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 London I: Infusing Electric Flesh into my Ani-meme Wax Museum  [thru a Critical Pineal Eye]

20.10.2009. London

... just as we were getting adjusted to the time shift in Japan, we screwed up our pineal eyes again flying back west...at least we didn't fly all the way home but stopped halfway in London [j had some more meetings there]...touched down in Heathrow then it was a long tube ride to the city centre...quite the contrast coming from Tokyo...the trains are cramped & stinky & people just generally unpleasant & fat as Americans...checked into some dank Travelodge in "the City of London," i think is what the area is called...didn't sleep so well...

the first day j had meetings so i walked around on my own into the grey...walked down City Road to the Museum of London...it was closed so i followed the London Wall a ways... amazing how much stuff wasn't there because of the great fire of 1666...

through a demonstration of what was

London Wall

mosied through the financial district/downtown, self-important businessmen everywhere posturing on their cellphones...over to the "Tower of London"...though there's not much of a "tower" to it, it seems everything of interest is underground, the dungeons, the dead bodies, implements of torture, etc...i didn't want to pay the 17£ [$25] entrance to see a bunch of medieval weaponry...just circled the moat around the outside...walked across the Tower Bridge...to the South Bank...

down by the Thames on the South Bank [low tide] looking up at Tower Bridge

Tower Bridge from down on Thames bank

past the modern "Scoop" & city hall, explored around the Borough Market & London Bridge station...followed Borough road around to Waterloo station, down some interesting little side streets...i guess, to be honest, most of the time i felt like i was walking through Queens...to the "London Eye," that only makes London look even more like one big carnival attraction...

Horse Wheel

i thought about going in to the Salvador Dali museum, but again, 17 quid to get in & it looked like some half-ass private collection trying to cash in on the wax museum spillovers...London is definitely touristy, like the real campy Times Square/Jeckyl & Hyde shit but even more tasteless & widespread...attractions/rides dedicated to medieval atrocities or the black plague or torture or dead celebrities, etc...& everything cost money...& has lines of eastern European tourists spilling out the doors...crossed over Westminster bridge, saw Westminster Abbey...then over to Buckingham palace...just happened to see the changing of guards, i guess, where the guards come & switch places, right?..it wasn't that exciting & they weren't wearing those tall furry hats...walked into Hyde park...then cut back into the West End...through Mayfair [rich & uppity] up to Oxford street...lots of big name stores, like a 5th avenue, but crappier...up into Marylebone...then down into Soho...

street in Marylebone or Soho i forget which

Soho Street scene


Picadilly Sky

Picadilly Sky Net

ate lunch [PRET, what other options are there?] walking down Carnaby street...flâneured up & down the alleys...to Charing Cross & some bookstores...was tired of walking by then so i hopped on a #15 doubledecker bus down Strand avenue...got off at St. Paul's cathedral...they even charge you to go in there...where else do you have to pay to go in a church?..up to the Charterhouse area where there's some long meat market that wasn't happening, but looked kind of cool if it was...then back into the city of London...j came back from her meeting...we went to Fox & Anchor for dinner...the new thing now in London is to try to rebrand your old pub as chic & call it a "gastropub"...wanted to stay there but the rooms were booked...had chicken & thought the pink things with the chicken were potatoes only to discover they we're in fact these horrible sausages...


checked out of the frightening Travelodge & found another hotel [Lancaster] overlooking Hyde Park...getting on the Tube at rush hour with our backpacks was not much fun...London underground has got to be most poorly designed subway in the world...the cars are really small, the doors hit you in the head when they shut, the ceilings are barely 6 feet high, child's play compared to Tokyo or NYC...& it fucking stinks, like farts & cigarettes & b.o...the seats are upholstered & hold the stench of a century's worth of London filth...& the cars are so narrow you can barely fit between the knees of the fat passive-aggressive passengers...i would kill myself rather than ride the Tube on a daily basis...

they botched our reservation at the Lancaster & we couldn't check in, so we put our bags in storage & walked across Hyde Park to Kensington & Chelsea....had pizza for lunch then hopped a double-decker back...j had a meeting & i went for a run around Hyde Park...good park to run in, i'm guessing 4-5 miles around the perimeter, but i went on a few tangents & inner loops, down by Sir Albert Hall, around the oblong lake...the best part was running down "rotten row," which is a wide dirt strip that seems to be for horse racing, so you feel like a horse running down it...

fountain in Hyde Park

Hyde Park Fountain

j came back & we double-deckered down Oxford to Picadilly Circus...traffic was horrendous, but good view from on top...explored around Soho, ate a Thali at Masala Zone...spent some time in Foyles reading the London chapter of David Byrne's bike book...double-deckered back...

