11.11.11

Comment: Sobre Second Thoughts

I am afraid that Club Alien has no review for you this week. Here is the story of how that happened - or rather, didn't happen.

Last Saturday, after going to the Alte Fleischfabrik and finding that it was once again closed at the last minute, the Alien set out to review Kater Holzig instead. Brandishing a bottle of wine she had stolen from a birthday party earlier, she followed (or was it ‘led’?) a group of merrymakers down the Spree to Koepenicker Strasse. Once inside the club, she held her camera up a few times but, being that she was unable to make the double-vision go away for long enough to focus her camera, she gave up and focused on getting more drinks, instead.  Because quite clearly, she wasn't drunk enough, yet...



After falling over a few times she headed home, where her next clear memory is of waking up on her couch and wondering where she had put that review she had written. A little while later it dawned on her that she had never written it at all, but only dreamed that she had. The next day, she attempted to pen an article about sexism on the internet and, in the process, she realized something: that there were more serious problems in world than parties, which deserved her attention.

It had been all too easy for the Alien to lose sight of this fact. She lived in an over-stressed society where serious matters were ruthlessly excised from most leisure activities, for fear that they might spoil the "fun". But the escapism of losing oneself in parties, music, the internet and so on, was a luxury that not everybody could afford. Harsh realities - like the systemic sexism she was currently trying to write about - posed insurmountable obstacles to freedom everywhere in the world. Everywhere except for here, in the West. People in the Western nations  - people like her - had the freedom and the resources to do something about the world's problems. But she was too hungover to think about any problems except the throbbing in her head, right now.

Later on that week, as she went about her business, the Alien realized that she wasn't the only one who was suffering from a hangover. Many of the people around her seemed to be living with come-downs brought on by other kinds of overindulgence, too. They worked too much, drank too much, ate too much, watched too much TV, spent too much time online... One way or another, they were as dulled by excess as she was. Like her, they were so focused on their own hangovers that they socialized less and were less concerned about their communities and environment than they once had been. Like her, they seemed vaguely uneasy about the world's problems, but were too hungover to leave their home comforts behind unless the world was actually coming to an end.

Even the politics of the Western nations also seemed to have been conceived during the throes of a torrid hangover. Their governments had devolved to the point where they merely policed their citizens “right” to be left alone by domestic and foreign concerns, so they could focus on nursing hangovers caused by doing too much, so they could afford to continue doing... too much. The Western view of the world had been simplified for people like her; it ignored the big problems precisely because people like her lacked the focus to deal with anything more demanding than a laptop or tv screen. Instead, it found ever more complex and totalitarian ways to defend itself from the wrath of the people, in the event that they should ever finally wake up - or sober up - and realize how many vital national duties were being neglected.

The Alien thought back to the days when she had possessed the finesse to pursue her egalitarian ideals - not despite techno parties but because of them. Thought about how they had connected her with other people who were doing important things... like feeding and housing the homeless and planting trees in abandoned lots and making safe spaces for bikes on the road. The same sort of things the government was meant to be doing, but wasn't. It was banking on its people being too drunk to notice that they were all just skiving off.
The underground techno scene - which let's face it, was just one in a long line of a scenes with similar traditions - had expected these parties to fulfill a functional role as well as a hedonistic one: forging unity over the course of a weekend that that could keep the scene's practical momentum going all week long to repair and develop the city that had largely been left to them.

 

Why wasn't it like that anymore?

Because, "Be better than everyone else, be more efficient than everyone else," the system said, churning out messages and trends faster and faster, and everybody followed this mantra without a second thought... even in the underground... because it didn't leave them time to think it. 

It dawned on the Alien that this full-on approach to life was the problem - not her, or the underground, or their shared ideals. The problem was that everybody in society (whether left-wing or right-wing, mainstream or underground) was doing too much of too much. Blindly following a template which equated success with excess.

If the underground was failing now, it was only because it had started taking pointers from the system instead of creating new pointers for itself. Its members were too busy trying to find a still space in which to think them up and, until they, they'd delegate... to the same people pushing them onward.  

In a society which approved of almost any excessive behaviour, the most underground thing that the Alien could do was to find something solid to ground it. The mantra of excess-for-success was bad for society, bad for the underground and bad for the planet. Society needed to take a break if any of the things that were wrong with the world were ever going to change. 

So, in the spirit of leading by example, the Alien has decided to take a break first.

See you next week and enjoy the weekend... but don't overdo it. The world needs you.


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Berlin, Germany
...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.