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Limited edition NFTs

limited edition NFTs

Limited edition artwork from Black Tarn. Indie publishing on the blockchain.

Limited edition NFTs

There are some new limited edition NFTs from Black Tarn Publishing  available out there in the ether. We have embraced the blockchain and are exporing the vast halls of crypto. Ultan Banan’s two novels are already available on the daVinci Gallery, and now he is releasing a few prints to complement the written works. Prints are limited to ten: five available on Cargo, five on daVinci. Previews and links available below.

dystopian fiction

Limited edition artwork from Ultan Banan:

Meathead, 40x55cm

Barbecued Meat, 44x61cm

Available on:

For books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 Black Tarn Publishing on the blockchain. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Indie publishing on the blockchain

indie publishing on the blockchain

'Indie publishing on the blockchain', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on the technological.

Indie publishing on the blockchain

Black Tarn has wandered into the ether and our books are popping up on the blockchain. Embrace it, it’s the future. So far, it’s mostly digital art out there, but we’ve ventured onto the crypto landscape and planted our flag. We’re waiting there now, wondering when the tea service begins…

dystopian fiction

Books available on the Harmony network:

For more books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘Indie publishing on the blockchain’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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How to mint an ebook NFT

nfts for authors and writers

'How to mint an ebook NFT', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on the technological.

How to mint an ebook NFT

First of all, you need Metamask. If you don’t know what it is, hop on the information ladder and start climbing. If you’re on Chrome, you might make use of the Harmony wallet, but I’m a Firefox user and it’s not available yet with Mozilla. Next, you need some ONE. Took me a while to figure this out, and I’m sure there are easier ways to do it, but I’ll tell you how I did it. Before you purchase the token, you need to set up a ‘Custom RPC’ in your wallet here:

NFTs for authors and writers

Follow the instructions on the Harmony Metamask how-to to fill in the required network details. Once that’s done, you need coin. I did it by transferring BNB into Metamask, converting BNB to bscBNB on the Harmony bridge, then swapping it for ONE on Mochiswap.

I’m not gonna go into the mechanics of all of the above. If you’re just getting started in crypto, I think it’s important you go out and learn it all yourself. Besides, I don’t want to post instructions here and then be the one responsible for you losing a couple of hundred euros or dollars of your hard-earned money to the ether when you try to make a transfer using my ramshackle instructions. So from here on, I’m gonna assume you have a wallet installed in your browser and you’ve been able to get the crypto in.

At this point, take a breath and have a cup of tea.

Now, you’re gonna go to daVinci Gallery. You need to hook up your wallet, and they’ll give you the choice of linking with Metamask or Harmony. I’m still with Metamask. Since you’re already set up on the Harmony network, you just hit ‘Connect’ and you’ll be prompted to link daVinci to your wallet (make sure you’re on the Harmony mainnet network in Metamask and not the Ethereum Mainnet).

Now, you’re ready to start creating. Hit ‘Create’, and it’s all signposted from there. As I mentioned, transaction fees on the Harmony network are peanuts, so it’s gonna cost only your time to set up this whole process. It’s new. It’s exciting. I’m not making any money yet, but if we all work to make books a thing on the blockchain, then maybe someday soon we will.

I should add that the platform is young and buggy. It looks like it’s gonna take a few months to get it running smoothly. But with patience, there may be a whole new marketplace out there for us self-publishers sometime soon.

I had to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the smartphone revolution. With crypto and NFTs, I’m leaping in with two feet.

If you want to see how books look on the blockchain, you can see mine here.

I’ve got some artwork up on Cargo, which is on the xDai chain. Check it out here and here.  

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘How to mint an ebook NFT’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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NFTs for Authors and Writers

nfts for authors and writers

'NFTs for authors and writers', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on the technological.

NFTs for authors and writers

It’s a brave new world, peregrinos. Things are fast evolving, and you need to move sharpish to keep up with it all. The learning curve is steep. But I’m trying.

While by no means a technophobe, I had to be dragged into the smartphone age.  It was 2020 when I first buckled and bought a smartphone, and 2021 before I installed WhatsApp. Until around eight months ago, I was using a Samsung GE120T with minimum detrimental effect to my day-to-day life. I got some looks and sniggers, but fuck em, I just didn’t need a sweatshopped iPhone. The Samsung was indestructible, built to last. It’s still in my possession, just waiting to be redeployed.

