Tuesday, June 29, 2004

Reflections of Mr. Glass House

Of course this blog is a blatant exercise in exhibitionism. I feel unashamedly titillated by the idea that someone actually reads these lines and shares the misery/glory of my life. I'm always amused by celebrities who go to lengths to "protect their private lives". I don't have much of a private life, therefore there is nothing to protect. It's all transparent -- or maybe I merely hide by revealing. Just go ask anything about my sex life -- I don't have one. Depressions, mental disturbances, personal frustrations, "boo-hoo, I'm so lonely and no one loves me". I can give you a psychobabble galore any time.

It's not a big deal that I have taken Prozac (all legally subscribed and purchased) for nearly ten years now; that I have been to psychoterapy and still see a therapeutist in every two months; that I received state pension because of depression (of which I had an official doctor's statement) for a couple years in the end of 1990s. That I've been registered unemployed since February 2001 and also receive money from welfare (it is not such a shame here in pinko Scandinavia where we are yet to fully embrace the miracles of the economic fascism of Reagan/Thatcher/Bushonomics). It is not a secret that I come from a family which is more or less mentally dysfunctional under the respectable working-to-middle-class surface; that I'm a combined result of both of my parents' traumas, themselves in their turn traumatized by growing up in the post-Depression/post-World War II environment of economic deprivation combined with neurotic psychological fascism. My mother and father: they are not dumb by any means, only mentally fucked-up. I'm not looking here for any scapegoats for my own condition, though. My parents have given me a lot of care too, even though sometimes one tends to reminisce just too much of the bad things. There comes inevitably a day in a child's life when s/he finds out that his/her once seemingly omnipotent parents are mere mortals, just human beings. We are all just social end product, as the cliché goes.

Yet, I have survived somehow. And I refuse to be part of the "victim culture". I wouldn't be the same person I am now without these experiences. It's all part of the learning process. I spoke earlier about my "Guardian Angel". William Blake wrote about "the Fox providing for himself, but God providing for the Lion". Yes, I lead a lonely and drabby existence in a dull and gray environment; I feel like I'm living a life of endless repetition where every day following each other is alike; still there's some beauty in every single day. It's a question of perception, isn't it?

There's always the danger that one gets stuck in one's personal loop of navel-gazing, narcissism and self-gratification. Especially when one spends a lot of time alone with one's own thoughts only. It's good to devote some time for personal reflection, but too much of that, and it becomes stale. One always has to look outside, even when one looks inside (oh, these forrestgumpisms!) Leading a life of mind can have its entrapments.

Compared to when I was younger, I worry these days less about being perceived "strange"/"creep"/"weirdo", etc. When you're a kid or a teenager, there's a huge peer group pressure to be like "all the rest". I used to suffer from that. Then, in time I learned to accept that I'm unique and not similar to anyone else. Yes, I'm still shy, restrained and reticent; more an observer in social situations than an active participant, but I accept that as part of my own psychological and emotional make-up; as what I am.

I, The Mutant?

There is a human type I call "people living on the edge". They are not like the rest; they are outsiders, outcast, miscasts. They are daydreamers, occupying a clearly different worldview from the rest of the populace. They are the ones often deemed "eccentrics", even "village idiots" by the less understanding people.

When they grow up, they may spend a lot of time in solitude by themselves, in their own fantasy worlds. There may be something verbally or physically clumsy or even androgynous in these people: clearly they are not totally "at home" in their own bodies. They are probably intelligent but end up being bullied by other kids, causing them thus to withdraw deeper in their own fantasy universes. Only because they are "different".

(Classical shamans also usually represent this human type. They can suffer from all sorts of physical and mental afflictions all through their young lives until one day they find their true calling as the seers and healers in society.)

If they are lucky and have the right guidance and help, these people will find their way in this world through arts and sciences, as respected "visionaries" working on those fields. If they are not, they will end up as alcoholics and addicts; to skid row and mental hospitals.

These "edge people" can also be understood as "mutants", since they obviously can be seen representing some sort of a next step in evolution. We just don't understand them because they can see "beyond"; already live in the future while the rest of us only drag behind.

I know some mutants myself. It may be possible that I am even one of them (only that would give some sort of meaning to all pain and solitude; but perhaps then, I'm not).

And as this excerpt by Louis Pauwels and Jacques Bergier indicates, there can be no giving birth to a new era without its inherent labour pains...

"Shall we see a new race of beings who resemble us outwardly, but yet are different? [...] What is certain is that we are witnessing the birth of a myth: that of the Mutant. That this myth should arise in our technical and scientific civilization must have some significance and dynamic value."


"Are there really beings among us who resemble us externally, but whose behaviour is a removed from us as 'that of whales of butterflies' Common sense answers that, if so, we should be aware of it, and that if such beings were living among us, we should certainly see them."


"... the mutant is clever enough to conceal himself. He keeps his discoveries for himself. He lives as discreetly as possible, and only tries to remain in contact with other intelligences like his own. A few hours of work each week are enough to ensure the necessities of life; the rest of his life he spends in activities of which we have no conception. [...] There is every reason to believe that they are exactly like us, or rather that we have no means of distinguishing them."


