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Your comfort and safety is important to me

A fuck up in two parts.

Part One – after a glance at the feature in the print paper…

More risible guff in The Observer newspaper this week as it declares that Britain is in the midst of a cultural revolution.
The evidence of this, as reported by Rachel Cooke, who should know better, was reported largely in terms of numbers of millions invested in individual theatres, galleries, spaces (man) and numbers of punters who had passed through the door of said establishments.
This does not constitute a cultural revolution. This strongly suggests that marketing itself IS culture and that culture is, as it ever was, driven by the lowest common denominator.
Until such time as we can report of the impact of artistic activity upon the culture itself it is difficult to see how such claims can be justified by anyone other than those few whose “art” is marketing, whose “art” is publicity, whose “art” is popularity among the voiceless mass of bodies passing through the space (man)

In a particular entertaining side feature one cultural curator was quizzed on her cultural highlights of the year. She herself was French – though now employed in the UK – and not one of her chosen events featured a British artist. Which I myself have no problem with as precious few of my “cultural highlights” were by British artists – but I am not trying to make a case for the UK Cultural Revolution like these lazy fucks.

Part Two – after a speed read of Rachel Cooke’s article in the online version of The Observer…

Yeah, well, ok, her motives are maybe a little purer than I gave them credit for. The paper article was snowballed with third party comment and statistical nonsense – a call-out bukkake tsunami, if you will – so it was nice to be able to read the online version with fewer distractions (many of the call outs are at the end of the article). However, to quote the article… “Last Tuesday, at the Man Booker Prize dinner, I was struck by the evident pride of the corporate sponsors at being associated with such an event; the same goes for Unilever, who sponsor the Turbine Hall installations at the Tate.” (Included here, in the turbine, is the “piece” that allows middle class adults to indulge in flumes without having to engage with the indignity of dressing in trunks and going to the public baths and going down a, real, fucking, flume) And then, this quote, almost immediately after… “But to go all mushy for a moment, art does serve a higher purpose. Best not to get too distracted by pound signs. It’s still the way we tell our stories, the way we create our myths. In a society that is increasingly fragmented, it acts as a kind of glue. “

Glue? Is it? I see no evidence of this glue? I see plenty distraction by pound signs. The way we create our myths? Well what does that mean, Rachel? Really? The way we tell our stories? What, like when we TELL stories?

Higher purpose, pound signs, stories and myths – nothing there that you could pin down and dissect, eh? Perfect liberal middle class communication. Blandly persuasive, engagingly meaningless, and politically safe. THAT is our contribution to culture.

Bless this cultural revolution.

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Weird wiring of the wierd

21 profiles in Blogger have “weird music” noted as an interest. 9 profiles have “wierd music” noted as an interest.
So, 30 profiles like weird music but only 70% of them can spell – or is it something that the left field have adopted on purpose – like musick, magyk, aktion, and “thee” instead of “the”?

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Miracle weight loss in seven days

advanced pocket management exists within anxious souls such as I…

Nokia phone – check
Calvin Klein wallet – check
contents of Calvin Klein wallet – 3 id cards, 4 credit cards, 4 loyalty cards, 1 driving license, 1 photograph of son as a baby, travel insurance card, 1 aa membership card, money in three currencies; sterling us dollars and euros – check
train ticket – check
passport – check
ipod – check
coins – check
keys with french art deco st christopher keyring – check
pen; black elysee – check
notebook; moleskine, blank pages, A6 – check

… so there I was in the centre of the town with no shoes on my feet trying to figure out what a red light meant, what a green light meant, and why there was so much darkness in the heart.

