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Vers La Flamme

 Dadaoism (An Anthology)

Extract below from my Real-Time Review of DADAOISM (Chômu Press):

11 ‘Testing Spark’, by Daniel Mills
“A world in readiness: all awaits the Tester’s Spark, the nudge of the First Mover.”
[Today* happens to be the very day when the Olympic flame (the 2012 Olympic Torch shown on the left) officially passes from the hands of the Greeks to the ‘London 2012’ group (how ironic bearing in mind the cataclysmic repercussions of the catastrophic Greek Politics at the moment and our fears in UK of financial contagion!)] This story has this essence of a torch-bearing, flame-transferring trope mingled with, I guess, religious Eucharist wafers within a ’Machine Stops’ (EM Forster’s 1909 Internet story) type ’factory’ scenario where the Web moves “vers la flamme” (the title of a piece of music by one of my favourite composers, Scriabin (explicitly mentioned in this story by name), whose music I have loved more than most other music for many years). As well as the unrequited love aspect that is in tune with the rest of this book, this story harvests some of the music-steeped cosmotechniks of the Isis story while being briefly seasoned with Lovecraft references. The story also stands wonderfully on its own as a work I shall need to re-read in the future to ensure I have fully understood its vision. “He returns to his workstation and settles into his chair. He glances at the computer clock.” (16 May 12 – 7.00pm bst)

*In fact, the actual ceremony is today in Greece where David Beckham, Boris Johnson, the Princess Royal et al collect the Greek flame and, via torches that look like the design of words on this book’s cover, bring it back to us in the UK – without there being any quarantine for the flame whatsoever, I note! [ I also confirm, as is stated on Wikipedia, that I was instrumental in forming the Zeroist Group at Lancaster University in 1967 (for which group a University grant was received). One of the group’s manifesto aims was a sort of belief regarding Dadaism, i.e. bringing Art back to zero or 0 – and starting off in an unknown new direction. O the idealism of youth!] (17 May 12 – 7.45 am bst)

As those who have read my previous real-time reviews already know, I try to pay no prior attention to anything published outside of the book’s fiction itself – but I often do pay attention to the shape and style of the book itself while conducting any review, and some of the themes in this very book point to that importance. You will be reading a different ‘book’ if you read an ebook version of it, in other words. That’s not a value judgement comparing the two formats, merely a fact to be taken into account according to your individual tastes. For example, I couldn’t help noticing in my email in-box that a recent Chomu announcement referrred to this book as a ‘butterfly’. Could the front cover be intended as the huge wings of a butterfly rather than the ‘concrete poem’ (cf the book’s flesh poems) or the Olympic torch ideas that I had been toying with? And that brings me back to the Intentional Fallacy (something I’ve been interested in since the 1960s)… (18 May 12 – 7.45 am bst)

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