A Slow Gradual Ooze

A conversation with Steven Warwick aka Heatsick about his March 2016 show Neutral at Exile in Berlin, followed by the text of his play Neonliberal, in which a gaggle of animated superfoods travel around Fortress Europe seeking the hip and the accelerated; and an exclusive Heatsick track, StaylienZ.

Robin Mackay: Neutral seems to portray Berlin as emblematic of certain processes that succeed artistic gentrification. The show sets out to interrogate the way in which space is used, re-used, and represented, is that right?


Steven Warwick: One reference point was Rachel Haidu’s book The Absence of Work, on Marcel Broodthaers and his Musée d’Art Moderne, Département des Aigles, where the pieces are a kind of parody of the way art is shown and circulated. I wanted to twist this somewhat, so instead of a flat comment along the lines of institutional critique, or a critique of gentrification, it became more about how Berlin is marketed from outside, as raw, edgy, street, and so on.

So it’s a kind of museum of spatiology: You have one room that is kind of like a project space showroom, then a ‘neutral’ corridor, and an ‘edgy’ boutique-y room with spray-painted lowbrow Berlin edgy graffiti on the walls, as if it’s trying to look like a repurposed warehouse squat. So the show is about space, how it is repurposed for different uses, and about artisanal violence, with each room relating to a different mode of violence.

The show is about space, how it is repurposed for different uses, and artisanal violence

RM: In the play Neonliberal, the unbearably ultrahip is collapsed onto a nightmarish decaying Euro dystopia which could also be its flipside; the constant debate as to who should and shouldn’t be allowed to take up residency is parodically relayed by this other ‘migratory’ flux, the ‘stayliens’ who come to Berlin for a few weeks and end up sticking around being vaguely arty. Neonliberal figures in the show in the form of a chalkboard ‘wall painting’: Is it a play that’s designed not to be performed?


SW: It was performed once at Café Oto, but I just didn’t want to perform it in the gallery. It’s chalked up on the wall so it looks like a coffee shop. Not performing the play but having a text implies an absence, and also the work being completed when the viewer reads it. This absence or negativity also corresponds with the airbed with the ‘Can’t be Arsed’ duvet. They’re both acts of refusal: you have the play which won’t be performed, it’s a negative act, and then the ‘can’t be arsed’ bed. Which is a slight sarcastic nod to John and Yoko’s Bed Peace, but also the YBA Emin bed of wild transgressive energy: you know, YBA, my bed’s so messed up, transgression. Here, no, it’s clinically sterile and clean—and that’s way more violent. Just like after the riots in London, just one week later you walk down Mare Street and everything’s been removed, no question, just keep your chin up, put your suit on, sing the national anthem.


That’s the whole question of the show: What is a neutral space? Neutral countries during a war, or when people are like ‘I’d like to stay neutral on this topic’—it’s apolitical, but in terms that are political in themselves.

People in the gallery are also allowed to lay on the bed to read the play so you’ve got this whole relational aesthetics parody—this conversation is curated….

That was the hinge: I wanted to have some humour as a device for people to feel a bit more comfortable. I mean, the text of the play itself, you’re talking about Corbyn voters getting taken away from an offshore convention, Fortress Europe, and superfoods are saving the day, not even humans…of course it’s completely ridiculous and over the top, but also in a way that’s the only way to address it. Because the whole situation really is absurd. It’s more like a Carry On film.

RM: And what about the signed photo of Craig David’s Born to Do It? I remember a while back you picked that album for ‘The Inner Sleeve’ in The Wire.


SW: I wanted to put him in the show, also… What is this neutral image? It’s so striking: with that gold background, it resembles a religious painting or something, an iconic image. So that’s partly why I wanted to hang it so high up, you have to look up at him…. I’m also interested in how such a flat, neutral image can be so remembered and implanted into the psychology and memory of people—well, certainly in mine, because that’s what was happening when I was growing up. Also, where you stood in the room, you could see the Craig David image and then in the other room you could see this Gosha Rubchinskiy/Tilmans-style punk; and so you’ve got these two different rooms of ‘subversion’. And this safe neutral image is the one that is more striking, whereas the raaargh! punk thing is actually the more anodyne one, you just shrug your shoulders.

