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{Wednesday}

 
5-6-7/Messidor


SILENCE IS A RHYTHM TOO

Duderico & Jon-90 hissin ‘n’ a-bitchin about everyone who remains but especially Big Gos, who they claim is a character-void with “nothing to say”. They just don’t get it, do they? Don’t get anything whatosever about anyone or anything, women, conversation, community, timing, the better parts of discretion ...

Jon will end up Head Video Game reviewer for some kind of day-glo B3/E4 po-mo To-mo-rrow’s World slot; Federico … doesn’t he carry an aura of something terribly sad, damaged, even tragic around those pre-Raphaelite shoulders? Don’t those little walnut eyes scream ‘nervous breakdown at some future date’ to you?

Big Brother: 18-30 packaged lo-jinks rendered as a carceral pennance.You must perform a ‘take’ of yourself, in order to be freed, fucked or feted; but ‘freed’ into what – into some abyssal Warholian micro-life performing ‘takes’ of this take of yourself, this mis-taken ‘self’ which is all surface and no reflection, like an ingenious but empty robot eye.

“In Diderot’s tale, the good genie Cucufa discovers at the bottom of his pocket, in the midst of worthless things – consecrated seeds, little pagodas made of lead, and moldy sugar-coated pills – the tiny silver ring whose stone, when turned, makes the sexes one encounters speak. He gives it to the curious sultan. Our problem is to know what marvelous ring confers a similar power on us, and on which master’s finger it has been placed; what game of power it makes possible or presupposes, and how it is that each one of us has become a sort of attentive and imprudent sultan with respect to his own sex and that of others. It is this magical ring, this jewel which is so indiscreet when it comes to making others speak, but so ineloquent concerning one’s own mechanism, that we need to render loquacious in its turn; it is what we have to talk about.”
Michel Foucault, in The History of Sexuality [Vintage 1980]


“At Columbus Hospital, one of Andy’s vivid memories as he slipped in and out of consciousness was, as he later wrote in POPism, of hearing “a television going somewhere and the words ‘Kennedy’ and ‘assassin’ and ‘shot’ over and over again. Robert Kennedy had been shot, but what was so weird was that I had no understanding that this was a second Kennedy assassination – I just thought that maybe after you die, they rerun things for you, like President Kennedy’s assassination.”
[. . .]
The year 1969 began with a flurry of ideas. What about a television show, Andy suggested, called “Nothing Special,” consisting of six hours of people walking past a hidden camera?
[. . .]
Asked about his laissez-faire approach as a filmmaker, he replied, “Scripts bore me. It’s much more exciting not to know what’s going to happen . . . . Years ago, people used to sit looking out of their windows at the street. Or on a park bench. They would stay for hours without being bored although nothing much was going on. This is my favourite theme in movie making - just watching something happening for two hours or so . . . .

frm: The Life and Death of Andy Warhol by Victor Bokris [Bantam 1989]


BIG BROTHER’S PETIT OTHER

“THIS! just in! from the-Big-Brother-household: it is not – I repeat NOT – food poisoning which has brought all the housemates low, as . . . we . . . earlier . . . feared. Nushgosbugsbaldyslapper&scouser have NOT I post modern breathless gear change affectless face into camera REPEAT NOT . . . got . . . gi . . . ppy . . . tummies. NO. It seems – it SEEMS – the six housemates have come down with something called GRAVITAS. Yes, an infection called GRAV – I - TAS. It is previouslyunknowninthebigbrother HOUSE and doctors say it should not prove fatal, as – long – as – they SHIT it straight back out of their system. It’s thought the only reason they all came down in such a BLEUGH bad way is that they all have previously had no experience whatsoEVER of THIS – particular - BUG. So their systems JUST couldn’t handle it.
I’ve been Dermot Robot, this has been Big Brother’s Little Widdler, goodnight.”


DEAD BRILLIANT

Is SIX FEET UNDER the best TV series ever? I am increasingly convinced the answer is YES. And I think it is nothing short of genius that Ball has let this difficult second series idle through Nothing Very Much Happening In Particular (but at the same time, Strange Things Happening every week, life and death things . . .). Which was likewise the great power, strangeness & charm of the last SOPRANOS season – which apparently didn’t go down so well in the USA. (For just that reason?)

The anatomisation of Nate & Brenda’s relationship is beyond great. These characters are slow, self-absorbed, boring, selfish, secretive, casually cruel, unpredictably libidinal, lost.
Can it get any better than this?
Apparently it can.
In the episode screened on C4 the other night: Brenda’s fledging attempts to start a novel. The bit where her laptop starts talking – or rather, texting – back at her:
ALL YOU DO IS OBSERVE YOURSELF.
YOU ARE INCAPABLE OF ANYTHING REAL.
Spooky, simple, brilliant.

Brenda’s marriage proposal to Nate made me writhe in discomfort, begging: no! no! no! no! The split second shift in Nate from cloudy indecisive perplexity to hyped up YEAH! LETS GET MARRIED! enthusiasm was excruciating – a terrible portent.

All this is, yes, “real”. . .but in comparison with the shiny migraine (me-grain?) reality of reality TV relatives, we intuit a difference. It is all finally “just” representation, sure, but some things presence (and bring to presence) more than others.

