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It is self-evident that Boris Johnson should resign because of the “parties” that his government department had held during the lockdown. People enjoy the escapology or they find it mesmerising to follow how Johnson will extract himself from this latest scrape. This time, though, his clambering lack of dignity has become too painful to watch.

His departure would appear to fulfil a deeper anthropological function as well, a kind of nationwide exorcism of the lockdown. All of the inconveniences and the humiliations that we have each received at the hands of the lockdown’s officialdom will be atoned for with his sacrifice. With this, we will be free again and we can at last enter a new stage of our history.

Downing Street Parties and the Age of Insincerity” (January).

Detectives from Edinburgh arrived at her door on November 4. Murray said: “I ushered them through to the living room. The first thing they said was, ‘Some of your tweets have been brought to our attention.’ When they brought out the screengrabs of the statement, I said, ‘Really?

“They said, ‘Yeah, we just have to speak to you. You’ve not said anything hateful, there isn’t a crime here.’

“I said: ‘So why are you here?’ They said, ‘Because we need to speak to you to ascertain what your thinking was behind making your statement.’”

The Times (January).

The silver-haired man hanging back in the shadow of the bridge looked up and flashed us a nauseous grin. He had insanely glittering black beads instead of eyes.

“Why Mark?,” James said, as woodenly as if he was reading from a script in front of him. “I thought that Jeffrey was no longer with us.”

“That’s a great question, James. But the great thing about the metaverse is that it can capture enough of us so that people can still meet us and appreciate our company even after we’ve passed. Thanks Jeffrey! It’s been great catching up with you!”

With a kind of merry snarl and a spasticated wave of farewell, Epstein opened a small door in the darkness of the bridge and vanished into the gloom.

Join Tychy In The Metaverse!” (February).

If, as a trade unionist, socialist or political activist, you don’t find the actions of the Canadian government deeply sinister, you’re going to be in for a shock the next time there is massive state repression/blacklisting/police violence against the causes you do agree with.

Cat Boyd, Twitter.

“Analyse This!” (January)

Now, Bali and his clan were at the bottommost pit of Kedu’s illegal sand mining business. Their simple Tribe was the cheapest labour the mafia could locally find to extract sand from the riverbanks near the secluded Tildanga forest region. Bali and his kind were forced to fill Kedu’s trucks for a few pieces of coins, and the mafia lord sold the sand at lower than the market rates to build his booming empire.

Illegal sand mining from the riverbeds and riverbanks was rampant in several districts of West Bengal. The business ran into thousands of millions of rupees and worked through a nexus between local politicians, the administration, and the mafia. Bids in a legal auction could go up to twenty to thirty million rupees. Hence imagine the profit that Kedu made through illegal mining.

Trishikh Dasgupta, “Tears On The Sand” (March).

Victory for Ukraine looks as easy as A-B-C. Ukraine surrenders militarily and its President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, flees for his own safety. He sets up Ukraine’s only legitimate democratically-elected government, all ready to go, across the Polish border in Krakow. Hereafter a mass campaign of civil disobedience and non-cooperation amongst the Ukrainian people prevents the new, Russian-installed regime from managing even the rudimentary appearance of a functioning state. This civil disobedience is already occurring spontaneously in countless minor events across Ukraine. Unarmed civilians have, for example, gathered in large crowds to protest in the occupied port city of Kherson.

Civil disobedience has played a major role in recent Ukrainian history – there are no ropes to learn, in fact. During the Maidan uprising of 2013, the pressure from unarmed civilians had proved decisive in making an authoritarian government buckle and crack…

Ukraine Should Surrender” (March).

Yet however much the creature of foreign births, powers, funds, &c, there seems a domestic Englishness radiating from Boris. He has been hailed as a liar so eloquently and so repetitively that we should look at his English spiritual ancestry, from Sir John Falstaff to Billy Bunter. 

