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Razorlight: I mean, is it just me, but doesn't this sound awfully like ... the Tom Robinson Band?

new Scissor Sisters 45: ditto, but ... Leo Sayer? (and not good Leo Sayer, neither.)(Plus: isn't there smallprint somewhere that prevents post modernist gay New York vocalists using the phrase "when the old joanna plays"? Well, if there isn't, there should be...)

Thank god for new Outkast, which I'm loving, record and video. Spirit of Prince circa PARADE and ALPHABET ST, with just a hint of Doctor Buzzards thrown in ...

In the spirit of 'full disclosure', also loving, I have to say: Christina Aguilera.

posted by Ian 8/16/2006 04:42:00 PM

Funnily enough, a friend of mine used to teach Jonny from Razorlight... it was when he (my friend) was teaching at a private college, you won't be surprised to learn; Razorlight, Keane, Snow Patrol and Coldplay all being ex-public school as I'm sure you know.
The problem with comparing Razorlight with the likes of the Tom Robinson Band is that it ends up making them sound better than they are. Given, that is, that indie in its current Full Spectrum Dominance (and it is full spectrum; try and get through half an hour of listening to Radio 2 without hearing Razorlight or Snow Patrol..) has reached previously unplumbed depths of dreariness and mediocrity. I mean, 'the Tom Robinson Band are so bad that they sounded Razorlight' is about right.
I meant 'sounded like Razorlight' obv....
Thank heavens we've got Christina....
oh... oh ... i'm channeling that JB spirit again... "... compared to Razorlight every other current Indie bad is just pissing in the wind...."*

*from 'The Boy Looked at Jonny"...
The new Aguilera = 1973 Bette Midler covering Something/Anything?
Like comedy, socialist politics and broadsheet journalism, British pop is occasionally subject to upper-class restorations that seem to drain vitality out of our culture by the second (I recall how they sytematically destroyed dance music 1989-1996, and now 'they' are doing it with rock. You'd think the history of pop, comedy and literature was the hobby of public-school wonks taking extended gap years. There's so much boyband rock on TV because 'their' cousins, uncles, aunties and parents probably run the stations and radio shows that continue to try and make us as thick and monotonous as 'they' are. I suppose the proles have reality TV to fight over now... AGUIRRE
as i'm generally fairly allergic to class-based cultural generalisations, i've really been struggling here between my instinct ("it surely CAN'T be true that ALL public-schoolboy rock is by defn poor") and the empirical facts (it is REALLY REALLY HARD to find counter-examples to this claim)*

i think aguirre has hit on the EXACT reason: hobbyism

but it combines with a more insidious dynamic, which began (i'd say) during post-punk: where rock pop and punk were all rendered "respectable" to a certain kind of anti-pop mind by virtue of a certain kind of politicisation -- in context this seemed like a broadening of pop's possibilities but in retrospect i think it quickly became a narrowing, a kind of intellectual gentrification which made indie the kind of rock it was OK to be middleclass making

ie that as time passed, being "indie" became a way of being symbolically "respectable and serious and grown-up" w/o having to deliver much by way of content -- not simply as as if anti-indie pop was silly and trivial by definition, but as if all you had to do to be doing something "worthwhile" in rock was adopt the genre-norms and sound-types of what was "critically" adjudged a "respectable and serious" format (this actually can include several forbears that ian is possibly pro: eg t.buckley/big star/blah blah) (but also eg gang of four) (and a grab-bag of others)

(of course razorlight also fall rather disastrously into another category which can't deliver the good: the band named after someone else's song or LP) ("razorlight" = a late, lame tom verlaine song)

*the best i can do is BUSTED! -- who of course i love unreservedly, but as if to squeak "even the exception proves the rule", charlie busted went and broke up the band IN ORDER TO FORM HIS OWN INDIE GROUP
a secondary reason -- which may well overlap with the above -- is that in the war-of-sensibilities between the 80s NME and 80s Radio One, the NME basically won a catastrophic triumph (cf how j.peel went from being out-of-step late-60s hold-over to loveable eccentric to the station's saint -- also an apparent broadening in retrospect being a narrowing
I'd question whether Busted were ever pop - if only they'd allowed themselves to SUCCUMB in the Jimmy Ruffin/Edison Lighthouse sense - and while Toryism does not automatically make musicians unlovable or unloved by me Busted do not have the Lloyd Webber/Waterman qualitative get-out clause.
The catastrophic NME triumph as Mark well knows was DK favouring C86 over Def Jam, thus the lifetime opportunity for congruence was missed.
Re: band names, the absolute worst offence of course = Star bloody sailor.
I mean, whats that about? (Even as a Buckley obsessive, I would allow that a lot of his work is open to criticism, that there are times when only The Voice saves it form being dubious 70s L.A.funk slop, or generic folk whimsy, etc. But Starsailor is the exception - it's like something he dreamed, and then, astonishingly, managed to get the dream down - tack and texture - in reality.
I *saw* Starsailor on C4 or E4 the other day, playing live. They DID remind me of somebody - but it wasn't T.B. And "sidereal" isn't a word one would readily apply to their does-what-it-says-on-the-tin stadium stodge-rawk.

Before I left on Friday I did make all these notes about Indie, and its (self) presumed "purity", and what that purity might be a shield against (and not just the obvious candidates). I find it interesting how a certain generation of critics have recuperated The Stone Roses (to an almost absurd degree) whilst - with an embarrassed cough - edging the remnant/memory of The Happy Mondays away with a flick of their shoe, as if we all might not notice and forget how solidly they all championed them. When, regardless of what they became, and indeed whether you liked anything they ever did, I think it was the Mondays who at least symbolically *represented* a chance, a potential, an opportunity that was nver taken up: something convulsive, messy, grimy (yes), GERM-y, in which (roughly) the marraige of rock - funk or indie - dance (i KNOW this is too simplistic) didnt have to be seamless and tasteful, but could be innate, awkward, psychotic, oneiric, wastrel, GONE.
I think the (literal) mismanagement, by all concerned, of Ryder is/was a crying shame, criminal.
Anyway, I havent even looked at the notes I made yet, but this is what I remember thinking.
Stone Roses recuperated a white Indie IDEA of linear, tasteful, unintterupted, bop bop bop "funk" or "dance" music; whereas Mondays in their early grotty cubistic pomp, were far nearer true P-funk spirit, because they didnt ... oh this is daft, this isnt a COMMENT, its turnig into a mini thesis. More later, elsewhere.
i never really GOT happy mondays -- at the time or since -- despite various plausible theoretical reasons why i should, proposed by s.reynolds and many others

but when i went back recently i was suddenly aware of something that quietly pleased me (tho possibly me alone) = they were the ONLY "indie" unit of that era to tap even slightly into african guitar pop!!

sadly i can't remember the name of the song that delivered this epiphany :(

i suspect the stone roses did more lasting harm to DANCE than the massed masses of all public schoolboy input evah -- i disapprove of the word "overrated" but surely if ever it applied!!?