My laptop, on the other hand, is like a third arm. Losing it would be like having a limb cleaved from my body. I own a tablet too, which serves multiple purposes, one of which is to house my crypto wallets. I dipped my feet into crypto in 2017, buying in for about five hundred euros and selling out for a couple of grand at the time of the big crash. I’ve since gotten back into it, and it excites the hell out of me. I like the gambling, the ups and downs, the selling, the transferring, the swapping. I’ve just discovered staking. Each new layer added to the crypto ecosystem, I have to dive in and have a go.

Just a few weeks ago, I first heard about NFTs. As a creator, this excited me greatly. So I started digging around and exploring the platforms, seeing how I might get my teeth into this new infrastructure. There is an abundance of platforms out there catering to digital creators, all of which make use of the Ethereum blockchain or some variation thereof. Now, I dig crypto, but I’m by no means a ‘crypto guy’. I’m a rank amateur and I’m the first to admit it. I have a working knowledge and no more. So, I’m gonna try and break down what I’ve discovered over the last few weeks of playing around, but if I err in my attempted explication of the blockchain ecosystem, then don’t twist my nuts. I’m far down the ladder in terms of crypto knowledge, and so this article is for those of you who are just getting started. For beginners, let’s say.

I write books and I’ve been researching ways of selling books on the blockchain. Now, it’s young days for NFTs and the infrastructure is still being built, and for the moment, it supports mostly digital art in image form: gifs, jpgs, and pngs, and sometimes mp3 and mp4. For an oldish guy like me, I look around on the marketplaces and see pixelated swords and avatars for sale, and I wonder what it’s all about – Minecraft collectibles? Legend of Zelda? I don’t get it. I’m not knocking it, but I find it difficult to comprehend why people pay for these things. Art, I can get behind. And I see plenty of good artwork there, too.

Perhaps because there’s no market for it yet, books seem to be mostly unavailable on the NFT marketplaces. The majority of them don’t yet support book formats. I have not found a single place that supports epub, and only one where you can upload pdfs. Why not? I dunno. It seems like a great place to sell books. One of the benefits of the NFT marketplace is that you can add a royalty for resale. This means that every time your work is sold on, you get a slice of the resale price. With hard copy books, you know that after that first sale, that’s it. It goes into the second-hand market and is gone forever. With NFTs, you get a cut forever. What’s not to like about that? 

Another prohibitive factor in the adaptation of NFTs is that diabolical thing called ‘gas fees’. So apparently Ethereum is a process that uses huge amounts of natural resources, and to utilise smart contracts you need to pay a fee to ‘upload’ your work to the blockchain. In marketplaces built on Ethereum, such as Rarible, Mintable, or OpenSea, the gas fees to upload a single item can be $180. If you’re charging $500–1000 for a single piece of art, then this is viable, otherwise there’s just no way. And if you want to open a ‘storefront’ on the market, it will cost you $600 or more. That was it for me, I checked out right there.

Fortunately, there are alternatives. Stablecoins are cryptos that are pegged to regular currency such as the USD. One such stablecoin is xDai, and xDai is a crypto that is built on a ‘sidechain’ of the Ethereum blockchain. Transaction fees on the xDai chain are super low – we’re talking pennies here. (And for the ecologically-minded, I think that means the environmental effect of transactions on the xDai blockchain are a whole lot less stressful than those on the Ethereum networks, though I stand to be corrected on that, if I’m mistaken.)

So, can we get on with how to publish books as NFTs, please? Yes, we can. I’ve discovered an online marketplace that supports pdfs in the creation of NFTs. There are very few books on the site, but my hope is that if we get more self-published authors interested in promoting their work on the blockchain, other marketplaces will take up the practice. Effectively, the way I see it, we need to create the market for books as NFTs. Let’s get it rolling. Let’s get our work out there. Let’s embrace new tech.

Check the following post for instructions on how to mint an NFT.

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘NFTs for Authors and Writers’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Transfigurative Acoustics, Song Four

transfigurative acoustics

'Transfigurative Acoustics', by Ultan Banan. Subterranean prose poetics.

Transfigurative Acoustics, Song Four

I was born on a Monday and died on Friday.

