Saturday, 30 June 2018


The muse of Recoil

Western culture has a profound problem and it is of the nature of imagining itself a superior observer of an essentially inanimate and lifeless universe.  This leads to a sense of entitlement and domination.  I have often wondered whether the Abrahamic religions are a self fulfilling prophecy or an observation of the inevitable.

I made the film Recoil as an expression of the profound self destructive nature of humanity or even the universe itself.  I summed it up once as God creating the universe and recoiling at the devastating catastrophe that it had created.  As with feedback it takes only one deviation from the universal void to observe itself and thereby become something more.  There is all the potential for this process to be beautiful in its resonating harmonic interaction.  But it can become mechanistic, aggressive, and self destructively violent, like a cosmic reaper destroying everything including its own soul.

As Carl Jung was at pains to point out the psyche is real.  His astute assertion was that an unreal thing cannot change the real world and yet this planet is littered with nuclear bombs.  His perceived dilemma was born of Western philosophy and its manner of separating the soul from the world as if we somehow possess the consciousness that is in fact the universe itself.

Recoil was designed to suggest the sublime potential of creativity whilst becoming the antithesis of itself and violently chewing itself up from the inside out.  It was intended to be extremely disturbing and difficult to watch.  It was an expression of my own sense of utter despair at the abhorrent cruelty and nihilistic behaviour manifest by humanity.

Turbulent distortions

It is supremely ironic that in the process of renovating Recoil a small deviation of negativity arises to extend its tentacles of discontent into any unwitting or available fissure to spread its virulent toxin of angst and despair.  Like negative feedback it attempts to ravage and consume its host to overwhelm and destroy all creativity returning the world to the bleak and meaningless void of darkness whilst echoing the words of Vishnu "Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds."

It seems one individual insidiously insinuated himself under false pretences into the project for personal kudos and financial gain.  Having interfered to the point of causing unnecessary problems it seems the pathological response was to embark on an excessive smear campaign of defamation and slander to hide from the embarrassment of self realisation.  This individual has put a lot of effort into his crusade to whip up discontent, spread seeds of doubt, and muster a hue and cry apparently with the hope of forming a lynch mob.  The tirade of relentless harassment, abuse, stalking, and trolling has currently culminated in him inappropriately and illegally uploading a copy of Recoil to YouTube.

The vast majority of people who contributed to the project to rescue Recoil have remained either unaware of the disruption or silent on the matter.  It has been suggested that I might perhaps respond to this turbulence.  I am reluctant to be dragged into someone else's dysfunctional dilemma and resist the temptation to indulge in malicious gossip, fuelling flame wars, or feeding trolls on social media.

Calming Balm

Since the hideous Kraken from the deep has attempted to cast doubt in some people's minds I will reassure the crew that although these perturbations may feel a little disturbing they will pass and the voyage will continue on its charted course to its desired destination.

Recoil is a film whose time appears to be dawning.  It is a personal priority for me to make this film available to the public.  The fact that the film was created in the fertile artistic environment of the early 1980s in the northern industrial city of Sheffield and that the sound track was produced in conjunction with Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire in their Western Works Studio and credited to myself and Cabaret Voltaire makes it especially interesting to music lovers and historical archivists of that era and genre.

Many enthusiastic friends and interested parties have generously contributed to the material costs involved in realising the restoration of this rare and otherwise obscure material.  As many people are aware, much work has already been done and the film has been digitised and restored successfully.  The process of producing DVDs is continuing.  As a labour of love there never has been any doubt in my mind that this project will be concluded successfully in spite of numerous unforeseen difficulties.

Due to my limited time and capacity there can be no assured deadline and all I can say is that I continue to put a lot of my available time and effort into the project.  I heard rumours that the project was dead but these are simply the voices of naysayers and false prophets of doom blowing on the wind in the parched and lifeless valley of death.

When a copy of Recoil was illegally uploaded to YouTube recently I immediately submitted a copyright infringement claim to get it removed because although I am keen for anyone and everyone to see the film it is not fair to those who have contributed financially to make the film publically available on YouTube before they get their DVDs.

