Monday, 30 April 2012

EEEbyGUM, Bin Diving, Poverty, Penury, Tapedropping, Regrets and Stolen Glimpses of The Gadget Show through a Businessman's Window

My last posting had an ulterior motive: I had half-hoped that Noel Edmonds (or, more likely, one of his retinue) might happen upon it and consider bestowing PhD funding to me (for Edmonds' alleged offer of 'troll research').

I don't think I'll ever find a job or get PhD funding (which would allow for GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH).  The unfortunate passage of time has led to this opinion (hopefully incorrect, please?). This lack of social mobility has been going on for far too long.  I thought it couldn't get any worse in 2006, but now, in 2012, it has!  And then even worse!!  AND WORSE!!!  Colin Wilson may be correct in his opinion that scuppered energies lead to criminality.  I'm now constantly looking in bins for food, entertainment or any sustenance.  The Job Centre building radiates torment.  It's getting intolerable.  Is anyone reading this?  Attempts are made to attain custodianship of something, but the field of choice narrows and narrows until only mud remains.  It's when even the mud becomes out-of-reach that some fracture of language occurs.  Laws become wilfully unrecognised.  Trespassing on allotments, we start to resonate our own defecations with salvaged amplifier systems and car batteries.  The EEEbyGUM concept is getting more and more pertinent: Ear Enlightenment Everywhere but yet General Unresponsiveness Manifest.  It refers to the despairing situation of Sonic Art graduates.  I believe to have discovered new techniques which are essential to humanity, but nobastard cares.

Today, whilst on my daily bin-diving expedition (which desperation necessitates), I caught a glimpse of Channel 5's The Gadget Show through someone's window.  A man in a suit, with unbuttoned shirt, was sat in front of his plasma widescreen in louche mode after a hard day in the office, no doubt.  I didn't want to stare for too long, so after a few minutes, when the ad break came on, I crept away with my bag of "soiled knick-knacks" (as a local anti-bin-diving correspondent to the local newspaper once referred to the spoils of scrounge).

The Gadget Show was originally concerned with the latest gadgets.  In principle, it should've always catered for the gadgetty anchorites who confine themselves to their bedrooms or garages to reach the nirvana which lies beyond the GUI.  Instead, the prime-time show is now inexplicably aimed at a new breed of Nietzschean Übermensch: sporty bankers with infinite money and predilections for gadgeteering whilst scuba-diving or suchlike.  Racing cars and unnecessary 'babes'.  It's aggressively outdoorsy and treads muddy footprints on the anchorite's face.

TV's Jason Bradbury
When I looked into the man's window - the reason I knew immediately he was watching Channel 5's The Gadget Show is because of its presenter, Jason Bradbury, and his face, which plays host to ever-stupefying glasses of the uniquest futurology.  He never used to wear glasses - methinks they're fake.

Back in 2004, when he was searching for some new 'thing', he sent me a kind email after hearing my tapedropping emissions on Resonance FM.  Bradbury asked to meet up and "discuss ideas".  Foolishly, I preferred to concentrate on my university work which was consuming a lot of time.  He sent another email:

"Thanks for returning my mail.  My interest in your show is quite simple really - I think you're hilarious.  I'm always looking for tangental ideas and performers but I'm not some old BBC git looking to sign up talent and throw away the key. While I flirt with the mainstream as a producer/director - I'm fronting a crazy science show of my own for Discovery Kids out next month and I've just got a role presenting a new technology and gadget show on Ch5 in May 04.  I'm also an experienced comedian with years of stand-up experience and most recently a 5 star show I did at the Edinburgh Festival called 'Breakdance Therapy' (a biographical piece about growing up in the 80's).

So you see - I relate to your 8-bit harmonies and human beatbox - I relate to your divergent presentational style and I relate the potential to roll all of them up into a stage show or a TV proposal or... just an interesting chat over a coffee.

I've you're up for a meet - drop me a mail. I'm around week after next.

