Another way of illustrating the “neveryday” imaginary of blogging is through an allegory: Grant Morrison and Chris Weston’s comic book, The Filth (Morrison and Weston, 2004). Their (anti-)hero is Greg Feely, an ordinary, “sentimental” cat-lover who leads a double life as Ned Slade, a transdimensional agent for the psychic police-cum-waste-disposal agency of the world, known as The Filth....Jebni then goes on to draw connections between his concept of blogging and the Filthy neverworld known as The Crack, which apparently "runs through everything and everyone." This is pretty fitting really, because both The Filth and the Internet are perfect conduits for the crap that runs through our lives. As two of Greg's superiors (Man Green/Man Yellow) tell him: "The rubbish has to go somewhere. And where there's brass, there's muck, they say, don't they?"
While he’s battling giant flying spermatozoa or navigating the sewer of the world, Greg/Ned will wonder out loud if he’s forgotten to feed the cat. It is truly touching, and not pathetic. What Morrison’s narrative achieves is the realisation that in the middle of struggles over the fate of life itself, “I Love My Cat” narratives are amongst the best narratives there are. And yet this touchy-feely mundanity of cat-love is neither an authentic origin for Feely, nor just a “fake” but necessary refuge for the “real” Slade, despite its proven worth. As the book progresses, it becomes clearer that the cat scenario is neither the “real” story, nor even just one valid segment amongst several, but one of several occult media dialects: the killer sperm, the cat and the zombie “anti-persons” all enunciate or channel through each other. In the end, we learn that cat-love can be generated by a sentient nanotech infestation, but is still valid.
Talking about crap: at one point, I considered relaunching this blog as a static wordpress site. The ideas was to upload a series of interconnected essays which the reader would have to navigate by following embedded links to other pages. I wrote a lot of material for this version of the site before deciding that it was too gimmicky, too hard to navigate and not nearly as flashy as it should be, but I might come back to the idea one day. 
Anyway, one of the essays was going to use the idea of The Crack as a jump-off point to discuss the integration of social realism, fantasy, music, pulp fiction and psychology in Dennis Potter's work. I was going to focus on Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective, with a particular emphasis on the way that Potter's disregard for realist unity allowed him to examine the best and worst aspects of his protagonists freely.
This sounds a little dry in the abstract, and maybe it would have been. But hey, at least when I was talking about how the Crack obliterates the distinctions between rage and embarrassment/escape and collapse/fact and fiction/body and mind, I could have shown you clips like this to liven things up:
That's Michael Gambon in the original BBC production of The Singing Detective -- none of that Mel Gibson pish for me thanks!
(And don't you just hate it when waiters offer you Gibson Pish in a restaurant? "Does sir wish any Gibson Pish with his scampi?" And they're always so snooty when you turn it down! )
As it was conceived, my wordpress blog would've fitted in nicely with Jebni's interpretation of The Crack. It would've been a place where my various different interests could have channeled through each other, but it would also have been a bit too "about" itself for my liking. And while I'm still fascinated by the many metaphorical possibilities of The Crack, I'm more interested in The Ink right now. Greg Feely learns about The Ink in issue #9 of The Filth, in which he's put through what amounts to a delayed induction day for his "job" as Ned Slade. True to form, this induction is not only eight months late but it also serves to make things even less clear than they were before. For example, while he's getting sailed around The Crack, Greg is introduced to the giant pen hand from which all of The Filth flows:
"The Ink brings things to life, you see," we're told, which is obviously true since without the lines on the page there'd be no comic!
We also lean that The Hand harvest The Ink for their own purposes, which echoes the Paperverse plot from issue #3 nicely, but there's more to The Ink than raw power. It's the stuff of life itself, remember, and in its own way it's as unfathomable as anything else in The Crack.
You see, as Greg's colleagues struggle to explain, there's a horrible ambiguity as to what the hand actually is:
Ah, there's the important bit: "AW WE KERR ABOOT'S THE INK." That's all I care about too, though possibly in a different way. Because while I'm all about theorising and criticising and trying to combine different kinds of discourse, all of that is meaningless unless it's an attempt to get at the un-gettable - which is to say the slippery substance of all this fiction. The raw stuff. The Ink. 
