Welcome to your future.

Spaceships. Jet packs. Laser guns. 

No. 

Fifty years from now, the future will still be shaped by the mundane, the stupid, and the petty, living side by side with the Big Ideas. Dirty, shining, poor, glorious, filthy, and wonderful. 50.YFN is where we tell our future's story, hangover and all.

In its short life,
50.YFN has already become a very sharply defined setting, with unique language and history. Because of the ongoing storylines and broad geographical setting, we strongly recommend using the archives and category tags before throwing yourself in the deep end. Read the guidelines, take a look around. There's a truly talented pool of creators breathing life into our world Fifty Years From Now.

You are welcome to be a part of it.

And remember:

This is not a land-grab. There's no turf.  If you're a new writer, you have the same access to Brooklyn as I do, and as much an opportunity to leave your imprint on it. Don't be intimidated. Leave your brand on the future alongside everyone else. It's your world too. 

2.24.2008

King of the Californias, Pt. VIII

by Monk Eastman, New York City, NY, USA

The walls of my room pulse with Turkish ouds, soft bassline from a Tijuana garage, and Gregorian wails. Latest from Ç1Q, my favorite band. Of course my room knows it, and at the Palma de Baís, it even has access to the pirate tracks from the legendary Gastown Sessions. 'Rare' is not the word. 8 Feather and Rafiq Angeles took Ç1Q's first release (arguably the most listened-to album of the past fifteen years) and battled each other with it, remix for remix, in front of a live audience in Gastown, Vancouver. Ç1Q's stuff is normally like scented oil poured over silk. Kind of music that starts baby booms. At Gastown, they inverted it, turned it into godclash: what was in the Lord's ears when He razed Sodom. I thought data sieves at the venue meant no recordings made it out alive. Somehow, though, my room plays it, at a volume that accents my foul mood without exacerbating it. My elevated blood pressure, eye movement, personal kinetics, and listening history give the room just enough information to strike such a vital balance.

I'm reminded, very acutely, how little I like this sort of thing. Being under a microscope. Dissected without a single cut.

And I find myself desperately missing Chicago.

Wandering aimlessly along the green belts of Englewood. The great glass ziggurat of Kennedy King University, where I spent my latter days cultivating this (almost) useless mobile journalism degree. Countless midnights at the Tibetan food kiosks of Archer Avenue, served warm pockets of momo with volcanic, greasy red sauce on my way home from the artists' lounges of Bridgeport. Whisper of the Orange's Line's maglev trains sweeping past, kiss of ghostwind as it twisted into the night, snakelike and graceful.

But mostly, the Appleville Quiet Zone. Lone concrete tower, sanctuary from the continuous avalanche of a world where a song listened to on your way to work is logged in the depths of the nebulous Network, alongside your love of lung-scorching Central Asian cuisine and snarky Lebanese newsfeeds, odd collection of vintage '40s footwear, and baffling predilection for 20th century rap music. All there, always updating. Only private in the sense that you don't know who else is looking at it. Your tiny vein of personal data, mined endlessly by faceless, nameless things, scattered across the globe, feeding on the minutiae of daily life. Masticating the delicate ephemera of your life with great insectoid jaws and expelling it out over vast, intersecting planes of data, picked through by shit-merchants, sold to the highest bidder.

All so the Palma de Baía can play back the music I lost my virginity to, in the witching hours of that sweatless, fog-breathed Gastown night.

Now, as then, Appleville was the only place that felt real. Substantial. Single telephone per floor. Voice-only, hardwired into Chicagoland with copper-and-spit. Newsfeeds replaced with passive content. An actual hard library, where I read Upton Sinclair for the first time in print. Analog music, on antique standalone machines. An oasis of silence in a world of endless, low-intensity chatter. All right there, on W. 24th Place, just under the Dan Ryan. In retrospect, my nineteen months there was a gift. To live in such blessed antiquity...

And all because Chicago is the holy land: unique as a city that cherishes cloistral peace almost as much as the wild howl of its own progress. A place where tranquility is sown with the practiced hand of a Zen gardener, in Quiet Zones just like Appleville. Or Dalton. Markham. Bronzeville. The Low End. Modern day ashrams in the financial capital of North America. Such peace I'd never known...nor have I since.

And I compare it now to Oakland, where the night screams with attack drones, and the hills crash with artillery thunder. From Chicago to Toronto is a two hour trip by SonicRail. Here, it takes just as long to travel from Jack London Square to San Antonio Park, because the old 880 Freeway has been bombed to its component molecules by so many overlapping armies. Federal Unionists. The 321st Nevada Counter-Insurgent Insurgents (U.S. Volunteer Irregulars). The Alameda Independence Army. The Northern Aztlan Front. The New-New Wobblies. White Power Militias (Orthodox and Reform). The Golden Bear Unity Party. The Party For the Dignity of Angeleno Refugees. All of them mixing in the flats of East Oakland, trading shots with Prime Minister Pivens's choice assortment of heartless eye-gougers and ear-pullers. A fellow mobile journalist made note the other day that the Republic of Northern California proudly advertises itself as a nation without POW camps.

That is because the NoCal army is no longer taking prisoners.

In order for Prime Minister Pivens to give Los Angeles' expatriate war criminals respite without embargo or censure, he must provide the Hague at least an illusion of respectability. He is crafting that illusion with ashes of the dead and the blood of dissidents.

And my mind keeps wandering back to Chicago. To Appleville. Where I slept at night wrapped in the sweet impenetrable cold of anonymity. Ignorance. Perfect disconnectedness. Back in it now, tangled at the center of a burning web, (perhaps not surprisingly) threaded of all the weird, bad moments I'd sought to escape in Chicago; tied together to create this poor, weary author, eking out his literary pittance to a mixed soundtrack of Californian massacre and Ç1Q's remixed ouds. And I sadly recall this web has always been, and I always at its center.

And I wonder for the first time if I will ever enjoy the blessed silence of Chicago again.

Or if that silence ends here.

In Oakland.

1 comment:

zion3lion said...

nice, I like the change of pace in this one.