Been meaning to post this for days. It’s wonderful. He’s wonderful. How fucking infectious is this guys smile? I may be in love.
Marilyn Monroe photographed by Bert Reisfeld, 1953.
This year is the 20th anniversary of the UK’s Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, the legislation that effectively banned raves and sent the whole British scene into the expensive confines of legitimate clubs and venues. To mark the occasion, photographer Tom Hunter is exhibiting his series Le Crowbar—a documentation of his time traveling through Europe in the mid-90s in a convoy of converted coaches, ambulances, and buses, setting up raves and impromptu festivals. See it at the "Life on the Road" exhibition at LCC in London’s Elephant and Castle.
After relocating from Dorset to London at the age of 15 and spending some time as a tree pruner in the Royal Parks of London, Tom Hunter bought a year-long ticket to America. It was on this trip that he began taking photos, but unfortunately, as he told me, “I came back and [none of the pictures] turned out. The lens must have been broken or something.”
Nevertheless, it was then that he decided he wanted to be a photographer—so, in 1991, he enrolled at what was then the London College of Printing. During his time at college, Tom got involved in the squatting scene in Ellingfort Road, Hackney—a thriving community of travelers, converted vans, and derelict buildings that later became the central topic of his 1994 graduation show.
As I just said in another blog when I reblogged this:
Big whoop, so did I. I spent 15 odd years living on sites & in squats, do I get a magazine article? ( actually I had a whole chapter of a book dedicated to me soo…). I still find living in a rented gaff hard, I suck at it.
Consciousness is one of the great mysteries of science – perhaps the greatest mystery. We all know we have it, when we think, when we dream, when we savour tastes and aromas, when we hear a great symphony, when we fall in love, and it is surely the most intimate, the most sapient, the most personal part of ourselves. Yet no one can really claim to have understood and explained it completely. There’s no doubt it’s associated with the brain in some way but the nature of that association is far from clear. In particular how do these three pounds of material stuff inside our skulls allow us to have experiences?
Professor David Chalmers of the Australian National University has dubbed this the “hard problem” of consciousness; but many scientists, particularly those (still in the majority) who are philosophically inclined to believe that all phenomena can be reduced to material interactions, deny that any problem exists. To them it seems self-evident that physical processes within the stuff of the brain produce consciousness rather in the way that a generator produces electricity – i.e. consciousness is an “epiphenomenon” of brain activity. And they see it as equally obvious that there cannot be such things as conscious survival of death or out-of-body experiences since both consciousness and experience are confined to the brain and must die when the brain dies.
Yet other scientists with equally impressive credentials are not so sure and are increasingly willing to consider a very different analogy – namely that the relationship of consciousness to the brain may be less like the relationship of the generator to the electricity it produces and more like the relationship of the TV signal to the TV set. In that case when the TV set is destroyed – dead – the signal still continues. Nothing in the present state of knowledge of neuroscience rules this revolutionary possibility out. True, if you damage certain areas of the brain certain areas of consciousness are compromised, but this does not prove that those areas of the brain generate the relevant areas of consciousness. If you were to damage certain areas of your TV set the picture would deteriorate or vanish but the TV signal would remain intact.
We are, in other words, confronted by at least as much mystery as fact around the subject of consciousness and this being the case we should remember that what seems obvious and self-evident to one generation may not seem at all obvious or self-evident to the next. For hundreds of years it was obvious and self-evident to the greatest human minds that the sun moved around the earth – one need only look to the sky, they said, to see the truth of this proposition. Indeed those who maintained the revolutionary view that the earth moved around the sun faced the Inquisition and death by burning at the stake. Yet as it turned out the revolutionaries were right and orthodoxy was terribly, ridiculously wrong.
The same may well prove to be true with the mystery of consciousness. Yes, it does seem obvious and self-evident that the brain produces it (the generator analogy), but this is a deduction from incomplete data and categorically NOT yet an established and irrefutable fact. New discoveries may force materialist science to rescind this theory in favour of something more like the TV analogy in which the brain comes to be understood as a transceiver rather than as a generator of consciousness and in which consciousness is recognized as fundamentally “non-local” in nature – perhaps even as one of the basic driving forces of the universe. At the very least we should withhold judgment on this “hard problem” until more evidence is in and view with suspicion those who hold dogmatic and ideological views about the nature of consciousness.
It’s at this point that the whole seemingly academic issue becomes intensely political and current because modern technological society idealises and is monopolistically focused on only one state of consciousness – the alert, problem-solving state of consciousness that makes us efficient producers and consumers of material goods and services. At the same time our society seeks to police and control a wide range of other “altered” states of consciousness on the basis of the unproven proposition that consciousness is generated by the brain.
I refer here to the so-called “war on drugs” which is really better understood as a war on consciousness and which maintains, supposedly in the interests of society, that we as adults do not have the right or maturity to make sovereign decisions about our own consciousness and about the states of consciousness we wish to explore and embrace. This extraordinary imposition on adult cognitive liberty is justified by the idea that our brain activity, disturbed by drugs, will adversely impact our behaviour towards others. Yet anyone who pauses to think seriously for even a moment must realize that we already have adequate laws that govern adverse behaviour towards others and that the real purpose of the “war on drugs” must therefore be to bear down on consciousness itself.