BUSTED! are power-pop!! except in a good way!! chaz de whalley wert thou livin yet!!
speaking of the (mis)management, t.wilson was on TV last night, declaring for the 100000000000000000000th time that the mid-70s were quite boring

certainly there is nothing as refreshingly challenging as SAYING THE SAME EXACT THING FOR count em 30 YEARS eh tony?

last night's was the weakest and most annoying so far of the "history of light entertainment" series -- somewhat hilariously illustrating its own thesis (that TV doesn't know how to deal with non-easy listening pop); the series doesn't even pretend to be particularly daringly insightful, but i've found it curiously absorbing and illuminating -- perhaps simply because it rescues ppl like cilla and tarby and brucie from the mere sneering cipherdom of established posterity (i guess it's the step two to "i heart the 70s" step one -- i have always in fact been quite pro these clip progs as they seemed to be moving gingerly towards a public sense of history)

(alternative thesis: i miss stanley baxter)
Re: The class theory of pop-cultural decline: come off it! I hate Public Schoolies as much as anyone, (and they are in the main quite exquisitely loathsome) but I think to draw the whole modern MOR-indie hegemony down to that is a grotesque over-simplification, and a slightly tired sounding attack at an easy target... pop critics and their love of those bloody working class geniuses eh? This all comes way too close to Rockism for my tastes... there are plenty of other indie acts who are resoulutely lower middle class or working class, and they are just as lacking in imagination and courage as the various scions of mediocrity outlined by Mark K-Punk above...
The attendant non-irony of Starsailor the group existing and Starsailor the Buckley record not currently existing in print (due to ongoing Zappa estate legal idiocies, bucket of water on both sides I think) need not be over-emphasised.

I would have liked a BBC series on the 1966-77 MoR Brit boom (and conflagrations/confluences/confusion) alone.

I miss Roger Whittaker.

One of the first singles I ever had as a toddler was Stanley Baxter's The Professor routine, recorded live at the Alhambra Theatre in Glasgow in '61 or thereabouts.

Odd that when Baxter was at his LWT heights in the '70s he never impersonated anyone post-war. I of course note his continued presence as reluctant surviving good angel/doppleganger in the Kenneth Williams Diaries.
"sadly i can't remember the name of the song that delivered this epiphany"

'delightful'? practically their first record iirc.
OK, maybe it is an over-simplification to attack the failures of pop culture as an upper-class assault. But I don't have enough space to write a magazine article (or the 'breeding' boo-boom!).
However, I do remember as a teenager looking at my pop heroes and my heart sinking as privelige after privelige was detected in their background. From Strummer to Syd to Led Zep, they all seemed to be poshos taking/buying a walk on the wild side. Hiphop's growing popularity was (I reckon) partly due to the alienating condescension of all that upper/middle-class worthiness that held itself up as 'alternative' since the 80's. I don't 'like' it, but Grime is HUGE among teenagers (surely a prerequisite for mainstream attention?), but remains outside mainstream 'pop' discourse(I fear the more Simon Reynolds goes on about it, the quicker it will die off - that lad's theorising killed off more grassroots 'scenes' than the Politburo!). M*k* Sk*nn*r being the white, 'poetic' exception of course...

Now, when I see/read musos on the more mainstream outlets, it's striking how the act, the journo, the presenter etc. all seem to be talking the same RP lingo, with the same reference points, the same clothes and the same leisure persuits. Whatever happened to the awkward pop interview? These fuckers really do all hang out with each other.

I recently watched a show about how comedy got all 'clever' and 'daring' once the Oxbridge lot got hold of it - assuming that the non-oxbridge comedians were all racist, mysoginist golfers (of course using Bernard Manning as a representative of non-oxbridge comedy). The triumph of Oxbridge comedy was their formal mastery of TV and radio, which are not exactly career paths for the proles. Consider how many former comedians/pop performers end up with nice cosy radio 2 slots or presenting gigs or west end shows or bestselling books on cooking/travel/death etc. Comedy, and pop (and increasingly sport and politics), it's all 'a career in the media' now.

A friend gave me a good description of what 'reality TV' is: 'The people on them are an upper-class idea of what working-class people are like... they're selected to confirm their own prejudices, and then encourage the same in everyone else'. Hey kids, it's now groovy to laugh at the desperate and the confused as Simon Cowell (the Goebbels of pop) dictates what 'entertainment' means to the proles while bourgeois pop gets its own column in the broadsheets... AGUIRRE
Dr. Buzzard!!! The lyrics, the voices, the arrangement - utterly beguiling! I thought I was alone in feeling their first LP as one of the weirdest, most beautiful pieces of pop perfection since 1976!
August Darnell was the unsung genius of late 70s/early 80s pop. It is tragic that for all this 'post-punk/mutant disco' nostalgia, he isn't finally getting his due. Especially when we consider how he influenced everyone from Prince to George Michael and, arguably, hiphop... AGUIRRE
"Whatever happened to the awkward pop interview?"

uhhh, popworld!

where is grime popular, btw?
despite having a middleclass background i for one was never beguiled by the syd approach to "taking over pop" and a "career in the media"

i always wanted to write something abt the fact that the pistols recorded bollocks while obsessively listening to the derek and clive bootlegs -- pistols = driven by the friction between the various class layers in the group; derek and clive DITTO (ie cook = diplomat's son just like joe strummer; moore = born in dagenham suburbs, superb musician who only exploited music peripherally)
Every English urban area I've been in has a hell of a lot of grime around. Half the teenage students where I work are either 'in' it (i.e. MC/DJs/promoters) or working towards so. It has the same DIY ethic as punk, but lacks the fashion/art school/media chops to embedd itself in the wider popular conciousness. It is to 'indie' what punk was to Brotherhood of Man. The fact that most of it is distributed outside mainstream venues (via community centres, blogs, 'illegal' downloads etc.) also keeps it out of the media limelight. Inner-city youth aren't exactly 'media-friendly' these days either, not having chums in high places as soon as they finish their A-levels; like some I can mention.

Dizzee was held up as the beacon among scores of performers - this ploy didn't work as effectively as hoped. Nowadays we don't have 'voice of a generation' performers (despite the efforts of the music press). The Streets were 'friendly' (read:'white') grime-lite for indie twerps (like the Beastie Boys were to Hiphop).

