Monday, December 31, 2012
Pale White Light
I was also thinking of writing about the incompetence of George Osborne: how he has demonised people on benefits as unemployed layabouts when the welfare bill overwhelmingly supports pensioners and the working poor; how savage cuts in the public sector have stalled the circulation of money that capitalism relies on; how he has missed target after target after target and, despite all the misery, the deficit has not gone down. But I don’t want to write about him, either; John Lanchester’s magnificent essay, Let's Call it Failure, on the London Review of Books website, demolishes him with much more elan than I could ever muster.
And I had thought of writing about the proliferation of technology for its own sake. A year of gigs spent alongside people either watching the band through their phones as they film them, or heads bowed ignoring the band and praying to the pale white light, has made me realise how, for so many people, life is lived vicariously and is only real if it is mediated through a screen. I could have written about the marginalisation of books and the invasion of the classroom by e-readers, tablets and apps; I could have written about the demise of Sussex Sedition as a physical fanzine but its survival as a blog. I had even found quotations from two writers on the subject this year:
“Speed cameras, recording angels on lampposts, our phones, our computers…a nation that could look at everything and see nothing.” - Andrew O’Hagan
“Watching has become mere gaping; open-mouthed and slow-breathing.” - John Banville
But I don’t want to write about any of that; it's all too depressing.