"Life is never perfectly adapted, but it tends towards perfect adaptation. Why should it relax this tension since the Creation of Man?"


Do these mutants form an invisible society? No human being lives alone. He can only develop himself within a society. The human society we know has shown only too well its hostility towards an objective intelligence or a free imagination: Giordano Bruno burnt, Einstein exiled, Oppenheimer kept under observation. If there are indeed mutants answering our description, there is every reason to believe that they are working and communicating with one another in a society superimposed on our own, which no doubt extends all over the world."


"One of the greatest French biologist, Morand, the inventor of the tranquillizers, admits that mutants have made their appearance all through the history of humanity. 'These mutants, among others, were called Mahomet, Confucius, Jesus Christ...' Many more exist, perhaps. It is by no means inconceivable that, in the present evolutionary period, the mutants think its useless to offer themselves as an example, or to preach some new form of religion. There are better things to do at present than to appeal to the individual. Again, they may think that it is both desireable and necessary that our humanity should move towards collectivization. Finally, it may well be that they think it a good thing that we should be suffering now the pains of childbirth, and would even welcome some great catastrophe which might hasten a better understanding of the spiritual tragedy represented in its totality by the phenomenon of Man. So that they may act more efficiently and so as to obtain a clearer view of the current that is perhaps sweeping us all upwards to some form of Ultra-Human to which they have access, it is perhaps necessary for them to remian hidden, and to keep their coexistence with us secret while, despite appearances and thanks, perhaps, to their presence, a new soul is being forged for the new world which we long for with all our heart."


"The appearance of the mutants would seem to suggest that our human society is from time to time given a foretaste of the future, and visited by beings already possessing a knowledge of things to come. Are not mutants the memory of the future with which the great brain of humanity is perhaps endowed?"


"There may be individuals with 'other' possibilities. And yet the general trend of societies would seem to be towards a greater degree of collectivization. Is this contradictory? We do not think so. Existence, in our views, does not mean contradiction, but complementing and going beyond."


"If we had mirrors capable of revealing to us that 'personality' which we value so highly, we could not bear to look at our reflection, so disfigured would it be by all sorts of monstrous excrescences. Only a truly 'awakened' man could look into such a mirror without being in danger of dying from fright, because then the mirror would reflect nothing and be absolutely pure. The true face is one which in the mirror of truth is not reflected. We have not yet acquired, in this sense, a face. And the gods will not speak to us face-to-face until we have one ourselves."


"The spirit of the Earth and the individual have not yet fully emerged. The pessimist, seeing the great upheavals which are caused by this secret emergence, say that we ought at least to try to 'save Man'. But this Man does not want saving, but changing. Man. as projected in orthodox psychology and current philosophy, has already been left behind, condemned as inadaptable."

- Louis Pauwels & Jacques Bergier: The Morning of the Magicians ("Le Matin des Magiciens", 1960)

Monday, June 28, 2004

Hang On To Your Ego

"I know so many people who think they can do it alone
They isolate their heads and stay in their safety zones

Now what can you tell them
And what can you say that won't make them defensive

Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight

They come on like their peaceful
But inside they're so uptight
They trip through the day
And waste all their thoughts at night

Now how can I say it
And how can I come on
When I know I'm guilty

Hang on to your ego
Hang on, but I know that you're gonna lose the fight"
- Brian Wilson

Music enables me to create an autistic safety zone around me. Other safety zones: books, writing, films, art. The whole pHinnWeb in fact: I'm the Wizard of Oz. The reality of a schizoid man. I've created this whole armour around me (some smart Alec once called the Net a "reality condom"). When I'm DJing, I'm in my own spaceship, very far from this Earth. It's somehow easier than to function with people, without the need to come out all defensive. I'm aware of my condition; somehow, you get used to your solitude with your imaginary friends, and it won't feel that sad. It's like tightrope walking: don't think about the abyss beneath you -- if you start to think, you fall.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

Juhannus Saturday night, 22:44

I'm writing this on Liina's computer. She is staying in for Juhannus to babysit her mother's cat, a cute little striped thing called Katinka. She is nice, always letting me to use her computer on weekends and nights (but we're just friends, before you draw any conclusions, you gossip-lovers). Nice to actually have someone to talk to, though I don't know if she just finds me a big nuisance sitting in her room's corner; otherwise I'd probably have just stayed home with my books and records. Been re-reading Kodwo Eshun's 'More Brilliant Than The Sun' ('98) -- an amazing book about "Afro-futurism" in music; featuring Drexciya, Underground Resistance, Sun Ra, John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Herbie Hancock, Public Enemy, etc. A big inspiration, Eshun writes like a DJ mixes records.

