Friday, 30 December 2016

Birmingham/ Italian {from fiction in progress}

The only person I saw there was an old Italian man in a pale blue tailored suit and matching fedora; a man who doubtless "cut a dash" in his day, a man on the wrong side of retirement, which is to say the right side of retirement, blossoming as only the retired can do, knowing that work is behind them, enjoying the new vistas of earned freedom, and sketching each day with a free hand. He was all croaks and gesticulations, gimlet eyes and knocking joints. He'd sit at the bar, sipping espresso slowly as if to summon the Old Country, like Tiresias in the underworld drinking the blood. He would chat to the baristas, this old fella, about football and food. I could only catch half of it. I was learning Italian, or making gentle and respectful forays into Italian, which I had always thought the most musical language, for in each phrase there is a quiet rapture, a slow and rising ecstasy, or, alternately, a note of plaint, of maternal lamentation. For illustrative purposes, we can say that this is, in every respect, phonetically and rhythmically, the exact opposite of the Birmingham accent, wherein one hears only the murmur of diurnal disappointment, and which, defined by bathos and anti-climax, is quintessentially English.

I had occasion to visit Birmingham very recently. There was a woman on the bus reading a newspaper. Apropos some article in the Birmingham Mail, she turned to her neighbour and said "You can tell they’re a murderer by their eyes," where in that final word, "eyes," such a sad misshapen diphthong, which rhymed almost with "toys", you could hear not only all the air escaping from the end of the sentence, as from a punctured tyre, but also the pneuma escaping from the body, and, finally, hope escaping from the world. And someone unfamiliar with English, would infer from the cadence alone that the speaker was entirely crestfallen and defeated. And these words, so flat, so despondent, would stay with me for the rest of the afternoon, tracing through my soul their falling arc, again and again, so that by evening I was appreciably sadder.
If there was a child who grew up half in Birmingham, half in Italy, with a Birmingham parent and an Italian parent, the result would be a monster, a living contradiction, confused by its own existence and barely able to speak. A bum note would stop every rapture, “Bonjourno” would skid and sink on the second syllable. The truly gormless fact that Birmingham has more canals than Venice (a fact that must immediately cede to parenthetical laughter), can only remind us that Birmingham is not so much the opposite as the active negation of Venice, an attempt, point by point, to invert and destroy the impulses and principles that built St Mark's Square and the Doge's Palace, as if what was causing Venice to sink, inch by inch, was not natural subsidence and rising water levels, but the building of the Rotunda and the 'modernisation' of the infernal New Street Station.
In any case, in my efforts to learn Italian, I'd meet with Faustina from the university, we'd have lunch and work on an Ungaretti poem. She was an administrator, but had a better understanding of poetry than most of the faculty, which isn't saying much. Poetry can be taught to an extent - the techniques, the metrics and forms. You can measure the distance from ordinary language, or the rediscovery of ordinary language via a different route. But to be a poet is to have a certain kind of soul and only those with a similarly disposed soul can truly understand you. Poetry, the faculty members fail to see, is not just a form of words but a form of life, a form of life which, if it blossoms, must blossom in words. It would not surprise me if the old man, wizened but twinkling with life, had such a soul. Such souls cannot be easily put out. As I say, he was the only presence in that cafe, in the early hours, in the pause before day gets started. Until Cahun started coming. Then the old man left. I saw him a few times in Bar Italia. Cahun had driven him out. Cahun as an emissary of the contemporary world, Cahun as a destroyer of language, an anti-poet. 

Thursday, 29 September 2016

The Death of Gilles Deleuze (from a fiction in progress)

