I’m doing form correlation, looking at shifting grids of dots on screen that resolve as alphanumerics, assessing the facts about the in-filler with those in other memory sources. Much of the data fits, but as if filtered through a third party recall, too much that fits too neatly onto the schema of one detail or another, or that bends away from inspection, refracting itself through a liquid that is denser than the memories we have stored and available to access. Almost nodding off, a sentence with too many clauses that reads like it’s been stored bit by bit in the bone structure of a crushed foot, I’m only jerked back to attention every minute or so by a video window. The license has expired on some of the software, the user base has expanded over the whole-site threshold and therefore we watch advertising in order for the vendors to recoup on the use of their intellectual property. The customary thing to do is to cover it over with a blank document, but as soon as your processor cycles slacken, the sound track starts to break through. Across the floor, impromptu sighs, keyboards being clattered, a murmur of talk here and there, papers whining and chugging out of a printer, chairs being wheeled backwards and forwards, squeaking and crunching and hissing. Sun slants through the window. There is no dust in the air to catch the light. A maintenance worker moves wall panels with a special pressurising and depressurising valve. The panels are sucked into place on the walls by energy generated by the movement of the core electro-mechanical service devices, such as lifts and escalators. At certain times of the day the suction pressure loosens and the corners and sides of panels start to pop out of whack. The maintenance operative taps one corner in at floor level with the heel of his hand. The change in pressure knocks another panel out by a margin three metres away. He moves over to correct it, leaving the pressure regulator attached to the first panel. Taking a rubber hammer from a tool-belt he gently taps at the second panel. There’s a change in pressure the size of a breath and he moves across to a panel at the right side of the section to attach another pressure-measuring device. After attaching this and calibrating its settings, the section breathes in and snaps to position. He runs his hand over the wall moving from one device to another to check the readings. Everything seems fine, the pressure is stable in both units. The wall is absolutely smooth, layers of wiring and pipes bundled underneath. Somewhere across the building the hum of a lift in use starts up. Five minutes later, a panel at head height sighs and smoothly slides its bottom edge out a touch. The maintenance worker calls back to his line manager to request a step-ladder.
I am sent a file. A Research Notes document from the human cultures working group. Queue dynamics study group, inter-channel relations. Keywords: queue, dynamics, time-elasticity effects. On-screen the advertising gains dominance. Catch the reader’s attention between surges of work and boredom. Some liquid is using the Emergency Measures logo.
Dress with dignity. Eat the last fish alive out of its hiding place of batter. You’ve got to keep your protein up. Your brain is just a chemical reaction, your body needs its nosh. The higher up the food chain the better. We have three floors of rats living it up, fed twice a day, water on demand, an under floor vacuum that sucks the waste out from under the grid they run along on. When they die they are dissected for cancer. The earth provides capitalism with tertiary services every year worth more than its gross product. Convert to cash. Everything keeps fresh. Scoop billions of neurons into their place of work. Make your skin a better one. Hunt them down. Keep burning. Find food. Work hard. Pay your debts. Enjoy yourself. Keep in touch. Find the median integer. Say hello. Eat the sauce on your plate. Keep watching. Invest wisely. Take good care of yourself. Love your children. Meet deadlines. Empty the sea. Burn. Balance your books. Return to loop one. Button your shirt up. Walk straight. Pass your test. Learn more. If state changed return to loop two until execute. Eat poison. Look after yourself. Pass it on. Slash your wrists. Spend money. Earn money. Go to sleep. Record data. Agree to conditions. Okay. Drink petrol. Put it down. Play football. Go into town. Switch on the light. Follow your instincts. Answer the questions. Look at the pretty birdie. Give her one. Enter loop three until finish. Drive carefully. Now wash your hands. Think about your partner’s enjoyment. Never say no. Give up now. Stop. Buy now and save. Increase efficiency. Skin up. Read carefully before use. Step behind the screen and remove your clothes. Store your memories carefully. Join the queue. Burn what is left. Eat anything alive. Buy when available. Leave the room. Say yes. Share your feelings of pleasure and state honestly what turns you on. Do not over-load. Respect the law. Taste this one. Buy two and save world.
