Saturday, 19 May 2012


I’ve been reading Tamper by Bill Ectric. I’m enjoying it so much that I can’t wait till I’ve finished it to write something about it. For a start it does what all good art does and makes you think, “how could I ever do that?” Bill’s crisp visual descriptions are not so much Faberge egg as hand crafted ingenious piece of furniture with hidden drawers and false bottoms (nice). Bill describes the book as part Nancy Drew and part William Burroughs and you think okay yeah I get that because people always use that devise to give a flavour of the piece. The difference in the case of Tamper is that the book is exactly part Nancy Drew and part William Burroughs. There is, to my mind, a joy in the mysteries that are revealed as the book goes along. Bill outlines the machinations in such a way that I feel like I understand how Nancy Drew book works without having read one. The trick that I am trying to see from all angles is how Bill Ectric has written a book about the passing of youth that incorporates the style of the books that clearly informed that particular time in his own life without it dragging? Well clearly he is a good writer but soul and genre don’t normally mix well. Another wonder is that this book is not arch or pastiche. The writer is actually taking us right to the source. This means the work is vulnerable and perhaps not as knowing or sophisticated as a fully shielded hack would like to be these days. A writer who might say, “yeah its derivative and sloppy but I know it is – sort of thing”. Nietzsche realised we were repressed by religion and that in fact our obsession with it was a kind of sickness. So much so Dawkins. But Freidrich wasn’t saying think like me he was saying think for yourself. So all these bombastic atheist hammer of truth wielders are just a heinous echo of repressed Methodist preachers (personal experience). Bill Ectric’s book is not repressed it is free. Forgive me if you have heard my song about it but Dawkins is like a kid who sits through an episode of Thunder Birds pointing out the strings – all the way through. And shit REAL HANDS. Yeah get over it and then perhaps we can start to understand the cosmos in more expansive ways. Dawkins would be happy I suspect if we could freeze the universe and create an Airfix instruction leaflet for it so that we could pretend we made it. Then hang it up to gather dust in a classroom with posters declaring the original genius of the meme theory. Tamper is partially about the ambiguity of perceptual experience without a character holding a golf sale sign that says, “Perceptual experience is ambiguous”. Although I haven’t finished the book yet. This ambiguity is Subjectivity and objectivity colliding in Hegel’s large dialectic collider right? We are, whether we like it or not, part of the thing we are trying to examine and calibrate. Each time we redefine this cosmos or some specific part of it we remove ourselves from the calculations. It’s like a tick. A scientist who upon placing the slide under the microscope but then in a seamless movement immediately puts it in the yellow bin marked “sharps only”. He does this every time and so has started to see shapes in the defects in the base of the microscope itself and draw conclusions from this. The mysterious monk come lecturer Johannes Itten (very informative blog) made a colour globe which tries to include us in the process of calculation. In a rational sense Itten's colour globe is a complete paradox. He sets up some objective rules about complimentary colours and tonal values. The same stuff that has been used to repress art students for years. But then he suggests that by thinking of the colour wheel as a three dimensional globe we can travel through it into the grey area of indeterminacy. Rationally this makes no sense. Why have some clear rules about combining colour only to then say but you can travel through this any way you like because it’s a subjective realm – The Grey Area. It makes “sense” if you think of it the other way around. The globe is largely composed of the grey area but should this become overwhelming then there are these anchor/compass points of colour theory. In other words the essence of life is indeterminacy and metaphor and theory helps us along the way. The way it generally works now is that metaphor and subjectivity are appended hobbies to the serious business of fucking life up through abstracted bureaucracy and occasionally retreating to write a poem about how fucked up it all is. Seek out Itten’s colour globe (I can't find it online) that seems to propose we try and become less repressed by our own frameworks and instead use them when they are needed. Oh and please read Tamper – it is profound and yet light and consoling. It’s weird but with a precision of vision that means the weirdness never muddies the waters.