PUZZ

An afterword 


     Puzz was one of the most interesting magazines to appear around the mid 1970s in Italy (& not only in Italy). In many ways it was loudly, very loudly ignored. Rather sadly in one Puzz mag 'they' - whoever they are - complained while reading the magazine of the Collegimenti collective  - an interesting ultra leftist set up -  Collegimenti never returned the favour by reading Puzz. In fact only recently Collegimenti - abandoning some of its woodenness - made real moves in something like a Puzz direction. Puzz marked the great break from the 1960s. The world was becoming a lot more weird and peculiar and those who persisted in emptily shouting "revolution" were often the farthest from it. Puzz used  comix strip style but the bubble-speak deployed was not the simplistic, "All Power to the Workers' Councils" etc but somewhat perverse and psychologically deeply troubled (e.g. a visit to Milan's prisons was called: "Leave Me To My Paranoia"). Their graphic style was often dreadful with the exception of occasional one-offs (like "Violenza" illustrated here) but at least they kept clear of from an all too easy imitation of American models. And if in the UK, H. Bunch's "Nasty Tales" were better graphically, content-wise they simply couldn't compare with Puzz. In Puzz there are many drawings of Red Indians and one says: "Let's Decolonise the West" as a frontispiece so it's not hard to see whom and what they shortly were to influence. ....

  More to the point perhaps, Puzz slowly noted how a largish section of the late 1960s insurgents were becoming part of  capital's re-structuring, it's new 'enlightened' face as it were. They grimly observed via a related mag called "Gatti Savaggi" (Wildcat) that ex-students consciously becoming factory workers invariably ended up in a petty power position in the trade unions seeking greater glories as worker bureaucrats. Puzz did not refer to history in the same way as the almost comic academicism of Mao Dada later in 1977 as their own immediate observations were more important than historical pedigree and in all of Puzz's magazines there's only one reproduction of Dadaist art, a George Grosz painting depicting the 'socialist' butcher Noske of the Freikorps in the days of the failed German revolution of 1918-21. Puzz's greater empirical awareness though had its downsides laying itself wide open to  the younger generation of recuperation with those who exchanged negation for style changes. When Puzz proclaimed: "There's something happening and you don't know what it is do you Signor Dylan" little could they have realised such comment would become the acceptable stock-in-trade of the new wave super stars of punk heading for their first million bucks. Unfortunately Puzz had some illusions about music (see some of the following translations) even though well noting how youth was becoming "90 years old". 


     Sad to say some members of the Puzz collective were killed in Beirut in the late 1970s when holidaying, caught between the murderous cross fire of the Lebanese civil war between various fractions of capital disguised with masks of religiously oriented militias. Ironically, one of their comments had been "a war called a banality"!


(BIS comment by Dave Wise: 1978-9) 
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                                                           PUZZ PUZZ PUZZ PUZZ PUZZ PUZZ PUZZ . (June 1975)                                           
                                      "HOW TO ENJOY YOURSELF BY READING THE PLEASURE OF NEGATION"


     Puzz criticized the publication in Chile during Allende's popular front regime of "How to read Donald Duck" by Ariel Dorfman and Armand Mattelart and its appearance in Italy with a written introduction by two Italians, Marovelli and Saccomano, saying "it is not for nothing they are university lecturers" not having the least doubts of the progressive 'content' of the book which is in fact neo-capitalist. (John Berger wrote an article in 'New Society' praising this book about the same time). Dorfman and Mattelart express, "not the optic of the logic of capital so much as the one dimensional vision of a hegemonic class that drives social contradictions underground strewing the tomb with flowers. The two Chileans place the accent more on the class that has produced Donald Duck than on Donald Duck". Only marginally "examining the relations of production; for them, as for the left, capital is not these relations but ends up being the class that manages it and struggle is expressed through a change in power; capital is not undermined, on the contrary it is a moment of its restructuring". 


