Christopher Gray: Leaving the 21st Century

May 27, 2009 at 1:55 am (Uncategorized)

Christopher Gray, who introduced many in the English speaking world to the Situationist International through his collection Leaving the Twentieth Century died May 14 in London.

Charles Radcliffe, the editor of the English journal Heatwave, and a contributing editor for the US IWW/Surrealist publication Rebel Worker, mentions in his appreciation of Gray that he met him around the time Rebel Worker 6 was published in June 1966. At that time Gray was already well travelled and well read, and four months later, Radcliffe and he were to join the Situationist International.

This partnership was not to last. Radcliffe left the SI the following year, and Gray was later expelled. Gray was involved with King Mob . Gray is also allegedly the person who came up with the idea for a totally unpleasant pop group . words that reached an art student who hung around the frgninges of the King mob milieu, Malcolm McClaren.

In 1974, Gray published his own translations of SI documents, Leaving the Twentieth Century. The book was criticized for its loose translations and  somewhat free opinions. Nevertheless, until Ken Knabb’s Situationist International Anthology in 1981, it was pretty much the only collection of SI texts in English. Of  late the text has become better received and was republished a few years ago.

Look, after so many, many pages, let’s try and be honest, just for a moment. I feel very fucked up myself, and I know it’s my responsibility. Yet whenever I go out on the streets my being somehow reels back appalled: these terrible faces, these machines, they are me too, I know; yet somehow that’s not my fault. Everyone’s life is a switch between changing oneself and changing the world. Surely they must somehow be the same thing and a dynamic balance is possible. I think the SI had this for a while , and later they lost it. I want to find it again – that quickening in oneself and in others, that sudden happiness and beauty. It could connect, could come again. Psychoanalysts and Trotskyists are both silly old men to the child. Real life is elsewhere.  

– Christopher Gray – Leaving the Twentieth Century.

NB: The original version of this post stated that Charles Radcliffe was expelled from the SI. The above version corrects this error.



1 Comment

  1. charlie radcliffe said,

    A small point. I was never expelled from l’Internationale situationniste. I left of my own free will! I wasn´t pushed. I fell. Otherwise okay.

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