They cut me from my mother’s womb, the appetent progeny, one full of desire and eager for the world’s delights. For nine months I took form in her belly, the one who bore me, and for nine months my senses developed to the whims of my mother… I ate what she ate, drank what she drank, I learned what she loved and despised, and I too came to love and despise those things. Before I was six months old, I knew what lavender was, and gin and oil and semen, and these things made my tiny body coil with revulsion, and I knew also fresh bread, red wine and antiseptic, and perceived the pleasure in them too. Delight and loathing, I knew them in my tiny bones before my throat had uttered its first cry.

I came into this world with the murderous scream of the living. Contained in those first guttural cries were the pain I suffered in my conception, and the pain with which I would leave this earth too. All things were contained therein, my living and dying, my ecstasy and anguish, the still waters in which I was birthed and the raging torrent that would be my demise… therein, too, the loveless embrace of my mother and the absence of a father, and the sharpness of the air in my throat and impossible pain in my newly-opened eyes. How cruel was the colour white. Upon seeing the prison into which I had been born, I closed my eyes and continued screaming. The smell of antiseptic was my only comfort on that first day.

On the second day, my mother tried to feed me. I rejected her bitter tit. Cleaved from her body, I understood that there was no nourishment for me in her milk. I lay in her arms, the depth of her resentment clear from her touch. Her hatred for me grew. I tried to tell her I did not hate her, but all she heard were my indecipherable cries. She did not know how to speak to me. She did not know how to hear. I forgave her yet continued to wail, for my frail body craved sustenance. Wanting nothing to do with her acrid teets, they succumbed and fed me with a sweet nectar. I fell into the slumber of innocents.

On the third day, I was taken from the white walls of the prison to somewhere called ‘home’. I had known a home once so I was filled with distrust. My new home was filled with anguish, and still I didn’t have a father. I quickly learned to despise my new home. My mother taught me how. She swore and howled and filled me with venom, and when I met her with the same, she abandoned me for hours alone, with no company but the dirty rug on which I lay. My cries were to no avail. She denied me the sweet nectar and tried to force the bitter tit on me, and when I rejected her, she scorned me.

On the fourth day, I was alone.

All things know living and breathing. Dying is not known, nor can it be known. On my fifth day on this earth, I knew this and wept. My throat was cracked, my belly empty. I knew not love nor care, nor the soft touch of a mother, not warmth nor safety nor the joy of living. All these things I was denied. That is when I began to hear it, an ethereal acoustic, a faraway sound. It slithered into the bed where I lay, building slowly. My mother wrapped me in a black cloth, took me out and cast me away. I felt myself fall, once again in the embrace of the waters, this one not warm, lifegiving, but cold and torrential. But it didn’t matter, for now the music carried me and I sailed with it downriver, the music the surrogate of all the things I’d been denied, and I closed my eyes and ceased weeping, for I understood that I was going home.                  

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘Transfigurative Acoustics’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Utopias, in theory

utopias in theory

'Utopias, in theory', by Ultan Banan. Ruminations on the sociological.

Utopias, in theory

Dunbar’s number. Many of you have heard of it. Robin Dunbar is a British anthropologist who, some years ago, came up with a number that he suggested represented the most stable unit of people that could live together in a society in relative harmony. Actually, there were several numbers: 5, 15, 50, 150, 500 and 1500. The number ‘5’ was the number of people with whom he figured we formed our closest-knit unit, namely, the nuclear family (or modern alternative). On this small group, Dunbar proposed, we expend up to 40 per cent of our social energy. Go outwards from 5, and you get to 15 (intimate bonds), 50 (the social ‘band’), 150 (small community), 500 (large community) and 1500 (‘tribe’). I’ve no idea why these units are all multiples of 5, but I guess there’s some kind of impressive, mathematical weirdness involved. Dunbar came to his numbers by examining three primary groups: new-age utopian communes in North America, Israeli kibbutzim, and the Hutterites of Germany, a kind of self-sustaining community, like the Amish or Mennonites, built around strong religious bonds. Dunbar noticed that the Hutterite communities always ‘fractured’ when they overshot 150; what tended to happen was they’d wait until the number was 200, and then the group would spilt in two, into one group of 150 and one of 50. This way, there was ‘inbuilt’ stability to the spilt, the Hutterites somehow intuiting that 50 and 150 were much more stable than, say, two groups of 100. It seems they had come to the conclusion that 150 was the “limit at which community cohesion can be maintained without the need for formal laws and a police force with which to maintain discipline”. Hear that? Yes… tightly control the population and eliminate the need for authoritarian control. Anthropologist Anthony Forge came to a similar conclusion by observing farming tribes in New Guinea, concluding that, “when community size exceeds 500, the rising intensity of social and other stresses threaten community coherence and stability, and cohesion can only be maintained if some mechanism is available to suppress or mitigate these disruptive forces”. Forge went with the higher number, but both men seems to agree on the basics. 