The advertising switches to programming half-way through a show, pre-emptive flicker. Approach with the camera. Clock Left Guardian Deity, Clock Right Guardian Deity. Ornate doorway. Chef, preparation surface, utensils. Presenter, already on.
“The fatty underbelly of a typical obese European may not sound like your idea of a bonne bouche, but for a new wave of discerning cooks, it makes perfect sashimi: with a lovely white, grey, roseate streaked colouration and zingy taste. And nowadays there’s no need for it to be in those fiddly snack sizes. A typical portion can be as large as a loaf of bread and serve a hungry family of four in a fun-to-share platter. I believe passionately in eating your way to a better life, a view I share with food and nutrition guru Tristram Ancid. Who is with me right now. “Good morning.” “Good morning to you.” “Tristan, you sampled this kind of dish, is it simply ornately carved human blubber from the wrong end of the market, or a great way to eat well and prosper?”
“You could say I’m a reserved fan.” Smile, twinkle eyes, talk from the heart. “It’s not such a bad meal, as it’s certainly not a strictly vegetarian selection it combines protein and on a bed of rice, contains carbohydrates. If all you eat is sashimi, it’s not great. There is no slow-releasing complex carbohydrate involved. And I’d recommend raw fruit with it for fibre. A juice perhaps?”
“There are a lot of digestive problems associated with raw flesh and there are far higher rates of digestive problems in Japan where they eat raw fish in insy little pieces. Whilst it doesn’t follow traditional culinary values – which it must be remembered are an important part of the whole meal experience – searing the meat before serving might be an option. But as part of a varied diet,” Smacks his lips, touches finger to mouth, face to camera “It’s certainly a tasty contribution.”
“And the nice thing is, it’s all volunteer meat.”
“Yes, these tasty slices here for instance” points to sample, nods to co-presenter, “they might look like the left-overs from a large scale tummy-tuck if dressed and presented badly. Here, sliced into delicate slivers, eaten within an hour if not minutes of the cut’s selection and with the aid of some clever at-plate spectrometry we can see that this packs a significant nutrient punch.”
“Humans being sit higher up the foodchain, is there any chance of toxics accumulation?”
“Mmmm, “Tucks slippery slice of belly into thumb and forefinger and pops it into mouth with sucking noise. “Appreciation. Appreciation.”
“Yes, Appreciation Mrs. Monique Hansard. Good belly flavour, Kidderminster flavour” Thumbs up to all three cameras. Pleasureful eating, pleasureful nutrition.”
“And now for some roots vibe.”
The computers chime across the room for a minute-length RSI-break. We are supposed to stand up and stretch, touch our toes, drink a refreshing spring water. The department uses the time to also add another window to our screens, Fear Information Provision Service. If we have seen any fear-related activities in the past fifty-five minutes, we can send information via monitored and recorded instant message across the entire building floor.
In the carpet shop proteins go on the turn, begin to slime across each other and into different consistencies, thickenings, membrane formations, release of liquids. Bust parts of electronic devices leak logic, the telly gutters the news. This iterative cascade is a multistage kinetic proofreading process that amplifies minute differences, even a single base change will do for immense momentary satisfaction of checking and acceleration. Such rot and blossoming is delivered by high-speed links. Kiss the chemical seizure and live long process. Like all aged buildings there are fleas hibernating in the plaster of the walls floor and ceiling. The collapse shakes them loose, and the growing warmth gets them busy. With nothing to do, they fan out into the street, up legs, onto dogs, jumping up the wheels of baby-buggies. The pigeon necroplis takes longer to get going, sputters of energy bubble up through layers of thick creams, crusts and emulsions of matter on the loose, voids shrivelling and sinking. Movement from one strata of slime to another sets off ripples of now slow, then fast inhibition of tissue reproduction, combination and growth, cakes of dross. Bacterial cityscapes switching growth on and off in giant synchronising mats, parts specialising and differentiating, build up on the crude eyesight scale of the logic, fat slabs of solder and copper caked into green boards submerged slobbering in the collapse. A cash register still plugged into the mains, routed round the meter with jump-leads by an earlier occupant, its credit card reader twitching with basic electromagnetic activity as acids seep over its reading head sending hot farts of information and in turn repressing functions, switching others on, streaming clear mucus sizzling with electrical charge. The recipe includes methane from rotting timbers and stacks of rancid plant fibre matting, ammonium present in the guano, hydrogen produced through the electrolysis of water from the holes in the roof, sparks of electricity from the collapsing equipment. Ammonia, rainwater, salt, small charges of electromagnetic activity that can rust steel or build a brain. Each day, light slants through one or two cracks in the broken shell. Photoreceptors clot together in its wake. An earth will repopulate itself, spark off evolution, grow a producer.
