All Power to the Imagination: A Mission(ary Position) Statement
Is there anything more anodyne and bland than the notion of a fucking ‘Mission Statement’. There’s the mission statement right there, the third to last word in that first line. The incongruous shape, the jagged glass of profanity, on the well maintained suburban footpath that is a mission statement. This journal is explicitly a celebration of mass and marginalised power.
This journal is the thoughts of everyone with three quarters of a BA in Art History who’s washing windows for a fiver on the hour paid under the table with a sideways glance at The Taxman. It’s a journal for anyone who’s ever composed a poem out of the pyroclasts of irritation that emerge when the public bus that always comes late has been missed because the fucking thing actually came on time for once, wheels greased with an ever dwindling public subvention funded by expensive boxes of Johnny Player Blue. It is an invective for everyone whose ever faced an incoherent ramble from a man in a smoking area at 3am telling you your antidepressants are turning you into a zombie..and it’s for the guy doing the rambling too. The Lunatic Soviet is the sermon your priest gives on a Sunday morning emphasising the Christian mission to the poor and the disenfranchised that causes your civil servant uncle to shift his cold arse nervously in the pew and all but dash for his 171 Audi with the heated seats after the Eucharist. It’s also the considered thoughts on the discography of Animal Collective delivered by three teens skipping the service to get high behind the church.
In 1919 in Monaghan a fragment of paradise shattered its way into the world with the angelic trumpet of crashing bedpans and electroshock therapy. The shortlived Monaghan Insane Asylum Soviet was born as overworked mental health staff, lead by legendary Irish socialist Peader O’Donnell, occupied and raised the red flag over their workplace. They enthusiastically included inmates in their occupation and deliberations to address a gendered pay disparity, shite wages and long hours. Their occupation ended with an improvement of conditions for all workers and residents of the asylum and it would later inspire the better known Limerick Soviet.
The Lunatic Soviet is conceived in just the same spirit as the short lived autonomous zone from which it takes its name. A moment ripped out of time and space, pregnant with possibility, foisting the hideous things into the air that ‘polite society’ would prefer not to talk about. It is the howl of the marginalised. It is music made out of the sigh of the oppressed creature. It’s a manifesto for every fella out there that plays county minor but can’t get up the guts to tell his mates he’d prefer to be addressed as ‘she’. It’s a Port Huron statement for the girl that can’t afford to take a ‘mental health day’ from her waitressing job because she needs to pay rent on a shoebox in Dun Laoghaire. It’s a Big-Character poster for everyone that moved to a city to become an artist and just ended up selling stepped-on speed out the back of a Toyota Avensus to the day-glo daytrippers that come ambling out of Longitude.
The Lunatic Soviet, as its namesake, stands as a stone monument to the idea that Ireland’s shameful corners- her waiting rooms for counselling, her town parks littered with flagons, her Saturday morning ket-encrusted sesh pits- that these dark corners where impolite society does its business will be one grand Soviet. They will be a whirling, writhing, glowing experiment in democracy, justice and beauty. They’ll be some laugh altogether I’m telling you man.