Dead Air Diaries
Preamble and 1st Chapter
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Spirals, there is something about spirals.
“On the first day of Christmas my true love said to me...”
There is some old saying about ‘idle hands’ and doing the Devils work, or some such thing. The assumption then is that ‘idle words’ spoken must be those of the Devil also. If no more a way than an un-reasoned babble in nothing but a distracting noise. A siren song designed to send us off course. Inane babble buried has become a constant background noise, that soothes the beast inside. While at the same time quelling any chance of losing oneself in divine silence. We maybe able to take strong thread and sew ones mouth shut. However no thread, no matter how strong, can silence the noise inside our minds. And even harder still to silence is that of the will, that propels us forward.
We all live with noise everyday, especially in the urban landscape there is no escape from the incessant racket. The by product and many times the sole reason of technology is the making of more noise. There is a fight going on against silence, as it is seen as an ally to loneliness, and an enemy of society.
Radio transmissions penetrate through the ear-drum, deep into the mind, and pricks at the will. Whether floated on an ether ocean, or pumped down fibrous cables, the constant drone of adverts spliced into every pause of the broadcast have but one aim. To stir the will so that it may never be silent, and thus only find rest in death.
The words appeared on the screen as Roy spoke into his hand unit. The phone recorded his voice, translate it into text, then sent both a textual and vocal digitised file to his computer at home. The translated text would be flashing up on his screen at this very moment. It wasn’t the best technology that was on offer, but it suited his needs more than adequately. He paused and looked up for a minute, taking stock of his surroundings and so grounding himself for a minute. Soaking in the atmosphere of the sun splashed graveyard that he’d casually wondered into he carried on with his monologe. “I live that I may walk among the dead.” A self indulgent dramatic pause and a glance around. The row upon row of standing stones bore out the silence of their long gone and decayed owners. He spoke again, “Stone faces bear down from the marble and granite forest of remembrance.” Interference rattled him as the the deep grunt of a diesel engine tore through his train of thought. Glancing casually upwards he saw two grounds keepers busing themselves in the early morning light. One, his large frame crammed into the tight space of a small excavator, scooping the earth out of a new grave. The other man stood by, propped up by his shovel, guiding the movements of the mechanical hand as it delved deep into the pocket of earth it had created. The two men remain focused on their work as Roy passed by mumbling into his hand unit, “I’m fucking invisible.” He glanced across at the two men, neither raised his eyes from the hole they had just dug. One of the men pulled out a tape measure, stretched it the length of the hole. Not one pair of down cast eyes from the many stone angels flickered at the spectacle being performed before them, despite Roy willing them all to break their fixed stare with the ground. “Note to myself,” he continued.
When I die I want a animatronic gravestone. I can’t choose between whether to go for the subtle stone angel like these here in the graveyard, which would simply glance up at a passer-by, and wink while giving a knowing smile. Or I could go for the more over-the-top, out-of-place, in-your-face version. ‘Beavis and Butthead’ sat on their couch, The remote control in Butthead’s hand, which is pointing out towards an imaginary T.V. screen seemingly positioned on the path where people would walk passed. So as people walked by and set off the sensors, the voices of ‘Beavis and Butthead’ would scream out across the graveyard and the person passing by would turn and look, and see, the remote control pointing right at them. Then they’d hear Butthead say to Beavis, “This dude suck’s! Let’s turn off...” You here chanting from Beavis.
“Off... Off... Off...”
“... Let’s go outside and break stuff,” Butthead continues. To which Beavis is then heard to reply.
“Yeah! Break stuff! Let’s break that dude.”
“No Beavis you bung-hole, we can’t break the dude, the dude ain’t real ass-wipe! The dude’s inside the T.V.”
“Let’s break the T.V.” Beavis has the final words, as all they then hear is a click, and nothing then but silence. Just the sound of the graveyard amplified through the speakers in the grave stone, bass speakers behind huge towering slabs of black granite, tweeter’s up in all the trees, playing the graveyard back to itself in full on ‘Para-Digital’ ‘Multi-Dimensional Micro-Acoustic’s’ or whatever’s the best sound system out at the time. Playing a perpetual reverberation back to themselves. I’ll have to think about that some more.