 The numbers in the kibbutzim were not so clear cut, but the minimum number of souls that gathered in any one kibbutz was 150. A clear factor in this number seemed to be the minimum people required to sustain an ecological balance, and to have sufficient bodies in order to make any kind of agricultural endeavour viable. Nevertheless, the mean size of the kibbutz amounted to about 468 individuals, just within the proposed upper limit of five hundred.    

Interestingly, Dunbar noticed that religious communities survived significantly longer than secular ones, theories for this positing that perhaps religion functions as the social glue, or that maybe the abstract notion of God acts as the ‘all-seeing eye’, like Bentham’s panopticon, maintaining self-control within the population.     

The 'Social Brain Hypothesis'

What is most interesting, perhaps, is that Dunbar, in a separate study, linked the size of our social groups to brain size, or more accurately, to the size of a certain part of our brain. This became known as the ‘Social Brain Hypothesis’. By studying apes, Dunbar came to the conclusion that the size of our neocortex informs the size of the social group to which we may belong. By finding the correlation between the volume of the neocortex and the size of the social group, Dunbar posited that the maximum size of the neocortex directly determined the absolute limits of the size of the social group. Incredible.

So what of modern societies, and what of the virtual world, where we all exist with increasing duration, each day being sucked deeper into the universe that exists purely in virtual electronic spaces and algorithm? Well, Dunbar went back to work a few years ago, in 2016, and performed a study that examined the social circles of people on Facebook. There exists real and observable constraints on the social energy which we can invest in our real-world social relationships, yet there is no ceiling to how many people can interact with our posts online. Yet, despite this, he saw that many of the same laws applied, and that “there is a cognitive constraint on the size of social networks that even the communicative advantages of online media are unable to overcome.” Dunbar observed the same structure of hierarchical layers within online social systems as he did with human and primate social groupings, namely, the increasing units in multiples of 5, which functioned in the virtual world much as they did in the real. The mean network size of those online amounted to around 100–200, and furthermore, heavy users of social media did not have larger offline social networks than those who spent less time online. Common sense might tell you that indeed the opposite is true. His conclusion:

“…online social networks remain subject to the same cognitive demands of maintaining relationships that limit offline friendships. These constraints come in two principal forms: a cognitive constraint derivative of the Social Brain Hypothesis and a temporal constraint associated with the time that needs to be invested in a relationship to maintain it at a requisite level of emotional intensity.”

What am I getting at? Well, I’m all for the virtual environment. Not only is it essential for me to maintaining long-distance friendships, but, as a creator, it is indispensable in getting my name out there and getting my work into the hands of those that would enjoy it. But, as an environment, I believe that for many of us the sheen has worn off, the novelty of it long-disappeared. I keep a Twitter account with some two hundred odd followers, and don’t know a single one of them. But that’s a different story.

Social groups, on or offline, appear to be prone to very specific laws. There is no perfect environment out there within which you might flourish, but you might just increase your odds of finding balance should you bear these laws in mind. Keep your circle tight. Keep it small. Keep it close. Forget about the rest. It seems Utopia is only in your own head, after all.     

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘Utopias, in theory’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Celestial Night Music, Song Three

celestial night music

'Celestial Night Music', by Ultan Banan. Subterranean prose poetics.

Celestial Night Music, Song Three

 

Soft night-murmurs rouse me from my sleep and take me to the bedroom window. Below, in the garden in the moonlight, is a child, her breast bloodied, in her hands a dying songbird. She holds it aloft in offering. I have no daughter, I do not know this child. Yet she knows my name. She mouths it with a holy gesture. The she turns and disappears into the trees.

