COVID-19 Diary: Silence is Impossible

In this edition of my COVID-19 Diaries I question the possibility of silence, design the sound of our resign, and pay attention to deliveries.

 

29th March 2020: 

‘… when you’re buying books, you’re optimistically thinking you’re buying the time to read them.’
― Arthur Schopenhauer

Bought time. COVID-19 is the gift that keeps on giving. All the deadlines have been extended. Tax returns, application dates, returns and special offers. If you weren’t a procrastinator before, you’ll be a convert to the bliss of delay now. Wait long enough and you’ll be afforded an alleviation. Like those clocks that were an hour behind before, overdue tasks that sat undone long enough to come back around nothing wrong.

Where does this sense come from that time as been protracted? Where there were not enough hours in a day before now stand an infinity of days, weeks, months(?). How long we will be here we do not know. The unknowing is the infinite. The ongoing. ‘I’m taking an extended break’ is what they say in offices. Code for a longer-than-usual holiday. Or for when somebody doesn’t know they’ve been fired.

‘We may still have time
We might still get by
Every time I think about it I wanna cry’
– Crazy on You, Heart

The coronavirus has fired us all. In more ways than one.

 

1st April 2020:

‘It’s now inevitable: capitalism is entering an irremediable phase of stagnation. A revolution without subjectivity, purely implosive? Not really a revolution because this is a revolt of passivity, of resignation. Resign.

All of a sudden this looks like an ultra-subversive slogan. Enough with unnecessary agitation that should improve something and instead only produced a deterioration in quality of life. Literally: there is nothing more to do. So let’s not do it…

… the antennas received different signals, now: resignation, reduction of energy, there is no more traffic, students have disappeared from Bologna, travel agencies delete entire regions from the map, schools are closed, cinemas are closed, fine particles are reduced to a minimum. Silence.’
– Private email

There’s no such thing as silence.
Something is happening always makes a sound.

– John Cage

Feign your resign. Claim your resign. Or, as we would have formerly said: Design Your Resign.

Resign: verb
To accept that something undesirable cannot be avoided.

What’s the sound of resign? Some options:

  1. Punk vigour. Fuck it all.
  2. Languid, trippy, psych rock improvisation. Take a walk with no destination.
  3. Slacker rock. Anthems opposed to Puritan work ethic. The sound of days spent hanging out on the floors of garages. Cannabis sedation. Contented opting-out. You’re still in control of your own life, don’t you know.
  4. Optimistic resign. Secret consecrated wisdom.
  5. Resign confirmed. Therapeutic acceptance.

[[[Blessed YouTube comment interlude:]]]

  • joao villar de queiroz neto 3 weeks ago
    covid19 confinment can be tripy as hell!!
  • Lee Hinds 5 days ago
    i don’t sleep anymore. my mental state sucks. it is 2 in the morning and i’m drinking orange juice in my room, just straightup groovin to this. my life may suck right now, yeah. but when i’m here, sittin on the floor drinkin OJ just groovin, this is where i’m meant to be. the good life. yeah. i love being alive
  • Man yo I turn 55 I’ve been real hip hop since 79 had a two-man group call two black and two strong didn’t make it to the big time, but man I can dig me some funky instrumentals I’ve been riding down the highway in my big truck freestyling my ass off to this real funky Beats go out you young cats this is the groove you rehearse to it may stop you from writing violent lyrics I’m out
  • Saibez 3 years ago
    I’m from México and a few months ago i found your channel, i just wanna thank you men, all these beattapes are from heaven or something. My english is very basic or poor but i hope you understand
  • Joel Taker 3 years ago
    got this date with a girl i really like tomorow, gonna listen to this before so i get my mind right

‘Life is far too important a thing ever to talk seriously about.’
– Oscar Wilde; Lady Windermere’s Fan, II, 1892

2nd April 2020:

Life After the Experience Economy

Since we are living in post-capitalism now (just kidding!) we have said goodbye to the experience economy. We don’t spend money on doing things now. Festivals, concerts, novelty cabaret, escape rooms. You want to go on holiday? Go offline. Dip out. Slack around. Here’s your once in a lifetime experience. And it doesn’t cost a penny.

3rd April

Things people are having delivered:

  • Printers
  • Yoga mats
  • Running shoes
  • Vape liquids

(judging by the packages at the door and discarded boxes on the streets)

 4th April

I notice the pauses before ad breaks in podcasts are becoming impregnated. The New York Times’ manically popular The Daily has introduced odd musical interludes before interrupting with an advertisement for an investment opportunity, mattress, or its own subscription function. These are the signs that capitalism is becoming bad taste. To ask for the spending of money now is… weird. It is improper to promote the financial in the midst of human crisis. These transitional pauses are an attempt to signify respect. They are the break that is meant to indicate an impending change of topic, if they are sufficiently long enough we should (supposedly) not be offended. The jingly inoffensive lyricless tune plays long enough to allow time to forget what we were talking about. Except we cannot forget. We cannot turn away. It’s all we hear, all we see, all we feel. It’s all we talk about.

The virus is everywhere, whether you have it or not.

 

 

Jess Henderson

Jess Henderson, founder of No Fun and Outsider, is an independent writer and research based in Zürich and Amsterdam. Their book Offline Matters: Radical Strategies for the Creative Worker (Amsterdam: BIS Publishers, 2020) comes out in September.