Here's something for you to listen, Estonia's Kohvi Records just put my "pHinn's
Reindeer Disko" selection to the RealAudio Webradio:



1. Giorgio Moroder: Tony's Theme (Scarface)
2. Lowfish: Glass House
3. Polytron vs. Kompleksi: Porno Tampere (voc remix)
4. Club Telex Noise Ensemble: KVY (Legowelt mix)
5. Putsch '79: Asian Girls
6. Unidentified Sound Objects vs. pHinn: Spiders In The Sky
7. Imatran Voima: Aces High
8. New York City Survivors: Sirkkeli
9. Mika Vainio: Tom unessaan
10. Les Robespierres vs. Chicks On Speed: Class War
11. Chris Korda & The Church of Euthanasia: I Like To Watch
12. Maxx Klaxon: Internationale 2000
13. Kompleksi: The Only Star In My Sky

Thursday, June 24, 2004

Another Hometown Juhannus 2004

So, Finland is in for another Juhannus, or yearly midsummer festivities. Usually people head on Juhannus out of town to their summer cottages, camping sites and festivals, but probably uncharacteristically for a Finn, I'm not of countryside type, and I've seen a bit of too much that violent drunken bacchanalia side of typical Finnish midsummer "celebration", that I'd rather stay here at ghost town. And usually it rains on Juhannus, so that's another reason not to bother. The downside of staying in town is that there are few places to go here during these three weekend days; probably I'd hang as usual at Yo-Talo, but since they keep closed, I've got to find another bar to drink my boredom away. My life is amazingly interesting, isn't it?

It seems they have drained this year the Tammerkoski Rapids, the "river" flowing in the middle of my hometown Tampere (so, it's not an actual river, just a little route of water between two lakes, Näsijärvi and Pyhäjärvi, between which is the isthmus on which this town is built). Well, Tammerkoski without water can be a ghostly sight, when you cross it over the Hämeensilta bridge. Abandoned bicycle wrecks and other junk people have thrown to the rapids. This year they also found loads of mobile phones there and other personal juvenalia.

More Tammerkoski pictures here and of Tampere.

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Any Publicity Is Good Publicity

"For a very long time everybody refuses and then almost without a pause almost everybody accepts." - Gertrude Stein

These Chicks mark the destruction of corporate rock, that bloated commercialized monster. CoS declare they are not interested in practising guitar-playing for hours in garages. They don't want to "keep it real" -- they want to keep it surreal. They "can't sing" but sing nevertheless. They challenge rock's male dominance and its (questionable) preoccupance with "real" -- "real" instruments, "real" virtuosity, "real" attitude. At the same time they're not a music business-manufactured product like the Spice Girl or Britney Spears, but instead they have manufactured themselves. D.I.Y.! The annoyance and hatred of rock fanboys can barely hide their confusion and fear in front of the new and unknown; anything that does not fit to their limited world of guitar solos, raising fists in the air and the pathetic sentimentality of a sea of cigarette lighters during the obligatory power ballads. They have no other recourse than to claim in their limited vocabulary the desperate cries of: "You suck!"

Any publicity is good publicity. The more hate messages, the more (free) publicity.

In the end all these hastily set-up "Chicks on Speed Suck" sites and message boards will only have a reverse effect to what was wanted and just generate more interest toward them. If someone hates something fiercely enough and wants to make it public, there are always bound to be rubberneckers who want to find what the fuss is all about. Hate sites of musical acts are just an indication that they've managed to reach of certain level of fame. Face it: does anyone want to create a hate site for an artist who's virtually unknown, and no one has heard of? Chicks on Speed should thank all you haters for free marketing. The provocation has finally done its job. Likewise, all booing and bottle-throwing is just bound to create extra sympathy for CoS. But it's probable the dust will settle very soon when the Red Hot Chili Peppers fans will find some other act to despise, thanks to people's generally short attention spans these days.

If you really wanted people to forget about Chicks on Speed, you'd just keep quiet about them -- but thanks to you, now even more people want to find about them. So big thanks to all you fanboys for creating such a great publicity stunt for Chicks on Speed.

As an interesting side note, the bottles were thrown from within 'The Golden Area', the so-called area for the privileged or at least the more affluent.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Chicks on Speed Bottled

No, I don't mean that you can enjoy now Chicks on Speed in liquid form, but that on their recent Amsterdam and UK gigs as the supporters of Red Hot Chili Peppers, they received boos and bottles hurled at them by
thousands of enraged RHCP fans.

From NME.com:

"The day got off to a stormy start when support band Chicks on Speed were bottled by a hostile crowd.

Halfway through the song 'Mind Your Own Business', singer Alex Murray-Leslie pleaded with the fans to stop throwing bottles at the band.

Before the group left the stage, Murray-Leslie said: 'We don't like having bottles thrown at us.'"

I was shocked and disgusted to read from the CoS Records Guestbook among tons of illiterate hatred-filled "You suck" messages, how some of the RHCP "fans" even applauded these bottle throwers who had managed to hit the Chicks in the head. I don't know the details of what happened here, but obviously there was a lot of anger and hatred directed towards CoS, and the whole situation must have been ugly (if not dangerous) for Alex, Kiki and Ann Shenton of Large Number (who was there for Melissa, who couldn't make the RHCP gigs because of health problems).

