* 200 articles. Two years. Whelk. The best of Upsideclown. Might be reprinted.


13 December 2001
Look at Matt.

Look at me. Look at us. Look around. I'm awed. I'm struggling not to hug the people around me, to press my cold hands on their cheeks and swivel their head upwards, to force their eyes open. Look!

I'll begin again. I'll begin again.

Look at me. Look at everything we've made.

Let me tell you about: Computers.

About electrons in atoms and how they're like water, each solid a beaker filled to a different level. About how putting two beakers together makes the electrons pour between them, and by putting a third substance in there we can make tiny switches, half-empty, half-full, on or off, up or down, 1 or 0. The choice is yours!

About putting these little switches together so that if one is switched on, another switches off, and in combinations so we can make little tests: on and on, or off and off? Truth tables. Little questions and answers, a million or more in a space as big as your thumbnail.

About hooking these switches together to remember things. A list of things. A register of bits of information. About making the switches switch according to what is kept in the memory. Commands. Put anything in there you like. The choice is yours!

About making shortcuts to these commands. About joining the wires together to catch signals, to redirect them, to display on a screen. About all these levels.

About me pressing the key to end this sentence so that a keypress becomes an event becomes a sequence of commands about memory emptying and filling and being read; about cascading switches, a ripple across the fabric of the Pentium, a trillion yeses and a trillion nos spreading out; about electrons flowing like water; about this keypress becoming a torrent, a foam, a bubbling churning mass of electrons, dashing and falling; about this keypress


Let me tell you about: History.

And I say again: Look at us. Look at us! Humanity never left the savannah, we just extruded reality from our ears, made our dreams concrete and real, and the plains are hidden now, hidden under life.

We've been this intelligent for tens of thousands of years. The universe hasn't changed. We haven't changed. The environment has. Those things around us. That's our reality! That's what we've made! Be proud. There's only one of these realities, and we made it.

I've got no time to think about What If what we see isn't real; What If you don't really exist and it's all a dream; What If we're a computer simulation.

What? What? Didn't the computer teach you anything? We're keypresses. Who cares if it's electrons or mangos? What matters, what really matters is us. You and me. You in particular.

What If it is mangos, anyway?

I've got no time for that. Label an electron Love, and I'll talk to you. Point to where Tears are, in the fabric of Objective Reality, and maybe I'll give you the time of day. But until then: Enough of your What Ifs and check this out:


[Cue: The manufacture, the factories, the people, the ideas. The discovery of plastic. The thinking. Greek dualism. The struggle for science. The first word, spoken, tongue shaped in unfamiliar ways, a torrent of information, ons and offs, good and evil, love and tears through history: The baton of intelligence, grasping our way across the rugged hills of idea-space. The cascade of personalities, of drives, of agony that went to making the words, the concepts, the plastic, this key, this key that I press right now.

What If the first words were I Love You?]

And everything around us. Everything I see echoes with a million smiles, a million glances. You couldn't take anything away from this world. I need it all. And history! A thousand years hence a person will sit in this space I occupy, and I can feel my lifeline quiver. Looking at a building is like picking at a rug. The city! The lights!

I wallow here, surrounded by humanity.

Let me tell you about: Love.

I live off you, you live off me. I touch this key and there's energy there. We eat to live and there again there's a cascade. Eat, and feel the sun flow into the greenness of the earth, consumed and re-consumed, digested, looped, refined. I eat and the whole of nature telescoped into a mouthful enters me.

Look at the sun! I turn your head up and we complete a loop, feel the energy that has driven humanity for four billion years bounce off our skin. I turn around and I see the sun cover my fathers who built this city, bounce off the buildings, dark and light, bright and shadow.

And love: When me make love we can't label those electrons. I can't point to a single hair on your head that would encompass the way I feel about you. I hug you completely, hold as much of you as I can but I can't get all of you.

I come inside you, and there are ripples through history, I feel the Big Bang, the cosmic background tremble through me, a cascade of electrons, of ideas, of light and I can never hug them all. But I can try.

And those sperm racing towards the egg, to bring it to life: another waterfall in the eternal cascade. Millions of them.

