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The current Scotland Yard investigation into New Labour's 'cash for peerages' quagmire inadvertantly supplies a further way of looking at 'hauntedness' through digital tech. Rumour has it Scotland Yard has invested in some pretty major software from the States that can track deleted e mail exchanges. There's one e mail in particular that Number 10 fears may come (back) to light. Thus, haunting/haunted by... : something (a bad thing) you thought you had deleted, but that can be retrieved, and shatter your world anew. Something (that is) returned from the Nowhere you had assigned it. It has the same shape/form it did when you annulled its existence, but now, in the present context, that same identity is ten times SCARIER.

Funny, too, to look at all the newspapers yesterday and find Syd's angelic/daimonic visage staring out from the front pages. If any other ex or serving 'member' of Floyd died, would it get such attention? Would it move us one bit? Syd didnt 'die' young, per se, he lived on, he 'survived', after a fashion .. but we remain haunted by True Syd ... a moment of ripeness, rightness, where words tumble like smudgy fruit from a summer hedge. "There is no other way..." We're haunted by some archetype, some myth, here, but what is it? It seems to have some element(s) of Dorian Gray, but in a very confused way...

(It sort of reminds me, guiltily, of the way some of us absent mindedly treat certain once-favourite bands ... I've done it myself with bands like Pere Ubu and Television. You sigh and say 'Didnt they used to be GREAT? Just ... untouchable.' Ignoring the fact that's there's been a regular turn-over of albums in the intervening years: 'Yeah but that's not ... Ubu Ubu, is it?')

Maybe someone could set up a kind of iPick service for the over-40 iPod generation... where you pay someone to listen to to all the regular 'so-so' Van Morrison and Pere Ubu and 'much heralded' Brian Wilson comeback Lps and so forth, and they sort out for you and download to your tech of choice the one or two genuinely head turning tracks that such albums often or usually contain (along with, these days, anything between 50 and 70 odd minutes of durdge. ... Hang on: durdge: is that a word? O, well it is now. It's means: the 50 odd minutes of CD music you NEVER LISTEN TO AGAIN, as opposed to the one or two brilliant golden tracks you play obsessively for a month or two.

As, for instance, on the bound to be forthcoming 'all star' Syd Barrett "Tribute" album(s). There will be 11 tracks by Indie so-so's whose names are so generic that you can't actually remember if you genuinely remember the bands or not, or just seem to (there should be a name for this syndrome as well, the Indie Music equivalent of Phillip K Dick's kipple....), and you will go to throw the CD into the 'Flog or donate to Charity' pile until you remember that ONE GREAT TRACK that somebody obviously recorded when they were having a day of hangover and heartache and damage and All The Pieces Fit ... (which may, partly, be what the Syd Myth is about: a version of madness as rightness rather than wrongness, the pre-madness moment of light at the edges of diurnal turnover, the not so much decline into madness as, temporarily, elevation into madness, as if some sort of election, when it seems a light shines through your gold leaf skin, and vines and tendrils twine around your words... isn't that who Syd most resembes in all those yesterday pix yesterday? A discreet pair of little horns and we would indeed have PAN reborn ... in hipster cords, with eyes that need no make up to look inticingly forlorn and infused with a light that is forever twenty to five on the best summer afternoon, all the afternoons when Good won out over Evil, and Desire arrived in forms benign and inspiring and electrifying and consoling and concise and correct. Isnt that the feeling on tracks like Emily and Arnold - of moments of place and time in English summertime (night and day) when An Other Place seems to smile through the ordinary scene? An eternal smile? An eternal beckoning finger? A strange, awakening quickening scent, that is not so much sulphur as ... some kind of riverside, under-tree musk, the smell of bodies intertwined for a whole afternoon, or how the ozone of the SEA hits you if you run out onto the deserted sands at midnight, having somehow got the combination of drink and drug and mood and set and setting just right ...?

('Bike' may be one of the best ever Trip songs in that sense - in the sense that it doesnt strain and strain and strain for 20 or 30 minutes for portenous significance, doesnt try to condense the birth and death of the universe into a sound effect strewn sub-Garcia guitar sprawl, but instead contents itself - perfectly - with capturing that onset moment when you look in your friends eyes and all know the drug has hit simultaneously and suddenly all there is is LAUGHTER at EVERYTHING and ANYTHING.... and you think, I must write this down, wow, now, now wow, because this is ... this is ... so... so SO, and but it is generally and genuinely A Very Bad Idea, tho, because you will find that if you do ever write it down, what you will find next day in a haggard free wheeling scribble, is something very like ... 'I've got a BIKE!!!!!! And i can ... RIDE IT!!!!!! A Bi SEA - SKULL!!! !!!! With ... (get this!) BELLS!' Etc . That Barrett managed to do this, and make somethng that sounded both silly and serious, hopeful and doomed, simple and complex, light hearted and damned... it's seriously wonderful, and properly inimitable.

posted by Ian 7/13/2006 08:20:00 AM

Comments:
Hmmm, as a certain bearded gentleman once observed: "A simple PC then contains a kind of 'undead' spectral domain of deleted texts which nevertheless continue to lead a shadowy existence, 'between the two deaths', officially deleted but still there, waiting to be recovered. This is the ultimate horror of the digital universe: in it everything remains forever inscribed; it is practically impossible to get rid of, to erase a text ... "
 
Doesn't Stoppard's latest play feature Syd as Pan?
The way that Pan passess into panic,delight to delirium, seems apt
 
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