Sunday, 28 October 2007


East End Life reported the resignation from Respect of councillors Rahman, Begum, Khan and Hussain under the headline Laptop is Stolen. What on earth is going on?

Saturday, 27 October 2007

Bad Poetry Appreciation

A Tragedy - by Theophile Marzials

Death! Plop.
The barges down in the river flop.
Flop, plop.
Above, beneath.
From the slimy branches the grey drips drop,
As they scraggle black on the thin grey sky,
Where the black cloud rack-hackles drizzle and fly
To the oozy waters, that lounge and flop
On the black scrag piles, where the loose cords plop,
As the raw wind whines in the thin tree-top.
Plop, plop.
And scudding by
The boatmen call out hoy! and hey!
All is running water and sky,
And my head shrieks - "Stop,"
And my heart shrieks - "Die."

My thought is running out of my head;
My love is running out of my heart,
My soul runs after, and leaves me as dead,
For my life runs after to catch them - and fled
They all are every one! -- and I stand, and start,
At the water that oozes up, plop and plop,
On the barges that flop
And dizzy me dead.
I might reel and drop.
And the shrill wind whines in the thin tree-top
Flop, plop.

A curse on him.
Ugh! yet I knew -- I knew --
If a woman is false can a friend be true?
It was only a lie from beginning to end --
My Devil -- My "Friend"
I had trusted the whole of my living to!
Ugh; and I knew!
So what do I care,
And my head is empty as air --
I can do,
I can dare,
(Plop, plop
The barges flop
Drip drop.)
I can dare! I can dare!
And let myself all run away with my head
And stop.
Plop, flop.

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Do you enjoy your hardcore?

Disregarding the fact that the current discussion of 'jumpstyle' absolutely reeks of being a hoax, that fact that it is being talked about at all is still quite interesting. This DMZ fellow seems like the sort of concept that gets invented as a joke over a long sunday afternoon spent sat in the Old Blue Last; a mixture of the rebel/refugee chic of MIA and the ground-up organic exclusivity of Dubstep, with a bit of paramilitary turbofolk unpleasantness thrown in for good measure.

Last time it was Doom Metal and its unbelievably earnest self-regard that got hipsters interested, with people queuing along Bethnal Green Road to attempt to see Sunn 0))) etc. and now, we are being led to believe, it is this scene that we should be crashing into (although anyone who's been out in the Slavic bars along Kingsland Road will know that this is already occurring). I recall that there was an interview with Sunn 0))) posted on the the Touch radio website, where fans spoke up and bemoaned the sudden surge of vicarious interest in Black Metal coming from readers of The Wire and its milieu, wanting to protect the authenticity of their passion from the intellectual faddishness of the modernists. You can see this process at work elsewhere; any time you go to FWD on a friday night in shoreditch there's an almost 50/50 split in the demographic of the audience between the true headz and the people (like myself), who started listening via Burial etc. In fact, was there not a grime night held at the whitechapel gallery for people who felt intimidated by the prospect of attending a real grime night?

Another connection between black metal and gabba / post-gabba music is their completely hermetic music theory. Just check wikipedia for exhaustive descriptions of either the importance of basing an entire sonic universe on the 'devil's interval' of the tritone, or the precise method by which one can create the correct clipped thud kick-drum sound. And anybody who has read or heard a metal fan trying to explain their musical system in terms of the western classical method will know how embarrasing that can be, not because of its inadequacy but because it has no need to be explained thus. This is just to say that there is also structural exclusivity to these musics, that they are not empty vessels of sound waiting to be culturalised.

It's safe to suggest that the internet has facilitated these fads in music, where people can safely search out the most extreme or random things possible, resulting in 'ordinary' people simultaneously owning music from all possible positions, essentially breaking down any kind of genre barrier or exclusivity. Intellectuals can profess their adoration for the 'Umbrella' song and their little sister might have a couple of Fennesz tracks that they like on their i-pod. This is no bad thing, striated boundaries in music are pointless, and we should be pleased that their disintegration continues. It's just that the conjuring up of 'scenes' to satisfy the taste for something organic and non-corporate is only different to the spectacle in terms of quantity. A 'passion for the real' perhaps, but searching for it in forms that it has already taken is not helping anyone.

Anyway, any mention of hard dance of any kind automatically takes one back to Glasgow, and this lot, Ultimate Buzz, actually played a gig at a real school disco at my secondary; an hour long set sandwiched in between two bouts of ceilidh dancing. The video has a certain Taggart-ness about it, I feel.

And this is perhaps the quintessential Scottish Rave tune:

Tuesday, 16 October 2007

la maison de vos rêves

Tower Hamlets council has two similar flats going in Goldfinger's Balfron Tower in E14, both are 2 Bed, 4 person, going for £100 a week. What better chance do you have to live in a piece of history? Get on the list!

p.s. I'll let you know next time there's one available in Robin Hood Gardens...

Thursday, 11 October 2007

Lenin's Grave

There are times when spatial memory is actively hidden, when the authorised narrative of the history of a place excludes whole episodes. This can occur at a huge scale, for example the urban cleansing of entire parts of cities in the name of regeneration, but it can also occur at the scale of individual buildings and objects. A pertinent example of the latter would be that of Lenin in London. There is a blue plaque, one of those banal examples of sanctioned memory, dedicated to him at the site of a now non-existent house where he once lived in Percy Circus, which is all very well, but he’s also buried in London…

There was once a statue of Lenin, erected by Tekton architect Berthold Lubetkin in 1941. Cast in concrete, the impossibly sharp likeness was set within a typically modernist white wall, staring fiercely. The bust sat somewhere outside of Lubetkin’s Lenin Court, which is home to a glorious staircase and a rather half-hearted mural in that quasi-Picasso style so common after the war. As time went on however, the statue became subject to consistent acts of NF vandalism (although it has been written that it was ‘the public’ as a whole who insisted upon destroying it, as if post war Islingtonians just couldn’t walk past a communist without smashing its face in). Undeterred, Lubetkin kept a supply of busts in order to maintain the monument, but eventually the council got tired of protecting and replacing so it was decided that it had to go. Strangely, Lubetkin took matters into his own hands and in fact buried the sculpture before it could be destroyed, turning up one morning with a mate and a digger. The council also renamed the entire building just in case it got its face smashed in too...

Visiting again the other day and passing over the site where it was lost, I tried to identify exactly where it could be. I recalled the very few photos that exist, trying to picture where it might have stood, begging some Tony Robinson type to arrive and film a TV archaeology special, locating it with a scanner before digging it out with a toothbrush. I suspect that it would look very different now, just some sludgy grey colour, squinting out from behind its rotten goatee, perhaps as unrecognisable as some disintegrated caryatid from the acropolis.

Of course it’s best that it stays underground; the very real-ness of the decay it must have gone through by now could only possibly be read as that old cautionary message of the frailty of man and its ambition. This is typical of the ruininlust that is making its return to consciousness now, a lazy warning against even daring to think the new. This highlights the problem of decay as a trope – on the one hand it has a necessary function within the politicised aesthetics of hauntology, but it is constantly slipping on the edge of kitsch and the reactionary picturesque. The question is; how to negotiate this boundary?

PS – we're very excited at the prospect of Burial vs K-Punk in The Wire…

Monday, 1 October 2007


I came across this on my travels today. It's the earliest known recorded music in existence and it's bloody incredible.

It's "a chorus of 4000 voices recorded with phonograph over 100 yards away," made by Edison's foreign sales rep at the Crystal Palace on June 29th, 1888.

Hauntogeography II

This tomb was photographed somewhere in Hampshire.