Also need to remind myself that I have three talks to write for autumn. One needs to be one of those anthemic call-to-action things that I somehow find remarkably easy. Believe it or not, I’m not always a walking demotivational poster. I can do the uplifting stuff standing on my head, weirdly. One is a talk for my visiting professorship at York St John University, which is probably going to be a dive into the mechanisms of narrative. The last one is actually going to be the hardest, even though it’s a space I’m intimate with – the whole ghosts/magic/technology field of confluence that’s been a Thing for the last few years. I’ve done these talks before, several times. Hauntology was a fun game in the atemporality days, but we’re into the skid now, and airy cod-philosophy on the relationship between occult language and ghost stories and information technology has an indefinable whistling-past-the-graveyard quality to it for me today. I’m placed on the “myth” end of the festival structure, possibly because I’m seen in public so rarely that I might be mythical, and I need to find something to say that looks at the now and the next as hard as the ‘how we got here, in mythical magical historical terms.” The bell tolls.
(It did, actually, right in the middle of my closing keynote at FutureEverything, just as I took a pause. My finest moment as a public speaker.)
And, all of a sudden, I’m reminded of all the people who came up to me at the future-of-spaceflight conference and told me we, they, need new stories and new myths. I’ve set a terrible job for myself. But, this time, this full-speed weird-as-hell year, I need to not sound like the thousandth Radiophonic Workshop pastiche on Bandcamp.
See what I did there, with the ghost stories and the whistling past the graveyard? See that? Kill me. I’m an idiot.