I never said that non-working class acts were talentless (I LOVE Peter Cook), or didn't deserve a shot - just that their grip on popular culture is getting tighter and tighter, and virtually intergrated with other 'markets'.
If Dudley Moore was starting now, his agent would have him recording albums with Joss Stone, writing a memoir about his father's death, doing a 'witty' column in a sunday broadsheet, acting in Guy Ritchie movies, appearing on panel gameshows and being interviewed by his brother-in-law to promote all of the above.
Yes, Cook did have a lot of persuits, but nowadays he would probably be carefully managed and promoted on everything except his exceptional talent. No chance of a 'Derek and Clive' occuring -'Celebrity B.B.' maybe...

I harping on a bit here, but Blairite pop culture begs questions of class and race that are sadly off the mainstream paradigm. Like economic developments, a centralised 'one size fits all' British monoculture leaves things somewhat grey and claustrophobic for the casual observer.
the other thing grime lacks which punk and po-pu could still lock into, i think, is that (from the mid-50s to the mid-70s) access to higher edu was hugely broadened -- so routes (besides pop) did start to exist out of the sink estates; and in fact for a while existed in paralelle and fed into one another in a complex and enriching way

by the mid-80s this expansion had stalled; by the mid-90s i think a massive cultural retrenchment more or less split the two worlds from each other

s4v4ge often makes an interesting claim: that the BEST rock groups had class unclarity (if not conflict) within them -- that they sparked as a clash (ha!) between layers; but also offered a (brief?) bohemian freedom for participants not to be trapped in a stereotype of who they were "meant" to be

i think it's quite possible this space is now MUCH harder to re-conjure than it was 30 years ago
I get this feeling Dr Buzzard is going to get name dropped quite a bit in the next few months... both Aguilera and Outkast both already reference the 30s/40s nostlagia tip. Funnily enough, I was rifing around in my parents attic at weekend at brought back a few things related to Darnell/Buzzards which I may expand/expound upon in coming weeks.
O, that reminds me, I discovered that Carol Cooper has her own website yesterday, whic includes her piece on Darnell/Buzzards, possibly the best piece ever written about them/him, and about 'politics' of apperance & aspiration in black music etc. I'll put the website address up somewhere.

There *was* a kind of quasi racism at work back then in some sections tho; which was that a black guy 'in a funny suit' couldnt have as much to 'say' as , eg, Morriseey or Crass or blah blah blah. (But even 'funny suits' have material and social histories...
Excellent point by mark s about the role of *basics* like education and housing in pop culture. I'm old enough to remember the 'cross-fertilisation' (sorry!) that took place, and the tensions therein. Yet every important development in pop culture from punk onwards managed to move with this dialectic.
The 80s, for all its horrors, still managed to accomodate all kinds of cultural branches (weird to think that Shinehead and Mantronix and Sonic Youth could all make the cover of NME).

The divisions in culture, living areas and educational access was consolidated by the time Blair was elected - and he seems to have made the divisions more pronounced.

It was like the inclusiveness and jouissance of rave/dance culture and all its sub-genres stopped dead in the summer of '97. Hiphop went from one of its best years to one of its worse, and rock became very very old all of a sudden (with granpas like SY and the Fall carrying the torch).
There's a vague theory about Diana hysteria, Blair's "We are all middle-class now" and the death of subcultures here, but I'll put that aside now.

The depressingly narrow perspective of 'yoof' (which now means 14-35) from ANY class is apparent to anyone. 'Identity' is now so closely tied to race, class and region; that I'm not even sure if there is such a thing a 'subculture' any more. Is radical Islam a 'yoof movement'? Or happy slapping? Or file sharing porn? Is old age a 'subculture'? All products of alienation, but with less and less room to maneuvre; despite the promises of 'new media'.
p.s. For their ambivalent hauntology August Darnell's funny suits said a hell of a lot about race, class and sex in postwar America...
Re the Pistols/Derek and Clive convergence: the first sighting was on Steve Jones's "what a fucking rotter" parting shot on the Bill Grundy interview which just HAS to be an unwitting (?) echo of the first Derek and Clive LP.

I mean: ROTTER????!!!!
good call! i never thought of that

grundy is 1 December 1976; pistols recording sessions begin in july-ish 76 i think (for the spunk bootleg); D&CL came out on island in 76 but the tapes were around the music business for ages before that -- they were recorded in 73
Lydon still = Kenneth Williams tho
initial spikiness and high ideals
followed by crystallising disappointment ("ever get the feeling youve been cheated" could easily by a k.w. diary entry, except rhetorical q to self perhaps rather than audience, along the lines of the infamous final "o, why bother....") followed by the CARRY ON of sex pistols reunions and comebacks and/or dreadful dreadful PiL line ups; followed by career essentially as INTERVIEWEE / reality show premise (todays equivalent of old chat show bump n grind) / anecdote provider / face puller / with uncannily similar emotional undertow as late williams, that prissiness and gurning and constant declarations of "superiority" as a mask, you feel almsot certain, for deep. dep, deep burning midnight perplexity....
the mask become the face, whichis not too bad is ¥ou at least pick one of your more intersting masks, but neither of them did...
as for whether they also have in common a strange disposition twards the body, or the "Bodies" of others/Other, that could only be idle specualtion re J.L. ... (certainly same deep attachment to feisty mohter... oh bollocks, this cheap psychoanalysis o fother peoples misery is too TO shoddy...
by the way, as far as more shoddy gossipy specualtion goes; i was reading some more zizek yesterday; and then caught a bit of the repeated perverts guide later on More 4.
two things came to (my admittedly low rent) mind.
one. is it just me or, does he have, like, a slightly dubious 'thing' about women and rape double scare quotes fantasies end quotes?
two. what kind of speed or coke is the guy on and can i get some? i havent seen anyone rub their nose that much in full conversational (over)flow, since i interviewed ________ about ___ in 198_ (ha!)
i'm getting really sick of his main rhetorical device, the inversion or 'but here cant we see that precisely The Opposite is actually true?' thing. isnt the evil actually innocent / isnt the dark actually light / isnt snot actually caviar / isnt the disavowed actually really wanted / isnt the fiction actually true / isnt the dream actually real / isnt stalin actually walt disney / ... which seems to lead, rather handily for Mr Bad Haircut, to 'isnt jerking off to lots of sexy hollywood movies actually the REAL political work to be done today?
There is actually a moment at the start of this "new' zizek [How To Read Lacan, Granta] whre he explicitly states, well, there is a whole fascainting, difficult side of Lacan to do with treating analysands in pain, etc, but - we wont go near that. And then he trots out all his tired 'riffs' that he barely even bothers to rewrite or change from text to text these days; I would actually like to take a proper shot at analysing this stuff, because I think some of it is *incredibly* dubious ... ad hoc, and in detail,; but also cosnidered as a whole, as a too-conveneint leaving aside or behind of clinical possibility for neutered abstracts and pop-fizzz chat up lines.