Falstaff and Bunter are beloved liars, when all their fellow-characters have exhausted breadth in abuse of their mendacity. It is complicated by the self-created model Englishman who never tells a lie, although without a patron saint of veracity such as Parson Mason Weems crated in the person of the recently deceased George Washington for want of exact knowledge as to what he, the deliverer of his country, was really like.  (He was in fact a first-class military leader brilliantly deceiving his British opponents, supremely aware that lying is the first essential to a general.)  The House of Commons lives perpetually in a fiction that none of its members tell lies and none may be charged with lying, presumably meaning that it must be lying (and therefore unutterable) to accuse others of such impossible actions.  Winston Churchill appropriately mocked the superstition by rebaptising a lie as a terminological inexactitude.  Prime Minister Boris bore a petulant expression in response to Parliamentary accusations of his mendacity and mythology…

Owen Dudley Edwards, “BoJo – Falstaff – Bunter: or A Greater Englishness?The Drouth (April).

Where the politics of this exhibition grows interesting is in how so many of these paintings were created in a republic (i.e. the Dutch one) and in how they evince a frankness and a documentary realism that are thoroughly at odds with the normal monarchical worldview. Many more servants and working people are depicted in this exhibition than aristocrats and none of them are curtseying. Actually, I think that the only monarch to be on display is Guido Reni’s Cleopatra, who is being dethroned within her own anatomy by an asp. Rembrandt gazes uncompromisingly out of his own portrait; Artemisia Gentileschi is too busy working to notice the viewer. This is a world in which traditional monarchy is being left very far behind.

Arts Review: Masterpieces from Buckingham Palace” (April).

“Pollock Halls Fox” (March).

To say that “Thrift store-found VHS tape” is atmospheric is an understatement. Everything is atmosphere and there is nothing else that the music is really committed to. It is at once nostalgic and eerie, at once childishly simple and unnaturally wise. The visuals contribute their own bit to the nostalgia. A camcorder has been set up in what you somehow feel must be a back yard and it has been left running. Sun-drenched clouds pass overhead. Summer in a back yard, lying on some ticklish grass perhaps, and watching the clouds pass by is surely the capital city of nostalgia. And having this experience preserved on VHS and bought in a “thrift store” will make it an official souvenir from the capital city of nostalgia.

YouTube Review: ‘Thrift store-found VHS tape with weird music on it (archived from a deleted channel)’” (May).

A fundamental issue for all stablecoins is their resilience to conventional speculative attacks, analogous to attacks on fixed exchange rates. Tether’s accounts show that their cash reserves to back the dollar peg are only 4%, with most of the rest in risky dollar commercial paper.  JP Morgan recently reported that the Tether stablecoin has no regulatory supervision or deposit insurance.  So if people were unwilling or unable to use Tether tokens, “the most likely result would be a severe liquidity shock to the broader cryptocurrency market,” which could lead to everyone trying to sell at once…  

All this proves what I have argued in previous posts.  Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are no nearer universal acceptance as money than when they first came on the scene.  They remain part of speculative digital finance.  They will not replace fiat currencies, where the supply is controlled by central banks and governments as the main means of exchange. They will remain on the micro-periphery of the spectrum of digital moneys, just as Esperanto has done as a universal global language against the might of imperialist English, Spanish and Chinese languages.

Michael Roberts, “Crypto unTethered” (May).

The monkey outside my window seems to be only loosely aware that it is a monkey. By this, I mean that it doesn’t caper about and flaunt its extraordinary mobility, as one who is unfamiliar with monkeys might expect them to. It is a rhesus macaque and so maybe these lie on the gloomier end of the monkey spectrum.

Strangely, I find that I am far more interested in natural things in India than I am by the aesthetics or by social questions. I go around thrilling over every weirdly-hooting bird. And then I realise that India’s fauna retains such charisma for me because it had somehow always represented luxury throughout my childhood reading. India had seemed like a country where Nature was grander, wilder and more beautiful than it ever is in the UK. Or simply more imaginative than anything that the UK can put up, with our mild spiders and our piddling songbirds.

On Monkeys in New Delhi” (June).

Goatee then ran into a fat uglo carrying six icream cones and 6 large Cokes.

“Eating light today are we?” Goatee beheaded the fat uglo and cut her up into 999 trillion pieces.

Goatee then caught a bus home.

He walked the block back to his house when he encountered an uglo looking girl who had an intense expression of both ugliness and stupidity on her face.

“Well we know where you obviously were when the human gene pool hit rock bottom,” Goatee explained as he beheaded the uglo and cut her up into 999 trillion pieces.

