Fascist Groove Thang

After all, it was not the silly season.


It was only the season in which people try to launch new obnoxious products while they imagine you’re taking a nap under the Apple trip, I mean, tree.

I know the issue is old, but this thang that appeared in The Guardian in the UK last June (and which I found via Fantastic Journal), has finally extracted me from my self-appointed blogolidays and has made me reopen the shooting season…


And no, this is not about tourism (like this stencil I captured in Firenze) – even if everything nowadays is ultimately about tourism.

The thang had already caused a stir on Tweety Land… But, since I’m still amazingly refusing tweetification, I don’t precisely know what kind of stir it caused over there…

But hopefully it caused a very chilly stir and right down your speine. I mean, I think this thang really deserves a little bit more reflection than just a few exclamations like “grooovy” or “what are these guys thinking about?”.

Remember Heaven 17’s discreet hit “(We don’t need that) Fascist Groove thang”? This is your background song for this post. Do take 5 secs to put it on.

Now, we all knew already that Little Britain had this Royal with an opinion on architecture. Good for him.

But now, suddenly, in what used to be a slightly leftist newspaper, you are also able to enjoy the Gentrification Machine, as Charles Holland aptly calls it.

And the Gentrification Machine is, no more, no less, than a pedagogical gadget (or should I say “apparatus”?) that teaches you how to recognize city aesthetics, just in case you are suffering from a minor case of urban amnesia.

This machine doesn’t exactly work like Alain de Botton, but almost.

You’ve seen it by now: hit the bottons (whoops!) and blissfully rediscover what everybody mement-o-fully forgot after they last visited World War 2. And, of course, everywhere aroud the thingy there are the little cues telling you what is aesthetically-correct and not, just in case your are too stupid to be sure about it.

There is only a final button missing. And that would be the one that turns people on and off.

I mean, what do you have left to do after you’ve done your little plastic surgery on the neighborhood (“Honey, sure you didn’t forget about the backyard?!”)? Inevitably, you also have to gas the people who strangely stopped fitting in the nicer scheme of things.

When the self-appointed creative elite in Europe is playing these childish games, it is no wonder that the wondrous continent is being left behind within the larger scheme of thangs – so as to become “the largest theme park on the world.”

Ballard didn’t get the picture exactly right, though.

He almost did, yep, and it is true that his hedonistic theme park in the homonymous story –which, incidentally, appeared in the very same newspaper as the thang, The Guardian, in July 7, 1989– is now more acute than it ever was… See Lemonade, and just imagine what all the “creatively” unemployed could be doing for this very pleasant Summer.

The fact is, after a tiresome and hazardous life, Ballard did love his suburbs, and maybe he couldn’t really face up to the fact that the theme park of the future wasn’t happening in shinny happy, hyper-hyped and coked-up Super-Cannes. Rather, it was about to happen right by his front lawn.

One response to “Fascist Groove Thang

  1. hey pedro,
    well… i confess the gentrification thang has a porno quality i actually tend to enjoy (it undresses the city doesn’t it?…). no, i’m joking!
    i’m not so sure about ballard really “loving” his suburbs (it’s a bit of a “too much” verb, ain’t it?) rather than other places. actually i think he situated the theme park in both super-cannes and his/our frontlawn(s) (cf. his last novel Kingdom Come)…
    one thing is sure, a guy like ballard who never dusted his furniture would be appaled by the thang, at least until he made it a theme thang for a new book (or another wank)!

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