Mind you, it might be fun to get him on Question Time...
"Isnt it the truth, rather,, that George W Bush is the true radical here, the 'Outsider', the manipulator and surer of the zeitgeist, the true over man of the Now, and you, Tony Benn, are the arch conservative running on empty, frightened of the chaotic white nise of the polyglot future...'
Actually, that sounds frighteningly convincing.
(..."surFer" of the zeitgeist, to pick just one of the odder blips there.
sorry. what can i say. it was 6 in the morning and i'd only had one cup of coffee. )
"a whole fascainting, difficult side of Lacan to do with treating analysands in pain, etc, but - we wont go near that"

i think one of the people under his care was m. althusser.

bang-up job, guy.
Apparently it was Led Zeppelin who got pirated Derek and Clive tapes in circulation amongst 'those in the know'. Does this make Pete and Dud the missing link between blues metal and punk?

What is it with the Zizek 'hype'? He just seems to do 'beginner's guides' to those who may have had an interesting thought (like that other unoriginal self-publiciser from France whose name I forget. Is it Henri-Levy?).
He'd be great just doing those cartoon guides to philosophers. After reading some uninspiring stuff by him in LRB and rewatching that cinema guide, I just don't get what's 'useful' about his schtick. Weren't his 'insights' familiar to anyone with a fairly interesting DVD collection? Ten year olds could have offered that Marx Brothers theory.
Such an uninspired 'canon' too (no westerns!!!). Why not do modern porn? Or playstation games? There's some serious psycho-philosophy to be done on the mutations going on there... but I suppose the more pretentious undergrads wouldn't be quoting it in fresher class... AGUIRRE
To continue wasting salaried time, I just remembered I once proposed doing my dissertation on porn as a ultra-genre, with a lot of Foucault, Barthes, Lacan and Marx (i.e. the usual fuckers). I think it was something JG Ballard once said about hard porn being the most ruthless form of satire. But I chickened out at the last minute (did Kubrick instead. Yawn).
Even outside the business of it, there's all kinds of economic, physical, psychological and sociological fascinations to hardcore porn as a text.
However, I've yet to come across (oo-er) anything approaching the world's most lucrative genre from the angle of high theory (watch it in a state of complete unarousal, and its an intense surrealism that Bunuel could only dream of).
Apart from Dworkin, does anyone know of any high theory dealing with pornography (the 'scummy' stuff, not Battaile or De Sade etc.) as a 'text' as opposed to a 'business'?
Blimey. I just looked at k-punk, and there's a bunch of links related to my question above. Spooky. That kind of synchronicity might be a cue for a 'working'.
Then again, the links still follow the same old route of Euro 'art' films, De Sade, Dworkin etc. - kind of proving that high theory seems afraid to truly engage with the semiotics of lobrow 'bongo'. Yes, I know it may be politically dubious - but I've never met a woman who likes westerns, either. AGUIRRE
"Isnt it the truth, rather,, that George W Bush is the true radical here, the 'Outsider', the manipulator and surer of the zeitgeist, the true over man of the Now, and you, Tony Benn, are the arch conservative running on empty, frightened of the chaotic white nise of the polyglot future...'
Actually, that sounds frighteningly convincing.


That's because it's TRUE!

PS Re that Boy Looked at Johnny quote: surely the original was "wanking in the wind"... infinitely more poetic
I can definitely see the Lydon/Kenneth Williams thing (it's the disdainful pursed lips that are the capper) but Frankie Howerd also needs to be chucked into the pot (which Lydon *has* acknowledged).

What's particularly striking about Lydon nowadays is the way that he's perfectly engaging and witty when being interviewed on a one-to-one basis but put him in front of a studio audience and his disastrous ill-judged attempts to either play to the gallery or hector the audience are positively grotesque.

The most recent chilling example that springs to mind is when he was presenting something on the Comedy Awards and it was obvious from his reception that the goodwill towards him in the room from the assembled liggers was sky-high. But Lydon seemed to be utterly oblivious to this and started lashing out as if it was 20 years ago and made such an arsehole of himself that it was a mercy when he was finally dragged off.

If I might indulge in some amateur psychoanalysis of my own, it's as if Lydon has a deep-rooted inferiority complex whose default setting is to expect hostility/being misunderstood/not taken seriously which he can repress when dealing with individuals who evidently respect him but when he's surrounded by a faceless group of people his innate need to over-compensate for his neuroses is horrifying to witness.

(Of course it's totally different when he plays live to an audience he knows is pre-disposed towards him... and when this *wasn't* the case, in the days of the early Pistols, he mesmerisingly turned this to his advantage. But trying to replicate this in different contexts simply doesn't work. Diminishing returns and all that - the curse of the precocious iconoclast. How DO they grow up?).

Ian - if memory serves, didn't you once mention in passing in an Arena piece on Lydon that you used to hang out at Gunter Grove? Spill the beans!

I meant to say in my earlier post re the Pistols/DaC convergence, McLaren actually approached Peter Cook to write a script for a Pistols film but nothing came of it. Judging by the aridity of Cook and Moore's collaboration with Paul Morrissey round about the same time, it's probably no great loss. (Although it would *have* to have been better than anything Johnny Speight - who McLaren also sounded out - might have come up with. Jesus!)

And just as a footnote, in 78 Peter Cook was the anti-presenter for ITV's "new wave" music show, Revolver (which actually wasn't too bad, given the channel/era) and the main act on their first show was supposed to be ........... PiL (making their first TV appearence) but in an incandescent act of anarchy which almost brought the spectacle to its knees, they didn't turn up and went to the seaside instead.

In retrospect, that juvenile stunt *does* seem awfully telling.

