Cog’s earnestness has always been part of their charm, from FIFO lamentations to utopian anarchist oracles. No better way for them to reconnect after a decade out than with a midlife anthem “remembering yesterday while staring at the end…”

Critical Research on Religion

My essay “Pastoral Counter-Conducts” has appeared in the vital new journal Critical Research on Religion. It was wrangled by Roland Boer following his Newcastle conference on Theology and Treason and includes essays on Schmitt, Badiou, Christian materialism and the emerging church.

With your “discontent about the humdrum status quo of human life and our frail, terminal human bodies”

…read your Bible.

“all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals; for all is vanity. All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.” (Ecclesiastes 3:19-20)

Or if you can only hear wisdom in a modern, amplified idiom:

“Dehydrate back into mineral. A lifelong walk to the same exact spot.”

“Someday you will die somehow and something’s gonna steal your carbon.”

Excerpts from my Grade 1 riting book (it’s all [sic]…):

Hie I am Strong Star. I can lift up the hol Erth. I can stand on the Sun without getting birnt and I’ve got lightning-boomarengs. Hae stop youll crash into me. This is beginning to be a job for STRONG-STAR. Gshhhh pock. Ther that takes ker of that.

On Saturday, I went to dinosaur land. It was good. The Tryannasorus Rex is arfter me help. Good a Teridactal is right above me. I’ll jump onto it’s back. Hae Tyry, I’m up here. Rgggrggr!

After school, I’m going to bayswater with Alan. It will be fun because we will go in the pool that goes right up to the top of our heads. I can’t swim.

I saw a hot air balloon. It looked nice. The man gave me a ride in his balloon. There was a nice view. I looked down and everything was little. I looked up in the sky and everything was big. What a strange World wen your up in a balloon. “(I sed to my self).”

The mystery to the missing treasure. I’m a King and I’m very rich. Yesterday I lost my treasure and I belive the pirates have got it. Now nobody will belive I’m a real King. Tomorrow my best and bravest soldiers are going to hunt for it. Now they are going to hunt for my treasure. They can see the pirates ship but its to far away cwick get the ships befor they get away. Stop, we are to late they have got away.

The best hitopotomus that dantses

I went to a circus. The first part was fantastic, but the last part was boring. There was a person drested up as a hitopotomus dantsing and all he was doing was puting one leg up then puting the same thing. At lest we got our money back and I could tetch a hitopotomus to dants in a week. If I tetch a hitopotomus to dants he will be the best hitopotomus that dantses.

As part of the Twelfth Planet Press writing stream at CrimeScene, I will be running a workshop on “The Invisibility of Elmore Leonard”:

When Elmore Leonard died in August this year, tributes flowed, and his ten rules for writing were cited all over the net. The influence of his gritty and humorous short stories and novels, many of which were made into films and television series (such as 3:10 to Yuma, Get Shorty and Justified), can be found throughout crime fiction and beyond. Alongside his enticing villains and outlaws, Leonard was famous for bringing a Hemingwayesque restraint to genre fiction: distracting description was minimised and tight dialogue carried the drama. His was the art of getting out of the way. His ten rules advised writers to avoid weather, prologues, said-bookisms, adverbs, exclamation points, dialect, description, and “hooptedoodle”—that is, “obvious writing” that readers might notice or skip. Yet their repetition often ignores the qualifications and exceptions in his original article, his awareness of the singularity of his style. We will take a look at his writing and his rules, ask about their value and place, and attempt to write some Elmore Leonard dialogue of our own.

Animal DeathSUP’s Animal Death has been launched with some insightful words from Thom van Dooren. The book emerged from a great (if morbid) conference and contains some important reflections on the killing and mourning of animals. It includes my essay on the problematisation of “death due to behaviour” by everyone’s favourite zoo reformer, Heini Hediger.

“Two by Two”

June 30, 2013

“Painting Animals”, the latest issue of Antennae, contains a short piece I wrote on The Red Paintings’ Animal Rebellion marches [pdf].

Antennae 25 cover

The Revolution has finally come, as well, and is being enthusiastically reviewed.


Sophomore issues

May 21, 2013


The second volumes of Environmental Humanities and Animal Studies Journal are now online. Click through for essays on ecological cosmopolitanism and community, hunting and extinction, observatories and webcams, encounter and story, on the great cats of Vancouver and the war dogs of Vietnam, on those great environmentalists Rachel Carson and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and for a provocative screed by J. Baird Callicott on everything from the presocratics to postmodernism.

In this twenty-first century, many of the most intriguing deconstructions of human/animal dualism occur in an apartment in the East Village. Here, one half of the infamous radio duo Busso and the Wombat shares meanings, interests and affects (as a friend of ours likes to put it) as part of an experimental multispecies community (comprising, specifically, Homo sapiens and Felis catus). Now, as the internet has taught us, cats are the beginning and end of all things, and they occupy much of the middle space, too. At the Center for Feline Studies of the Avenue B Multi-Studies Center, Busso’s ailourographic investigations chronicle this immanent medium of human-cat interactions with phenomenological mindfulness and Chicago School rigour.