RM: The ‘photopath’ formed of Heatsick Reengineering album covers suggests the continual reproduction of a kind of disinfected image of a secondhand scene—which is very noticeable in Berlin: your ‘edgy’ room is precisely this zombie image of something that basically doesn’t exist any more if it ever did.

SW: I wanted to play around with how the city presents itself, the outside image of Berlin, and how people feel about it. In the ’90s, when people would move to Berlin, they had an idea of ‘I’m going to move there, I’m going to do something’. But because you have the flood of articles about how a certain city is so cheap—and it could be anywhere, it could be Lisbon at this point—you have this short-term mentality which obviously goes hand-in-hand with neoliberalism which is like, I’ll stay here for three months, but it doesn’t matter, right? I can just leave. So then you have a compression of time, but also a compression of investment, in that, if someone doesn’t see an immediate result from something they do, they just pack up their bags and complain about how Berlin failed them….


I wanted the Burgin photopath to have these dirty lurid sneakers on top of it so it kinda turns into this Carl Andre catwalk meets some gay party flyer. It plays with this edgy and raw image of Berlin but ultimately then just neutralizes itself again. People can return from their crazy weekend and business can resume.

It makes me think of a growing tendency that I notice, especially in but not limited to music, where everything is becoming artisanalised: so, a return to some wild transgressive energy is re-presented, but slightly tweaked and cleaned up, whilst being marketed as otherwise.

RM: The Brewdog effect?

Everything is becoming artisanalised: a return to some wild transgressive energy is re-presented, but slightly tweaked and cleaned up

SW: Yeah, and in terms of Berlin, even if you look at something like a fashion label like Vetements in Paris, they can heavily reference the city, but they don’t live in Berlin, they have to live in Paris to talk about Berlin, for it to operate, and that’s okay—then you can sell it at Dover Street Market. If they were based in Berlin it wouldn’t be quite the same.

RM: So the insidiousness of the artisanal violence you’re talking is a phenomenon that goes beyond just a critique of gentrification and the transformation of urban space in the wake of artists—which I guess is a topic that’s been done to death.

SW: You know, some people just have to move because they can’t afford it, and some people guiltily ponder how there can be this affordable space. And I definitely fall into the category of…well, I’m here.

RM: And it’s not as if you’ve been in Berlin for half a century and you’re bemoaning the decline of a former authentic underground.

SW: I kind of don’t really care to be honest. To feel like you’re the year zero is a bit naïve. And it’s an old question: You could say that about every city: you could talk about that with the YBAs in the mid-90s with Shoreditch, you could talk about that Swinging London…even Nathan Barley’s over ten years old now! It’s funny because the people who get yelled at most for doing things are the ones who are in the most precarious situation comparatively, outside of people of a lower income. People just get yelled at in austere times.

And also, you’ve got a billion art shows about gentrification, what difference does that make? So it was more interesting to me to talk about other things, like Fortress Europe, and to have this comical sardonic take on everything.

There is no escape, so you may as well deal with it. And I’m not a cynic, I’m somehow optimistic about it

There is no escape, so you may as well deal with it. I’m not an activist, I’m not going on the streets, I’m someone who makes work out of the situation. And I’m not a cynic, I’m somehow optimistic about it.

RM: You’ve referenced Gilles Châtelet and ‘Figuring Space’ in a couple of recent works, and his work seems to be something that is of continuing interest to you.

SW: Yeah, he’s an interesting figure, both with that and then also with To Live and Think Like Pigs, It’s a very well written polemic.

When I first came across the book Figuring Space, it’s not like I completely got to grips with what is a very dense book, but the title really struck a chord with me and it implanted itself in my head for months after, and I guess made me want to make work around this: How do you figure space? I also thought it made sense about how he was gay and wanted to investigate space, I could fully relate to that as I’ve seen spaces get hidden or get created. I hope that doesn’t sound corny, but I felt it was more the general topic of Figuring Space that set me off rather than a particular section. I’d read the Zalamea book on mathematics and I found that easier to fathom. So it made me interested in maths being this odd entity which is just as weird as art or philosophy—which definitely wasn’t the case when i thought about maths in school.

If I had literally tried to make a piece of art which directly corresponded with his work I doubt I would’ve been able to realize that, so I’d rather go about things this way, I feel like even if I didn’t fully grasp the book (it is very dense!) I somehow absorbed an atmosphere whilst reading it.