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Dalkeith's Next Top Model

Mother, Father, wherever you are,
Mother, Father, pray for me now,

Sometimes it’s like the silver coin of the moon
is tossed like alms for the poor
across the cold midnight sky

Richard, Judy, Big Brother, pray for me now…

I will not hide these little pants,
These new tits are my currency
(pray for me now)
I do not read. I have no money. I have no power.
I have been designed this way.
(It feels like they’re laughing, like they’re laughing at me)
To love, to not be hurt…
I have never questioned my crying. No-one ever asked me why.
(It feels like they’re laughing, like they’re laughing at me)

Sometimes it’s like the silver coin of the moon
is tossed like alms for the poor
across the cold midnight sky

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small carbon footprint

I watched her insinuate herself delicately into her seat.
There was, however, no grace to the delicacy – only tension.
She flinched from those plump, defiant women perched on their perilous patent heels, and did not dare move to get the old paperback from her bag.
She was a shrew, and she hunched her bony shoulders and clenched her knees, and drew her hair down and behind her ears, and risked a furtive glance from the table only once in a while.
Sensible shoes. Supermarket coat, in brown. Seemingly sexless, seemingly very far from passion in any form other than a remote threat of that which should not be approached.
What gain in her life from the tiny steps she takes without disturbing the sand under her feet?

And so the projection becomes reflection and I am, once again, exposed as beast and hateful tyrant – disturbed into rage as much by all that is weak, all that is meek, as by that which offends through the higher sins.

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What a swell party this is

It is one of the most frustrating things in this life – that I cannot appreciate the full weight of the moment at hand – at the moment at hand. It is only in retrospect that a moment gathers importance, gravity, consequence.
This seems particularly true of music. There is an emotional relationship with music both at the moment at hand and in the memory.
Eno’s treatment of Pachelbel’s Canon had an immediate impact, but is as nothing to the impact informed by the memory of the music in context and, critically, the impact it has since had upon my approach to music – even if that aspect is so ingrained as to be be near subconscious – revealed only by the surprise of hearing the original once again.
…And it happens again and again and often in unexpected ways. The curtain that simply would not rise in 1980 while the Banshees kicked off a set with Israel – then half way through when the curtain finally rose; the shock of the back projection with scudding clouds across a piercing sky. Or the sweaty grime of The Venue when M Gira howled Jesus Christ Come Down! in the midst of an astonishing Sex God Sex, or Mark Eitzel weeping his way through The Thorn in my Side in a bar on Houston Avenue, or the smell of candles in a bitter cold church in the dead of winter while the SCO played Taverner’s Last Sleep of the Virgin, or the beautiful, brutal shock of ecstasy when William Bennett gave me a Whitehouse disk and I allowed Just Like A Cunt to wash right through me. I finally “got it”.
Or, of course, the 2am wine-drunk beauty of John Coltrane and Nina Simone nights, the greater appreciation of eternity with each listening of Part’s Summa…
Music the trigger. Music; forever gateway to the transcendental moment at hand – revisited. Because it was never this good at the time. It is served so well by memory and by time. How, I wonder, does it all land in the heart when you know that time, at last, is running out?

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BabelPish

“Brain of the enterprise – sullen Begg”
“Although if we begin to listen attentively into this quiet horror, soon you understand, that Human Greed those recently named places even somewhere and exceeded on the part of the forcing of verbal horror stories… The frightening sounds, rising to the highest tones, swell in the cerebellum and they return by bad wave somewhere into the region of coccyx.”

Yup, a review of PILGRIM: New World Homestead has appeared – in Russian – in Gaze Into a Gloom. The above quotes constitute Babelfish’s attempt at translation. I still cannot decide if they like it or not 🙂

To confuse things further, the same site has also published a “review” by cult Japanese cyberpunk author, Kenji Siratori, which, although written, approximately, in English, gives even less away than the formal review. Read the Siratori review?

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Make the grass grow in the mouths of the dead

The nostaglia surge continues… I am infected by my past, by the reveries I would once upon a time fall prey to, by the staggering cocktail of mixing location with poetry, history with experience, the written words of the dead and the smell of the stones which they personally addressed.

The Chrysler Building in NYC has always floored me (much like the rest of that incomparable city) and a significant contributor to the effect that the building and the city have on me is Lorca’s Poet In New York collection. Here was a fellow of deep, deep insight who could only speak like a child. Here was a fellow whose Poem of the Deep Song killed me as a child and left an impression that I have yet to recover from – a scar that will never heal, thank God! A scar that shames the prosaic reality that marks much of my journey into middle age. “Brave Guitar, heart gravely wounded by five arrows” “She thinks the world is tiny and the heart immense” So here, in its entirety is Cry To Rome, (From the Tower of the Chrysler Building) by Federico Garcia Lorca.