Pete and dud never really got the 'hang' of films. Bedazzled is fairly amusing in parts - but god, its dated now.
Like Lydon, Cook retained some immature iconoclasm (consider the resentment he had for Dudley doing better in movies - and the US -alone. Like Lydon, I don't think Cook 'got' americans). From the mid-seventies, he held on to 'drunk angry bloke' image until death; and seemed strangely out place among the 80s comics he influenced (he did better with 90s types like Chris Morris).
Maybe Cook had an 'inferiority complex' too - there was a lot of flat cap music hall in his 60s act, but he was the would-be diplomat who was too much an establishment progeny to really want it destroyed - Private Eye seemed strangely old fashioned decades ago.
p.s. precocious iconoclasts seem to 'grow up' by collaborating with Burt Bacharach and Paul McCartney - and doing theme tunes to Richard Curtis romcoms. By carefully attaching to such signifiers of comfy maturity, this also belies insecurity, in a way. AGUIRRE
1. When I saw Bedazzled again couple of weeks ago waht struck me wasnt the ha-ha or the 'datedness' but *just* how deep and obsessively worked out was Cook's sub textual interest in theological fine print about FREE WILL etc. (One could, of course, continuing this vein of amateur psycho analysis, link this to worries over his nascent alcoholism - or even to a feeling of being too (class) 'blessed', of it all being oh too easy for him? )

Have to think about the porn thing re theory, but Laurence O Toole (no jokes please) over at Serpents Tail put out an interesting, generally 'pro' porn history in Pornocopia {Porn, Sex, Technology and Desire} [1998]; havent read it since then so I cant remember to much... but i is/was refreshingly sane, i think, and a good starting poit. Funnily enough, the back cover 'puff' quote is by none other than ... J.G. Ballard
We're all sick of the Pythons now, because of vrs factors inc interminable repeition of Dead Parrot sketch (never thought much of it, even when i was teenage fan), but they were a curious lot, backgrounds far more various than might at first be thought; and Terry Gilliam comments on how much seething ANGER there was there at the beginning.
Also, interesting side point (and someting I dont think I knew before): in 1972 Graham Chapman used his Python money to help start Gay News...

PS: Cook and Lydon (also) had in common a complete DEVOTION to television, as in, not 'i like this' or 'i dont like that', but just compelte hour upon hour (and beer assisted) immersion in it ALL...
The thought occurs that at the same mid 70s point Derek and Clive were being drunk and potty mouthed, another odd couple were producing works with titles like 'Cunt Scum' too... Gilbert & George.
(Their influence deserves a bit of re consideration I think.)
This comparison arose while browsing a new book by Howard Souness - SEVENTIES, which inadvertantly makes the anti-Tony Wilson point that, actually, the (pre punk) 70s were enormous and enormously influential fun ...
In fact, G&G's "magazine sculpture" 'George The Cunt and Gilbert The Shit' premiered 1969 - the same year that G&G went on stage in front of 20,000 baffled Who fans to do thr rendition of 'Underneath The Arches...
Way ahead of thr time.
i was once in love with a woman who adored westerns! unfortunately she wasn't in love with me and it worked out badly EXCEPT that i taught myself why westerns are ace (to impress her) and THIS AT LEAST remains with me

the best bits in bedazzled = cook's prescient "cool" popstar ("i'm bored"); the bit where dud sings pete's praises until it gets tiresome (to understand where lucifer is coming from); and the sight gag where he sups with the devil with a long spoon!
yes, re Women Who Love Westerns and The Men Who Love Them ...
the person i am thinking of floored with a great line ...
i was talking about alain delon, and his strange re entry in godard's *Nouvelle Vague* [the neglected, lost film, not the phenomenon tout court]; and how if i could look like any movie star it would be delon [esp in Samurai, et etc, blah blah, typical late night bar conversation]
and she said
"i'm more of a warren oates girl myself..."
and i had to stop myself from getting down on one knee and proposing then and there
Re seventies fun, James Young (writer of the Nico book) says something similar here:


Looks like it's Tilda Swinton for the Nico role if it gets made - Bah!
'The decade that taste forgot'? Er, what about the eighties? I reckon the reason the 70s gets a bad rep in 'mainstream' circles is because it was when previously marginalised circles actually made effective demands on what was only vaguely promised in the 60s - feminism, gay rights, racial equality, alternative communities, union activism - these interests actually started to flex some real muscle. Culturally, movies, literature, art and music (especially BEFORE punk if we think outside the white britrock paradigm) took some interesting chances in hindsight. Third world movements also gained strength in a way that many would find way too threatening now.
The fear of the above may have led to Thatcher in the long run - but not all the changes were reversed. Twats like Tony Wilson (an 80s uber-yuppie pseud par excellence)always priase the 'epoch' that made them the most money (he's been dining on Ian Curtis' bones for too long anyway...)
The over-canonisation of the late 60s and punk has led to some distorted perspectives on recent history... AGUIRRE
Re: 'Filth' in the 70s:

Along with fine art, there was a hell of a lot of 'carnivalesque' movies during this time - many were even box office hits!- that had motifs of delerious eroticism, orgiastic violence, defecation, blasphemy, deformity, gluttony, orgies etc. (Last Tango in Paris, El Topo, La Grande Bouffe, Salo, Les Valeuses, The Beast, WR- Mysteries of the Organism, Nic Roeg, Pekinpah, Ken Russell, Tinto Brass, American horror, even porno).

Many such movies posed harsh, difficult questions about history and society. Especially in Europe, with a lot of troubling films about nazi collaboration and imperial cruelties. All those Pekinpah-inspired 'revisionist' westerns and paranoid crime/espionage thrillers questioned US identity and culture in a way that would be inconcievable now.

Listening to a lot of early 70s records now (be it soul, reggae, disco, metal, rock or pop), its funny how murky sex, violence and the apocalypse feature so often in the lyrics and presentation if not the style. Frustrated nihilism was nothing new or shocking in popular culture, punk just gave it an outfit fit for consumption by the press.
perhaps you would enjoy the magazines 'uncut' and 'mojo'.
i havent read UNCUT since i fell out with them - no, more accurate: they fell out with ME, i was MORE than happy to go on writing for them - in 2002 or whenever it was, over that Elvis Costello review (or thats what they said). but then a coule of weeks ago i was round at a friends and starting reading this special SYD BARRETT issue of some magazine... which turned out to be UNCUT. And BLOW ME but they still have my name in their list of Contributors! (Uncut indeed!) Talk about trading off the Symbolic without being able to engage with the Real!
Uncut? 'Castrated' more like!
or perhaps aguirre would enjoy your incredibly tedious website HKM!
Sorry, but your suggestions for what I would enjoy reading are way off the mark... The Wire bores the shit out of me too (that self-congratulatory compilation they brought out a couple of years back made me seriously rethink what I was prepared to pay hard cash for. I mean, would I EVER play Fennesz or Merzbow for fun? Life's too short...)
ps. Looks like media class attitudes were under scrutiny in yesteday's Observer - by noe other than that self-appointed 'voice of the voiceless' Jimmy McGovern (who basically writes about a pre-Thatcher/pre-Windrush/pre-Scargill/pre-Beatles 'working class')!
I frequently play Fennesz and Merzbow for fun.