Did they feel proud of themselves bottling these three girls on stage? From what I've read about these gigs, it clearly was not a concert crowd, it was a lynch mob. Now, I don't know if these were plastic bottles or glass ones, but in the case of the latter, what if one of these bottles would have hit its target lethally? How would it have felt to have become from a concert-goer to a murderer?

I can't help seeing this as some sort of a symbolic stoning of witches posing a threat to rock'n'roll's male hierachy of playing guitars ('We Don't Play Guitars' is one of the CoS songs), and as a punishment for attacking the macho values of your typical male yobbo jock rock. Rock'n'roll is at the moment one of the most conservative music forms in the world, and Chicks on Speed have always declared being "a fake band", more a prankish and conceptual art/performance project than your usual rock act. It's easy to see why they don't fit to this whole corporate rock'n'roll brouhaha.

I know Chicks on Speed is not for everyone's tastes, but I have supported them nearly from the beginning, enjoying their whole art prank attitude of being not afraid to be spontaneous in their ideas, concepts and how to carry those out (if sometimes that approach must risk being hit-or-miss). Having followed their career I also know that there's a certain ambivalence; like they haven't decided if they want to be a "difficult" art project with social and feminist overtones etc., who just happens to release music as one of their activities, or a heavily touring chart pop act. Personally I'd like to see them concentrating their efforts in the former, but in the end it's up to these Chicks to decide "what they'll do when they grow up". One thing that is sure, though, is that they do not fit in to this world of calculated, corporate pop and rock and stadiums and fanboys and bullshit that easily.

Talking about the security, in the more civilized rock venues patrons are totally banned from taking glass bottles in: you can only carry your bewerages (if allowed at all) in plastic bottles. Was this the case at these RHCP concerts?

In the end, the responsibility for the performers' security goes to the concert venue's organisation, but also the main act of the bill and their own management must share that responsibility by insisting for their concerts such security-enhancing measures as riot gates, ban on glass bottles or anything else that can be used as weapons or to threaten the safety of the performers and other crowd members.

Finally, my prediction is that we are yet to see a major outburst of violence at stadium rock concerts, similar to what have jarred football games for decades. Altamont revisited...

Some pictures from the Hyde Park gig

Saturday, June 19, 2004

Bedtime For Bonzo


RONALD REAGAN AND THE CONCEPTUAL AUTO DISASTER. Numerous studies have been conducted upon patients in terminal paresis (GPI), placing Reagan in a series of simulated auto crashes, e.g. multiple pile-ups, head-on collisions, motorcade attacks (fantasies of Presidential assassinations remained a continuing preoccupation, subject showing a marked polymorphic fixation on windshields and rear trunk assemblies). Powerful erotic fantasies of an anal-sadistic surrounded the image of the Presidential contender.

Subjects were required to construct the optimum auto disaster victim by placing a replica of Reagan's head on the unretouched photographs of crash fatalities.

In 82% of cases massive rear-end collisions were selected with a preference for expressed fecal matter and rectal hemorrhages. Further tests were conducted to define the optimum model-year. These indicate that a three year model lapse with child victims provide the maximum audience excitation (confirmed by manufacturers' studies of the optimum auto disaster). It is hoped to construct a rectal modulous of Reagan and the auto disaster of maximized audience arousal.

Motion picture studies of Ronald Reagan reveal characteristic patterns of facial tones and musculature associated with homo-erotic behaviour. The continuing tension of buccal sphincters and the recessive tongue role tally with earlier studies of facial rigidity (cf., Adolf Hitler, Nixon). Slow-motion films of campaign speeches exercised a marked erotic effect upon an audience of spastic children. Even with mature adults the verbal material was found to have a minimal effect, as demonstrated by substitution of an edited tape giving diametrically opposed opinions.

INCIDENCE OF ORGASMS IN FANTASIES OF SEXUAL INTERCOURSE WITH RONALD REAGAN. Patients were provided with assembly kit photographs of sexual partners during intercourse. In each case Reagan's face was super imposed upon the original partner. Vaginal intercourse with "Reagan" proved uniformly disappointing, producing orgasm in 2% of subjects.

Axillary, buccal, navel, aural, and orbital modes produced proximal erections. The preferred mode of entry overwhelmingly proved to be the rectal. After a preliminary course in anatomy it was found that the caecum and transverse colon also provided excellent sites for excitation. In an extreme 12% of cases, the simulated anus of post-costolomy surgery generated spontaneous orgasm in 98% of penetrations. Multiple-track films were constructed of "Reagan" in intercourse during (a) campaign speeches, (b) rear-end auto collisions with one and three year model changes, (c) with rear exhaust assemblies.

SEXUAL FANTASIES IN CONNECTION WITH RONALD REAGAN. The genitalia of the Presidential contender exercised a continuing fascination. A series of imaginary genitalia were constructed using (a) the mouth parts of Jacqueline Kennedy, (b) a Cadillac, (c) the assembly kit prepuce of President Johnson...In 89% of cases, the constructed genitalia generated a high incidence of self-induced orgasm. Tests indicate the masturbatory nature of the Presidential contender's posture. Dolls consisting of plastic models of Reagan's alternate genitalia were found to have a disturbing effect on deprived children.