RM: There is definitely an ambience to Châtelet’s writing, which is to be expected given his insistence on the importance of style. Looking at the mathematical and the political work together is important because it gives you some measure of just how broad he intends the central notion of ‘gesture’ to be: it’s a matter of gesture when—as both Châtelet and Zalamea discuss, and Cavaillès before them—a mathematician imparts a new kind of complexity to a mathematical object by carrying out an operation on it taken from another field of mathematics. But gesture also means the semio-tics of the microsocial: the way people interact and check each other out in a nightclub, or the logical dance of a couple having an argument, and how those microgestures are an expression of the social machine they are a part of. The possibility of new gestures and the spaces they bring with them is what Châtelet’s politics is about, I would say. So the bizarre cast of characters in TLATLP give you diagrams of the impoverishment of space and gesture, but inversely, the way in which mathematical concepts evolve in dialogue with spatial awareness exemplifies a liberation of gesture. To complete Châtelet’s work would be to explore further how the two connect, between high abstraction and social bodies: He says that

what is at stake in Figuring Space is to articulate that which moves outside of us with that which moves inside us, so that the outside and the inside are linked and separated, separated and linked in new ways of grasping bodies and thoughts in movement. From this perspective, to think Space (or the Thing) is to think freedom.1

I see an echo in Neonliberal of Châtelet’s parody of the ‘techno-populism which happily advertises its carnivorous postmodernity, ready to seek out and digest a best-of selection of the planet’s goods and services’ (TLATLP, Preface), and of the night at the Palace nightclub with which the book opens—and also that whole ‘burlesque’ aspect of TLATLP.

SW: That wasn’t deliberate, but it is eerily parallel; I was reading the book around the time I was writing the play so it might have been subconsciously influencing it.

RM: When I was translating TLATLP I found it quite depressing to think that Châtelet killed himself straight after writing it (I wouldn’t suggest that was exclusively connected to the work, but certainly you can tell this is someone who’s genuinely struggling with the world). His analysis seems so on point in so many ways. It’s almost comical how literally a concept like ‘cybercattle’ can be applied today: I mean, what is the ‘swipe’ or the Facebook ‘like’ but a gestural servomechanism of the capitalist socius…. And this was written twenty years ago—imagine if he could see the world in 2016….

SW: His suicide was around the same time that Guy Debord also killed himself, and Deleuze too. 1995: the world is ending!—well, try living in 2016.

RM: So how come you say you’re still optimistic?

People tell jokes about what they’re scared of. And yeah, it feels very zero-time right now

SW: It’s not easy of course, especially right now, it’s terrifying! But that’s it… the classic Freud quote: people tell jokes about what they’re scared of. And yeah, this whole Fortress Europe thing, and the elections in America, what’s going on in the world, it feels very zero-time right now again.

RM: On the question of optimism, I actually think what is singular about Heatsick tracks is that they open up a different space to a lot of contemporary electronic music, which is often intent on reproducing and intensifying machinic pressure, so that it’s almost as if the music wants to convince you that it’s channelling the space of the system of circulation itself—as if it only passed through a human so as to subtract humans all the more. Heatsick seems to hold open a space that, without necessarily celebrating finitude or vulnerability, does acknowledge the temporality of the human within this situation, and reminds the listener that intensifying machinic pressure is in fact an aesthetic choice which doesn’t necessarily bring you closer to the present. Heatsick is always surprising to listen to: not only can you can create a compelling sonic space with a relatively ‘manual’ setup—which of course brings with it a whole language of gesture—but you can say something about the urgency of the contemporary from within that. Which I think is related to Châtelet’s unfashionable advocacy of what he calls ‘patience-work’, a working-through and a practice of plasticity that is not indexed to survival or impatience.

I do have a healthy streak of misanthropy, but I still think there’s a potential and I still go for that potential even if it seems doomed

SW: That’s what I mean by optimism in a way. I do have a healthy streak of misanthropy, but I still think there’s a potential and I still go for that potential even if it seems doomed. In early Heatsick, or stuff I was doing with Luke [Younger (Helm)] as Birds of Delay, it became very formalised to me, but also I’m wary of fetishism: it’s not the 80s, this music is not transgressive, it’s very boring. To give you an example, I did a tour with Luke when we were doing Birds of Delay, and we did a tour where we just got completely bored of our situation, we were touring with a band who uses all these analog synthesizers, and who were very faithfully reproducing 1975 German synth music, and we just did a tour with a pack of cards and played snap. And it was our exit strategy: I don’t know what’s going on, but I can’t deal with it, so we just have to throw a banana skin out there as a way to detour and make something. And it was also very fun to do a tour based on that, because we didn’t have anything to carry around! Just a pack of cards and a microphone!

