Notes from the edge: Savage festive truth. All alone with nowhere to go when the bad times come rolling in. The Spider Christmas message, enjoying the sound of puppies exploding.
by Simon Field

Sometimes, in order to understand something, you have to slit it open and crawl inside the swollen belly of the beast. Slip and slide around in amongst all of those wet juicy internal organs, get the gore and the bile up over your gums, taste the rot and ichor.

Sometimes this is the only way.

And this is what I will do.

Because my name is Spider Jerusalem, and I fucking hate Christmas.

Down on the newly commissioned Century Overpass I can see the fire-bombing of the big Christmas parade by the suicide wing of the No Fun Clowns. The flames lick around vat-grown reindeer that tug manically at their shackles attempting to escape, and I can just imagine the smell of all that venison on the bone roasting.

This tells me that somebody at least has the right idea. But wrong direction. Doesn't matter how many Rudolf's you toast, it's not going to make any real difference.

Christmas is not a good time of year. Don't get me wrong, I love the winter, but Christmas stands like a repellent pustule on the body of a beautiful woman. Something sickly fascinating that you just can't tear your eyes from. And even when she turns away you will always remember it is there, until the day that you die. More people kill themselves at Christmas than any other time of year, and frankly, who can blame them. Christmas is a very serious downer for many, those on their own, those without children, those who have been bereaved, those who are being set upon by the police with electro-shock clubs. Not to mention world famous journalists who at various times fall into all of the above categories.

It is one of those special times of year that says Thou Shalt Be Merry, or else there is something pretty seriously fucking wrong with you. And oh yes, we do all enjoy being reminded just how badly broken we are inside.

Funny story.

The classic psychological study by Soloman Asch.

Yeah, I can tell, you're holding your sides together already. Humour me dammit. Or do I need to remind you what happened to my last captive audience? Mhmm, thought not.

Old Soloman showed a group of six people a line and then asked them to say which of three other lines was the same length. Each group had one genuine participant and five people who had previously been briefed to select one of the wrong lines. When asked to chose, the sixth participant would typically pick the same false line that the group selected.

You're thinking, 'ah-ha, Spider is demonstrating to us yet again that people are nothing more than sheep, who will follow the crowd happily to their own oblivion'. Well, you're wrong, smart-ass. Report to detention for your punishment. And it will not be a gentle punishment, that much is certain. It displeases me when you make assumptions.

Yes, there is one conclusion from this study. That the man chooses to conform against the evidence provided by his own eyes, for the sake of fitting in and not being different from the herd. Which is all very Darwinian, and speaks a lot of truth. However, there is another interpretation.

Ach, fuck it. I'm not angry enough right now to write. I'll come back later. Amuse yourselves while I'm gone.

But stay the hell out of my medicine cupboard.


The city never sleeps except for one night, the night before Christmas. Walk then, the streets at midnight. Step over the bodies of the drunks, and wonder at the sad lost dreams they hold. Even the hookers take the night off, most of them anyway. Want to see some really damaged people? Go look at the girls that work on Christmas because they don't know what else to do. Broken dolls in door-frames and on street-corners.

The addiction never rests.

If you listen just right, you can hear it. Taste it. Feel it. Get the city beneath your feet and feel the rhythm, wherever there is great joy, you can find great misery. Because nothing exists without the opposite.

I met a man once, out on the streets just before midnight on a Christmas Eve, several years ago now. He was standing in a doorway with the muzzle of a gun between his teeth. Crying and wailing. Not the sort of situation anybody in their right mind is going to get involved in, so I stopped and said hello. Turned out his baby girl had been taken away from him by a harsh and uncaring system that couldn't understand just how much he loved her. Fourteen years old she was, and he had loved her every night for the last five years. And he had a special treat this year you see, he had bought her sexy lingerie for Christmas, and now he wouldn't get to see her wearing it.

Every night? I asked him. And he said sure, with that fervent glint in his eye. Since he'd gotten that new FujiFord penile implant, the penis he'd always dreamt of, with the patented endorphin release system, he could love so much more than he ever could before.

Love? I asked.

And he looked at me. And said, 'That's how my daddy loved me.'