Be aware, of course, that his obsession with death foretold clearly the morning that the soldiers took him to the Fountain of Tears, shot him in the testicles and humiliated him further until finally extinguishing his life and burying him in an unmarked grave, by the side of the dusty road, at the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War.

Apples barely grazed
by slender, silver rapiers,
clouds torn apart by a coral hand
that carries a firey almond on its back,
arsenic fish like sharks,
sharks like wailing drops that blind the masses,
roses that wound
and needles that lace the blood’s plumbing,
enemy worlds and loves covered with worms
will fall on you. Will fall on the great dome
that anoints the military tongues with oil,
where a man pisses on a dazzling dove
and spits pulverized coal
surrounded by thousands of hand bells.

Because there is no one to bestow the bread or the wine,
or make the grass grow in the mouths of the dead,
or spread the linen of rest and peace,
or weep for the wounded elepants.
There are only a million blacksmiths
who forge chains for tomorrow’s children.
Only a million carpenters
who make coffins with no cross.
Only a crowd of laments
unbuttoning their clothes, waiting for the bullets.
The man who scorns the dove should have spoken,
screamed naked between the columns,
and injected himself with leprosy
and shed tears terrible enough
to dissolve his rings and diamond telephones.
But the man dressed in white
knows nothing of the mystery of the wheat ear,
or the moans of a woman giving birth,
or the fact that Christ can still give water,
or the money that burns the prodigy’s kiss
and gives the blood of the lamb to the pheasant’s idiot beak.

The schoolteachers show the children
a marvelous light coming from the mountain;
but what arrives is a junction of sewers
where cholera’s nymphs scream in the shadows.
The teachers point devoutly to the enormous domes filled with
burning incense;
but beneath the statues there is no love,
no love beneath the final crystal eyes.
Love is in the flesh shredded by thirst,
in the tiny thatched hut struggling against the flood;
love is in the pits where the serpents of famine writhe,
in the sad sea where the dead gulls drift
and in the obscurest kiss bristling beneath the pillows.

But the old man with translucent hands
will say: Love, love, love,
acclaimed by millions of the dying;
he will say: Love, love, love,
amidst the gold lame that trembles with tenderness;
he will say: Peace, peace, peace,
among the shivering of knives and melons of dynamite;
he will say: Love, love, love,
until his lips have turned to silver.

Meanwhile, yes, meanwhile
the blacks who empty the spittoons,
the boys who tremble beneath the pallid terror of executives,
the women who drown in mineral oil,
the multitudes with their hammers, violins, or clouds—
they’ll scream even if they bash their heads against the wall,
scream in front of the domes,
scream driven crazy by fire,
scream driven crazy by snow,
scream with their heads full of excrement,
scream as if all the nights converged,
scream with such a heartrending voice
until the cities tremble like little girls
and knock down the prisons of oil and music.
Because we demand our daily bread,
alder in bloom and perennially harvested tenderness,
because we demand that Earth’s will be done,
that its fruits be offered to everyone.

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The Nostalgia Surge

Maybe its a hangover from having to prepare a Best Man speech, but I feel absolutely infected with an urge to record snapshots, unconnected vignettes, form the lost years – a whole hill of name dropping, a seething pit of nocturnal episodes. I loaded four years of photographs onto one of the laptops the other morning and the program did something very strange – it flashed all the images in rapid succession as it set about building its internal catalogue. Each frame lasted a fraction of a second and four years of my life passed by in about three minutes. It was as emotionally exhausting as it was exhilarating and perhaps there’s something in me wanting to raise the same dizzying effect with the memories that weren’t photographed. I recall a few – well, many – years ago that speed would generate the same effect.
Some of the new recordings are attempting to capture this snapshot, careering, flashback effect – though not with personal memory. The snapshots come from several months worth of audio snippets captured from low rent television – in particular, unmissable treats such as Booze Britain, extreme Plastic Surgery, and Cable Tarot. These episodes only existed as sketches, but I feel the thing starting to coalesce now.