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posted by Ian 7/31/2003 03:19:00 AM

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I have neither offspring nor satellite television - which makes me pretty unique and or peculiar on the estate where I live {"that funny old git who talks to all the cats..."} - so I don't know how something like MTV works when it comes to the UBIQUITY effect of certain HIT records.

But when I was springGleaning last week, I came across, buried DEEP DEEP DEEPly away, two CD 45s, both from 1998: "Thank You" by Alanis Morissette; and "Save Tonight" by Eagle-Eye Cherry. Now, it hardly need be remarked that this is NOT yer everyday PILL BOX listening fare, e-zy or otherwise. But I popped them in/on just to see ... and I was further mystified. I've bought Summer Madness 45s before on the heard-once basis of thr great hooks - and I do still love 'em: NEW RADICALS [you get what you give], GARBAGE [milk], FUN LOVIN CRIMINALS [The Fun Lovin' Criminal]. But these two? All suspended snobbery aside, I still had to pull 'em off pronto, 'cos I JUST couldn't seehear WHY I would have ... and then I remembered.

1998. Road trip round ARIZONA.*
*{thanks Nicky. Where ARE you?}

Stopping every night at one more MOTEL. A state of suspended animation. Every night the Same: motel bedroom vacancy, disturbed sleep patterns, insomnia, Jack Daniels, ice machine, pad pad, and ... the endless loop of MTV. And everywhere I went/stopped that week or 10 days: Alanis Morissette and Eagle Eye Cherry on HEAVY ROTATION. I can still remember the Morissette video. "Controversial" (yeah, right) cos she stood naked in it while speeded up CITY LIFE Koyaanisqatsi'd around her. "Nude", rather, than naked, as some editing desk trick smooothed out her {euh, dont even go there} e-zones.
But they became like FRIENDLY FACES these blipverts. Like fellow strangers in a strange land. The hooks were EMBEDDED in my head.
As soon as I got back home to the UK I literally went straight out and bought them from OURPRICE.

And then ... lacking context, these ghosts swiftly faded.
I never played them again. Buried them deep like nuclear waste.

And - I promise - if I'd played them today and they'd sounded good I would've come clean to the fact. But they sounded ALIEN: dud, flat, barely there. The EE Cherry at least had a winsome hook of sorts, but the AM barely sounded like a "45" per se at all.

Could this be one of the reasons so many 45s whiz into the charts and straight back out again these days? The subliminal kiddology of MTV pulls all our Midwitch Children in to local OURPICE or micro VIRGIN stores - who, many of them ONLY NOW STOCK a limited selection of stuff, anyway - but then when the SPECTACLE effect wears off, you're left with something that, "musically", is like defrosted gunk or week old Wedding Cake.
{The idea that some of the S CLUB type records are specifically subliminally designed to suggest to kids that they are, in effect, BUYING THEIR OWN RECORDS ... a kind of perversion-of-punk or DIY-ethos Freudian wish-fulfillment schema? Who knows.}

On the other hand, I can remember 45s that I HEARD ONCE {no hype, no reviews, no knowledge} - and felt absolutely compelled, that instant, to rush out and POSSESS. Kate Bush: "Running Up The Hill" The aforementioned New Radicals. Massive Attack's first two 45s. Mary J Blige "Not Gon' Cry" ... oh, there are others {ADD YOUR OWN} but these examples POPped into my head first.

{There is the EXACT REVERSE syndrome of course. The NME SINGLE OF THE WEEK syndrome: where you read some HYPEALICIOUS orgasm in print about, I dunno, some sub Shed 7 or Frank & Walters bunch of no hopers ... and you buy it, against your better instinct and past experience, andyou get it home and play it and ONCE AGAIN, duped, perplexed, you think... IS THAT ALL THERE IS to an NME Single of The Week?}

KYL TRILL KULT [discontd]

By the by, pure malicious bitchiness here BUT ... caught a glimpse of the ikonoplastic KYLIE last night {on this bizarre ITV reality-doc about Oxford St/Selfridges} ... and, er, it wasn't so much that she was looking "rough" {we wouldnt stoop so low as to judge the pawgirl sisterhood by such standards OH no} but ... how can I put this? She was looking a bit Philip K Sick to me, a bit Terminator 3, a bit cyber-pixie pointed and peaky, a bit tacko Jacko, a bit as if ... the SURGERY is starting to SHOW THROUGH**. Sha-MON, bitch! Betta git yo' baaad self on Trisha talk about I FEEL LIKE MY FACE AIN'T MY OWN! Sha'moan motha fucker!

