A champion of corporate diversity diversifies into monetising the mutilation of working class women. Our man down South, Tales Bank, digs deep and goes a little mental trying to work out what it is with the new Jack the Ripper museum. If it has never occurred to you that your iPod full of a gazillion tunes is not entirely divorced from everyday brutality then hold onto your long player and keep reading. It just might make some sense.
Cable Street, London 6pm 5th Aug
The perpetual nostalgia machine turns sour again. The deceitful opening of a “museum” dedicated to Mr Big of the mutilation titillation industry is causing uproar. Why do we so celebrate a fiction blurred from fact, a misogynist rage, a nightmare, at the exclusion of such richer histories?
I’ve joined the second protest in two days against the new Celebrate Rape And Mutilation centre in Cable Street. Yesterday it was unguarded and decorated with bunting. Tonight, called by the Class War Women’s Death Brigade, is expected to be somewhat less sedate. By the private security who are hilariously sporting hipster beards and stab vests. By the rozzers too. Out to protect the property of the rich against the protestations of the poor. Same as it ever was.
“See the murdered woman’s bedroom” says the museum facade and “Visit the morgue, see autopsy photos”. “Keep calm I’m a Ripperologist” t-shirts can be seen through the window. That the Whitechapel murders were in another part of London is not advertised. There are fake blue plaques claiming some tenuous connection between Cable Street and the murders, one of the murdered once lived nearby or something equally stupid. Right now the facade is rapidly being covered in stickers, “Womens Death Brigade”, “Goodnight Mens [Violent] Rights”, “ACAB”. The hipster security in their stab vests can do nothing.
Keep calm there’s a packet to be made from Ripperology where actors become historians and history is no such thing. Lines blur in books, movies, conferences and Ripper tours galore. Old Jack is even already well served at the City Of London Police museum. One big ugly wound dressed up as a best selling whodunnit. Even the name Jack the Ripper was a PR stunt, contrived by a journalist to boost circulation. The Yorkshire Ripper, the Camden Ripper, the Suffolk Strangler, Jack The Stripper, the Railway Killers, the Crossbow Cannibal, the Beast of Manchester, the Bus Stop Stalker, the Green Chain Rapist, the World’s End Murderer. All unreal names given to very real killers of women.
Men and their stuff. The stuff we collect, the stuff we are sold. The stuff we work our fingers to the fucking bone for. The cult of stuff, of possessions, is so ingrained we barely notice it. The idea that you might mistake your wife for a record collection seems laughable. Yet your stuff is your stuff right? To have and to hold forever and ever amen.
If you are of the mind, and you probably are, that people have always coveted treasure and stuff you are confusing “forever” with “relatively recently”. Say, the last five thousand years or so in these parts, since the first neolithic fence building, wife claiming, goat grabbing priest class declared themselves in charge of the rest of us. Most of our time has been nothing like this fuckfest of greed and hate we now endure. Power is a new game that claims eternity.
This is not my beautiful house, my beautiful wife. For us mortals, a payslip or two away from the street, the cult of things is an illusion. Our real world is debt and fear of debtors penalty. The juke box on the landing is a pension. The DVD players boxed in the garage next years holiday. The MOT overdue. This cult of shite is a lie we barely admit. No wonder we fail to recognise the pernicious way it shapes our relations. What’s a man to do when a lifetime of lies, fear and no little brutality is never revealed but always there? When the crap breaks on Boxing day? When “because I say so” is not enough? What the fuck is a man to do?
Oh, no-one knows what goes on behind closed doors. The nuclear family, the car crash, the late dinner, the beatings by frustrated men not commanding what they are told is theirs. My child, my wife, my country, my trouble and strife. The deep down and unclear disconnections that poison the mind and corrupt our egalitarian hearts. What the fuck is a man to do?
That pussy all mine. The mysterious Jack mollifies the everyday violence that aims to tame women like a self loathing pig might hit a dog that disappoints unreachable expectations. Down! Behave! Shut it! Jack’s back. Smashing through your door with an axe. As fascism is capitalism with the gloves off then just maybe serial killing is domestic violence with the gloves off. And in turn domestic violence is marriage with the gloves off.
The pavements either side of Cable Street are full with a couple of hundred angry protesters. Women are taking turns on the megaphone. Every now and again the crowd chants “shut it down, shut it down, shut it down” hands aloft pointing at and pushing towards the museum. A window has been smashed. Being a Class War led action the cry is taken up “the rich, the rich, we gotta get rid of the rich!”.
As the speakers slow the Women’s Death Brigade move their banner to block the heavy with tube strike traffic. We all follow. The cops move in with zero success and soon set about diverting the cars down back streets. Fuck off the lot of you you’re all a bunch of cunts. Cyclists, some militant themselves, are allowed to pass. At 7pm a woman grabs the megaphone and thanks everyone for coming along, “we’ll be back, six o’clock every Wednesday until this place closes!”
It is surely no coincidence this house of horrors is opened by a man of privilege and wealth who pursues prestige. A Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Glass Sellers of London. That Mark Palmer-Edgecumbe is a self-proclaimed “diversity expert” simply reveals how the system can eat anything and everything to shit it out reshaped to serve power. His good work is a circle of self congratulating, self perpetuating charities that award and applaud those already of the great and the good. Himself included. His diversity is corporate. Meaning all types of cock sucking servants to bloody greed are to be tolerated. However, working class women are another matter.
All words Tales Southbank. More writing by Tales on Louder Than War can be found at his Tales Southbank.