Is this an introduction or a tangent into the befuddled mind of a fantasy writer? I guess I’ll leave that for you to decide, I mean if you’re willing to delve into the dark recesses of the many warped, angry, deep thinkers and music makers (not always mutually exclusive) who have delivered the contents of this Datacide collection, then you should at least be able to think for yourself. Yes you’re right this is not a paper version of ‘OMG nothing could have prepared you for…’ mindless click bait or some Youtube video you can zone out to, this isn’t a coffee-table whatnot or something to flick through when you’re tired of the old issue of Viz your mate left in your bog. Engage or jog on.
And so to begin. The first I heard of the book I was sitting in Datacide HQ, the cold winds blew their glacial breath over the frozen north and inside it wasn’t much warmer. We sat huddled in our jackets and no, dear reader, we were not wearing balaclavas, there were no Kalashnikovs on show and the heterogeneous theory for the invisible insurrection of a million minds was accompanied by tea and biscuits.
Leaning back in his black armchair, dressed all in black and putting the needle to a record that had a plain black label with no information and sounded like it had dangled an audio stethoscope to the beating pistons of a steam turbine engine, the Jackal set forth his plan to collect the first ten issues of Datacide in a book edition. I was non nonplussed; it wasn’t that I didn’t like them or feel they deserved an audience but there was so much we hadn’t yet printed, so many of us primed at our keyboards ready to raise our voices on an issue or tune that we needed to let the world know about. Dispersed over the planet there were a host of over-caffeinated Datacide scribes with theses that had been gestating like a fungal growth on the underside of society or with tales from the warped beach lands of our internal psyches. Selfishly I had already read all the back issues and wanted something new to entertain me on my never-ending journeys through the arteries of the metropolis. Surely we should harness this array of talents to create something new, fresh, the next issue of Datacide would have been my vote.
My suggestions fell on deaf ears but I was told that perhaps I might be convinced by some of the other contributors. I left wondering when I might receive an argumentative e-mail from Bloor Schleppy.
I wandered round the cobbled streets wondering how I might convince the many Jackals to divert their energies elsewhere. Passing a bar with a black cat in the window I opened the door and unwound the many garments I had on to protect me against the bitter cold; and no, my good man, I didn’t take off my balaclava, I told you already I didn’t have one (if you really want to know I had left it on the train some days earlier and my mum was in the process of knitting me a new one).
The bar was empty except for three strange characters sitting in the corner. There was no barman and the only sound came from one of the drinkers crunching on some peanuts. I stood there unsure what to do when one of the clientèle scooted up the sofa, making room for me to sit down. I concluded it would be rude not to join them, and took a seat.
Now that I was sitting I could get a closer look at these people, if they could indeed be described in such a manner. One of them was an enormous, muscle bound, shaven headed man with a flat nose and a stare like a laser, he wore what at first I mistook for dark reptilian skin but soon realised was motorcycle body armour. Sitting to his right was the smallest woman I had ever laid eyes on, two foot tall, with a blonde undercut, almost pixie-like in her appearance. This woman, for she was definably not a child, was immaculately turned out, garments of garish colours that matched in an unexpected stylish mix. The last member of the group was an elderly gentleman with giant ears, huge shell like things and a round red nose and glasses. All three drank an opaque liquid from glass tankards.
The enormous man whispered to me an extended dissertation on the Italian Giallo films of the 70s and how they mirrored another cinematic movement in the Shetland islands forty years earlier. Delivered as it was with such passion and in such a quiet voice I was instantly put at ease as I relaxed into the enchanting delivery of this oddball theory. Tearing me away from that tranquillity, the small woman began to sing a screeching, whirring, pulsating storm of audio that shook me from my perch and shot me around the room as if I was in the grip of a Robocoaster. A huge mechanical hand cradled me as all around me a sinister backdrop of apocalyptic ruin bore its way deep into the background and far beyond; finally she stopped and the ride came crunching to a halt. I guess I expected to see her cackling, amused by my bewilderment but she was busy refilling her E-cig.
It was at that juncture the old man took me by my hand and led me to the window. Here he drew the curtains open and took a seat. Following his gaze I watched and watched and then watched some more. Together we sat in silence looking out of the window as the afternoon wore on. Was he showing me the world? Was he trying to get me to notice all the things I had never paid attention to? Was he making a political statement or a philosophical one? I was left to decide for myself as no one in the bar said a word. It was at that point of pontification that I nodded off.
The next thing I remember I was jolted awake. Looking around me I saw I was on a metro train coming into my station. I jumped up and ran out. Turning as the doors closed I saw my scarf ride off into the nether regions of the U-bahn. ‘Shizzer.’ I thought, I would have to ask for a new one. I made a mental note to not forget mother’s day this year and then thought better of it and made a digital one instead.
As my boots crunched through the snow I wondered how I might write down my encounter. As I did so I realised that this setting down of our experiences (filtered through our own prism of bias) was not only necessary to move on; beyond a personal level it was a communal diary. Like a photo, words, essays, stories, articles, collages, drawings and even reviews of records capture a moment when a set of thoughts congeal to create a vision. Unlike a photo they ask that you lend them your imagination and this is a good thing. By taking on a theory even when you hold an opposing one you go on a journey into the woods. You can also put down this book and go and post a picture of your dinner, while you’re at it why don’t you turn on the Radio, their continual looped play list of auto tuned models with buttock implants sounds like your cup of cha.
Things change, they move, and it is not enough to look at history books written by winners or indeed much of the mainstream media filled as it is with vainglorious fakes and men who are particularly proficient in kicking an inflated bladder. Even these stacks of memory banks apparently storing our world in its entirety are nothing but gradually deteriorating drives destined to be wiped clean. Dust to dust. This tangent box of verbal dynamite and insightful observations glows with a different light to the LCD one you know oh so well and though you will surely oppose certain viewpoints within these pages, this is not a political manifesto; besides, voting is always best done with cocktails and a bandana.
Words were mentioned to create articles or even to group some of the work in various collections but it is right that it reaches you in the same order it reached us as if you were there, be it in the stink of a post millennial London, cavorting in a field in the Czech Republic or in front of the speakers at an LA breakcore party with the Darkmatter crew. To intersperse this diary, these visions with new titbits would somehow dilute their power. Hindsight is a wonderful thing but the raw beating heart of those that care, those that strive to exist nestled in their isolated enclave or as part of a bigger underground network, their voices need to be heard in their original form. It will never create a balance with the tycoon-owned media but it’s a post to cling to in a storm of shit and status updates. So no, you do not hold in your hands the complete story but instead a thorny mass of politics and noise. Enjoy the pain, it will only make you stranger.