**{And if KLYIE's rottweiler lawyers are reading this: The preceding is mere mock malicious speculation which DOES NOT represent an assertion of FACT on the part of the Author, who died a couple of decades ago anyway. Someone else told it to him. A bigger boy. He told me if I didnt put it in my "stoopid library card nancy boy u said you'd kiss MEN rather than JORDAN you're a POOF then you are" blog he'd do things with a blackmarket firework to my cats. Honest.

posted by Ian 7/30/2003 01:15:00 PM

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Amidst all this talk of KYLIE and TOM JONES and withall the attendant - or not - IRONY, it just suddenly struck me with quite forceful clarity that I'm really not sure I know what "irony" means in this context; i.e., I don't think I've ever liked or loved anything "ironically", in fact, I wouldn't begin to know what that entailed.

Duke Ellington I think it was famously said: there's only two types of music - good or bad.
Which, whatever your opinion of such pre-pomo surety, what he didn't say was: "Oh, and a third category - stuff that you only deign to "love" between scare quotes becoz you're a pathetic trendy who's too scared of your own desires and/or your social standing to let laughter BURST free from you like a geyser or genuine pleasure to LIGHT up your face & body like a thousand suns ..."

No more than a kiss or a clasp or a tender gaze can be put between scare quotes.

Alvays coming and going, and going and coming ...
... and always too ironically.

- ---- +

Context and power and the contextual power of reiteration are involved here.

Power = the power of TV companies and ad agencies to lower the quality beam in the name of "irony", i.e., scrape the very bottom of the barrel of old movies we've got and shove the second On The Buses film out cos apparently "irony" is the "in" thing nowadays but HEY it saves US money better spent on innovation or difficult but terrifyingly sincere European movies so who cares who's gonna write a thesis on it?

Reiteration = Kylie's "Can't Get You Out of My Head" e.g., which - like Madonna's "Music" is a record I loved to hear on radio, video, jukebox, dancefloor, etc, but it never crossed my mind to ever to sit down and play it at home: I dont think that is what it is FOR. It's a record to FORGET ... and then, be ambushed by it at some later date, and FLASH! love it all over again, and then forget, and then ... Pop as Eternal [45 rpm] Return. Which, both records - but especially the insistent mecanik affirmation of "Can't" - surely enact, both lyrically and musically?

Context = ... well, here's two examples.
In the grey grey days of 1979, someone from the Scritti Collective [Simon Emmerson?] dragged me along to a drear, dank pub in Kings Cross {in 1979, ALL pubs were drear and dank*} for A Meeting in an upstair's room to discuss {I think} some kind of nascent Rock Against Sexism project. Simon E. was getting nervier and nervier, giving out with those fake 'guffaw guffaw' {are THEY "ironic"?} flopsweat type laughs which indicate something's way off-key WRONG and YOU haven't woken up to what it is yet.

And it was like: O-h really IAN, come ON! Look where we are! You're just being ... "ironic" right? The problem was, I'd drifted off into a lager-limned reverie and was distracted by, entranced by, and GENUINELY splutteringly thigh-slappingly LAUGHING OUT LOUD AT a Benny Hill show showing on the drear dank pub's TV set. It was, I think, this really silly but really clever Two Ronnies-meet-Jean Luc Godard thing involving clumsy malaprop cuts and edits and jumps (and the resultant linguistic mayhem) in a piece of faux old sophisticated film. I was crying with laughter. (A sure sign things AREN'T IRONIC.) This was deftly daft, delirious comedy: it really was.

