[BoCS prose 1]
No words came. The scratch of pen was just for show, the blood around the eye make up to keep up appearances of one that would not be fucked about. The bar was empty. The people wash the streets on shuffled feet and muffled progress. The jockeys play a rotten slur of whacked out sexual ecstasy, the person at the pen table wonders why someone doesn’t shut them up for good. Translucent letters held up to a lamp, the lack of any pretence shows no clues, only water.Dryness of the mouth slaked on warm beer.
There had been a gesture to converse together at the order, between bartender and punter, a true attempt to understand one another. A look from an eye that knows some secret of your face and ears. Has seen you and what you have seen. Has heard you and what you have heard. Knows you and what you have known and allows that to be okay at the bar. You, who wears the look of the hunted, you who scares easy, for you he sends a probe through the drab mood for encouragement of the let go, the heave ho, the here’s why, all concealed on a glance of crease from around the eyebrow. Your catch of shameful acknowledgement, your lust for exchange, your taste of known unknowns grants a moment to, to what? To try? To not conceal the total cacophony that follows each of your every synapse loops? To reach out? All these thoughts followed by total apathy. When the end comes, the two of them exhale, glad of the break. The wrestle match over, the dust settles, the walls sag along for sympathy. All stops for now.The door clangs open, a butcher approaches the bar. Apron bloody, moustache blacked over, head shaved to conceal the age of the beast. Lumbers slowly, orders bourbon, strokes the moustache clean after a glug. Leaves a black mark on the mouth.
The tune changes, a pulse of rhythm and a throb of bass. A woman screams holes over and over. Everyone looks up. The rat at the corner of the garden looks up. The dog at the end of the bar looks up. The butcher looks at the dog, then the bartender, the dj has gone, the laptopper taps on. The words are fast and close, now. The reason undone through loudness of thought set to choreographed sound; enough’s enough!
Run, you bastards, you hackers of meat, run. The only clue left at the bottom of the box could be the only one you rather you hadn’t found. Who started the job must end the same. Who started the job. Who started?
I did. He did. You did. We did.
Now cut out your I’s.
[BoCS prose 2]
Finding the Butcher of Common Sense.
A Play In Seven Days.
“Der Schlächter des Verstands”, is not the exact equivalent translation of “The Butcher of Common Sense”, but it will have to do, because if you are looking for him, in Berlin, for example, you will probably need to ask people where to find him (or her, or them) in their own tongue. But Common Sense is (as far as I have experienced) , a very British (English?) idea. The French don’t have it – everything is just evident to them.
And that is the problem with foreign languages – those other tongues of mother tongues have mother brains behind them.
The closest German gets to Common Sense, as far as I can find, is the concept of rationality or ‘rational thought’ in the word ‘verstands’. And so we arrive at the compromise of ‘The Butcher of Rational Thought’, which maybe changes our mission somewhat. Or does it just define it.
Whatever the case, it will act as the creative constraint around which we will endeavour to gather signs and clues, seeking them out like detectives weeding out crime, or piecing together a case and to search for the unimaginable – the future of our species over the rest of our conscious or living existence.
You know that you’ve felt it. That taste in the air, that watery cloud around you that smells of change and tastes of stale damp bringing rain, with a little patience. Expectation of a shift, anticipation of an evolution or at least, something different to talk about. So you’ve probably talked about it too. Or read about it. Watched a documentary on a free download site with links to more of the same, and then emailed that to the one person in your peer group who truly understands what you are on about when you talk about these butchers, this lack of rational thought, this bastardisation of the bleeding obvious, this twisting of a sensibility that once may have been common.
Or maybe you haven’t thought about it at all. Life is fast and change is hard and thoughts and tastes are difficult to define or justify when anybody’s keeping busy keeping up and getting on. Or getting up and keeping on, whichever you prefer. For me, it’s decidedly the latter. I love sleeping, I’m appalling at getting up, and yet I will go without sleep to get here for this thing, I will watch these people whilst they work on this thing, I will talk to the crowd when they’re loving this thing and I will not be at home and I will not take it easy and I will not run away until I find that fucking butcher.