Others have begun to catch on, leading to Busso’s wonderfully camp performance of a nerdy cat expert in a cheeky documentary on “Lil Bub & Friendz”:

Of course, their resistance to performance is demonstrative in itself.

April miscellany

April 5, 2013

Good news for those who prefer pixels to paper:

Twelfth Planet Press have released the ebook version of The Angælien Apocalypse. It is available at the 12PP website and a number of other places. Mondy and the AA judges say it’s good.

And FableCroft have released an ebook of the under-appreciated Canterbury 2100 (originally published in print by Agog!), which includes “The Gnomogist’s Tale”. It is available here. This reviewer says it’s good.

Now playing: The Drones, “Nine Eyes”

This hole in my chest

March 5, 2013

First album I ever bought. The one musical love of mine hated by a certain NZ expat music aficionado. Guaranteed to turn the man in his grave, which I’m sure his skeleton would appreciate after this last hampered year.

“Suspicion and Love”

February 28, 2013

Foucault Studies 15 has now been published, a religion themed issue patiently edited by John McSweeney. It includes an interview with James Bernauer, and essays by Jeremy Carrette, Corey McCall, John and myself.


Immanence, spirituality, revolution, love. What more could you want?

To think I had resigned myself to missing this non-terrorist ensemble, until an injured bird came to my rescue outside a Melville fast food joint. An experience, yet an opening. Do I have to apologise for crying a yawn? The clouds started it with God’s pee on my cheek. Against a looped 16mm backdrop of industrial documents and firesmoke, of skies and roadscapes, a violin led an instrumental collective through quarter hour builds and flourishes, wordless treatises and incantations. I chair-danced, leg-drummed, conducted, blew my hands, bit my finger, mashed my beard, composed spontaneous spoken word. Tapers taped. Hundreds are counted lucky to share.


January 31, 2013

If numbers can cheat, creating significance where there is none;

If dispositives and economies can cheat, producing undeserved obeisance and unnecessary haste;

If deadlines and morals and messages can cheat on me, cheat in me and through me;

Then I can cheat too.

sleepmakeswaves provided a soundtrack for an ontology oriented to objects. As their band name implies, the mind is unconscious and technologically measured; as their song titles suggest, the world teems with vibrant substances, actants and technical artifacts. They are less in a relationship with their audience than both are nodes in an auditory network. Any lyrics or words were unamplified and subsumed by electronic instruments. Indeed the intransigence of pedals and power supplies proved greater than the musicians’ agency.

Tangled Thoughts of Leaving played with sounds like children with toys. As their band name implies, our bonds are but melancholy lifeslices; as their song titles suggest, nature will survive our indecisive selves. They allow their audience to subsist in their musical playpen, free of contracts or rules for the game. They sent loops into organs and waves into marrow. Keyboards and drum mallets announced a grandiose verdict on pretence, before an orchidic finale finally seduced my buzz.

65daysofstatic assailed us with white noisiness and noisy whiteness. As their band name implies, there are two kinds of experiments, the angelic and the demonic; as their song titles suggest, there are two kinds of stories, the elliptical and the verbatim. None correspond. They seemed to progress from desperately hoping that their audience would one day catch up, to vexedly deciding on a violent mugging. Repeating refrains, they refrained from repetition. Encrypted blueprints built into waves and crested as birds. Calculated and uncompromising, they evoked the churn of industry and exuded a cosmic ascetic calm.

The Mysterious Cities of Gold

December 26, 2012

This year’s Boxing Day infusion consisted of that special Franco-Japanese animation from the 80s, The Mysterious Cities of Gold:

Which, in a remarkable piece of evidence against the decline of civilisation, is being remade – hourra!

The Nostalgia Distillery is pleased to serve this remix from master cocktailier Michael Mills:

Annual behavioural assessment

December 25, 2012

My sainted middle-namesake continued his undeserved generosity to my book-cravings, this time with a complete series of symposia on the history of zoological knowledge. Ancients, medievals, moderns; domesticates and exotics; science and rhetoric; Babylon and Mesopotamia; Aristotle and Hildegard; dis- and re-appearances; zoo-archaeology and -ethnology. Next year I will write him a letter asking for time to read them.

To think both that you will never die, and you could die any minute? On the surface once, burrowed deep now.

Apocalypse of St John The Dragon with the Seven Heads Dürer

To thus put everything off until some illusory time, while every moment is harried and judged? Fuck that shit of a brainworm.

6-apocalypse J B Wright

I will die. One day later. So I will work out how to live now.


They should have taught me about the world not ending.


December 12, 2012

Why do I keep marking these days? To prove I can find meaning in inanity? Or at least alliteration and pattern? Our tripled twelve is the number of tribes and apostles, of constellations and signs, of hours and months, of gates to the body. It is code for police and eavesdroppers. Though it transcends binary, it signifies governmental perfection—indicating perhaps that our overlords will be not machinic but angelic. It is the number of completion.

The world will go on, astronomers reassure us, oblivious that this is in fact a time of great personal upheaval, of interstate returns, of memory digitisation, of career crossroads, of crises and crunches, of cycle completions. NASA knows nothing of subjective apocalypse.