began to shake, he held himself in, together, all being well no one would notice, it was just a long pause, a stream. The eyes started to move away from him, attention wavered. There was a noise from further up the street, amongst the concrete and telephone poles, engines and horns getting closer. "Militia!" somebody shouted, and the crowd, which was still hardly that, those people joining began to move back, some running, some walking and trying to resume their normal look, blending and shifting, sweeping away like sand on some desert breeze. "Militia!" called another. Things escalated. There now was a proper scattering underway. Ivo had ceased to be the focus for them but was now, as he suddenly realised, the likely focus for the oncoming troops. Ivo crouched down as if under fire and, like the rest headed for anywhere that might offer emergency cover. The bar, the market, the coffee stall. That would do, he sidled along beside two elderly women who seemed oblivious to the oncoming melee, quickly ditched his hoodie into a bin and tried to meander from the open space to the relative safety of the coffee shack. Fortunately there was a queue and he found himself in amongst it, looking away but with all his senses primed. The troops had slowed down and now walked amongst the townsfolk, shouting at and slapping people at random. There seemed no strategy other than basic brute force and intimidation. Their accents were not local, they were paid to come in and disrupt, spread fear and make a few token arrests. The message being that we can wreck this place if we want, pick up who we like and injure a few if we have to. So far Ivo had avoided direct contact and was now unsure if they were looking for him, acting on some other tip off or just causing trouble for the hell of it. Thankfully nobody had pointed him out so far but at any second we could be apprehended and might join the long, grey ranks of those who had just disappeared. Ivo suddenly felt a firm grip upon his shoulder, a cold sweat gripped him, this was not good. "Darling! You're here, out and about, ducking and diving with those student friends of yours any these toy soldiers no doubt and too busy to stop and take time and enjoy a little coffee and a cigarette with your own mother?"
I wasn't always human, one time I lived in series of paintings. It was a strange existence, hanging there on a wall, maybe at some exhibition or in a private house on the stairway. Then there was storage, under wraps where nothing really happened, just a deep, warm darkness where I was free to think. I preferred that, better than being gawped at by some patron or wine glass juggling freeloader or ending up on the wall of a middle class residence being ignored or dusted occasionally. I suppose I could see others, take a viewing, be sociable and liked when I was out there. Look across at my compatriots, oily, watery, mixed media or what ever they consisted of but the conversation level was low. Truly we didn't care for one another, what was the point? Even being scrapped or overpainted didn't feel so bad, just a return to the warm darkness of not quite being. That was the problem really, if nobody was actually looking at me, studying me, did I exist at all? And at those times, when there was no need for me to return some studious or appreciative gaze I felt more alive than ever, knowing and feeling more a being. Not being judged or glossed over or auctioned. Just there, very much in my own personal space, being me, simply two dimensional and slowly drying out. Turning human, when I did happen (and that's something that I can't quite explain) was a bit of a disappointment. I try not to dwell on any of that, I just live my life, my past as a painting is long gone but every so often I'll visit a gallery or exhibition, just to check up, just to see how it's all going, just to try to connect. It never does work though, I've lost the language, I've broken the connection, I've moved on to another plane and nobody on either side of the canvas cares. That's what living various odd lives gives you, the opportunity to see from other perspectives, to be watched and to watch. To be a creation and a comment and have some meaning, the one that which the viewer gives you and then the one that you give yourself. But what about the artists you say? Well they just do what we tell them.
Things that we can't be sure about. There are many, they are everywhere, they are cloaked with the mask of reality or even cloaked with the cloak of reality. Hard to fathom, that's why I offer no new insights because, despite all my travels, exploration and experiences I am always returning back to that same point of not being sure. Recent history and current events show us on a daily basis that people don't learn or develop. The cry for free speech and transparency allows all views to rise and register, we are not all comfortable with what is said and what we hear. Torrents of hate speak, legitimised and resonating at all levels. Everybody wants to undermine the establishment in whatever form it appears to take, even the establishment wants to undermine the establishment because it's always somebody else or some other issue that's getting in the way. So ideas are banded about, solutions are constructed and policies are made, cynically alluding to providing the hope of a way out, a fix to the "problem" upon which a thousand valid points of view might exist. So stepping back and looking at the world almost everything seems absurd, pointless and at it's worse hurtful and destructive. Nobody can tolerate much of anything different for too long. There's a need to settle scores, to win, to gain the upper hand but for what? None of this gets us anywhere, none of it produces worthwhile fruit. We are struggling to have our voices heard because we were told our voices should be heard, we were told to speak up but all we seem to be doing is shouting into a barrel while constantly revolving establishment controllers absorb the sounds and continue to do what they've always done, scheme and meddle with no vision or obvious end game. Everybody tells their own version of the truth but the truth was corrupted a long time ago, now there is just unrest, argument and division. Things we disagree with piled high but no real power with which to knock them down. So we run exhausted to the glorious false religion of science fiction, to dystopian landscapes, to the edges of fantasy storytelling where star ships and drugs and starting again from some fresh set of seeds looks like the way to go. Beginning again and letting the world burn and burn out, purged by the smoke and flame so that those survivors blessed with the correct set of ideas and learned lessons might kickstart a fairer and freer world. Tragic, comedic and unlikely. Other people's views and regimes will prevail, bad things will continue to happen, the mainstream will protect itself and all your energy will be used up in a pointless struggle as perpetual change brings only more of the same. So join us, the few who have travelled far enough to want to travel no more. Join us in the underground.
OK, these are not proper poems, more like idle ramblings typed up onto a picture. A picture (two) that I wanted to use up in some way. All quite spontaneous though and in their own way well intentioned. As if any of that matters.