Why I Love The Westfield

Tomorrow, I’m DJing at the night-time part of Derby Feste. Ostensibly, the event is to celebrate the opening of Derby’s new Westfield shopping centre. But this is a rather, ummm, playful mission statement. It’s far more about trying to divert some of the extra people flooding into Derby to other events. Events that are not shopping-related.

It’s been an interesting week. The Westfield has polarised most people I know. The two camps tend to be: I love it! SHOES! versus BAH! It’s industrial capitalism, life is not just shopping!

I’m in neither camp. I love the new shopping centre but not because I can shop there. There’s only one computer shop and I’m too fat to fit into any of the clothing.

I love it precisely because life under capitalism is just shopping. Or, as a much better thinker than me put it:

The simulacrum is never that which conceals the truth–it is the truth which conceals that there is none.

The simulacrum is true.
(Source: Stanford University)

The Westfield is real life, it’s the rest of the city centre that is the lie!

Life is basically birth -> school -> work -> shop -> death. With maybe some reproduction thrown in, if you’re lucky. Unless and until you reject capitalism in its entirety, that’s all your life is, all it ever can be. Precisely because you’ve never imagined anything else

You cannot pick and choose. You can’t love a quaint olde-worlde shop on Sadler Gate and abhor the Westfield: they are the same, the only difference is scale. One is a small, inefficient capitalist, the other a large, efficient one.

If you’ve ever got excited about buying any product, whether that’s a computer, shoes, a dress, a videogame, then you should be ecstatic about the Westfield. I mean, just look at it:

This is naked, brutal capitalism at its very best. This is a hyper-efficient shopping machine. It’s as gleaming and productive as an abattoir, as sleek and aerodynamic as a US bomb killing nine Iraqi children.

If you’re a science fiction fan, you’ll love the Westfield because it is the future, here. Now. It’s a moonbase, glowing under the regolith. It’s the all-providing cell that EM Forster wrote about in The Machine Stops, way back in 1909. (Read the full story here.)

It’s Asimov’s Caves of Steel.

It’s Le Corbusier, triumphant!

I took some video footage inside but when I returned home, it had magically transmogrified into Metropolis. But with an added Nut Hut. Look at this picture:

Those are my feet. I sat, alone, in the Westfield for an hour. It’s the most solitary place in Derby. Thousands of people, milling around. All of us alone. If you want a true spiritual revelation, don’t go to a church, go to Westfield. Because the Westfield, unlike every religious building ever built, isn’t lying to you. It isn’t pretending there’s a God or objective morality or truth or some afterlife or that you’re coming back as a chicken.

It just wants to sell you stuff. Simple. Clean. Honest.

I think a lot of people are annoyed at the Westfield because it’s too clean a mirror. When we’re ambling around rustic markets in Holidayland or browsing through the racks of independent record shops, we can pretend we’re different. After all, we are buying different records, different clothes, specialist cheeses, fine wines. We’re not consumerist sheep!

And then the Westfield opens and slaps us in our fat fucking faces. We walk round and see thousands of other slack-jawed sheeple. And then we catch a glimpse of ourselves in the ridiculous wankart frontage of All Saints…

…and we look exactly the same.

Look, I’ll be kind. And quick. And helpful:

If you can’t join me in celebrating the opening of Westfield, then here’s what you can do:

Overthrow capitalism.

There you go – simple, innit? Don’t like big bastard shopping centres? Then just go and overturn the economic system that creates and necessitates them. Stop gassing on about ‘soulless boxes’ and claiming to be above it when you’re first in the queue for your Egg McMuffin. Unless you live in a yurt and recycle your shit into a totally self-sustaining vegan diet, you’re as much of a consumer as I am. As anyone is.

You can’t pick and choose which bits of capitalism you get. It’s not a fucking buffet. The Westfield is exactly what you ordered.


US Murders 34 Civilians, 9 Children

US Murders 34 Civilians

The US military has said it will investigate an operation in Iraq which left 15 women and children dead, alongside 19 suspected militants.

The operation, north of Baghdad, is thought to have resulted one of the biggest single losses of civilian life since the war began in 2003.
(Source: BBC News)

Read that carefully: “suspected militants.” This is what the US military calls any Iraqis it murders. It’s troops often murder civilians and then plant guns next to the bodies to imply they were under attack. Here’s just one US soldier’s sworn testimony:

“He asked me if I was ready. I had the pistol out. I heard the word ‘shoot.’ I don’t remember pulling the trigger. It took me a second to realize that the shot came from the pistol in my hand,” he said, crying and speaking barely above a whisper.

Vela said that as the Iraqi man was convulsing on the ground, “Hensley laughed about it and hit the guy on the throat and said shoot again.”

“After he (the Iraqi man) was shot, Sgt. Hensley pulled an AK-47 out of his rucksack and said, ‘This is what we are going to say happened,”‘ Vela said. He was dismissed from the witness stand to compose himself.
(Source: AlterNet)

If I shot someone in the street because I suspected they might be dangerous, I think I’d be charged with murder. Even if I did plant a gun on them afterwards.

So, the US liberators have slaughtered 34 innocent civilians, nine of them children.

This is another glowing milestone in Bush’s wonderful mission in Iraq. Think how those Iraqi children must have smiled and welcomed their liberation from oppression as they were blown apart by advanced US military tech. The blood on the ground at the scene of their butchery must positively stink of American-style freedom.

And the top story on the BBC News site today? The Queen has visited a memorial.

We are sooo bored of the US’ violence in Iraq, it doesn’t even make the headlines any more. They can go on massacreing innocents in Iraq every day and our news will be full of fluff about the Diana inquest or the Blue Peter cat’s name.

Meanwhile, most people think the massive death toll in Iraq is a result of sectarian violence. It isn’t.

Let’s be clear here: the US and UK illegal invasion has killed the majority of people murdered in Iraq. From 655,000 to 1.2 million Iraqis have now been murdered by our actions.

Again, I’ll ask you to imagine…

Imagine if Burma had just shot 34 protestors, nine of them children. That would be headline news. We’d have all the usual Tory and New Labour cunts wheeled on to mewl about brutal regimes. Ohhh, the injustice! Ohhhh, the inhumanity!

But when the USA butchers 34 innocent people?