Keep up the good work. All the best,
Jason Bradbury

'Fan mail' was virtually non-existent, so this was nice.  It was a complimentary, encouraging email and he dispensed his mobile number, although I replied that I really must continue my university work.  Responding negatively to Bradbury is one of my biggest regrets, because I was UTTERLY WRONG in thinking concentration on university work would reap pleasanter rewards.  University has led me to the gutter - LITERALLY.  Since graduating from the Master's degree in 2007, I have continued 'studying' just interiorly in my mind: working on imaginary assignments for imaginary deadlines.  Why won't anywhere employ me or give my proposals the time of day?  Why won't they offer PhD funding to me?  I'm already half-way there with my imaginatively-propelled research under chimerical auspices!  So, now I rummage through trade waste bins in the twilight.  I never thought things could get worse, but there is always a new level of misery waiting below.  My studies have resulted in a debt probably never to be paid off.  I grow resentful of society, and The Gadget Show represents all that is abhorrent with unloosed consumerism and conservative young working professionals with their disregard for the obsolete, aversion to make-do-and-mend mentalities, etc.  Yet paradoxically, regrets of not accepting Bradbury's offer of a meeting lead to cripping ganglions of bitter gall...  (However, in all likelihood, he would've thought me "not the full shilling" and dismissed me, as in all interviews I've been to).

Aye, maybe Bradbury never did quite fully understand the nature of my tapedropping emissions - the ultimate objectives of tapedropping being to irk deserving recipients.  (Don't know what the "human beatbox" was all about).  Ironically, all tapedropping recipients were ostensibly the sort of people who currently watch The Gadget Show - the tapedroppings aimed to sonically aggrieve them to the same extent their toxic smugness offended the delicate ear.  Tapes of unbroadcastable grot to evaporate all cliquey trendsetting...

Still, I telephoned Jason Bradbury years later (in 2007) in a spasm of PURE DESPERATION(!!!!!!) in the hope he might employ me for my sound work or something.  He was my last hope of getting on an even keel - maybe I could wrangle some internship leading to steady work?  Maybe I could eventually afford those nice but expensive Marks & Spencer pasta bakes which I circumspectly pilfer occasionally?  Bradbury telephonically calmed me that 2004 was a "long time ago", although it seemed like only yesterday to me, and still does.  He told me to "never give up" and to "keep going".  His career had gone from strength to strength, and he'd had some children who were now toddlers, etc.  His advice, whilst being superficially helpful and sensible, has driven me far beyond unemployability into sheer asphyxiated impoverished hell.  THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMETHING OUT THERE FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IF NOT ON THIS PLANET, THEN SOMEWHERE IN ALL KNOWN SPACE, AT LEAST???!!!!?!?!!!  This is what I wanted to howl, but decorum and telephone-manner intervened.

Now, today, I stand looking into someone else's living room - it looks warm - at this profoundly resonant and antagonising televisual face of Bradbury, whilst holding a carrier bag full of stuff pulled out from bins.  Maybe I'm eligible for some sort of disability benefit?  Everything seems 'out of phase'.  One consoling thought is that new levels of desperation are inevitably coming, but not at this absolute moment in time.
Looking in bins - displaying the crib sheet of 'dream objects' for the creation of sonic miracles and vibrational research

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Trolling in the Material World - In Defence of Noel Edmonds

The etymology of the the term 'trolling', as applied to the internet, is interesting.  Once, it referred to 'playing the fool' anonymously.  Over time, the 'fool' became an 'upstart'.  To my mind, it once seemed to be a label for acts of what could be called elongated reciprocal interference, ostensibly unprovoked, but arising from microscopic/imagined discomforts of perception (hence reciprocality).  Today it is something unmentionable.  Trolling might involve leaving abstract comments on forums which would steer conversational threads towards the ridiculous.  However, in the last few years, the term 'trolling' has now been used by the UK press to refer to anonymous hate emissions designed to cause maximum offence.  In the US however, this hate-emission is termed 'flaming'.  'Flaming' is a suitably malign word to use, whereas 'trolling' retains a rather benign character, quite at odds with the viciousness it often refers to.

According to today's press reports, popular TV personality Noel Edmonds recently hired a detective agency to track down the creator of a small Facebook group entitled "Somebody please kill Noel Edmonds".  Bizarrely, it was found that the creator of this group was a PhD student.  Rather than informing the police, Edmonds contacted the student's campus to request a face-to-face meeting with the troll, who subsequently apologised - the troll-intent short circuited.  Elsewhere, it was reported that Edmonds also offered to fund a special PhD to investigate the phenomenon of internet trolls and the motives behind trolling.  It is certainly a fascinating research topic.  I'd kill (metaphorically) to have such an opportunity...