Amongst the slime, molecules communicate with each other. They leave chemical messages. Clots of festering globular porridge that leaked into and combined with this gastric puddle also selected from the following choices: evaporation; protein expression modellable by stochastic decision tree networks reinvoked as investment plan; choice plague, recomposing rule set and slime interactions according to full tables of possible permutation; shit eating dietary variation of stray metallic residues in organo-electronic substrates. Want more like this? Uh! metabolic pathway yes yes.
I am that shit and I want to duplicate myself.
I am the carcass from which that shit fled and my guts is leaking foams, curds and other malicious compounds.
I have metabolised that shit and I have exudate to deliver.
I have come into conjunction with that shit and subsequently have the following molecular interactions to offer: chromosome locking, yes/no oscillation frequency acceleration for expert systems slurry vacillation; pollutant amplification slobber; mucal look-ahead combination with repeated electrical charge actuation upon moisture transfer that from the point of view of an external observer position can compute certain integral transforms in materials filtering; chug gravy; flocular-pattern dendrospasm sample generation in the urban littoral nutrient cycle; malicious electron training; bile condensate annealing end-game;
Rate any of the previous interaction sequences.
Other specimens recommend the following interaction sequence. The producer bubbles up metallic spawn. It settles and congeals an orifice of thick leather-effect polymer and the following slides out on a crisp white sheet of paper, ranged left in a popular typeface.
In order to establish computation, the user must kneel and hold their head and neck at an angle of between 40 to 60 degrees from vertical. The user is equipped with the following apparatus:
Orange boiler suit.
Manacles around the wrist and ankles. Their function is to constrain movement, focusing attention on the work. A compromise must be reached between the needs to have the skin stretched so tight it feels near to tearing and to maintain circulation. A ratchet provides a number of personalisable settings.
Thick snow mittens are placed on the hands. This, in order to a) reduce the sensation of touch and b) warm the hands to the point where the sweat becomes a slimy lubricant between the skin and the inner surface of the glove thus making them hypersensitive.
Goggles, painted black. These to be alternated with a hood covering the whole head.
Ear mufflers. No sound from the outside must intrude upon the user. The internal feed, the thud of the heart and the high whine of the nervous system replace audio input.
Face mask. Closes the mouth in on itself. The orifice is functionally unnecessary and is replaced by a membrane which simply allows filtered air in and out. The heat around the face effected by the mask and goggles performs a function similar to the mittens extending the sensory capacity of the user.
Over time, the body will be addressed. Separate surfaces in the apparatus will be opened. After several days of sensory deprivation, with or without the use of sedative drugs, any part of the body craves sensation. Particular material and linguistic references, resource allocation, or instructions, may be made to particular addresses. The user will come to loose their old self, to operate on a higher level. Such equipment provides a spectacularly productive tool for applications of both business and pleasure.