I looked up to see all these stern, disapproving faces. And donkey jackets. (Really! Cliches don't become cliches without some basis in historical truth!}

I was banned from the upstairs meeting. (Another sure sign things have gone beyond "ironic".) So much for all the Kristeva and Irigaray quotes and the Meaghan Morris articles I had up my sleeve. Huh. Their loss.
{Ego? Moi?}

*{so, if in 2003, some brewery got a design team to help them bring out a chain of deliberately drear, dank 1979 "style" pubs - that's what we mean by "irony" nowadays, right? Or is it just Kapital doing what it always does? Hoping the market will respond to one more kink or flyer or permutation? Like, the fuckers could CARE LESS if it's "ironic" or "po mo," if the investors have big Fat Cat That Just Decapitated The Mouse smiles on their sweaty faces?}

That was 1979. We'all didn't know about IRONY back then, not like all ye young dudey whippersnappers with yer 100 Greatest Misogynist Cop Aw Only Kidding! Lists...

Which brings us to Example Two...

PM as in POMO and IP as in INDIE PORN...?

... and an e-mail I got from Paul Morley a few years back, in which he relayed the (to me, at least) VERY surprising news that he'd been talking to James Brown and Brown had been all like, "We Are Not Worthy' becoz apparently me and Paul and our early 80s NME putsch in re cocktails for tea/Erroll's Diary/fuck rockism & hooray for jouissance - Paul's yeeha for pure pop for unironic people, and my sneaky refs to weird sex and white lines, and both of our COMPLETELY UNIRONIC celebration of TV HEROES - yea, apparently all this has been one of the major influences on ... yep, the monster that became LOADED.

Well, pick all the "irony" you want out of that.

{The post-Loaded exercise of "tits oot for the lads" irony ... is a whole other piece. [Which I actually wrote, twice, round about 1996, if I remember correctly.] But let us just note the abject failure of C4's last (gasp) post-Loaded fling: the execrable Boys + Girls ...

+ ---- +

Glad to see that Mark-punk picked up on the sweet, sad, smart "This is a True Story" documentary.

I saw (and taped) it a few weeks ago when it was on at 7.30 on a Friday night and thought it was marvellous, literally, and v. haunting and strangely moving. {Good use of electronica lite musick, too.}

I don't know if C4's late night [re]scheduling of it directly after FARGO last night counts as some kind of intended "irony" ... I do know that I tried to [re]view Fargo itself again and gave up in ... I dunno: not even desperation or distaste or anything particularly tangible or concrete. I just didn't care. On any level.

Is It Just Me, Or - The Coen Brothers? are they the single most overrated unit/mythos in modern cinema or what? There are often moments of near-punctum pleasure provided by the cool actors they choose {eg, most notably, Jeff Bridges in The Big Lebowski}, but I have been consistently amazed by the gap between the near hysterical hype which greets each new Coen Bros product ... and how completely unmoved I am by it. And again, is it just me, or - do ALL their films always feel about 20 mins or half an hour too long? As if a series of mock endings have been tacked on or tried out because they just don't have the emotional depth or non-ironic balls to just straight-up opt for a truly convincingly resonant, human arc?}

Some kind of nadir, I think, was experienced, when I was dragged along to see the last [?] one, the b/w one, The Man Who ... whatever it was, I dunno, I forget, Smoked A Lot? The Man Who ... Forgot Which Particular Far Superior Noir Classic This Was Supposed To Be A Clever (IRONIC?) Pastiche Of?

Didn't that win some kind of major prize, too?
Now that's ironic.

NON IRONIC* Recommendation

BBC2 11:20 pm tonight:

*{Actually: subliminal & unstated "irony": I grew up, the first 15 years of my life, on R.A.F. bases ...

posted by Ian 7/29/2003 07:30:00 PM
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Now, THIS is just beyond belief - and I mean these here are meant to be the "Good" guys!, our "allies" in the Fight Against Evil!
Jeez! And the US wonders why people don't trust a single thing it says or does in the geopolitical stroke military intelligence sphere!

posted by Ian 7/29/2003 04:49:00 PM
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Didya ever wake up to find
A day that broke up your mind?
Destroyed yer notion
of c(i(r(c)u)l)ar time?