RM: The Boiler Room session you did for the Pan event at V&A was also interesting, when you just read Poe’s ‘The Man in the Crowd’.

SW: I read it in the art library at the V&A, and every other performance was, you know, some weird kind of noise in a corridor or something. And sonically it’s going to be echoing and bouncing off and diffusing in this weird way. And that’s fine, but whenever I make work, whatever it is, I do definitely consider the spatial aspect of it and what that entails…so, in that room you could sit down. I did multiple readings so that people could witness it, and where they could sit down. Because when you sit down you perceive something totally differently—which may seem obvious, but if you’re standing and someone’s standing at a plinth reading, you can’t think about it, you’re not fully engaging.

The Poe story comes from around that time in modernity when people are starting to write about watching people, and about social mobility; and he’s able to read everyone in the street except for this one man, and it bothers him because he can’t place him; and he follows him around. And I did think there was a somewhat homoerotic, cruisey nature to all that, where he becomes obsessed with this person who he can’t reach; this man who’s always in a crowd, he’s unreadable. And in the end the narrator gives up. But I found that fascinating because you’re dealing primarily with class. But when that is spoken and rehabilitated in this room, people are sat down in this very dusty old nineteenth-century library and thinking about when that story’s being read. And then obviously on top of that you have the fact that it’s Boiler Room and what that means, with people watching each other and being watched. When you’re used to just watching some DJ or other, then you’re gonna be just, what the fuck is this?

RM: There is still a residue of the idea that somehow club space and club music is a socially potent subversive space, which is surely not the case anymore, right?

SW: I think it still can be. Whatever the hype around Berghain, I do think it is cool that it’s predominantly a queer space, for want of a better term: people go there and they have to realise that that’s in a majority for a change, which then comes back to the history of dance music and where that comes from; and that you can run off into this dark space, which has got a bit of a strange Catholic narrative, but it is there. It’s not there in a lot of London places, it’s not there in a lot of places around the world. And when I travel, I do notice that there is this different idea of space that does exist in Berlin, which I do think is positive—and not just for a quickie in the corner.

RM: This reminds me of another aspect of Gilles Châtelet we could discuss, his involvement with the Front Homosexuel d’action révolutionnaire and his reputation as a party animal! There’s a memoire by a friend of Châtelet where she describes some crazy situations, for example a ‘FHAR maoist masturbating over a record of German military music while Gilles showed him his buttocks’…. He’s also in Lionel Soukaz’s 1979 film Race d’ep (The Homosexual Century). But his homosexuality doesn’t enter his work anywhere in an overt way, which some criticised him for at the time. I’m saying this because another anecdote reminds me of how Intersex ends with a parodic invocation of ‘gay music’. In the same story, she remembers asking Châtelet ‘Is there a homo way of resolving equations?’. She says, at first he got angry, then he just said, ‘It’s more complicated than that’!

SW: On Intersex I also have this reference on Taxi Zum NO which is a loop from a scene from Taxi Zum Klo where they are having a moment in the bathtub. It’s a pre-AIDS Berlin film and, whilst all about hedonism and sexual promiscuity, I found it was equally about the main character Frank just driving around in a loop at night, frustrated by the repetition of his day job as a teacher and the repetition of cruising in sex bars. The mechanisation of sexuality is something which kinda fascinated me in that film, as it was a bit more subtle. As I said earlier, for me, it makes total sense that Chatelet was obsessed with space and also a homosexual, I can fully relate to that.

It also makes me think of The Screwball Asses by Hocquenghem, where he writes about how a group of gays can do all sorts of things in a darkened room but they can’t discuss it when back in a lighted room—there is instead this awkward silence….

RM: One thing you can say about clubs is that at least that space involves physical proximity, which is arguably draining out of social interaction. I wonder whether we’re at risk of discounting the importance of bodies and gestures in physical space as a factor in producing culture. But equally, what may seem like a zone of potential can be a simple release valve…in parallel to the art space, where one can also assuage fatigue, guilt, and anxiety by participating in temporary utopias, or by consuming echoes of them, in these artisanal retreads you’ve talked about.