Saturday, 9 June 2018


Razan al-Najjar, shot by the IDF on 1 June 2018

If you are strong and resolute and won't give in to terrorists that sounds just fine and dandy.  But what are the real issues behind this kind of self aggrandising bravado.  The terrorists kidnap your child and demand £100 or they will kill the child.  I'd pay if I believed it would save the child.  I'd probably pay anyway - just in case.  That might not resolve the general problem with ruthless leverage but the alternative seems to be to refuse to pay on principle.

Philosophically there is a lot that could be said about this but nature is a peculiar creature and it is full of treachery, deception, and leverage.  One issue to consider is the balance of life and what drives people to employ such dreadful tactics in the first place.  None of us are individuals as if we can somehow be an ideal 'human' in a vacuum.

The tragic convoluted and self contradictory rhetoric that surrounds many of the world's problematic conflicts are not so difficult to unravel if one steps back from the immediate emotional 'reaction' and thinks about them.  There are no easy solutions but there are ways to maintain a fairly clear perspective.

Razan al-Najjar was shot by the IDF.  The fact that she was a young female medic makes it all the more 'emotive'.  Ideally, if you want to utilise human sentiment, then getting babies shot or maimed is good for that.  In the case of the hypothetical kidnappers mentioned above I could refuse to pay and when they murdered my child I could get a lot of kudos and sympathy.  I could go one stage better than that and shoot my own child with a sniper rifle and claim they have no leverage now.  So where is this rational dissection taking us?

Netanyahu claims Hamas are deliberately creating "telegenically dead Palestinians" for sympathy on the world stage.  It's worse than that because the fourth Israeli Prime Minister, Golda Meir, is famously quoted as saying "We cannot forgive them for forcing us to kill their children." and clearly the government still feel that way.  This perverted representation is not new to the Israeli government, it occurs all too often when justifying brutal oppression.  Joseph Goebbels, that lovely insightful PR man for the Nazi Party in Germany, the Reich Minister of Propaganda, used the same grotesquely contorted rational in his 1941 essay 'Das Reich' when he said "They knew the good-natured German Michael in us, always ready to shed sentimental tears for the injustice done to them. One suddenly has the impression that the Berlin Jewish population consists only of little babies whose childish helplessness might move us, or else fragile old ladies. The Jews send out the pitiable. They may confuse some harmless souls for a while, but not us. We know exactly what the situation is."

All of this taps deeply into the nihilistic nature of fear in the human psyche.  The fear of death is not resolved and so there is an incredible desperation to deny the fear rather than understand or accept it.  There becomes a perverted compulsion to prove one is somehow above fear, to demonstrate one's immunity to it.  It drives some people pathologically to demonstrate to the world, and really to themselves, that they can beat fear by killing others and not caring.  They begin to despise what they see as weakness in others.  And, when it becomes extreme, they justify to themselves that they are the victims of other people's attempts to make them 'feel'.  They have become precisely inhuman.

It would be like walking into someone else's house with a gun and telling them to leave because you want to live there.  Under threat of being shot they go into the garden and put a tent up.  Having settled in to their house you object to their littering the garden with their tents and their noisy children so you tell them to leave under threat of death.  They have nowhere to go so you shoot their children and blame them for forcing you to do it.  Oh no - it's not 'like' that  - it is exactly that.  The only difference being that Israel is doing it on a massive scale and the Western Powers turn a blind eye whilst sending in ammunition and more military hardware.

It is sick and perverted in the extreme for Israel to blame the Palestinians for forcing Israel to kill them because they happen to be alive.  National or religious labels aside, and dealing with this as a human issue, the Israeli government are killing their own children because they are afraid of their own vulnerability.  It is akin to shooting your own child so that no one can gain leverage over you.

I am reminded of the Greek mythological God Cronus who, on learning from his parents Gaia and Uranus that he was destined to be overthrown by his own children, ate them all as soon as they were born to prevent the prophecy.