When I was midway through my degree I read a news report in Le Monde about the death of Gilles Deleuze. Needless to say, the death of a philosopher was headline news in France, a country where "intellectual" is not exclusively a term of derision or immediately prefaced by the prefix "pseudo", as in England, which is above all others the anti-intellectual country, it's critical faculties withered to defensive irony and self-deprecation. I have over the years read a number of reports of Deleuze's death. He jumped from the window of his apartment to death on the pavement below. It is odd that there is a word, defenestration, to refer to the act of throwing someone, yourself, out of a window. Apart from this curious fact, I have also noticed that people take suicide to be a kind of verdict on the life, a refutation, even, of the life. The life and its works are seen in some way to have failed. Yet the word  "suicide", like most words, is an abstraction, and covers not one but many exits, many reasons, many relations to life and death. And I have always felt, in relation to Deleuze; even if I cannot state it clearly, even if I cannot exactly explain it, that his suicide was a suicide carried out precisely in the name of life. People, especially those with an axe to grind, a point to make, are keen to say that Deleuze, the great philosopher of Life, of Vitality, nonetheless kills himself at the finish, snuffs out his own light. As if it calls everything into question. As if it were a counter-proposition to everything he'd done and said. This is the usual anti-intellectual sloth, employed by boneheads full of resentment, using not argumentation but biographical anecdote to dismiss thinkers and philosophers. "They had an affair, they had soviet sympathies, they hated their mother, therefore.." Therefore nothing. Do the work, bonehead, do the reading. 

He could barely breathe, Deleuze, with his one lung, the blind cancer invading his veins, "chained like a dog" to an oxygen machine, prevented from writing or thinking.  Death held its pillow over his face. But Deleuze surprised death by jumping out of the window, he escaped. A last grab of life from under death's nose. The agility of the thief, the child snatching candy when the shopkeeper nods. I say again, however nonsensical it sounds, a suicide carried out in the name of life. 

 An everyday picture, people sat on the cafe terrace, couples strolling. Then in the corner a jagged detail, something that doesn't fit, something alarming. A man falls from a window. Deleuze, in his writings on cinema called such a detail a demark, like the seagull in Birds, that suddenly falls from the sky to peck at the head, a seaside scene, familiar enough, framed and organized according to conventional themes, but then something drops, deviates, makes the picture wobble. Deleuze in his final minutes was such a seagull, breaking the picture of everyday life, something senseless that stabs at sense. Perhaps in every conventional picture there is a man falling from a window, a bird descending in anger, a puncture wound in the skin of appearances. This is what we must look for if we are to continue to think and to feel. 

Friday, 2 September 2016

Carvel's Lies

Carvel had ended up teaching cultural studies at the University of East London. This was a pathetic destination for Carvel, who had always been a good friend, even if he was a compulsive liar. Every time we met, he said things that were obviously not true.  He told me his uncle had been "sewn up the wrong way" after a bowel operation so that shit came out of his mouth. I remember this example because metaphorically this was also true of Carvel who, when he wasn't talking about philosophy or literature, talked complete bullshit. None of his stories, judged individually, were obviously false, for Carvel was perhaps careful to locate them within the circumference of the possible, but cumulatively they added up to a pile of garbage. He told me that he had attended a Noam Chomsky lecture where Chomsky chose to answer a hostile question in Hebrew. But, unbeknown to Carvel, my friend Scott, who speaks fluent Hebrew, was also at the lecture and verified that no such exchange had taken place. Carvel told me a neighbor of his, back in Belfast, kept a pet lion in the back yard and fed it dead pigeons. Or having let slip that he’d never had a driving license, said to me months later that he was doing the Knowledge and planned to be a taxi driver. He told me that he had failed to attend a college dinner because on the way there a car had run over a bird and splattered him with the chattering guts. He told me that he had a friend in the IRA, a one-armed priest, who we could call on should we ever need "a favour".. and so it went on, a concatenation of bullshit. 

Nonetheless, I never challenged him on these falsehoods, which to be honest never bothered me very much. This was because I am perhaps too respectful of the fragile fictions people spin around themselves to make their lives tolerable, and it is not for me to unravel these in the name of “honesty”. In “telling the truth” there is typically a motive which is questionable, which we fail to acknowledge and which we disown by saying, simply, “but it’s true!”. Thus our motive is to judge, to expose, to catch out, to embarrass, all excused by the alibi “but it’s the truth!” I had no wish to expose, to catch out or humiliate Carvel, I had no particular wish to unravel my friend any more than I might destroy the web of a spider or a tortoise's shell. And in fact, in not challenging Carvel I was respecting his mode of life, which was to weave around himself a cocoon of fictions inside which he disappeared. That was his mode of life, just as one might speak of the mode of life of a bat or other creature. We are all creatures in fact, with our webs, our territories, our nests and secretions, even though these are disguised as words and beliefs and habits. Many of our ways of speaking are in fact ways of crying, of scratching, of nuzzling or hissing. Hence my tolerance for Carvel's lies which were in fact spun by some inner necessity as the silkworm spins its silk.

