Tuesday, 20 February 2007

The margins, and they who walk there...

"So, Savage, why did you stop doing your blog?"

Tricky one. When I first started doing a blog (over a year ago now) I got carried away with the pressure to diarise it: to fill it with the minutae of what was, at the time, a fairly uninteresting life. Like a lot of people, I started it without any real idea of what I wanted to say, and without a corner to fight from. This time it's going to be a bit different.

This blog has a purpose.

First I'm going to tell you what this blog is not.

It is not a music blog.

Don't get me wrong, I am a music FANATIC. I write about it, listen to it, play it, eat, sleep...yadda, yadda, so forth and so on, however there are many other people doing fantastic work in that area (and may I take time out at this point to recommend 20 Jazz Funk Greats, which I occasionally write for, as the best of the bunch) and I'm not sure I would have much to add. Also, I find reviewing albums really boring and would rather avoid it.

Having said all that, I will talk about music here when it's relevant. Because I can, and there isn't much point in making your own rules if you can't crap on them occasionally.

What this blog is, or what I intend it to be, is a little flagship principlity representing what I think are the ignored, ignobled and misunderstood outposts of (un)popular culture. The forgotten and the lost: from banned books to obscure art movements; solitary visionaries to mass panics; mind control to minds on fire.

In practice I will talk about books, poetry, films, computer games, art and all the little cracks that these disparate practices snuggle and bleed into, with no thought for 'high' or 'low', 'worthy' or 'unworthy'. I'm sure you know that there is a rich heritage of forgotten and ignored culture out there, a lot of which is becoming accesible to anyone with a credit card and a willingness to look into the margins: this is the kind of stuff (RAW MATTER) that I'll be poking about in.

Now, before we begin proper, a little disclaimer. A lot of the material I will be bringing to the table will be of a, shall we say, contentious bent. It will deal in the extreme and the misanthropic, the pornographic and the plain offensive, it will NOT be 'shock-for-shock's-sake' ambulance chasing. I will not deal with serial killers (fucking grow up), Nazi atrocitys, pointless Thelemic feuds, conspiracy theories or many of the other staples of 'Apocalypse Culture' (God, that phrase is Sooo 1990s).

A little history: when I was a young man, my interest in Burroughs, and so on recently stirred by exposure to Sonic Youth, I came across a book in my local Virgin Megastore. The book was called Rapid Eye and was edited by a redoubtable guy called Simon Dwyer. It is one of the few works of art that I can honestly say changed my life. In it were articles on Burroughs and Derek Jarman, the tantra and piercings, Genesis P. Orridge, hallucinogens, situationism, Crowley et al. However, it was not just the subjects that stirred my imagination, but the deeply humanistic way in which the subjects were treated, with none of the ghoulish fascination so inherent in the approach of many 'transgressive' publications. The approach was that of an open-minded skepticism: an acceptance that, yes, there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in our philosophy, but that doesn't mean I have to believe in Aztaroth and his unholy host, or lose the powers of sympathy and understanding.

Extremes in culture are necessary. They remind us of our limits: what it takes to scare and confuse us; that we are not really as safe as we think we are; that we are only one headache away from having our minds utterly swamped by the sight of a dog-turd balancing on a bike wheel (they are also a sure sign of an at least semi-functioning democracy, more on that later).

However, these extremes have to be approached responsibly: with bullshit detector high and a willingness to sift through a ton of shit before you get to the gold (that's my job, I suppose). There are a lot of people on the peripheries (I'm not naming any names. Yet.) who seem to think that simply prancing plum-nelly in Nazi uniforms constitutes a radical assault on the status quo, this is, quite obviously, bollocks. What we're looking for is a consistent, intellectualised approach to extremity: thought out and unsensationalist. Born with a purpose. Scopes to port, people.

It with this humanistic approach in mind that I start this diary of the peripheries.

Look forward to:

Surrealist pornography!

Existential computer gaming!

Self-destructive comic books!

Ossified thunderbolts!

Hallucinogenic science-fiction!

And more pointless buzz phrases than you can waggle a church spire at!

More soon.

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