Double-Decker down Oxford


ok, i just have to say something mean but true & if you've spent time in London you know what i'm talking about...the girls here for the most part are chunky-fat & dumpy & wear their clothes too tight & have blown-out straight bleached hair & tons of caked-on make-up & fake tans & uggs or frumpy boots or moccasins & have bad teeth on the rare occassion that they smile...i imagine i'd be gay if i was single living in London...the men are much better looking...i took a bunch of pictures of fat asses in stretch pants with moon boots & straightened-blond hair as proof but i'll spare you the horror...they might be sporting the fisherman's boots in Paris, but no such luck here...

the prettiest girls i saw in London

bottomless girls

i'm sure people will give me shit for being mean or negative, but as always i think the world can afford to be more critical...same is true of book or music reviews, people shouldn't always clap or mechanically say a book is good...that's not useful information [& that's all this is, not facts, but information]...to say i liked London would be a lie & only serve to diminish the nice things i say about other cities...& it would be misleading to anyone that might have an interest in coming here [especially if you are a single straight guy considering a move London, seriously, look into other cities...NYC, Paris, Rome]...London doesn't suck for everyone, but it sucks in my book & anybody with similar sensibilities would probably be better off choosing another travel destination, given the choice...London is one big soul-less wax museum...maybe it has a history, but right now, through my eyes, i don't think it knows what it is or what it wants to be...

Picadilly under reconstruction...

rrr pink construct


coppers checking out the rare books...

Cops & Rare Books

...okay, i guess that's one thing, London does have a lot of good bookstores...Foyles, Blackwells, Bookends, Koenig Books, Any Amount of Books, Charles Russel Rare Books, Waterstone's & okay, lots of pub [with interesting names that juxtapose animals & some other arbitrary item, like Fox & Anchor, or Dog & Duck or Goats & Boots, etc.] & as for spawning progressive music i don't think any other country comes close...now that i say it, i guess that's three big things...what more could you want besides good bookstores, pubs & music?

3 greyhounds in Soho

Three Greyhounds

...granted my critical eye is numb from eating fish eyes & my pineal eye has been pried open with toothpicks...i've been waking up at all hours of the night here, not knowing which direction is which & since j was sleeping i'd retreat to the bathroom to read Electric Flesh by Claro...the best [raw & vulnerable] conditions for such a book to take root...it was fantastically visceral, jarring, jolting...& it's only appropriate that Brian Evenson would translate it, as it is most akin to his work [especially his Brotherhood of Mutilation], with more of a jaded Celinesque edge thrown in & maybe some Bataille for good measure...but rather than a treatise on self-mutilation, it's a treatise on self-electrocution...or the sexual juxtaposition of Houdini & the electric chair, the two twined obsessions of the protagonist, Howard Hordinary, who like Gary Gilmore thinks he's Houdini's bastard progeny...Howard Hordinary seeks a sort of cathartic liberation through electrocution, or by fantasizing about it & self-confinement, to escape one's one flesh, to transform into a state of pure energy/ecstasy...the writing itself is vivid enough to make you wonder if Claro is speaking from direct sensory experience, whether he did [electric] field research for the book...me, i'd rather experience electrocution from a comfy armchair reading Claro's electrifying descriptions:

"It's a see-saw, you gnaw on your own guts, your hair starts talking, it squawks in your nerves, things stop around you, they break into sevenths, eighths, noises get tangled into one another, hundreds of doors shut themselves again all over your body then open, banging like shutters, a detail scratches your eye like a hooker's fingernail, there's nothing more than that, this detail, a bone lodged in the throat of your fucked brain, and then an emptied chest, a hoof kick which runs you through."

it's like reading a NIN/Mark Romanek video, or a grittier, textual Cremaster....if it all sounds perverse & sick, what you have to remember is that it's not Claro that's sick, but all of mankind is what's sick & Claro is only the messenger...i mean, really, what kind of animals kill their own kind with contraptions like electric chairs?..capital punishment & institutionalized torture are fucked up & Claro is only [strapping us in leather &] making us chew on these things, mull over the MEANning behind these contraptions...what's the point of an object like an Electric Chair, what led to it's invention?...what Claro is getting at in Electric Flesh, in my opinion, can be summarized in this line from the book: "this is what he had been trying to find since the beginning: the end." ..or Mise-en-abîme, the essence of the whole can be summarized in the paragraph:

"Howard starts to ape and whirl the void, he becomes the great ape armed with stainless steel who brandishes the erect silk in honor of the anemic tribe—suddenly, coupled bound houdinied to his Chair, he gives himself over to the bitter current which passes through everything, a blurred flux buoys up his immensely elongated cock, which bows and snorts and moves forever away from the hidden root from which it springs, what it flees is only obviousness and trickery—hullaba, sabbath, pitch."

its the "moves away from the hidden root from which it springs," part that is the hoof kicker for me, that is the root of perversion...it's the root of a lot of things actually, any escapism, human nature, the root of life, the force behind suicide, the force behind man's tendency towards self-desctruction...this is possibly what separates humans from the rest of the animal kingdom...are tendencies of self-destruction & mutilation strictly human, or would other animals do the same given the opportunity [invent a contraption as twisted as an electric chair]?..maybe i'm reading into it & Claro is just another sick fuck...but in any event reading Electric Flesh induced me to have an irrelated epiphany about my own "Ark Stories," ..but that's as much as i'll say about that for now, instead i'll show more of my biased view of what i saw that interested me in London...

graffiti, Charing Cross

Tiger Guerilla Graffiti


venison & pheasants, Borough market

venison & pheasants & wild meat


mural, Hoxton/Shoreditch

Red Rabbit & Snake


geese trailing through algae, Regent's Park

Geese Algae Trail


Royal Albert Memorial

Albert Royal Elephant


goose, Hyde park

self-potrait in a Swan eye


mural, Hoxton/Shoreditch

Caribou Mother








(c) 2009 Derek White

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