I’m fine with contradictions, I’m fine if a whole bunch of positives comes with a whole bunch of negatives, because guess what, that’s reality

SW: I do think about the double edged sword of a ‘temporary autonomous zone’ which can also of course happen in a club space. However I think if having a space where you think anything is possible for a period can then be carried over into everyday life or somehow put into action to re-engineer something…I just wonder if it’s possible. But I’m fine with contradictions, I’m fine if a whole bunch of positives comes with a whole bunch of negatives, because guess what, that’s reality.

RM: One of the things that I find amazing about grime is that it’s totally engaged with technology and social media, but it also emerged from groups of kids out on the streets playing the beats from a phone and physically and verbally interacting, and that’s something that definitely plays a part in making it vital and inventive.

SW: One of the things about grime when I first heard it, I would be staying a lot with friends around East London around 2004, and you could have Resonance FM on, or whatever pirate radio station from Bow was on, and these places were really amazing, you felt like anything could happen, and you didn’t know what it was, and it didn’t matter what it was, just the fact that you were hearing it. And it had this strange illegality or illicitness to it, but it also seemed very pregnant with potential. The fact that a lot of this music was made on Playstations, that in itself is incredible—but then the fact that it didn’t get focused on that (in the same way as I get bored with how people focus on my Casio). For me it’s just full of potential that you can just do something, and I think that’s great.

RM: Right, so the virtual spaces too, like radio—or recently I’ve been watching Novelist’s Periscope, which I guess is as twenty-first-century as you can get—they have their own charge too. My question is whether in and of themselves they’re capable of nurturing new gestures, producing new culture, or whether they’re already too heavily overcoded as forms of space. A question for the future….

SW: What do you think of Her? I thought it was a really funny satire. I came out and was like, it’s a really funny satire about where we’re at now.

RM: What was impressive in Her was that it was SF separated so thinly from the present. I remember being really disappointed by the ending though, I wanted him to jump off the building. But it did succeed in getting across the fact that the rise of AI probably isn’t going to consist in gleaming metallic robots striding across a smoke-shrouded battlefield, it’s just this insinuating slightly icky set of algorithmic tentacles creeping into your emotional life.

When the thing on your phone is just swirling a bit too long, that’s Judgment Day now!

SW: When the thing on your phone is just swirling a bit too long, that’s Judgment Day now! That’s also something I really loved about that film, that it wasn’t too far into the future: it looked similar enough to be now, but with something tweaked slightly. And which produces an effect of mundanity where you’re yearning for this radical bang!

RM: That’s the position we’re all in—trying to excavate a dramatic form of apocalypse from a world that in fact is pullulating with futuristic weirdness, but in practice persists in its utter mundanity—all the time conscious of this slow insinuating slide into something we don’t comprehend.

SW: A slow gradual ooze.

RM: You said to me early on that you were thinking of Neutral in terms of Mark Fisher’s piece in #Accelerate, ‘Terminator vs. Avatar’—that somehow its different spaces were indexed to those differing modes of futuristic violence?

SW: I did consider the two rooms in the show initially as the chalkboard room being Avatar and the spraypainted room being more Terminator. They could also be read as generational shifts: between generation X and Y. When people complain about protest being dead and art being about pissing off the establishment, I think it’s not as simple as that anymore. The conditions have changed, so you could cry over the death of a moldy techno track and its corresponding cover of a grey brutalist highrise facade, or you could just get the fuck over it and ice-skate over these shiny new surfaces and wonder what that’s about. Peel slowly and see, etc….




Scene: A cafe in East London. Spirulina is talking with Chorella about the previous night’s affairs.

Spirulina: Hey Chorella

Chorella: Hey Spirulina

S: So…how was last night?

C: Well…I was with Baobab and we were going sooooooo ham in the club!!!!

S: Ham?

C: Hard as a…

S: Ahhh.

C: We were all spinning around in the club like one massive gender smoothie.

S: Really?

C: Yeah we were definitely putting the super in superfoods.

But now I feel more like an overspun salad.

S: Should we go to Cafe Electro?

C: I need some electrolytes, I tried getting the electrolyte IV drip home service when I got back last night, but I passed out and only remembered today when I woke up with a head like a broken modem and by then of course it was fully booked. Ugh!

