Philip Hemplow asked Alan Moore:
Hi Alan. You've said (correctly, so far as I can see) that the advent of mass communication has led to the death of any discernible counterculture. Is this because a counterculture needs an element of insularity in order to thrive - the 'cult' aspect of it, I suppose - that the internet does not afford? Or is it the result of a larger, more depressing shift in society, priorities, ways of thinking etc? Or: other!
Alan Moore You may very well be right that a counter-culture needs a certain amount of insularity or distance that the internet doesn’t provide, and I think there are also other factors which abet this situation. I recently acquired a wonderful array of small-press poetry magazines from the 1960s and 1970s – poetry was always somehow at the heart of the counter-cultures that I remember – and what most struck me was the immediacy and authenticity of these stab-stapled physical artefacts. Obviously produced a home by people who were driven by a real passion, these were very definitely anti-corporate manifestations of a dissenting culture. I’m not sure how much real articulate dissent contemporary internet is capable of fostering. Still, it’s with us and clearly isn’t going away. It’s my hope that an alternative culture could emerge that is not so completely in thrall to the internet; that can use that technology for the things it is genuinely useful for, but that can also appreciate the need for a supplementary print and artefact culture, which is fulfilling different needs. This is a subject which I’m relatively optimistic about, and which will be the subject of a day-long seminar that I’m taking part in at Northampton’s Nene College on November the 28th, along with Robin Ince, Josie Long, Francesca Martinez, John Higgs, Grace Petrie, very possibly Melinda Gebbie and an outside chance of Scroobius Pip and some Syrian refugee poets. I think that the event will be streamed – a clearly positive use of the internet – and so I suppose we’ll have a chance to find out then how workable modern technology is in regard to a counter culture. And in the evening, we’ll be having an old-fashioned Art School Dance, which as any admirer of the poet Pete Brown would surely tell you, goes on forever.