Monthly Archives: August 2017

Kemplerian fantasies of Brexitland (Part 1) Some Dantesque retributions for kipper ideologues.

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they would be left hanging from the lamposts for as long as was compatible with hygiene

(Viktor Kemplerer)

Victor Kemplerer

I must admit today I’ve been gripped by Kemplerian fantasies. After little more than a month in Brexitania I can’t help fantasising about a certain reversal of fortunes happening one glorious day, a kind of 25th April of the British soul. A day when the odious band of grotesque characters populating the current British political and cultural canvas would suffer something along the likes of that which Mussolini suffered in April 1945, transformed from a sadistic and almost omnipotent dictator to a piece of meat hanging upside down in Milan’s Piazza Loreto. Maybe a certain variation of punishment is called for (after all they are a rather pathetic band and like Klemperer I’d mete out the more sadistic retribution for the ‘professors’ like Ferguson). But let’s not limit our fantasies to mere lampposts and intellectuals or professors, as Victor Kemplerer once did. After all as Dante has shown us artfully in his Inferno there are a great variety of punishments which can fit those varied crimes.

So perhaps we can start with that noxious imperialist, Niall Ferguson who takes a perverse joy in tweeting pictures of lions and Union Jacks while extolling public opinion surveys showing that the imperial bloodlust of the Brits has not abated. Apart from boasting how the Brits love their Empire, Ferguson treats this as a kind of personal victory with a cry of aggro “I won, you bastards” just as a footbal hooligan does upon the victory of his team moments before he falls into that comatose alcoholic stupor which is so de rigueur amongst the Brits:

Surely one should not deny the ectasies of Empire to Ferguson himself. He may like, in the spirit of Kafka’s Officer, to experience the joys of Empire for himself. A short stint at a Mau-Mau Kenyan gulag set up by the Brits in that kippers fantasy era of the 1950s might work wonders. Would he still be praising the delights of having “bottles (often broken), gun barrels, knives, snakes, vermin, and hot eggs … thrust up his rectum” while being “whipped, shot, burned, and mutilated”? It could be done ostensibly in the form of Ferguson’s direct personal observation of how the Empire was so hunky dory. We could then have our imperial Niall report back.

Time for a reversal of roles? Surely imperialist advocate Niall Ferguson deserves a taste of Empire from the other side

Then we have that BBC frequenter of lowlife, foul-mouthed fascists the BBC’s very own ‘go homer’ megaphone, Nick Robinson. Just to remind people of how low he enjoys stooping here he is again enjoying every moment while posing with Britain First’s ‘leading lady’, Jayda Fransen:

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Mr Robinson certainly likes to do more than his fair share of shit stirring in the very spirit of those nationalist nutters. A bit more BBC-like, full of innuendo instead of BF swagger but more than happy to hint that citizens who may have lived in the UK for several decades should never dare consider it to be their home:

Rather than auguring him a simple stint of stateless homelessness somewhere in limbo, perhaps his punishment could have a more avian ring to it, how about a faux Hitchcockian finale? Such as being  mauled alive by a cackle of noisy and marauding cockrels given the murderous fantasies he publicly harbours towards these creatures? (Katie Hopkins, of course, deserves to find herself in a parallel Room 101 with some killer cockroaches given her own penchant for drawing human parallels to these creatures, ). Surely, an exemplary finale for Ms Final Solution. A pity that the species depicted below is already extinct. (though let’s hope that in the location that Hopkins is destined for they’ll be resurrected in an embodiment of Nikolay Fedorov’s cosmist vision).

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Sadly extinct killer cockroaches which, alas, could have been the perfect comeuppance for Katie ‘final solution’ Hopkins

David Starkey, the monarchist with the perfect nose for poking up the Queen's arse as modern day Groom of the Stool

David Starkey, the monarchist with a perfect nose for poking up the Queen’s rear and who would surely be delighted to be nominated as modern day Groom of the Stool.

What better fate for that chief monarchist and Henry VIII worshipper qua first Brexiteer or Brexiteer primus inter pares give or take a few years, David Starkey to become a modern day Groom of the Stool aiding monarchs with their excretions: initially he would be called on to serve with loving sycophancy the rear of Elizabeth II and then after she croaks would find it his duty to extract dung from Charles Windsor. Though, indeed, he may well be disappointed as Charles’ voice and entire demeanour are surely tell tale signs that he is a long-term sufferer of chronic constipation. Be that as it may, few more accomplished monarchist brown nosers can be found in this septic isle and I’m sure Starkey would love to bring back that noble profession in style (a profession which he himself has described in genuinely loving detail). The only drawback would be that for Starkey himself the nomination would surely be received as career promotion rather than retribution.

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There’d surely be little disgust on David Starkey’s face were he to be promoted from simple monarchist brown noser to an official modern day Groom of the Stool.

Expect some more Dantesque penances, nemeses and fitting retributions for today’s panoply of Brexiteering grotesques in sequel posts.

Bosch

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Discovering the work of Maria Galindo in desolate Brighton

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The San Antonio filmmaker in Barcelona

Brighton always has a different rhythm for me. It’s not always a place where I make discoveries. A dull time can be had here (in spite of the faux bohemian reputation of the place) and I often feel that the often negative literary depiction of the place by any writer of worth (or without worth for that matter) who has ever lived here is merited: there’s little joy to be found in the works of Patrick Hamilton, Helen Zahavi, Colin Spencer. Also I always cherished the Samuel Johnson quote about Brighton, a place he clearly visited reluctanctly: ” it was a [place] so truly desolate , that if one had a mind to hang one’s self for desperation at being obliged to live there, it would be difficult to find a tree on which to fasten the rope.” Brighton now has the trees but the desolation is still there (the blurb on the Italian edition of Zahavi’s Dirty Weekend described Brighton as the city of British despair). Then there is that final apocalpytic passage in Graham Greene’s Brighton Rock (Greene reportedly and sensibly visited the town only for one day before writing his novel) as negative as the finale to Kafka’s The Trial.