REAGAN'S HAIRSTYLE. Studies were conducted on the marked fascination exercised by the Presidential contender's hairstyle. 65% of male subjects made positive connections between the hairstyle and their own pubic hair. A series of optimum hairstyles were constructed.

THE CONCEPTUAL ROLE OF REAGAN. Fragments of Reagan's cinetized postures were used in the construction of model psychodramas in which the Reagan-figure played the role of husband, doctor, insurance salesman, marriage counsellor, etc.

The failure of these roles to express any meaning reveals the nonfunctional character of Reagan. Reagan's success therefore indicates society's periodic need to re-conceptualize its political leaders. Reagan thus appears as a series of posture concepts, basic equations which reformulate the roles of aggression and anality. Reagan's personality. The profound anality of the Presidential contender may be expected to dominate the United States in the coming years. By contrast the late JFK remained the prototype of the oral subject, usually conceived in pre-pubertal terms. In further studies sadistic psychopaths were given the task of devising sex fantasies involving Reagan. Results confirm the probability of Presidential figures being perceived primarily in genital terms; the face of LB Johnson is clearly genital in significant appearance -- the nasal prepuce, scrotal jaw, etc. Faces were seen as either circumcised (J.F.K., Khrushchev) or uncircumcised (L.B.J, Adenauer). In assembly-kit tests Reagan's face was uniformly perceived as a penile erection. Patients were encouraged to devise the optimum sex-death of Ronald Reagan.

Friday, June 18, 2004

This World Is Not My Home

Again, someone else has managed to verbalise exactly the same feelings I've been through myself, all my life...

"I never felt like I was part of this planet. I felt that all this was a dream, that it wasn't real. And suffering... I just couldn't connect... My mind would never accept the fact that is like it's supposed to be. I always felt that there was something wrong. I couldn't explain it. My people kept saying, 'Why are you unhappy? You never seem to be happy.' And that was true. I had this touch of sadness in the midst of other people's parties; other people were having a good time, but I would have a moment of loneliness and sadness. It puzzled me, therefore I had to analyze that, and I decided I was different, that's all. I must have come from somewhere else." - Sun Ra (1914-1993)

"This World Is Not My Home"
by Sun Ra

Is this a planet of life?
Then why do people die?
This is not life, this is death.
Can't you understand?

You're only dreaming.
You're not real here.
You're only dreaming
you did all the things
you did before you died

You're asleep.
Wake up before it's too late
and you die in a dream.

This world is not the real world.
It's all illusion. It's not real.
Can't you feel that this world is not real?
Someone cast a magic spell
on the people of planet Earth.

If you do right they put you in jail.
If you do wrong they put you in jail.
You can't win.
You got to do something else.
You got to get away from here.

You make death your master.
You're not free.
If you're free, why do you bow to death?
Is that what you mean by liberty?
Stop bowing down to your master called death.
If you're free, prove it.


This interview excerpt and Sun Ra's poem are from John F. Szwed's book Space Is The Place. The Life and Times of Sun Ra (1997).


Sun Ra was all through his life preoccupied with the idea of death, that every living creature has to die after its allotted lifespan.

I don't worry myself about death that much, though. I'm not afraid of dying; I'm only afraid that I would have to leave while I've still got unfinished business here on Earth -- and at the moment I've got plenty of that. Instead, I worry about life. Let the dead bury their dead, and let's not forget that everyone of us is just one rung in the ladder.

Besides, Sun Ra did not die: he only left this planet behind, just like a passing visitor that he was -- and we all are.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

How To Attract Wimmin

Ha. Now that I've whined and complained about women here, the Blogspot automatically adds a link to "How To Attract Women" to the "Related Searches" of my page. Another over-simplifying self-help guide, which basically claims: "Oh, modern women are so feminist-minded and emancipated, but what they really want is a strong, muscular alpha male type of guy". What drivel and how American. From this guy's point of view I've probably done all the "mistakes" here, but I don't believe there's one stereotypical way of "how" a man or a woman should be or behave. Look, Dave, I am what I am: sometimes nice, sometimes nasty, sometimes generous, sometimes greedy, sometimes benevolent, sometimes selfish, sometimes bold, sometimes wussy -- and ain't gonna change my ways.


The 10 Most Dangerous Mistakes YOU Probably Make With Women—And What To Do About It...

Here Are The Top Ten Reasons Why Men Fail With Women—And How To Make Sure YOU Avoid Every One Of These Deadly Common Mistakes...

