Candyfloss & Cocaine: My HARDCORE UPROAR
DESCRIPTION: Semi auto-biographical account of the Acid House movement of the early 90's juxtaposed with political Britain.
STATUS: Early stage abstract
Set in Northern England at the turn of the century Candyfloss and Cocaine is the delusional recollection of a straight white seudo-middle-class male striving to beat 'the system'. Wishfully Burroughs-esq this parody of the naughty nineties follows the central character as he remixes his memories in an attempt to reconcile the contradictions that have conditioned his mind; capitalism, love, religion and acid house.
Candyfloss & Cocaine: My HARDCORE UPROAR
I feel my way forward, one hand outstretched the other trailing along a pulsating breeze block wall. A strobe light illuminates shadows through a fog of dry ice. I've got butterflies. I can't hear anything. I feel sick. It's so fucking exciting! Oh God, I wretch. Water, just get some water. I'll be fine... A klaxon penetrates the rush. "Open your mind" commands the sound system and a thousand of Thatcher's finest entrepreneurs scream in manic unison.
"Come on ya clowns, HARDCORE FUNKIN UPROAR!", shouts Preston Bob. Dave P just stands there, grinning though rectangular wire frames. And Klack, a cross between Bez and Joy Division's Curtis, skeletal, routed to the cause, stares blankly ahead, jerking arms downward in what I guess was his personal bid to escape 'the system'.
Washing Machines & Fridges
High On Hope
Candyfloss & Cocaine
Give Us Your Fucking Money
Harlesden and Sotheby's
Starting Again, Again
Have Of Thought It!
I Was There
Each chapter concludes with a short 'I Was There' commentary from someone with a unique alternative perspective of the experiences described.
Don't worry, I'm not going to go all Pink Floyd on you but you cannot deny the myriad of modern cultural rituals that the legacy of World War II left in its wake. My parents would say the hooliganism of the 70's and 80's was down to a rot that had set in to the hardcore of Britain's social fabric, immigration and a flawed eduction system; that Punk was down to drugs; that the movements of the 60's and rock'n'roll before that were products of a lack of respect for faith based religion and moral values. I think the truth is closer to a basic human craving to belong, to be part of the Human Race. The Human Race, well World War II nearly screwed that one up didn't it! It seems to be something we deny responsibility for and so can't forgive ourselves for. In a perpetual state of paranoia we search of other things to 'belong' to and when we are accepted we rejoice in our newfound kinship, instantly seduced by the ritual behaviour of the group. We escape the truth, abandon inhibitions and plaster over our wounded soul. The more primitive the more profound the salvation.
Unlike my farther who scoured the banks of the Tyne looking for shrapnel in between huddling with his mum and neighbors during air raids, storytelling whilst secretly guessing whose home might be blown to bits, or my grandfather who spent four days trapped beneath a bombed low rise barracks in Egypt (pic of gramps with army chums), I observed the war from a council-green park bench, wedged innocently in between my parents, wearing an ice cream moustache. This along with the toy submarine that dived and didn't come back up is one of my earliest memories. Scarborough 1975 I think. I'd have been three. Fair enough, the weekly recreation of modern maritime warfare with built to scale model battleships, jet fighters on hire wires over the lake and a somewhat feeble pyrotechnics display (even to a three year old) may have been closer to a vision of the Falklands than storming the beaches at Normandy. None the less I'm sure I recall swastikas woven in to the narrative of this ironic seaside entertainment, the national anthem and Dad wincing uncomfortably at the pop of each firework. I wonder if this experience sewed an early mistrust of all things establishment in my enduringly impressionable mind.
I want to get something straight. Though I sometimes still romanticise about the idea I'm not claiming to have ever been some kind of radical activist, far from it. I was very normal, or at least I thought I was. Desperately normal in fact. So normal, boring, secure and safe that it made me go out and look for something more, much more. My 2.5 nuclear family, first of two, you can tell us anything background, synthesised with the glossy veneer of Top Of The Pops and John Peel on my Radio Shack transistor left me pre-programmed with a fascination of extreme's. A popular condition of my generation no doubt. Thankfully, and to my parents credit, it was tempered with a fear of going too far and losing loved ones as a result. That fear didn't manifest without me pushing a few boundaries though. The extra layer of cotton wool bestowed upon me by my folks gave me license to experiment perhaps a little more than the norm. Easily led I'd go on to cut a series of deals with my dark side, leading to my mother requesting I never come home again and contributing I'm sure to my farther's loss of faith and nervous breakdown.
