It came as a surprise to me when my mind offered up the idea that from now on I should vote Conservative.
I was on a train, journeying to my cruel orthodontist. I am wretched coward when it comes to agony and regularly look to the skies and thank the god of mutation, heredity and natural selection for giving all the pain and pressure of childbirth to women. Each time I see my orthodontist, I try to work out if she resembles anyone my family may have wronged. As she takes her Poe-like revenge on my front teeth, I let out a yelp. I don’t remember yelping before in a dentist chair. Whatever my ancestors did to her ancestors, I imagine it was a gambling scam that destroyed their wealth in late 18th century Dartmoor, I hope her bony forefathers were giggling in their burial plots as I squirmed on Friday. Seeking retail therapy in the Book Exchange a few doors down, pulp paperback curator Kirk remarked from behind the counter that it was pretty stupid for me to get braces at my age as I would be dead before long. I was in full agreement. I soothed my aching roots with a Tate book on Victorian Nudes, Philip K Dick’s Dr Bloodmoney, Ward Churchill’s On The Justice of Roosting Chickens, and a book of Hogarth prints.
Then, I went to the zoo to talk to badger experts, cyberman actor Stewart Lee, and listen to the songs of Helen Arney and Darren Hayman. I also checked on the puppy progress of the African Hunting Dogs.
None of that has anything to do with my Tory moment.
It’s not as if I could really become disenfranchised from Westminster politics, that happened many years ago. Even with the brimming scepticism I have for large scale politics, this last few months has been beyond my presumptions of the hopelessness of them all. It is a resigned apoplexy.
Seeing Trump as an endorsed, major party presidential candidate was another sign that the human experiment is not meant to work on this scale. So many of his announcements are so mad that you can’t even argue against them, because the act of arguing against them means that you seem to be insane as well.
The reaction to Corbyn’s victory, with so many looking haughtily and wide-eyed at those who voted for him, and seeming to make it clear that “this is not how it will be. You are idiots and you have made an error, now go away and think about what you have done”. There seemed to be so little talk about why he might have been chosen, and much talk about why this was most definitely not the done thing. Shortly after he became leader, there was an episode of Have I Got News For You that has stuck in my mind. There were plenty of Corbyn jokes, why wouldn’t there be, he had become news, but every time Richard Osman said anything positive about Corbyn, and the audience showed their approval, Hislop looked at them as if they were quite mad.
The parameters of political possibilities seem even narrower than I imagined.
And then, there was the referendum.
What a fucking mess.
What a can of cowards and egotists.
The Labour party decides this is the best time to implode.
The Tories descend into chaos before hastily reassembling their most trustworthy homophobes and fox-blooded dog chasers.
And dogmatism rules the virtual world that is increasingly making a bid to be declared the real world while the one of physical events and physical laws is demoted to an annoyance that leads to toes stubbed on rocks.
And so I thought, “fuck it. Maybe I should just vote for the party that will be most useful to me personally and stop voting for some Brigadoon of a possible better future for more”.
However much I lower my hopes, they still seem to be too high.
I think I’ll go out less. (I should say that my life is fine, I am just thinking of having my empathy downgraded. I think it is a simple operation with a cocktail stick and the frontal lobe)
You can have your hopes, but please be aware that they are for the purposes of your imagination only and not for any practical purposes beyond your mind.
I’ll try to mainly concentrate on individual actions, things I can do rather than looking to the dreams I may have. I am no longer certain that anything can be done about the political system when it is on this scale, so it will have to be working if I can do anything about separate issues that might catch my eye or stub my toe.
I think I’ll dust off those books of anarchist thoughts recommended to me by my local steampunks.
Damn, this was meant to be my reading diary of the day, but I’ve run out of words.
Ginger Geezer – The Life of Vivian Stanshall by Lucian Randall and Chris Welch
The David Bowie Story by George Tremlett
Shelley’s Frankenstein Reader’s Guide by Graham Allen
Season of the Witch by Peter Bebergal
Dark Side Magazine
The Wipers Times (BBC2)
Genius by Stephen Hawking – Episode 4 (National Geographic)
And I listened to some DJ Shadow and Hawkwind
I have a new DVD (about 6 hours of shows and some Grace Petrie too) It is here
There are now 19 episodes of Josie and Robin’s Book Shambles – from Stewart Lee to Geoff Dyer via Claudia Hammond and Sara Pascoe here (plus we’ll be doing some specials from the Latitude Festival this weekend)