"Life's too short" obv. the new Godwin's law.
I've listened to Fennesz for pleasure, yes, sure; but I must confess to just not getting Merzbow and his 5 "new" CDs a month, or whatever it is: far from breaking the bounds of anything, it sounds like some approaching-complacent new ORTHODOXY to me. Don't you know *exactly* what you're going to get with Merzbow? Ergo, a kind of Status Quo for chin scratchers?
(I'd love to read a refutation of this, some mad passionate hymn to Merzbow which *inhabits* the sonic domain and drags you in ...; but the problem I have at the moment with this kind of WIRE artist is that there is no *dialectic* involved - everything and everyone is presented so *uncritically*, as tho we all shared some already established presumption of value.
Why *does* so much of the writing around this 'avant' dizcourse - music and art supposedly beyond the pale, out on a limb, searching, degree zero - feel so ... *timid* (?)
The reason that 99% of Wire reviews are so uncritical is that they focus on The Process (yawn) as opposed to any potential aural pleasure (gasp).

The glaring convergence between the reviews and the advertising might - just - have something to do with this desiccated approach...
I keep coming back to Ben W's "comfort food for solvent retards" meme but it applies all over the place; in the can't-afford-to-be-critical Wire and its supposed polar opposite, the let's-only-give-The-Drift-three-stars-because-Rob-Brydon-might-buy-it-and-be-scared approach of the broadsheets (see Paphides in today's Times, e.g.).
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Well, I love Sun Ra but skip the 'noise' tracks that get rated. I still can't get my head round Coltrane after '65 either (but maybe I'm not 'worthy').

The Wire seems to honour those who can 'intellectualize' what they do - theory over practice. Concept, concept, concept. Or, rather dull music that leaves room for hi-falutin' hi-concept essays (like 90% of dub, electro, 'avant' rock etc.). The more 'enjoyable' artists have been relegated to the sidelines of late.

I used to be impressed by the guff, until I actually listened to it! You never seem to find that kind of (overpackaged, overexpensive) music in the HMV sale do you?
A lot of the music recommended seems to exist in a rarified social limbo. A virtue?!?
MERZBOSH! make it so!!

ok this is a poptimists in-joke but it has a CORE OF AWESOME TRUTH (which i choose not to pass on)

music of any kind is hard to write about; almost all writing about music is writing about things that are easier to write about than music

a lot too much wire writing is written as if it's part of a quasi-objective contribution to a future guide to all music aimed at people who don't really LIKE music (but for some abstract reason need to know about all of it)

if i were ever made editor i would sit all the contributors down and get them to actually talk about WHY they actually liked [whatever] and what they did (or thought about and wanted to do) when they played [whatever]'s records

then i would throw all the results in the bin and run a huge feature on GOOGOOSH by ME
As Joe Carducci noted some time ago, a lot of 'anti-music' functions to complement the world of fine art and graphic design, not gigs and young people getting sweaty - indeed, a lot of 'noise' is very 'clean' in that you're unlikely to sweat or get your shoes dirty (or get laid?) around it, just nod and 'discourse' with your 'clever' pals.
Look at how so much 'avant' techno, rock etc. follows a curve from frenzy, desire, heat and sweat to autistic laptop wank and feedback noodle. A lot of 'wireish' music has NO SEX (or death) to it - its a cessation of desire. When ever I attend these kinds of 'events' one question haunts me: Where's the girls?!?
Beyonce or Pan Sonic? Lets just say I have needs too...
Joe Carducci? Now you're talking!

Just to temporarily derail proceedings for a minute, this recent interview with JC is well worth a look:


90% of dub and electro is hi-falutin' hi-concept essays. I see.

It was so much better when they were all slaves, wasn't it?
of course the main prob w.carducci's thesis is that the ACTUAL REAL place for young folks of sweaty type to get together are DISCOS and CLUBS not "gigs" -- ie places where "pop" is not something to be feared
I dont know about Aquirre's wider points but the 'WHERES THE GIRLS' meme continues to haunt me in re Improv and etc. I know it's *slightly* better these days, but the history is VERY dubious. Look at that AMM round up in the current Wire and look at all the smug blokeish beardy pics. This is one of the things I felt when I first moved to London in late 70s and actually *went* to a lot of LMC and Imrpov stuff: WHERE THE GIRLS!? It was stultifyingly macho (in a very playground or WRP kind of way): X wont talk to Y and Z will no longer play with H because H talked to J during dinner break last week... god, it was more "diva ish" (in a purportedly "socialist" or - HA HA HA! - "Mao ist" set-up) than anything I had ever encountered. No wonder I spent the next 5 years in gay discos instead.

The thing that REALLY got me in that Wire AAMM round up was this:
"The oddly evocative title [It Had Been An Ordinary Enoough Day In Pueblo, Colorado] floats into earhshot in the middle of the fist track "Radio Activity", gifted from the ether by Rowe's radio, although an earlier take did have to be abandoned as the Gods dealt up a Boney M record."
Now I'm not (yet) sure why, but in my heart, I jsut KNOW that something about that STINKS TO HIGH HEAVEN; or, even if it dosn't, I dont think I want anything to do with it. Talk about yer actual triumph of elitist dessicated formalism ... I just hate the "did" in that sentence, it seems REALLY give away: "DID have to be abandoned..."
Oh, historical necessity was it?
Or some kind of recessed bitterness that the misguided "masses" would still rather dance and dream and remember to Boney M rather than go within ten miles of their clubby little set up?
Or, in other words: CHANCE is an absolute principle ... except when it doesnt suit us and it isnt.
HA! I must have been thinking about this IN MY SLEEP!!! I just noticed that when I woke up this morning I scrawled this note: 'ARTICLE I WOULD REALLY LIKE TO READ: Interview with all of AMM's ... WIVES."
There, at least, we might find out some *real* details about historical materialism...
(Wives, partners, significant others yeah yeah yeah: i'd only just woken up, OK?)
since i've done editorial work on books by e.prevost -- who i am actually v.fond of -- i can think of several reasonably non-stinky theoretical reasons why some kinds of found sound are more of a problem for AMM than others (i also know someone who LIKES the "rock" music that c.cardew wrote when he became a "maoist" anti-elitist); but i can't understand an editor not handing that piece back and saying ASK HARDER QUESTIONS HERE, cz what these reasons are is the actual nub of the actual issue -- so the stinky bit there to me is editorial, really

it's why i kinda disagree w.aguirre what the problem is people "intellectualising" bcz a lot of em are NOT ACTUALLY THINKING AT ALL abt the things they say they're thinking about (i don't mean AMM, who really do argue stuff out at tremendous length) (for good or bad) (they are the simon stylites of, well, everything, pretty much)

obviously i myself am woebegone enough to have spent YEARS thinking about such stuff (no sweaty togetherness for me!) :(
"Can you get that stupid guitar off the table, Keith - your toad in the hole's getting cold"
I think 'young people getting sweaty' may refer to nightclubs, que no?

