:: Lee Rourke Homepage ::

""A story assembled from everyday objects, unassumingly and quietly, that stuns and horrifies by increments...The Canal may look, at first glance, like a love story, but it harnesses the power of parable." John Wray, author of Lowboy.

Search This Blog

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Modernity . . .

I've been thinking about modernity of late; and in particular our place within it. I've been thinking about it in purely physical terms:

1) A lone suicide bomber driving his/her car towards possible destruction;

2) the vista of London - viewed from Waterloo Bridge - populated with endless towering cranes, jutting out like urban foliage from the grey mass if the city;

3) the peculiar distance I feel from electronic entertainment consoles such as the Xbox 360;

4) the collective theater of Formula 1 racing;

5) themed bars in shopping centres;

6) air-conditioning units;

7) snazzy flat-screen monitors;

8) lavish TV adverts about cars (that are really about the male gaze and the objectification of women);

9) gauche satellite link-ups and stuffy conference calls in company boardrooms;

10) the random gathering of humans in sterile office blocks;

11) bathroom cabinets stuffed with pills and medications and effervescent mixtures used to motivate production;

12) the bored individual staring into a flat-screen monitor whilst emailing his bored friend in another department or office block or city or country about how boring his/her day is;

13) the digital clock in the bottom right-hand corner of every PC and Mac dictating the comings and goings of the average uniform office;

14) single use, single sided, 52x speed, 700mb, 80 mins CDRs with Lifetime Guarantees;

15) powdered, flavoured soup drunk from coffee mugs during working hours i. e., at the desk or in the company kitchen;

16) gastropubs;

17) the new Wembley Stadium;

18) waiting rooms: especially those in Airports (strangely called terminal departure lounges) – the tapping of feet, the biting of nails, the collective thoughts of death, destruction, physics and failure. Or Health Centres – the random coughs and groans, the irritable child, the stench of decaying flesh, warts, sores, seepage, cell deterioration and multiplication;

19) in-store radio stations played on loops;

20) the inner glee I feel when phoning in sick at work;

21) road rage, aggressive driving, motorcyclists revving engines at pedestrians dawdling at pelican crossings;

22) acronyms;

23) the lone human being walking into the supermarket to purchase specially packaged meals for one and beer or single bottles of wine or spirits and paying for the transaction with a credit card;

24) fashion magazines;

25) the vainglorious facades created on egocentric sites such as facebook and myspace – the age of the electronic, digitized Walter Mitty. The death of personal triumph;

26) a disgruntled bookseller re-stocking the 3 for 3 table at the bookshop he/she’d rather not be working for as the suited individual picks up the latest mass-market title disrupting the display.

Modernity is all around us, it is everywhere, it repeats itself and it is never ending. For further information I would strongly advice some time with J. G. Ballard’s The Atrocity Exhibition.

Blog Archive


2014 (1) 3:AM Magazine (1) 3AM Magazine (1) 4th Estate (1) aircraft (1) Amber (1) Andrew Gallix (2) Ann Quin (2) Art (1) Ben Myers (2) Book covers (1) Book Launch (2) Booker Prize (1) Bookforum (1) Boredom (1) Bram van Velde (1) Brighton (1) Broadway Books (1) Captain Beefheart (1) Carcanet Press (2) Central Station Design (1) Chris Killen (1) Competition (1) Dalkey Archive (4) Dante (1) Death (1) Dumitru Tsepeneag (1) Ellis Sharp (1) Events (1) Everyday Publishing (1) Evie Wyld (2) Gabriel Josipovici (5) Gavin James Bower (1) Georges Bataille (1) Gwendoline Riley (1) Hans Fallada (1) Harper Collins. (1) Hendrik Wittkopf (1) HP Tinker (1) Hubert Selby Jr (1) INS (1) Interviews (1) Jacques Roubaud (1) JD Salinger (1) Jean-Philippe Toussaint (4) JG Ballard (1) Jim Carroll (1) Joe Stretch (1) Jon McGregor (2) Jonathan Lethem (1) Karen Jackson (1) Kevin Cummins (1) Leda and the Swan (1) Light Boxes (1) List (2) Litro (1) LRB (1) Lydie Salvayre (2) Manchester United (1) Manifestos (1) Marion Boyars (1) Martin Heidegger (1) Melville House (11) Modernism (1) Myth (1) New Statesman (1) New Stuff (1) New York Times (1) Nick Cave (1) Noah Cicero (1) Not The Booker Prize (1) Novel (1) Olivier Pauvert (1) On Boredom (1) Pylons (2) Readings (2) Regent's Canal (2) Reviews/Criticism Archives (9) RIP (1) Samuel Beckett (3) Shane Jones (1) Sophie Lewis (1) Steve Finbow (2) Steve Mitchelmore (2) Stewart Home (1) Stuart Evers (1) Swans (1) Tao Lin (3) The Big Green Bookshop (1) The Canal (15) The Divine Comedy (1) The Failure Six (1) The Guardian (2) The Independent (6) The Quarterly Conversation (1) This Space (1) To Hell With Publishing (2) Tom McCarthy (3) Tony O'Neill (2) vapour trails (1) Vulgar Things (1) Yale University Press (1) Yeats (1) Zachary German (1)