The views from the outside world looking in at ‘Welcome To The Dark Ages’ have been fascinating. One particular area of interest was how Badger Kull were perceived when the ‘Hardcore Fans’ set about their mission.
Our guest artist, Lone Resident was watching from afar (in Kansas). Here he shares his thoughts plus a gallery of his Badger Kull fan art.
Follow Lone Resident at his website.
I’ve taught art and animation on the college level for almost 20 years. Even though I love and respect my students dearly, there is one habit many of them repeat year after year that I would gladly thoroughly destroy forever (if I could). It’s the habit whereby they ask me for permission to be creative (usually preceded by a protracted and nagging hesitancy to act). They procrastinate, they wait. Whether because of the perceived lack of access to resources, knowledge and/or the fixation on various obstacles disguised as pre-established rule sets, they wait, and wait, and wait… More often than not they seem as if to be be waiting for a signal from the great beyond in order to get going.
What Bill & Jimmy have always inspired in me, since way back, and managed to do so brilliantly, has been to demonstrate how utterly untrustworthy and malleable our perceptions of reality, language, authority and established structures are. Nothing feels safe in their hands because nothing is safe in anyones hands! They’re just reminding us of this fact. I feel these were lessons learnt by many of us creative Gen X’ers whilst coming of age, but they’re certainly not exclusive to us. Bill & Jimmy simply help themselves to tools most folks think require authorization and/or permission. They don’t ask, they act.
Watching them go at it again after so many years was fucking grand!
I’ve been a fan of all things Bill & Jimmy for a long time, so I of course excitedly followed all three days of ‘Welcome to the Dark Ages’ as best I could, albeit whilst looking through the untrustworthy keyhole of Twitter. It was a bit of a downer to be relegated to observing only from the outside (I’m in Kansas for fuck’s sake), but there was no other meaningful way to experience what was actually happening on the ground. So, the Badger Kull gimmick was an interesting and unexpected gift of sorts. I had no way of knowing what its real intent was or whether it was important or annoying in relation to the JAMs true motives for WTTDA – or to the 400’s experiences – and I didn’t care. Half if not more of everything we do is based on partial understandings so why should this be anything more than what it was or appeared to be? Ultimately, whether intended or not, I do think there was a unique facet to the Badger Kull stuff.
I can only speak for myself obviously, but whatever Badger Kull meant to Bill & Jimmy and the 400, it also turned out to be one of the only real points of entry for those of us outside the project looking on from the perch of social media. ‘Welcome to the Dark Ages’ seemed a spectacle clearly structured as an exclusive event with a purpose, even though some of its moving parts were very visible and unfolded publicly. But, if you weren’t one of the 400, you were at best only able to partially participate via the Internet by following and posting – certainly not formally. The JAMs made no provisions to tend to the curiosities of onlookers from afar, or to allow for meaningful participation by anyone other than those on the ground. Yet, they also made no formal restrictions from trying. As is the way, it happened organically. Not everyone can be there that wants to be obviously.
So, always wanting to go beyond the silent social media voyeur role, I simply began making and posting Badger Kull fan art starting day one – and had a great time doing it. Whether it was superficial or meaningful involvement didn’t matter to me. Everyone in Liverpool seemed to be having a ripping good time and I just wanted to join in, to participate somehow. I intuited that the JAMs were doing a blitz to create a band out of nothing in a day and hyping the fuck out of it was a great use of the 23 years wait and pent up energy – it was time to jump in. Of course, I doubt I’ll ever have a real sense of what happened, and that’s OK. What’s important is that the JAMs are back and interacting evenly minutely was great fun. Fuun?
I’ve long since vomited my Twitter into oblivion, but, as I’d tweeted the first day of ‘Welcome to the Dark Ages’, “2017 has been officially redeemed.”
All images courtesy of Lone Resident.
A version of the text in this article also appears on Planet Slop here. Used with the kind permission of the author.