Manifesto of the Jolly Autocratic Committee

1 Dec

A spectre is haunting the University of Gloucestershire – the spectre of the Jolly Autocratic Committee. All the powers of old literature have entered into an unholy alliance to exorcise this spectre: Eagleton and Amis, Naipaul and Theroux, Rushdie and Lecarré. It is high time that Jolly Autocrats should openly, in the face of the whole world, publish their views, their aims, their tendencies, and meet this nursery tale of the Spectre of JAC with a manifesto of the Jolly Autocratic Committee itself.

Created by undergraduate Creative Writing students at The University of Gloucestershire, the Jolly Autocratic Committee is a writers’ collective experimenting with performative and collaborative literature: a sort of open-source software for writers. Some of you will have seen their avant-garde performances (at open-mic nights, for instance), but here, for the first time, we can reveal the Jolly Autocratic Committee Manifesto. The manifesto is in two parts: the first part was written by Tim Smith; the second part was written by Richard Capener.

Part One

i Inspiration refers to an unconscious burst of creativity in a literary, musical, or other artistic endeavour. Literally, the word means “breathed upon.”

ii The Jolly Autocratic Commitee (JAC) was established in its present form in 2011. Its programmes are rooted in a yet to be written Constitution, which will require the organization to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image.

iii di•a•logue [dahy-uh-lawg, -log] noun, verb -logued, -logu•ing. Noun.
Conversation between two or more persons.
The conversation between characters in a novel, drama, etc.
An exchange of ideas or opinions on a particular issue, especially a political or religious issue, with a view to reaching an amicable agreement or settlement.
A literary work in the form of a conversation: a dialogue of Plato.

iv ‘Of all the things that wisdom provides to help one live one’s entire life in happiness, the greatest by far is the possession of friendship.’

v P+D=IC2 Where P is Perception and D is Dialogue we can see that I is Ideas at a Constant (C) squared.

vi Of course, once we apply these ideas they breed themselves into new forms. In other words, the faster the ideas go, the faster the induction, and the faster the process continues to go. Or, to put it another way; the faster you go, the faster it goes.

vii Warning: Over use of these processes will lead to catastrophic failure. It is important to maintain and care for the parts and elements used.

viii For the home audience programmes not only to entertain and inform, but to cheer people up, to keep them in touch, to help them make them into one people fighting a long and bitter war.

Part Two: Half-A**ed Notes towards an Aesthetic

Open with lofty justification: associate movements with the modernist heritage of right-wing dumbassness, etc., et al.

I f***ing hate movements.

When viewing daily rushes, Bergman stressed the importance of being critical but unemotive, claiming that he asked himself not if the work is great or terrible, but if it is sufficient or if it needs to be reshot.

Good writing, we say as if we know what we’re on about. There are boxes (well, we need to tick something): no adverbs, adjectives, abstractions. There are adverbs and adjectives and abstractions. There are sentences and clarity.

There are no bad ideas, only inappropriate executions; how the writer carries out her intentions, when to do or to don’t.

Also: there’s no work on one end and play at the other.

When I was a kid I wanted to live in a room in which everything was blue. When I brought the image to mind, I got so bored I hated the colour for a while after.

Blemishes point to perfection and vice versa. Perhaps this is why super models are so ugly; they’ve nothing to refer to, so to speak.

I’ve hated most of my favourite records, some of my favourite films and all of my favourite books because they’re boring or annoying or pointless or pretentious or cold or overwrought or abstract or ambiguous but they work because there are no good ideas, only appropriate executions.

‘Not Blessed’ by Harold Abramowitz
‘Snow White’ by Donald Barthelme
‘The Dead Father’ by Donald Barthelme
‘Sixty Stories’ by Donald Barthelme
‘The Complete Dramatic Works’ by Samuel Beckett
‘The Unnameable’ by Samuel Beckett
‘Invisible Cities’ by Italo Calvino, translated by William Weaver
‘Changing’ by Lilly Hoang
‘Bluets’ by Maggie Nelson
‘A Void’ by Georges Perec, translated by Gilbert Adair
‘Dies: A Sentence’ by Vanessa Place
‘La Medusa’ by Vanessa Place
‘Gravity’s Rainbow’ by Thomas Pynchon
‘Tender Buttons’ by Gertrude Stein
‘The Waves’ by Virginia Wolf

Gertrude Stein on Hemmingway: ‘Remarks are not literature.’

I am not a storyteller; I am a writer.

Leave me alone.

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