I go downstairs and into the garden, but there is no sign of her. She has vanished. I find a lone feather on the grass, blue like the whispers of December mornings. My feet frozen in the night grass, I return to bed and fall asleep with the feather in my hand.

Some days later, my mother calls me to tell me that my grandfather has died. We bury him on a cold, dry day in a vast cemetery filled with cypress trees. In one of the trees, I hear a songbird. I leave the ceremony and wander the paths of the graveyard, searching for her. Here and there, I see flits of blue, the flutter of a wing or tail, but I cannot get close. When her song ceases, I return to the graveside. Everyone has departed. I am alone in the cemetery by the side of a grave filled with fresh earth. I kneel beside it and smear my face with the soil and weep until I fall asleep next to my dead grandfather.

I awake in the bed of grieving. Soft night-murmurs have roused me from my slumber. I go to the window, but there is no one below in the garden. I close the curtains and curl up in the bed, and softly whistle the songbird’s melody. I am filled with longing. I get up from the bed of grieving and leave the house and return to the cemetery to wander among the cypresses. The cemetery is filled with an amaranthine silence. A short time later, I hear the wet shuck of a shovel slicing the earth. I follow it and am led to my grandfather’s graveside, where a lone gravedigger is excavating. I give him my silent blessing. It isn’t long before his spade strikes flesh. The soft thud fills me with terror. Clawing the soil, he drags the body of the child from the earth, a songbird still clutched in her stiff hand. I weep over the body and kiss her cold cheek and return to the bed of grieving.

There is a book on a shelf in my study. It is called The Deathless Dying. Its pages are worn and mucked with the soil of the earth, pocked with the fingermarks of young and old, stained with ageless blemish. I read the close: ‘…and the child immemorial took the bird in her hands and killed it so that I might live, and I saw it and wept for those who had already passed. For those who had passed were gone and my time would never come.

I place the feather the colour of December whispers between the pages and close the book, replacing it on the shelf. Outside in the garden, I fancy I hear the murmur of a songbird.

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘Celestial Night Music’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Celestial Night Music, Song Two

celestial night music

'Celestial Night Music', by Ultan Banan. Subterranean prose poetics.

Celestial Night Music, Song Two

One evening, I was reading absentmindedly under the lamp in my study, when a cluster of words scrambled up from the page, scurried up my arm and burrowed under my skin. I scratched frantically at my arm where they’d stolen under but they’d left no trace. Alarmed, I slapped my arm and poked at it with a pen, and pulled at it with a pair of tweezers. All my efforts were to no avail ­– they were well embedded under my dermis. I got up from the chair and paced the room. I couldn’t show my wife – she’d think I was crazy. I felt them under there, scratching around: ‘ovum’, ‘bleed’, ‘ur-’ and ‘forgetting’… those were the little renegades that had absconded from the page and invaded my body. Empty spaces graced the place on the page where they’d once been ensconced.

 They scuttled about, up and down my forearm, soon venturing further up towards my shoulder. I took a shower; I don’t know if I thought I could scrub them out of my body, but the hot water just made them frantic. So I turned it freezing cold and they settled. I got out of the shower and dressed for bed, and almost forgot about the invasive, foreign objects in my body.

That first night, I had uneasy dreams. I woke up in a cold sweat and to the cries of my wife. She was lying next to me with a bloody nose – I had elbowed her in the face. I helped her clean up and we went back to bed, and soon she was asleep but I lay awake, a fever coming on me and the sweats kicking in. The hotter I got, the more frantic the intruders, so I went downstairs and climbed into the freezer. I fell asleep on the ice, my terror soothed.

I took to going to work with bags of ice secreted about my person. I would refresh them every hour. I was constantly in cold sweats, shivering, as if some destructive bacteria had swamped my system. If ever I failed to keep my body temperature low, I felt my attackers grow bold, pushing out into the expanse of my chest cavity, nearing my heart. I knew that would be the death of me. I was vigilant.

One day, I came home and my house had burned down, my wife inside with it. The police said a fire had started in my library. I had no choice, I left. I went north, as far north as I could walk. When I could walk no more, I got in a boat and sailed until I had reached a land of ice and snow. I disembarked there, on that white island, an island so cold it kept my viral lexia in check, kept them from roaming about my body.