Confirmation that this is so came from the last British Labour government. It declared that its drug policy would be based on scientific evidence yet in 2009 it sacked Professor David Nutt, Chairman of the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs, for stating the simple statistical fact that cannabis is less dangerous (in terms of measured “harms”) than tobacco and alcohol and that ecstasy is less dangerous than horse-riding. Clearly what was at play here were ideological issues of great importance to the powers that be. And this is an ideology that sticks stubbornly in place regardless of changes in the complexion of the government of the day. The present Conservative-Liberal coalition remains just as adamant in its enforcement of the so-called war on drugs as its Labour predecessor, and continues in the name of this “war” to pour public money – our money – into large, armed, drug-enforcement bureaucracies which are entitled to break down our doors at dead of night, invade our homes, ruin our reputations and put us behind bars.
All of this, we have been persuaded, is in our own interests. Yet if we as adults are not free to make sovereign decisions – right or wrong – about our own consciousness, that most intimate, that most sapient, that most personal part of ourselves, then in what useful sense can we be said to be free at all? And how are we to begin to take real and meaningful responsibility for all the other aspects of our lives when our governments seek to disenfranchise us from this most fundamental of all human rights and responsibilities?
In this connection it is interesting to note that our society has no objection to altering consciousness per se. On the contrary many consciousness-altering drugs, such as Prozac, Seroxat, Ritalin and alcohol, are either massively over-prescribed or freely available today, and make huge fortunes for their manufacturers, but remain entirely legal despite causing obvious harms. Could this be because such legal drugs do not alter consciousness in ways that threaten the monopolistic dominance of the alert problem-solving state of consciousness, while a good number of illegal drugs, such as cannabis, LSD, DMT and psilocybin, do?
There is a revolution in the making here, and what is at stake transcends the case for cognitive liberty as an essential and inalienable adult human right. If it turns out that the brain is not a generator but a transceiver of consciousness then we must consider some little-known scientific research that points to a seemingly outlandish possibility, namely that a particular category of illegal drugs, the hallucinogens such as LSD, DMT and psilocybin, may alter the receiver wavelength of the brain and allow us to gain contact with intelligent non-material entities, “light beings”, “spirits”, “machine elves” (as Terence McKenna called them) – perhaps even the inhabitants of other dimensions. This possibility is regarded as plain fact by shamans in hunter-gatherer societies who for thousands of years have made use of visionary plants and fungi to enter and interact with what they construe as the “spirit world”. Intriguingly it was also specifically envisaged by Dr Rick Strassman, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of New Mexico, following his ground-breaking research with human volunteers and DMT carried out in the 1990’s – a project that produced findings with shattering implications for our understanding of the nature of reality. For further information on Strassman’s revolutionary work see his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule.
- Graham Hancock, 2013.
If I put a gun to someone’s head, say, a 30-year-old healthy male, pull the trigger, and kill him, assuming an average life expectancy of, say, 84, you can argue that possibly 54 years of life [were] stolen from that person in a direct act of violence.
However, if a person is born into poverty in the midst of an abundant society where it is statistically proven that it would hurt no one to facilitate meeting the basic needs of that person and yet they die at the age of 30 due to heart disease, which has been found to statistically relate to those who endure the stress and effects of low socioeconomic status, is that death, the removal of those 54 years once again, an act of violence?
And the answer is ‘Yes, it is.’
You see, our legal system has conditioned us to think that violence is a direct behavioral act. The truth is that violence is a process, not an act, and it can take many forms.
You cannot separate any outcome from the system by which it is oriented.
A very happy looking David Sylvian. It’s wrong that one human should be so perfect. Still is.
This has to be one of the hardest winters I have had in a long time.
I sit, freezing my tits off because I can’t afford any heating, I put on a tenner and the meter always takes a few quid for some mysterious debt and the rest lasts about 2 1/2 days. I just can’t afford that every 4 days, I only get paid once a fortnight and that is just too much money.
I’m not alone. A quick look through the poverty tag on tumblr and it shows that there are many of us living on benefits, either with mental or physical disabilities ourselves, or who are caring for someone who has them. Look closely and among all the pictures of girls showing their impressive tattoos and picture perfect outfits, there are those of us struggling just to get through each day without cracking up.
I wrote a long piece for Gawkers Groupthink over the holiday period, explaining how I have ended up in this state; me being an adult I’m supposed to be above this shit but I’m not. It wasn’t too long ago I was a street kid, living in squats and making a living begging; now I’m in the real, grown up world, I miss all that, my transition into normal, productive member of society has been a a rough one. No one teaches you how to be a “proper adult”. You just have to play at it and hope no one else notices.
I wrote my heartfelt confessional not to get noticed, I would have cringed if it had gone viral, I just wanted a bit of help over the holiday period, I didn’t know how I was going to cope during that one long week of supposed cheer - I have no family to support me and for me the whole dumb pretense can’t be over fast enough. I didn’t get any help, over six hundred people read my post and not one felt the urge to help me.