Because the butcher comes for all of us sooner or later. Because if you don’t know your own knowledge belongs to you he’ll hack it out and grind it up before you even got a chance to develop it.
And the world is developing and I dare you to point out one trope of human existence and say that it isn’t in an intense phase of flux and I urge you to leave your homes and your comfort zones and your mobile phones and follow the music. The Art. The Rational Thought.
Reel it in, roll it out. Share it with the people you cherish and be brave – don’t doubt yourself – you know that You Know. And that’s all it takes, is that, a sense of community, some curiosity and a thirst for the company of your common or garden to come with you and find others: Follow me, I’ll follow you.
Build it til it breaks.
Fun fun fun fun fun fun fun.
And then some.
[BoCS prose 3]
The Death of The Editor – An Exercise in Self Mutilation.
“In the appreciation of a work of art or an art form, consideration of the receiver never proves fruitful. Not only is any reference to a certain public or its representatives misleading, but even the concept of an “ideal” receiver is detrimental in the theoretical consideration of art, since all it posits is the existence and nature of man as such. Art, in the same way, posits man’s physical and spiritual existence, but in none of its works is it concerned with his response. No poem is intended for the reader, no picture for the beholder, no symphony for the listener.”
Benjamin, Walter. “The Task of the Translator” (1923)
In Berlin it feels like Modernism never ended sometimes. Metropolis all around. Bauhaus design in bars and homes. Classically simple ideals of fine form and structural integrity that raise a glass to Rational Thought.
As butchers, we stomp through the city, unreal city, through the mist, and we find the discarded and we leave behind our evidence. We use these things to inspire our work, making music in abandoned motorcycle garages, the corpses of gutted machinery littering the floor, and the music produced is darker here than it is indoors, as the cold, dead fingers of yesterday, those echoes of acoustic resonance still present but intangible, reach into our minds and channel cold thoughts up our spines. As butchers, we set ourselves an exercise, tie ourselves up with loose constraints and hack out work from the head, the heart, the guts and look at it. The unexamined life not being worth living, as it were. Making knights tours of buildings and psyches, we chess piece together those thoughts that glimmer at the peripheries, that attempt to cheat the direct line of sight, and we harness them in their realisation and ride them around the board to endless patterns and permutations. The lost items we find, the bits of ourselves we leave behind, help us to review and respond and revisit.
And sometimes we fuck up. Wonder why we are doing what we are doing, have doubts, are cynical, feel inadequate when the city, oh, city! is throbbing around you and with each beat, more art is born. Ever lamented the lack of time in Real Life to Get Stuff Done That Is Creative? Well, now you’ve got it sunshine, the time and the inclination both – so switch it on! Get going! Go! Start! Produce something amazing! It’s the least the city deserves from you, you little bleeder, for spinning your head off, scooping out sludge and grafting it back on. Make your work, tend to your babies, show us something new. But if that work is perceived to be even marginally sub standard to anybody’s butcher broiled brain, it shall be cast out, sent to the incinerator, isn’t used, shan’t, can’t won’t, because in actualising that peripheral glimmer, it lost its shimmer, it became dull and dead like the sad, vacant eyes of your recently slaughtered lamb.
So forget the death of the author, this is the ritualised massacre of your internal, infernal editor – that bitch has got to die, if you are going to carry on. Get yourself next door to yourself, nichtzuhausein style, get out of your house, get backin the carvery. Walk the streets of modernism, cut out your tongue and splutter at culture.
Hack it out, slice it up, serve it fresh with a side order. Get back in the abattoir, set a reminder; everything now is fresh meat for the grinder.
You wanted to find the butcher? Well, now you fucking are one.
The fog lifts, the world changes, the butcher leans over the glass, scrutinises the cynic inside, and queries in a throaty laugh “How long do you wanna live for, love?”.