Street art adorns every available surface along London’s Brick Lane — tags, murals, stickers, posters, the works. Uniformed schoolchildren file past, their tour guide pointing out to them where the master weavers used to live. Rounding the corner onto Sclater Street, I stroll over to a bar and grab a seat under an awning on the sidewalk. A courier rides by on a bicycle as I sip my lager. What am I to do with these interests of mine? Marxist philosophers, Decadent poets, psychonauts, occultists, members of the New Weird Britain: do any of these figures matter anymore, or has the hour of the counterculture’s final passing come round at last? The success of Strange Attractor Press suggests that there’s still a readership for this material. Let us persist, then, in our faith that these forces can reactivate and work their magic in the years ahead.
2 thoughts on “Monday June 17, 2019”
I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether we need a new definition of ‘alternative’, but I expect that would need a beer. Or three.
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Yeah, once I get started, I can talk endlessly on this topic. Concepts like “indie,” “alternative,” and “counterculture” have all been weakened and co-opted in various ways over the years, and I often despair that the communities those terms referred to have vanished — but I think there’s still hope. For me, “alternative” is the slipperiest of these terms, the one most easily captured by opponents (as for instance in the notion of the “alt-right”). I think it becomes a false or misleading marketing term unless the thing it describes is committed to changing existing power relations, expanding consciousness, combatting inequality, and building an environmentally sustainable alternative to capitalism.