EEEbyGUM, Bin Diving, Poverty, Penury, Tapedropping, Regrets and Stolen Glimpses of The Gadget Show through a Businessman’s Window

My last posting had an ulterior motive: I had half-hoped that Noel Edmonds (or, more likely, one of his retinue) might happen upon it and consider bestowing PhD funding to me (for Edmonds’ alleged offer of ‘troll research’).

I don’t think I’ll ever find a job or get PhD funding (which would allow for GROUNDBREAKING RESEARCH).  The unfortunate passage of time has led to this opinion (hopefully incorrect, please?). This lack of social mobility has been going on for far too long.  I thought it couldn’t get any worse in 2006, but now, in 2012, it has!  And then even worse!!  AND WORSE!!!  Colin Wilson may be correct in his opinion that scuppered energies lead to criminality.  I’m now constantly looking in bins for food, entertainment or any sustenance.  The Job Centre building radiates torment.  It’s getting intolerable.  Is anyone reading this?  Attempts are made to attain custodianship of something, but the field of choice narrows and narrows until only mud remains.  It’s when even the mud becomes out-of-reach that some fracture of language occurs.  Laws become wilfully unrecognised.  Trespassing on allotments, we start to resonate our own defecations with salvaged amplifier systems and car batteries.  The EEEbyGUM concept is getting more and more pertinent: Ear Enlightenment Everywhere but yet General Unresponsiveness Manifest.  It refers to the despairing situation of Sonic Art graduates.  I believe to have discovered new techniques which are essential to humanity, but nobastard cares.

Today, whilst on my daily bin-diving expedition (which desperation necessitates), I caught a glimpse of Channel 5’s The Gadget Show through someone’s window.  A man in a suit, with unbuttoned shirt, was sat in front of his plasma widescreen in louche mode after a hard day in the office, no doubt.  I didn’t want to stare for too long, so after a few minutes, when the ad break came on, I crept away with my bag of “soiled knick-knacks” (as a local anti-bin-diving correspondent to the local newspaper once referred to the spoils of scrounge).

The Gadget Show was originally concerned with the latest gadgets.  In principle, it should’ve always catered for the gadgetty anchorites who confine themselves to their bedrooms or garages to reach the nirvana which lies beyond the GUI.  Instead, the prime-time show is now inexplicably aimed at a new breed of Nietzschean Übermensch: sporty bankers with infinite money and predilections for gadgeteering whilst scuba-diving or suchlike.  Racing cars and unnecessary ‘babes’.  It’s aggressively outdoorsy and treads muddy footprints on the anchorite’s face.

TV’s Jason Bradbury

When I looked into the man’s window – the reason I knew immediately he was watching Channel 5’s The Gadget Show is because of its presenter, Jason Bradbury, and his face, which plays host to ever-stupefying glasses of the uniquest futurology.  He never used to wear glasses – methinks they’re fake.

Back in 2004, when he was searching for some new ‘thing’, he sent me a kind email after hearing my tapedropping emissions on Resonance FM.  Bradbury asked to meet up and “discuss ideas”.  Foolishly, I preferred to concentrate on my university work which was consuming a lot of time.  He sent another email:

Thanks for returning my mail.  My interest in your show is quite simple really – I think you’re hilarious.  I’m always looking for tangental ideas and performers but I’m not some old BBC git looking to sign up talent and throw away the key. While I flirt with the mainstream as a producer/director – I’m fronting a crazy science show of my own for Discovery Kids out next month and I’ve just got a role presenting a new technology and gadget show on Ch5 in May 04.  I’m also an experienced comedian with years of stand-up experience and most recently a 5 star show I did at the Edinburgh Festival called ‘Breakdance Therapy’ (a biographical piece about growing up in the 80’s).

So you see – I relate to your 8-bit harmonies and human beatbox – I relate to your divergent presentational style and I relate the potential to roll all of them up into a stage show or a TV proposal or… just an interesting chat over a coffee.

I’ve you’re up for a meet – drop me a mail. I’m around week after next.

Keep up the good work. All the best,
Jason Bradbury

‘Fan mail’ was virtually non-existent, so this was nice.  It was a complimentary, encouraging email and he dispensed his mobile number, although I replied that I really must continue my university work.  Responding negatively to Bradbury is one of my biggest regrets, because I was UTTERLY WRONG in thinking concentration on university work would reap pleasanter rewards.  University has led me to the gutter – LITERALLY.  Since graduating from the Master’s degree in 2007, I have continued ‘studying’ just interiorly in my mind: working on imaginary assignments for imaginary deadlines.  Why won’t anywhere employ me or give my proposals the time of day?  Why won’t they offer PhD funding to me?  I’m already half-way there with my imaginatively-propelled research under chimerical auspices!  So, now I rummage through trade waste bins in the twilight.  I never thought things could get worse, but there is always a new level of misery waiting below.  My studies have resulted in a debt probably never to be paid off.  I grow resentful of society, and The Gadget Show represents all that is abhorrent with unloosed consumerism and conservative young working professionals with their disregard for the obsolete, aversion to make-do-and-mend mentalities, etc.  Yet paradoxically, regrets of not accepting Bradbury’s offer of a meeting lead to cripping ganglions of bitter gall…  (However, in all likelihood, he would’ve thought me “not the full shilling” and dismissed me, as in all interviews I’ve been to).