I’m not sat here crying into my keyboard over that, I also wrote the post to offer help to anyone over the holiday period who may have been in a similar position: I suffer from serious mental health problems and being skint all the goddamn time does not help, but I wanted to help someone else who may be in the same sinking boat. I promised, as long as my internet didn’t get cut off that I would be there for whoever needed me, the poor, the depressed, the recently bereaved, all the things I am I wanted to connect with people who were those things too. No one answered. That saddened me more than being skint. No one reached out to join what I’d hoped would be a band of disparate souls over the holiday period and that made me sad.
In the end, on Christmas Eve, my electricity and internet went off within 5 minutes of each other. I had to jump the train to Brighton to find a money lender who dealt with people on benefits. All my benefits are going to them for the next month and 1/2. I feel sick just thinking about it.
Don’t misunderstand me, although I have been signed off work for medical reasons I love work. If you offered me a job, any job within my skill set from online customer service positions to data entry jobs, to front and back end website management, I’ll take it - hell, I’ll even create a website for you, any of these things I’ll do for money. I really want to be paid for my writing but that is a long road and I’m still on the footpath toward that particular career. I want to work. I enjoy work. I just can’t leave the house because of acute anxiety. I want to return to sex work but I’m not there confidence wise yet. I put on a lot of weight because of anti psychotic meds and whilst there are a lot of men begging for a larger lady, I’m not comfortable with myself in this state, you can’t sell sex when you don’t feel sexy.
I originally wrote the piece on Groupthink because a woman had penned her own blog posts about the bad decisions she makes whilst being poor. Since she wrote it, the piece went viral and the inevitable ” I call shenanigans” posts followed. Most of the claims laid before her weren’t valid but a few were and one thing she said in her defense really angered me, she said “ I didn’t mean to imply all these things were happening to me now”. Shit love, maybe you should have written the post when these things were happening, then you might have deserved the $60,000 in donations you raised from that one long white whine. (I’m being a bitch here, she sounded at first like a hard working put upon mother, but whether my initial assessment of her was accurate we’ll never know, the callers of bullshit drove her into hiding, in a hotel on a family vacation in Vegas no less. Whatever the case, no one really deserves to have their lives picked apart by shitty internet detectives!).
I couldn’t understand why no one had wanted to help me when this woman had people throwing wads of cash at her. All I wanted was to get through the Holiday period and get a few loan sharks off my back. £3000 would have changed my life. ($60, 000 would have given me someone elses… I set my sights low). I asked my partner why no one wanted to help, and he told me ” no one can imagine themselves going through what we’ve been though, no one wants to think too far out of their comfort zone, middle class wants to help middle class and you, with all your self taught coding skills, above average IQ are still just an ignorant doley in most peoples eyes, you’re making people feel uncomfortable”.
Shit, I made people feel uncomfortable, that was not what I had intended. I’d wanted to bring people together. I know I’m scum. I know programmes like Benefits Street are the kind of poverty porn most people lap up and judge me in that category, scrounging benefits scum, but I didn’t think I’d actually made anybody feel uncomfortable. The funny thing was, I’d left out the really harrowing stuff about my life. I’d left out the extreme violence and the rape, the shit that comes with street life, because I didn’t want to upset people. Yet, just me being poor and asking for help, and by saying to any one else in the same situation “look, it’s OK to ask for help” I’d done just that.
So, I’ve been seeing a few kids asking for help on tumblr recently. Kids who can’t afford the rent, people wanting to just get through another soul crushing week without being made homeless. Like me, they mostly get ignored. Someone ( and I am not detracting from anyone’s personal plights in any way ) will ask for the money to “get to Comic Con coz it’s their dream and OMG they have never been” and they’ll get it. Some kid asks for some money to stop her family get evicted and everyone ignores it. That’s not right.
I can’t help you with money but I can be here for you. My situation is now worse than it was before Christmas because now I owe more money. I lose sleep at night thinking about it and I miss being a street kid because I can’t fall back on begging when I have somewhere to live. I’ll repeat that : I actually miss being homeless. Last April, the government scrapped their Crisis Loans scheme. You got a crisis loan if you had say, an unexpected bill or you lost your giro or whatever. Now, you have to go cap in hand to my local council authority and ask them for foodstamps or “whitegoods” like cookers or fridges. Well, my cooker is broken and the payday loan people ( who appeared as if from no where when the crisis loans got cancelled ) have taken all my money so I rang up about these food stamps and cookers. I was turned down. After explaining my problems they said, ” no we don’t help in that kind of situation” . So what situation do they help in? Anyone know?
So, here I am, still freezing my tits off. I’m in the same position as I was before the holidays but now I’m even more in debt and losing sleep over it. I can’t help you if you are in need but I can listen, here or on my other blog.
I want a job, no, a career, that is a long term fix to my problem but in the mean time, a short tern fix would be great too, if anyone does want to help me, my paypal is email@example.com
I might add, there are some great resources for us scumbags on tumblr. Often, people will write healthy eating guides for those on benefits or straight up survival guides. I forgot to bookmark them but they are there, keep an eye out on Poverty & resources or benefits tags. Worth it.