"Very normal", for me, consisted of attempting to reconcile my distain for the mundane with a hand-me-down layman's theology. Soon after the war and a spells with foster (?) families my dad, an only child, lost his own mother. He'd never really known his farther, a merchant seaman who had little to do with them. His first job as a GPO telegram boy, straddling a heavy wrought iron government issue bicycle to deliver inevitable confirmations of loss to Newcastle housewives, unsurprising led him to the only other place that had ever felt like a home. Though he now had an apprentice telephone engineers grounding [qualification??] in basic physics and communications technology [actual title??]), at nineteen, after a talk with Farther Joe Munitis of St. Josephs, he signed up to become a student of the Jesuit order [name?] and took up residence in a Monasterial dormitory. After five [?] years of prayers, porridge and philosophy Dad qualified, though was not ordained. His institutional routine changed and he became a teacher at a Jesuit private school. This was his first appointment in a varied career as an educator. Paradoxically he also joined the Territorial Army and spent his weekends on 'maneuvers' as an Officer in the East Lancashire Signals regiment! I have vivid memories from my early teens of after dinner discussion taking in physics, molecular structure, the war and God. For better or worse the it seems relationship between science and spirituality was quite literally embedded in my DNA. It's a contradiction I've questioned almost every day for the last twenty four years. I'm thirty eight now. At fourteen, whilst led in bed staring into the vast chasm of human reasoning, red, yellow and green walls, another with Star Wars wall paper and a blue ceiling could not conceal the following esoteric liaison. My soul elevated as I nervously proposed my first and by far my most profound deal:
"Dear God, thank you for giving me the warmth and comfort of a secure family background. I am conscious that whilst I am privileged there is great suffering the world. I do not think I have the strength to cope with real hardship or extreme physical pain. I would however like to trade a measure of my well being with those worse off than me, that they may benefit and I might share in return greater challenges than those which I have faced in my life so far. I would ask that the degree to which this karma be displaced fall within the limits of my tolerance but maximise my potential contribution to the world... Oh, Amen!"
There have been many occasions since when I’ve been thoroughly sick at myself for being such a naive, spoilt, ungrateful idiot and wondered if my pathetic plea was taken advantage of to teach me a lesson. And if it was, was this not a crossroads encounter with evil rather then good, me offering up my soul to the devil in return for a slice of the action? One year later I would get more than I bargained for. An all too physical encounter that would project me to font page news and irrevocably affect the rest of my youth. More years, several more questionable deals and far too many drugs and a after that, clinically insane according to government sponsored medical research, I recalled my foolish pact... that in my avariciousness it may have been agreed with the wrong party and perhaps as a defense that I might employ when he next dealt his playful hand with a poker face, I stared in to a mirror and spontaneously receipted the following mantra.
The shade in my reflection
Shows contours of my face
When studied they inform me of position within race
Bend light and time and space
That I may see the the devil in the contours of my face
For now it was 1984 and the world beckoned a fifteen year old with everything to lose. Football hooliganism had peaked, the yuppies had just about had their fifteen minutes and Margaret Thatcher was selling off public utilities like she was flogging hooky Sergio Tacchini from a car boot. I'd always hated football anyway. As a specky clevercloggs my stints at being stuck in goal culminated in a horror scene on Blackburn boulevard one reluctant match day. 'Top boys' Bucky, Cotty and followers jumped some Burnley fans. I watched as they repeatedly kicked a straggler huddled on the bus station pavement. "Is he dead", "Nah", "Let's carry in then". Extreme pain hadn't been part of my bargain. I was however the proud owner of an adidas flush tack suit, a subtle alternative to the italian sportswear of the football casuals. My favoured clique was music oriented and our uniform like our music drew heavily on US hip-hop. I was an adopted exception. We were a handfull second generation mostly immigrant misfits whose war was a saturday afternoon 'burnout' in a corner of the shopping precinct, improvising crazy legs to Street Sounds' Electro compilations on chintzy reclaimed lino. I really fancied myself as a break dancer, but I was shit. My acquiesced acceptance into this unlikely collective must have brought comment both from within and from onlookers as I haphazardly spun on my back or attempted the caterpillar. It was acceptance none the less, left of centre, not the norm and if felt fantastic. Music became my home from home.
