THE AFTERPARTY : RUM, PORN & SHIT POOLS
Our friends JOE COPPLESTONE and CRAIG BALLINGER were there.
By JOE COPPLESTONE // read CRAIG BALLINGER's piece
The guy dressed like a banker talks like one too and he talks about Ayahuasca, and they’ve all taken it and yes the 21st Century is in full swing around us. I lean over the balcony and let ash flutter towards the couples sucking at oysters. We’re a stone’s throw from where William Blake was born yet the architecture sings with anti-poetic modernism, glass and sandy stone and more glass trimmed in steel, the kind with that matt finish that re-assures us that we live in a post scarcity world; we no longer have to dart our eyes in search of shiny shinies. There’s MC’s and models and filmmakers and photographers and models and artists and models and muscians and models and fluffers and models and we’re all crammed onto the balcony drowning ourselves in the free Sailor Jerry, posing for photographs because today is the day when we finally won at Brain Wash. We finally got free booze.
My face is half-yellow around my chin and I’m quickly bored of explaining that I ran into a bottle thrown by a football hooligan (my assumption from his technique) last Friday and no one is drunk enough to want to hear me talk about the Slavoj Zizek book I’m reading and the films haven’t started yet. I finish my drink and pour some more weaving through the crowd and leafing through the Anais Nin book in the basket on the shelf behind the Australian with the barrel chest. I spent my last week in Berlin reading Anais Nin’s erotica. I’ve always been fascinated by erotic fiction; in fact I learnt more about sex as a teenager from my mum’s vampire novels (vampire novels are erotica almost entirely) than from any other source and the idea that women in particular find language more erotic than images has always gripped me, if only I didn’t feel like a cunt talking dirty. Anyway the book has photos of her and Henry Miller and she’s almost fit but not quite, but her writing’s good and I think if I’d had been in Paris in the thirties I’d have tried to fuck her after arguing politics with Ezra and get pummelled in the ring by Earnest. There will never be another Paris in the thirties, or Berlin in the nineties or New York in the late seventies or San Fransciso in the sixties. Well, there will be but it won’t be white and western and I won’t fit in.
Anyway the films play and I’ve seen them before because I watched them in Berlin while reading the Anais Nin book and thinking about sex on the U-bahn next to that Dalston (Shoreditch is so last year) hipster who insisted on accidentally rubbing my leg and making me feel uncomfortable because she was on drugs and I wasn’t. I was just bored and trying to find my friend Max who begs on the trains. Anyway the filmmaker was there and I stood behind him for a bit and he watched all the films politely while everyone else got drunker and drunker and started to talk about the afterparty. A girl had apparently ordered a swimming pool but I doubted it would get pumped up before everyone got locked in the buzzing static holes and those conversations that work like communal re-writes finding themselves flung around the room gradually forming into something for two people to share in locked blocked pupils like an pearl in an oyster.
The tube was fun and I ended up with some black stuff on my face and very soon we were in the house and people I’d seen earlier were being sick and eventually there had been a crossover of people. Craig was there and he kept saying ‘chunder’ which apparently means to vomit, but in Birmingham means to bob along, as in to chunder through or chunder along, and I couldn’t get this thought out my head for at least an hour by which time there was a ketamine courting dance going on in the living room and the stairs and cries of “commissioner” could be heard but not traced to any one person or any logical source. There were Americans who came and went but the time was non-linear by this point and the whole house had unfolded itself onto one floor, the stairs becoming a line of upwards standing blocks which tripped people up and made the walls giggle. The house was against us, that much was for certain.
Craig went to investigate the malice of the architecture and returned with a Red Stripe for me and he wrote down some things I said then left again and for a long time I sat and thought about Shutter Island or maybe I talked about it. Either way Craig didn’t return or did or I passed out or didn’t… I woke up to the face of Al with his pants pulled over his face like a blindfold. Anyone who doesn’t understand the logic of this action needs to go and drink and take drugs until they are unconscious and then let the sun light wake them up. Just try it. I was without a blindfold and suffering. Even the weak sun of the English summer was enough to send sparks skanking around my cranium and felt the unmistakable shiver and burn of a bubbling pit of hot spirits in my stomach waiting for the orifice and angle to escape. My mindflash cracks on images of the night before, black and white polaroids and ghost phrases, “commissioner” and the echo of my lips slapping “I’m an enabler” spiralling in my head.
I crawl into bed next to my friend, a thoroughly post modern filmmaker. A couple of years ago he used to keep me up ranting about Tarkovsky and Lynch and imagining an Artaudian cinema, The Cinema Of Pain. Now we both creak around the bed having made it closer to central London on the back of some OK films that did more walking than we ever expected, far from those idealistic and sleepless nights in the suburb of Harrow. We turn to film as the medium of our rejuvenation, but we don’t turn to the old masters Lynch and Tarkovsky. Even Korine and Von Trier are dusty DVDs on the shelves, our hard drives filled to bursting point with feelgood American comedies, the most purified opiate the commodified market over-the-ocean network television has to offer. We turn to Party Down.
To paraphrase Wilde, Party Down is the perfect type of the perfect pleasure, it is exquisite but always leaves one unsatisfied. With every episode my stomach and mind regain their strength; the dry sarcasm, the formulaic beauty of it enriching my bloodstream. I once read a book about a mathematician while holed up on a farm in the south of Spain. The book spoke of the elegance of ‘simple proofs’ and the formulaic beauty of Party Down is surely one of the most elegant and simple proofs of the vitality and necessity of art. I declare today the catharsis and cleansing of Artaud’s ‘Theatre of Cruelty’ be damned! For we are once again in a depression and as any student of media history knows the use of art is modified by the mitigating factors of cultural situation and as Paris of the thirties rejected Artaud’s ideas while Hollywood embraced the musical to help ease the pain, today we need only one thing, A THIRD SERIES OF PARTY DOWN!