However, rather than letting this be a long diatribe about Brighton, it is also a city where Art (and even film art) in some form or other occasionallly comes to visit: Monicelli shot parts of his Girl with a Gun here, Quadrophenia, as every local will forever be telling you, was shot here and apparently the district of Whitehawk (of all places!) was once designated to become the location for a British Hollywood (not that this would be a synonym of film art, mind you). In any case that dubious plan was soon dropped. Brighton (well, Hove actually) was even, as Georges Sadoul noted in his history of world cinema, the place where the principle of montage was first born. In spite of my joy when I read Owen Hatherley’s piece on Brighton in his work A New Kind of Bleak and his brother’s brilliant and succinct epithet about the town (“fucking toytown”), it was, nonetheless, I have to admit gridgingly, the town where after all I did see Buñuel’s great eye splicing moment in El Perro Andaluz when around 15 years of age. Of course turbo-charged capitalism has done its bit in closing down all the independent cinemas since that time and the once semi-courageous Duke of Yorks cinema where the extraordinary shock of Surrealist revelation assaulted my vision and stayed in my memory forever (I also once found myself sitting through an eight hour film comprised of Buddhist chants in the same cinema, though, admittedly I left after six, but did enjoy the Godard, Visconti, Buñuel and other retrospectives that the cinema once brought to its screens). Now, alas, as well as starving its staff, this Picturehouse-owned movie theatre is mainly engaged in an attempt to bludgeon the critical faculties of cinemagoers in Brighton to a bloody pulp by offering up two week-long force fed servings of Dunkirk, or the latest James Bond or, to cite one particularly galling example from a number of years ago, The March of the (Fucking) Penguins.

The Cinemateque in Middle Street once upon a time provided an even more daring offering of film delights (I remember rare early Dovzhenko’s were shown there and a host of truly unusual films) but that, too, closed down (not to mention a cinema up North Street that while famously having as many rats turning up to film screenings as humans, reportedly screened some excellent films only for the location to be then taken over by the chain Burger King a few decades ago. However, as I found out this summer by chance bumping into a Texan filmmaker in the street and whose film was showing at a venue I was ignorantly unaware of (upstairs at the Caroline of Brunswick pub) there are still unusual surprises to be found. The occasional film evenings there are designed to show you the kind of films that rarely get distributed in the amorphous and dessicated film world of today.

Caroline of Brunswick

Caroline of Brunswick, Brighton

It was there that I managed to see two short films by Maria Galindo- one shot in Texas and entitled The Witch Hour and another shot in Brighton called Nurse Shirley Foster. These are very short films (the former just under twenty minutes and the latter less than six) and it is a difficult task to review such a short excerpt of a filmmakers work. Yet they are films which live and breathe unlike most of the trash served up for us in multiplexes. They are what Italians call examples of cinema demenziale (literally demented cinema) : parodies to the nth degree of dysfunctional worlds. The Texas of The Witch Hour, a tale of dubious oil barons and hardware stores, racoons and murderous jokers visiting revenge and chaos upon an odious and fatuously asinine family of Trump supporters. The father figure and oil baron finally dispatched to hell by the bewitched and frenzied wife who has finally and unwittingly, it seems, done something right in her inane life spurred on by the spell cast on her by the maligned shop assistant from the hardware store.

a cadre from Witch Hour

A frame from Witch Hour

Shirley Jaffe in Clockwork Orange

Shirley Jaffe in Clockwork Orange

Galindo’s shorter film Nurse Shirley Foster was conceived, planned and shot in a mere month. It’s five and a half minutes, though, are a delight. And are a hymn to the monsters produced by the sleep of cinema. Starring in the film is Shirley Jaffe, the nurse from Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange. The short film seems to be a fantasia on the nurse’s nightmares provoked by her previous role in the world of film. Accompanied by a wonderfully dissonant piece of saxophone music, this wordless piece remains in the imagination well after it has been shown. Galindo’s demential style seems to have climbed new heights in this short film. It would be a pity if this curiously infectious addenda to a cinematic classic weren’t to find a wider audience.

Shirley Jaffe in Nurse Shirley Foster

Shirley Jaffe in Nurse Shirley Foster

A cadre from Nurse Shirley Foster

A frame from Nurse Shirley Foster

I have yet to watch Galindo’s feature length films. Life’s a Bitch was filmed in Barcelona and is sure to show a very different side to her film oeuvre (an account of her filming and the film itself can be found here). Rats Eat New York City seems not yet to have been finished and is apparently somewhere in post-production if I’m not mistaken. But the shorts do have merit. Last night walking home after the film screenings a thought suddenly arose in my mind: wouldn’t Maria Galindo be an excellent filmmaker to adapt that wonderfully demented forgotten classic of Twentieth Century literature, The Stereoscope of Solitary Beings by Juan Rodolfo Wilcock. In any case the presence of Maria Galindo (and existence of her films) and the discovery of filmic life in this desolate city has since brightened up my view of Brighton a little.