It is essential that the user be able to surpass the specimen’s physical capacity to endure pain with the benign and innately wise indifference of the true superior for whom anything is permitted. A user appears on the half-covered television rocking on top of a dissolving filing cabinet, a healthy white female specimen in a green military uniform. “They have a bed, plenty of food. Somewhere to wash. They’re dry and clean. It’s no different from what we have.” Another user, pausing from a session on the exercise bike to frown at the camera, “It’s different enough to show us the truth that we’re not special. Don’t put yourself above anyone else. Do as you’re told.” Another user, looking up from a silver laptop and removing his half-moon glasses, smiles to camera, “They are there for us. They are there so that we can be.”
Back on screen. The RSI break is to keep our bodies stable from one contract window to the next and it also avoids another problem. Staring into files forms and windows all day, the reader risks damage. These files have very little variation in distinguishing cognitive or sensory features. The format is always the same. By incessantly stimulating neuronal connections into constrained configurations we risk becoming absolutely blank and thus of diminished value.
Health and safety inspectors question us once a week to ensure that we have what they call ‘personality’. They say that personalization is what turns the brain into a mind, the effect of accumulating experiences and interaction. The advertising breaks that appear on screen when the work rate is low have two functions. First, they raise revenue for the department, some readers have sat until the end of their contract working through those. Secondly, they keep us from slipping into a recursive relationship with a memory unit. If all we did was work we’d end up as mirror units for a memory, the content of the form endlessly looping between the reader and the memory. There must be minimal variation from total submersion. Tugging on your mind like limbs stuck in mud, like hot milk being expressed from an udder, fresh creative vision like advertising is great for developing a personality and avoiding becoming a memory unit.
Five floors away such an event occurred to a reader in the interpretation section: so absolutely overcome with the pressure on his spirits that by degrees his head sunk into his body, so between his shoulders that the crown of the head was very little seen above the bone of his shoulders; and by degrees so losing both voice and sense, his face, looking forward, lay against his collar bone and could not be kept up any other way, unless held up by the hands of other people. At this point he had absorbed and mirrored the entire contents of a memory unit whose data he was working with. He was seemingly hospitalised, possibly slotted into place and given a fresh start. Memory units store data not only in the interrelation between the brain and its variant activity as a mind but also in the body’s activity as part of a partially individuated mind. Immune responses, wounds training, feeding, pleasures, fevers, all adapt the body memory, interact with its storage capacity and provide means of loading data.
If a reader gets ill, especially one that does not exhibit the proper signs of personality, they are checked for smuggled data in the clicks running up to each contract renewal.
You have some data of ours stored in your dermal memory.
My skin is crawling
It is an important and confidential memo. We will retrieve it, or oblate the material from your body. We need your collaboration
It’s only a cold. I’ll soon shake it off.
If we do not retrieve this file we will not know whether or not we have lost it. It may not exist, but in order to make sure that our archive is not corrupted and that data does not get into the wrong hands, we will need to operate.
Is this love?
It is posited that the repetitious nature of working experience already tends to encourage active tendencies to de-differentiation in a body. Receive only one form of neurological entrainment and certain layers of the body, certain of its systems, begin to slime.
Love walks down from the river and into the Elephant. He slides under a mesh fence and under the layers of orange webbing, into the labyrinth of scaffold dull in the night. Tungsten bulbs spotted here and there across the immense space for security and work crews throw shadows, picking out breath and multiplying lines in the cold air. The bulk of a portakabin held five storeys up hangs above him. The ground was uneven and wet and strewn with rubble so Love trod carefully in order to avoid crunching or squelching in a way that would wake up the guards.
Soon he arrived at the entrance to an underpass. Stepping carefully he moved down the slope, holding the back of one hand to the wall, to support him in case he slipped and facing out in case of electric shock. There was only dim light, and soon he came to a layer of water. He took off and folded his clothes, a bag of a few tools and his pocketful of money. He set them inside a carrier bag which he sealed up with a good knot. After staying still to listen a moment, Love stepped down into the water of the flooded underpass.