None of this really mattered to our friendship, on the other hand, which consists solely in an ongoing conversation about philosophy and literature, with its own rhythm and its own rules. Outside that there is nothing. The friendship has an evolution and a life independent of me and independent of him. That is the nature of friendship. Friendships have their own personality separate from that of the actual friends. Or at least that was the case before Carvel’s inexplicable marriage. Carvel was certainly the last person I expected to get married. He is no longer the same man, both on account of his job teaching cultural studies and on account of this marriage. Although Carvel's face is roughly the same, his marriage has altered his soul. Similarly, cultural studies had forced him to think about false problems and diverted him into an intellectual wasteland far from his native preoccupations.

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Living the afterlife

And him, the cripple in Library, is he still living and where? He was only my age but sickly, hobbling with a stick, an uncombed clump of straw coloured hair. His last years were already furnished and waiting, I thought, all  heavy curtains and evening light, embers and sherry. He was reading Byron and Keats, big leather volumes hauled up from the vaults. His eyes were large and kind. But why does his image surface now, half way down the stairs at Leicester Square tube station? Memory's papers. Vast shelves, boxes and sheets of information. Unsuspectingly a file is pulled out and you're shown a photo, a recording, a voice abruptly released from a folded envelope. It's put in front of you like a Tarot card for your inspection. A face from your Oxford days. The dry smells from the Upper Reading Room, the light through the great leaded windows, the creaking silence, and time drifting slowly like floating dust. And alongside the cripple, another. A bent man in a black tattered gown, with bottle glasses and a greasy combover. He was said to be the bastard son of F.R. Leavis, but this was perhaps only a metaphor translated by time and rumour into fact. He'd enter by the corner door, glancing about like an intruder, picking a book from the reference shelves, frantically flicking through pages, suddenly stopping and sitting to look; his eyes following a nervous finger, as if combing the text for buried sense. But the book would slam shut and he’d steal away... a library bird, picking at fading texts, the limp gown flapping, a curious detail in the corner of our day. The cripple and the madman, signs sent by memory. Like those mocking gargoyles in the corner of medieval illustrations. Figures of what I thought I might become: Frayed and insane, a faint light flickering in a bedsit window; condemned to wander in a world increasingly inward. Living the afterlife.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Grandad's welding goggles

My grandfather gave me his welding goggles. He was a welder before the Second World War. He served in the war as a private. They talked about socialism, the soldiers. I learned my politics from him. “When they talk about bureaucracy it’s always to attack socialism. But what are banks but the bureaucracy of capitalism?” My grandad would counter every lazy thought that fell from a politicians mouth. When people say the working class is reactionary they have short memories. It’s important to have a long memory, historically speaking. To remember that the past sits in judgement on us and not we on it. It tells us 'no, things have not always been thus'. Here are possibilities that were never realised. They wait patiently in the pages of memory, snoozing in the anteroom. Sometimes we need our grandparents to pull us out of the present, to laugh at various modern stupidities we take for granted. I should have asked him more of course, about the war, about Palestine where he was shot by both sides. I should have recorded his voice. There is a local newspaper clipping from 1923. My grandfather kept it. A 6 year old boy from Shipley fell out of a tree and was admitted to hospital. He is expected to make a full recovery. This boy was my granddad. A reality fragment from a different age. I remember visiting him when he had dementia. His smile remembered me but his mind had forgotten. When I told him I was his grandson he laughed. But I still have his welding goggles, his copy of Das Capital, and the story of the boy who fell from the  tree.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

On dreams

 The only time I’m 'in my head'  is at night, when the lids are shut, the light of consciousness gone. But even asleep, free of gravity, we do not slip into ourselves. We cede control to a vital power. It makes things. A horse, a neighbour, a country, a sideboard; a highstreet, a law, a voice. These things have never existed before. The dream, as we call it, invents them from scratch. Last night, for example, in the corner of the dream a tiny detail, a curved length of carved and burnished wood, part of a sideboard. The wood is inlaid with distinctive lettering, hieroglyphsitching with sense. This object, with its peculiar signature, is not from childhood or anywhere else. It has been designed from zero by the dream.  The dream does not conceive and afterwards execute these objects, these people, these counties. It conceives and executes them at once, in the same instant. Our waking selves cannot do this. If we saw these things in graphic or material form, we would say these were the results of someone’s masterly intelligence. But in the dream, whose intelligence is this? Whose creative force? Not quite mine, for waking I can not conceive them nor create them. And when I wake I scarcely know what they are. If dreams are our inmost self, then we do not recognise or understand ourselves. The dream is a dark impersonal intention. This is what we find when we’re deep ‘in our heads’, a demiurge speaking in tongues, works of fine art erased by the sun. If only we could open the valve that would release these original powers, their fantastic arts, if only we could in our waking existence, fashion flesh with such quickness. There is more wild invention in a single dream than a many shelffull of fiction