But actually it's not that, I misunderstand. It's photons from the sun, tumbling towards earth, hurtling towards me, insistent on illuminating us, endowing our dreams with reality, photons pointed through space.

And I turn my head to the blue, blue sky. And that photon forged in nuclear fire, as cold as cold can be from the vacuum of space, I see it fly in the straightest of lines towards me.

And I open my mouth.

And I swallow.

And I'm fertilised.

And in my belly I can feel a new sun, blooming, ready to be born, inside of me.



This is the fucking archive

Current clown:

18 December 2003. George writes: This List

Most recent ten:

15 December 2003. Jamie writes: Seven Songs
11 December 2003. Dan writes: Spinning Jenny
8 December 2003. Victor writes: Rock Opera
4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
1 December 2003. George writes: Charm
27 November 2003. James writes: On Boxing
24 November 2003. Jamie writes: El Matador del Amor; Or, the Man who Killed Love
20 November 2003. Dan writes: Rights Management
17 November 2003. Victor writes: Walking on Yellow
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
(And alas we lost Neil, who last wrote Cockfosters)

Also by this clown:

4 December 2003. Matt writes: The Mirrored Spheres of Patagonia
13 November 2003. Matt writes: Disintermediation
23 October 2003. Matt writes: Topology
2 October 2003. Matt writes: Haunted
8 September 2003. Matt writes: The Gardener's Diary
21 August 2003. Matt writes: The Starling Variable
31 July 2003. Matt writes: Two stories
14 July 2003. Matt writes: What is real?
23 June 2003. Matt writes: Mapping and journeys
29 May 2003. Matt writes: Extelligence
5 May 2003. Matt writes: Religious experiences
17 April 2003. Matt writes: Seeing the Light
27 March 2003. Matt writes: Flowering
10 March 2003. Matt writes: Climax state
10 February 2003. Matt writes: The Role of Cooperation in Human Interaction
20 January 2003. Matt writes: The same old subroutine
2 January 2003. Matt writes: New beginnings
9 December 2002. Matt writes: Packet Loss
18 November 2002. Matt writes: Wonderland
31 October 2002. Matt writes: Having and losing
10 October 2002. Matt writes: Trees of Knowledge
19 September 2002. Matt writes: The online life of bigplaty47
29 August 2002. Matt writes: Divorce
8 August 2002. Matt writes: How to get exactly what you want
18 July 2002. Matt writes: Eleven Graceland endings
27 June 2002. Matt writes: Listopad, Prague 1989
3 June 2002. Matt writes: Engram bullets
6 May 2002. Matt writes: Sound advice
15 April 2002. Matt writes: How it all works: Cars
21 March 2002. Matt writes: Proceeding to the next stage
25 February 2002. Matt writes: Spam quartet
31 January 2002. Matt writes: Person to person
7 January 2002. Matt writes: All for the best
13 December 2001. Matt writes: Life
19 November 2001. Matt writes: Giving is better than receiving
25 October 2001. Matt writes: Ludo
1 October 2001. Matt writes: Gifts, contracts, and whispers
6 September 2001. Matt writes: The world is ending
13 August 2001. Matt writes: The Church of Mrs Bins
16 July 2001. Matt writes: Things I Don't Have
25 June 2001. Matt writes: Fighting the Good Fight
31 May 2001. Matt writes: Code dependency
7 May 2001. Matt writes: Up The Arse, Or Not At All
5 April 2001. Matt writes: The increasing nonlinearity of time
19 March 2001. Matt writes: Hit Me Baby, One More Time
22 February 2001. Matt writes: Space, Matter, Cities, Sausages
29 January 2001. Matt writes: Truth in Advertising
1 January 2001. Matt writes: Six predictions for tomorrow
7 December 2000. Matt writes: You must reach this line to ride
16 November 2000. Matt writes: The truth about the leopard
23 October 2000. Matt writes: Shopping mauls
28 September 2000. Matt writes: Heavy traffic on the road to Utopia
4 September 2000. Matt writes: Sixty worlds a minute
17 July 2000. Matt writes: You, Me, and Face-space

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