Saturday, 2 June 2018


Girl at End by Richard Brammer   {Reviewed by THOMAS}
The results of any laboratory testing for cell abnormality or antigen present as either positive or negative but the passage of time demonstrates the result categories to be four: true positive, false positive, false negative and true negative; or, rather, the results are either positive or negative and the cellular abnormality or antigen is either present or absent, but the two sets of two categories are not superimposed due to error margins, indeterminacy and ambiguity. What is seen and what actually is overlap only in the majority of instances. Every statement has its confidence undermined, largely due to the processes by which the statement is achieved. Girl at End is concerned with laboratory testing and is itself a form of laboratory testing even when not ostensible about laboratory testing, but, often, about music, if music is not itself a form of laboratory testing. Girl at End is a book about seeking confidence in precision but losing confidence because of uncertainty about that to which precision has been applied, precision being always more certain about its origins than its applications. Girl at End is an accumulation of data fields that may or may not represent that to which they are applied, however googlable the data in the data fields may be, data fields through which people move, impelled by whatever it is that impels people, not our concern, not knowable, not useful knowledge even if it were knowable, and as they move through the data field, the data, in constant movement, bounces off their surfaces, scattering, interpenetrating, both defining and concealing whatever, whoever, has entered the field. Only surfaces make any sense. Interference in the flow of text, for instance, is both a camouflage and a revelation. Depending on the nature of the test, the grooming of the data field, the flavour of the obsession, disparate entities may present as similar and similar as disparate. This both increases our dependence upon the tests and undermines our confidence in the tests. False positives. False negatives. What if these were in the majority? We would be liberated into indeterminacy while still clutching at the tests even though we would know these tests were less reliable than not. Our presence in the data field can produce nothing but ambiguity. Uncertainty is our signature, evidence of our presence in a field comprised of data, the more precise, the more detailed, the better. Girl at End is a “literature of exhaustion.” Northern Soul meets laboratory cytology: Girl at End is the interpenetration of the two. When one’s interest is not very interesting but just interesting enough to qualify as an interest and when one’s occupation is not very occupying but just occupying enough to qualify as an occupation, it is the interpenetration of the two, by virtue of the spinning of a turntable or a centrifuge, the interpenetration, the mixing, the mutual contamination, if we can think of it as contamination, that makes us more than either the so-called interest or the so-called occupation. Only when exhausted can we find respite. Lab-lit is best read clean and leaves no residue. “Girl at End is feeling so virtual. Branco speaks. Sheriff speaks. Branco speaks again.” What people say is only mouthed. The words are obscured by the words of the songs on the soundtrack that overwhelms the screenplay, songs from the past, incidentally, as all data is from the past, but the screenplay is vital to the TV show because without it no-one would know how to be or what was what, depending on whether the screenplay is prescriptive or descriptive, and this is itself by no means certain. The screenplay is perhaps after all no screenplay but the notebook of some alien uncertain of what is important enough to record. “Paul Sartre eats his bowl of chips. They don’t seem like anything. It’s like they’re imbued with nothing.”

>> The official Girl at End book trailer.
>> An excerpt.
>> Another excerpt.
>> And strawberries and peaches.

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