(Perseus Publishing, 1999, paperback edition 2000)
A review of a currently up-to-date and very useful handbook about the dangers of psychiatric medication and how to escape them, including practical tips,
plus an introduction and some thoughts about racketeering and revolution.
It is the dogma of contemporary psychiatry that ‚mental illnesses’ are easily diagnosed and then ‚cured’ with chemical substances manufactured by the pharmaceutical industry; substances that all have side effects, in many cases severe ones that can be irreversible and mentally or physically disfiguring. In the last 20 years the biologistical view on these matters has become the mainstream in psychiatry, to a degree not seen since the time of Nazi Germany. Instead of killing the ‚mentally ill’ the modern biologists however aim at turning them into long-term or life-long consumers of psychiatric drugs under a pseudo-scientific gloss. [Read more →]
You Can’t Win by Jack Black (AK Press/Nabat 2000 £12).
Bad by James Carr (AK Press/Nabat 2002 £11).
Sister Of The Road: The Autobiography of Boxcar Bertha by Dr Ben Reitman (AK Press/Nabat 2002 £11).
Memoirs Of Vidocq: Master of Crime by Francois Eugene Vidocq translated and edited by Edwin Gile Rich (AK Press/Nabat 2002 £14).
Nabat is an offshoot of AK Press edited by Bruno Ruhland whose avowed intention is ‘reprinting forgotten memoirs by various misfits, outsiders and rebels’. A curious concept especially as one of the books in the series Sister Of The Road is actually a novel, although when it first appeared it did find some readers credulous enough to believe it was the ‘genuine’ autobiography of a female hobo. Sister Of The Road is easily the worst book in the Nabat series, an anarchist fantasy written by one of Emma Goldman’s lovers and boosters Dr Ben Reitman. This absurd tale of one woman’s education in life and politics concludes as follows: “Long after Lowell had gone to sleep that night I lay awake staring into the dark, thinking. In my heart I knew, of course, that I must do what he had told me to – settle down and be a mother to my child. He had said that I had been running away from something and suddenly I realized what it was – I had been trying to escape my own natural need to be responsible for someone, to live for someone else, some special individual person who belonged peculiarly to myself. For years I had told myself that I didn’t want to be tied down, that I wanted to keep myself free to help others, to uplift the vast mass of struggling humanity. And I knew now that I had been rationalizing my need to be a mother, dissipating it over the face of the earth when its primary satisfaction lay within reach of my own arms.”
[Read more →]
The Story of Michael Alig – King of the Club Kids
This is a true story from New York City, ca. mid-90’s. It’s the story of a final episode of glam club culture and a story of drugs, a story of murder. With the sensationalising “he came, he partied, he killed” printed on the cover do we detect some triumphalism here? A scene that wasn’t good for anything but make up, at least achieved a murder? La da doo. [Read more →]
by Anselm Jappe translated into English by Donald Nicholson-Smith with assistance from the author (University of California Press 1999)
The situationists declared somewhere that boredom was counter-revolutionary. They forgot to add that it is also wearisome and stupid. Jappe’s squib is both the most boring and by far and away the most stupid book to be written about a situationist to date – and in saying this I’m conscious of the fact that the competition consists largely of art monographs and the throughput of Andrew Murray Scott. Aside from the fact that it is printed on paper of some character – soft, off-white and pleasant to touch – about all that can be said in favour of Jappe’s handbook is that it is not a biography at all. The publishers puff Jappe’s guff as an intellectual biography – but a low-brow, one-sided and woefully inadequate introduction to situationism would be a more accurate description.
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The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle by Simon Ford
(Black Dog Publishing, London 1999, £19.95)
By focusing on a performance art troop that metamorphosed into a rock group, Simon Ford has produced a book that illuminates the political economy of UK cultural production during the 1970’s. This was a time when there was cheap housing plus plentiful arts grants and welfare benefits. Perfect conditions in which cultural experimentation could flourish as well as a lot of art wank that was pushed by those responsible as cutting edge work. Far more than the other members of COUM and TG, motor mouthed front man Genesis P.Orridge exemplifies the commendable excesses of this era. WHile P.Orridge’s collaborators had day jobs and identifiable talents, Genesis lived out his fantasies of bohemian dissolution as a life-style option and non-stop fashion statement. This entailed the proto-slacker presenting himself as a starving artist in order to get grants, as well as making judicious use of that alternative arts funding scheme known as the dole.
[Read more →]