Tuesday 28 June 2016

EU EU EU EU and the Land of the Pharaohs, let's be the crocodiles?????????????

Do you recall that marvellous shot at the end of Land of the Pharaohs (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0046949/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_ps) when the villain looks down from the wall from which he is to plunge into the crocodile pit and sees them there with open, welcoming jaws - and then, as he plunges, we see him fall from the viewpoint of the crocodiles themselves - but never the impact?

Is that not the position in which we now find ourselves vis à vis the EU?

What would Jack Hawkins do and whatever was it that Joan Collins did? Will there ever be another episode? At the moment of writing the whole thing is turning into a crossover between a screw-ball comedy with Cameron as a goofy and unintentionally clumsy Jerry Lewis, and a rather coarse and vulgar tragedy of the kind that only Goves, Johnsons and Farages could produce. The number of vile politicians on both sides is utterly astonishing, with the hideous CD right of Schauble or Merkel looking like the moderates that they are not - as we know over the decades, but saw nakedly in their handling of Greece; the grimly neoliberal Juncker with his mafioso style denials of his running his country as a tax haven having anything to do with heading up the EU, actually demanding that the UK exit today and so act in conflict with the Lisbon treaty and UK Parliamentary procedure; and the skunk-like putridity of Le Pen and Farage coming head on with the pro-EU but hardly less fascist Eastern European leaders. Is there anyone to admire? Schulz, who tried to block the EU from one of its honourable moves in labelling West Bank products and who apologised to Netanyahu for even suggesting that israel might deprive the Palestinians of water? Pity the poor crocodiles, if this lot were to fall from the wall even their cast-iron digestive tracts would be sorely challenged.

The weird outcome of the stupidly anti-democratic and manipulative UK referendum is that disagreement, or mésentente, now rules; the staging of the sensible is reworked in an uncannily new décor and we have a chance to look long and hard at our own delusions and illusions. The racist or xenophobic insult to our new populations stands out clearly as a symptom to be accounted for - while on the one hand understanding that the much vaunted freedom of movement is not much more than Norman Tebbit's one time 'get on your bike' for the poor and, on the other hand, a privilege of the Eurogranted academics and art world tourists of whom I am still a hanger-on. We need to see this, and to look at the delusions as at the wounds, without shame and without lamentation as a state of things in which we might or might not find some kind of effective thinking ... I read three things today that beautifully support this reading, Chantal Mouffe, Etienne Balibar and Stathis Koevelakis




Never written... The Catamites of Cork Street

when I first lived in London the bottom of Regent Street and Piccadilly Circus still looked more or less like this. Ah the good old days, real department stores, Swann and Edgar, seen here, Debenham and Freebody on Wigmore Street, with it spectacular marble staircase, the labyrinthine men's department at Liberty, cruising ground annex to the Marshall Street Baths (or vice versa), or Whiteleys on Queensway with its glorious cast iron galleries and strange bed department with a sinister, low ceiling.
All of this was still in black and white and reality had yet to be coloured by digital numbers, like a cheap oil painting .. Oddly many of these stores were not far from municipal, private or public Turkish baths, The Savoy in Jermyn Street or Porchester hall up Queensway, or strangely near to famous cottages (Piccadilly Circus station). So there was a gayish novel to be written, even before Hollinghurst had published his glorious Swimming Pool Library (yes, yes, the cheap smell of rented speedos!).

My novel, as a Proust reader and a gallery rat was to be entitled:

Du côté de chez Swann and Edgar, 
and the first chapter was to have been 
'The Catamites of Cork Street'.

here is a picture I drew a couple of years ago, on my tablet, for a conference where we were asked to bring a bit of porn, I think. It is a memory of a graffito seen on the wall of the Gents at the corner of Carnaby Street, just behind Liberty. It made me laugh so hard I peed on my jeans. Heigh ho, 1968 was such fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

Just behind Carnaby Street in Ganton Street was the hatter Malyard from whom I bought a lavender/grey-pink floppy number to be worn with a copy of AD magazine, maybe folded round NME. It appears that J Lennon (a person I ever disliked) had one in a rather brash purple and it is for this reason that I can still retrieve an image of this lost object, maybe 1970 this time? To quote Hollis Frampton, 'do you see what I see?'