-By David DeAngelo, Author Of "Double Your Dating"

MISTAKE #1: Being Too Much Of A "Nice Guy"

MISTAKE #2: Trying To "Convince Her To Like You"

MISTAKE #3: Looking To Her For Approval Or Permission

MISTAKE #4: Trying To "Buy" Her Affection With Food And Gifts

MISTAKE #5: Sharing "How You Feel" Too Early In The Relationship With Her

MISTAKE #6: Not "Getting" How Attraction Works For Women

MISTAKE #7: Thinking That It Takes Money And Looks

MISTAKE #8: Giving Away All Of Your Power To Women

MISTAKE #9: Not Knowing EXACTLY What To Do In Each Type Of Situation With Women

MISTAKE #10: Not Getting HELP
- Here he advertises his mailing-list and book, of course. Marketing, the American Way of Life.

The Comedy of Pain

I'm not afraid of ridiculing myself. Every king used to have a jester. At the same time I'm serious as hell. My words act as the transformation of pain. The pain of being alive, of growing up, of learning. But I understand one person's tragedy can be other person's comedy. Irony means distancing oneself from suffering through an intellectual process. Irony is therefore antithetical to empathy. So, the laugh is on me, but watch carefully while you laugh, and I'll spare a thought for you when it's your turn to be stuck in that ditch. And don't worry: that day will come sooner or later.

And for starters, here's something for you to laugh at:

Meet Alexander Stubb, a fresh member of the European Parliament from the Finnish right-wing party Kokoomus (heavily pro-EU, pro-NATO).

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Torture Chamber

I live in a torture chamber, and that torture chamber is my mind. How can I demand discipline from other people if I'm not able to apply discipline to myself? How can I tell people to be pure, when I can't be pure myself? How can I say to people that they have to change, if I can't initiate change in myself? There are already too many people whose credo is "Do what I tell you to do, don't do what I do" -- and I don't want to be one of them.

When I said "Accept chaos", I didn't mean that one should embrace it; I only meant that chaos is inevitable. Chaos is consequence of evil things people do, and sometimes people can do evil even with good intentions (enter the world of power politics). The domino blocks will fall and fall. In Shakespeare's plays everything will usually end in tears, blood and chaos, and I'm afraid to say I'm inclined to think like Shakespeare in my own worldview, which is very film noir: greedy, lustful and stupid people do evil things, causing suffering even to innocent bystanders, and nothing good can come out it. Death seems to be the only redemption there.

But the redemption or solution can also be a Buddhist one: to get out of the karmic wheel of greed, lust and ignorance.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Primordial Chaos

For me, women -- or at least many I have known personally -- have represented a sort of primordial chaos that is hard for me to comprehend. Always in trouble, always searching for me to help them out. I guess it goes to my part of being for women a safe brother/father substitute, and being at turns a teddybear and a punching bag (as I was for S., for example). I suppose I should be a nastier person, or what? Because it's always been that when I have expressed to a lady that I want to be more than a friend with her (not just sex, but, you know, having an actual relationship and everything that goes with), it's usually been: "pHinn, you're a nice guy, but..." So, I guess it's OK for those women to fuck casual strangers they pick up from a club when they are drunk, free of inhibitions and full of erotic urges, than me, because it's not just my role -- which is being a safe and cosy father confessor for the ladies to tell about their latest erotic mishaps: "Oh, I'm such a bad person, Father; forgive me, so I can have a good conscience to get drunk and get laid the next time". Woman wants freedom, sexual and otherwise, but what is the real price of freedom is responsibility. Unless you're responsible for your own actions and their possible consequences, your freedom is nothing but escaping. But of course this is patronizing, patriarchal misogynist talk from me; I just can't help it that these situations piss me off. Perhaps it would help if I wasn't such a shy, timid, inhibited and hung-up person myself; sometimes these things just feel overpowering.

Last week Alex of Chicks on Speed sent me mail asking for the contact address of Ann Shenton (a.k.a. Large Number, ex of Add N To (X)), explaining me that Melissa of CoS has currently some kind of health problems and they need someone to replace her for this month's CoS warm-up gigs with Red Hot Chili Peppers in England.
So I sent Alex the address of Mark Hunter, who is a sort of a manager (I suppose) for Ann. But it's funny that I usually never hear from Alex or any of the CoS these days; obviously only when I'm needed to save the day. [See previous entries for backgrounds.]

Then there's this other girl I know and have been in contact with now, but I don't know if I'm coming or going with her. Somehow it feels I've learned to like her quite a lot, she's got a personality of her own, we seem to share the same wavelength on certain things, but somehow I'm wary about her too. Which means I'm afraid what would happen if I seriously fell in love with her now (which is not that far at the moment, I have to say). Because I don't want to repeat this same chaos I've been through with women all over again. I would only like to learn to know her better now, but I'm not interested myself in passing drunken erotic lust, sordid groping in the dark and quick fucks or one night stands. I want to do things properly. I want something that is more solid and stable. Probably that's called commitment, a mutual one, but perhaps that's such a dirty word these days. That you should expose your soul, sacrifice something of that illusory freedom of being able to run around, go through the thick and thin and the days that are not so glamorous and ecstatic. I'm willing to do that; how about you, lady?