“Back to diary,” He looked about himself, twisted his head and clicked a vertabre in his neck. Re-familiarising himself with his surroundings, he carried on walking.
Why he wondered did the stone angels never look up to the heavens, why must they spend all their time staring at the ground like naughty children. Or was Hell more appealling viewing than Heaven? What was it that they had done that was so wrong that their shame forced them to never look up and see what was around them he wondered. Whispering into the microphone Roy continued, “Look at me you bastards, I may not be famous, I may not be anybody in particular, but I have substance... Flesh and bone if nothing else. No, fuck you, all that matters to me is that I have a mind, that I can process a thought. Really at the end of the day it doesn’t count whether you can see me or not, whether I just float past you as little more than an ethereal presence. I’m here, I know that and that is all. If you refuse to acknowledge my existence... Well bollox to you... It’s your loss. Anyway when anyone does happen to give me a momentary glance they don’t even see me, they just see what surrounds me. They see only the surface from which the light reflects, and they can see no deeper than that.“ In the distance the railway barriers lifted, he’d not even notice them drop. The world started its engines and roared off in all directions. Roy put his out dated gadget away and carried on walking, trying to catch-up with himself and everyone else on this busy morning.
“Non omnis moriar.”
Chapter 0.5 – Here & Now... Begin & End...
... Alpha & Omega, Yin & Yang, X & Y, can be categorised as partnerships. There are some who would argue that they are just parts of a bigger whole, different sides of the same coin sort of thing. A statement like that is inevitably wide open to examination, and is therefore bound to be discredited one day. That is the disappointment of Reductionism.
Chapter 1 – C.P.U on the other-side
Roy carelessly tossed the apple core in the bin next to his computer. Constructed in a moment of shear boredom the bin was an amalgam of newspaper strips and PVA glue. Stuck to the outside covered in multiple layers of yacht varnish was the headline ‘APOCALYPSE CITY’ purposely placed among many other carefully chosen dystopian hack comments about the state of the world.
“Personal file,” beep, “diary,” beep, “open,” beep, “new page,” beep, “October first.” A carefully considered pause for inspiration, in a moment of cybernetic connection Roy could feel his heart synchronise its rhythmic beat with the cursor flashing in the top left of the screen. Nothing happened, his muggled mind strained to fill a blank screen, while drive heads hovered and discs span in vacuous anticipation.
He had a thought and pondered why was it that words of wisdom came all too easily while he wondered the world, during the day while dealing with the mundane tasks of just striving to live? This was meant to be a seminal moment, he'd decided before the last of his anarchic life force was finally drained out of him by day to day living, he'd sit down to put thought provoking pixelated characters down on harsh white screen.
Still in the process of trying to boot-up his brain, that had spent a long period in downtime, he wound his jaw into a tight knot. He soon realise that clenching his teeth and the resulting increase in pressure on his jaw, did little to stop the hoped for ideas from remaining suspended in their somantic state through this moment of time. The only way to elevate such pressure on and in his head, and by way of reducing the risk of potential stress fractures, was to wedge open the mouth with a decent joint. Definitely this was the right time, not that there was ever a wrong time, for a drawn out drag on an illegal but morally defensible herbal relaxant. Rolled and inserted in the time it takes to consider the meaning of life, the universe and everything, that being within the equally shallow context of skinning-up the joint. Coming to the usual conclusion at such times, that all answers may not be contained within, yet once the process was under way the end became clear and he no longer cared for answers just the potential of the quest.
