A belated Happy 2015 to all my readers! I was pretty much tied up after Christmas and over the turn-of-th-year period, finishing off my dissertation with the final chapter concentrating on Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange and a few selected novels of J. G. Ballard. I’m no expert on JGB, but I know what I like and I’ve concentrated on three novels The Drowned World (1962), High-Rise (1975) and Kingdom Come (2006), mostly becuase they have that kind of ‘dystopian’ theme running through them, albeit in a very ballardian way. I hope to be able to post some extracts of my labours here once the whole thing id done, dusted and ‘discussed’.
Meanwhile I can suggest this excellent South Bank Show documentary on JGB, presumably made just after Kingdom Come was published. It’s a kind of ‘Ballard for beginners’ with an interview by Melvyn Bragg, the bloke I wish I’d had as an English teacher at school.
My ballardian writings were also assisted by listening to selected musics of John Foxx, who has stated that during the recording of his seminal electronic album Metamatiche was “reading too much J.G. Ballard”. The fruits of that are adequately illustrated in this little pièce with accompanying visuals by Karborn, Foxx’s son and heir. I also took some stills off the telly which came out quite well, so I thought I’d share. (If you look hard enough you can see reflected the lights on my Christmas tree).
Spent the evening listening to Anthony Burgess podcasts, writing ’til late on Orwell, checking on end of year tax payments etc. and then to bed in a bit of a turmoil. Should’ve had more cheese… woke up about 3 a.m. felt like I was Winston Smith .. cold, scared and even hungry .. wanted to get up for a quick shot of gin and a dry biscuit perhaps but was afraid the telescreen might bark at me, and get me to do my morning jerks (sic.) or even order me back to bed…
Somehow got back to sleep..dreaming of electric sheep in a desolate Airstrip One landscape .. woke again before the alarm call . .kept the lights and the telescreen off..but I knew Big Brother was still watching me. Crawled out for a pee .. thought of the day ahead..it’s cold outside. The Ministry awaits.
Never felt more grateful for running hot water, although razor blade a little blunt, Ingsoc style. Shavespeak. Tuned into the wireless. Radio App.. “Here is the BBC“, Listen, they said: some woman was talking about birds, then a man talked about doubleplusbad schools in Airstrip One and torturecrime in other parts of Oceania. Needed cornflakes and warm milk: easy on the Victory gin, don’t spare the coffee.
In other news….. I don’t remember. Change channels. Classical music…no! Too Clockwork Orangey!
Out into the cold morning air. Morning sun on thin veil of frost. Automobile. My turn to drive, Clemmy-cast to hand.
Reached my destination .. had to get something off my chest and out of my head. The thing I’d been gestating all night while Big Brother wasn’t watching. Scribbled in my secret notebook. Here it is.
Welcome to the official site for ‘Brave New Worlds: The Dystopia in Modern and Contemporary Literature’, an interdisciplinary conference which will take place at Newcastle University on Wednesday 29th April 2015. Please keep checking the site regularly for further updates and information including the Call for Papers which will be published this weekend.
We look forward to seeing you all at the conference!