Diving Everydayness: Wolverhampton Aqualung Society

RND/ To imagine informally joining the ‘Wolverhampton Aqualung Society’:

Another cigarette, another day
From A to B, again avoiding C, D, and E
– Wire, The Lowdown (Pink Flag, 1977 Harvest Records)

Official W.A.S. logos – 2006 x 2838, 64 col .png

Wolverhampton Aqualung Society LOGO

Wolverhampton Aqualung Society Manifesto

Official Motto: “Diving Everydayness.”

Modern existence (/in England aka ‘Endland’, ‘Ukania’, ‘Dismaland’) has been found wanting, to say the least. Singularly unexceptional and disturbingly uninteresting, too often raised to the status of a paradise by the fawning-yet-yawning, complicit and willingly beguiled – that is, by the Conservative.

Founded or rather locally manifested in 1983, the Wolverhampton Aqualung Society represents strong active resistance to the intolerable tyranny of the mundane English Middle, via imaginative responses against ‘Terminal Boredom’ as well as the passive-aggressive avoidance of vulgar public celebrations of the Ordinary and Obvious. Of subjects (such as Existence) often correctly considered trivial and pointless – that, when clearly examined reveal themselves as they in fact are, in all their pathetic beige poverty:

  • Tedious, dreary, uninteresting, unsophisticated – banal, bland, humdrum, lacklustre, monotonous, tiresome, unexciting, uninspiring, characterless, affectless, rab, insipid, ponderous, slow, glaciated, tiring, uninspired, unremarkable, vapid, wearisome, dry, flat, heavy yet weightless – nondescript, pedestrian, soulless, spiritless, tired, trying, uneventful, wearying, jaded – lame, mechanical, sterile, unalluring, weariful, mind-numbing, run-of-the-mill, without excitement or genuine interest – routine, quotidian, commonplace, utterly normalized and zombified

In short, absurd – incomplete and often monstrously useless. Depthless, dismal and deserted.

There’s also just the crummy, generic realities that aren’t special in any way, that are sort of random. They’re infinitely removed from nothingness, but they fall infinitely short of complete fullness. They’re a mixture of chaos and order, of mathematical elegance and ugliness. So I would describe these realities as an infinite, mediocre, incomplete mess, a generic reality, a kind of cosmic junk shot.
– Jim Holt, Ted Talk: “Why does the world exist?”

However, unlike other ‘R&D’ crews the W.A.S does not fetishize boredom. We are not bedazzled by the extra ordinary. We do not infuse tales of ‘the miracle of everyday existence’ with elegiac profundity; rather, we strive to continually demystify the violent dullness of modern, synthetic “Daily (so-called) Life” – the ‘Woolworths value brand of reality’. Ours is not the pathetic ‘rediscovery of the sublime in daily minutiae’, or some bullshit appreciation of ‘the magic in the mundane’ but a rapid deconstruction of what it means to (barely) exist in a miniature cardboard diorama universe, a mere bagatelle of frippery and small beer trifles – where endless bus queues, dreary small talk, empty car parks, violent (synthetic lemony) disappointment and slightly stale Garibaldi biscuits hold sway over our naked emotions and barefoot dreaming. An entire reality comprised of “Celebrity golfing anecdotes.”

No more. For members of the W.A.S ‘live’ (and are still yet to live) in the woefully inadequate “World Of Naff” (specifically within the vast sprawling confines of the ‘Chicken Aspic Towers’) and always ready to dive past our meager given lot in irregular, wayward fashion. We make explicit the arcane and habituated condition of ‘everydayness’, in order that we may dive right past its constraints. Fuck Martin Parr. Members of the W.A.S do not clap; we’re not performing seals.

