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{Saturday}

 
BIG POST ERROR

AGAIN????

Oh I can't fucking believe this.

Do you know how many hours I have just lost?
Days of work, hours of corrections, etc.

Well, friends, it looks to me as though this may be the end of the line for the Pill Box, or at least the BLOGGER-based PB. I think I'm going to shop around for a new host, because this is just bollocks, and I'm not an even tempered man at the best of times and this "new improved" Blogger is just sending me round the fucking bend ... and I just don't need the hassle.

It appears that it can only handle so much text - handy bite size chunks. Why this should be so I don't know: I never had PROBLEM ONE with the old set-up: not a single problem, no matter how unwieldy the text was. Well, I don't and can't write in handy bite sized chunks - not for myself, not for people who employ me, and goddamned for sure NOT for a fucking anonymous computer set up. The question begs: how the fuck are you supposed to KNOW how much is too much? Like: this much is fine, but a few words over and you're fucked? It feels like having some martinet of a headmaster or editor peering over your shoulder.

I just don't write like that and if this is how it's going to be - fiddling around with word counts and edited versions and ten seperate posts to get something published where it only took one before then sod it, I'm off.

Of course if I have it all wrong and it's something I'm doing wrong then someone please tell me. I did wonder if it might be this clapped out old Mac as well; but then it does seem awfully odd that for nearly three months rain and shine, one liner to sprawling essay, I had, as I say, not a SINGLE hiccough with the 'old' system. And that now - and I'm not doing ANYTHING different - I can't get started with this new, overhauled, Google-led "improvement".

It looks to me as if the "improvement" is specifically designed to stop people from writing anything more than blips of passing trivia, but then maybe that's jsut me and my conspriacy minded bent playing up again.

Au revoir, for now,

I.P.


posted by Ian 6/28/2003 01:28:00 PM
(0) comments
 
So I thought: REM can't always have been this bad, this polite, this paint drying: surely?

R.E.M.
{Michael Stipe is on the cover of the Radio Times now, this week}
Do people still – well, I don’t know. I never knew with R.E.M. For me they've always been the equivalent of one of those programmes you never tuned in to, that never clicked, that from a distance even, seemed too nice. Or too full of itself. Or something. (Dawson’s Creek. I mean – get out of here! The guy looks about 53! You might as well cast Michael Stipe as a peachy teenager!)
No, R.E.M – pleasant enough now and then, but I could never understand the adulation, the worship, the 5 page interviews. WHY?

But there’s always a song, or a moment.

GREEN: three or four songs there I love.

WOW. "Orange Crush" and "Turn You Inside Out". THAT's the spirit: that's what's needed here tonight (and tomorrow and tomorrow and ...)

And I’d forgotten how much till I played them the other morning. Three entirely different songs - three entirely different emotional tones - three entirely different emotional reactions. (As opposed to the – and correct me here if I’m wrong because like I say, I’m not a fan – but the loooong worthy blur of sameness that the past decade and a half or so seems at least from the outside to have been . . .)

hello
i know you
i knew you
i think i can remember your name
hello
im sorry
i lost myself
i think i thought i was someone else
hello
my friend
are you visible today
you know i never knew it to be so strange

SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT THE WEATHER?
SHOULD WE TALK ABOUT THE GOVERNMENT?

I don’t know – like I say I'm not fan – but isn't GREEN so vital because it was kind of a CUSP moment. On the cover photo Stipe stilll looks all spotty and geeky and has that awful hayseed rawk fan quasi mullett he always sported in the early days before he went all semi-OUT and squiring-Courtney and obtusely fashionable and hidden filofax. (Which image I actually like and prefer: I LIKE him as a public figure. I’m glad he’s there.)

hello
i’m sorry
i lost myself
hello
i’m sorry
i think i thought you were someone else

REM before they lost the grease + gravel + grumble. When Stipe still looked like a contestant on East German Big Brother. That brief dust-devil subterranean homesick unslick moment when e/t Stipe touched turned to an odd kind of mall-angel poetry – that brief teletype pre- cowboy hat moment between the 2-folky-rocky-strummy beginnng and the endless plains of Hollandaissey 2-ezy worthiness they seem to have inhabited forever and a Q ***-star review.

All georgia sun yellow and seasick green and Reagan blue.

