META-NOMAD

My Alcohol Problem and the West

Richard Billingham – Untitled

I have a drinking problem. Many of you probably already know that, or perhaps there’s even been some form of assumption that I may have some form of such problem, I mean hell, I am part of the Acceleratosphere, I can see why you’d assume I drink a lot. Anyway, I don’t drink anymore, I haven’t drunk alcohol for just over 3 years, except for a brief relapse of 3 weeks around 4 months ago, I haven’t had a drop. For those saying “Well, that’s not exactly over 3 years then is it?”. Take it as you will, it’s best to just take it one day at a time and count up the ones you were successful on.

Why am I writing this? 1. Writers should stop asking themselves this question, because of course, I already know the answer…at least the one I wish it to be, the one I wish you to see, which leads me to… 2. It’s cathartic. And someone of Twitter once said to me ‘A great reason to write, tweet and interject in conversation, to stand your ground and stake your claim is that those who may also be pondering, in-silent-agreement or struggling with that which you bring to the fore will all of a sudden feel more at ease in the world, all because you took a little time to say ‘Yeah I think X’, ‘I disagree with that’ or ‘Hey, I struggled with this shit.’ There’s a lot to be said for admitting to failures with a staunch acceptance that they are, and more importantly can be of the past.

So, yes, I have a drinking problem. It never really goes. Supposedly it’s actually progressive, that is, I used to drink on average 12-20 pints on a night out, and if I was to go back to drinking full-time again I would – apparently – still, psychologically, need that amount if not more. So going back is not only going back to a demon who despises your being, but each re-visit is an exercise in runaway-self-hatred.

Let me get down to definitions, to the how it was of way back when. What do I mean by a problem? I imagine many of you are imagining a Bukowski-esque stumbling mess with ragged hair, dirty clothes and no life-structure simply existing on alcohol in the gutter. The Hollywood image of ‘the alcoholic’, in all its romance, has done nothing but ignore the reality of minor to moderate alcoholism. Make no mistake, I was not that kind of alcoholic. I did not need a drink everyday, not every 2-3 days (though I did get a little exhausted and tetchy), I wasn’t vomiting loads, getting in fights, or ruining everything (at least not in any ‘exciting/dramatic’ sense). See, I was pretty high-functioning. Let me step back a bit –

I’m British, which means I have a culturally inherent awful relationship with alcohol. I started regularly drinking (2-3 times a week, 4-6+ beers each session) at 15, with the prior 2 years revolving slightly around alcohol. Between the years of 16-22 there was not one week where I didn’t utterly fucked. Which technically means that was 6 years of my life alcohol simply did not leave my system. How did all this progress? Not pleasantly, not unpleasantly. The point of this post is that – like most things in life – the journey was banal and the conclusions didn’t come until too late, and at that point I was already invested in the finale. What was this all like? Well, from 15-18 it looked like this. Do the bare minimum in school/college to get by and wait for the weekend, incessantly planning how we’d get booze, who was buying it for us and where we were drinking it. The weekend would come, we would drink from around 5-7pm through to 3-4am, or pass out before. Turns out it was only really me who was drinking a lot at this point, the others were just having a few. So the university turns up on your doorstep with all its ‘culture’. As you can imagine, I hit it fucking hard, put on a lot of weight, culminated friendships which didn’t last, half-arsed my life and orbited around alcohol.

21-22. Yeesh. Ended up in a dead-end job, as most university leavers do. Still drinking (and smoking) at this point…of course, it was still, for me…an inevitability. I would drink on Friday nights. Then Friday and Tuesday nights. Then Friday, Tuesday and Saturday nights. Then Friday, Tuesday, Saturday nights and Sunday daytime. And finally it was Friday, Tuesday and Saturday nights, Sunday daytime and the occasional 4-pack in bed after work. That was when I realized, laying in bed at 11pm after some shitty late-shift, necking cheap lager for the sake of it. I began to think about my drinking, looking up the questionnaires:

  • How often do you drink alcohol? – 3-4/4 times+ a week (worst answer)
  • How many units of alcohol do you drink on a typical day of drinking? – 10+ (worst)
  • How often do you have 8 units or more? – Weekly (second worst)
  • How often did you find you were not able to stop drinking once you’d started? – Every time I ever drank – 1 is too few, 2 is too many…as the saying goes – weekly (second worst)
  • How many times in the last year have you failed to do what is normally expected of you due to drinking? (Dependent on what one expects of oneself – at the time I was failing to do anything but go out at the weekends)
  • How often do you get a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking? (Every time – worst – we call it ‘The Fear’)
  • How often have you not been able to remember what happened the night before due to drinking? (Twice a week. At my absolute worst I was getting black out drunk once or twice a week. – worst)

I didn’t think ‘Oh shit, I’m fucked up breh’, nor was anything about it cool, romantic, nostalgic, poetic, exciting etc. You know what it fucking was? Exhausting and boring. Anyway, that’s the biographical stuff out of the way. I mean, I guess many of you know that I sorted my shit out.

