7” (sort of)
None Records, 2014
When Sandy Denny wrote the song “Who Knows Where the Time Goes?” she wrote the line “I have no thought of time,” and also in the beginning of Easy Rider Peter Fonda throws his watch away to prove that he’s hip to time. Stephen Hawking wrote a book about the history of time, and I read that book but I remember almost nothing about it other than the fact that he can’t understand why, given the way that time works, we can know so much about the past but nothing about the future. Philosophers love to talk and talk, and then write and write, about time as one of the principal modes of experience (the other is space, I think?), and David Bowie frames time as a thing that will take a cigarette and put it in your mouth.
But in a different song Bowie says that time is someone who, while waiting in the wings “speaks of senseless things,” and that starts to hint at Alfred Jarry’s assertion that “discussing comprehensible matters only weighs down the mind and distorts the memory, while absurdities exercise the spirit and make the memory work all the harder,” which gets us closer to what we should be discussing, which is that in the mail yesterday I got a clock from GX Jupitter-Larsen, who has made many amazing things between recording and performing as The Haters but also produced strange objects like rulers that don’t work and buttons with no image, etc. This clock, which is called Shear, is a piece of paper that comes in a sleeve that might indicate that it’s a 7” record, but if you take all the stuff out of the sleeve you find that there’s no record at all. Nope. Nothing to listen to. And, there aren’t even hands on this clock. It’s just numbers on a piece of paper. And on the back there are instructions, but they just tell you that you can squeeze the clock to watch it, and who’s going to do that? It also bears a stamp informing the time-teller that it’s not valid on Kettleday, and since Kettleday, insofar as Jupitter-Larsen has defined it is a period between other periods of time, we can go back to Jarry because it’s a pataphysical method of clock-making and clock-looking, since, as Jarry says “pataphysics is the science of imaginary solutions, which symbolically attributes the properties of objects described by their virtuality, to their lineaments.”
The character Austerlitz of W.G. Sebald’s book Austerlitz says, “I have never owned a clock of any kind, a bedside alarm or a pocket watch, let alone a wristwatch. A clock has always struck me as something ridiculous, a thoroughly mendacious object, perhaps because I have resisted the power of time out of some internal compulsion which I myself have never understood, keeping myself apart from the so-called current events in the hope, as I now think, said Austerlitz, that time will not pass away, has not passed away, that I can turn back and go behind it, and there I shall find everything as it once was, or more precisely I shall find that all moments of time have co-existed simultaneously, in which case none of what history tells us would be true, past events have not yet occurred but are waiting to do so at the moment when we think of them, although that, of course, opens up the bleak prospect of everlasting misery and neverending anguish.” So what do we make of clocks if all that might be true?
Alfred Jarry also liked to ride bicycles, and those have wheels, which is how they move, and wheels turn in circles, going round and round, which is what the wheels on Peter Fonda’s motorcycle do in Easy Rider and also what clock hands are supposed to do on normal clocks. But like I said, this clock has no hands so even though it’s a clock it’s not really a clock! And Jupitter-Larsen’s ahead of this game since The Haters’ Tractor, which is a record which is an object that spins around like the gears of a clock or any sort of wheel or any celestial body in orbit, is a thing you play forwards on one side and then backwards on the other (the needle moves from the inside out), and that’s like knowing already that time itself is a malleable field, which is sort of what Hawking says in that book I can’t remember any of. And if you don’t pay attention, the second side of Tractor might ruin your turntable because when it’s done the needle will just fall off the edge of the record and crush itself on the table part of your turntable, the way that Guy Debord and Asger Jorn’s book that they covered in sandpaper will ruin your other books if you file it on your bookshelf. You’ve got to be careful!
One of the things about things is that they can’t really want anything because they’re just things, and so if time is a thing it can’t really be trying to do anything because if things don’t want anything they can’t try to do anything so maybe time is actually not that much of a thing and if it’s not a thing you can’t make a clock out of it or confine it in a way that makes you feel better about yourself the way you might try to make every other thing make you feel better about yourself.
“Nothing” has the word has “thing” in it as part of it so things are part of nothing even though “nothing” means that there are no things. So who’s really to say what the crux of this whole thing is? Some things are things, but other things aren’t really things and this clock is a thing that isn’t really a thing and that’s what makes it fun. Also think about how the word “someone” has “one” in it, and “one” means a single thing, but “someone” could mean many people, and the word “anyone” also has “one” in it but that word means that the concept of “many people” can ultimately manifest itself singularly. Take that and shove it up whichever hole you like, since “hole” is simply an absence surrounded by things.
And if you think I’m rather obviously ripping off another writer’s style here I might remind you that GX Jupitter-Larsen himself has a record called Rip-Off, but it’s not a full-length record, it’s a 7” (like this clock is sort of, but not really) with The New Blockaders and John Wiese that’s the sound of paper getting ripped up, and also if you have a problem with ownership, I’d argue that no one owns anything, since anything (as the mystics taught us) is everything, and if you still have a problem with that I’d encourage you to stick it where the sun don’t shine, which, as it happens, is nowhere, since the sun kind of shines everywhere, and even the places we think it doesn’t really “shine” are places that it shines because if you’ve made it this far and still have a problem, your definition of “shine,” much like your definition of “time,” must be rather limited.
And since “shine” isn’t really a thing either but rather is something that things do, what is the thing that makes the sun (which is what we’re talking about now) shine? If it’s fire (which is really what makes most things shine in one way or another), it’s the release of energy that’s been stored up by things (like wood or paper [which is made from wood]) from being shone upon by the sun and released when a certain temperature is reached. And here Jupitter-Larsen has us beat again, since he has a record called Fire which is another 7” which is just the sound of some fire burning. And that record is different from the record called In the Shade of Fire, which is a full length LP with many different sounds on it, sometimes at the same time.
Good night, thanks for nothing, nobody cares, everything’s fine, where do we go now, what’s next, who cares, what’s the point, maybe there’s a lot of points?
What a great clock this is!
Here are some of the things that rhyme with “shear”:
Tear (like from your eyes when you’re sad or laughing too much)
Mirror (if you make it one syllable)
Air (kind of)
Vitrine (doesn’t rhyme)
and, of course, rear.