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 logos – 2006 x 2838, 256 col .png edited in Gimp:
Wolverhampton Aqualung Society Manifesto
Official Motto: “Diving Everydayness.”
Modern life has been found wanting, to say the least. A singularly unexceptional and uninteresting existence, too often raised to the status of a paradise by the fawning-yet-yawning, complicit and willingly beguiled.
Founded or rather locally manifested in 1983, the Woverlung Aqualung Society represents strong active resistance to the intolerable tyranny of the mundane middle, via imaginative responses against ‘Terminal Boredom’ as well as the passive-aggressive avoidance of vulgar public celebrations of the ordinary, the obvious and the overlooked – 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 beige poverty):
- Tedious, dreary, uninteresting, unsophisticated – banal, bland, humdrum, lacklustre, monotonous, tiresome, unexciting, uninspiring, characterless
- Drab, 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 totally 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, W.A.S does not fetishize boredom; 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 ‘rediscovery of the sublime in daily minutiae’ or some B.S. appreciation of ‘the magic in the mundane’ but a rapid deconstruction of what it means to exist in a miniature cardboard diorama universe – where endless bus queues, dreary smalltalk, empty car parks, violent (synthetic lemony) disappointment and slightly stale Garibaldi biscuits hold sway over our naked emotions and barefoot dreaming.
But 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. Oh, and fuck Martin Parr.
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 island “Endland” 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, 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 W.A.S TV shows:
- Sean’s Show
- The Rise And Fall Of Reginald Perrin
- Sapphire And Steel
- Fred Dibnah
Movie wise, it’s:
- ‘Itch (Alexie Sayle, 4 Play, 1991)
- 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. Aqualung art by George Tooker. Favorite 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.
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
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 associations & philosophical affiliations
- Scarfolk Council
- Garibaldi biscuit
- Artist Mandy Payne
- British Rail Sandwich
- Not again! Wolverhampton named as one of UK’s most miserable cities
- Welcome to the World Off Naff (live from Chicken Aspic Towers)
- Fuck Martin Parr: Photography and the Cultural Ideology of Englishness
- Rentalism Photography
- Daily Arts Magazine: George Tooker
- Virtual Paintings Of Mundane Everyday Light (64 cols)
- Minor Literatures: ‘Reality is too important to be left to the realists’ – An interview with Tim Etchells, by Thom Cuell
- Sydney Review of Books – Low Theory: Andrew McCannon on McKenzie Wark
- Wikipedia: Hancock’s Half Hour
- Psychogeographic Review: Car Park Life by Gareth E Rees
- Liverpool Echo – Dismaland review: Taking a trip to Banksy’s bemusement park
// how to play big science