Anyone struggling with alcohol can always DM me.

 

Onto the cultural ‘West’ part of the title. See, I was never really taught that not drinking alcohol was an option. Everyone around me did, everyone around them either did and there was very few people (no one I can remember) actively didn’t drink, and there was most certainly no one who was anti-alcohol. Not that I am anti-alcohol, but I do believe it really isn’t a good idea for the majority of people to consume it, for they are dumb, boring and aggressively incorrect already, why give them a drink on top of all of that, I jest, but they are a bore.

All those systems never budged an inch towards any idea that excess, progress and to-continue may not be a good thing. Even teachers smirked at the knowledge of my beer-fueled weekends and life – ‘I remember how I was at that age’, but no one keeps an eye and many get sucked into the orbit of the demonic, soul-crushing, enchantment killing possession of alcohol. What is it about that substance which brings out the very worst of opinion and personality?

It is, once again, one of ‘those’ things which one believes – due to the way in which they are instilled within culture – that one cannot be without them. They are presented not as optional parts of life, but as its very nerve system. Another short essay from Meta on how to slightly think for oneself, how original. I don’t care.

You must strip yourselves bare of all these fucking spooks! Take a goddamn look at your being, feel it vibrate in all its nakedness and vulnerability! Be more that you can be. Overcome every molecule of indiscriminate matter, atmosphere and ideology that surrounds you, think not of the third person, the external or the forces unto you, but become truly-conscious! Decide upon all. Make clear each and everything that exists now for you.

When I quit drinking I lost 95% of my friends within 2 weeks. I don’t hold it against them, nor do I want sympathy. We were drinking buddies who reveled in each other’s repetitions. The same lager, the same jokes, the same people, the same place, the same comfort and the comfort of the same, that is what alcohol has to offer you. Not one of my friends supported my efforts of betterment. Largely because I was one of, if not the key drinker of the group, I started earlier and heavier than them, I could out-drink basically anyone and had a tenacity for going until the bitterest of ends (5-6am on a park bench, routinely). And so, I guess to them it was an entirely alien experience, or perhaps they were worried I don’t know, all I know is the repulsion against my quitting.

‘So what…you’re never drinking again?’

‘…ahhh you’ll be back down the pub soon.’

‘You can have just one though mate!’

No, I can’t. No I can’t.

“Acceptance is usually more a matter of fatigue than anything else.” – David Foster Wallace

And that’s what I did. I accepted that there is a thing in life that I simply cannot do, for if I do it, I do not become, but only undo, my being is not aligned to the strength it could be, and the goodness dissolves into nothing. I cannot do that, I never could, and the systems that are lied and I got caught in a the alluring web of destruction.

There’s a great speech in the film Smashed. A film I really like – for obvious reasons – though as films go it’s mediocre, but it hit home with me. Anyway, the protagonist Kate is an alcoholic…and they actually do a fairly good job of not romanticizing it. Her speech is the usual alcoholic-to-sober story but with the addition of one crucial thing, she explicitly mentions her – now – boring life. I simultaneously agreed and disagreed. At first I agreed. I could be down the pub I thought, having all that ‘fun’. Instead I’m in reading a book, searching the web, watching TV (back then) or whatever, and the days and weeks and months go by, and the serum seeps from your system more and more, and your energy comes back and you take up the gym. You begin to feel ok, and your self-confidence comes back. And you start eating well again. You lose 3 stone in a few months. You date some cute girls. You read some more good books. And for many blissful moments you’ve forgotten entirely of that place, that sodden pit of a pub which was sucking your time away from you.

Alcohol is the primary material alternative for being an interesting person, having an interesting life or even having anything interesting to do. If you even somewhat content, entertained, loved or spiritually tuned-in would you need a ‘few beers’, would you? That malaise which I know a little too well is nothing but an anesthetic for use against personal confidence, overcoming, discipline, motivation and being.

My boring life is mine. I like drinking herbal tea in my dressing gown or Gi. I like reading old books. I like sitting sometimes and just being. I like taking my time with a meal. I quite like the slow pace of existence once it’s stripped of all the embroidery of progress, decadence and Western-malaise.

My favourite herbal teas are (in order of greatness – greatest to great):

1. Peppermint Tea

2. Elderflower and Echinacea

3. Lemon and Ginger

4. Lemon

Blog: Further, TSPDT etc.

