High Rise

Corpsey

call me big papa
I've not read High Rise since university, but I stuck on the widely (it seems to me, when I was paying attention to it, justifiably) panned film adaptation of it the other day and it got me thinking about revisiting the book.

The thing is, when I read it at uni I was – despite exhibiting marked hermetic tendencies – in a really sociable environment (uni) and I couldn't really relate to its vision of urban isolation.

Now I'm 36, living more or less alone in the city (in a lockdown too) and I'm totally catered to by these apps (Deliveroo, Uber, etc.) so that I never really have to talk to anyone if I don't want to. I don't know my neighbours. I don't want to know my neighbours. I barely know my housemates. I'm not in a high rise but you don't need to be now to be catered to.

Obviously the social satire aspect of High Rise is important, too, and my class plays into this feeling of being able to live luxuriously and in total isolation.

One thing that's been making me feel really uncomfortable lately is this sense of being served by an army of zero contract workers (most seemingly immigrants) on mopeds while I live in this state of comparative luxury shovelling pizza into my mouth and netflix into my eyes.

Think on.
 

Leo

Well-known member
living in that sort of semi-isolation is more doable today than ever, and I personally find it attractive/desirable in some cases. But we need to retain a sense of community, interaction and friendships IRL. It might change, due to the pandemic, but we can't let it slip away.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I've been thinking a lot lately about why it is I'm so completely unengaged by politics and world events. I've always assumed that's just the sort of person I am – self-absorbed. And that's true (I am innately self-absorbed, introverted, selfish), but it's occurred to me that the way society is set up for me (and people like me) has helped me to become extremely self-absorbed.

The Internet hasn't fostered a sense of community for me, outside of this forum. It's just helped me become less concerned with anything outside of my immediate interest.

The other day I made a conscious effort to investigate what was going on in Israel – and I started looking at these videos from Gaza and after a minute or so I started feeling angry about it. (Typical of me to make this about me but...) That shocked me a little.

I'm not good with anxiety. I do anything to avoid it (consciously and unconsciously). But I do feel like in the last however many years I've actually got to the point where most of the time I don't feel anything strongly. And technology is helping me to do that, really.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
Like I said, I've not read High Rise for years but I feel somehow this situation is "Ballardian".

World events are happening at a distance from me, through the glass of the TV/mobile/computer screen. It doesn't feel like anything's really happening.

I hope I'm not just making myself seem like an absolute selfish cunt here (though I am that). Many of my friends are engaged with the news and politics etc and they have the same technology as me. So I don't know if this is indicative of any wider malaise or just me being me.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I find this happens to me a lot - I've been obsessively thinking about something and then I "happen" to watch a film or read a book which totally resonates with that thing.

Maybe it's all unconscious. High Rise did just happen to be on a streaming platform when I was scrolling through, bored. But maybe I picked it because some deep part of my brain remembered what it was about and said "this is what he needs to remember now".
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
living in that sort of semi-isolation is more doable today than ever, and I personally find it attractive/desirable in some cases. But we need to retain a sense of community, interaction and friendships IRL. It might change, due to the pandemic, but we can't let it slip away.
Yeah this is the difficulty, or the seduction - it IS preferable in a lot of ways. Not having to ring up the takeaway and wait on hold or order from somebody you can't understand. It's all very convenient and for introverts like me it's in some ways a dream come true. But as you say, beneath it all, friendships, community etc. is all eroding away and the dream world turns out to be a prison cell. (To be hyperbolic about it.)
 

suspended

Well-known member
Speaking of high rise, I took your advice to heart WYH and invested in a vape. Life is great. Less smell, more efficient, better on the lungs, low effort.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I think there's a couple of things going on here: 1. Feeling like I can't change anything (and nobody can) 2. Being more or less, or sufficiently, insulated against the suffering caused by events that I don't "have" to care.

Also it just isn't something I was brought up to care about. I think your parents having political convictions (whether you agree or disagree with them) must make a big difference.

I didn't intend to harangue myself on this thread for failing to interest myself in politics or human suffering - I'm more interested in how the world is becoming set up for people like me to not be aware of the world. That's the High Rise aspect.

Since nobody's read it lately, including me, this threads probably a bit of a non starter.
 

WashYourHands

Well-known member
Ballard (as far as I’m aware) never tried archery or vaping, whereas the King of Engerland is all about it


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dilute the digital with some analogue
 

linebaugh

Well-known member
Ive got the pax which works the same and while the freedom to do it anwhere is fun I feel like it barely affects me. I don't have a major tolerance either
 
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