1987, glory be, my prayers were answered. The great British institutions of the industrial revolution had now almost completely stopped recruiting as their new boards streamlined operations, if indeed they even still existed. Black monday hit the stock exchange and the circus arrived in Blackburn.
I guess for many folk the latter noughties were a depressing place. A global recession with X Factor wurring away in the background, reminding the majority how 'unsuccessful' they are, doesn't perhaps make for a buoyant society. If artists however draw inspiration out of desperation perhaps the period will yield wealth as as yet untapped wealth.
I Was There: We are still at war!
Ideas & Research:
Barthes Hermeneutic Morphemes
- Ram raiding the National Grid
- Swapping hire vans
- 3rd part commentary after each chapter (I Was There)
- Barthes hermeneutic morphemes - situations as characters
- Revenge 6 Flyer
- SSAFA since 1885 - We are still at war! (I Was There, Chapter 1, The War)
- Droids- digital animals stripped of the ability to think
- Last sentence: The lights go on. It's over.
- A tick box for all that was wrong the eighties.
- Certain restrictions in the that it was illegal.
- Society had a code that has taken years to break down, now we can remix it to suite the times.
- Kicked to death on the boulevard
- My Alka-Seltzer
Time froze as my image mutated...
"The shade in my reflection
Shows contours of my face
When studied they inform me of position within race
Bend light and time and space..."
Horns formed on my head as the words took shape. Was I possessed?
"...That I may see the the devil in the contours of my face"
Now, to use effectively you have extend the wisdom of recognising the devil in carnate before he manages to seduce, to each of his seven servants. In the early days I relished those challenges, holding out until the very last then inevitably giving in. Of course I would dissolve in tearful self pity every time I let l myself down but if it doesn't kill you you learn from it right? The surreal experience of the mirror and its paradoxical insight set the tone for my latter teans. I looked for trouble, self pity manifest as street wise confidence at the slightest twinkle of temptation. I jousted with chance moulding the character of a defiant entrepreneur, always willing to run the gauntlet.
(as an initial framework for chapters and plot momentum)
Thermalisation: Developed during the first few minutes the basic themes of the storey are made clear. The usually present some kind of contradiction or disequilibrium.
Proposal of Enigma: The basic themes are emphasised illustrating their controversial nature whist they reamin the focus of the central or main character.
Formulation of Enigma: Here the enigma is given form when the central character undertakes his odyssey whilst valuing the contradictory themes.
- Washing Machine & Fridges
Request For An Answer: A confused state equilibrium is evoked within the central character. They hold true the contradictory themes but realise they will not culminate in their goal.
Snare: The central character is trapped as a result of one of the basic themes.
Equivocation: A fallacy arises as the themes synthesise resulting in a false ending or resolution (a red herring).
Jamming: The false ending is realised by the central character in some sort of disaster that set him back.
- Dancey Trancey
- Give Us Your Fucking Money
- Harlesden & Sotheby's
Suspended Answer: The central character and the audience are given a clue as to the resolution of the story, this is suspended until the end.
Partial Answer: With the odyssey nearing completion it is now the turn for second theme to shed some light of the illusive goal.
- Digital Animal (inc OFFCOM)
Disclosure: The central character ideal equilibrium is achieved.
- Starting Again, Again
Have Of Thought It!
Barthes also acknowledges essential characters in typical narrative. The central character always has a helper of some kind. There is the influence of a magical agent brining the themes together and of course the anti-here or force of evil often representing one of the basic themes. Clever fella!