Not far behind, of course, is THE WEST WING; which C4 is now screening at the prize time of a quarter to midnight, a hustler’s strip of dead air inhabited by the shadows of Brian’s Boyfriends, old Jean-Claude Van Damme flicks and documentaries on the fruit fly. It has been slowly shunted further and further out into this torpid wasteland - a tactic previously deployed against stunning works such as HOMICIDE and OZ. What IS it with CHANNEL 4 and such series? Are they ASHAMED at how good this import stuff is? Or is it just SO imperative they clear space for ONE MORE lame “reality” show which sexes up how to put castor wheels on things or unblock your br... - I mean drains?

+ ---- -


It is difficult to exaggerate the full import of early romanticism in Europe. Hero worship, popular idols, emotional identification, role models – all these are now an understood element of modern society. In the 18th century the only heroes and idols available were saints or legendary figures – far removed from everyday experience. Respect and awe were concentrated upon the equally distant figures of rulers – local lords or far-off royalty. And all such veneration was restrained by social and religious norms. Meanwhile civilised behaviour was judged in cultural terms. Civilised emotion – tellingly defused as ‘sentiment’ – was similarly elevated and rational. The Enlightenment had inspired widespread intellectual advances – and equally wide-spread emotional repression. The emotional self-confidence of Renaissance humanism had been superceded by the uncertainties of the intellectual search for certainty and the advance of rigorous science. Philosophers now sought to define the emotions rather than liberate them or learn how to live with them. Rousseau’s movel addressed a pent-up need, especially among the new breed of educated women. In Julie, Rousseau’s expression of emotion is intense and incoherent. This is both its strength and its validity. He did not fully understand himself what he was expressing, but he knew its truth within him. His troubled soul refused to submit to rational restraints.

Paul Strathern, The Essential Rousseau


“You can also catch some pretty good shows at the sex pits downtown: the Anvil, the Toilet, the Mindshaft (sic), the Cave, the Eagle’s Nest, the Strap, Crisco Disco – where the disco workers go when they get off work uptown at four A.M. Thse places open at four and close at ten in the morning. It’s so strange to leave a dark, smoky club and suddenly see sunlight and trucks roaring up Hudson Street on their way to the Lincoln Tunnel.
I’ve only been to these sex places twice. They’re too dirty, too gay, too sexy – for me. They don’t let girls in and I’m always with girls. The only girl I know who can get in is Catherine Guinness, the English beer heiress. Catherine only wears leather pants and T-shirts that have slogans on them like, “Where is Palestine?”
[…]
We stood at the bar drinking beer, which is the thing to drink because it makes you piss a lot. They piss in beer bottles and then give it to their boy friends to drink. I was amazed. I tried to talk to Barbara about the weather but it was hard to concentrate. Two tough-looking guys in leather and chains kept sending me mash notes mentioning S&M and B&D. Barbara told me that meant sado-masochism and bondage and discipline. The reason they wrote notes was because they were D&D – deaf and dumb. Uptown D&D means decorators and designers. Catherine and Philip got thrown out of the back room because they were laughing. Laughter doesn’t go with leather.

Andy Warhol, from Downtown in Andy Warhol’s Exposures [Arrow 1979]


“What if sexual difference is not simply a biological fact, but the Real of an antagonism that defines humanity, so that once sexual difference is abolished, a human being effectively becomes indistinguishable from a machine.”
Slavoj Zizek


AD-----BREAK----:

“For girls in control of their life . . . PAUSE . . . and their man! GLAMOUR – the album!”*

*{Inevitable enquiry:- what, therefore, can one ask, constitutes this summer’s soundtrack for girls whose lives are completely out of control?
Because that I would very much like to hear . . .}


Dr BETJEMAN’s Original South Coast Band

I walked into the night-club in the morning;
There was kummel on the handle of the door.
The ashtrays were unemptied,
The cleaning unattempted,
And a squashed tomato sandwich on the floor.

[…]

When Boris used to call in his Sedamca,
When Teddy took me down to his estate
When my nose excited passion,
When my clothes were in the fashion,
When my beaux were never cross if I was late.

There was sun enough for lazing upon beaches,
There was fun enough for far into the night.
But I’m dying now and done for,
What on earth was all the fun for?
For I’m old and ill and terrified and tight.

John Betjeman
Sun and Fun [Song Of A Night-Club Proprietress]
frm A FEW LATE CHRYSANTHEMUMS (1954)


IX NAY ON THE NIX ON PARALLELS. . .

Is it just me, or all of a sudden does it feel distinctly . . . 1973 around here?
{And just don’t say The Pill Box didn’t warn you about “peacetime” Iraq developing into a unmanageable bloodbath . . .}


CURRENTexts

Heidegger · Warhol · Larkin · Betjeman · Fanon ·

CURRENTunes

Joni Mitchell: The Hissing of Summer Lawns*
Colleen: everyone alive wants answers

*{ every day, all day, all of it, a haunting return}

Rousseau walks on trumpet paths
Safaris to the heart of all that jazz
Thru I bars and girders, thru wires and pipes
The mathematic circuits of the modern night. . .

In a low-cut blouse she brings the beer
Rousseau paints a jungle flower behind her ear. . .

The jungle line, the jungle line
SCREAMING thru a ritual of sound and time
Floating, drifting on the air-conditioned wind
Drooling for a taste of something smuggled in
. . .

posted by Ian 6/25/2003 01:02:00 AM

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