Posts Tagged ‘möebius loop’

nazi home furnishings, fuck off!

September 6, 2009

So, that was summer. Like some fleeting bandcamp romance, it’s gone & the next one is another year away.

Of course, summer isn’t really over; summer, for student-types who lounge around most of the year anyway on their government-supported asses, isn’t over until the end of September. However, the travelling, the sight-seeing & vain hopes of exotic landscapes/adventures/encounters are most likely all behind us now. We wait with baited breath now for the frigid thrills that winter brings. & in some ways, that’s nicer. We can certainly drink more – it’s colder, alcohol warms the spiritual & material cockles, thus it’s not only wise but actively encouraged – & that certainly counts something towards chill encounters.

Thus, we begin to retreat indoors. Where the howling rain & the moaning wind cannot pry their immaterial fingers. & we sleep, & we consume caffeine & we do DIY. Yes, we do.

I have already started my share. It’s also possibly the first proper DIY I’ve ever done – & as such it was commandeered most admirably by Dad. Dad took it upon himself – what with his more worldly-wiseman ways – to help out with the measuring, the sawing, the chopping, the nailing, the hammering, the drilling, the inspecting, the gluing, the scrutinizing, the welding, the laserwork, & the painting. Mostly. So it’s basically my design – my vision – as realised by some third party. I’ve whored out my genius that others may bathe in the enlightening glow of basic woodwork.

It wasn’t a hard task, not for my first ever piece, merely 6 pieces of cheap, pseudo-wood arranged just so that they form the image of a magazine rack. I thought I’d buy some racks – but I’d need to spend loads, so why not just hack relentlessly at some pseudo-wood in the garage & make your own, commerical-free rack?

Only now, I want to build more. I have the infernal itch that must afflict men nationwide. Maybe a bookcase, maybe a stool, maybe a desk, maybe an adventure playground for the cat. Or maybe something no one’s ever built before when they’ve undertaken the DIY, the holy grail of all things homely. I have ransacked IKEA & pilfered through Homebase’s drawers. Mais, non. It’s costly & flat-packing is so much easier.

There is a primitive joy, I think, in building flat-packed furniture. It’s the Duplo to DIY’S Lego Technics. The dull thunk of the weird möebius-looped bolts, & the tidy corners & precisely spaced shelves. It’s all very neat, very neat indeed. But you know what else was neat? The Third Reich, yeah. & it isn’t dirty like DIY – it lacks that makeshift, punk aesthetic. & it certainly isn’t creative. Worst of all, it seems to come with a lucky-dip bag of screws & awkward tools. So not only are your home tools not suitable for the job, there’s always one piece too many of the 2inch twisty-job & one piece too few of the 3.5inch hammery-job.

Imagine the uniformity if every monument to every great leader, every terrible war had arrived at its location flat-packed.

“Right, Set: 1805; Nelson’s Column’s arrived, but we’re missing screw 6400D, we’re gonna have to skip steps 5 thru 10, & we’ll just have him stood on an old fruit crate or something.”
“Aw, no, they’ve sent over the nose from the Statue of Liberty set.”
“Barbados managed to get their Nelson’s Column up, no problems.”
“We’re sending this back.”

& before you know it, we’ve got a 150ft high commemoration of Hitler’s dog, because everything else was out of stock.

So, fuck the fascist identikits of IKEA, let’s go do some DIY.

j.

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the history essay

December 1, 2008

It’s great being an expert on historical events. Being able to pluck a name from the air, and weave bloody and gory stories around them. Dropping intelligent, yet witty comments in casual conversation with mates dahn the pub. It’s great. Except, I am not an expert. Neither do I go ‘dahn the pub’. I have, however, just completed a 2,000 word essay on certain aspects of crusading in the Middle Ages. It may look like a fairly pithy amount, sure, compared with the heavy-weight textbooks I have been ploughing through for the past three decades – essay preparation does relish somewhat in its ability to give a completely distorted concept of time. But it seemed like a fairly pithy subject to being with. Oh, how wrong I was. How incredibly moronic I was, to think that 2,000 words would give plenty of room for me to divulge in tales of adolescent excursions, and eschatological prophecies from harbingers of doom, destruction and anti-Semitism.

It all begins with the reading you do. You go to the library. Take out several of the biggest books you can find – regardless of suitability or language; I always find the brightly coloured ones most appealing, personally. You take these back to your room, place them beside the laptop – that quietly powers away, tempting you with its warm hum of procrastination, and YouTube videos of idiocy. And then begins The Reading. The Reading can be the single most painful, non-fatal process any human can experience – short of performing a self-tracheotomy with a bendy-straw, whilst simultaneously giving yourself a foot-bath, with your feet submerged in a pool of hydrofluoric acid. Other times it can be a truly enlightening experience. But once you’ve been sat staring at the same page for hours upon hours, dissecting the tiniest nuances of each sentence, of each word, of each mark of punctuation, it does tend to drag.

There is something wonderful in the way historians write. The same sentence that states simply, for example, the number of countries visited by a pilgrim, seems also to flow on forever. An endless tide of commas, and semi-colons – hyphens and quotation marks; as if the historian, momentarily mad, has been caught in some syntactic Möebius loop, falling endlessly back upon themselves as they struggle to regain a foothold in its purpose. Elsewhere, out of the blue, astonishing, mono-syllabic remarks are made – like it’s God’s honest truth, and anyone who questions it shall be branded either ‘pleb’ or ‘nincompoop’. I sometimes fear we are all victims to some hilarious joke they are playing on us. A trick, where they see how many nonsense-sentence they can hide within one book, then one chapter, and eventually one page.

So, you’re reading. And soon you’re lost in this wonderfully calming ocean current of informative prose. The kind of reading that makes you feel better about the world in general. Better about yourself – confident, knowing that you have one more tid-bit of information to produce over dinner. But it doesn’t last. And everyone just thinks you’re a self-gratifying tit anyway. And you stumble back into the arms of Plath, for a soothing bout of melancholy. Or don the headphones for another reassuring round of sardonic Mancunian wisdom.

Meanwhile, The Essay still looms. The vast expanse of blankness, of empty Word documents, tentatively awaiting the first glorious ounce of pressure produced by your fervid fingers, just sits there. Blankly. Blank… And then it hits you! O, Divine inspiration! O, Celestial awakening! Your fingers run in torrents across the keyboard, a veritable blur of fleshy phalanges. At least, they do for the first 1,000 words. Upon reaching the big One Zero, Zero, Zero, you inevitably realise that either all your decent, highly original and ground-breaking points have been made, or that you’ve completely avoided answering the question. Instead, building a highly floral image of something with very little substance. The Jessica Simpson of academia.

Despite this, some superhuman force within you drives you ever forward, ever closer to that two thousand mark. And then eventually you reach it, no matter how vague or irrelevant your conclusion may be. And inside your own little microcosm, inside the tiny self-perpetuating world that you’ve built up around yourself in this time of intensive studiousness, inside your own scholastic kingdom you celebrate! It doesn’t matter that nobody else cares, because it’s your kingdom, and you will celebrate! You run circles on your wheely chair. You put on your favourite upbeat song. Turn it up to eleven. And march around your kingdom in laps of sweet victory. You have defeated The Essay, and it is taken straight unto the humanities office. There She Goes, My Beautiful World!