Monday, 11 July 2016

"Middle class intellectuals" meme

Back in the noughties, there were extensive blog debates about the pros and cons of invading Iraq. One of the more curious memes employed by the pro-war writers was the idea that anti-war opinion was largely the preserve of the middle class ‘dinner party’ left, with their “bruschetta orthodoxies”.  All this seems rather arcane and silly now (for some of us it did at the time) not only because the anti-war concerns were rational and warranted, and non class specific,  but also because those using the “dinner-party” meme were themselves middle-class intellectuals like David Aaronovitch and Nick Cohen.  The gesture is one of fake populism, pretending that your own view stands heroically opposed to some nebulous liberal-left middle-class consensus and, by implication, with ‘ordinary people’ and “the bloke down the pub”. This might not be worth mentioning were it not that the same rhetoric is surfacing again with regards to Brexit, where the Remain/ Brexit divide is narrated as  the conflict between a metropolitan/ liberal/ middle-class elite and the “ordinary people” defying them.  Once again, it’s nonsense.

Friday, 8 July 2016

When people speak of death being near they tend to mean in time..

When people speak of death being near they tend to mean in time. For me it's a question of space. Like living in a house near a cliff edge.  It is not an expectation that death will come soon. It is already there, like the cliff edge; or better still, like the sea; or better still like the dark shore across the waters. Living in sight of it quickens the pulse. We are always quickened and sharpened by the presence of a limit. A place where one thing ends and another begins. It is always better to live here, at this limit. For this limit always changes things. A life lived in the presence of its outer-limit, death, will be a different kind of life, a truer life, a more intensive life. It has nothing to do with "living like there's no tomorrow", in the fast lane, consuming a ticklist of pleasures. The opposite is true. You are slower; your senses are more receptive, you are happy to watch the snowflake melt.  You are slower because quietly amazed, and amazed not by the flash and the bang and the whizz but other things ordinarily imperceptible, the church bells sunk underwater. Living in proximity to the cliff edge, the sea, the dark shore means having new senses, new eyes, new flesh... And time is ripe like fruit on the tree

Tuesday, 28 June 2016

My grandmother sat in a brown and gold chair smoking Woodbines..

My grandmother sat in a brown and gold chair smoking Woodbines. Slow tremulous movements. Curling smoke reaching into corners. The ashtray a boneyard of stubs. A girl, riding past the bungalow, lost control of the horse and was rocked up and down. Through the double glazing we heard gasps and shouts of panic. My grandmother couldn’t stop laughing. In fact she spent years laughing at random unfortunate things, before which she’d spent a tunnel of years crying without consolation. She liked watching the snooker. That was the only reason they bought a colour TV, my grandparents. So she could watch the snooker. Her hair was white as sea foam, like a fossil of sea foam. Yet she must have only been in her late fifties then. Sixty one when she died of “complications” following a pitiless sequence of strokes. Our bodies are double agents who betray us to death in the finish.  She was the first of the grandparents to die, and for a long time, through the portal of sleep she walked in my dreams as a blind ghost protesting that she wasn’t dead. 

She had grown up in silence. This is what dad told me. Her father inherited a sum of money, "a lot of money in them days", but then gave up his job and went on the drink. Five years later he’d lost it all.  They fell over into bare unfurnished poverty. No divorces then. Her mother, an Irish Catholic, swore never to speak to him again. Gradually, all her speech stopped, even to her five year old daughter. She would write notes, passed to her daughter, or via her daughter. "Tea on the table". "We need some more milk," “I’m off to bed”. In that cold war my grandmother lived out her moribund childhood. No brother or sister. A go-between in a mime of a marriage. Silence like deep water pressure filling each room and portal. And that silence she passed on I think, in genes or gesture, to my dad, who gave it to me.  