Today is April 1st.  The significance is pronounced.  Indeed, there is no immediate evidence that this "kill Noel Edmonds" Facebook group ever existed (although evidence of a Midlands punk zine titled Kill Noel Edmonds crops up on Google).  Time will tell whether the Noel Edmonds story is true, but at the moment, the fizz of uncertainty propels thoughtfulness.

Solar Fictions; A free inquiry into the received astronomical
doctrine and popular opinions concerning the sun
Trolling has been around since time immemorial in the form of general hoaxing, literary frauds, Interventionist Art, etc.  It is glimpsed in the imp of the perverse.  The Situationist Guy Debord published his 1959 artist book Mémoires with a sandpaper cover, to gradually destroy adjacent books or polished surfaces.  Elsewhere, in literature, one undermentioned and particularly strange pseudonymous book titled Solar Fictions by 'A Freeman' seems to qualify as religiously motivated trolling of sorts.  This sarcasm-laced 1871 publication sought to pooh-pooh rationalism, discredit all scientific endeavour, and ultimately disprove the existence of the sun (its cover shows the sun being extinguished with a candlesnuffer).  These two things are just random examples.  One might condemn Solar Fictions as woefully misguided anti-astronomy, or the sandpaper of Debord's Mémoires as inconsiderate gimmickry, but both possess honest artistry in their elaborate conception... There is actual thought-content.

As technology makes it easier to produce throwaway emissions, flippancy creeps in.  And with flippancy is the inclination toward bluntness; the shedding of any remaining responsibilities; the artistry disappears.  In the audio cassette's heyday, a hoaxer named John Humble created tapes where he claimed to be responsible for the Yorkshire ripper killings.  These were anonymously posted to the police.  Queasily, one tape featured Andrew Gold's pop hit Thank You for Being a Friend.  It was easy for Humble just to hit record and spill out his guff.  Now, with the internet, the potential for agitational flippancy is astronomical.

My own mediadropping projects (especially the targeted varieties) had a touch of that same 'imp of the perverse' which informs some of the more lightweight examples of modern trolling, and also its incoherent sister, crapflooding.  Domineering local personalities were targeted with self-made soundstuff - physical media such as CDs and cassettes were deployed.  Mediadropping is specifically a sonic affair characterised by confusing, abstract and possibly enlightening elements.  The certainties of small-town prejudice and mediocrity were confronted head-on with semi-worrying anti-mediocrities (often, paradoxically, mediocre).  Artistic attempts were made to diffuse dumb malaise with some finely crafted agitation.

Things get stupidly unjust if the roles are reversed.  If bullish people try to make their own mediadropping, all abstractness with its gentle mystery is thrown out the window.  The results are uninteresting, and often plainly derogatory (murderousness unadorned), negating all artistry.

If the Noel Edmonds story is true, did the trolling PhD student reckon Edmonds to be a figurehead of mediocrity?  Did he resent the concept of mediocrity and take out his directionless angst on Edmonds?  If so, the aspiring doctorate-holder has atrocious judgement and rotten imagination (besides, Edmonds has already been 'trolled' in a rather more imaginative drama setup by Chris Morris).  Aside from the moral murk of inciting murder, even jokingly, there is something utterly wrong about targeting Noel Edmonds in the context of trolling.  Edmonds himself is a skilled channeller of the 'imp of the perverse'; see, for instance, his NTV segments on Noel's House Party - where spy cameras were fitted onto a random viewer's television set, to be switched into the live feed on Edmonds' command.  Shocked viewers would suddenly see themselves on national television, and Edmonds would attempt to communicate with them whilst in their shocked state.

If today's story about the Noel Edmonds troll does turn out to be an April Fool, then may this post collapse upon itself tidily.  If not, then may these points be scrutinised with heightened seriousness.

UPDATE 18/01/12:  It appears the Noel Edmonds troll story is true after all, and not an April Fool's fabrication.  If Edmonds or any of his retinue are reading this, vis-a-vis the hint in the above text, I'd be unbelievably keen to embark on a PhD in the origins of trolling, its cultural ramifications, etc., but I have no money...  My own theory is that trolling instances rise in tandem with the decline of alleged 'poltergeist' activity - as the same motivation underpins both, and the internet offers the path of least resistance.  I've been begging for PhD funding (in a wide range of fields) since 2007.