culture

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audience in b and w

Aesthetics etc.       Music        Cinema       TV        Humour        Theatre        Literature

graffiti opium den

Graffiti, Notting Hill, 1970s

Dad’s upstairs watching a DVD of an American psychological thriller, with his headphones on because he likes to hear the volume loud and the walls are thin; next door his wife is lying on the bed flicking through an interior design magazine whilst listening to a CD of Eminem, also with headphones on, because of the neighbours; in one of the bedrooms, their youngest son is playing the latest Harry Potter computer game; downstairs their daughter is dancing in the living room imitating the dance she’s watching on MTV; in the car outside round the corner her older brother is sitting with his mate smoking dope with the volume on his stereo blaring out loud, the base turned up at full volume so it rocks the street, indifferent, and maybe even hostile, to the neighbours – they’re reading a slightly erotic but sombre adult comic book together whilst they hardly exchange a word, etc.etc. Why has culture arrived at such a depressing clichéd point? What is the history behind these sad banalities? Where do these separations and passivity come from?

Copie de SleepingPills copy

Trying to analyse culture is like a fish trying to understand water: it’s the polluted sea we swim in.

Whilst an opposition to war and to politics seems to be a popular thing, to oppose culture sets you apart as a wierdo. But still, culture is the commodity that sells the whole of the commodity economy – war and politics included. It’s sufficient to see the connection between Saatchi as a leading promoter of the visual arts, Saatchi as advertising firm and Saatchi as promoter of the Thatcherite counter-revolution to begin to develop a hatred for the progress of art as a commodity. After the arms industry and the drugs industry, culture and its off-shoots are probably the third largest world business – yet culture is apparently benign, far harder to contest than a nuclear power plant, for example*. It is the religion of the people, a drug. In a crazy world, we’re not opposed to using drugs – the point however is to oppose the stupid social relations that require religion and drugs and culture, the cynical social relations that make religion and drugs and culture lucrative businesses.

graffiti art colleges

Graffiti, Notting Hill, 1970s

We need to grasp what is human and subversive in the content that’s been expressed in the alienated vicarious forms of culture in order to live and risk this content in reality – against this commodified world. What does this mean? It means this is no purist and ascetic rejection of what has been life-loving in culture, but rather a rejection of the transformation of this spirit into a commodity and into the development of commodity relations, and the re-appropriation of what is merely represented by developing practical risks in everyday life.

Within this perspective we have here lots of different texts, covering various aspects of different cultural forms.

Texts in reverse chronological order, beginning with the most recent:

the films of jean-luc hitchcock – the first 200 years (1823 – 2023)

howlings in favour of ourselves: a practical critique of situationism (2010)

some musical notes (2005/2008)

the closed window onto another life (2005/6)

escape from alcatraz (2005)

culture in danger? – if only… (2004)

the poverty of french rock ‘n’ roll (2004)

moore is less (2004)

soaps get in your eyes (2001)

1969: revolution as personal and as theatre (2001)

alternative comedy (1987)

“Shakespeare was a fake!” horror shock! (1984)

the end of music as we know it (1984)

the famous thriller “the mystery of struggles defeated” (1983)

The above organised into sub-categories:

General critiques (aesthetics, etc.)

the closed window onto another life (2005/6)

culture in danger? – if only… (2004)

Music

some musical notes (2005/2008)

the poverty of french rock ‘n’ roll (2004)

the end of music as we know it (1984)

stonehenge (1983)

death of john lennon (1981)

the rolling stones free concert in hyde park (1969)

Cinema

moore is less (2004)

escape from alcatraz (2005)

the films of jean-luc hitchcock – the first 200 years (1823-2023)

TV

soaps get in your eyes (2001)

Humour

alternative comedy (1987)

Theatre

“Shakespeare was a fake!” horror shock! (1984)

1969: revolution as personal and as theatre (2001)

howlings in favour of ourselves: a practical critique of situationism (2010)

from guerilla theatre to courtroom farce (1970)

Literature

the famous thriller “the mystery of struggles defeated” (1983)

now is the winter of our poetry (1977)

graffiti a distraction a daygraffiti on mural, mid-70s

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