Orange Crush, Turn You Inside Out: where did the ache behind such songs go?

But the one that really got me, the one that surprised me, the one that ... is this a tear I feel sliding ... ?

"Hairshirt".
Play now. Quote lyrics in full.

"I am not the type of dog ..." to "- IT'S A BEAUTIFUL LIFE."

Oh, my.

+ ---- -

Should we talk about the government ...

What is this “sexed up” business, which is reiterated constantly now in relation to the see-thru documents? Doesn’t it very much suit the government, this slinky phrase? It sends off sparks – but the wrong ones. Couldn’t we say SCUMMED up? Or PUMPED up? OR SLICKed up? Or ‘delicately venalised?’ Or SOMETHING which reflected what was REALLY going on here?

I just cannot listen to any of the debates or exchanges or Question Time outs any more, because it doesn't matter if the mouth is from left or right or nowhere much at all but a nice balanced nowhere man middle, EVERYONE feels as if they are duty bound to preface any slight oh my gosh niggly criticism with the disclaimer that YES YES we know, the Iraqi people no longer live under this murderous tyranny yadda yadda. And YES: this is nice, this is good, this is proper, this is decent.

But the idea that America would launch a war, sacrifice its young troops, risk a Vietnam - a 24 hour rolling omni-tech TV war - etc, etc, in order to make life better for the ungrateful peasant population of a Middle East despotism is, we know, frankly risible and patently not the case. The WMDs likewise look like [you’ll forgive the figure] a smokescreen; in fact, it may well be the OPPOSITE case that is true: that the US only risked this venture knowing, as they almost certainly did, that Iraq was a MINIMUM risk opponent, that this would be a war against a weak country, a despoiled country, a country with NO hyper-tech weapons.

Who benefits? There are MASSIVE benefits: it is a convenient BIG-UP for Bush’s upcoming [re] election; it is a convenient sidetrack from the relative failure of Afghanistan, and the failure to pin down Bin Laden; it is a convenient way of flooding the military complex with a huge hike in BUDGET – which also benefit’s Bush’s election campaign, because his backers either dwell inthat shaodwy sector or will anyway benefit somewhere down the line. A convenient way, too, of stitching up the USA with swingeing new SECURITY measures [just as was the DRUG WAR so-called before it].

And these are just the off-the-top-of-my-head reflections of a non-expert; you can be sure that far more sub rosa tactical gains were expounded by Bush’s advisers before any step was taken.


posted by Ian 6/28/2003 12:08:00 PM
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OK. 10 Messidor. Let's try this again.
Now that I've calmed down.
POST
OK, I will try. . .

OUTSIDE is stars and cats and the seeds of runner beans and pollen bastard
pollen
a merry dance
like a comet with pepper pots
dancing in its tail
and inside oh jesus
INSIDE
will you just look at this

Glastonbury: {which I blurrily scan and murmur inwardly 'an old,
o-l-d
tolling sound we all should bury ...'}
on TV last night, in the slot normally occupied by Jools bastard
Holland {and the only fault I can find with Avid Merriam and Bo Selecta is that he hasn't done a Holland yet - perhaps, the thought springs to mind, a Holland who instead of being all creepily nice to each and every musician on the planet, like some 70s LA groupie, spits contempt and envy and loathing at them - 'And who have we got on the show tonight? OH SHITE! Not fookin Craig fookin' David again? Yer no talent chancer - I thought I loved the sound of me own voice but you - you yer bastard self promotin' networking cooont! I'd imagine that out of "seven days" all yer'd hav left for oother people after yer'd taken out tossin yerself off before a mirror would be half a bastard hour on Tuesday afternooon...' Etc.} {oh but I just have to say: I literally haven't laughed so much, or so loud, as I did last night at the BO SELECTA "Trisha" stopping "members of the public" in broadest patois and doing her "good deed" spiel} as I say vacated by the endless plain of Holland but the spirit of enforced CHUMMINESS and DON'T PANIC WE'RE YOUR MATES! lives on, in all the utterly utterly de trop inbetween song banter and mumble and has there ever been less on air chemistry between two presenters than between John Peel {who I fundamentally have always liked and approved of, on radio, but who on occasions like this scurries mouse-like behind a mask of self deprecating hyper beardy real ale "normality" which does nobody any favours, this is TELEVISION, John, not a snug in a country pub} and Jo Whiley, who, maybe she's actually the ANTI CHRIST, not Holland, becoz she likewise just seems to approve of anything everything IF ITS MUSIC and she'd like us to think she's all down with it and so barefoot fonky and free but she's like some clockwork Japanese doll whose face lights up and head nods at the mere mention of a guitar band good or bad or indifferent she is in the job of SELLING like everyone else these days, here, SELLING the MYTH that THINGS ARE GROOVY, we're all having a GROOVY GROOVY time ...