The water bit into him with its nasty coldness. The complex was being demolished and rebuilt, sometimes the one before the other so it was impossible to know where exactly the passage would come out. Permutations with no fixed elements are called derangements; the number of derangements is the number of ways to put n elements in n form fields, getting them all wrong. In this case however, reading the story, the form contains only one account of Love’s transition to the next stage. He progresses towards the outlet of the subway. The lights are on. It is so bright.
Lighting and signage systems relating to non-existent shops and branches of the building under renovation in extremis, plus work crews floodlights garland the place. The jiggling fairy-lights and neon-throbbers of snack stalls serving the tasty street foods of countries that no longer exist but whose populations straggle and thrive across the globe, holding onto documents that survive as administrative fictions, as liens to the administrations of territories gripped in spasms generated in a kaleidoscope of great games. Delicious combinations of fat, salt, carbohydrate, proteins and trace nutrients with sauce choice drive endlessly conjugating patterns of light emitting diodes draped over stalls of paint, chipboard and two by two.
Everything was absolutely empty. Dripping water, Love keyed the lock of Hypervalue and walked in. This shop was the only Hypervalue outside the core shopping corridor of South Wales and a point of pilgrimage for its many adherents. Love cast an eye over the goods. On the shelves you could find: steamed puddings, contains special whale fat; sugar in vast clear blocks; notebooks with shuffleable pages; an egg whisk, yolk separator and beaker set for body builders; gossamer fine nylon flowers with matching pajamas; one-metre long bars of chocolate; sets of six matching rolls of paper; schoolwork folders; shoes for pet lizards, relax it’s a fun joke; bacteria-sensitive luminous plasters; millennium cider with new labels; sandwich spread; do it yourself will packages, with parchment; crisps; dog-moult collector apron; feather-lined knickers with small electric motor; draught excluder worms; trainer tamers; heel repair kits with glue; sports stickers; scrap books; futuristic plastic attack robots with a small booklet of translations between human language and robot language, includes mouth clip; hollow white china balls in three sizes; pink dollies with orange hair and a suitcase, with white milk; potato beetles in sugar; presentation box of glazed fruit; dust attracting gel; raisins in chocolate; polyvinyl coated stepladder with grip steps; all-sizes tongue scraper in hygiene plastic. DVDs: The Reader’s Arse, Teen Misery vicious strumpets, Vomit Olympics 2, Big Fucking Cars, they’re back, Tits in your face, Secrets of the top chefs, Bollocks, Grinders, Looking after Popular Pets, Laughing with Sadam, Country Music, Motorbike Decapitations more death, I Shit You Not, Confessions of a Blogger, Survival Meals of the SAS, Country House Moods, Tales of Great Horses, A Sideways Glance, Perfumed Tackle, Browsers’ Choice, Five Great Rivers, The Origins of Breakdancing, Shit and Knickers, Wanker’s Delight, Country Music Classics, American Ladies Championship, Household Guttering With Plastic Fittings everything you need to know, Endless Death, terror I want you, Remember London, Big Bad Bass Fast Cars and Ladeez, Classic Breaks for the Dons, Remix Madness, Test Your Telly widescreen tester how big is it. Tooth polish, effective for smokers or drinkers of red wine, fruit juice and tea or coffee; last supper print table cloth; dustpan and brush set; souvenir glasses of six different cities, three for two, remember the good times; plaster of paris bookends in the shape of the heads of highland terriers; hair-brush, comb and mirror set with care guidelines; a book of 1000 jokes; non-linear megawordsearch compendium; happy cups; multi-use cotton buds; viscose padding for cushions and soft toys; insect screens for meat and other perishable foodstuffs; country munchers, ten for six; corn-on-the-cob forks; barbecue equipment; pickle picker with retractable fork; dried apricots; dried apple rings; famous dates; mouse trap; plastic over-breasts; pea and bacon soup in jars; yapping fur dog with knitted ribbon; clear plastic film, catering size, educational size; Ten Vicar’s Hours, a night book of revised thoughts; Make a Paper Robot; Electronic rolling dice, speaks the number, you can only win; 1000 family meals; Dutch table crackers; Melba toast; amarylis plant, includes pot and soil; tasty mixed bean pulp; wise mystery almanac, old folk’s truths, fortune, weather, catastrophe, all kinds of luck; Hop-Scotch Kit for kids, with chalk and lucky stone; abdomen punisher and remover; sit up floor; cocktail party essentials; wall carpets with pictures; washing line essentials; animated windmill clock with moving trains and water; rubber gloves; wipe-aways; tin foil; hair gel, shock hold; IQ doubler; Joke! farting toilet pencil sharpener; sausage saver, multi-fork, no need to worry about your bangers going bang; chocolate kittens, fondant filling; make your own sweets kit; walking clockwork penis cigarette lighter; wine rack; blow-football; portable steel heat sink for all household rooms; aggression doll inflates to seven feet, sand not included, all evil, all power, bang, bammo, ouch; stress ball, strengthens fingers; erotic garters; face pads; soothing tea; world atlas; Encyclopedia of Singles; unbreakable combs; geometry set; Big Fun colouring-in book; ceramic plates; cutlery; improve your sleeping habits daily pill.
