Exploring the forgotten worlds of Lazarou c. 2009

28 08 2012

Many moons ago when I was living a lonely time in the sub Arctic city of Leeds I would while away the night hours getting stoned and building a universe. Using a worldbuilding program called Astrosynthesis I populated a region of space in the neighbouring galaxy of the Large Magellanic Cloud with worlds, peoples and stories in a science fiction milieu of my own devising which had been developing in me since I was 10.

My grand dream was to create a “Google Earth” of this little bubble of adventure, horror and far out science fiction wizardry in the sibling galaxy to our own. It would something like the video game Frontier:Elite II, a game which stole part of my teenage years as a pilot of a starship in which I lived out Han Solo like fantasies of hoping from star system to star system.

As the nights went on I would let weed and the internet inspire new worlds and civilisations in  backdrop of an Atlantis like fallen civilisation which committed a terrible sin 10,000 years ago and saw all it’s posthuman wonders turn in on itself in an orgy of apocalyptic destruction. After the Fall the tattered remnants of the hubristic humans did battle with rogue AIs, subserviant biological playthings turning against their creators and anti-technological cults receeding back to simpler rustic lifestyles on decaying megastructures they no longer understand.

Into this drug fuelled space opera I thrust our descendants, a somewhat utopian (and smug) diverse collection of humans, aliens, enhanced animals and inscrutable AIs almost at the same level of magnificence as the original inhabitants of the Large Magellanic Cloud. This far off pocket of danger and mystery intrigues our descendants in the same way the darker and more violent corners of our world captivates the soft and plump minds of the “civilised” world.

But dark forces still move in the background to threaten the fun and adventure, things which are best left undisturbed are being prodded by the curious and thee greedy. Empires who are descended from the traumatised survivors of ten thousand years ago are either wary, affronted or openly hostile to the tourists from the “Great Spiral” and these upstarts have made homes on the abandoned, forbidden or sacred worlds at the haunted centre of their known universe.

I had largely forgotten the data files in the years since my time in Leeds, they had been kept safe on hard drives and discs but my creations had rescinded into the back corners of my mind. Re-awakening those memories now I find myself at the beguiling prospect of exploring the Cloud all over again and trying to piece together the worlds I had created under the inspiring influence of synthetic cannabis and Internet curiosities.

For example tonight I surprised myself with an asteroid habitat called “Rafael’s Rememberance” in the system of Vrsatu. My notes from years ago say it is a “Controversial habitat of Rafael Leonidas Trujillo clones and their Artist creators”
If memory serves then the “Artist creators” would be people from Earth, free to indulge their every whim in a post scarcity economy of a thousand years from now who bring back clones of celebrities from Terran history of every sort from Elvis to Hitler as some kind of biological artistic installation.

I have no idea who “Rafael Leonidas Trujillo” is though but a quick Google reveals he was a Latin American dictator from the mid 20th century. He was famous for bringing stability and prosperity to the Dominican Republic and for his shrewd nature but infamous for his violent oppression of dissent, occasionally invading nearby Haiti and for his sexual appetites involving any young maiden in his nation he so desired. Rather justly he met for a bloody end and now appears to have been revived on a rock 180,000 lights years from his former home as either some kind of living historical exhibit or an artistic investigation of power, injustice and decadence for conceited utopians to ponder over.
This is just one rock, in one star system of thousands which exist partly on my hard drive and partly in my head, now separated with enough time exploring all this again will bring up the surprises and delights that satisfy and inspire my dreams in a way no other space opera created by somebody else could quite manage.

Laz goes to the Olympic Closing Ceremony at Victoria Park

13 08 2012

So we’ve had our spectacle and you can tell from my whoops in the video it was all very impressive.

It was impossible not to be caught up in the ridiculous moment. While Russell Brand was up on the big screen cavorting around the stadium on his magic dream wagon drunken serfs whizzed over my head on the Boris Johnson zipline. It was a truly British spectacle, silly, slightly self deprecating and fun.

It is the Monday after the big party and the euphoria of the crowd and our Olympic successes have died down so now what?
The news is already reporting that the Olympics have done fuck all for the economy and it has cost each and every one of us £200 in a time when many of us are struggling to keep a roof over our head and food banks are just an everyday fact of life.

That’s right, the glitzy, shiny utopia of Britain (or should that be England) we’ve sold to the world can’t actually afford to feed itself were it not for charity and pity.

I, just as much as anyone felt a patriotic surge as our athletes did incredible things and won with humility and a grace that other countries seem to lack. Good for them, nobody can take that away from them.

But it’s a helluva lot of money to spend to “inspire” a generation to sporting excellence. £24 billion or thereabouts just to get a load of gold medals? I’m happy for the winners, really I am but it’s not like they’ve cured cancer, built homes for the homeless or even created great works of art that inspire generations.
It’s true, I’ve never really been a sporting person so perhaps sporting achievements are lost on me. To me I find the whole thing too abstract to see any real benefit to society from it and people will argue with me that not every achievement has to be so worthy.
Climbing a mountain or sailing around the world could be argued to be a similar kind of selfish achievement, as in few other people will benefit from the accomplishment. Yet I find those feats far more impressive than running a few seconds faster than everyone else down a track.
Perhaps I find feats of endeavour where it is Humanity versus Nature rather than pitting one person against another more rewarding because at least when you’ve climbed that summit or sailed that difficult voyage there isn’t someone in second place who feels like a failure.
Mind you, as a species we have a habit of making everything into a competition of winners and losers, so maybe it is in our firmware to behave like this (and is a good argument for updating that outdated biological firmware in my opinion!)

To come back to the original topic it is good that many of us feel proud to be British today, but when the Olympic hangover wears off and the vast gaps between the haves and the have nots become apparent again will we still feel proud, or just feel ever so slightly cheated?

How many of you reading this could actually afford to go see an Olympic event?
Did you feel included or just felt like you had to go along or be seen as an outsider? Did you feel like a citizen or a customer?

As a resident of London and one with barely a penny to rub together at the moment I can say I’ve not been to one single event, not been able to afford any of the overpriced crap forced on us and when I have turned up to free events have felt like cattle herded through high security cordons and afraid to step out of line for fear of being jumped by security guards, police officers and the army.

Just to get into Victoria Park last night we had to wait an hour in line not because it was too busy inside but because every single person had to be searched and their bags put through an expensive airport scanner to make sure we weren’t carrying in our own food and drink.

The more I look back at the past two weeks the more I feel confused and slightly taken for a ride.

What was it really all about?

How has my life been enriched by all this?

Were we all, as our American cousins put it “drinking the Kool-aid?”