S: Ok ok nevermind, let’s just drive there now, and we can rehydrate.

gets into car

accelerated car ads play

C: I love this new car!

S: Thanks, its electric

C: Is it a Tesla?

S: (pause) Yes (smiles)

C: So how do these work? Don’t you have a driverless one yet?

S: Well, an electric car like this is fine, but driverless ones juice the battery way too fast, and besides I have to go to Berlin to charge the damn thing.

C: There isn’t a charger in London?

S: (smirks) Well yeah there’s over 180 charging stations here.

But its also a good excuse to go somewhere right?

C: Hmmm, should we just fuck off the cafe and just drive straight to Berlin?

I have my mobile charger in case.

S: Hmmm, I dont think a smart phone charger would power a car

C: Mine does, I just microwaved it (smiles)

S: Kkkk, how about we rehydrate, THEN go to Berlin

Newsreader: Newsflash: today a white british elderly woman is recovering after having tripped on a british grown banana, the incident occurred on Broadway Market earlier today.“my initial worry was that I would slip on the skin, but then I remembered that it has to have a different consistency as it is British grown.”

C: How do you know how to get there?

S: I got this app called baze

C: Showing ways for your baes?

S: Genau.

C: So I was just reading an article about people moving to Berlin.


C: (eye roll) I know … anyway. I was reading this article and they’ve coined a new term they’re called “STAYLIENz” … you know, like staycation and aliens.

S: Wait so this isn’t refugee related?

C: Errrr no! It’s about creatives!

Staylienz are people who move to Berlin for some poor and sexy but then, in the back of their mind they have the idea of just going back but stay anyway, living there for a decade, normally sat on a beanbag, splifta in one hand, copy of mezzanine cd in the other watching beetles crawl up the wall in some ayuascha opera.

S: Ayuascha? Don’t you mean that thing I drank and then spent the next 12 hours crawling around Hackney Marshes projectile vomiting out my past whilst dreaming I was being cuddled by crazy frog?

plays crazy frog

C: Oooh yeah, good point. (shudders)

short pause

S: SWIPE! Look apropos hydration I was just thinking, why don’t we do the IV electrolyte drip, THEN just get the car to into go driverless mode?

C: OMG , you are a genius! Perfect. Surely theres the IV drip function in the car?


S: Soooo. Hydration! Chunnel! Benelux! BERLIN! Drinking in the streets, no ASBOs!! powders! ! Some hungover selfies in front of the TV Tower and maybe the Karl Marx statue if we’re feeling flush.


S: What’s Club Nutri? I don’t know that.

C: Er are you joking? It’s only the hottest club in town if not Europe?!

S: (pause) Really?

C: Yeah! Its got everything,

Fisting, Funktion-Ones and fabulousness!

Smoothies, shots and sex rooms!

Artisanals, arseholes and Adidas!

Millennials, milfs and midriffs, all melting together on a dancefloor

Bankers in leather letting it all out for the weekend before they get the business flight back to Frankfurt and Canary Wharf wide eyed on GHB.

S: (grimaces)

C: AND! theres another backdoor entrance for the real dirty stuff.

S: No pun intended?

short pause

S: I’m not so sure about this Doesn’t it smell?

C: Hmmm, I think the poppers outsmell it.

Once my friend told me about how they were going into the darkroom and heard someone say their name and then, through the dim light, could suddenly see a waving hand, the other one stuck deep inside someone.

S: You’re not really selling this to me.

C: They didn’t remark upon the smell so I guess it’s fine.

S: I’ll remember to just nod my head if someone introduces themselves.

C: Anyway…we can just stay on the main floor and soak up the atmos, or even just chill in the ice cream bar.

S: NOW you’re talking!

Chorella and Spirulina go to what they think is Club Nutri the London equivalent of Berghain but actually is a massive detention camp for Corbyn supporters

S: So what is this place?

Why does it look like a prison camp? Is that a thing?

And I thought it was impossible to get into?

C: Well it is.

S: Then why are we being fast-tracked in? I feel like I’m on the guestlist to a speedy boarding gabba set.

C: I dont know! Since when have you complained about getting in TOO quickly?!?

Especially when people queue forever and complain whilst buying dodgy pills and sweaty food.

In da club.

Rihanna: 1:45 in

C: So…what’s all this about then? Where’s the piercings and er…sex?