Aye, maybe Bradbury never did quite fully understand the nature of my tapedropping emissions – the ultimate objectives of tapedropping being to irk deserving recipients.  (Don’t know what the “human beatbox” was all about).  Ironically, all tapedropping recipients were ostensibly the sort of people who currently watch The Gadget Show – the tapedroppings aimed to sonically aggrieve them to the same extent their toxic smugness offended the delicate ear.  Tapes of unbroadcastable grot to evaporate all cliquey trendsetting…

Still, I telephoned Jason Bradbury years later (in 2007) in a spasm of PURE DESPERATION(!!!!!!) in the hope he might employ me for my sound work or something.  He was my last hope of getting on an even keel – maybe I could wrangle some internship leading to steady work?  Maybe I could eventually afford those nice but expensive Marks & Spencer pasta bakes which I circumspectly pilfer occasionally?  Bradbury telephonically calmed me that 2004 was a “long time ago”, although it seemed like only yesterday to me, and still does.  He told me to “never give up” and to “keep going”.  His career had gone from strength to strength, and he’d had some children who were now toddlers, etc.  His advice, whilst being superficially helpful and sensible, has driven me far beyond unemployability into sheer asphyxiated impoverished hell.  THERE HAS GOT TO BE SOMETHING OUT THERE FOR ME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  IF NOT ON THIS PLANET, THEN SOMEWHERE IN ALL KNOWN SPACE, AT LEAST???!!!!?!?!!!  This is what I wanted to howl, but decorum and telephone-manner intervened.

Now, today, I stand looking into someone else’s living room – it looks warm – at this profoundly resonant and antagonising televisual face of Bradbury, whilst holding a carrier bag full of stuff pulled out from bins.  Maybe I’m eligible for some sort of disability benefit?  Everything seems ‘out of phase’.  One consoling thought is that new levels of desperation are inevitably coming, but not at this absolute moment in time.

Looking in bins – displaying the crib sheet of ‘dream objects’ for the creation of sonic miracles and vibrational research

The Philosophy of Mediadropping podcasted, and the history of "planking"

‘The Philosophy of Mediadropping’ show mentioned in the previous posting is now available online as a podcast here.

Mediadropping is the random public dropping of home-made media which is peculiar in some way, with the intention of eliciting a reaction from whoever finds and plays the media.

I have often wondered if an old mediadropping was responsible for the phenomenon of “planking”: where photos are taken of people lying down in unusual places and circumstances.  In March 2005 I had compiled a CD-R mediadropping extravaganza, bearing various mp3s, images and random text files of quantum physics and variations on the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.  Its intention was to flummox.  One directory, titled “The Fallen” contained a dozen photos of persons lying unexplainably prone.

One of these images, for example, taken around February 2005, featured Resonance FM’s Richard Thomas on the floor of 9 Denmark Street (the old station offices) clutching a drumstick, seemingly staking his claim as a pioneer of this art.  A rare and remarkable thing, this was seen as a radical nugget to be experimentalised as mediadropping fodder.  It should be noted this was before the UK “planking” craze of 2009 – after which time it was picked up by the tabloids and divested of its mystique, and, as such, would from there onwards be seen as being perhaps a bit infra dig (as least, to those already acquainted with the practice before it ‘sold out’).  Today’s “planking” bandwagon-chasers mostly appear to be people mucking about, often dangerously.  But these pre-craze 2005 mediadropping photos exude a profound honesty, a “professional strangeness” – an artistic integrity, if I may be so pretentious – which modern day attempts entirely fail to capture.

I can provide evidence of perhaps the earliest instance of “planking” (or, “the lying down game” as it’s also known).  I am certain that “planking” can be linked to a general mediadropping tradition… In 1995 I made several photographs showing the “lying down” phenomena – some school friends I persuaded to down their clipboards during a school trip.  Duplicates of these were made to accompany mediadropped cassettes from 1995-96.  This was before Radiohead’s video for ‘Just’ (showcasing epic “profound lying down”), and also predates the alleged invention of the “game” in 1997.  Of course, it completely precedes Robert J. Sawyer’s 1999 novel ‘Flashforward’ (curiously, also encompassing quantum physics in relation to “profound lying down”), the US TV adaption of the same name, and ‘This Morning’ hosts Phillip Schofield and Jenni Falconer popularising the “lying down” and trashing it up still further earlier this July.

The Philosophy of Mediadropping – ResonanceFM, 17th June, 4pm

As part of Resonance 104.4FM‘s broadcasts from Raven Row, a show I produced, voiced by Will Luscombe (of the exquisite Luscombe’s Choice), will be aired on Friday 17th June, entitled ‘The Philosophy of Mediadropping’.

‘The Philosophy of Mediadropping’ is a relentless musing on the practice of mediadropping – the dropping of home-made CDs, DVDs, tapes, books, manuscripts, etc. in public places for random people to find.

Mediadropping is a pathological habit of mine.  My old Resonance show, ‘The Exciting Hellebore Shew’, documented many mediadroppings in detail (or tapedroppings as I referred to them back then, as cassette was the weapon of choice).  Special ‘music’ was consigned to cassette or CD-R and scattered hither and thither.  Over time, an instrumentarium was built up specifically geared toward sonically shocking unsuspecting mediadropping recipients.

Mediadropping may be seen as a physical analogue of the ‘crapflooding’ and ‘trolling’ phenomena of the internet age, but this is a debatable comparison to be treated in a later posting here.  In the meantime, tune in to catch ‘The Philosophy of Mediadropping’ and hear Luscombe’s voice fed through a sawn-off trolley and a garage door.  Feel the cassette-grot erode your tolerance threshold.

Welcome

Please make yourself at home.  Hopefully you’ll find some interesting or inspiring nuggets here.

Someone told me that I should be more proactive in advertising my activities.  Blogsmanship was suggested as a partial solution to the debilitating malaise instilled through studying Sonic Art.  For further details of this condition, see my article ‘Sonics in the Wildernesses – A Justification‘ (published in the April 2011 issue of The Brooklyn Rail).  It’s a rather whinge-heavy text, but should provide some orientation.

More postings to follow…