Dracul Van Helsing, “A Midsummer Night’s Nightmare: Pan Goatee Sees Uglos, Uglos and More Uglos” (June).

“New Header Image” (June).

This is misinformation about #monkeypox. The outbreak is occurring almost entirely among men who have sex with me. Public health experts agree that sexual contact is the principle driver of transmission and have asserted that risk to kids remains *very low*.

Benjamin Ryan, Science Reporter for the New York Times, Twitter (July).

What shines out most beautifully from Badenoch’s backstory is her obvious delight and amazement at learning that she could live and study in London. She likens her British passport to one of Willy Wonka’s dream tickets and we get a vivid sense from this of the sheer magic of immigration. It is therefore disappointing for the progressive when Badenoch shows no apparent empathy towards today’s migrants and asylum seekers. She never identifies with the people who are currently fighting to get across the English Channel, as if she has consciously desensitised herself or deadened herself to the old magic. She supports the breathtakingly cruel Tory policy of deporting applicants to Rwanda. When Nigerians look at her now, they might see only the back of her head.

Podcast Review: Women With Balls (The Kemi Badenoch Edition)” (July).

My act is now being cheapened and simplified as unsafe, homophobic, misogynistic and racist. I am not J** D* [Sadowitz’s asterisks] folks … a lot of thought goes into my shows and while I don’t always get it right, especially at the speed of which I speak … and I don’t always agree with my own conclusions (!) … I am offended by those who, having never seen me before, HEAR words being shouted in the first five minutes before storming out without LISTENING to the material which I am stupid enough to believe is funny, sometimes important and worth saying… God forbid they should end up like me … and I have never ONCE courted a mainstream audience to come to my shows because guess what??? In real life, I really DON’T want to upset anyone. The show is what it is, for those who enjoy it. The rest of you … please stick to Carry On films.

Jerry Sadowitz, Statement (August).

In the Home Office interviews, the state has eerily subsumed the bourgeois society – the suburban dinner parties and bridge nights – that had previously served as the theatre for lifelong performances of monogamy. The women present themselves to the Home Office as picture-perfect lovers, but they are inevitably alienated from the unreality of this perfection, just as all of those insane housewives had been during the 1960s. Those who spin silk really know, of course, that they are common, mundane bugs.

No weight is ever put on the audience’s minds with a suspicion that these women are weaponising their love in order to be granted asylum. Even so, we might shiver a little when Abidemi appears to be unconsciously “nudged” into a more heartfelt community involvement by the application process.

Tychy @ the Fringe: Silkworm” (August).

“Tychy @ the Fringe Artwork” (July).

Botendaddy is being operated on by his own hospital system, so he’s pretty much a write-off, goner, smoked…

Putin nods and smiles.

Modi conveys his acknowledgments.

Xi raises an eyebrow.

Biden speaks: “Botendaddy? C’mon man! He’s Ultra-mega-giga-tera-peta-MAGA! He eats f%$king babies! He’s an a$$hole!”

Trump shrieks: “Botendaddy. I love him! I hate him! He’s great! He’s terrible!”

Macron: “Quelle espece d’imbecile!”

Peace be the Botendaddy

The Botendaddy, “Get Well Wishes Pour in for the doomed Botendaddy!” (September).

Otherwise, “deepfake” technology has already reached a point where a lifelike appearance of the Queen can be replicated in real time. Her facial features can be tracked onto those of a nearby actor, so that a photo-simulation of her face can be manipulated to smile or look solemn as is needed. Words can be typed into a computer programme to appear instantly on the air in a facsimile of her voice. And so long as these words are piped out in a BBC English from the 1950s, and so long as they utter no politically significant statement, they are her words.

From relatively early in her career, the Queen had streamlined her own monarchical performance so that it could make an effortless transition to robot status. And once enough research and development has been put in to ensure that the hologram-monarch operates flawlessly, it can be reproduced so as to appear in every city – at every fete – even at every barbeque and children’s birthday party – in the same moment.

Why Can’t The Queen’s Reign Simply Continue?” (September).