Neural Shroud’s latest which covers the increase politicization of communication is succinct. I believe there’s an undercurrent of cybernetics running through this piece – can’t quite place it – that said, the increase of politics within the everyday sphere is generally just exhausting, nigh impossible to comment on the ‘merit’ of anything without first addressing its political backdrop, affiliations…these are becoming unavoidable however e.g. Star Wars. Intriguing as these protocols are, there are at least 2 things heading our way which are (to a certain extent apolitical), the first being the rise of AI and the second being Bitcoin, or digitalized cryptographic currency as our primary means of exchange, the latter here of course having political considerations, however even those are decentralized and disconnected from state, and thus we enter in a realm of micro-protocols adhering to that which small groups, or individuals wish to do.

 

I’ve decided to venture into the depths of film this year, my trajectory is from a fairly formal standpoint, that of the They Shoot Pictures Don’t They 1000 Greatest Films List, which I shall be tackling in chronological order as a means to comment on the history of film as a whole, also as a means for lovely digressions into all manner of haphazard opinions etc. As such I began with L’arrivee d’un train a la Ciotat from 1895, little to comment other than that my mind insta-clicked of, I’ve become so used to high-definition media that the origins of film are apparently beneath me…fucking K-Addiction. And onto Georges Méliès’ Le Voyage dans la lune (A Trip to the Moon, 1902):

There’s this odd sentiment of wonder and awe towards not only the moon itself, but the moon as the possibility of future, as opposed to simply continuation of the present. Wherein the ‘scientists’ above are seen as wizards, temporal-magicians who are the guiding force for man’s ability to transcend and overcome.

This short scene, wherein our scientists descend into a cave upon the moon, is an exemplary comment on the current climate, e.g. “What happened to the future…” we have become scared, as such these visionaries in 1902 vision the moon as this incredible place full of wonder. Our empirical abilities aside, we’ve lost our love for Mars even though the possibility of getting there grows ever nearer. It shall be a dull day when Musk lands upon Mars and the majority of TVs are tuned to some kitsch-celeb-shit-show.

D.W. Griffiths The Birth of a Nation (1915) is a masterpiece of cinema, the unavoidable racism and revisitionist history aside, technically Griffith’s magnum opus acts as a true game-changer. I must admit, I still find it difficult to engross myself in the clunky flow of these earlier works. I’m avoiding Feuillade’s Les Vampires for a while until I can find both the time and a good quality version.

Surprisingly I’d yet to watch The Cabinet of Dr Caligari and wasn’t as blown away as I thought I might be, that said, I’ve never been a fan of expressionism in general, however, on a little digging the book From Caligari to Hitler extrapolates as to some interesting temporal ideas:

“…in which he claimed that many of the elements of the expressionist film style, as well as Caligari’s overall story of a madman hypnotist who uses a mindless sleepwalker to carry out murders, were “a premonition of Hitler.” – link

“It was a bright jungle, more hell than paradise, but a paradise to those who had exchanged the horror of war for the terror of want.

It stood out lonely like a monolith.” – From Caligari to Hitler – PDF

And in my opinion, still does, the story of the sane turned insane, and of the absurdity/insanity of unquestioned authority is a continuing source of maddening loneliness (Kafka etc.). I must add that the removal of these film’s narratives from my contemporary perceptions is growing more difficult with each new watch, to appreciate their place in history, their place as creators and especially innovators is stifled immensely by K-Addiction and the awful explosion-loving programming of modern film-making. Michael Bay extends his arm into the past and rips away subtlety…

Blog: Neocon etc.

 

I am, according to Max Castle, a neoconservative. I disagree. But the thread offered some interesting conversation, between me, Castle and Edmund Berger. My premise here is that someone can hold, for lack of a better description, a practical, non-abstract, political position (mine is…), whilst simultaneously support abstract underlying theories such as accelerationism. I comment that the origination of Deleuze & Guattari’s “accelerate the process” (Anti-Oedipus) is from Nietzsche’s The Will to Power, and is written of in relation to the levelling of European man, hierarchy and justification (in the grand sense). Berger notes the depoliticization and anti-politicization that results from a Deleuzoguattarian deterritorialization and decoding of flows.

Berger notes that any political organization, organ being the problematic here, is ultimately going to stop the decoding of flows, and that via D&G man’s existence is in relation to techno-industrial production as opposed to political process, and such is subordinated by the process; or Land’s ‘means-end’:

“Like for Marx capital turns the capitalist into an agent of itself, and for D&G in the historical epoch of capitalism the state loses power and is transformed into a mechanism for assisting in realizing capitalist axiomatics. So there can’t be a political autonomy or a distinctive set of values, because capital rises up and becomes the driver.” – Edmund Berger.