W.A.S Factoids

The book closes and we try to forget
But I know that things won’t change
How we feel, how life goes on
And that seems so strange
– Phil ‘ubiquity’ Collins, Everyday

The key existential watchword of the W.A.S is “Naff.” As well as the recently undated one-word entry in The Hitchhiker’s Guide for the backwater Brexit island it implies all that is cheap and ‘crap’ – as deficient, faulty, incompetent, lacking, scarce, sketchy, weak, depleted, dry, feeble, inapt, insubstantial, lame, small, sterile, thin – poorly formed, defective, makeshift, ramshackle, rickety, tawdry, shoddy and jerry-rigged.

The unofficial W.A.S icon symbolizing their approach that of “A slightly damp 1970’s British Railway Sandwich being tossed into a nearby bin with mindful intent after a single distasteful bite.”

Quintessential TV shows for the W.A.S:

  • Sean’s Show
  • Father Ted
  • Shelly
  • The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin
  • Bergerac
  • Sapphire And Steel
  • Minder
  • Fred Dibnah

Movie wise, it’s:

  • ‘Itch (Alexie Sayle, 4 Play, 1991)
  • Conquest Of The South Pole (1989)
  • The Man Who Sleeps (1974)
  • Weekend (1967)
  • 2 or 3 Things I Know About Her (1967)
  • The Bed Sitting Room (1969)
  • The Rebel (1961)
  • The Desert of the Tartars (1976)
  • Withnail And I (1987)
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead (1990)
  • Napoleon Dynamite (2004)

The spiritual literary hero of the W.A.S is author Magnus Mills. It’s existential anti-hero is Mark E. Smith of band The Fall. Aqualung art by George Tooker. Favourite food: New low fat spreadable “Soren” – combines Angst, Ennui and Weltschmerz with semi fresh Acedia and non-organic Aboulia to provide a gritty, stale taste.

W.A.S O.E.S (Original Existential Soundtrack)

Original existential soundtrack for the Wolverhampton Aqualung Society:

  • Corduroy – The Wedding Present
  • Louie, Louie – by The Kingsmen
  • Why Aye Man – Mark Knopfler
  • Everyday Is Like Sunday – Morrissey
  • Nothing Ever Happens – Del Amitri
  • Patience of Angels – Eddi Reader
  • Time Stand Still – Rush
  • Making Plans For Nigel -XTC
  • It’s My Life – Talk Talk
  • Mas Que Nada – Sergio Mendes
  • Ghost Town – The Specials
  • Paris, Texas – Ry Cooder
  • Another Green World – Brian Eno
  • Love On A Real Train – Tangerine Dream
  • Halcyon On and On – Orbital
  • Restless Natives OST – Big Country
  • Time – Pink Floyd

Wanking away the moments that make up a dull day in the North of Endland
Listening to Pink Floyd “Time” in my encrypted ear-beads
Education fritters and wastes my hours in an offhand way
Kicking someone around on a piece of ground in a crap town
Waiting for some weird thing to show you the way – sucker

“Tired of lying in the artificial sunshine – go back home to watch the data
We were never young – but Life is endless, so Time must be killed today
But then one day (ie. now) we find ten buckets of tears have fallen behind
No one told us when to stop running nowhere – we’re self-starting guns
So we run to catch up with the sun but it’s always bloody there, fool
Racing around to come up behind us again
The sun is the same (in a relative way) but we’re always old
While we still think in the same way
Short of breath and always one day closer to Life
“One step at a time, Martin”

In Endland’s dreaming every year is getting shorter due to recent cutbacks
Nobody ever seems to find the time to rebel
Plans that either come to nought or half a page of scribbled lies
Hanging on in quiet desperation truly is the Endlish way
Their time is gone, the old songs are thankfully over
Thought I’d something more to say? – Shit I’ve barely begun, mother.

What I strive for, is to be excited about brushing your teeth, or, you know, all the crap you have to do in life like, cos’ it’s your life
Richard Linklater, On Patience

Gee, thanks Rich for such utterly useless sediment. Coming soon via W.A.S member Robert What: a mashup of Guy Debord’s Society Of The Spectacle (in plain English) and The Revolution of Everyday Life by Raoul Vaneigem.

W.A.S conceptual associations & philosophical affiliations

// how to play big science