Political commentators have been enthralled by the spectacle of a self-confident new Prime Minister imploding on arrival. Truss has arrived at the ball only to see her frock instantly transformed to cobwebs, her coach to a pumpkin and her Chancellor to a panicking mouse. It is nonetheless misplaced or severely short-termist to pin this disaster exclusively upon Truss’s particular psychological flaws or on some calamitous political formula all of her own.

Instead, the whole ideology of conservatism is implicated. The Conservative Party membership has collectively and after a process of tremendous democratic deliberation agreed to amass behind Truss. She is just the questing tip of the overall organism. The Tories’ reward for giving such a clear expression to their own priorities appears to be an election wipeout, with the last YouGov poll shrinking the next parliamentary Conservative Party down to 61 MPs.

A Chirrup on ‘Trussonomics’” (October).

The most electrifying and emotionally resonant rock made right now is often by musicians who aren’t actually steeped in the genre; they work on the fringes, conducting experiments in asphyxiating distortion and running one-person bands from their bedrooms, warping their guitars into shards of gleaming noise over convulsive digital beats. Perhaps that’s one reason Dry Cleaning’s music hits so hard: While the band is highly skilled and grounded in traditional rock scenes, Shaw’s vocals hew toward anti-rock, even though they’re shaped to the instrumental and have a conversational musicality. Their sharpness gives the band’s sound a distinctly visual quality, her voice high in the mix like a backdrop-blurred close-up of someone’s face.

Dry Cleaning: Stumpwork Album ReviewPitchfork (October).

“Cornucopia” (October).

Twenty-two-year-old Hadis Najafi does not look like a foot soldier in a revolution. In the last film of Najafi alive, it is night and she’s walking down a road in Karaj, her home town, smiling and scrunching up her hair into a ponytail. She is young, blonde and on her way to a demonstration. Najafi reminds me of my own daughter, tying up her hair in the same casual, no-nonsense way. Thirty minutes later, she was dead, shot six times in the face, hand, neck and heart. Her crime? To go to a protest and not to wear a hijab.

Harriet Sergeant, “The Iranian regime is at war with its own childrenSpectator (November).

The similarity to social democracy has been only reconfirmed following a quixotic, Trumpian takeover from the billionaire Elon Musk. There is now exactly the same dynamic at play within Twitter as when Washington had set itself against Donald Trump and Westminster had set itself against Liz Truss. Twitter’s managerial class have been fired or they have left in waves. Musk has been typecast as another rude, chaotic, nouveau-riche outsider and the establishment within Twitter are solemnly warning about his lack of expertise. Of course, as with today’s social democracies, the technocratic establishment who are so horrified at any change are the same people whose energylessness and complacency had led to such a disruptive takeover in the first place.

A World Without Twitter” (November).

The dispute has seen CWU members exchange solidarity with other workers in dispute against the backdrop of prices fast-outstripping wages. Speaking at the rally Gordon Martin, RMT regional organiser, said that the strikes going on just now were not just about maintaining pay and conditions in the present, but they were a sign people weren’t prepared to “pass on inferior conditions” to their children and grandchildren.

Although politicians from the Scottish Parliament were there on the platform, Craig Anderson told the crowd the Royal Mail had attempted to butter-up some Scottish politicians with free breakfasts and lobbying efforts. If confirmed, this would only reinforce the words of Gordon Martin who told the crowd: “No politician from any party is coming to your rescue – we need to do it ourselves.”

Alice Kinghorn-Gray and Lewis Akers, “‘Future Gig Employer’: Posties Rage Against Royal Mail Run-DownConter (December).

Lords abolition is precisely the sort of policy that will appeal to somebody such as myself, who so far views Starmer as being unimaginative and technocratic. If Sir Keir can succeed here then he might cheer up progressives, after years when progressive politics has achieved so pitifully little. Yet such a feat would be simultaneously a somewhat nostalgic one, in harkening back to a time when it had been altogether easier for progressives to be bold.

With the Tories having recently gotten thoroughly lost in power, in misplacing both the conservatism of the shires and the dynamism of the free market, it might be time to look to Labour for a more durable vision-and-values package. With this in mind I have paid a visit to this new biography of Harold Wilson, which has been written by Nick Thomas-Symonds, the current shadow minister for international trade…

Book Review: Harold Wilson, The Winner” (December).

Tychy wishes all readers a Happy New Year.