Monday, April 07, 2008

Holy temples of the modern Gods

To much official applause and the opprobrium of the Mill Road classes we now have a spanking new shopping centre. Cambridge, well known for its shortage of chain coffee shops and places to buy over priced branded tat has at last been blessed with a central mall, a hub for every monotonous, drab commodity that you might care to mention over cold and calloused lips.

Under vacuous probing lights and cat walks the Grand Arcade stands as a monument to the sanitised filth of the consumerist monolith. They say they've "combined classical heritage with cutting edge retail" but in fact they've ripped the innards out of your memories and replaced them with a plastic heart that beats to the click, click, click of designer heels.

No, I don't want to join your "Fashion Elite Club", decent shoes are a human right not a vanity.

The Grand Arcade could only be reclaimed for humanity if it became the scene one of those seventies apocalyptic nightmares. Let's see slow moving zombies stumbling mindlessly across its highly polished surfaces, drooling with an insatiable hunger to consume that which can never sate their unholy desire. Bollocks, scratch that... let's make it the scene from one of the Planet of the Apes sequels - rampaging simians tearing and burning civilisation down. Hooting monkeys with AK47's maniacally blasting away at anything that looks well fed and mindless. Rip away at its deadening of the senses. Smash with bloodied fists the moral vacuum that allows a trouble free lifestyle on the backs of slavery and ignorance.

I want to see Third World Children with heads on sticks screaming down the walkways, hurling torn petrol cans through the windows of Clinton Cards and River Island, turning them into a vomiting fireball. I want to hear their shrieks of Satanic glee as facile managers, all dressed in identical ball busting suits, fall burning from the highest balconies, still clutching loyalty cards to their breasts. That's the least of my demands.

Whilst the Romans built magnificent amphitheatres and monuments to dazzle and distract the masses with bestial entertainments and the feudal Churches funded monstrous and intimidating Cathedrals to drench supine crowds with fear and wonder at the feet of the powerful, The Grand Arcade combines both strategies but in the tawdry and hollow fashion that only twenty first century capitalism can manage.

No longer do we make ritual observances to the Gods in their column lined palaces nor cower in fear beneath the grotesque, deformed statutes of the Church - no, we amble with absent minded torpor and demand the choice between shit from a packet and shit from a box.

One of the very first jargon ridden posts on this blog was How I came to love the petit-bourgeois and I don't retract a single word of it "if I oppose neo-liberal globalisation and the encroachment of monopoly capitalism into our lives what makes more sense than to oppose the turning of every area into "an identikit town in an identikit world."

To attack franchises and corporate horror is to be "taking part in... the war against neo-liberalism... [we should make] a clear attempt to re-assert our humanity from a world of commodities and brands."

Capitalism does not exist in the abstract, and those who find themselves stranded in this island with no exits find it penetrating into every area of our lives. From our plates, into our mouths and up into the brain it consumes and labels us according to our spending power.

The economy can be pushed towards the bigger and bigger entities that swamp our individuality, continually allowing us less purchase on our lives - or we can turn towards the small, turn towards the rodents nestled between the neon barricades and electrified amusements.

We can allow Tesco to bid for the eco-town to our north, we can allow the Empire builders to amass greater and greater armaments, we can let their hopes become ours and drain the pool of our souls dry - or we can resist.

Resist in the workplaces, at the ballot box and in the streets. Whether it's small acts of defiance like buying Mouth Music vegetarian pasties that constitute well aimed spittle into Starbucks' sleepless eye, or by amassing a band of rebels hardened to their revolutionary fate and dedicated to pitching the Grand Arcade into the ever approaching sea these acts of defiance are acts of reclamation - these acts of defiance are acts of love.

Let us pray for forgiveness as we pour sweet smelling sick into the air ducts. Let us put our hands to together, serene in the knowledge that if we do not define ourselves we shall be void.

p.s. mention this post to Mouth Music and get
a free pinch of salt with your next purchase.


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sanbikinoraion said...

Yes, let's kill globalisation and go back to spending 50%+ of our incomes on food, working 50+ hours in the fields, sod all those cheap imported luxuries...

Jim Jay said...

Because those are the only options the fetishisation of plasma TVs or the end of global trade