The room was dark, lit only by a fire-escape sign over at the back. Love picked up a packet of salt-crackers and a Panda cherryade and walked out of the door, locking it behind him. He sat down on his bag, resting his back against the door and pulled his shirt on. After he finished the snack he stood up and pulled his trousers and shoes on. There was no sound. Four grubby storeys, walkways and mezzanines of silence. Half way up, ‘death is certain, life is not’ had been bitten with milk teeth into the grimey wooden handrail of the stairs. Love walked through the central hall, past a cardboard cut-out of a security guard, a bouncer celebrity, Moron The Door. What a smile, mouth of a lamprey. He steps behind a broken print-club machine and trots up a flight of stairs pealing with torn franchise stickers. Across the floor is a vending fridge in front of a steel-doored cleaner’s cupboard. This is where Lou had worked for ten years. She had the key and the cupboard had been forgotten. Love shoved the fridge away from the door, a thick tar of dust and leaked syrups scraping over the loose vinyl tiles.
Love pulls a key from his trousers, says, under his breath, a quick word of thanks to his mum and pops the door open. As soon as he does so, out springs Mr. Chips. At his back inside the cupboard, amongst the mops and brushes and shelves of replacement toilet rolls, fairy lights, containers of cleaning fluids, a stack of ancient wank mags and a riding crop.
Mr Chips is big and soft and saggy and warm. A light savoury steam seeps off him, a mix of potato, fat vapours and vinegar. Thick slugs of floury spuds dripping sauce hang down from underneath his clown’s hat down to his shoulders. A giant cherry lolly is jammed in as a jovial schnozz set between two fat to bursting sparklers. Across the eye sockets and round the chops, ellipsoid daubs of smiling grease paint. He is a wonderful happy fellow. Love watches as he dances and skips about in the dark. Hands held high, fingers stretched, splaying out from his palms. A big wobbly bright red tomato tongue wobbles and quivers in his mouth as he talks. The salivatory smell of deep fried snacks and a palpable heat spring out from him with every jig and hop. He struts and capers and skips about as he explains. He is a clown, a childrens’ entertainer. He’s lived there for all his life. Love’s mother found him living in the cupboard the day she got the job, he keeps watch on the Elephant and Castle.
He says, “Every city spews itself up in its own special way. If you’re going to survive, if you’re going to avoid the fates set in store for you, the vortexes pulled into shape by a thousand plug holes in a giant filthy bath, the job, the traffic, what appears in the streets before you. To keep you in those nice track-suits you have the taste for, you got to catch hold of some scum bubbles and ride the spirals. You’ve got to get on with it.”
Love says, “So, how the?”
