spacer
The Vacuum Issue 6 spacer Issue 6
What Is A 'Spide'?
by Nils Garmånn
spacer
The 'spide': research outlines and precedents.
spacer
Through greasy windows the sun shone low and large and red, streaking our tiny room with flares of orange and yellow. This auburn light danced and glinted on my companion's drooping gold earrings as we surveyed the cars below, and held his face in profile as if he might only be a photograph. Beneath the frayed peak of a dirty white baseball cap, thick, cropped hair was pasted down over a forehead encrusted with acne; small, dark eyes burrowed out from sunken sockets; a premonition of a moustache hunched nervously on the top lip: if he sneezed it might blow away.
spacer
Carl fingered the cheap chunky gold around his neck and tried to decide which of the cars we would ride in tonight. His eyes darted weaselishly from the Corsa to the Mondeo to the Megane, but fixed again and again on the rusty BMW in the far corner. He moved his bony hand down to his Tommy t-shirt, spreading his fingers out and absent-mindedly massaging his chest. With his other hand he made a darting foray into one nostril before settling back to guarding his genitals.
spacer
'Fuckin Beamer, easy, cmon lets fuckin get a move on, you drinkin that fuckin bucky or just keepin it warm?', he barked, suddenly animated. The decision made, he turned and swaggered out of the door, idle hands swinging and dangling as he strode manfully toward the stairwell. I followed willingly, unable to resist his unaffected magnetism.
(Watssøn, 2000, p. 432)
spacer
In his account of infiltrating a group of East Antrim spides, 'Down and out of it in Whitewell and Rathcoole', Marxist anthropologist Björn Watssøn describes the process by which the objective distance between himself and his observation group of young 'trackies' very quickly became eroded. 'I found myself immensely drawn to their complex forms of tribal organisation and group hierarchisation,' writes Watssøn. 'Carl, who I was rapidly able to identify as the dominant male in the 'brood', was aware of my feelings and, whilst repelled by the overt affection that I displayed, which he chose to question quite forcefully at times, nonetheless was aware that his power was maintained through intensely homosocial patterns. Even if he repeatedly asked me if I was a "fuckin queer".' (Watssøn, p. 588)
spacer
The importance of Professor Watssøn's observations to the study of spide social and behavioural forms is easily seen when one considers that his extensive (if unorthodox) research is still the only truly reliable set of sociological findings in the field (Thüringen's 1999 expedition to Cullybackey was abandoned due to the unavailability of translators knowledgeable in both Norwegian and Ulster Scots). It is a great shame that Watssøn's eventual submergence into his sample community prevented him from offering what could only have been insightful and perceptive answers to some of the most important questions to spide researchers: firstly, the purely ontological enquiry - why spides? And then, the matter of familial links: how closely related is the spide to other Rogue Forms, such as the Southern Irish knacker or gurrier, the Scottish ned, schemie or bampot, or the English scally, shellie, shinywanker or wideboy? Finally, how are we to trace each of these individual groups' primary divergence from the genetic ancestor, the casual?
spacer
To concentrate firstly on an exposition: the spide will usually mate with one 'millie', but is sexually competitive and, as a natural selector of potentially fertile breeding partners, will mate regardless of outstanding affiliations. The spide will hunt in small groups, amongst whom particular substances may be used for their supposedly magical qualities, as well as of course for their bonding properties (quite literally in the case of the gluebag or 'beg', which is used in shamanistic rituals centred around prophetic envisioning). Hunting grounds are these days becoming threatened, and bands of spides can often be seen roaming aimlessly through the shopping centres that have been erected on their traditional lands, until they are chased away from these fertile areas by the 'security guard' (or 'disgraced plod').
spacer
spacer
In nature, the enemies of the spide are the 'fuckinfreak' (or 'fuckinfruit'), and the seasonal, migratory 'fuckinstudent'. Displays of aggression are common amongst all of these groups, the fuckinfreak being the most reticent in any such displays. As the spide defends its territory, the mating call of the millies can clearly be heard. Watssøn was fortunate enough to be able to transcribe one such call:
spacer
Fuckin split the wee cunt Carl, fuckinfreak, ya fuckinfreak, go on fuckin do im, wee fuckinfreak, fuckin burst him Carl fuckin split the wee fuckin cunt fuckinfreak.
(Watssøn, p. 94)
spacer
The call can be repeated for up to six or eight minutes at a time.
spacer
The spide's most common fighting tactic is not overt, but rather surreptitious, and may include elements of group work. Sörenssen observed the following behaviour from a specially constructed hide during field work on University Street, Belfast, during the nightly 3 am 'fighting bout', and we are indebted to him for its inclusion:
spacer
Three fuckinfreaks have trespassed onto spide hunting grounds and will be chased away, or, if an extreme threat, killed. As the fuckinfreaks advance, the two dominant spides of the group advance together, though some distance apart.
spacer
A: You got a light mate? Got the time? Wha?
spacer
As the fuckinfreak is distracted by this confusing call, B moves around behind him, having described a wide arc to his side, and produces from within his tracksuit sleeve a size 25 ring spanner.
spacer
A: Here pal, you got a fuckin light or wha?
[The millies begin to chorus]
B strikes the fuckinfreak from behind.
Fuckinfreak: Ow!
A, B: Fuckinfreak, fuckinfreak!
Millies: Fuckinfreak, wee cunt!
(Sörenssen, 2001, p. 487)
spacer
Our work is ongoing, but with the help of a very generous grant from the Academy of Rogue Behaviours at the University of Ulster we hope to be able to shift study to the so-called host community of the main urban centres and to observe reactions and responses to the spide groups. Anecdotally, these have been categorised as vestigial defence mechanisms. By positing spide as a virile and resistant subcultural form we will ask whether their elevation into domination of the socius is not already an inevitability; in short, we wish to suggest that it is not a question of if, but when the spides rule the world.
spacer
It promises to be immensely engaging work.
spacer
Dr Mattii Frühlingsfest is currently head of the Unit of Rogue Behaviours at Port Stanley Sixth Form College and Boot Camp.mt.
spacer
What Is A 'Spide'?
spacer
spacer
home | information | issues | artists & writers | columns | reviews
spacer