The first decade of the twenty-first century was marked by a series of global summits which seemed to assume ever-greater importance – from the WTO ministerial meeting in Seattle at the end of 1999, through the G8 summits at Genoa, Evian and Gleneagles, up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) at Copenhagen in 2009.
But these global summits did not pass uncontested. Alongside and against them, there unfolded a different version of globalization. Moments of Excess is a collection of texts which offer an insider analysis of this cycle of counter-summit mobilisations. It weaves lucid descriptions of the intensity of collective action into a more sober reflection on the developing problematics of the ‘movement of movements’. The collection examines essential questions concerning the character of anti-capitalist movements, and the very meaning of movement; the relationship between intensive collective experiences – ‘moments of excess’ – and ‘everyday life’; and the tensions between open, all-inclusive, ‘constitutive’ practices, on the one hand, and the necessity of closure, limits and antagonism, on the other.
Moments of Excess includes a new introduction explaining the origin of the texts and their relation to event-based politics, and a postscript which explores new possibilities for anti-capitalist movements in the midst of crisis.
Read some of the reviews here.
Moments of Excess is published by PM Press and is available direct from the publishers here. Alternatively, if you live in the UK or Europe it might be easier to get it from Word Power Books here.
The kids was just crass
June 2016 Published in The Aesthetic of Our Anger: Anarcho-Punk, Politics and Music, 1979-84 Edited by Mike Dines & Matthew Worley (Minor Compositions)
It’s the final scene of Trainspotting. Renton, the book’s main protagonist, creeps out of a hotel room with a bag full of money and flees to Amsterdam. Having completed a drug deal with his childhood friends, he’s now ripping them off. But this is no simple tale of avarice. It’s the act of betrayal that motivates Renton, much more than the money. By ensuring that his psycho-mate Begbie will kill him if he ever returns to Edinburgh, Renton is trying to engineer a clean break with his junky past: “There, he could not be anything more than he was. Now, free from them all, for good, he could be what he wanted to be.” In reality a break is never clean. We always bring a remainder with us, whether familiar modes of acting or habitual patterns of thought. But at least by breaking with his old haunts and his junky associates, Renton has increased his chances of self-reinvention.
A similar tale is told in Julian Temple’s documentary “Joe Strummer, The Future is Unwritten”. A key moment in the film comes when Strummer’s band, the 101ers, support The Sex Pistols. At the time the 101ers were the more successful of the two but Joe immediately knew his group were over. They had been a close-knit group named after the squat they lived in at 101 Walterton Road. Yet Strummer not only broke up the band but also cut his former housemates dead. The film contains poignant testimony of the hurt and bewilderment the ex-101ers felt when Strummer refused to acknowledge them. Over the next few weeks Strummer altered his look, changed his sensibilities and joined The Clash. Punk was a Year Zero for Strummer. He felt he had to break from his hippy friends if he was to explore the new potential. Continue reading
I popped round to see Ted in his humble abode in Seaton Point, a tower-block in Hackney, north London…..he showed me the view across London, made me a brew and we got talking……
Can you please introduce yourself and name a few of your publications.
My name is Ted Curtis, I’m 50 and I’m from the West Country. I’m a failed writer, a failed drinker and a failed punk rocker. I wrote the darkening light and a non-fiction book about Palestine and various short stories, which are in various publications. I also co-wrote a novel, Seaton Point, which is where I live.
You also have chapters in Mad Pride: A Celebration of Mad Culture and Gobbing, Pogoing and Gratuitous Bad Language!: An Anthology of Punk Short Stories. You’ve said that Seaton Point was named after the block of flats where you live in Hackney. How much of your work is autobiographical? Let’s begin with the darkening light for instance.
I would say that the darkening light is 50/50 autobiographical. In terms of the story itself there is a cut-off point and a come back-in point. So, this was a real gig, although I can’t remember who the people I’d gone to it with were and I can’t remember who played. But I know that we got into this van at ten in the morning and I started drinking and I immediately went into an alcoholic blackout, which I didn’t come out of until the early hours of the next day. So, this gig happened, and I thought that I would build the story around the event. I picked a number of different people who would have been likely to have been there, mostly changing their names, and I picked out bands that were popular at the time. So there was a gig, but not all of those bands would have played. There might have been a big band who played whom I wasn’t aware of, ‘cos I don’t remember seeing any bands there to be honest! [Laughs] All I can remember is bits and pieces. I remember seeing Monty from the [Hackney] Hell Crew on the stairs, which is in the book, and that’s it really.