Did you ever wake up with a start from a dream {of self analysis} which seemed so true and telling and X RAY accurate that you wondered why to bother to continue putting one foot in front of the other?
And then but when you finally did ...

Did you ever wake up with some odd, quite disabling injury, and have no idea how it got there? I've woken up this morning with one of the toes (one adjacent to Big Ted) on my left foot all swollen and tetchy; I sure didn't kick anything in anger yesterday - not while I was awake, any rate. Maybe my anger is so deeply buried it only surfaces in REM states, where I get up in a Zombie haze (not that different from waking me, then) and go kick my neighbour's new car or something. (Long story.) (He used to be into rnb and jazz and House and long strange nights; now it's babies and waxing his car on Sunday and COMPLETE You Vill Not Play Za Muzik SILENCE. He freaked out and called COIL LIVE "your BLOODY STUPID music" the other day when he knew he was losing an argument with me. (Like shooting Big Brother contestants in a barrel.) So I've put a curse - quite mild one, don't worry - on him and all his descendants. Ordinary everyday sitcom type stuff.)
Anyway, my toe hurts.
And my soul, too.

Did you ever wake up and wonder why you were doing what you were doing and not doing something else? (OK OK, I know I've got a comparatively cushy soft machine life; I mean in a WIDER sense...)

Two things have been bugging me lately. Like:

i) Should I have gone to Art School in 1977? Instead of BLANKing off for that "year" off and ... well, the rest is History and REPEATS.
But should I have done - and now be doing - something visual? Was it what I was meant to do, in some THELEMIC sense, some cosmic Job Shop scheme of things? Why do I find drawing/painting so EASY and - proper, finished - writing so HARD? What would a shrink make of the fact that I more and more obsessively cover all my notebooks with this strange personalised half-doodle half Cy Twombly or Basquiat type code-scrawl? Thus obliterating or obscuring or OVER WRITING/riding the WRITING BENEATH it.
Putting it under erasure.
One more suspended gesture.
Or rather, one more course of ACTION suspended, half broached, gestured in the direction of but not completed.
I'll do it later.

ii) Why music writing not MUSIC ITSELF? This has been bugging me for a while - like, I've been searching for some turnaround Lacanian moment in my life When This Was Decided, but some of you other buggers Out There who also ply this shameful trade - it must have crossed your mind sometimes too, no? There must have been some moment when you were spending 1000s of words slagging off, I dunno, Paul Weller or someone, and then a little worm of doubt crept in, like, a) what kind of work is this for a grown man, and b) AT LEAST HE'S GOT THE BALLS TO DO IT, TO LIVE HIS DREAM. Even if I think his dream is the musical equivalent of polishing your car every Sunday. {O-H: always the sarcasm, always! Like - you with an empty bank account and him set up for life, like he really gives a shit!*}

I mean, this has been bugging me for a while now, being devils advocate to myself on bleak midnight hours, I mean, you can't help but think such thoughts when you're sent records to review that sound like 70 mins of unedited TV static or a 22 minute remix of stepping on a snail, y'know?
But what REALLY got to me was a comment by PHEW [intvwed by BIBA KOPF in the current WIRE]
She'd had an epiphany back at home in Japan, seeing some footage of the PISTOLS, so flew all the way to the UK in 1977 to see them.
Phew: "... and I realised this was not something you were supposed to watch, it was something you were supposed to do."
I just find that commment retrospectively devastating, I really do.

Although, fair dues, in my teens I was playing a guitar at the time, but I sat in my room playing 3 hour long would-be Fahey/Bailey type unlistenable deconstructions, with all types of open tunings and extravagant capo use and much frenzied use of an empty Colman's mustard jar. {And no, obsessive fanboys, NO ARCHIVES HAVE SURVIVED.}

Today, I'd probably have my own label and play at Viennese Arts Festivals with Lorren Mazzacane Connors and be hero worshipped by Kim n Thurston ... "God, there's this 15 year old kid in Nor-folk England?, he's amazin', does these home made cassetes where he's left the TV on in the background and he feeds his guitar thru this crappy Woolworths amp, and it's like Greil Marcus sez, this kid could be like, today's version of those old Blues guys... You can almost HEAR the flatness of Norfolk in his playing ..."