Marcello's 'slaves' comment is FUCKING CRASS.
Unlike ostensibly 'entertaining' music like hiphop, R'n'B, disco, or ragga; 90% of electro, dub, toss-rock, and improv IS dull, masturbatory and unlistenable.

I wasn't dismissing the more 'conceptual' performers, just the undue attention they get as an excuse for journos to waffle (look at the amount of pseud books about punk, or how George Clinton appears more 'Wire-worthy' than Sly Stone or Rick James because of his hi-concept).

Up here in the north I hang out with some 'improv/avant' types, and would prefer to avoid music as a talking point with these lovely chaps (the only girls at the gigs are their own girlfriends). And yes, they have keen interests in graphic design and fine art.

I also remember how the briefly ecstatic drum and bass scene (like techno before it) turned into all-male dance-free dreariness as soon as it got carried away with its more 'intellectual' press. I didn't want to spend hard cash on drugs and clubs so I could surround myself with pretentious post-grad mysoginists (ohh! j'accuse!), and congratulate myself on my 'refined tastes' while actually being bored shitless. The alternative was 'superclub' trash, which may represent a more direct kind of mysoginy (look at those nasty flyers).
Me? I'm out for a good time ... all the rest is propaganda...
you meant nightclubs aguirre but i totally bet carducci didn't! sorry abt the quotes round "gigs", it wz a kneejerk at the word (which i hate and want to kill) not a knock at you (except for using a word i want to kill)

"music for being frightened of music to" (as i'm interested in fear -- being a punk at heart -- i'm not totally agin the existence of such a music BUT i wish they wdexplore the deep motivation better, or indeed at all: my response to "i'm interested in this music bcz i'm frightened of sex" wouldn't "haha you lame dweeb fuck off where's my RATT CD", bcz it's an interesting and unusual thing to say and explore --- BUT THEY NEVER DO SAY THAT!)

what's so strange abt the slip IP picked up on is that it totally acknowledges boney m's power as music -- if you want to talk abt HOW that power is EEVIL (as in, what's the psycho-physiological machinery), then i'm all ears: but it's all shared assumption and club-of-no-homers (and i LIKE a lot of it!) (DWEEB PRIDE!)
Before this gets TOO black+white Class War... I think Rave and drum and bass in their original ecstatic forms were *probably* strong enough to withstand a few studenty snobs (who could only 'bear" in all senses to admit their jouissance if it was called "intelligent" drum n bass'; or had derek bailey solo-ig over it; or had a sample of george bush talking about the new world order, etc) - if anything killed these scenes, truly, Aquirre, it was, rather, probably, the same old local 'working class' Thatcherite CRIMS and wide boys who brought violent exploitation (and dilution) to bear on previously utopian scenes... whether it was macho black gangstas in Manchester or steroid-loopy white ecstacy dealers (and 'door security') in the South...

...mind you, even that is probably too simplistic a resume.

Hey! Anyone want to talk about class in LOVEJOY!!!? See, Lady Jane = upper class, Eric = working class, whilst...
I thiny mark's hit upon it with that phrase "shared assumptions" - i think THAT is what irks me, fundamentally here, in such WIRE-y writing: this sense that there was a meeting at which we all agreed we unconditionally uncritically LOVED all this stuff... and no more discussion was needed (but somehow my invitation didnt get sent out....)
i just wish there was a bit more cut n thrust, discourse, argument there, instead of just bald UN EARNED conclusions ... in which sense, it resembles a lot of 'conspiracy' websites who dont know the difference between 'assertion' and 'proof' ... i.e., just saying AMM = *inherently* special or left wing or utopian, REALLY doesnt make it so.
...as per previous Merzbow comment, that doesnt mean i woldnt LOVE to read someone making a passionately persausive case...
but it just seems to be one long polite consumer guide ... (ironic, or wot? Consumer fetishism wins out agin the Maoist renegades...
Re: AMM and BONEY M - I thought the implication was that the use of Boney M on an AMM alb would be a copyright prob rather than an aesthetic/ideological one (tho' I dimly recall that an old ILX thread - which Mark S got Eddie Prevost to post on - talked around the whole prob of why exactly Keith Rowe couldn't - or shouldn't - suddenly play the riff from Satisfaction during the course of a performance, and how the sounds+gestures of free improv have long ago hardened into predictable style - which returns us to that lack of surprise in a Merzbow record...)
Looks like the name 'aguirre' is being adopted by more than one person. Does this mean one is 'parodying' the opinion of the other? If so, who's parodying who? Moreover, what's the point?

I've wriiten SOME of the above, but now someone else is getting into the argument as the same name. Does Subcommandante Marcos have this problem?

Adopting someone else's anonymous alias? Is there some trendy net word for this? 'Scanning darkly'? 'Green Lanterning'?
Does Control know about this?
Re: Boney M actually being a boring old copyright problem... I'm sure Zizek would have something to say about how this frenzied discourse went STONE DEAD the minute someone introduced the actual 'Truth' of the matter... (not that I think that necessarily invalidates the *symbolic* veracity of my previous speculations, t-hee...

I.P. {a.k.a 'Smiley'
If only it had been Groovy Situation that wafted through the ether!
Considering my 'clubbing' years were spent in Liverpool and Glasgow, I'm fully aware of how rampant thuggishness played its part in the death of 'club culture'.

Look at the 'vibe' in the larger clubs - meathead doormen working with 'approved' gangsters, vomit, violence, intimidation, alcopops.

Worst of all, cocaine - grim vacancy or latent violence; not their for the music (or 'meeting people') - just ugly alpha-ape agendas. The music became as blank and callous as the drug. I'm not one to get 'drug nostalgia' - but jesus, at least acid and E produced a joyous moment here and there and (at least) the possibility of some 'magic'. It's not just proles, either - students and 'Barleys' seem to be working on the same empty yob beer/coke vibe (where do those students get the money?!?).