I don't have any answers anymore. This place fucking exhausts me. I wish I was back up on the mountain. How do you deal with something like that? Look away right? Pretend it doesn't exist. Somebody else's problem. Deny, deny, deny.

He blew his brains out, I didn't try to stop him.

But I watched. I looked. I saw.

Somebody has to.

Yeah, the city sleeps alright. One night out of the year. But the tragedy never ends.


The South-Foulness Drink-My-Urine Day, which happily co-incides with Christmas, is becoming increasingly popular as fame-desperate celebrities hype it as the coolest alternative to celebrating the Nativity since Pierce-My-Anus-With-A-Cold-Iron-Spike Day. It bothers me sometimes you know, the lengths people will go to in order to prove they are superior. Though I must confess there is something oddly fascinating about the video for Britney VII's new charity single, 'Do they know it's Drink-My-Urine Day at all?'

I'll wager they do now Britney.

Of course if you stop and think about it, the whole thing becomes terrifyingly transparent, and there we go breaking reality again. The fundamental principles via which the world operates are basically pretty simple. And this whole being superior, being better, being different spiel. Well.

You think you're beautiful and unique and nobody can possibly understand you? Grow up, get over it. The belief that nobody in the world could possibly understand you is a disease of youth, and has no place in a mature mind. People are basically the same, understand this and you are well on your way to a political career, congratulations. To believe you possess some unique mystery that makes you oh so fucking special is a delusion, and trust me, you will be happier once you rid yourself of it.

Here is something I have learnt. Pain is pain. It basically doesn't matter what causes the pain, be it a bad mark in an exam, a rejection, a death, whatever, the human response is the same, to varying degrees. The only difference is that it is easier to get over the pain caused by missing the latest episode of Sex Puppets than it is the pain of watching your entire family consumed by renegade mutant elephants on the run from a government research centre.

Which, you'd be surprised how common that is.

The elephant thing.

This isn't very festive. Let's go back to Soloman, and the living nightmare of Thought Reformation.

Ah yes my little cupcakes, buckle up, here comes the true Christmas horror of this rambling diatribe.

You see, there are two ways to interpret the results of the Soloman Asch experiment. The rationality admired in the philosophy of knowledge is an idealization. To their credit, philosophers have finally started to figure this out, that in the real world, people don't actually think in nice neat ways. People are inherently untidy. And we act on beliefs that are based on fragmentary and unreliable evidence. All perception is after all, subjective.

We have no time to think through the logical consequences of beliefs, and to test them for consistency. It is impossible to investigate everything personally. The scientist, for example, has to accept that what is written in the text books is correct, she cannot go and personally test everything to make sure. The growth of scientific knowledge depends on people being able to build on the work of others. This demands some conformist willingness to believe the majority of other respected observers.

Back to Asch, and his six people. When the one who hadn't been briefed before hand found himself faced by a group of people selecting the wrong line, consider if you will the possibility that his perception of the line altered to conform to the majority decision. I mean, we know, in our day to day life, that our senses and judgements can be fallible. So presented with five other people making a definite decision, perception of reality becomes warped, and the man starts to see the wrong line as being the right line. The line changes. Bingo, intellectual conformity.

And that's how Genocide happens.

It's also how the world works. We are an entire species staring at the wrong line, thinking all the time that it is right, because everything is geared towards predisposing us towards believing in lies. Truth is obsolete, the lie is news. The lie is shinier, the lie is exciting, the lie offers promises of greatness. Empty promises, sure, but when nobody is prepared to point that out, the lie can take over.

And it makes us miss what really matters.

The Filthy Assistants have gone home for the holidays. Leaving me on my own. I hate Christmas. The cat has slunk off somewhere with the last of my drugs, I don't expect to see her again for days. Alone here in the echoing vaults of my mind, reflections upon torment. Christmas Eve, strange old time of year for the likes of me. Wiring up my doorbell to a bowel-disrupter provided some brief amusement. Later I may strap hand grenades to puppies and set them free to wander the city. But at some point I am sure, the bad craziness will get me. It always does.

The lie makes us miss what really matters in this world.

Each other.

Because all we ever really have is each other.

Remember that. For your crazy old Uncle Spider.

Now get the hell out of here. I've got real work to do.


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