Thursday, 30 July 2015


I have been meaning to write this post for some time. And I have been thinking about the prospect of time travel for even longer – I first considered it as a serious option at least three years ago. So far I have been putting off making a start in this field, because I am keen to finish my PhD before I begin something new; as you can imagine it takes some considerable time, energy and money to design and build a time machine, and I have not wanted to jeopadise my current academic work by focussing too heavily in another direction. However, I have been drawn into many conversations on the subject of time travel recently, have spoken about my theories publicly during several of my poetry performances, and cannot help but think about this on a daily basis now: thus, the plan has in some ways instigated itself, and I must simply follow in its path.

In some ways however, the two projects are closely linked. My PhD work is on the Russian revolutionary poet Vladimir Mayakovsky. If you have not heard of him you are in luck; my book Volodya: The Selected Works of Mayakovsky comes out with Enitharmon Press at the end of this year, so if you can hold on till then you can read not only a selection of his poems, lectures, manifestos and advertisements but also an introduction to his life and work more generally. Of course you could also just look him up yourself in the meantime, but beware of bullshit. For now, allow me to assure you that he is not only a literary genius but also a heartstoppingly powerful performer of his own work, abundantly, unashamedly passionate in character, and a major hotty.

Mayakovsky killed himself in his office room in Lubyanka passage, Moscow, in 1930, when he was 36 years old. There is now a museum about him which takes up the whole of that building, at the centre of which his office has been maintained as it was at the time of his death. This museum has actually been closed for the last two or more years for refurbishments, but I will be meeting its new director Alexei Lobov at the end of this month, so I am hoping to have a peek at it at that time. The reason I say these two things are linked is because primarily my intentions are to use the machine to travel to Russia during Mayakovsky's lifetime. I can't say much about this at the moment, except that, all being well, I will arrive in March 1930, and my presence will be transformative. 

Of course in some ways we all have experience of time travel, of forging links and communications between our past and future selves, only we don't think of it as such. For example, last weekend I was at a wedding in Oxford. The Rosy who went to bed blind drunk and starving hungry was very concerned that the Rosy of the future (specifically, of the following morning) would be terribly hungover and would puke all over Keston Sutherland's car on the drive back home to Brighton. So she took the necessary precautions to ensure that, at such a time as Future Rosy would arrive into the hotel room, she would be safe – that is to say by drinking insane quantities of water and eating a packet of crisps. Needless to say, Future (by that time, Present) Rosy was very grateful to Present (now Past) Rosy for the assistance, and thankfully there was no vomit to be seen. 

Another example: on Monday morning I flew from the UK to Russia. When I arrived I was informed by the cabin crew that not only had I travelled some considerable distance in space, but that I had also travelled two hours in time, into the future. I now have the uncanny experience of listening to British radio via the internet and knowing that the whole of Britain is in my past, and that they, stuck indomitably in an alternate time frame, can never catch up with me for so long as I remain here in Russia. 

I'm not going to write any more on this matter today; for one thing this post is intended as an introduction to the wider context of this project, and for another I have come to the end of my bottle of beer and must go to the shops to get another.

1 comment:

  1. How very interesting. As an occasional time traveller myself I had a similar 'out of synch' experience in the early hours of January 1st 2000 when I was connected by telephone to a friend in LA. There I was, enjoying the birth of the 21st Century, while she was still existing in the 20th. An amazing experience.
    I look backward to the time when I will see you before.