Joe Jackson and Jamais Cascio Vs The Collapsitarians

"The end of all things is near."

On the (27 hour) plane ride back from New Zealand, I watched a lot of movies, some unremarkable – some wonderful. Watching Happy-Go-Lucky was painful for some reasons, and beautiful for others – but it definately hit me with the pink laserbeam between the eyes.

Watching classics like The Apartment and Manhattan made me wonder at the romances we’d write about some cities, and Slumdog Millionaire bizarrely seemed like a continuation of that: a romance of the maximum-city.

But, beside that – everytime a movie finished, the entertainment system reset to it’s main menu, with one of those airline entertainment system pseudo-radio stations playing on a loop.

And I hit the same point in the loop everytime.

And at that point in the loop played the same song everytime.

The song was a romance of the city.

A romance of electricity and colour and life and density of opportunity.

Electricity so fine
Look and dry your eyes

The song was “Stepping Out” by Joe Jackson.

Go and listen.

Watch.

I’ll stay put.

In recent months I’ve definitely fallen into a Collapsitarian rut of sorts.

A comprehensive map of all possible human futures

We -
Are young but getting old before our time

This won’t do.

As Jamais Cascio says, quoting Evelin Lindner:

“Pessimism is a luxury of good times. In difficult times, pessimism is a
self-fulfilling, self-inflicted death sentence.”

The wave of stuff coming down the lightcone is for sure a Danmaku-like bullet-curtain of environmental, societal and technical challenges, but I like Danmaku!

That’s where the action is, where the flow is felt, and where design wrangling of the sweetest kind can be done.

So, more wrangling, less hand-wringing.

Big bets should be made.

Happy-gets-lucky!

It took at 27 hour flight to realise that 27 years ago in 1982, Joe Jackson knew this and planted a time capsule into culture to help me with 2009.

It’s The Anti-Collapsitarian Anthem.

We -
So tired of all the darkness in our lives
With no more angry words to say
Can come alive
Get into a car and drive
To the other side

That’s some foresight, right there. So if you are feeling a little collapsitarian, try stepping out.

You -
Can dress in pink and blue just like a child
And in a yellow taxi turn to me and smile
We’ll be there in just a while
If you follow me

Thanks Joe.

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6 comments
  1. AG said:

    I take it that’s a fuel-cell car he’s talking about, then?

  2. Lane said:

    Hey. I used to like that song – still do now you’ve reminded me. Wonder if Joe would want to leave new media behind too?

  3. mattlocke said:

    best use of chime bars in a song ever. chime bars are happiness incarnate, which is why you get to play them in school, and then you’ve never let near them ever again afterwards – they’re deemed too ‘childish’.

    MORE CHIME BARS!!!

  4. Sally J. said:

    This album helped me survive high school (class of ’86) and that is no lie. Do kids these days know that Mr. Jackson bothered to name one side night and the other day? There’s no mp3 equivalent of that.

    @mattlocke, I’ve always thought of those notes as some kind of magic happy button… thanks for teaching me the term for it. I figured there would be one. Now if you can just tell me what to call the chord progression in Hateful by The Clash. It’s these sad minor notes staggered in such a way that it sounds hopeful somehow. wtf?

    Thanks for the time travel. Delicious and much needed.

    -Sally J.
    The Practical Archivist

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