    In the introduction, the Italian editors remark that "what is lacking in Donald Duck to pass to the stage of being a revolutionary - (if one had directly written the word role it would have been expressed perfectly) is one thing, only consciousness, that is Donald Duck ideology, lacks a specific ideology in order to re-valorise itself, to leap from the terrain which is the limbo between reactionary and progressive to land in this second camp definitively enslaved to neo-capitalism. 


     These four gentlemen (Chilean and Italian) swiftly moving in the ideological battle do not put one foot forward against capital". 


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Early front covers of PUZZ mags from 1975 forecasting the moment of the Metropolitan Indians and the formation of "Geronimo". For more information on this refer to: Memoirs of Metropolitan Indian elsewhere on this web                 

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                                                       "MOMENT OF LOVE"

                                        

 

                                                              From PUZZ No.15 Aug/Sept 1974.

                                             "Yesterday evening on the beach.......floating on the wind

                                               ....I caught the scent of a woman.....the aroma of her body

                                               ......her loveliness.............I turned into the wind..................

                                              .............I tried to find the woman...that was in the wind.....but

                                                my arms remained empty...I never thought I was so alienated..

                      

            The Factory of Repression No 2 & No 6

                  (La fabricca della repressione)

                             

 

To love it's necessary to have a heart. This is a society without a heart. Therefore it's without love. 

 Aahhh...Love. Flower. Love. Pain. Heart. Zoom. The heart beats as it should. Feet walk around as they should. The brain is thinking as it should. Hands are active as they should be. Sexual organs function as they should. All the workers of the body functioning as they should. Ah love! The feet no longer think. The heart doesn't stroll about. The brain doesn't hear the senses. Hands don't function. Sexual organs are passively active..Ah....the absence of love...... 

"Only transplanting a democratic heart will avoid the risk of rejection. Only this heart can pump neo-Christian blood into the desiccated family structure. I've opened up a PCI cell in the moribund cell of the family." 

"My big lips are more luscious if you love. Love is modeled on the reigning fashions and even more so if you're with the alternative demo- contesting dominant fashion...it's so fashionable...you cut such a fine figure...and my mechanical vagina quickens only to ideology...but especially to the counter-ideology of the new values of 90 year old youth." 

"I'm a bourgeois of the old school. The capitalism that my class perfected can do without me. Decomposition infects me and I haven't succeeded in concealing it under the face cream of democratic capitalism....I'm only a reactionary, you're more cunning.""My distributing rod doesn't have any more sperm left for you. It's the crises. There's no more oil left in the recesses of my body".

 

                                       

 

Camera one! Take one! The tram is a desert...That oasis is a mirage....That mirage   are police.....

 "Do you hear: untie the scarf from around my feet or I fire"..."No Signor, I won't give in and keep your hands up....."Tickets! We'll kill what you haven't...." 

"Shit! Two hours every day in this cesspit of the 33 bus. And always in the rush hours"....."Signori, I'm only the tram driver. You mustn't talk to me or shoot me ---in the back. Now throw that body out".

 "Hang-on Giorgio, don't execute that student now, a 500 has run out of petrol. Let's throw some molotovs and burn it to bits. It's getting late and you know well enough we must be back home for supper. We have to be up at 7 to be at the factory for 8...look out that old guy is throwing a knife!!....And you, you underneath, don't move your head or you'll make me fall off". 

"Now, that's enough. You mustn't read the papers and laugh....Be sad like everyone else. Get this new calibre bullet". 

...A STREET CAR NAMED DESERT.....A WAR CALLED A    BANALITY..........

  

                            Below: "Firefighters on the run"

                                    

   

"Once upon a time we believed that long-haired youths dressed up in blue jeans would bring a breath of fresh air into the desolation of our daily lives""Today we know once again it was a matter of pouring old wines into  new bottles""Today we're savouring a new restoration under the form of being progressive and we've learnt at great cost that the most obscene product of fascism is anti-fascism" .