which brings us to

THE SOUND OF YOUNG 2003

{for girls who're in control of their 2nd year social science degree
AND their whacky t shirted boyfriends!}

this is the SOUND of the underground 2003:

David Gray, Morcheeba, someone else SO dull it only took me five minutes to forget their name, REM’s dullest non-hits (a banjo, a prim piano solo and non-tune just like every non-tune since something like What's The Frequency Kenneth where you can remember the Stipe-franked title but NOTHING about the song and it's one thing for ME to give up and go back to me Blanchot or cat-therapy manual but Stipe himself started to try and dance and then as if in doom looked at the middle aged watercolorist behind the piano and just GAVE UP, shrugged and GAVE UP, as if, 'Even I'm not kidding myself here, this is about as PARTY DOWN a music as Tipper Gore's Greatest Hits} and Primal Scream* doing the clapalonga variety turn of "Loaded" revisited like it was Hello Hello! Good 2 Be Back! or some old chancer doing "My Way" or some Old Git juggling pigeons on The Good Old Days - which, is essentially, what Glastonburied 2003 is: The Good Ole Days.

Which is essentially what it - and Whiley and Peel and Holland - all represent - music not as ongoing process, monumental surprise, worry, Blanchot's "interruption of the incessant", but... a nice home cooked meal. A WELCOME mat. A big hug: don't WORRY! Music as something whose history has ENDED, reached its point, its home, its destiny.

Yes this is serious shit.
Jools Holland = the Absolute Spirit of music in 2003.
{And, hang on, doesn't that HONOUR from Buckingham Palace make you wonder about, uh, conspiracies uh-an' an' an' ... LIZARD people and secret handshakes an' ...}

Is this REALLY the ‘counterculture’ in 2003? Only if the counter is in Virgin obviously… {Everything you need in one place: mobile phone, train ticket, credit card, copy of HEAT, David Gray CD ...}

Then again maybe its just me - because I have NEVER understood the concpet of seeing music in a big muddy field. I mean - someone explain to me. Why would anyone want to see Suede in broad daylight in a field? In any year? Even {or especially!} if you still liked Suede. (Although I had to say it looked an uncommonly depressing sight - a sweaty Brettny trying to goad an unshocked unrocked stock still crowd (you could almost hear the mass murmur 'Didn't they used to be the Next Big Thing once?') Brettny all in eldritch black w/ with his faux cockney yodel going YER! COME ON! while a load of people in whacky post-Surfer Ts look for the nearest cider seller and stare at Suede as if they were someone way down the bill from the man who juggles pigeons, which, in effect, they are, I mean, Suede in a field in broad daylight, why, why would ... jeez. This is all about as radical as a George Bush speech.

*{It pains me to say it and I say it thru gritted teeth but Primal Scream actually came the nearest to FLIGHT take-off protest punch with a tight transformed "Swastika Eyes" which took on a POINT performed live and anthemic and kudos at least to Bobby G who - even if he still looks like the biggest twit on the planet at least TRIED to get some Jim Morrison type action going, except, problem, when he tries to improvise something "spontaneous" you can literally see the cogs moving painfully slowly behind the faux stoned eyes so that I don't think even Bobby (late thirties, married, kid) even knows the difference anymore between "real" Bobby and The Mask of Bobby {"C'mon bay-bee! C'mon bay-bee. . ." he kept ejaculating, as if it were some Golden Dawn formula which would turn Glasto 2003 into Altamont.

"C'mon bay-bee. . . Take yer DRESS off! Ah'm {WARNING! WARNING! Cringe making Bobby Moment coming!} gonna FUCK ya!"
Well, it's not exactly a 20 minute "The End" or the MC5 jamming with Sun Ra or Iggy covered in the blood of his own existential sadness and wrath and want, but it's what passes for WOW factor 25 in the muddy chummy beery blurry UK unter ground in 2003. . .

