doctor phil's house
is doing ultraviolence against my shaky mental health.
|awful stack||Jan 16|
Having a lot of money must do strange things to you. Good things. Bad things. It will probably change your meagre little life; the raw rasp of it; the blunt, inane fact of Tesco express and getting all of your shoes wet in a dank little puddle outside of old street station, made nauseous by the smell of recycled Itsu fish. But it cannot - and this requires emphasis - grant you taste. It cannot. Taste is acquired (thumb quickly through Bourdeau), uhh, through society. Class. However, walking into fat sums of money seems to derail that part of the brain which knows, honestly and openly, that you don’t really have a sense of taste or style. That the distant horizon of your credit limit, of your available cash, is a black hole into which all things can be poured; all needs and desires articulated, given the sweet kiss of life. You are doing CPR on your own chest. Your credit card is an adrenaline shot, bigger than the fucking walpole.
Doctor Phil is a figure i know only distantly, vaguely. He is a tv celebrity psychiatrist, which is a thing that could not - i gather - ever exist in the UK. Dr Phil’s broadcast empire is so gratuitous, so immense, that it would engulf the GDP of (let’s say) a decent-sized early renaissance city state. Much greater than this. It rivals the raw wealth of the modern papacy. He is EnRon. No. Vaster, faster, further. He is creosote. He has a fuck tonne of cash.
And like all human beings, he requires shelter. Not all people have shelter. Many others have unsafe, dangerous, unhealthy, and/or unreliable shelter. Dr Phil - a psychiatrist - does not have these impediments. For him, shelter has become so ingrained into his reality that it no longer serves its primitive function, but has rather swollen, metastasized, into an excessive overabundance of itself. It is travelled beyond necessity, rendering things such as function and ‘not making your eyes bleed’ actually neither relevant or important.
Dr Phil’s house is proper minging.
But it is a variety - a species - of minging that can only exist under the conditions of enormous wealth. It is also a genre of design unto itself, unmoored from taste (as above) and credit. The house is riven by contradictions and absurdities of scale and value. A small ceramic sculpture might be worth $19,000. A doorframe might be worth $74. A picture-frame might be worth $37 or $37,000. Scale has detached itself from materiel; value from function. The rooms are each a vortex of competing, overlapping angsts and wills. And so they settle upon a state of frozen-yet-fluctuating, never realized, always already dead formalism. Lads, this is zombie formalism; Art Waco. The nouvelle riche have been strung up, disembowelled, and used as doilies. The lazy susan is a human candelabra. Time drips, leaking, from the taps. Death approaches, riven about in purple and gold.
he tugs out hairs of his thick moustache while leaning over the acres of pool table, his belt buckle pressing firmly into the wood; drawing sweat from his own stomach; his eyes revolving like ancient stars.
Welcome to the mind palace of midwest exceptionalism. Welcome to the fractured labyrinth of the TV evangelist without a god. Welcome to shakily throwing up in the greyscale toilets of Berlin Schoenefeld airport. Welcome to your teeth being broken by gob-stopper interior design.
Fittings and finishings compete within the hierarchy of space, for prominence and dominance. The walls, rather than backdrops, are foregrounds; objects yet more bullish than the ultra-viole(n)t armoires and brightly fizzing chairs which decorate them. the walls decorate the fucking furniture. It looks crazily unsoft; almost hard to the point of becoming two-dimensional, albeit as incontinent as wet papier-mache.
the bar is made up of - twisted, metallic branches. geiger, stripped of its xeno - its gory, tooth-fucked alien. imagine entering this warped, sensual mind-palace to get a nice bit of therapy from Dr Phil, and being greeted by a sanitorium designed in Microsoft paint? what would that do to your already fragile mental health? it would - i hate to say it, to report it - it would fuck it entirely (you). your mental health would disintegrate like a shoddy satellite bruising, hard, against earth’s indifferent atmosphere.
is there a thematics to Dr Phil’s residence? yes, as there is a theme to Absalom! Absalom! Absalom!
Grey, albeit mottled; grainy, almost as if we’re genuflecting our way through this space while tripping hideous balls. While ramping up the ‘add noise and dust’ setting on photoshop. As if we’ve dinged our head really, really badly, and the xanax has run out, and a distant sob-shrieking emanates from the hills. Sharp, shard-like streaks of purple evict themselves from the walls and floor. Black tiles swallow our skin, the flakes that it deposits. twinkling gob-stopper purples squirm for attention amongst the tendril-like metal poles (curled like writhing worms) which have been stitched to every conceivable surface. many have been sacrificed here, upon a dark and hideous altar. the entire house is an altar, dedicated to ba’al, to some ancient shrieking diety.
A wall of guns! Wall’o’guns. A wall which, instead of using regular bricks, uses actual guns. Imagine trying to find the light switch on the wall-’o’-guns and accidentally spraying a magazine of hollow-point bullets into the kitchen by accident, rendering your (i assume?) private chef into bonemeal and drippy organ bits. Just imagine this.
Banksy has definitely taken a shit in one of the house’s 17 toilets.
I’m going to go out on a limb and assume that you’ve played - or have at least heard of - the classic pc game Myst. This, a point-and-click mystery adventure from 1993, is all i can coherently think about whilst looking at Dr Phil’s strangulated house. The same fogginess of purpose; the same chilling mechanisms; the same obtuse violence. the same grey patina, the pixelation of base reality. i am going to leave you with this - a scene, from the 1993 PC mystery game Myst. and i want you to consider whether Dr Phil has been evacuated - shit out of - this grainy, obscure world, and into ours? if somehow, for the past 25 years of his television career, he has been - secretly - letting the Myst universe leak into our own?
i have scared myself now.