I grew lonely there. I saw no one, only arctic foxes and the occasional seal. My skin turned so blue that I could see the little black words travel my veins… up, and down again, occasionally prodding my dermis as if to test for an exit point. The cold was killing them. They gathered together for warmth and I watched the snake-like train of letters travel my veins, back and forth relentlessly. Then they started to merge, until there was only one fat, black dot pumping with my blood through the blue capillaries of my arm. It started pulsing, thrashing, forcing my skin. It tried to leap out, causing bruised protuberances up and down my forearm. I took my knife and cut a hole where they’d drilled into me, and the blue blood from my veins oozed out, thick as sludge and hot, and from the midst of it, a fat stone, purple like an amethyst, popped out. I saw it glisten once in the moonlight before it fell into the snow. I scrambled around for it, the snow bloodied, but to no avail. It was lost for eternity. I swear I heard a voice as I bled out there on the white island, whispering words like, ‘All things are remembered’.

It was lost on the wind, and soon I heard no more.

To see books from Black Tarn Publishing, follow the link below:

 ‘Celestial Night Music’, by Ultan Banan. Please note: flash fiction, nonfiction and all other content is the sole work of Black Tarn. Ask before republishing.

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Dogs Delight – Dave Migman

Dogs Delight - Dave Migman

Beast Man
Beast Man, by Dave MIgman

Do you remember that moment? When you were a child, knowing only play, being taken, with no explanation, to a strange building, a place called ‘school’? And do you recall that, once there, you were moulded into some form of conformity? 

I recall my contempt of being forced to attend primary school. Overnight, there was a new entity in my life, something ordered and routine. Life had changed, and things would never be the same. 

Indoctrination had begun. 

I distinctly remember my dislike of the older kids. Those in the last class were aged 12, or something. Even then, I knew I didn’t want to be that way: haughty, grown-up,  set on the road to conformity. I was six or seven by the time this realisation arrived. 

 Not that I didn’t enjoy primary, I did, but I was always aware something wasn’t right. It was like a shadow stole into my life. 

When I was at secondary, one of our classes took place in a gaunt Victorian edifice,  set amongst factories. It wasn’t part of the modern building, and severity and harshness were the mortar of its red-brick walls. I don’t know what the building had been previously, maybe it’d always been a school where kids were kept in line with a cane to the arse. I had a dread of the factories, the chimneys, glimpses of workers in uniforms… the logical conclusion being that we were headed to the factory; itself an extension of the playground. 

By then I was pretty well indoctrinated – despite skiving off for weeks on end, and being a storehouse of trouble… little thug that I was.

 Innocence was gone.

But what of this innocence? Did it even exist? I can’t say for certain. Perhaps the notion is based on a hunch, a feeling – like a dog sniffing the air and recalling the wolf.

The sense of lost innocence echos through my novel, Zero. The clans have been lured from the playground of their rural ‘childishness’, to become brainwashed into the ways of the Best Machine. The city blinds them to reality with a pill, inducing a ‘perfect’ illusion to disguise the horror. Some clansmen become clones, some the demons who police the clones.

I guess such notions arise from the romantic sense of the so-called ‘primitive’: tribes who still maintain ancient modes of living, revolving around a different set of paradigms – and the memory of such tribes from antiquity. 

There’s a point in our Western ancestry whereby we existed in this state, and fell from it. We’ve been sold a story that, for neolithic peoples, life was miserable and harsh. Evidence reveals something else;  hunter-gatherers only needed to spend a few hours a day gathering their required food. They actually had a fuck-load of free time. Time to spend carving a bone whistle, or weaving a gown from reeds and copulating.

Isn’t that innocence?

At some point we went astray. Eradicable patterns evolved that set the structure of society, entrenched so deep that they’ve affected the wiring of our minds. 

Although we no longer hang, draw and quarter people in the street, like they did but a couple of hundred years ago, we still exist on a knife’s edge. Civility can descend into barbarity in the blink of an eye. Just as we make progress we can regress. 

So, was there a point where the childlike nature of humankind took the path signposted ‘Beast Machine’? Was it with the invention of weapons, or their mass production in the Bronze Age? Or was it with the domestication of pigs? We can’t tell. Perhaps it’s always been this way and, bubbling beneath the civilised veneer, is the animal mind, as playful as it is violent –  maybe that’s our state of  innocence.

I wrote a song about it years back. Feel free to join in the chorus…