S: It looks like a !!!bare!!! prison cell, I get that part. Its a mixture of exposed concrete and rusted iron, minus the wistful shoegaze, chalkboard price list and cupcakes that I would normally expect with this look.

C: Yeah true I dunno, I expected to look more like the Nostromo or something?

S: Then where are all the Ripleys?

C: And more importantly—the Aliens?

S&C together: AND THE STAYLIENZ!!!

C: Let’s go to the bar and mingle….

C&S are mingling at the bar……

S: Apropos Aliens, this place got me thinking about that scene in Total Recall where Arnie is trying to enter Mars. You remember that?

When we went up to the door bouncer I got really worried about being let in and then I just panic and start going 2 weeks 2 weeks 2 weeks….

C: Apart from your head doesn’t come apart, turn into a bomb and then we end up with a resistance force coming out of someones stomach?

S: Well the night is young!

C&S leave the bar and go looking for staylienz…

S: Should we go and ask people if they are staylienz?

C: Well they’re never going to admit to it, because no one ever thinks they are one.

C: See let’s try this.

Excuse me, would you consider yourself a staylien?

vaping man: No.

S: Hmmmm now after all this talk earlier I’m curious about this darkroom. fancy popping in?

C: Yeah go on then!

C&S enter a darkened room. (lights are darkened apart from the light from their smartphones)

S: Wow a dark room really is named that for a reason.

C: Yeah no kidding!

S: So how does that work?

Do they touch you?

C: Well I think touching is part of this room experience yes.

S: But you know what I mean.

C: Hmmm I guess seeing as people cant see you theres a strong chance you might get touched but I guess you can also swipe away like an octopus skating on an ice rink.

S: Or on tindr?


silence- faint sound of techno in background- C&S slowly moving around awkwardly

C: We don’t have to be in here if its freaking you out.

S: No no it’s fine, I think its just reminds me of that bit in Indiana Jones 3 when they’re going through the cave to the holy grail.

C: What happens?

S: Treading and feeling around to find the device that stops the axes which could behead you?

C: Yeah by kneeling.

‘Only the penitent man shall pass’

S: Well, that might take on a different meaning if you’re penitent here.

C: I’m not feeling so cc penitent.

S: Ok, I think I’m done w this, shall we just go dance or something?

Prisoner(voice from the darkness): Help!

C: Did you hear that?

S: What?

Prisoner: Hellllp.

I’m in chains I cant escape.

C: (to S) Is that a fetish?

S: Maybe?!

C: (to prisoner) Wait, are you in bondage against your own will??

Prisoner: Yes!

This isn’t a dark room.

I registered to vote for Jeremy Corbyn and the email got intercepted. Some men came round to my house and took me here. I was blindfolded and had no clue where I was taken.

Where am I now?

S: Oh, well you’re only in one of the most exclusive nightclubs in the world!

In the fetish chamber I believe?

Prisoner: No, this isn’t Club Nutri, you went into the wrong place. It’s all a big trap.

We’re actually on a massive offshore republic w built in prison camp drifting off somewhere into the Atlantic Ocean. Since you’ve been inside, the anchor was lifted.

We the Corbyn voters have been imprisoned to carry out the menial jobs whilst all of the world’s richest leaders and movers of the world can enjoy their espresso tonics.

S: I hate tonics……I mean, I hate class struggle!

Let’s overcome this shit!

C: So what do you mean, worlds leaders and movers. Is this some Forbes List X Davos kinda shindig?

Prisoner: Yes well actually they’ve all decided to retreat from society in a bid to make the world market crash again, only this time, they DON’T want it to recover, instead rather just sweat (or maybe exfoliate) in a luxury bunker w open air swimming pool that was a former nazi war bunker cum ex squat sex club cum art collectors headquarters, now repurposed to its current mode of operation….

They got bored of Davos since the Swiss banking transparency crackdown so they decided instead to just go and launch their own republic. A leading architect has been commissioned to redesign a floating desert next to the swimming pool and the Brand New Heavies are being flown in by private jet to be the house band.

C: The Brand New Heavies?

S: Is Acid Jazz back? How did I miss that? Well I must say…. I did always like Midnight at the Oasis, I must have my furry jacket still. Oh wait I had it repurposed into a giant beanbag when Lucuma was born…oh well I still have my funky pants that I bought at Glastonbury. ….Y’know I’m kinda feeling this place. Its everywhere and nowhere all at once. Travelling ….without moving? I just suddenly feel so free…. Who needs Copenhagen and their bathing harbour, I have a whole ocean!