Like Andrew Hickey recently suggested, we might not be able to hold a complete working map of the universe in our heads, but there are many ways to bring elements of the big picture into focus. For example, the crude interactive technology of the modern comic book can make life very vivid if it's used correctly, as it is in The Filth.
I think that this is possible precisely because The Filth doesn't hold back in its exploration of the more horrible side of the human psyche. Looking over the pages of the comic right now, I'm reminded of scenes from an earlier Morrison/Weston collaboration, The Invisibles:
There was always something slightly off about Weston's art on The Invisibles, a sense that his versions of the characters were less naturally stylish than usual. This is used to good effect in the scene I've excerpted above, in which two of our usually glamorous heroes end up coming into contact with the banal horrors in their heads. Here the lumpy everymanish quality that had previously been jarring serves to emphasise the despair that the characters find in the idea of being normal.
The shorthand used in these scenes functional if a bit obvious. Reading these pages, we understand that our protagonists (particularly vain super-assassin King Mob) can find hell in the idea of staring dependently at a TV screen that watches back. We might find this to be a dull and superficial concept of hell, but we can take this as a being a piece of snippy characterisation of King Mob if we want. The only real problem is that the imagery Morrison and Weston use in this scene is a little underdeveloped -- you can see the influence of William Burroughs and David Cronenberg in the fleshy lampshades and cyclopean bugs that populate these fantasies, but when compared to the putrid horror of those artists at their best the images we see here seem a little bit tame. 
When Morrison and Weston worked together again on The Filth, they easily surpass their previous attempts at horror. In addition to hiding this creepy little observer in Feely's TV...
...they also plant ears in the walls of his house, effectively turning Feely's home into an inverted skull:
Not only does that TV monster look far more convincing than anything in that Invisibles scene (it's the little scrotal brain sacks that take it over the edge, I think), it's also got a better context. By literally giving the house eyes and ears, Morrison and Weston neatly blur the different interpretations of Feely's situation. Is he being observed by his bosses at The Crack or is he just a lump of sick flesh trying to work itself out, like Michael Gambon's character in The Singing Detective?
And... oh god, I've got to be careful or I'm going to end up flapping around in circles about how attention to context and attention to detail go together like chips and cheese, but this really is a perfect example of The Crack serving as a perfect place for The Ink to flow. Greg Feely is sort of like King Mob from The Invisibles gone to seed. Feely's life would seem like a cruel punishment to King Mob, but while Greg never exactly shakes off this feeling himself, he does at least achieve a sort of battered understanding of his existence by facing up to all of its contradictions. It might all just be in his head, but even if its not then Greg's double life see's him escape from mundane "reality" into... a job. A horrible job, in which he has to deal with all the piss and shit and brutality in the world while wearing a goofy uniform, which... really, kind of escape is that? What kind of understanding could anyone find here? Well, how about the understanding of how to go on living in a world this horrific and confused? Wouldn't that be worth something?
In my last essay on The Filth I talked about how Greg ends up lashing out against his role as a Hand Officer, but I was a little shy about discussing what comes next. That's because "what comes next" is at the heart of this essay series, and it's so absurdly goofy that I don't know if I can explain it without making a dick of myself.  "What comes next" is realising that, like Jebni says, sometimes "I Love My Cat" narratives are the best narratives.  What does this mean? It means facing up to all the shit in the world, acknowledging it for what it is, and realising that if you can find it in yourself to care about something then there might be some hope after all. Like I said, this sounds stupid and soppy and banal, and that's because it is all of these things, but that's not all it is. It's a form of genuine love and appreciation, born out of the realisation that everything and everyone around you is part of the same stupid toxicoloured mess of a story -- that it's all Ink, basically!
In its own crude way, this beleaguered revelation reminds me of the incandescent poetry that Alan Moore throws out in Snakes and Ladders:
We are insensate molecules, assembled from the accidental code engraved upon our genes. Mud that sat up.