Berger makes it clear, and such should be obvious to anyone involved within the sphere: “Saying that we can get at deterritorializing/decoding through the majoritarian political process reminds me of many horrid hours wasted in my more activisty-lefty days” – Berger

Arguments of identity & praxis aside (as they’re getting dull, fast), my point still stands that deterritorialization and the decoding of flows are and exist and whatever pace, man may interact and counter a flow any time or place, it is only that doing so via any political institution negates the entire process entirely. That is, unless one does so as an agent of acceleration, that is, a will accelerator of capitalism. Utilizing capitalism’s inherent economically emancipative functions as a means to accelerate the system out of itself. We end on a polite note, referencing Marx’s call to vote for free trade.

That said, the problem here, which should be plain as day by now, is said vote, already there is the implication of a system. This is of course where Land’s Exit comes in. My point being, cannot one utilize the escalator that is capitalism to speed up their process of heading towards the exit, as opposed to slowly using the stairs. As long as one is doing so knowingly…

Pleasant convo, Berger.

I’d love for your opinion on this in regards to our convo: Experiment.

 

Now, the Neoconservative thing…I read a lot of Hitchens when I was younger, some of it must still be lingering in the back of my mind…

 

Also, check out Neural Shroud. This was a nice little piece, I can’t help but feel that it falls under the ambiguous R/Acc abstraction of everything as a form of capital, in that not only is your avacado toast capital, but the process unto which you decided to even consider avacado is capital, a never-ending consumption/production cycle…

Blog: New

As a means to avoiding confusion between classical blog-type musings and offical MN posts a la what has come prior, the system I’ve devised is to date the blog stuff and leave the posts as titles; also, the blog stuff wont get as much traction…I wont be beaconing to the micro-masses as I do with the other stuff. With that out of the way, what’s to come: a lot, seriously. For those that don’t know, I’ve left my position as a neither a butcher or candlestickmaker and will be entering a career which shall allow me more free time to concentrate on my blog.

I started this year with some rather stereotypical resolutions, the likes of which I shall not bore you with here, however, I did attend to the idea of consuming one piece of ‘media’ a day, something of substance which I can draw from and which shall accumulate in the caverns of my memory. Thus far I’ve been semi-successful, yet little has stuck really, it’s a fairly depressing announcement with regards to the state of contemporary film and music, with that in mind, some musings:

Blade Runner: 2049. What can I say, the visuals were incredible, I mean, it was everything I wanted…there could have been more however, BR49 primarily focused on the macro-aesthetics of cyberpunk cities; these vast sprawling de(ad)serts, concrete waves and sprawling towers assimilating into a tech-mesh. Yet, other than K’s apartment, the contents of which I wish to purchase (especially the pans). This said, the micro is left alone in BR49, bar one scene with the wooden horse, the insane artifact identifier surrounded by a wire chaos, plugged…in. It stuck, a little, but the micro leads me to the film that really stuck, like a malignant adhesive eroding my circuitry, and I haven’t been able to shift this tech-nausea since, a nausea spawned from a viewing of Akira. My first ever viewing, and from the get go I was drawn in, like a rat to 2-dimensional, abstract, cyberpunk cocaine. I could gush ove the aesthetics of this film for days, the atmosphere spirals in and out constantly, the dinge bars set down so well one knows they’re underground, and that this absence of light is real and this city could fuck you up. As for the plot and characters, they deserve a secon viewing, I was too enraptured by the setting: this striving political cyber-scape, incessant in its cries of life, K, wiring, circuitry, concrete, creation, fragmentation; a diverging chaotic pulsing assemblage wherein humans become a viral microsm shifting and nibbling, never a trace that isn’t ‘natural’ – in the Nietzschean duality of man & nature for the betterment of both – sense.

Continuing from cinema: A Tale of Two Cinemas: We’re seeing a clear cultural divergence between the East and West, I mean, the divergence between the two is obvious in multiple ways, but the way in which contemporary cinema has caused a fracture is certainly interesting. China’s reaction to the new Star Wars has been albeit comical in relation to the films content:

This raises the question of how bad for business the SJW takeover of the entertainment industry is going to be. American movies, for example, have been an extremely successful export industry over the years.” (Link above)

Well, the SJW takeover is going to be big business in West, in fact it already is, yet it’s moving its way over to Great Britain. This Guardian review of Aardman’s latest film Early Man is rife with oddities pertaining to an influx of unnatural language:

That could be an overzealous interpretation, admittedly, in a climate in which everything seems to be about Brexit, but the evidence is difficult to ignore. Early Man focuses on an insular, small-minded tribe who live in a giant crater, cut off from the outside world (the prologue identifies their location as “near Manchester”). They’re surprisingly diverse for such a small group, with varying skin colours and accents,”

That last bit makes as a little sense as a rabbit and a fox being friends and attends to accelerated a priori egalitarianism like nothing else.

“These people have invented bronze, not to mention wheels, machines and sliced bread. ”

Really…perhaps I’m a caveman.