The only problem is, Bobby is so praying mantis stick thin, that he looks as if a real good fuck from a real bad woman could snap him in three like dry wood on a dry plain in a dry season . . . which is, really, what this was: a heap of dry dry dry stony nothingness, waiting for the sparks thrown off by some bad KALI, fucking with music's head.
Suggestions on a post card to:

Jools Oliver Hollington OOOB B-E-z
Later With That Innovative Shit Daddy-o
British Bumkissing Corporation
Londinium
Oh Oh Oh

- ---- +

{OK. OK. Blogger seems to be working a lot better this morning. But I'm still holding my breath. I lost two hours and quite a bit of work last night... and yes, I was stone cold sober, actually.}


posted by Ian 6/28/2003 11:00:00 AM

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{Friday}

 
It has always been my experience that any time there is a GOOD thing,
something sweet and simple and good, someone always comes along - usually someone from big business or bureacracy - and says Hey! Let's IMPROVE this!
And you know what?
They nearly always F*CK IT UP.

Well, thanks, Blogger, my first go-around on the "new, improved" Blogger tonight consumed two hours of my time in a hell's mouth of cul de sacs and complications and inpenetrable system knots.

It won't publish - it will publish - it won't - it takes hours and hours to go nowhere - it makes no consistent sense - and this is EXACTLY what happened when I tried to start a seperate blog for longer things which I GAVE UP in a flurry of foul curses because it was so irritating and complicated and back and forth and the exact opposite of the ease and choice afforded by the original Blogger palette.

So I pray this isn't the (cursing, hyperventilating, fuck this) shape of hours to come with these "improvements" that let us note NO ONE ASKED FOR.

OK.
Try. Fail. Fail better.
SWEAR A LOT HIT COMPUTER CURSE CAPITALISM.
Try again.

9 Messidor // free fall . . .

Improvisation*

walter benjamin lays out the tarot cards on the library table before him and one of the cards reminds him of a whore who serviced him once in a backstreet in marseilles he sees her bend in a series of Muybridge frames a jerky stop-go motion / / / he starts to unzipper his trousers but his eye is caught by the scarlet glint of her dress what are those sequins? they look like individual drops of blood on slides that ctach the moons light and in her hair a clip it is a mermaid the moons claw in the obligatory basin of water by the bed she is a siren he is a ulysses of waiting of this melancholy hour of small things a ulysess of stirred dust and the other side of official stamps and at times like this entering the woman her moon full rump he cannot but think of all the other beings on earth at this precise instant also fucking back forth back forth fort da fort da ah oui faire l'amour faire l’amour tu est tres what is it Georges B says our fucking is a piston which keeps the earth turning well maybe the moon is a collective hallucination a mirror of all the upturned eyes at the moment of furthest deepest highest crisis in rooms ah like this oh rooms like postage stamps franked to go … OH NOwhere.
Sweet anonymous I-lost nowhere.
Nowhere but in and back out again.
Le petit morte indeed.

{* inspired by the thought that the actual historical experience of being Walter Benjamin was let us not forget as much to do with backstreet sex and veiled afternoons of drug states and shivery day returns into the mystic as the uptight solitary text-only creature he is sometimes now somehow portrayed as in endless hackademic revisions ...

- ---- +

2003 – STDs
18th C; Boswell: “that distemper with which Venus, when cross, takes it into her head to plague her votaries.”
Synthesis: DVPVs. [?]

DREAMS THEY COMPLICATE MY LIFE

“During his first three years at the University when he was studying languages, Boswell was evidently happy and progressed very well. However, in the autumn of 1756, when he started to study metaphysics, he fell victim to what he later described as a “terrible hypocondria”.

{My italics. · frm Boswell's Edinburgh Journals 1767 - 1786 · Hugh M. Milne [Mercat Press 2003]

posted by Ian 6/27/2003 09:10:00 PM

(0) comments

{Wednesday}

 
THE WIND IN THE WMDs

Is it my hey!-fevered imagination, or does Kenneth Grahame, in the following pages, anticipate Alastair Campbell et al by some 95 years?