Mind now set adrift on a tranquil floodland the task ahead now floated effortlessly alongside, just within his outstretched grasp. Tap, tap, click, tap, characters started to appear on the screen in front, tap, click, tap, Time was. Time was becoming increasingly irrelevant; in fact Roy hated the whole concept of time. He knew that it didn’t even really exist, time was no more than a way of measuring the length of transition between one moment and another. A system of measurement not a system of belief. Belief in time as something substantial, something important, just as something, as opposed to the actuality of it being a tool of human invention, annoyed him. Roy only owned one clock, and even that he purposely set wrong. The clock was set to approximately the time he thought it was in accordance with whatever programme had just started on TV, using the TV guide as a time check. Even this felt wrong and somehow conformist, so he’d often close his eyes and set the clock to an unseen approximation of what the time might be. This was his concession to the world out there, the one invaded by and constructed around the nanosecond. Hours passed in minutes, minutes stretched out for hours and days blurred into distant memories when in a satisfyingly statuesque state of mind. Hot rocks had replaced his marbles long ago. Tiny holes peppered the fabric of time, the escaping flow could not be stopped, a simple logistical problem of too many holes not enough fingers.
Now fully submissive to this passive state and able to ignore the inner turmoil going on inside of the plastic and metal casing, he teased the one hundred and one erect nipples he felt before him. Like a blind man who has wisdom at his fingertips, Roy became at one with his instrument, manipulating the input so that he could attain a life affirming output. Composed in the knowledge that he would be putting his life in the hands of others. He preferred the use of direct contact with the computer keyboard, as he never truly trusted the speech recognition software that everyone seemed to be using in these strange days. He felt he had to extract the essence of himself from the oral world of language he inhabited. Having found no suitable means of expression across the soundscape of that world, he and only he alone knew it was left up to him and him alone, to define his own words in an encyclopaedic dictionary of his life. And so as the cloud of Paradise laden smoke lost itself in the darkness of Roy’s lungs, he began to let his new found land escape into the world of others.
I’ve tried meditating on a number of occasions, but I can’t clear my mind for more than a few seconds. I don’t exist without thinking, I think all the time. I don’t mean in the cogito sense, as its commonly understood. What I think about are things, abstractions, not of this moment, in this reality anyway. There are those who’d argue that there is only this moment, that beyond this moment there is nothingness. Reality is just a simulation, never real just a reproduction of a fleeting moment lost in sensorial history.
I think about the Universe and how its constructed in all its facets. I model it in my mind, spinning its 3-D vector image around in a virtual space I’ve created inside my head. My doughnut theory of the Universe is not complete just yet, it has a few holes in it. (Sorry! After fighting with my consciousness the pun was intended.)
I’m drifting from my focal point in this dialogue, notably the work of the philosopher Baudrillard and the eastern faith of Buddhism, in relation to the transparency and ever changing fluidity of identity as a philosophy for social change, through anarchy. Baudrillard, Buddha and Big Brother, a thoughtful consideration of our cultural, spiritual and socio-political selves. A prelude to an opus.
Full ashtray, dry mouth and thoughts connected with his inordinate hunger were momentarily side tracked by a juggling jester, the sight of which threw him off the long-winded path he’d set out on. He picked himself up dust himself off and look back from whence he came. Blocking his way in front of him as usual stood the lighthouse. At times circling high above, vultures swooped down, skirting the circumference of the tower they sort out a fresh corpse. Of no significance to the scavengers the long dead white tower, disused and cut-off, it laid silently at a tangent to the horizon blocking all view of the path ahead. Scorching rays from the Red Sun accelerated the ageing of the beaten and cracked whitewash. A chromed brass bell swung from a rotten wooden bracket next to the iron-clad door, tolling a generic knell for all his woes. The Sun’s reflection glared deep into the back of his eyes blinding him, but he fought it with persistence of vision. The Sun’s radiation beat down on him, leaving him deaf in a desert of silent running sand.
Now for the first time ever he did not face a purely blank battlement, staring into the immovable impermeable expanse before him focus fell onto what appeared to be a delicate scarlet thread which appeared to have caught itself on the walls rough surface. Reaching out and taking hold of the soft silk thread it started to unravel and grow, coiling about his hand, creeping its way up his arm, endeavouring to wrap itself around his thorn whipped heart, eating away at his un-leaven flesh. Pulling away from the anchorage point of the epiphyte which had entwined all around the bastion wall, in the death throws of his epiphany, the thread snapped. There it lay motionless in his hand, in truth it was nothing more than a broken thread disintegrating before him. Reduced to a line of fine power a dying wind glanced against the surface of his palm taking the remnants of the thread with it. The fine red mist finally settled at his feet, White light, white noise, white out. Soft voice, soft whisper. “What is never lost, can never be found…” Back from his brief black out he swayed slightly but stood his ground, no longer needing the tower walls for support. He’d returned to the silence, but now a soft warm silence.