Chemicals mingle in our sediment and in their interactions and combustions we suppose we feel, suppose we love. We reproduce, mathematically predictable as spores within a petri dish. We function briefly, then subside once more to the unknowing silt.
We are a blind contingency, an unimportant restlessness of dirt and yet Rosseti paints his dead Elizabeth, head tilted back on her impossibly slim throat, eyes closed against the golden light surrounding her.
Clay looks on clay, and understands that it is beautiful.
Through us, the cosmos gazes on itself, adores itself, breaks its own heart.
Through us, matter stares slack-jawed at its own star-dusted countenance and knows, incredulously, that it knows. And knows that it is universe. 
Thinking back to Snakes and Ladders for a minute, I'm drawn to the image of an Imperial Crown tumbling off George the Fifth's coffin and into the soot and spit of the street. In Alan Moore's hands, this becomes a symbol of the unification of the sacred and the profane, an indication that where there's shit there's spirit. The Filth makes this thought even more forcefully because it's far happier being part of the endless detritus of our culture. There's no real treasure here, no gold crosses mixed in with the muck, just dirty brass ones that can be polished off to reveal a faint gleam, a little light to help you find your way home:
And yes, I do consider that to be a strong enough thought to end a gazillion word essay series on!
Thanks for reading everyone.
FUCK YOU AND GOODNIGHT!
And now the Endnotes:
 And if you're wondering what kind of shit I came up with for that abandoned website idea, here's one of the pages in its entirety:
Don’t delude yourself, and don’t believe the hype - Darren Aronofsky is a manipulative motherfucker.
He’s never been deep. In fact, like Jarvis Cocker, he’s almost profoundly shallow. Whether he's making a movie about drug addiction, advanced mathematics, wrestling or mortality, Aronofsky's focus is always on that cut, that shot, that piece of music. What's more, on the strength of The Wrestler, this definitely isn’t a bad thing.A lot of the early press chatter around the film homed in on its supposed naturalism, with the subtext being that it was more mature than his previous hyper-orchestrated works, because it was less fussy/more manful/more real.
Which is bollocks, of course, as Aronofsky the filmmaker must surely have known, even if Aronofsky the interview subject towed the party line.  The realism of The Wrestler is Oscar realism, but Aronofsky dispatches with the tragic back-story of Randy the Ram with brutal efficiency. It’s all there – the broken marriage, the non-existent relationship with his only child, the mundane day-job in a supermarket – and it’s all treated very seriously, but Aronofsky knows that this isn’t the show. It’s just a framing device, something to get you interested in that body, that performance, that face:
Who’s the good guy? Who’s the villain?
As soon as you’ve started to consider these questions, you’ve opened yourself up to the spectacle. And as soon as you’ve started to watch the spectacle, you can’t help but notice that body, struggling to keep the illusion alive.
And hey, some of that hyped-up orchestration is still evident! You can see it in those extended shots where the camera follows Randy from behind as he walks into the arena/the supermarket (DO YOU SEE?!). You can also see it in the way Aronofsky works the comparison between Randy and his love interest, Cassidy. She's a stripper (DO YOU SEE?!) who's struggling to keep up with the younger girls, and so she serves as both a cracked mirror for Randy and as a possible escape route -- she's there at the sidelines of his big match during the climax of the movie, but by the time she arrives he's already surrendered himself to the fantasy.Cassidy's role is slightly offensive in the standard Hollywood way, but Aronofsky's direction and Marissa Tomei's performance make this obvious manipulation work for the movie rather than against it. Here Aronofsky's focus is on his body, her body, their bodies and the mess of their lives. He shows us self-made goddesses and gods, but in doing so he can't help but show us how much damage has been done to these deities, both by the characters they've created and by the audiences these fictions attract.
The moment where Randy cries about being a "broken down piece of meat" is pure sentimental trash, but it gets to you all the same, because that mass of ragged flesh is on display. You can't ignore the meat on Randy's bones -- it's horrible, and it's magnificent, and it could break you down. What's more, looking at it for too long could break your heart.This is manipulation that, by virtue of its sheer force, makes us question what we're being manipulated into watching, and why.