                                    

"There's an atmosphere of retreat in the air. No one feels any longer up front respondingto what they want from life""Now comrades from yesterday bother themselves withdistributing programmes and electoral promises like false prophets, like vampires, thirstyfor proletarian blood" "They've reduced the streets   into concentration camps for our solitude.

 "There's an atmosphere of retreat in the air. In shop windows they sell us militancy guaranteed with the seal of ideology.

                                      

Enough of red-tinted togas. Let's call a spade a spade. They're our new bosses, our new warders""Reality has in fact shown that man before setting fire to himself with his exploding plastic myths and then falling in with the first strolling firemen" --"Is rather, our desires seeking themselves out piteously on the crowded platforms, in the museums, in the supermarkets and in the Lost and Found Office....but we continue to run from ourselves" 

                             

                                                                                       VIOLENCE

                                

A young and poor Southern Italian guy leaves his family in the south of Italy forthe northern cities in 1968.The goodbyes are tearful......

Finding accommodation is even more difficult... Notices abound saying: "NO SOUTHERNERS HERE". He is told: "We don't rent out accommodation to southerners"..."Sorry but we've had some bad experiences"....." "You shits", he thinks. Eventually he makes his way to a bar and a 'kindly' Uncle Pumpkin fixes him up, addressing him in Neopolitan/Sicilian slang. The guy however is a shark... Arriving at his new lodgings the naive southerner is told by a fellow resident that he's easily duped and if he doesn't wake up, he's really going to get turned over. He is advised to get a letter from a Priest.......... He walks around the streets in search of a Priest, bombarded on all sides by thighs, bums, tits and platform shoes shouting: "BUY, BUY". A Priest welcomes him into a church saying unctuously; "Let's see what Holy Mother church can do for you". The Priest writes him a letter of commendation and, in gratitude, the Southerner offers him money.-----"What are you doing, what are you doing?" says the Priest, "I don't want your money, I want Christian love! So take your clothes off"... "You don't want to, well OK but when you are dying of hunger don't bother to come back here". The Priest fucks him, breathing, "How lovely, how lovely, Holy Mother of God, how lovely". The southerner thinks, "What a shit I am". The Priest departs telling him, "Please come back whenever you want"......  

He walks around the streets in search of a Priest, bombarded on all sides by thighs, bums, tits and platform shoes shouting: "BUY, BUY". A Priest welcomes him into a church saying unctuously; "Let's see what Holy Mother church can do for you". The Priest writes him a letter of commendation and, in gratitude, the Southerner offers him money.-----"What are you doing, what are you doing?" says the Priest, "I don't want your money, I want Christian love! So take your clothes off"... "You don't want to, well OK but when you are dying of hunger don't bother to come back here". The Priest fucks him, breathing, "How lovely, how lovely, Holy Mother of God, how lovely". The southerner thinks, "What a shit I am". The Priest departs telling him, "Please come back whenever you want"...... 

 

Going to a factory he shows the Priest's letter and is given a job on the assembly line.....the constant repetition.....time and motion men... the company foremen shouting "PRODUCE MORE, PRODUCE MORE, PRODUCE MORE".....Suddenly: "STRIKE". Instantly, without a moment’s thought, the Southerner grabs a gigantic hammer and smashes a half completed car....... 

                                  

 

For his activities during the strike, he's laid off and charged with criminal damage. His 'workmates' let him go down the road, telling him he's too up front. If they put him in prison it'll be impossible afterwards to find work. In the slammer, a fellow prisoner tells him that the only thing prisoners can do is take back the money from banks forcibly later when you get out because you won't get any pay in jail for work done. To the accompaniment of a politician broadcasting warnings on TV that the wave of strikes is endangering democracy, the newly arrived prisoner hangs himself in his cell..... 

      (For further articles on Italy see the following) 

Critique of Italy '77

 Puzz in Mid-1970s Italy

 Italy in 1977

 Memories of a Metropolitan Indian

 Part 2 Situ Reorientation debate. The Red Brigades in Italy