[... ALL THIS to be contd;
partly bcoz I can't read the other notes I've made/squiggled over this morning, well, I can read one, but I'm still half asleep and I've got LOADS of Poorly Paid Work to do and anyway besides, I dunno, fuck it, after what I've just said, starting a yak yak cross-blog "debate" about the relative deserving worth of KYLIE {vs eg Goldfrapp}, seems somehow deeply depressing to me today.

{* The odd thing is, though, THEY DO. They cling on resentfully to some passing insult you fired off as "criticism" in a speed-addled deadline rush way back in 1981, and you can't even recall saying it, but THEY REMEMBER IT WORD FOR WORD and it's BOTHERED THEM EVER SINCE, for all their money and success and jamming with Mac Rebenack and doing heroin with .... no, that's just gossip, can't put that in here. A law suit - oh, right, that's JUST what the Pill Box needs right now. Resources? You know the phrase "zero gravity" ... ?}

d WEEBosfeer

Loving the work of I Feel Love and {nu one on me, which hey, admittedly, isn't saying much} A Time For Fear at the moment. And whichever one of you Out There it was called me "Head Girl"?
As long as it's not meant as some childish lower sixth smutty innuendo then it's a badge I'll wear with pride. And strictness. Lots of strictness.

But can I also just say to Angus, tho (and whoever else it is uses the same blogger layout as I Feel Love} that none of the links or your contact spot or etc uh seem to work.

... oh, and to Angus and Mark re their current TOM JONES yak over the fence, here's a hyper link out of complete dark abyssal space: did you know that "WHAT'S NEW PUSSYCAT?" (I think this is common knowledge but I'll go on, don't go on, I'll go on anyway ... ) derived - so the whisssspery story goes - from WARREN BEATTY's then telephonic 'Hey ... Hon' "pick up" line?


Did you ever get that feeling where it's not even a matter of -

[ ...........]

- Girl, that doesn't even come close ..."*

{* on second thoughts, I decided this was WAY too personal, for now.}


So you wake up and go to let them in and one of the little rascals has INVADED POLAND in the night and left it on your Welcome Mat for you! Aaaaah! Who's dadikins cootsy wootsy lickle band of bored, blank eyed assassins and TORTURERS then?

LISTENING POST: Angus MacLise; Nine Inch Nails; Koko Taylor; Muddy Waters; Jackie Mittoo; The Impressions' "For Your Precious Love"; Carla Bozulich; Cat Power; Coil; Chet Baker ...

posted by Ian 7/29/2003 12:04:00 PM

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mass aPAWlogies to any/all Pill Box e-correspondents I haven't gotten back to recently: individually customised form letters {lettres informe} are being typed up as we speak by my perma overtime pale and nervy CTU department. {I'm sorry, but has ANYONE in the world had the otherworldly patience to stick with the totally risible and cynical 24 mk Two? Sure sign of something rushed out to capitalise on a superior mk One: relentless TELEPHONE EXPLICATION a la "-so?, you're telling me you think the trans flex file can only have been tampered with by someone with links to that guy we interrogated in episode two but forgot all about for ten cocaine fulled script conferences, Jack?" I just caught the end of the pre penultimate episode and THEY WERE STILL DOING THIS - at such a late date! So sad.}

... and all the Returns?: ian.pen@which.net

· Just TEXT "eternal return" if you think Ian lost the plot sometime around the Colleen review-by-poem;
· Just TEXT "l'informe" if you think Ian actually eloped with Georges Bataille back in Episode 11 and [t]his blog has actually been written by a secret sub cell committee within the Palmer administration ever since.
· Just TEXT "he need" if you're a Thora Birch-a-like with a "thang" for ferrety semi-Celtic pseudo-intellectuals covered in cat hair and forever searching for misplaced cheques, e mail addresses and embarrassing 8 year old drug paraphernalia he used as spur of the moment BOOK MARKS and then forgot all about ... which is one heck of a problem in a HOUSE OF BOOKS whose filing system broke down some time back around when folks still believed in the sincere promissary notes struck by Messrs Clinton and Blair ...