He immediately turned and made his escape from the silent tower that had grown up around him while he’d been distracted. Leaving before the flood waters came rushing in again and exiled him back on the never ending island. Being entombed in the torturous tower where even angels fear to tread, no one would have heard him screaming from the dark drenched interior. So with this in mind he took his only chance at freedom, willing to face without fear the mythical beasts beyond in this new found realm. Where sky, sea, river and land all meet in celebration of Natures glory he squinted at the infinitely curving horizon laid out in front of him. Confidently striding out along the tree lined boulevard, a warming light played between the branches and the leaves. Dappled patterns of light and shade carpeted the broad avenue as it stretched out before him. With the remaining entrails of the thread by now visibly interwoven with half the naked flesh on his body, he knew without reservation that he'd carry the deep-rooted marks forever, this was to be his penance. In places he noticed that the thread rose elegantly to the surface, before sinking back deep inside him. Surface evidence of the parasitic thread worming through his flesh made the desire not to pick at it way beyond all forms of temptation he’d previously denied himself. “Some day…”
Thus in a short-lived twinkling epiphany he knew this was to become his confessional obsession, eternally picking at emancipation, Roy knew he must write. He must write and do nothing else, words must be carved in ethereal stone before time came flooding in and washed them away. This was his moment and only destiny stood in his way. As after God the only culprit that he could accuse of deception was himself, he knew that and he was ready to face whatever and whoever he put in his own way. So he thought with all his might, the result flowing forth from the wounded Manipura deep within his solar plexus. The resultant energies enflaming a chemical reaction of his gastric juices, a manly belch grounded the would be ephemeron. Now looking at as opposed to through the display unit in front of him, words had etched themselves onto the glowing surface strung together in sentence chains, joined in narrative by metaphorical combination locks. Words that he was reading where not unfamiliar to him, in a definate case of de ja vu he knew that he seen these words put together in this order somewhere before. Here on this screen, at a time just like now.
"In the beginning Godhead created the heaven and the plan..." The re-creation of a Utopian paradise halted by the white noise roar of a de-tuned car radio. Michael gripped the steering wheel holding his right arm with the rigidity of an iron bar. His left hand fumbled around in the dark, attempting to search out the next radio station along the airwaves. Screams, squeals, roars and howls, interspersed with Telex chatter.
"... Direct and exclusive from Metatron, our word is our promise. Now available in handy throw away byte size chunks!" Silence.
A seemingly prolonged pause in a radio broadcast, breathe in a stagnant lung full, no soft warm breeze on an oppressive summer night like this one. An audible silence hung heavy on the ears of those who dares to listen, each in their own way unwittingly forced to define the 'Mad March' road kill that lay before them. Unable to distinguish the fine outgrowths massed together in matted carnage on the poor unfortunates ravaged surface. Ghoulish curiosity swept away by an unconsciously anticipated dread, lead to a collective state of unrest. No longer sitting comfortably waiting for the story to begin, the period of dead air had given them all time to think.
“Whoa, I think I'm gonna be sick,” Roy spoke the words out loud for the captive audience of one. Days of wine and roaches had taken their toll, numb now becoming a common place emotional placebo in uninvited preferences to those of active and creative thought processes. Clearing his head while reviewing the short dopey ramblings he'd so far managed, Roy decide that the warm security of dreamtime was calling up to him. Another day’s dying embers sank into alcohol fuelled submission, for the danger of head meeting keyboard became all too tempting. Goodbye harsh squealing reality, hello the metaphor driven haven of R.E.M.'s recharging chemicals. “File,” beep, “save,” beep, “file,” beep, “close,” beep, “shutdown.” The machine buzzed and clicked as in its death throws it put in a request for a stay of execution, while it was still pleading for mercy Roy made his decision final and threw the switch. A sharp silence entered the room, he left unnoticed.