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Super-Cannes by J.G. Ballard

"Release the fiend that lies dormant within you..."
- The Process Church of the Final Judgment

No one else has described the psychopathology of modern society as well as the English writer J.G. Ballard (b. 1930). His 1970s masterpieces such as The Concrete Island, Crash and High-Rise are accurate chronicles of the deepest and darkest violent and erotic urges that lurk beneath the glossy chrome surface of consumer society.

Here are excerpts from J.G. Ballard's Super-Cannes, Chapter 29 (2000). Eden-Olympia is a fictional business park of professionals working for international mega-corporations.

"Work dominates life in Eden-Olympia and drives out everything else. The dream of leisure society was the great twentieth-century delusion. Work is the new leisure. Talented and ambitious people work harder than they have ever done, and for longer hours. They find their only fulfilment through work. The men and women running successful companies need to focus their energies on the task in front of them, and for every minute of the day. The last thing they want is recreation. [...] Creative work is its own recreation."


"People at Eden-Olympia have no time for getting drunk together, for infidelities or rows with the girlfriend, no time for adulterous affairs or coveting their neighbours' wives, no time even for friends. There are no energies to spare for anger, jealousy, racial prejudice and the more mature reflections that follow. There are none of the social tensions that force us to recognize other people's strengths and weaknesses, our obligations to them or feelings of dependence. At Eden-Olympia there's no interplay of any kind, none of the emotional trade-offs that give us our sense of who we are."


"The social order must hold, especially where elites are involved. Eden-Olympia's great defect is that there's no need for personal morality. Thousands of people live and work here without making a single decision about right or wrong. The moral order is engineered into the lives along with the speed limits and the security systems."


"A sense of morality can be a convenient escape route. If the worst comes to the worst, we tell ourselves how guilty we feel and that excuses everything. The more civilized we are, the fewer choices we have to make."


"A moral calculus that took thousands of years to develop starts to wither from neglect. Once you dispense with morality the important decisions become a matter of aesthetics. You've entered an adolescent world where you define yourself by the kind of trainers you wear. Societies that dispense with the challenged conscience are more vulnerable than they realize. They have no defences against the psychotic who gets into the system and starts working away like a virus, using the sluggish moral machinery against itself."


"The moral perception was so eroded that it failed to warn them of danger. Places like Eden-Olympia are fertile ground for any messiah with a grudge. The Adolf Hitlers and Pol Pots of the future won't walk out of the desert. They'll emerge from shopping malls and corporate business parks."


"The ultimate gated community is a human being with a closed mind. We're breeding a new race of deracinated people, internal exiles without human ties but with enormous power. It's this new class that runs our planet. To be successful enough to work at Eden-Olympia calls for rare qualities of self-restraint and intelligence. These are people who won't admit to any weaknesses and won't allow themselves to fail."

But there's something very wrong with these people:

"Classical psychoanalysis starts with the dream, and that was my first breakthrough. I realized these highly disciplined professionals had very strange dreams. Fantasies filled with supressed yearnings for violence, and ugly narratives of anger and revenge, like the starvation dreams of death-camp prisoners. Despair was screaming through the bars of the corporate cage, the hunger of men and women exiled from their deeper selves."


"Today we shun the psychopathic, the dark side of the sun and those shadows that burn the ground. Sadism, cruelty and the dream of pain belong to our primate ancestors. When they surface in a damaged adolescent with a taste of strangling cats we lock him away for good. The run-down chief executives with their hives and depression were sane and civilized men. Maroon them on a desert island after a plane crash and they'd be the first to perish. Any perverse elements in their lives would have to be applied externally, like a vitamin shot or an antibiotic. [...] Let's say, a carefully metered measure of psychopathy."


"Sex is such a quick route to the psychopathic, the shortest of short cuts to the perverse. We aren't running an adventure playground, but a forcing house designed to expand the psychopathic possibilities of the executive imagination. It needs to be carefully monitored. Sadomasochism, excretory sex-play, body-piercing and wife-pandering can easily veer of into something nasty."


"The twentieth century was an heroic enterprise, but it left us in the dark, feeling our way towards a locked door. [...] The twentieth century ended with its dreams in ruins. The notion of the community as a voluntary association of enlightened citizens has died forever. We realize how suffocatingly humane we've become, dedicated to moderation and the middle way. The suburbanization of the soul has overrun our planet like the plague."

"Sanity and reason are unworthy us?"

"No. But a vast illusion, built from mirrors that lie. Today we scarcely know our neighbours, shun most forms of civic involvement and happily leave the running of society to a caste of political technicians. People find all the togetherness they need in the airport boarding lounge and the department-store lift. They pay lip service to community values but prefer to be alone."


"Homo sapiens is a reformed hunter-killer of depraved appetites, which once helped him to survive. He was partly rehabilitated in an open prison called the first agricultural societies, and now finds himself on parole in the polite suburbs of the city state. The deviant impulses coded into his central nervous system have been switched off. He can no longer harm himself or anyone else. But nature sensibly endowed him with a taste of cruelty and intense curiosity about pain and death. Without them, he's trapped in the afternoon shopping malls of a limitless mediocrity. We need to revive him, give him back the killing eye and the dreams of death. Together they helped him to dominate this planet."