When I think of this story, the story of the notes, the silence, the inheritance, details are missing like in a work of fiction. I can’t ask dad about it now. I can’t ask him, for example, where his grandfather inherited the money from, where they lived, if the house still stands, if she spoke about it to dad directly or whether, as i suspect, my granddad told him. A piece of the past beyond sight of land, bodiless and adrift in the unverifiable dark. Similarly the story about my granddad docking the tail of a dog in the garage with a hammer and chisel, the dog running off yelping down the road and never been seen again. Have I remembered it right? There's no way to know, there’s no one to ask. I should have voiced all these questions when he was alive, my dad. The past, unless recorded, what is it? Tail-lights from another world, dead stars destined for myth or oblivion, or maybe just self-serving stories.

A note on "bregret"

After the referendum result was announced, there were many stories of brexiteers regretting their choice, not really thinking that their vote would count. Maybe this category of voter isn’t numerically significant, maybe it is, but to my mind there is also something symptomatic here. Isn’t there often, in the act of voting, this kind of disavowal – it’s the others who are voting, I’m simply protesting. Because the burden of decision resides with the others, I can afford to use my vote to make a statement, to express disenchantment, not really mindful of the consequences. It’s a shock to discover the ‘Others’ were just me and people like me. But in order to behave like this people must first of all feel disenfranchised, that Politics is something controlled by others. And this feeling is perhaps precisely why many voted Brexit.


One problem with the referendum is that Brexit wasn't a political party with a program, but behaved and was sometimes treated as if it was. Because it wasn't a party, there are no mechanisms for holding it to account. If the government doesn't spend greater sums of money on the NHS or curtail immigration, it can legitimately say "We never promised we would". The claims aren't localised in an accountable party or body.

Brexit voters by and large voted not simply for disengaging from the EU, a legal and political process which was never really spelled out in detail, but for the claims or "extrapolations" [IDS's weasel phrase] as to future policy - spending and border control. Of course, these claims have pretty much evaporated into thin air and the voters left empty handed without any real means of holding anyone to account.

Thursday, 16 June 2016

A Few Thoughts on Ulysses

This from a recent article on Ulysses by Terry Eagleton:
Like many modernist texts, Ulysses ransacks mythology to provide a fractured modern world with some underlying order.
This is certainly a very familiar idea, almost a cliche. One tires of hearing how Joyce shows how modern life reveals deep mythic structures, how the Homeric narrative silently supports the 'surface story' behind the backs of the characters themselves.

The only problem is that this idea doesn't really bear scrutiny. There are few one to one and systematic Homeric parallels in Ulysses. It is not as if incidents in the immediate story are systemically translatable back into their Homeric ‘equivalents'. Take for example the ‘no man’ of the Cyclops episode – this epithet could refer to the narrator but also to Bloom, whose polyoptical view of things (he can always 'see the othe fellow's point of view'), various names (Bloom/ Flower/ Virag) and fleeting connection with Everyman make him well fitted to this. Odysseus’ 20 year exile is glimpsed, arguably, in the 20-1 odds on Throwaway, like a tiny ironic splinter of the original story. The blinding of Polyphemus is not simply turned into Bloom’s metaphorical blinding of the monofocal Citizen, but is glimpsed in the sweep’s brush that nearly has the anonymous narrator’s eye out. In such trivial incidents are glimpsed the refracted light of the dead mythic star. The Homeric content is shattered and re-distributed, a single element appearing in Joyce’s Dublin as several splinters. Molly is not only Penelope but at one point Circe too, so that ‘Penelope’ and ‘Circe’ slide and reattach. New resemblances and significances are produced from the ruins of a distant mythic substrate.

We might think about this in terms of what Georg Lakoff (discussing metaphor) terms ‘cross-domain’ mapping. For example, when one says ‘she was really cold to me’, emotion is understood – or ‘mapped’ – in terms of temperature; when we say ‘the past is behind me’, time is mapped in terms of space. One ‘domain’ (the target domain) is understood in terms of the other (the source domain). So it is that Ulysses is understood as a kind of cross-domain mapping with 1904 Dublin as the target domain and Homeric myth as source domain. It's this which seems to me only half-true. What happens rather is that the ‘source domain’ (the Homeric) is broken up and disseminated through the target domain; and instead of being a domain of stable meaning which spontaneously 'reads' early 20th C Dublin, it is used for jokes, puns, semantic hyperlinks and so on. The Homeric narrative is used as a grammar which can generate very different sentences; in short, a compositional device.