Still, if this connection -- this genuine empathy born out of showy physicality -- isn't enough to create a happy ending between Randy and Cassidy, then what does that say to the audience?You've watched them bleed, you've found yourself moved by this, but in the end you're still just a spectator, still just part of the audience, never part of the show.
I'm just trying to give you some idea of what it's going to be like to be me as I finally go public and change the destiny of humankind forever. I'm going to expose your secret conspiracies in the name of freedom. And when I'm done, I'll step up to the microphone and say "you too can be like me: Max Thunderstone -- Man-Made God." And they'll all cheer like children, you watch...
(Max Thunderstone in The Filth #10, 'Man-Made God')
 On reflection, I'm actually being slightly unfair to Darren Aronofsky here. In this Slashfilm interview he makes several intelligent distinctions between the attempts at objectivity in The Wrestler and the wholehearted subjectivity his previous works. In fact, I like his comments so much that I'll quote them at length here:
I think the first two films were exercises in subjective filmmaking and pushing that to the extreme, trying to figure out every possible technique to put an audience member into the characters’ heads. Pi was constructed that way because I had a limited budget and that became kind of the strategy of how to turn that limited budget into a strength. It was to really cut back on cutting away to the bad guys and really making a whole visual language that was all about pushing the audience into Max Cohen’s head. Requiem, a big reason that I was attracted to it is when I read the novel, I realized that Selby’s a very subjective writer and constantly going into fantasy and to dream. It would allow me to kind of expand on the thing I was doing in Pi, but with a bigger budget and color and with more time and with four characters. So when I read that opening scene of the novel and I saw the mom locked in the closet and the kid stealing the TV, I instantly had this idea of a split screen sort of showing the audience, “Oh, we’re going to see two very personal stories here from two different perspectives.” Then eventually it opened up into four perspectives. They were really exercises and really pushing subjective filmmaking. When I got to The Fountain, it was kind of a transition. I was definitely done with that as an exploration and also the subject matter of The Fountain was much more– It was a romance and it allowed me to move more towards the objective, although I still kind of played a little bit with getting into Tommy’s head and into his reality. It was kind of a transition and kind of expanding my style, I guess. I think getting to The Wrestler was really just going in the completely opposite direction. Basically, the film is 98 percent objective. It’s like a documentary. I call it proactive documentary, because I think in a real documentary everything is reactive. If you’re watching Cops and a guy runs away and then a second later the camera chases after the guy and goes after him, we didn’t have that second delay. We kind of knew what the scene was about and we knew where Mickey or Marisa was going to go. So we were able to choreograph that. We kind of had this proactive style where we were working with the actor to give a documentary feeling, allow realism to happen, but we were ready for it. There’s no really internal sound stuff, except for maybe two or three times I used it, which was like during the heart attacks and when he’s walking to the deli counter and the crowd comes up. Otherwise, besides that, there’s never a personal sound beat. I kind of really didn’t want to do that, but I couldn’t resist. It’s actually a little weak. People responded to those moments, I think.Of course, this "proactive documentary" style is still a style, but I think Aronofsky is aware of that. Besides, if I start to quibble on this point any further I might as well just reprint Roland Barthes' Writing Degree Zero, right?
 No, I have no idea what I'm talking about here either. Here's a wee Mitchell and Webb sketch about a snooty waiter to justify the digression:
 Of course issue #12 of The Filth makes it pretty obvious that the hand is Greg's own, but by the time the series has wrapped up Grant Morrison has been sure to render that reading as unlikely as any other, bless him.
 I'm reminded here of David Fiore's claim that:
"Life" is an uninhabitable planet. Narrative is artificial atmosphere that enables us to walk upon its surface. That's why Grant Morrison's concept of the "fiction suit" (from The Filth) is so apt.Which sounds dead on to me. The only problem is that sometimes expeditions out into the farther reaches of the planet "Life" can scramble your perceptions. Sometimes it feels like the closer you get to your intended destination, the further away from it you seem to be. That's what happens to Greg Feely throughout The Filth, which is probably why some readers find it hard to get to grips with.
