I feel compelled to start this with a personal revelation: I haven’t peed since last night. I will endure severe bladder pain as I write this review of IIIIIIIIIIIIIII’s Piss Cameron. I think it’s fair to let you know. This is an experiment, and this book forced it on me. I will try to write my way through the results.
Piss Cameron is all about politics. It is a collection of stories (“political grotesques” as IIIIIIIIIIIIIII characterizes them) about David Cameron, the UK’s prime Minister from 2010 to 2016. The book is written with a single goal in mind: it aims to rechristen David as “Piss Cameron, and eject him from public life.” I’m not making this up, it says so in the back cover. The argument for achieving this comes from not-so-obscure information about Cameron, who publicly admitted that he “often held in his piss in order to sharpen his mind, especially before major announcements or speeches.” The technique comes straight from Enoch Powell, a racist Conservative MP, who was also a Minister of Health. Just imagine: a Minister of Health who mortifies his bladder constantly. This book, or so the back cover tells us, was written in order to denounce this “gross habit,” which seems to be also a British political tradition.
In order to objectively assess both the book and Cameron’s urethral-sphincetral techniques, I will refrain from urinating until I finish writing this review. So my notes will be interrupted by insights into the techniques’ peculiarities and intensities. For example: I’m realizing that there are certain positions of my body where my bladder stops hurting. But the urgency is there, all the time.
Piss Cameron explores the aesthetics of passing water through ten short stories and two long poems and it is a wild display of technical imagination regarding urination. Just when one thinks the thrust of the book will dwindle, new insights pour out regarding the relationship between power and piss. The book starts at a pub, where David Cameron wins a bet that involves a very complex penis-maneuver, a large car and a tightly controlled jet of piss. I’ve got to say this about IIIIIIIIIIIIIII: he knows his way around micturition. The following stories guide us through the growing complexity of Cameron’s relationship to piss, and the rituals of power with which he surrounds his urination habits: flooding a bed, dampening each corner and nook of an extravagantly decorated bathroom, filling a gallipot while being tended to by masked servants, and, as a child, developing techniques to use the vapors of urine as a hallucinogenic drug.
Yes, this book is dirty. But then again, so is holding in your pee to give a speech. And politics. Even so, I’m feeling empathy. Right now, my body is shouting at me, trying to get me to go and release myself from this constant and swelling urge. At the same time, I’m typing as fast and efficiently as I can. I’m not even halfway through the review, and procrastination is no longer an option. I have closed my Facebook account and hidden my cell-phone. This is urgent. No distractions: “Pain sours the fleeing mind.”
The peeing gathers up poetic momentum in “Dance,” where Cameron climbs on stage and uses the force and thrust of his piss as a dance prop, which both propels his movements and functions as an aesthetic device on its own. The accurate control of release gives the dance aesthetic particularities that are impossible any other way. When Cameron visits the doctor after holding his piss for too long, we can begin to understand the depth of his political commitment and sacrifice. The descriptions now turn from the poetic to the clinical. Cameron admits, even though his swollen lower abdomen runs the risk of exploding and his penis is filled with stretch marks, “I can feel my power rising.” As an appointed and elected head of government, holding his urine in is his most noble-hearted attempt to “twine together a frayed nation.”
Please give me a minute. I have to close my eyes for a couple of seconds.
Let’s get it out in the open: sphincter control is one of the most important technical achievements of humankind. There’s no such thing as civilization if there’s no way to control our bodies. Withholding urine inside our bodies and choosing when and how to release it is an exercise of those values Western civilization prides itself on. It’s one of our pillars. It’s the exercise of our will over nature; it’s the shaping of subjectivities through discipline. It’s our mode of being. But this book deals with a particularly male relationship to urinating. Yes. We cannot discuss Piss Cameron without discussing sexual difference. Having a penis to piss with gives a whole different outlook on our relationship to the world. It’s not just about projecting, but also about shaping. A male member of our species can make drawings on the floor using his penis as a brush and his urine as ink. That particularly intimate moment of peace when it comes to releasing urine might also be the beginning of the written language, and maybe even art. Maybe. There’s a straight line that connects pissing and graffiti. Males can sign with their pee. It’s pissignature. It’s a moment of both reflection and expression. It’s about some weird idea of power: having a penis to pee with will help you to put out a fire and not burn your buns.