Mr Chips says, “To avoid equivocation, let’s agree that something will be considered a theory of getting on with it if, like the theory of how potato-based foodstuffs are made, it explains the main properties of a layer of reality in sufficient detail to satisfy four conditions: we understand how macro events emerge from the properties and organisation of the micro events; it can be used to predict new things, to check something just around the corner, or to identify tendencies; the system can be manipulated, to test stuff, to check it ain’t messing around; and the last, that you know what particular scale of reality you are going on about, you don’t start talking about the workings of a closed box stock valve reality-leaching on your own frontal lobes when you’re really talking about a glass of health-giving sugar water now do you?”
Love watches, he can’t help slurping up spit whilst the clown is yabbing on, the smell is so good.
Mr Chips says, “So, don’t remain faithful to your favourite intuitions. Find a way of getting out of your own head, get a method, work an angle into reality, see what comes out.”
Love says: “There’s a stallholder selling tofu shish-kebabs with mango sauce topped with crunchy hundreds and thousands. No-one buys them, but it makes them eat more of the rest of what’s on the stall. There are people who live without money or who only use it incidentally and then have to wonder what that was all about. There are bacterial cell-structures left as evolutionary infrastructure inside the cells of animals.”
Mr Chips say, “Yes, there are many layers. They are different parts of reality, yet the fact that you can refer to some of them using the same words means that there are other layers, yacking about it, through which some of the layers can be skipped across one from the other. But stop being a good boy. Disobey your parents. Find an object, a thing you think might act like a thing that hangs together. Query it, give it a tickle. Learn how to control it perhaps, or to work with it. Learn under what conditions the same thing happens again, at which moment time repeats itself.”
He pauses, skips a breath or two and carries on, faster, “The isolated one does not develop any power. It is necessary to be absorbed in an environment of other ones whose techniques are absorbed during the first 20 years of life. One may then perhaps do a little stirring, make a few discoveries which are passed on to others. From this point of view the search for new techniques must be regarded as carried out by the human community as a whole rather than by individuals.”
He runs out of breath and inhales ten lungfulls.
Love says, “Equally, that some things happen over and over again, a beat in reality, that it carries on this beat means there is something else going on than simply a switch from the big to the small.”
Mr Chips says, “A beat goes through time, each time it happens, a heart beat, it has a different meaning, sucks and squeezes different batches of chemicals, desires and connections. Each beat is special, changing in relation to the sequence, but also adding to it, working though repetition and variation, but like you say, skipping from one word, one burst of letters to another, providing a force that is something other than macro and micro. Induction and deduction have to work with something that bursts out from them, production.”
Love recognises a keyword and notices that Mr Chips is getting hotter and hotter, each sentence that he speaks raises his temperature a notch. There are faint heatwaves wriggling around his head, first one chip drops off his mop, then a couple more, he’s dribbling ketchup out the corner of his mouth. Nothing can stop him. He’s on about a series of numbers, they leap from single figures, to sequences of odds and evens, to relationships that stretch out, wriggle and spread across time, making it happen. Love interrupts, with the question he came here to ask: “So what should you do with a producer?”
It’s a big question. Mr Chips stops, frowns and sucks in his breath. Frost builds up on his lips. He tries to talk, but they stick together, iced up as a spacecraft waste pipe in a state of nature. He tries to work it free by talking, by jamming his chip fingers into his gob, by licking the ice out from the inside, he jumps up and down, smacks himself in the mouth. He tries running into a wall and smashing his mouth open against a barber’s signboard. He’s got something to say. He asks Love to smack him in the chops, which he does. He does it five times, after which there’s such a mush that Love is licking his fingers and thinking about grabbing a fist-full out of the head of the clown. Eventually Mr Chips pokes a hole in his left cheek and rearranges his mouth. At this point he tells Love something about producers, how to go about things. At this moment a plan begins to hatch in Love’s mind. It’s not there yet, and there’s a few things he’s got to try out first before knowing what to do. He must be patient. But that thing he has hidden away, what it can do, might just provide enough reason to learn how to use it.
Matthew Fullers new book, Elephant & Castle, from which Office Work is an excerpt, will be published by Autonomedia in 2011.