Issue #9, 'Inside The Hand', is probably the best example of this. If The Filth is Chris Weston's masterpiece (and I think it is!), then the four page sequence in which Feely meets Man Green/Man Yellow is a mini-masterpiece within the bigger one.
While Feely is being grilled by his superiors the art shifts into a dazed Gilbert & George pastiche. Weston's linework, normally expressive of crude biology, is boxed in by stark, repetitive abstraction. Instead of the usual abundant absurdities, we're left a battered close-up of Feely's face, which has been drained of colour and walled in by disinterested faces of his employers:
Being typical members of the management class, Man Green/Man Yellow explain Greg's role in short, cryptic sentences which always seem to arrive in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is as close as Greg gets to a simple explanation of what his purpose is, and he's still left with his brow furrowed and his questions unanswered:
Since you're currently reading this essay, I'm sure you've got some idea of how Greg feels. The closer I get to The Filth, the further away from it my thoughts go. All I want to do is write about The Ink, about the lines on the page and what they do to me, but I can't. As soon as I start typing my mind wanders to Dennis Potter plays and Darren Aronofsky movies.
Despite my earlier protestations to the contrary, every line of this essay is about itself and nothing else. Every paragraph is a textual representation of my bright green/bright yellow face; I keep straining to match the expressive ruffles of Greg Feely's face, but I keep falling short. Still, I'll try again and fail better, and if I'm lucky maybe I'll come up with something that's almost as expressive as the pages I've sampled above.
 In fairness, there aren't many people who can beat Cronenberg and Burroughs at their own game. And if you disagree, hey, don't argue with me! Argue with these guys:
 Thankfully the creators of The Filth were less scared of making dicks out of themselves than I am. Jebni wasn't lying about the sentient nano-tech cat love that's being spread about at the end of the series -- that shit really happens in the comic!
And you know what? I'm glad that it does. It's a perfect use of the biological motifs that have run through the whole series. If, in the world of The Filth, everything repeats from the macro scale down to the micro ("As above, so below" and all that shit), then surely it can work the other way? If we're all part of the same cross-contaminating gunk, why can't positive narratives spread out from the smallest scale to the largest?
 Cat haters of the world, relax, I've got your backs too! Or at least, Adam Roberts does. Just check out this quote, from his review of Charles Stross' Accelerando:
Now it may be that Stross is a cat-lover; that many of his readers will be cat-lovers; and that they will coo over this fictional cat and indulge Stross in his conceit. It so happens that I am not a cat-lover. It happens to be the case that, in addition to suffering allergic asthma when exposed to the foul polluting fur of these quadruped Nazis purrers, I find it morally inconceivable that any human could waste their affection on a creature that takes such delight in torture and selfishness -- that it takes a self-deluding anthropomorphisation and a soppy moral indolence to afford these parasites space in a person's heart.Ouch! I'm a pet person myself, but that's some harsh, funny shit! (Link via David Golding.)
 If you haven't read Eddie Campbell's comic book adaptation of Snakes and Ladders I'd recommend you do so as soon as possible, because it's an absolute treasure of a comic! Go buy A Disease of Language, which collects it along with another Moore/Campbell collaboration, The Birth Caul and all sorts of other goodies. These two performance pieces turned art comics compliment each other nicelt -- The Birth Caul is a thorough deconstruction of human language and perception, while Snakes and Ladders takes human cruelty and suffering as its starting place, and proceeds to literally shoot for the moon. Moore's words are mighty, as is to be expected, and Campbell matches him at every turn. He provides lived-in textures to the various scenes conjoured in The Birth Caul, and in Snakes and Ladders he comes up with page after page of beautifully startling visuals, which... actually, you know what? Forget matching Moore, I think Campbell actually beats him on his own turf in that comic!
 It should be noted that seeking to strip people of their own delusions is pretty much always a dick move, since delusions and fantasies are all part of the shit we breath. It's sometimes necessary, but it's almost never going to be painless, as Greg Feely discovers when he reveals LaPen's "true" nature in issue #13: