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"The pleasure is to play / Makes no difference what you say..."

{{Talking of which [see below], I just remembered: Friday night, BBC2, documentary about Motorhead; and the late Tommy Vance rounds up proceedings by declaiming that "Ace of Spades" by Motorhead and "Paranoid" by Black Sabbath are "ICON tracks" ... which, you know, I'm not gonna pretend I don't know what he means, but that still doesn't make it anything but gibberish ...

Or, as The Ghost of Walter Benjamin whispers in my ear: what strange paradoxical register has therefore replaced the notion of the irretrievable irreplaceable "aura"? If the mechanically > now virtually engineered and repeated and re-presented "copy" is called believed worshiped (as) "icon/iconic", then ...? There is no longer any lag, any meditative differance, any temporal hierarchy whatsoever: a 70s porn star's moustache or the newly minted Chantelle from Celebrity Big Brother are both "icons"...
...CLICK on anything, say it is so, and it is ... the whole world now a Kapitalist arcade stuffed full of artfully arranged "icons". {Anything can be retrieved - as 'spectre' - anything re-installed; altho off the top of my lazy head, it strikes me that it is in the main still Woman who - qua Derrida in Spurs/Eperons - is installed as veiling-unveiling paragon or parergon of (subtle - i.e. lying ! - unstable) "Truth": she who dresses up as Princess Leia or a1940s-50s go-go dancer (the word "burlesque" here merits further attention over a second martini, I think....), she who pitches or parodies her suspended status as "inimitable" loved One/lover as an endless series of ICONIC others. ICONIC here seems to be a taking off (both senses? three senses if you include criminal sense of taking off after taking down e.g. a big score... ) and putting back on again of fancy under-duds. Not that I'm objecting, mind you - not all the way, all the time; like any other Pynchon fan, I have my fetishes: but the point here (saturation?, vanishing?) would be the same as with ICON: what happens when what was formerly private and sacred and secret and a recess of twisted idomatic worship - icon/fetish - becomes the GIVEN for a lot of public discourse?
{Let me go graze thru my warped and scratched upon copy of GLAS ...}

So what is this other lack we are haunted by? There's proably a pithy Lacanian formula somewhere: 'once Everything becomes available, then Nothing regains its allure'... ?

The nothing/no-where/nostalgia we are haunted by = a time when we couldn't crook and click our fore finger and get anything we wanted any time we wanted (and then throw it away)? A time when there were rules, restraints, when there was ... religion? When icons were icons?
And we would never see their un-double face? But could therefore believe all the more in its potency? In something that would never become trash, never be re issued in a new form, never stop being a world without time and uncannily ever after ... ?}}

posted by Ian 1/31/2006 06:53:00 PM
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THIS at KPunk for some reason made me think that there might actually be something worth writing about the invasion of the inappropriate "icon / iconic" (see Pill Boxes, passim); years ago I suggested this phantasmic criminal scheme to my friend C. : that we round up all the no longer wanted VHS movies (there must be landfill site sized warehouses FULL of em) and export them to Russia, in exchange for beautiful old genuine IKONS. Walter Benjamin interjects fox like here to declaim on KAPITAL as a religion, which is the KEY to this particular Aladdin's cave methunk....

+ | -

P.S.} I wrote the above before rematerializing at/reading the latest hauntology post over here, including this: " ... through the perspective of one of the key features of capitalism, namely the permanent production of the piles of leftover waste. The obverse of the incessant capitalist drive to produce newer and newer objects are thus the growing piles of useless waste, piled mountains of used cars, computers, etc., like the famous airplane "resting place" in the Mojave desert - in these ever-growing piles of inert, disfunctional 'stuff', which cannot but strike us with their useless, inert presence, one can, as it were, perceive the capitalist drive at rest ..."

posted by Ian 1/31/2006 06:27:00 PM
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Bugs would be good fun in bed, he said, don’t you think?
That made her laugh and they were friends then. He’d made her laugh one big balloon laugh and that meant they were friends.
Her birthday he gave her a gift of the bluest bowl she thought she’d ever see (he had to have stolen it, no way could he afford something like that) and in the deep ocean of the bowl he’d scattered it seemed like a million different plus different coloured dice.

Dice was a word she liked because it had the same name many as it did one alone all by itself. (And there was no harm whatsoever thinking this, not knowing she was in fact wrong, because her wrong to her was right and made her think more about words than the kinda smug people who would have sniffily corrected her on the matter.)

The same going as coming back again, she said, putting inky hand over a mouth already turning to grin, and then it was his turn to laugh, so he laughed, and in her heart she thought: we’re going to get married some Saturday afternoon all Tesco pink champagne giggles and Urban Decay bitten fingernails contrasting with the fly away fly net dress.
And she started to laugh because she was trying to think of a marriage, but not two people not
a vicar and two people and two rings, but two laughs getting married. What would a laugh look like? It would be like a balloon filled with chocolate milk dropped from the top of a multi storey car park. The two laughs hold crazy putty hands now and when they come in they are separate and solemn and sober (if hungover), and when they walk back down the aisle they are together, one but two, two gathered into a kind of one, smile now, smile, the kind of smile that might make you hiccup out little tears, but the good kind not the bad kind, cut the crust off tears not paper cut tears, o Mister and Missus Laughter, do you take this joke to be your unlawful weed-head skive, and when they leave the church they’re the same but different, not the same going as when they came in, not the same at all and THAT IS GOOD.

On the family TV a voice saying: "a catclysm of fear... inquisition ... torture and fear."

History inside a tear but not of laughter. Paste jewels and open toilets. Babies with bayonets for heads. History inside the head of a heretic or a priest taking confession from a divorced laugh, tears running down her ashy dress.

Mr TV?
"While the lovers entwine a day of hell descends on the village of M. ..."

She was not a hypocrite.

She wanted them to stay together because not too many people stayed married these days it seemed, her friend Zoey’s Mums kept this cake hidden in the back of one of her kitchen cupboards, all wrapped up in old dinosaur foil, but that wasn’t the saddest thing, the saddest thing was now there was one just one bit missing, one slice gaping, and when Zo looked at the cake, when she showed it to her and said Look at this, my mums is SUCH a saddo head case, that was even sadder than the cake. Zo wanted to take it and throw it in the canal but Onny told her no and she agreed too quickly so that O knew she’d never really wanted to throw it in the rusty water, it was just one of those moments when you need to say the thing that you think … whatever. Zoey missed her dad and was frosty with her mums and she put all the blame on her mums. When O asked her for “da troof the ho’ troof " it made Zo laugh, but it was also obvious she didn’t really know what the whole story was; or, she knew most of what had happened, but not why.
The perennial reply: when you’re older you’ll understand.

The number of times she’d been told that and mostly it seemed 9 out of 10 about bad stuff.
Understand what? Bayonets and hoof beats? But - and then?
Zo had this idea that there’d be a day in the future, like judgement day, when all this ECK stuff would finally be HECKSPLANE … and all our heads would, what?, be like a fly's head hit with a rolled up newspaper but instead our hearts squashed with a rolled up thing of all our days gone by. On Eastenders and Neighbours whole lives roll by in a day or two. People are a drug addict commiting suicide on Monday and they're well again on Tuesday. Bayonets made of sausage. A bomb hatch opens and out drop 100s of fly swatters. A big grey fly's eye. Crazy putty monsters. Thousand year old wedding cake. RAPunzel, RAPunzel...

And now Zo's mums did this mad shit every morning where she did what did she call it she "CHAN TED" and from the other room her and Zo stifled their laffs till they cried out their noses because she sounded like a bagwoman or the racing commentary old Greek and West Indian men listened to from three rooms away but it didn't seem to take Zo's mum's spitty sweary goblin aaangry face away when she'd had a can of cider or two too many of a night, she didn't chant then like the sound the canal makes under the graffit'd bridge, she just talked about Zo's ex dad and all the cunts he was and all the cunts he had and all the cunting hell he could go to.

Somehow Zo's Mums and her mad chan...ting got mixed up one morning with a silly advert on Mister TV where a cartoon character says "READ MY BUM" and Zo and her thought they'd DIE from laughing each time it got funnier and funnier, cos they started to chant it instead themselves: readmybumreadmybumreadmybum

When she had a cider or lager or bluebottle too many anyone she likes she wants to hug.
That’s all: just hug.
Is that so bad?
Her special shrink said something about “boundaries” she sort of got but didn’t really or completely.
Sometimes in one of the sunbeam days it was like everything was new and the weirdest thing could set her off in a fit of hthe read-my-bum giggles. The last one she could remember was someone - she and Zo were at the bus stop near the gym and this old man and woman probably married for like a THOUSAND years, she turned to him (she had a wart with hair coming out near her top lip) and she says “Oh you - you really know how to get my goat!” all proper angry and she and Zo were off.
“I’ll get me goat…”

Mister TV whispering: The village priest is seeing all the little girls in the village. (A blush spreads across her face like a heavy blanket over eidelweiss.) The priest takes her virginity. 98 cases of heresy: case by case, house by house, soul by soul, he will tear apart the hidden web. Heretical ideas about sex about God about confession.

Some of them lived on mountains and one was called the Pyrenees and she loved the name of this one flower, there where the mountain goats jump. But goats were lovely to start with: the expression on their sweet little grand dad faces. Sweet, right, but goats were tha bomb because how they’d just take it into their sweet little kids book heads to BUTT yer bum just like that! Get out my GOAT place! This is GOAT space, geezer! One minute just choo choo choo their grass like a fat slag's bum cheeks in 2 tight jeans and then BOSH no warning BOSH. She'd seen it happen on a school trip to Jeremy Zizzle the mongy kid whose jumper always smelled of old cooking fat. No Fronting It with goats. They hid their next move. She didn't like the waste of every one's time that was fronting. Do it or don't, you know? Most rappers she thought a big big PAIN she didn’t like because they were ALL FRONT and nothing else. They were like 10 year old boys making believe. She hated their "tough" faces they squinted at the cameras. Why'd they have to act so pretend mean? Bad. But some rappers she liked, when they dropped the eff-with-you mask sometimes with certain songs certain rappers it was like they were getting near to the Secret Song she carried in her head behind her eyes. Every now and then someone who brought the SUN back in again and made words feel like putty or floss, like when you were still a kid you’d sometimes get that whirlpool thing where it would suddenly seem silly to you WHY was THIS thing given THIS particular name?
Why does this hard wooden thing sitting there got anything to do with chair - chair ... chair ... chair chair chair ...
C H A I R?
What in earth did THAT have to do with ...bluddy-duh-bluh-buh.
"Kill them All - and let God decide," said Mister TV.

posted by Ian 1/31/2006 05:43:00 PM
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{{Talk about being haunted by something... all this time, and it only just registered with me that "Penn" - as in the recently deceased Chris - is a bit or bite or morsel or echo of my own name, and in fact several friends down the years have called me "Pen" ... and me who began training to be a Lacanian analyst, I dunno. You can look at a word + say it for years and still not hear all the chains gnashing & engaging & circling round inside it...}}

posted by Ian 1/31/2006 05:33:00 PM

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posted by Ian 1/30/2006 11:02:00 AM
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posted by Ian 1/30/2006 11:01:00 AM
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posted by Ian 1/30/2006 11:00:00 AM
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posted by Ian 1/30/2006 10:59:00 AM

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Aw no: another one of the good guys dead. CHRIS PENN. Dead at forty. Found dead, alone, at home. I don't know why but this one has hit me like a truck. Maybe cos Penn was one of the few contemporary equivalents of that Harry Dean Stanton/Warren Oates quiet- unpretty- guy supporting-Joe claque I so loved. Maybe because his performance in Abel Ferrara's The Funeral has been in my all-time Top Ten since the night I saw it. Not fucking right: just not fucking right.

posted by Ian 1/25/2006 08:03:00 PM
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(( Just saw this while browsing through this week's Guardian Guide; it's from a preview of a Channel 4 programme, Monday 23:

"In 1979, when 16-year-old Brenda Spencer of suburbia was asked why she killed two men and injured eight children, her chilling (now iconic) reply was: 'I don't like Mondays'."

I'll repeat that: "... her chilling (now I C O N I C) reply ..."

Now, what I find chilling, mateys, is that a "reply" can now be considered ... yes yes.
Maybe I should drop this before I flip and go on a psychotic rampage, or something.

His chilling reply: "I didn't like the imbecile trend for calling anything and everything 'iconic', no matter how inappropriate..."

posted by Ian 1/25/2006 07:36:00 PM
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Here's a few sites I've alighted upon in the last few days.

Nomad poetics 1 and 2

A Film We'd Like To See

and best of all...
A Film (from Germany) We Can't Quite Believe Is Sitting Ready & Waiting To Be Watched, In Its Entirety, On Our Computer Screen ...

Because if you go here, and click on "Complete Versions" in the top left hand corner
you've got quite a cyber-->Syber treat ahead of you.
(Why didn't someone tell me about this before?)

posted by Ian 1/25/2006 10:05:00 AM
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posted by Ian 1/25/2006 10:00:00 AM
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Mind's elsewhere at the moment, for a few days, working at the freelance coalface.

In the mean (mean) time, here's a thread that might give you a virtual papercut or two; it's long overdue The Pill Box touched base once again with the 'barbarity' part of our 'culture & barbarity' equation...

... water ...
... water ...
... everywhere ...
(... everywhere!)
... but what's that awful stink?

posted by Ian 1/25/2006 09:29:00 AM

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posted by Ian 1/21/2006 01:12:00 AM

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(Re)Introduce a haunting, half-grasped (c)oncept and what happens? Rather than filling people with productive anxiety, it induces a kind of BLIND CANON PANIC and people set about filling up the holes and crypts and (e)pockets and fissures in themselves with LIST after LIST after LIST of vaguely related theme words and knock-on (or off) effects, based on a certainty that these qualities somehow 'reside' in certain objects ...

If Hauntology is only a whisper away from Ontology - it's a vertiginous, terrifying whisper (in the silent night of Reason) - or ought to be, if you're picking it up (im)properly; and not something you can defend your self against with dungeons and drifts of hierachical stabilisation or 'proof' which have more in common with stupifying Channel 4 Fifty Greatest List programmes than deconstruction in uncanny spirit (ha!) or (undelivered) letter ...

Which might all just be a more or less FRIENDLY way of saying: B O O!

Or, to put it another (his, or his, or her, but never "my") way:
But who's talking about living? Finally?

posted by Ian 1/20/2006 07:22:00 PM
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Only a wee bit more unlikely than Compost's notion of a Situationist movie (Warren Beatty IS Guy Debord!*) is the actual real film coming soon, a Nico bio-pic: The End, taken from James Young's fantastic book Songs They Never Play On The Radio (one of the best ever rock tour guides/junk biogs, acutely hilarious and terminally depressing). I read one piece that casts Tilda Swinton as Nico, but I've seen photos eleswhere where it looks like somebody else. What I wanna know is who's playing mid-80s Cale? The director (David MacKenzie**) is pretty OK, and his previous film was of an Alexander Trocchi novel, appropriately enough, which actually brings us full circle back to the Situationists.

* Which triggers a favourite Beatty exchange from Reds where Beatty as Leftist journo John Reed is rallying a Trades Union meeting in a barn, which is about to be (literally) broken up by a hired bunch of redneck goons. Redneck [menacingly]: What you do, boy? Reed [pompously]: I write. Redneck [gleefully]: No - YOU WRONG.
** Trivial Coincidence: MacKenzie comes from the same dingy wee part of GLASgow as my Ma & Pa.

posted by Ian 1/20/2006 11:22:00 AM

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What haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by the secrets of others.
{Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok

Grief that cannot be expressed builds a secret vault within the subject. In this crypt reposes - alive, reconstituted from the memories of words, images, and feelings - the object ... as a complete person with his own topogaphy.... In this way a whole unconscious fantasy world is created, where a seperate and secret life is led.
{Nicolas Abraham and Maria Torok

notes off the top of my popping head...
Scene of the hearth: where we watch TV, listen to music, adult music whose undercurrents and articulations we may not yet fully comprehend, whilst knowing that it is an adult DISCourse and does contain SOMETHING we hanker after ... just like the discourse of the Parents, the music of whose voices we are also always interpreting or blanking out... full of flare ups, sudden silences, the verbal equivalent of secret looks, so overheard tinkly test card or kids prog music on TV becomes infected or inflected with the same ambiguities we radar-discern inbetween our parents words... 'There's something a bit odd about that music,' some part of us thinks; just like we do with the things parents say to one another...
... and years, decades down the line, later (but much earlier), we don't recall the parents and their n-coded speech, we 'remember' the uncanny theme tune or TV muzak played during long blank afternoons off sick from school (just you and the Mother, tending to your every whim, his majesty the infans...) or when we stamped into our bedroom slamming the door against some kind of commotion downstairs, or cocooned our ears in the night with headphones, against who-knows-what whispers or creak(s) or moan(s)... this house is alive with the sound of mmmusic...

(interestingly, this nostalgie de BOO! may be ruined when the object of this suspended listening maybe reveals themselves to be human all TOO dirtily un-innocently more than merely tackily human: Gary Glitter, for instance...

posted by Ian 1/19/2006 09:54:00 AM
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random stop-start lemuronica... HELLph & e-frequency... test card music for-bit mapped monkeys in space... prog rooks... spooks in algebraic space ...

re: coil v ELpH

just wanted to make it clear (ha!) that it wasn't just a matter of "where" the music came from;
listening to it last night pre-sleep i realised all over again just how odd it is: it sounds sigultaneously like some foundling electronica from 1961 but also like a transmission from light years ahead - at times, in its stop-start cadence, it sounds like it could be alien speech beamings, or, call it how you will, iter-patterns of an Other kind... at times it's almost comforting, like half recalled children's TV prog music, but there's always something just a bit off, unsettling about it; it sounds hermetically psealed yet outer spaced...

posted by Ian 1/19/2006 09:36:00 AM
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As a good Derridean I'm a bit uneasy around the notion of 'canons' (as a good Derridean I'm uneasy around the phrase 'a good Derridean') but as I flick(er)ed thru the k-Punk/Dissensus Hauntological Canon one glaringly obvious example appeared (appropriately?) absent ...

Coil's } { ELpH vs COIL: worship the glitch [1994]

ELpH was their name for certain strain of revenant 'glitch' muzick that came out of their equipment unrehearsed or consciously thought of: something dicarnate, embodying itself in the bodyless trawl of their elecDronic musick's coils + chips, its cyber crossroads ...

Here's a snatch of a Fortean Times interview:

FT: The album Worship the Glitch, is jointly credited to Coil and ELpH. Who or what was ElpH?

JB: Coil work under a number of pseudonyms, Eskaton, Black Light District etc, but when we entered into the ELpH project we felt compelled to do it, it was strange. Normally we have a musical reference, we say "let's do an album in the style of Cluster" (German '70s electronic drone group MP), then we'll approximate it and go off at a tangent, but with ELpH the three of us, myself Peter, and Drew McDowell really felt that we receiving extraterrestrial messages transmissions and we just went with it. The sound was designed by whoever, or whatever, was coming through us. Throughout, the William Burroughs phrase, "Stars splash the silver, answer back" was behind the recording session. We did it in a week, and for that week it was as if the transmission was in full flow, and at the end of the week it stopped And we haven't got it back since, which is why we haven't done another ELpH album. We keep hoping that they - whatever it was - will contact us again, because we really want to do one. Maybe it was a one off.

FT: Did you ever try to contact it through channelling or anything like that?

JB: I'm very wary of channelling, although having studied magic I do know how to banish and protect. I think channelling can be very dangerous. Several acquaintances have had negative experiences with it…Having said that I might consider it in the right circumstances.

FT: Perhaps your equipment was somehow picking this up?

JB: I don't know, it didn't feel like an electrical transmission at all, it felt very fluid. It could have been something earthbound, rather than extraterrestrial. An earth spirit or something like that.

posted by Ian 1/19/2006 12:04:00 AM

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(No reason.)

posted by Ian 1/18/2006 09:55:00 AM
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HAUNTOLOGY now and then

...node that I'm knot saying that
word flicker wasn't itsy elfs a
revenance in the night, a
patter of bodyless feet, your soul
like an icecube trayce under the covers;
node dad every word i remit isn't
a FLASH on-off beamed in from
some Other station
, saturated in eggy
jacque ("So I say: vivre les phantoms: long live
ghosts!" that's from meme-or-i)

i am,
dare I derive...
i have no lie sense... only a
dead leaf stirring of geisha fans,
fan tics, frantic tombs, letter booms,
faceless (and faithless!) wemailers,
mmm itching black molers,
molar lackers...

I'm sorry: ad just needead to get
this all out of my ph-attic chest,

yours wraithfully

Phoool Spectre.

posted by Ian 1/18/2006 09:18:00 AM

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Tracks two and three...

posted by Ian 1/17/2006 08:53:00 PM
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Yes, yes, it's the new Scott Walker.

It's called "The Drift".

Ten tracks (last one acoustic just like Tilt and Climate of Hunter).
Like Tilt only more so - darker, stranger, further out, further in.
Astonishing stuff. Three or four of the tracks (at least) career highlights: so powerful I had to listen to it in two or three track bursts. Tracks two and three actually disabled me for about 45 minutes after (the way "The Electrician" and "Farmer In The City" did when I first heard them, only more so).
If you got Tilt, you'll love this. "Haunting" doesn't begin to do justice to its emotional complexity.
Inspirational: a 63 year old who makes musicians - artists - a third his age seem like cop outs; and makes 53 or 63 (or 46) seem like a good age to really start living...
Worth the wait - and then some.

{Out March-ish, I think, on 4AD.

posted by Ian 1/17/2006 08:37:00 PM

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{{Over the weekend I was also listening to the forthcoming CD from an All Time Hero. I'm under heavy manners on this one, sworn to secrecy in a semi-professional capacity. But a) this All Time Hero's last proper CD was ten years ago; and b) I was a bit wobbly after the complex but sapping disappointment of The Ape of Naples, but this other All Time Hero's new stuff is just ... ASTONISHING.}}

posted by Ian 1/16/2006 05:57:00 PM
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One side effect of reading Petit's "wilderness of mirrors" plot involving double and triple agents and simulated traitors and plots within plots was to make me look at George Galloway slightly askance. Wouldn't all sorts of things start to drop into place if we regarded GG as a possible double/triple actor on the geopolitical scene? Hasn't he ever given you the impression of a man who is just a smidgen too cocky, smooth, self-assured - precisely as if he had The Right Dirt on The Right People, dirt he knew he could bargain with if any truly bad end was threatening him?

Bizarrely, over the weekend, I kept thinking that it was Galloway who'd been voted out of the CBB House - and that this was the reason my interest in the whole thing had COMPLETELY evaporated. But then I remembered this had happened before, for both all the previous CBBs and the ordinary BBs: almost demented interest for the first week and then .... my interest does a Wile E Coyote walk off the cliff, zip, ZERO, gone. I'm not being posey here: I checked in to see who was voted out Friday and since then ... nothing. It's almost like an allergy.

posted by Ian 1/16/2006 05:32:00 PM
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Funny thing about this 'McGuffin/Iran arms deal' thesis cropping up today; because over the weekend I was reading an advance copy of my friend Chris Petit's forthcoming metaphysical spy thriller, The Passenger. Not out till April but I highly recommend it and not just because Chris is my BF and getting me drunk tomorrow: I wasn't convinced by his last coupla books and told him so; but this is brilliant - he's got the mix just right: fact, fiction, conspiracy, DeLillo-esque impersonation of real historical characters (here a vivid and haunting portrait of CIA spymeister James Angleton). CIA, Borges, Greene, London, Thatcher, oil, conspiracy, melancolia ... what's not to like? It's ostensibly about the Lockerbie plane and 'who put the bomb on and why?' is in some senses the McGuffin. I won't say more than that (except that Iran, Iraq and arms dealing do figure heavily), but here's a passage from page 98:

"Angleton and Hitch dined together occasionally in Washington. Hitch was a fan. Angleton had given him the McGuffin for North By Northwest. The ideal McGuffin was the perfect zero: the idea that drove everything and explained nothing. Angleton told Hitch that he and Greene had once invented an agent in Rome that didn't exist. "Perfect," said Hitchcock."

This is central (so central I can't quote the next few lines).
Uncanny coincidence, eh?

BTW1: I also highly recommend Chris' Northern Ireland thriller The Psalm Killer.
BTW2: does this count as inadverant 'viral marketing' or something?

posted by Ian 1/16/2006 05:14:00 PM

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Alethea Hayter
{7/11/11 > 10/1/06}

Author of the groundbreaking, touchstone study:

Addiction and Creativity in DeQuincey, Coleridge, Baudelaire and Others

{A book I keep going back to again, and again... and again... and again ...

posted by Ian 1/13/2006 02:55:00 PM
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Rough Notes in response to k-punk on Galloway

I wouldn’t go as far as saying I feel sorry for MPs, but there is a certain sort of ‘damned if you do, damned if you don’t’ mechanism at play, abroad. If you somehow try to display that you are ‘in touch’ [by talking about football or music, or appearing on a popular TV prog], you’re inevitably derided as vapidly trendy, or cynical, or ‘should be doing REAL MP stuff…’ But then if you don’t, you’re decried as OUT OF TOUCH on a big salary, a dry as dust policy wonk, etc…

And like most MPs, Galloway is too much of a hard core politico to be truly ‘in touch’ (which is probably as should be); which is to say, they may have caught bits of TV programmes or music or gossip or etc, but they don’t spend their lives immersed in the logic-flo of popular culture and analysing it every which way – as per sad po mo kultur wonks like me/us … so perhaps inevitably Galloway had this really rather sweetly deluded idea (really rather 1979 Scritti!: two to the Double G!) that he could ‘occupy the enemy space of Celeb Big Brother’ and somehow ‘get his ideas across’… as if it were a vacuum without rules and power floes all its own…

(He actually said, in a quiet moment, to Rula, how disappointed he was, because he thought the “younger people” would be more interested in the business of being an MP, would at least be asking him ‘what’s that Tony Blair really like then?” etc…)

On the one hand Galloway does have a superficial soupcon more class or style (that’s what and all he depends on, fundamentally, along with an appeal to nostalgia for a time when tru-Left logic ruled). But he has no flexibility – maybe he’s too used to dealing entirely with YES people - people who follow him anywhere (no matter how absurd or obscene or silly) - or NO people. Those are the only modes he knows. I listened to the Hitchens v Galloway debate and he was dreadful. He was pure Labour Party Conference 1975 – the PULPIT is the only discourse he can deal with/in. Whatever you think of Hitchens – he at least had marshalled facts and quotes and research and actual moral/ethical positions galore to confront GG with. Galloway was just baroque personal insult, insult, insult, groundless sarcasm, playground mickey take. (And his craven supporters in the crowd – didn’t they love it, sado-masochistic fools.) Hitchens asked to start proceedings with a minute’s silence for [I can't remember the facts, the debate is still probably up on the Net somewhere] 20 or 40 or 60 dead Iraqi civilians – who’d been killed by the so called “insurgents” that day. Galloway actually mocked this (some of his ‘supporters’ in the crowd boo’d during the silence if I remember correctly) and praised the bravery and patriotism of the “resistance” or “insurgents”. Me – I think that’s obscene and stupid, and obscenely stupid, even if it’s what he thinks passes for “tactical” these days … how far can you take ‘the enemy of my [American] enemy is my friend’ logic, really, without it becoming morally (masochistically, suicidally) self-cancelling?

His lack of flexibility in dealing with people – and his fundamental Bullyboy nature - have shown up nicely in CBB. Not only has he found no alternative ways of ‘getting his ideas’ across but he seems mystified by other people. Except Rula the actress – maybe that’s no coincidence: it being not their age they have in common but more that they both know how to play a role…

The thing with Jodie is typical.
He could have impressed viewers by being fatherly – patronising yes but better than what he has done. Yes, she IS appalling. Really appalling. But she is also quite obviously damaged. Really really damaged. In fact the combination of relentless “sex” talk – and at the same time this dead-eyed joyless fear-of-the-world air makes me wonder: childhood ABUSE (?)

Instead of just joining in with Pete Burns misogynistic playground baiting, Galloway could have been either genuinely or tactically kind to her… but no. His prime or primal mode – BULLY BOY – came right to the fore.

The thing about – ‘he shouldn’t be there because he should be doing his average every day real constituency work’… well, it’s one thing to do all the standard media appearances – but this is out of the ordinary (“some sort of brothel” indeed!), and anyway his CBB appearance may be a final straw rather than some uncharacteristic one-off misjudgement: The Week quotes an article in The Independent: "... since the election he has had one of the worst attendance records in the Commons, coming 643rd out of 645 MPs." Also, it's specific grumbles rather than just biz-as-usual stuff: " [While] languishing in the Big Brother house ... [Galloway] has missed a Parliamentary deabte on the cross-London rail link, which passes through his constituency, as well as the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha..."

Besides, Galloway isn't just any MP. He (over) relies on his self-proclaimed reputation for being a no-bullshit truth teller amongst careerist opportunist scum bags. He is a Left paragon, not a slime ball – or so he’d like everyone to think. But if you then go on CBB and DON’T do any truth telling or idea mongering you just look like … a careerist opportunist scum bag, and not a particularly adept one, at that. You've pissed off your constituents - and affected nothing on a larger media scale, either.


{Why WAS Galloway asked, anyway, do we think? Were any other politicos asked before him? Do they consider this hell-is-other-people imprisonment actually a fitting form of “punishment” for his wartime treacheries?

{{But it could have been worse – you know if Blair had gone in there you can imagine him in psychedelic surfer shorts and being all like “What does everyone think of the new [consults notes] Eminem album? Rad isn’t it?”}}

{{{As for Aaranovitch – never liked him, partly because he’s sometimes so infuriatingly reasonably rationally soberly right. Like he’s said in the past – bring up the intricacies of policy making and People Like Me, we’ll just say: ‘Oh but that Tony Blair – he just makes my skin crawl…’ Or: “Oh, they’re all just SPIN aren’t they…” And I have been as guilty of that sort of laziness as anyone else. {As, in fact, see above my pathetic bitchy remark about surfer shorts and Eminem!!!!!} In 2003 when this blog started, in the run up to War, I wasn’t so kneejerk and lazy. For months on end I was a dutiful politico, I sourced everything, tracked down footnotes, facts, etc. But I just found it all too relentlessly depressing in the end… and it IS a problem when you find Blair or Galloway or Geldof so off-putting on a personal (soundbyte-y) level that you can’t be bothered to dig thru to actual facts and figures etc against which to argue … it then just becomes the flip side of people who say ‘that Bob Geldof, ee’s a diamond innee?’ or ‘that Bono, ee’s so radical innit? …’


This, just in -
5.05, SKY News

There are such things as I never wanted to see in my life, but I just had to confront one of them: George Galloway, down on his hands and knees, being stroked and wiped and petted and treated like a pussy cat by Rula Lenska, while eating gruel out of a bowl.
{My 5 cats have all just walked sulkily out of the pawboy Bunker... must we throw this awfulness at felines everywhere?)

You see this is just the point: Galloway has this smug idea that he can 'occupy' a popular kultur redoubt ... but he's probably never watched a minute of Big Brother in his life, and so isn't aware of what 'rules' he may have to conform to in this particular House.

And if you ARE going to go about like a spoiled dilettante, it might help if you were able to turn round to snooty right-wing critics and snap: 'Ah, my friend, but my attendance record in the Commons is spotless, how is yours?'

Tactically, it's all just a dog's dinner, isn't it? Or should that be cat's supper?

posted by Ian 1/13/2006 01:55:00 PM

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Is this Vile Trend Finally Bottoming Out?

"... everybody knows the iconic image of Cher onstage with her BUM hanging out ..."

pundit on Celebrity Fitness Videos, 20.05, Channel 4, 11/1/06

{+ later, same prog: "the icon was Derek, Mr Motivator ..."}

posted by Ian 1/11/2006 10:39:00 PM
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Further to recent articles in The Guardian and on Simon's blog,
The Pill Box can here reveal for the first time the TRUE IDENTITY
of mysterious boho-truckstop celeb-whore ambisexual child genius
(breathe out) writer

"J.T. Leroy" ... hah!

posted by Ian 1/11/2006 07:39:00 PM
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Good News For Some Dept.

Smoke Yourself Fitter!

posted by Ian 1/11/2006 04:33:00 PM

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Comment Box seems to have gone temporarily wah-wah here ...

But I imagine marK's disbelief re Galloway's remark [see below] might be shared by other readers so I'll reiterate:

He DID say it. I'm not making it up; and I'm not exaggerating some more or less mild or milder thing he said.

It came in context of this self-assessment they'd just had to do about who was the best known, the biggest Celeb and then arrange themselves on podiums from 1 to 11; there was a brief & minor disagreement over how popular the Americans were - you know, Barrymore is maybe well known here, but Rodman/Baywatch-babe are American and therefore GLOBAL... {which, that logic was maybe what got in G's craw?}

So Double G (!) was saying - well, if it comes down to a Global ranking, then, I could say: .... and he said it. He did. Swear on my cats!

posted by Ian 1/10/2006 08:47:00 PM
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I'm trying my best not to inflict too much Celebrity Big Brother on myself (not too successfully, I have to say); and, in turn, not to pass too many of my hysterical and demented Notes about it on to you, dear reader.

But - r e a l l y ...

Didya catch Galloway t'other night - just after they'd had to rank themselves in Celebrity lustre? He was silently fuming at the unfairness and irrationality of it all - altho trying to carry things off as if he was only tangentially concerned - and he came out with [not necesssarily word for word, but pretty damn close] this:

"There are one and a half billion Muslims in the world - and they all know who I am ..."

posted by Ian 1/10/2006 06:54:00 PM
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Every New Year calls forth the impulse to self-overcoming, and the concomittant territory of the ... Self Improvement Questionnaire!
and we're no different here at The Pill Box ...

The Eight Principal Questions.

1. Whether one wants to be more multifarious or simpler?
2. Whether one wants to become happier or more indifferent to happiness and unhappiness?
3. Whether one wants to become more contented with oneself or more exacting and inexorable?
4. Whether one wants to become softer, more yielding, more human, or more "inhuman"?
5. Whether one wants to become more prudent or more ruthless?
6. Whether one wants to reach a goal or to avoid all goals (as, e.g., the philosopher who smells a boundary, a nook, a prison, a stupidity in every goal)?
7. Whether one wants to become more respected or more feared? Or more despised?
8. Whether one wants to become tyrant or seducer or shepherd or herd animal?

set by Pill Box regular Freddy 'Hoofboy' Nietzsche
frm his The Will To Word Power and A More Winning, Winsome Gregarity
{or, Big Bruder vs Big Daddy Ubermensch...} (1888)

posted by Ian 1/10/2006 11:03:00 AM
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If you thought all dose Scritti/Gang of 4 post-political careers-in-Kapital wuz depressing, check



more post-Pop career depressing stuff - worth the slog of reading it - just the sort of thing that is rarely covered by anyone and gives a real eye opener insight into the protracted leftover time Real of Pop; talking of which ...

an entirely other Real of Pop here - two years old, but which I didn't even realise was online - 'have fun starting arguments' like my bwoy MS usesta seh {NB i think he mainly meant Adorno footnotes and Ornette albums, not Aldershot pubs on a Saturday night...};

and as a reward to cheer everyone up, this, courtesy of here: Anna Karina meets Serge Gainsbourg, what more could a paw Francophile boy ask for?

posted by Ian 1/10/2006 11:03:00 AM

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Ye gods but I can't scour Michael Barrymore's Hitler act from my mind...

What is it about light entertainers and Hitler? Is it that, when it comes to Evil, they can only button on to something that has caricature/cartoon elements to begin with...?
Or, that they see something of themselves there in Adolf? (The neurotic prissiness combined with monster tunnel Ego? The temper tantrums crossed with pat-a-dog sentimentality? The diva-lip-curl 'I only eat green pulses' x climbing over the corpses of friends/collegues to get to the Top? The ... drugs.)

I mean, as far as any individuation of Evil goes, you can't picture Barrymore or Freddie Starr doing ... uh, Dick Cheney, can you? (The banal form-ticking Evil of the 'backroom boys'...)

In fact: the only person to have impersonated both Dick Cheney and Bin Laden is ... Eminem, isn't it?

posted by Ian 1/09/2006 08:05:00 PM
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"Those savages of whom it is recounted, that they have no other longing than to die,
or rather, they no longer have even that longing, but death has a longing for them,
and they abandon themselves to it, or rather, they do not even abandon themselves,
but fall into the sand on the shore and never get up again [...]
Anyone who might collapse without cause and remain lying on the ground is dreaded
as though he were the Devil, it is because of the example, it is because of the stench of
truth that would emanate from him [...]
And yet the fear! How people do always carry their own enemy, however powerless he
is, within themselves."

{Franz Kafka, frm The Savages

posted by Ian 1/09/2006 01:59:00 PM
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Thanks to marK for (oh, GOD) this article about (oh, no no no no NO!) this.

Maybe we should start an ANTI icons or REAL icon list:
my first two nominations:

*Danniella Westbrook's missing septum;
*so-haunting CCTV footage of murder victims walking through depopulated 'dead space'
10 minutes before their lonely unobserved End...;
*the Rettendon Range Rover full of de-faced Essex 'faces';

The latter links in with marK's thoughts on 'backwater England'...
In 1996 I wrote a script for Chris Petit about the events - the social shifts, as well as the drug strafed individuals involved in the 'real' scene - that led up to the Rettendon mini-massacre. It was called Cottonfields (I still love that title, tho I say it myself), and was set on Wimpey show-home culs de sac, industrial estates, container lorry parks, two in the morning motorway Little Chef carparks, Essex satellite town discos, sub-Hut pizza takeaways, so on... the sort of England, as marK sez, that doesn't tend to feature in our heritage-fudge film industry; when we do tackle these criminals, they tend to be poeticised or shot like GQ fashion pages - and it was just this deluge of post- and even sub- Guy Ritchie product that scuppered Cottonfields.

The only place you do see this Otherland England is in dodgy SKY documentaries at one in the morning: Britain's Toughest Pubs 3 or Britain's Roughest Seaside Resorts, etc: a world not of broadsheet columnists, 'must have!' moisturiser and Blackberry addiction, but missing teeth, lowgrade ultraviolence, 5 am Shopping Channel purchases, 10 am cans of 79p SUPERCider, knock-off samurai swords, Third Generation devil dogs and z-list celebrity dogging...

posted by Ian 1/09/2006 01:07:00 PM

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is something like a cross between:

you know, all Lacan n Zizeck n shit, but not at a distance, not just an abstract puzzzle, a bit more grrrl than puzzzle, a bite more - my husband annoyed me this morning but..., or, last night I dreamt of green lemons, but..., or, when I have to face a classroom full of annoying twerps it helps that..., I dont know, just a bit of the Real of life, and how texts INTERSECT with that, when they help or hinder, tangle or touch(e), yes yes, I know sweet theoria isn't a cult, or a way of being 'better' people, but, y'know... a little less Amended Essay, a bit more burnt toast or streaked mascara. But maybe this is just me... dumbing down like an Otherflicker...

{Just for the record, I have to admit to finding Zizeck pretty underwhelming {I mean: Lenin? Hitchcock? I feel like I'm in a Portabello Road pub, circa 1981...}, and not a patch on Leo Bersani by the way, and I just can't understand why everybody is bigging up Zizeck and not Bersani; and Alain Badiou I have to say I find just plain unreadable and why-bother? (Say after me: I - O - U - all: a bit more Benjamin and a bit less bloody Algebra...; the last writer I found this unreadable was Christian Metz, jeez, drier than Dry day in the Gobi Desert. )

All these beardy corduroy BLOKE theorists, I don't know, I always just keep thinking: what's being hidden here, mm?, which isn't very generous I grant you, or theoretical, but it all just reminds me of this possibly apocryphal story someone once told me about one of the star Leftist theorists in Britain in the late 70s early 80s, whose Wife - fed up of him up in his attic office with his mute head in Althusser footnotes 24-7 - upped and left him ... and he didn't notice.

Which brings me back to the Blog I'd Most Like To Read, I guess... a Blog which does notice the Wife or Husband ... and kids, and dreams, and frustrated desires, and time, and tolls...

posted by Ian 1/08/2006 11:31:00 AM

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14.30 TMF: "Hey Ya" video...

"What's cooler than being cool? Being ICE cold..."

Maybe I'm being dim here and someone has brought attention to this before, but all the times I've see some celeb pick "Hey Ya" as a favourite video or that it's featured in some "Best 50" or etc, as far as I know no one has ever pointed out that right slap stage CENTRE and in keeping with the green colour scheme is an open COFFIN...

[NB: One of Andre's alter egoz is called 'Johnny Vulture'...]

Any thoughts? }}

posted by Ian 1/07/2006 02:28:00 PM
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BREAKING NEWS, Saturday afternoon 14.17:

BONO to take over as Leader of Liberal Democrats...

Limbic Opec says: "We thought that Bono's suggestion of a new banner under which we could all unite - a big yellow LEMON - well, as a way of going on we just couldn't say no..."

posted by Ian 1/07/2006 02:14:00 PM
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Last night in bed I scribbled down these rough notes, following on from Friday's musings about the (or certainly, my) parallel tourism of Dreams: is this the next stage of being reclusive? If someone tells me to shake myself up a bit and 'get out of the house' I can just snap back:

There's probably a 'serious'-ish moral or speculation to be drawn here, I thought, but that can wait till morning; I turned back to the Baudrillard I'd picked up and straightaway found this:

"Whilst they are hardly to be seen in real life these days, the most intense passions continue to figure in our dreams..." ! {Was this a 'cooled memory' of my own: did my Uncs. know and remember this passage and take me back to it...?}

"Whilst they are hardly to be seen in real life these days, the most intense passions continue to figure in our dreams. Are these then a reserve of fresh and timeless energy, running beneath the stages of life (and perhaps reaching beyond the mishap that is death)? Or is this freshness not merely the hallucination of a jaded desire? In other words: are there two lines to our lives, the one of a non-biological, immemorial youth, which we experience in dreams, and the other an organic life of life and death, of duration and of remembrance, with which we identify our pale and mortal existence? Could there be two fundamental sequences and no relation between them? Or is the first simply the projection of the second, its hallucinatory discourse, as, deep down, psychoanalysis argues?
I am for the first hypothesis: we have two existences, each of which is wholly original and independent of the other (it is not a case of psychological splitting). Neither existence can be used to interpret the other - which is why psychoanalysis is so futile."
{Jean Baudrillard, from Cool Memories}


Talking of jaded desire and immemorial youth: last thing I saw last night, early hours on SKY News: for their next big concert in some Super Bowl or other [which is being filmed], The Rolling Stones have apparently BANNED anyone over 45 from attending.

So it's official: I'm now more decrepit than Keith Richards ...


More Baudrillard: the minute I read this I thought of Big Brother:

"And our leisure now is no more than the charnel house where dead time is born."

A lesser writer might have been content with "charnel house of dead time..."; but his figurative detail births in turn the image/figure of Celebrity as an endless dying into awful shabby rebirth/becoming/"comeback" + an endless being born into the endless plains of dead time spent being vapidly 'on' or pretending to find the attentions of paparzzi a nuisance, etc, etc ... so that celebrity becomes an ontological calling as gruelling & slavish as any monastic order: you HAVE to use the latest post-botox cosmetics, you HAVE to appear either at some dreadful opening or glorified winebar/titty bar, or on some fat farm reality show (your 'agent' told you so: it's 'good for your profile' in the way that, say, self flagellation or sucking the puss out of the sores of lepers used to be 'good for your soul'...)

posted by Ian 1/07/2006 11:44:00 AM
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Well, at least now we know who that 80's-hasbeen drunk-in-a-suit [see below] was: but what's bugging me is, I can't remember the name of Charles Kennedy's band. Hue and Cry, was it?

posted by Ian 1/07/2006 09:24:00 AM

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I'd have to gather together my dispersed Dream Diary entries and check dates, but roughly over the last year or so I've had this series of dreams where I go walkabout and/or get confoundingly lost in PARIS and LONDON; but the point is, they are my dream versions of Paris and London, and each the same each time I dream back to them... like they were actual oneiric zones, discrete and distinct topographical spaces... off-set capital cities in parallel to the 'real' Paris and London. Black light districts.

(I had one last night: started in London; ended in Paris.)

Without even consulting the Dream Diary I can immediately bring a few of them to mind, they remain so vivid.

(One of these dreams I had earlier in the autumn, where I was LOST in (my) LONDON, was frankly one of the most simultaneously disturbing and entrancing I've ever experienced, ludic (no, sorry, I mean lucid) (or do I?) dreaming as a trip or video game or Cronenberg story board, complete with 'trick' ending where, still in dream mode, I 'woke' into a strange hotel room on bed in last night's clothes with dry mouth and whiskey glass in hand, and thought: WOW, all that too-real 'lost in London' stuff was all just a dream!, Jesus, I must have over done it with C. the other night, I better ring him and find out how bad I behaved and why he had to dump me in this hotel room and - KA POW! I then woke again, really this time, onto my afternoon nap sofa, and for a few l-o-o-o-ng seconds had NO CLUE WHATSOEVER WHERE OR WHO I WAS...)

They all have that properly uncanny [unheimlich: at home-yet-not-at-home] feeling of being at once completely ordinary, lit. un-remark-worthy ... and yet so subtly strangely different divergent as to be hard to de-scribe, lit. un-remark-able... {so: their phantomic Real is far more scratchily resonant than any glossily social-realistic duplication of mere diurnal A-Z... and NB these aren't vague dreamy dreams where you just dreamily 'know' you're in "Paris", they're fearsomely detailed, like this Paris and this London are whole other constellations ...}

It's just struck me that I haven't actually walked in the real Paris or London (the old way, the way I used to, the Walter Benjamin detour-guide way of walking till you're lost) in this time frame. In Autumn 2000 I may have had the ur-dream about Paris, a very clear and powerful and powerfully wistful dream which seemed to suggest I SHOULD BE THERE, it was my true home, and into the bargain threw in a conclusive bit of glaring but divine Alchemical hidden-gold symbolism.

Coincidentally (?), in Autumn 2001 I then went to Paris, one reason being a trip to the Cluny Museum, where I clocked the infamous is-2 uncanny "Lady and the Unicorn" tapestry and touched with mine own hand the confoundingly warm tombstone of Nicolas Flamel ...

Same trip I did a memorial walk for the then recently departed Pierre Klossowski, touching upon glancing against places he'd lived and worked, and I can honestly say that was one of the loveliest walks I ever took, anytime anywhere... a walk equal parts Nature and Nietzsche, so to speak: a delicious circle.

posted by Ian 1/06/2006 11:09:00 AM

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Just listening to COIL LIVE 4...
There is pain there, sure, but JB still sounds so writhingly alive...

One friend has already said they think my [Wire] review of The Ape of Naples [which I just handed in] is a "bit harsh"... I don't know. So many contradictory emotions.
I'm not ashamed to say that what I felt/feel for JB/Coil goes beyond mere 'favourite band' stuff into some kind of SPIRITUAL zone...

When I heard about his death I felt SO ANGRY... you can argue whether that's an "appropriate" response or not (or whether it's not half to do with barely acknowledged anger towards some of my own mistakes and flaws), but I still feel it. Such a fucking stupid squalid avoidable way to die and I still find it hard to forgive him for that. (If, that is, it was an 'accident' and not more or less some form of suicide... and I can't be alone in thinking that I would actually find the latter far easier to take, as a mark of just how much inescapable recurrent pain he was in ...)

I don't think I ever had such raw anticipation for an album as I did for The Ape of Naples - and (yes) such overwhelming, perplexed disappointment when I did finally hear it. I am worried it might turn out to be one of those albums that only gradually take, and six months down the line you realise you're playing it all the time and it finally makes some due resplendant kind of 'sense'... but right now I doubt that.

Maybe there just wasn't much for Sleazy to work with. But I really don't see why the re-mixed 'Backwards' stuff couldn't have been given a seperate album of its own [A Backwards Look?], and put on the website just for hardcore fans; as it stands, it feels like a small cheat. (I don't think they were ever that happy themselves with the results of the Backwards sessions, and had been tinkering with them for nearly a decade.) Anything else would have been OK: ... a 40 minute instrumental (even improvised) suite of Funeral Musick For Jhonn Balance, say, would actually seem far more appropriate. (Just remember how haunting is The Remote Viewer.)

Playing right now: the terribly terribly beautiful, sad, haunting version of "Amethyst Deceivers" off COIL LIVE 4 - and I think again, I'm right about this, and I'm right to tell the truth, it's what love demands, and there is simply NOTHING on Ape that comes anywhere near a track like this ... (or other stuff on Black Antlers, And the Ambulance Died In His Arms, not to mention the two Musicks ...)

THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL ... is things starting all over again, just exactly the same.

posted by Ian 1/05/2006 03:36:00 PM
(1) comments
Talking of our inescapably Cronenbergian FUTURE...

I just read an item over at the online L.A. Weekly, about
a Russian uro-genital surgeon who helped a guy GROW
A NEW PENIS ON HIS OWN ARM. Didn't I see that
already in some early Cronenberg? Whatever: that's

Coincidentally, the circuituitous route whereby I got
to this EUGH, is, I was checking out this woman's writing
and she's started writing a pop/rock culture column for the
L.A. Weekly, which I like. I like her comment that our
collective "80s nostalgia trip [...] will soon have lasted
longer than the actual 80s." I like her Swiftian wit. I like.

posted by Ian 1/05/2006 10:46:00 AM

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And talking of something where ABSENCE can make something far more electric than spelling it out ever could...

Who read that article in The Guardian yesterday - Rock Bottom, by "Caroline Butler" {don't know if this is her real name or not} - a mini memoir about being the long-term partner of some gone-to-seed 80s rock star with a MAJOR drinking problem? She omits his name - which only has the effect, I calculate, of making everyone wonder WHO THE HELL IS THIS THEN?! If she'd said who it was, we'd all just have thought, oh, him, yeah, I sorta knew that... and forgotten.
But now I'm fixated on finding out who it is.

My guess is someone from that Chums of Melody Maker sorta-Goth zone: The Mission / The Cult / The Cure ... ?

Does anyone actually know?
I know this is all shudderingly gossipy-superficial and frightfully un-Zizeck and all, but, uh, um... well, so am I, when it comes down to it.

posted by Ian 1/04/2006 10:29:00 AM
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I'm with Simon here: I love to read Mark on anything but I don't know why anyone would go anywhere near the nu 'improved' King Kong. Just the thought of all that empty bombast and Dolby chute noise fills me with more horror than any cine-text could any longer generate.

Surely this is just more ICONIC nonsense (lit.: non-sense)?

I'm sure that in some media interview somewhere in the world right now Peter Jackson is saying: "Well, I had to, because the original is SO ICONIC FOR ALL OF US ISN'T IT?"*

Which - as anyone who in the last year or so has watched a bunch of celebrities talking on TV about Marilyn Monroe, or Madonna, or Stan Bowles, or On The Buses, or Curly Wurlies, or George Michael's cheesey shuttlecock or pretty much ANYTHING UNDER THE POST WAR SUN, knows, calling something "iconic" is a way of looking smart while saying nothing.

And Jackson just proves the point. Now, no one expects hard working Hollywood directors or desperate Z list soap stars and yap heads to keep up with their Zizeck (altho it is something of a giveaway: that so many people in Hollywood are probably IN analysis, but which breaks down thus: interest 'in' Analysis: nil; interst IN Holy Self: 100%: they're only seduced by a benign, essentially narcissistic version of 'analysis'... an E-bay of the soul, where you can "get rid of" things from your life you no longer want to hang on to...), but isn't it CLEAR as FREUD's infamous MUD, that the original of something like King Kong continues to exert a pall or fascination over us - whereas the far more ostensibly "realistic" sweetly FX'd re-make slips from our mind like pop corn grease. Just like the Lacanian "Real" persists, persists, outside all logic (the 'get well soon' logic of American analysis, especially), so the tatty original King Kong persists (with its "un PC" - or so we're assured - echoes of Race War and horror of miscegenated gazes ...) where remakes that cost the budget of a small country are forgotten within weeks, days, hours... ; just as the original Point Blank is one of the most haunting films ever made, and Lee Marvin stalks our daymares like a Moloch, genuinely scared/scary - whereas the risible/hateful 'remake' - albeit full of bigger guns and 'better' violence - has no claws whatsoever: Mel Gibson probably had ten scriptwriters + an army of stylists + a publicity machine + Armani uniform + echoes of Trendy Hong Kong movies, whereas Lee had a half a bottle of Chivas and a bad memory of the Pacific conflict. Which one do we remember? Which one persists? What's more haunting? Chinatown? OR: some actor-wank Tim Roth abomination "about" incest, where there are "controversial" scenes where we ostensibly See It All? Why: Chinatown of course. My God - the other night I saw this slick violent thriller where we were asked to accept Stephen Dorf as a scary bad man! I've had cats who had KITTENS that were scarier than STEPHEN DORF! In the same film, Harvey Keitel was gven a five minute actor-wank scene where he simmers, then whimpers, then bangs the table, then throws the table... oh, fuck off Harvey, I thought, I've seen you Do This Before. It's sheer Actor Wank. And about as scary as indigestion. And you'll still never be one thousandth as scary as, say, James Fox in Performance... who persisteth like the ungentle tsunami, even if he is "an OUT OF DATE boy..."

I think there's probably a lot more theoretical stuff to be said about this (persistence of Real: why exactly it haunts... etc, how our media Time works, the big differences between Freud/Lacan's time and our own [i.e. we grow up with our heads and dreams populated by TV/cinema figures] and even the generational difference between someone my age and someone only 5 or ten years younger who grew up on FXs magazines and computer games and even, like Peter Jackson, did homemade GORE films with similarly nerdy pals...) but then I'm a bit of a hypocrite: I don't keep up with my Zizeck et al any longer, either.

But maybe what at first glance LOOKS like simple nostalgia for some version of the past (the 70s past, the 80s past, the silent movie Hollywoodland past), is actually still just a FEAR of whatever Real is lurking there, like a greasy troll behind the Chopper bikes...

So when a nerdy boy wonder director says he wants to make something look more real, harken unto that "look"... his FX enabling is just a way of not confronting some speck or spectre or Other**... (are we going to have the Schlinder's Ark argument here, maybe?) Something from some film or newsreel or cartoon that freaked him out big time as a boy, maybe***...

And seeing as all we seem to do nowadays is recycle the past, we must be very fucking frightened indeed of some shadowy bright loss or lack or insistence or other....


*{And you know, Peter, there's a clue in the word itself here: no one ever looked at a staggeringly mysterious sublime - but patchy - early Icon of some religious scene and said: Well, what's wrong with this is that it isn't REAL enough... }

**{Somewhere in here is also the reason why Dead Ringers is (in my opinion) Cronenberg's masterpiece; and why his actualisation of The Naked Lunch shld never even have been contemplated, never mind actually made...}

***{I remember two primal moments in my own personal Oz-tale journey through the Imaginary, both luridly monochrome: the original Bob Mitchum slimy-steamy Cape Fear (and if ever there was a case of the shadowy repressed all-subtext Original being a million times more frightening than the slick-FX Method-man Remake, jeez...), where my Pa put his big fingers over my little eyes at a certain moment in the narrative; and being home alone with the telly aged 6 or 7 and suddenly being shown some Concentration Camp footage - which exact image I can still recall to this day ...}

posted by Ian 1/04/2006 08:52:00 AM

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Most criminally over-used and mis-applied word[s] of 2005:

"... icon / iconic ..."


Please: no more, unless you're, like, a monk?

posted by Ian 1/02/2006 12:29:00 AM

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