"
The Mole had long wanted to make the acquaintance of the Badger. He seemed, by all accounts, to be such an important personage and, though rarely visible, to make his unseen influence felt by everybody about the place. But whenever the Mole mentioned his wish to the Water Rat he always found himself put off. "It's all right," the Rat would say. "Badger'll turn up some day or other - he's always turning up - and then I'll introduce you. The best of fellows! But you must not only take him as you find him, but when you find him."

"Couldn't you ask him here - dinner or something?" said the Mole.
"He wouldn't come," replied the Rat simply. "Badger hates Society, and invitations, and dinner, and all that sort of thing."

"Well, then, supposing we go and call on him?" suggested the Mole.
"O, I'm sure he wouldn't like that at all," said the Rat, quite alarmed. "He's so very shy, he'd be sure to be offended. I've never even ventured to call on him at his own home myself, though I know him so well. Besides, we can't. It's quite out of the question, because he lives in the very middle of the Wild Wood."

"Well, supposing he does," said the Mole. "You told me the Wild Wood was all right, you know."

"O, I know, I know, so it is," replied the Rat evasively. "But I think we won't go there just now. Not just yet. It's a long way, and he wouldn't be at home at this time of year anyhow, and he'll be coming along some day, if you'll wait quietly."

The Mole had to be content with this.
"

I think he captures that "evasive" / patronising Ten Downing St tone JUST so, don't you? Like, I know, I know, you want proof, but it's SUCH a long way away and these Iraqis are SO odd and the sand wouldn't be the right consistency for digging at just THIS time of year and Blixy the Badgerer didn't have the right sort of boat ANYHOW, children, and - come, come! - matron knows best! - the evidence will just "be coming along some day, if you'll wait quietly ..."

- ---- +

poem for COLLEEN

if jean jacques rousseau were alive today i
see him i think i do walking out in a leafy
conservation area ( will you look at those
geese under the bridge and oh but the lillies
there ) or maybe on a globalisation protest
lost in nervy transcendent bliss ( I do not
think, I do not reason
... ) listening to
everyone alive wants answers on his Discman as
he floats off and collapses inside her looped
life her brief sunrise sunset pontilism not
like dead bouys on a grey bedroom P-sea but
helix leaves that sparkle as they die and lift
us as they fall and greens scarlets whites her
cloud sharp sound makes me think of lost sun
days a pool its ripple our tremble and hear we
could be listening to the lost tapes of the
soundtrack to what happened when echo and
narcissus secretly got back together again
and spent an early autumn together in d…appled
early afternoon FUN andtheyhear a childs voice
from the future (theirs?) and someone lost
from a grave past but this afternoon stillness
speaks and sometimes barely more than is more
than just enough your heart on her sleeve when
you’re so giddy in a gooey silent gaze together
you don’t notice the old record is
stuck in the corner ((over the years it’s
played residents ships a goin down coil a
limnal hymn emmylou harris red dirt girl and
big star’s femme fatale)) and then i said
listen to this and she laughed as the so
familiar velvets intro veinous riff unruffled
like a butterfly in a field of poppies and i
say to you as i said to my imaginary & solemn
other i like her looped signatures colleen i
could come to love her gentle s…way with loops
because unlike all those dull boys who sound
like they are all unwinding lengths of echo-
muzik from the same secret basement tap in
berlin with her it feels rather you’re
entering a MAZE with a nouvelle alice and kid-
a en train it has a heart somehow as well as
all her lonely chattering harps like
canoodling storks and see how i didn’t use the
word sublime once there! ( and ) and like bob
dylan once said ((you can see him smile as he
says it if you listen close enough and you
should always listen close enough)) if you’ve
ever laid together with someone and felt your
bloodrush cohere into ONE HEARTBEAT then you’re
lucky cos that’s true love m’boy )( and
everyone still alive in the orphic heart of
things should hear all the heartbeats inside
colleen’s first 39 minutes 49 seconds call it
forty even fall in to her full moon collage
colleen is someone who knows how to listen in
ways everyone alive should listen come close
closer still to everyone alive wants answers
which i suspect is the sound behind eurydice’s
i . . . . . even now.

colleen · everyone alive wants answers · LEAF cd

{I.P. / 5 Messidor // a garden in northlondon}


posted by Ian 6/25/2003 12:32:00 PM
(0) comments
 
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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