Each tiny adjustment of my body provokes ripples of sensations throughout my insides. I shudder involuntarily. I’m afraid I might be losing coherence, but I’m too deep inside of this. No stopping now.
As a technique, holding our collective pee is always already a political act; it is the beginning of the social contract. I shall not pee anywhere. And of course, there will be explorers who go beyond what is asked of the general population. Piss Cameron is that kind of pioneer, because he understands that most of our pleasures are created and enhanced by repression and bondage techniques. Restraint fosters release. I saw a couple of sexologist on TV the other day. Their discussion seems relevant now. They were saying our society views premature ejaculation as a sickness, while it is the exact contrary. Premature ejaculation is the body doing its job in the most efficient way, handing out sperm to preserve our species as fast as it is able to. It is only seen as pathological in a culture that understands the cultivation of pleasure. And increasing pleasure, for both parties of the sexual congress, involves controlling our discharge. Yes. Holding our secretions is a technique that regulates release, and release is pleasure. My dad used to tell me that he was really amazed when he read The Count Of Montechristo and found out that, all the years he was in prison, his only pleasure consisted of holding his urine as long as he could and then releasing it. Sphincter control is onanistic S&M. That’s what Piss Cameron is all about. As the restraints grow in complexity, so does the intensity of the release.
I want to pee so much right now.
Oh, my God. This is sick, on so many levels.
Why am I doing this? Who is the author of the book? IIIIIIIIIIIIIII. What kind of name is IIIIIIIIIIIIIII? Why can’t authors have proper names? How do you even pronounce it? Who is subjecting me to this?
Ok. Breathe deeply. Focus. I can hear myself yelling spontaneously. Almost there.
The extreme control of the body also leads to extreme states of consciousness and power. The book explores this in the last couple of “grotesques,” which break out in verse. “The Final Tale” takes the exercise of controlling pee to its metaphysical and magical conclusions. This technique, withholding and controlling piss, if continued extravagantly, produces different states of consciousness and being. Extreme body control induces both delirium and hallucinations, which, coupled with technology and symbolism, prove quite powerful. All the questions are there, explored in this powerful and strange and frankly weird book. “What is piss-not-piss?” What if we all are products of piss? Isn’t that what we are? “Pissed beings”? In an astounding literary display of piss-fueled mechanic and erotic Esoterica, IIIIIIIIIIIIIII drives his point home: “David Cameron’s piss was coming to life.” Oh, my god, this hurts so much. Yes. Cameron’s piss is coming to life. Maybe it already has. Did his holding pee technique work? Ask England in a handful of decades.
What if everything that holds us together is pee? What is the relationship between Cameron, urine and a pig. What about fucking pigs! “The piss smelled like a riot.” Pee is everywhere. Seas of piss. Piss on the ground that evaporates and turns into rain: it’s raining pee! Your pee, my pee, our pee, their pee. Piss. Piss. Piece. Peace.
Oh, my god. I can’t hold it. Oh. Oh.
Excuse me for a second…
And really ashamed.
I am so sorry that this happened in front of you.
I’ll go clean myself, and won’t come back.
I can’t face you anymore.
Beware of Piss Cameron.
Beware of this book.
Pepe Rojo is a writer and interventionist living in the California border zone. He has published five books and more than 200 texts dealing with fiction, media, and contemporary culture, in Spanish and English. He directed “You can see the future from here”, a series of sf-based interventions in the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing border, as well as “Tú no existes” in Mexico City. He was most recently spotted raising “Tierra y Libertad” flags.