I can’t concentrate. I can’t write. I can’t think. I can barely function. I am worried about my subsidy. I’ll hear tomorrow if I get another 3 months added to my subsidy or if I do not. It scares me. I don’t want to eat. I don’t want to get up. I give up entirely. How on earth can I do this? Perhaps I should give up before the Boy is too old for people to want to help him, and at least secure some help for him, and then I can slither away under a rock somewhere…or a bag or a bottle. I can’t make it as a writer. The world is not what it used to be: there used to be possibilities. A two-time-bankrupt Hilly Kristal with not a cent to his name could start up CBGB’s with nothing but a good idea, a very open mind, and kind heart, a large helping of chutzpah and an ear for what people wanted to listen to. Now, even in the Bowery or the TL anyone wanting to do the same would have to reckon with licenses, permits, huge rents that stifle creativity and so much red tape that nothing would come to fruition without millions of dollars of backup money and a lot of civic greasing, and then it would have to be so staid and rigid as to please the investors, so cookie-cutter average, that it would not be interesting or cutting edge or ground breaking at all. How can ground be broken when it is so hard?
There are too many rules, laws and regulations; they smother anything that could ever get going before it has a chance to form. The days of impromptu electrocutions on a stage thanks to sketchy electrics simply cannot happen. We are safer, we are more ordered and we are dying a creative death as a result. Could Hunter S Thompson in 2023 walk into Rolling Stone and get a gig off the back of a disordered glorious piece in Scanlan’s Monthly? Can pigs fly? Could he be given free rein and a large and very drug-orientated budget to sit and get high in Las Vegas and write a masterpiece? Punk, beat, on the edge, new, creative – all of things things are now impossible. Everything is too polished, too regimented, too buttoned up to ever produce another CBGBs, Hunter S Thompson, Bukowski or Iggy Pop. Things would have to regress back to the point of lassiez faire in those dark, terrible, freewheelin’ days of the 60s and 70s. Heck, even in the 90s there might have been some breath left in the creative scene, but not now. It has all been packaged up neatly, ready to be sold off. It is all plasticized and homogenized and there is no room for creative growth or exploration.
How many Iggys and Lous, Blondies and Pattis are out on the streets right now, dying from modern shitty drugs like Fentanyl and desomorphine that overdoses with no euphoria, and rots the body from injection or snorting site outwards, leaving nothing but desolation in their wake. The past had all the best stories, the best music and the best drugs. Heroin is brutal but survivable. Quaaludes were naughty and if mixed with other drugs or booze liable to cause a tragedy, but none of it was as hopelessly un-inspirational as the modern shit show of things that do nothing but put the user to sleep or in the dirt without any fun in between times. We are living in a new cultural dark age, having pushed ourselves there by the worshipping of violence, the rule of the gun, prohibition and laws which increasingly encroach upon the things which make human beings able to create and breathe and renew and live.
The medieval dark ages were an intellectual and creative wasteland which only ended in the 16th and 17th century with the age of enlightenment. These new dark ages have come about because no one needs to study or learn anymore, we have every scrap of information we need at our electronic-connected fingertips. The only trouble is, being a master of everything, and a scholar of nothing, being subject to widespread propaganda and misinformation, as well as individual frustrations and meanness being amplified as everyone gets a voice, but nobody has to own up to what it says, and everything being dragged down to the lowest common denominator, the most base of levels, means that hardly anything is any good any more — myself included.
The Paltry Sum is a sweet little project that I am somewhat pleased with. It looks ok, it works ok, I put a lot into the material I publish here, but it is utterly meaningless. On the best days I views in the thousand to two thousand range. On the worst, only a couple. None of it makes me any money, and nor is it going to. Transport me to the 60s, and I would have a half decent magazine going, actually get somewhere and do something. I would not have been subject to the fucking Hague (a law which had not been enacted yet) and therefore able to move away from danger with no trouble. I would have been able to have a life, rather than an existence tangled up in the vagaries of poorly thought out laws which made things worse and more dangerous. The laws only protect the rich and the status quo. They are not there for the 99 percent. Nothing is possible any more. We are living in an age where we only think we are free: we are not free, we are chained by rules and regulations and the demands that are engineered of us by people who are very good at brainwashing the masses and making it taste like bubblegum-scented freedom. It is freedom-lite, it tastes like the real thing until the artificial flavor wears off and we get the sneaking suspicion that we have all been had. Ever felt you have been ‘got’, ever felt like you have been duped? I have.
The masses are manipulated to push the agenda that the Man wants. Prosecute mothers for protecting themselves and their children? Make us all kneel at the altar of the economy? The new religion is rampant propaganda. The herd is moved en-masse into taking the thought and opinion routes that the Status Quo wants them to take, and are used to censure and therefore control stragglers like me. Except I was never good at taking orders or being steered. I go my own way. I am a fish out of water and an artist out of time. I didn’t say I was a good artist, but I am one nevertheless, for the uselessness of my own efforts, and the fact they are all dying a death in stony ground, I stayed true to myself and my creative vision, for what little it is worth.
There will be a time when I can truly say what I want. I stay out of all matters covid and vaccination – my veins are my own and their business is mine only. I suppose that time for free and reckless thought is not now. I have got other things on my mind, namely how to survive a little longer. For all my selfless talk I am utterly incapable of doing what is best for the Boy, and disappearing from his life. I love him. He needs me and I can’t bear to let him go. Not yet. I wonder what will happen when I blink out of existence and all this writing just blinks out too. It is like writing my own eulogy, or dividing up the blame and the spoils at the end of it all. What is there to say, other than I feel as if the world around me let me down. It got too restrictive, too lacking in possibilities, too rigid and too dull for me. I need to be freewheelin’, I need my freedom, I need to live apart from the herd because I cannot live with these petty and ultimately destructive rules that have ruined my happiness and possibilities. I need to be able to breathe without asking permission. I need to be able to afford to stay in my home, in my City, in my country that I love so dearly. I need a miracle, but this is not the age of miracles, no. This is the age of stultifying cages, highly effective thought-control and herding through propaganda and social media. This is the age where we are destroying what is left of Mother Earth in the name of the great God – Economy. We will die with dollar bills in our mouths and with field sowed with gold and lead. We will perish with the New York Stock Exchange weeping diamond tears while the FTSE100 tanks making the rich richer, the poor poorer and heck, there will be nothing left to buy except a ride off this damn planet. Mark my words: we are doomed. The world has been doomed by oversight and watching everything we do. It is an authoritarian nightmare. A dictatorship of the artificial mind that aids the powers that be in their increasingly iron grasp.
Meanwhile, I have other things to worry about, like the rent, my arthritis that I can’t afford to have any treatment for, and the fact that there is nothing good and free and fun in this world anymore. All there is left for free, is love. Love, love glorious love. Can’t buy it. Can’t sell it. Can’t force it. I love the Boy with my whole heart. I just hope that it is enough. Meanwhile money can buy a cup of tea and a rice cake and listening to David Crosby’s If I Could Only Remember My Name which is what I am going to do now. Funny how a man I never met could leave such a big hole in my life.