Oh come on let’s stay a little bit, can’t we? I could write an article here for a slow travel blog or cute.com. Come here I want to take a selfie in the pool! I’ve got my stick!

Ahhh, sorry but I love it here.

C: (bit dismayed)

I don’t know about you but I need to be caffeinated.

Goes to order at cafe

C: Zwei aeropresses bitte. Oops im not in Berrrrlin anymore am I , haha. Sorry so international.

May weee.

Mayyyyyy weee haaaaavvve twwwwoooo aaaaeeeerrrrroooooo pppprrrreeeesssssss sil voo playy

Waiter: sorry mate—we are not serving the aeropress, only offshore realness.

Perhaps I could interest you in llama saliva?

C: Llama saliva? ugh!

I’m not so sure about this, can you maybe explain this to me?

Waiter: Well we feed our llamas on sustainable resources here on our island.

Depending on the diet they eat on the day, effects the menu on the day. A recent favourite has been the paleo llama saliva.

Would that interest you? Otherwise we have cold filtered llama saliva w bedbug drizzle.

C: Spoiled for choice! ….Hmmm, well it would make a good article. I’d definitely be the first… but I don’t know if I want to!

S: My beloved Foodies. I don’t think I can continue w you, maybe you just carry on?

C: Spirulina how you could leave us?

Waiter: Well don’t you know llamas secrete an aphrodisiac in their pituitary gland? Its also more addictive than nicotine heroin and the internet combined. We’re not talking about a case of free will anymore.

S: Well I thought nothing was more potent than Baobab and its exclusive qualities of more iron than red meat 6x more potassium than bananas goji and acai.

C: But how can you have this effect when you haven’t even ingested it?

S: Oh wait! When I entered the club, someone gave me a welcome shot and I thought it tasted funny but I didn’t realise it wasn’t vodka! That explains! …oh but I feel so good!

But wait, its not the flavour. Its the addiction. Its beyond my control. Its not me speaking it’s the llama spit! How can I let such a drug control me. To consume my mind passion and superfood spirit. I need to leave these manacles. I am for freedom and good standards of living! Rid me of this mind drug and help rejoin the cause!


Quick group photo first though?


Chorella: Ok, so we need a plan of escape. (to Prisoner and Spirulina), here’s some testo gel I found in my bag. If you use the whole tube, you’ll look like an appalachian folk revolutionary in no time.

applies testo gel, and turns back to audience
carries on talking

C: I just ordered some banjos on Amazon Ultra Prime so they should be arriving in a few minutes. Now- you will serve as the decoy and lull people into a false sense of security and distraction by entertaining. Has the testo gel worked yet?!

Prisoner & Spirulina turn around and are bearded

P&S: Yes.

C: Great, so whilst you are both playing, I propose installing a bespoke vape installation to complement the music. The smell is Appalachian mountain vape 1848. The rustic flavours and will lull everyone into a deep sleep. But I also have this gum that we can chew which works as an antidote against its narcoleptic effect.

Ok so let’s play.

music starts, plan unhatches

looks around, and guests start to doze off

Everyone: We did it!

C: The Corbyn Supporters are freed from the Prison!

Let’s get out of here, I’m done w this republic.

Lets head to Club Nutri!

Club Lonely plays

music temple music


they leave the Republic

Chorella and Spirulina return to Berlin and are now outside Club Nutri

C: so here we are at Club Nutri, finally! And back to our trend report. I can’t wait.

S: But what if we don’t get in?

C: Let’s stay positive about the thing. I think it’ll be ok

S: Wait wait wait…how long has it been now?

C: (pause)…9 hours and 50 minutes.

S: Hmmm really this is insane…I’m tempted to leave, its not gonna happen is it?

C: Why give up now?

Voice of bouncer: Ok how many are you?


Bouncer: (stares long and hard) Ok come in.

C&S: Finally! Phew

they go into club

Walk around for 1 minute

Plays Club Lonely

C: Actually: I think I’m over this.

If we can actually get in it can’t be that exciting.

S: Yeah, let’s leave! This place is over!!

they leave


  1. ‘Gilles Châtelet et son “mobile”’, collection of statements by Châtelet collected by Lucette Finas, La Quinzaine littéraire, February 1995.