"We're creatures of the treadmill: monotony and convention rule everything. In a totally sane society, madness is the only freedom. Our latent psychopathy is the last natural reserve, a place of refuge for the endangered mind. Of course, I'm talking about a carefully metered violence, microdoses of madness like the minute traces of strychnine in a nerve tonic. In effect, a voluntary and elective psychopathy, as you can see in any boxing ring or ice-hockey rink. [...] in the armed forces [...] you know that recruits are deliberately brutalized -- the drill sergeant's boot and the punishment run give back to young men a taste for pain that generations of socialized behaviour have bred out of them."


"Remember your childhood -- like all of us you stole from the local supermarket. It was deeply exciting, and enlarged your moral sense of yourself. But you were sensible, and kept it down to one or two afternoons a week. The same rules apply to society at large. I'm not advocating an insane free-for-all. A voluntary and sensible psychopathy is the only way we can impose a shared moral order."

"And if we do nothing?"

"Danger will rush up to us and put a knife to our throat. Look at the century that lies ahead -- an upholstered desert, but a wasteland all the same. An absence of faith, except for a vague belief in an unknown deity, like the sponsor of a public-service broadcast. Wherever there's a vacuum, the wrong kind of politics creep in. Fascism was a virtual psychopathology that served deep unconscious needs. Years of bourgeois conditioning had produced a Europe suffocating in work, commerce and conformity. Its people needed to break out, to invent the hatreds that could liberate them, and they found an Austrian misfit only too happy to do the job. Here at Eden-Olympia we're setting out the blueprint for an infinitely more enlightened community. A controlled psychopathy is a way of resocializing people and tribalizing them into mutually supportive groups."


"Violence is spectacular and exciting, but sex has always been the main hunting ground of psychopathy. A perverse sexual act can liberate the visionary self in even the dullest soul. The consumer society hungers for the deviant and unexpected. What else can drive the bizarre shifts in the entertainment landscape that will keep us 'buying'? Psychopathy is the only engine powerful enough to light our imagination, to drive the arts, sciences and industries of the world."

See also:

J.G. Ballard: Millennium People

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Chick A

I wrote the Kompleksi song "The Only Star In My Sky" about Alex of Chicks on Speed. Yes, I had a crush on her, fell in love; she was the reason I became their "Official Unofficial" "Webmaster".

How typical of me: I'm not a tall man, only about 5"9"; she must be about 6", even over. But there's something about tall women: maybe it's easy to worship and love from a distance someone you can't ever have or reach. I met her for the first time in December 1999, when Chicks on Speed had a gig at Helsinki's Tavastia. I had already done a Net interview with them, and I was now at backstage after the gig. It turned out the Chicks had been quarreling over something that night and were not talking with each other. Alex confided this to me, and I thought it was touching, since I was virtually a stranger. She was very sweet and nice: for me it was love at first sight.

We talked a lot via e-mail all through the year 2000. I guess it got a bit intimate: she told me about their gigs and different music and art projects, but also about her personal fears and frustrations. I guess there developed some sort of link between us: it just deepened my feelings for her. I always called her "the light at the end of my tunnel". I think at some point I just panicked and blew it. She was looking from me some sort of a brother substitute, I was looking for something else about her. "And that's how the story ended".

These days I'm in contact with any of the Chicks very rarely. I occasionally still maintain that "fan site" and probably will keep doing it, but that nevertheless evokes in me some sore memories, which I have to keep at arm's length. "You came into my life like a vision / a poster on my wall / and sometimes I wonder if it was real at all."


People with big egos usually live in glass houses.

I have seen, heard and experienced some dark things that have made me what I am today. When I was a little child, I have seen a father of two to get drunk and beat his wife up in front of their children and me. I have seen a man lying in a pool of blood, when I was about six years old. "(I Ain't No) Lovechild" is a purely autobiographical song. I have seen cruelty and ignorance, the inbuilt violence of society, educational system and army. I have felt the geography of fear on the streets and night bars. I have learned to trust very few people and fear the rest. Shell-shocked and timid, a ghost at noon -- but still I have survived. I refuse to become another traumatized victim of the past.

I bless every day out of school; if I was attacked I would fight to death; I have learned to be aware of people's forked tongues; men who hurt with their fists and women who hurt with their words. I'm a lonely man leading a monk-like existence, and I don't know if I should feel miserable or just enjoy my freedom.

I spend most of my time in solitude; there are many days I don't actually speak to anyone. There are people who think I'm strange, a weird creep. There are people who think I'm gay because they never see me with a woman: if they knew how many times my heart has been broken over women, never for men, but what good would it be to explain -- let them keep their preconceptions and fantasies. As I get older, it's easier to ignore those people, but I don't say it wouldn't hurt anyway. Then you just learn to despise.

Probably you think now this is another exercise in self-pity. Maybe it is. Nevertheless, life goes on, day after day.