I'm not berating ANY class - just the clearly-marked divisions that have developed (and the ensuing 'marketing' to keep it that way). Each 'demographic' retreating into sterotypes of themselves. I stopped clubbing after getting the curious, sad feeling I was surrounded by ghosts.
My feeling about many of the electronic duo's featured in Wire Magazine is that their celebration of the random, or the accidental smacks of a lifestyle untroubled by financial struggle, or musical talent. This approach seems to be related to the obsession in seventies visual art with removing the 'hand' of the artist in case the audience felt alienated. Ironically, much of the output of these duo's repells the listener because unlike them, the musicians don't seem to have done any work.
... I had a flash of gnostalgia today for the time, a few years back, when I actually persauded the Wire to run my full page (full page!) rave review of the new Missy Elliot cd... seems (sadly) almost unthinkable now.
which particular electronic duos do you have in mind, somekindofman? the celebration of the random cultivated by AMM has its main lineage in the traditional divergence, in japanese ceramics, between elements which can by controlled (like a pot's shape) and elements which can't so mich (the run of glazes); cardew's family are some of the foremost makers in british ceramics, and pretty much pioneered the study of eastern technique in pot-making, and cornelius will have had this stuff comin out of his ears as a kid (of course it also ties up neatly with john cage, who saw deliberative randomness as a means to remove the mishearing of any given sound caused by over-attention to formal structure the sound is embedded in) (in other words, if you know a sound occurs randomly, you can listen to the sound in itself, and not treat it as an echo or an anticipation, or a variation or a development)

anyway, amm are not a duo usually, so i guess you meant other lamer randomisers --- i am personally unbothered by the work-ethic aspect of art... some people put in loads of effort and are still rubbish; others are great w/o trying; it is all very unfair but there you go
I agree that many of these compositions are the sonic equivalent of someone making a bowl - and I should confess that I don't know what/who AMM is, and haven't bothered to find out so far - so yes, my argument is somewhat flawed, but I'm sure you get the drift. As for financial concerns, well it's just a personal thing, I really think that reviews should include a copy of the artists accounts - I just always think: where's the money coming from? It can't be from record sales.
I agree that many of these compositions are the sonic equivalent of someone making a bowl - and I should confess that I don't know what/who AMM is, and haven't bothered to find out so far - so yes, my argument is somewhat flawed, but I'm sure you get the drift. As for financial concerns, well it's just a personal thing, I really think that reviews should include a copy of the artists accounts - I just always think: where's the money coming from? It can't be from record sales.
Thats partly why i mentioned the thing about the WIVES a ways back - all too many male utopian/socialist visions are, in reality, supported by the hard 9-5 toil of anonymous wives or partners. (Full disclosure: I am not, uh, exactly spotless or innocent myself in this regard. But then - I'm a big sleazeball, not a prim-lipped Mao-ist.
i am totally pro a "wire follows the money" section -- i think it would be genuinely interesting (and not just in an AHA!! way, either)

in my case this is as much maths/graphs fascination as marxism -- i have always liked how non-aesthetic analysis tells us stuff which entirely destablises our arts-centred prejudices* -- though in fact many CULTURAL so-called marxists are DEEPLY number-phobic, and really have a totally primitive grasp of economics (and plus many avant-garde artists are basically small businessmen in a niche market) (which is, you know, fine -- but not exactly ECONOMICALLY avant-garde: cf what they mostly think abt
intellectual property rights... )

anyway: YES, let's get chris to start publishing balance sheets! i am so for this!!

*cf eg andrew's point about AMM and their cousins Boney M, and randomness and song copyright -- which is of course absolutely valid, except that i suspect the writer of the feature ALSO missed it, so that ian's reading of critical tone remains true, even if the original situation was actually otherwise
As it happens, I just started trying to slog my way, sentence by sentence, thru a book called 'THE MONEY CHANGERS - A Guided Tour Through Global Currency Markets', which is like a Thicko's Guide to how all this hi tech stuff works (altho maybe not pitched *quite* low enough for this thicko); seeing as I realised what Mark sez was true of me. (And yes, most of the hardcore Marxists I Have Known, could barely balance a cheque book and ... well, usually, I Leave That To The Wife. (As tho this was something to baost about - a frippery, that had nothing to do with the hard clear masculine business of class struggle.)

(Anytime this stuff comes up, it's SO hard to not think of Mrs Althusser, isnt it? But unfair: I mean: just read Dominick Dunne: rich folk go loopy and kill their spouses too. But there's a certain strand of left wing but ANTI theory English critic - Terry Eagleton eg - who tends to seize on the Althusser thing as if it invalidated ... well, FRANCE, basically.)

But yes - this thing about Marxists not knowing ANYTHING about how Capitalism works, at the nuts n bolts level, relates to my unease re Zizek. It just seems to be now ALL culture analysis and NO psycho-analysis, no human pain, no unwinding of real felt perplexity.

(And why DOES Slavoj keep going on about Husbands Who Stray and Women Who Are Raped? I find it creepy, I really do.)
such a project could raise some interesting questions about the connection between kept men and the avant garde - could it be that hanging around the house all day necessitates such activities as loop based experimental music, involvement in obscure anarchist groups, web design etc? I mean, rather than the other way round.
Re: the avant garde arts/economics interface. You only have to look at any issue of the WIRE now, to see that there is in place an International Arts Festival circuit that, I supsect, keeps most of these people alive. Nice for them - but it DOES mean their work isnt really 'tested' in anythng like a (aesthtic OR economic) 'marketplace'. They can go on making the same CD over and over again, or repeating tired experiments in Formalism that were old hat 40 years ago, and never have to face up to the fact that no one very much wants it/them, or is really very excitd by it or interested in it.

They can gie lectures, insall installations, contribute sterile essays to catalogues, and - worst of all, in my experience - they can be 'hooked up' with other artists for "incredible" "form breaking" "cross cultural" "experiments" (Patti Smith Sings Mickey Spillane Backed By John Zorns Neighbour, a computer duo and Sunnn ((((O... you know the kind of thing I mean) which are usually FAR more fun (and far more profitable, in every sense) for the artist than they are for any putative "audience". This is now institutionalised: 3 festivals a month, every month, in every country on earth.

well, my dayjob at CR4FTS magazine has put me in close awareness w.a worldwide century-old cottage-industry circuit which is (more or less) economically self-sustaining, and (more or less) economically ideologically hermetic -- the machinery which has upended it in recent years being the personal computer

i think the "not leaving the house" accusation is a bit unfair -- not least because "house husband" doesn't seem to me an intrinsically wrong role -- but the "not leaving the circuit" part increasingly less so: the refusal of certain kinds of mass-produced commonality becomes a negative branding exercise; combined with the uncritical acceptance of other of mass-produced commonality (critical jargon, eg, reproduced BY THE YARD)

(the quicksilvery eagleton currently present himself as irish rather than english) (he is my paris hilton, hatewise -- i don't pretend to be sane in my abreaction)
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