If we see this from the point of view of novelistic construction, it is clear that a mythic element, such as the ‘no man’ of the Cyclops episode, is not approached in terms of ‘what is the contemporary equivalent of this? (ie who is the modern signifier of this signified)’ but ‘what different meanings can this signifier generate?’ You then put the signifier to work in the text, like a little programme, throwing up various puns, correspondences etc.

The 'unity'  or 'order' imposed by the Homeric in no way points to the underlying order of the apparently chaotic world; it is instead used in ludic or ironic ways. It has been dismantled and turned into pliable material surrendered into the hands of the inventor (JJ).

Friday, 10 June 2016

A Visit to a Doctor

For doctors, what exist first and foremost are their medical categories and classifications. These have real existence, like immutable Platonic forms. The actual human being sat in the chair, with his or her symptoms, is granted existence only in so far as he touches these Ideal Forms. Anything else is 'nothing to worry about', probably psycho-somatic, illusory in some way, not quite there. This was true of my stomach symptoms, which caused puzzlement to break out like a rash on many a doctor’s forehead. Gurglings to the left of the stomach, no sensations in the stomach, light headedness after eating?  These descriptions did not resemble, or only imperfectly resembled, the Platonic Forms set out in medical textbooks and were therefore shadows cast by the hypochondriac imagination. Hence the other strategy the doctors employ, completely disingenuous, couched in the glove of concern, which is to ask you, the patient, what you think it might be. What do you think it is? But what this means of course is not "guide me towards a diagnosis" but only "Let me put your mind at rest regarding the imaginary illness you're worrying about", “let me assure you it’s not stomach cancer” and so on. The doctor thereby turns the whole thing into a question about your mental health, his role redefined as the person who allays our fears rather than treats our symptoms.

One doctor, particularly smug and patronising, replied to my desperate story with "I'm not sure what you expect me to do; these are not symptoms of anything serious, barely symptoms at all I would say” and stared at me vacantly. He was a locum of some kind I think. I should have noted his name. All the bad doctors actually. A list of names. I'd like to hunt him down.  I could access my medical records, get his name from there. No motive that Officialdom would recognise. Twenty years, after all, have elapsed. It was a summer's morning. A brief appointment. One of hundreds. Nothing remarkable. A young man with vaguely defined stomach problems, consistent with IBS, it might say. Possible psychological aetiology. I'd catch up with him, now living in Jericho, a house near the canal. He wouldn’t remember me of course. I’d say I'm from the council. We're inspecting moorings in Jericho. He’d tell me the boat's been there since he moved in. He's never used it. “Irrelevant” I’d reply, “completely beside the point”. We’d walk down to the water's edge. I'd tell him a ledger's been kept of his deeds. What? He’d say, confused, “What deeds? The deeds for the mooring?” “Wrong sense of ‘deeds’”, I’d reply, smiling. The other sort of deeds, deeds that he thought unrecorded, unregistered, and therefore erased, obliviated, inexistent. Your error, I’d say to him, was to meet someone's pain with blank contempt, pretend puzzlement, cold condescension. To fail to treat someone's experience as meaningful. This, I will explain to him, is casual sadism. The casual sadism of institutional power. Refusing to see a human being sat in front of you. Looking straight through someone and refusing to recognise them. Anyway, I’m inspecting the hull of your vessel for leaks, I’d say. I’d pick up a large stone from the river bed. I’d crack his head with it. He’d fall into the water. No, he’d fall into the boat. I’d set it free. A small narrow boat, a wooden skiff, floating down the canal, to where it meets the Thames. The body of a doctor laid out like Holbein’s dead Christ. Someone would see it from the bank, thinking he’d fallen asleep, but then see the slow ooze of blood and start shouting.

It pleases me to revisit this image, replay this story, as I do now and then. I have a number of them, little fictions, rubbles of memory. Very few end in death of course. We have, within us, flows of pleasure, flows of enjoyment, which need objects to fulfil themselves, to quench themselves, even if these objects are imaginary. This story of the avenged patient is one such imaginary object, around and through which enjoyment flows and gurgles. Of course, sometimes the imagination isn’t enough.