The New The New

Write a composition on one of the following subjects:

  1. Write a description of a voyage, real or imaginary, during which you were becalmed. Bring out the monotony and tedium of the experience.

  2. Write a story called: ‘Three’s company’.

  3. The problems of racial prejudice and how to solve them.

  4. Drugs

  5. Must we bury ourselves in our own rubbish? You might deal with pollution, disposal of waste, litter and disappointment of town and countryside.

  6. ‘Pop’ singers.

  7. The persistent disadvantages of being a woman.

  8. The good and bad effects of speed.

This fridge in this hospital ward and inside it...what is it? Oh the congealed curry? It’s a congealed curry. Yes, it is very very funny. You're right! No, ok. It’s a big no-no. A REALLY big no-no. I worked in pathology for seven years and a lot of the lab fridges are just the same type as ordinary kitchen fridges. Little under-the-counter iceboxes, yeah with a place to put your eggs but instead they’re full of routine specimens, full of white-topped universals, full of sputums, bronchial washes, voided urine, pleural fluid, peritoneal washings, pericardial fluids (I worked in fluids), synovials, fine needle aspirations, cerebral spinal fluids (weak and built-up with albumen). More white-topped universals containing haematuria stained urine – pink, red or cola-coloured urine. I was saying. I was saying only last weekend that I liked your solo exhibition of paintings with Hawaii-blue waves. The Chinese tourists are here these past few decades and the world's biggest illegal outdoor rave will be broken up. The Chinese men and women running away from police and underneath Michael Stipe (Track 3 of ‘Murmur’). It’s like a re-enactment. A re-re-enactment. Footage of this? Footage. What people used to think of as a determination of reality. What happened? Chicken fucker. You chicken fucker. Chickenfucker. Chicken fucker. You're for it. Wrestle me you fucker, chicken fucker, he said. I didn’t like his tone. An encampment of buses near to where I grew up. Following the convoy. It became known as the convoy. The police descended and began. Men, women and children led away shivering, swearing, crying, bleeding. Such an irrational number. They turned everyone against each other. They turned everyone against each other but it wasn't. It wasn't difficult. When I was young I espoused what they would call a philosophy. Standing in a field of poppies as tall as her shoulders. Standing relatively close. Mistakes I've made. Oh yes. Fuck head. You've got a weak head if this is your recent body. If this is your recent body of work. This is what you do? You feel it's a race? Yes? It's not a race. It’s just doing activities but then they rearrange the furniture and they don’t empty the ashtray of cigarette butts but instead they fill the ashtrays with real cigarette butts and they don’t even. They don’t even smoke. All inspired by childhood memories. Which we do care about.


“So while neuroscientists struggle to understand how there can ever be such a thing as a first-person reality, quantum physicists have to grapple with the mystery of how there can be anything but a first-person reality.”

Amanda Gefter, ‘The Case Against Reality’, The Atlantic, 2016

“I think I’m dumb. Maybe just happy. Think I’m just happy”

Nirvana, ‘Dumb’, 1993

It's gonna be unreal she says. You guys are definitely unreal. We'll try and give em something they won't forget says Journey in her calm Cork burr. She's using her Irish accent. This is the one she picked up in Little Ireland. She continues, "1993 was a blank cheque and we wrote on it".

Cigarette Girl watches Journey on the screen. Journey has made a viral video and now she is saying these things on the video soundtrack. Cigarette Girl tries to think of words to describe Journey and chooses bellicose and pugnacious. She is happy with these words. Girl at End is in the background composing hardcore industrial lullabies of the heart. James is in the foreground. He tries to appear glum and disheveled but he can't help but look rich. He won't be allowed in with the cool working class people tonight. Journey cuts away from the two of them and starts a montage sequence. She soundtracks it with a song by Rollerskate Skinny.

Journey uses a VHS video style transition that is supposed to be like 'Who taped over my video?' and now it's the 80s and it's skinny ties and it's wraparound sunglasses and it's Jane Wiedlin and Cigarette Girl thinks they should have made a TV show about the Go-Go's like they made one about The Monkees. There could be an episode about when Billy Joel hit on Charlotte.

Boom comes in and hands a coffee to Cigarette Girl. She takes it awkwardly, nearly dropping her phone, the video goes from landscape to portrait and then landscape again as she steadies herself. She tries to angle it so Boom can see. Boom is non-committal. He's loosened up though these days. Nowadays Boom will admit to being slightly influenced by The Velvet Underground but generally he's known to be very taciturn about what influences him.

"That's an international lie", says video Journey as the real Journey comes up behind. Cigarette Girl and knocks her gently in the back sending her coffee into the turmoil. She speaks in her normal accent now. Her voice emerges as a polite, soul-coated techno beat, "Where's my coffee" she says to Boom.


[Time allowed: 1 hour]

1. Write a composition on one of the following subjects:

  1. Interesting neighbours

  2. Various forms of prejudice

  3. Imagine that you are an American, accustomed to baseball or American football, and describe the first game of cricket or football that you went to see soon after arriving in England.

  4. You are confined to your house or your bedroom or a hospital bed. You hear outside the noise of some activity that you would like to join but cannot. Describe your feelings.

  5. The wedding of one of the members of your family.

  6. Pony-trekking.

Superheaven is the cavernous vanity project bar that belongs to Girl at End's secret girlfriend. Girl at End is walking carefully along a brick wall outside with arms outstretched teetering on an imaginary high-wire, her shoes teetering out of sync with her in her hand. Hers is a present time.

Back at the ranch, Nino looks up bleary eyed from his work crafting deluxe-edition prize-winning drum machines for the next generation and it's been ten years. He pens careful narratives for each preset sequence. This one is based on his sister running through a forest with a girl he once dated, it consists of a snare and kick drum, 16th note hi-hats and some ghost snares added for extra freak.

Journey had gone to have her head x-rayed so they could see her depression. She goes in for all this medical cinematography jive. She thinks this is where the promised land lies - floating hotels, revolving restaurants.

Elsewhere, Dad comes in and spins on his heel and goes 'Woo!'

He’s trying to make himself feel young. More and more, he feels Journey is becoming like one of those Japanese girls in silver helmets who nod streams of visitors into the Palace of Electricity. He wonders if everything he is doing is wrong and if Journey has been right all along. It’s like he’s still absorbed in the arcane mysteries of John McEnroe's service game whilst she plugs away at the future.


Bandits’ deaths:

  1. Make the bandits seem less admirable.

  2. Are often caused by cowardly treachery.

  3. Raise the reputation of the police with the local people.

  4. Destroy the legend of bandits’ invincibility.

  5. Effectively end a protest movement.

Birdman is the sensationalist twilight world of the homosexual as re-imagined by the News of the World circa 1972. Salacious homosexual murder scenes in Notting Hill, in Islington! Norman, 38, a muscle man with a background of Civil Service respectability meet Alan, 23, a slim pretty boy with a weak chest and theatrical ambitions. Birdman lived in a bedsit with ‘She’s Leaving Home’ girl. Her name is Teresa.

She, Terry, that’s better and he Alan, are two of the gravest ills to afflict modern society. Sat in their L-Shaped rooms with their two-bar fires and unashamed of their crimes against society, they represent the covert activities of a tiny minority.

“It's the atomic age, for christsakes! If we must have jukeboxes, why can't they be supplied with good Communist music”, Terri shrieks because people expect Terri to shriek. It's Sunday evening, the day after the best financial day for jukeboxes nationwide. Friday is second-best.