... and O-H the particularities peculiarities tics tracks sightlines the psychological underwear drawer of the terminal BIBLIOPHILE ...
always slipping such mnemonic reminders betwixt between the leaves of her en-tranced reading, so that the read text comes interwoven w/ marks of her own life, read into and out of the Other text, trying to make sense of loss and lack, trying to clutch some kinda BALANCE out of her reading jones reading as hi lo sensual act, do you remember honey, your NB, how did we manage to forget to X-change & com.pair BORGES notes, Borges of all people!, a blind man inside our roomful of mirror ... blinded by our paperfall of unread tears ...

... but i’m always losing all this stuff and then weeks or months or YEARS later fiding it inside books I was quoting to you at that time ...

this afternoon's springGlean
{deferred, of course, always deferral with me isn't it?}
it was:


Penguin p/b with a LOVELY cover {a detail – fire breathing DRAGON - from the chinoiseries at the Brighton Pavillion} a-n-d
feathers featehring the grey afternoon rain of its October detox pages:

· one cinema ticket: ICA: Derrida
· one cinema ticket: LFF: NFT 1 · DOOR 3 · Mon 13-Nov-2000 14:00 · F12: THE GLEANERS AND I
{and OH oh what a lovely film, OH what a madeleine for singular and singularly personal reasons ... never to be gleaned again;
· one parrot in a gilded cage, tu wit,


110 Whitfield St, Fitzrovia, WIP but don't look for it it's GONE all GONE now {the chef/proprietor had an awful car accident... and so, one more haunt this revenant cannot reconnect or penpoint ...};
· a-n-d, last but uncreased, OH howl, this so beautiful little polaroid, my sweet baby, my sweet sweet lil' baby


my first cat,
my sweetly sour baby,
my lil' buddha lady,
my amazon in fur,
more than a year gone now,
i love you still sweet baby,
rIP sweet princess
a lovely polaroid,
BeBop, eyes like alchemist's gold nuggets,
like angel's will,
a philosopher's cat,
the B’s whiskers,
sitting atop my reading table,
a bottle of mineral water, a
blue blue paper back
shortcut to Lacan, face down,
LACAN by Malcolm Bowie [Fontana Modern Masters]
{good book b/t/w, not only a
good "beginner’s guide" to the
jacques map, the map of lack,
lamplit map of our {tien} retrenchments of love,
our meconnaisances
and all
and behind her, shelves & shelves of books
I'd BURN to have her back in my lap,
b-u-t, anyway ...
this book, De Quincey, the bookmarked, opens
onto a past reading, too, to wit, tu ... {You

will think, perhaps, that I am too confidential
and communicative of my own private history.
It may be so. But my way of writing is rather
to think aloud and follow my own humours,
than much to consider who is listening to me; and,
if I stop to consider what is proper to be said to
this or that person, I shall soon come to doubt ....
whether any part at all is proper."
[TDQ, pp 97]

{WORDS TO blog BY!}

And talking of bibliophilia ... - any MARC BEHM fans out there?
Yesterday, for 99p, I picked up a book of his I didn't even know existed, a companiion text to the epochal Eye of The Beholder, called AFRAID TO DEATH. Trouble is, Eye of The Beholder being such a cornerstone in my biblio mythology, I'm almost frightened to open this "new" one in case of disappointment ...
Also for 99p, I took a flyer why not on a really interesting looking p/back called WORD MADE FLESH by one Jack O'Connell. Anyone know anything about this/him?

oh heck by Mercury, 2:17...18 am.

Time really is out of joint.

posted by Ian 7/27/2003 02:31:00 AM

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