Monday, June 30, 2008

REFILLING THE BOTTLE 2

A curious echo in today's Guardian on this topic of lyrics by the ever-provocative Germaine Greer, who's always worth reading.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

REFILLING THE BOTTLE

When a magazine interviewer once rather contemptuously asked me to comment on and justify some lyrics I'd written, my first instinct was to avoid rationalisation, and so to buy time asked for examples of song lyrics for which he had great admiration. By chance, this led me to something really quite profound.

'When you got a job to do, you gotta do it well,
You gotta give the other fellow hell!'


When you ask an open-ended question like this, there's a tendency to wonder what our own response would be. And as I saw the poor chap shift in his seat, I also tried to think of songs I liked and then in vain to think of good bits. It was awful. I couldn't think of one single lyric that I wasn't embarrassed to quote from aloud. He was clearly having the same problem because after a few minutes' squirming mumbled, 'Kurt Cobain... Jim Morrison... Paul McCartney.......' - and he a music journalist! I insisted on examples and he point blank refused to mention any!

'Come on, baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus'

Now why is that? To me, this is directly related to quality as recently discussed - taking a song's lyrics out of the music and isolating phrases completely guts them of any worth they may or may not have. You're stripped right down to your bare aesthetic criteria like a streaker in a supermarket and it's fucking embarrassing. For example, see Rick Moody go starkers (and you'd think Patti Smith would be a safe bet), or notice how Alexis Petridis wouldn't just be an industry hack if he really knew the secrets to good songwriting; while in contrast let's chuckle at Sting's expense. It seems while we can make fun of anything we don't value, paradoxically, not so easily can we be explicit about the whys of what we do value.

'I found it hard
It was hard to find
Oh well, whatever, nevermind'

As for reading about the world's greatest lyricist and the many comments, one soon realises how impossibly pointless an exercise it is. Yes, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen and others are great lyricists but, aside from the arrogant assumption that most of the nominees are taken from a tiny pool of mostly white contemporary English-speaking songwriters, explanations and extracts are worse than futile. At best, you end up merely highlighting the edges and limitations to what you're able to understand and appreciate; at worst, it's like a public display of wank material.

Monday, June 23, 2008

SPIKE

What would encourage you to drive a car more carefully and safely? What would encourage you to look out for other road users more diligently, and not drive under the influence? You can choose between state-of-the-art airbags, seatbelts and crumple-proof doors, or simply a big fucking sharp spike sticking out of the steering wheel and pointed towards your heart.

This idea isn't so fanciful and can be compared to the German town of Blohmte's traffic experiment (apparently a total success in its first month with not a single incident to report among cars or pedestrians) - essentially the antithesis of the highly maternalistic UK.

In fact, the more you think about it, the more extensive its implications are revealed.

THE MODEL

Saturday, June 21, 2008

METASIGNIFICANCES 3

#3: quality

Here's a question for you: how do you define quality? In particular, quality of thought and expression. When you stop and wonder about it, it seems simple enough because we all clearly know what it is, and what it isn't, when it is and when it isn't, whether it is and whether it isn't, and yet - and yet - it somehow seems to defy serious explanation. In fact, the more you attempt to define it, the harder you try to make sense of it, the more infuriating and tantalising and elusive it becomes.

As I see it, quality in fact belongs within the fourth level in my model of consciousness, the ocean of possibility, the vast infinity within us where there are no rules and any thing can happen and any thing is possible. And where the third level is the illusion of identity, it's the ocean of possibility where a person's identity is in fact hiding. It's a place which cannot be seen or accessed by our conscious thinking mind (what are you not thinking about right now?). And furthermore, it is an infinity that does have boundaries and limits, just as the irrational number pi is larger than 3 and smaller than 4.

Artistically speaking, one strives to bypass the first three levels and communicate directly with the fourth - it touches that part of us that most wants to be touched in a way that we wish to be touched. It's perfectness and it's the image of nothingness. And it's where our understanding of quality resides.

A definition of quality is that quality is a notion of expression that is only known and recognised by an unconscious non-thinking process, and therefore since definition is a conscious thinking process, quality cannot ever be defined.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

EDINBURGH NIGHTS

a new night for music like no other : where the rules of the West no longer apply, where the sound of voodoo and santería is mixed with raw electricity : where we have the secret, you have the dilemma, and we have the solution - welcome to CUT HANDS!

opening at Henry's Cellar Bar in Edinburgh on Friday, 25th July from 7pm till 10pm - I'll be doing an afro noise DJ set and there'll be live stuff too! more details soon!

Monday, June 16, 2008

THE EMPATH

Sometimes you don't know whether to smile or be very afraid. This morning I needed a good moment to regain my composure after choking on a mouthful of muesli upon seeing this new ladies' undergarment.

Apparently, 'if it's worn for 8 hours a day for 8 to 12 weeks, women might experience more permanent results ... of body redefining and lifting' (my italics). At best, a rather flawed claim. Reading on, the 'Road Test' makes one wonder why, being so concerned about looking her best, she's humiliating herself in that awful picture.

There's perhaps more to it than first appears (pun intended, now utterly regretted) for it raises that issue of what motivates people (in this case women) to wish to alter their appearance. And ironically, the one person you'd think would matter most to Gina, her husband Ron, seems to be by far the biggest net loser.

The familiar rationalisation is 'I'm doing it for me', yet one assumes she doesn't put make-up on to watch telly, nor to go to bed, and hopefully also removes her LipoContours. As I see it, it's once again the illusion of identity - that fragile construct that needs to be constantly fed through validation from the world around us, from mirrors, reflections and prisms - in this case, and most crucially, other women.

Friday, June 13, 2008

FILLMORE DISCOS 5

Not a good month at all and I'm afraid that this time, unless you like a good romcom, my only recommendation is to avoid the following...

Surfwise (**)
I hate everything to do with surf culture otherwise this is quite an appealing documentary

In Bruges (**)
the stunningly beautiful city of Bruges deserves better than this highly contrived sub-Tarantino trash revolving around three chumps with guns; Brendan Gleeson is excellent throughout, Fiennes trousers another cheque for his journeyman effort and, as with Woody Allen's disastrous Cassandra's Dream, Farrell tries hard but is no De Niro

Chaos Theory (*)
this reworking of The Dice Man plot device starts off reasonably enough - halfway through, however, it gets so unbelievably soppy you'll find yourself reaching for a bucket

Definitely, Maybe (****)
good romcom


Be Kind Rewind (*)
if you cast Danny Glover and the morons' moron Jack Black in your 'indie' movie, you get what you deserve: half a star - absolute rubbish

Vantage Point (*)
the plotline of this rotten assassination thriller is about as implausible as the official explanation for 9/11 - also works as an extended commercial for Sony HDV camcorders

Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (*)
this plumbs new depths in lobotomised blockbuster awfulness, couldn't even get through to the end of this utterly juvenile dross - don't know what the hell I was thinking

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

DESIDERI PENSIERI 2

DJ Benetti : updates for June!

HUNTLEYS AND PALMERS AUDIO CLUB
Hetherington Research Club
Glasgow, UK
Saturday June 14 at 10pm

COCADISCO
Liars Club
Nottingham, UK
Friday June 20 at 9pm

COCADISCO
ICA
London, UK
Saturday June 28 at 9pm

Friday, June 06, 2008

NOBODY'S DREAMING

There was a kid at school who was accorded demigod status by all of his fellow pupils for possessing the most incredible skill for which we would all gratefully have sold our eternally inspired souls to emulate. No ambitions of being train drivers, firefighters, movie stars, or astronauts for us - just the dream of having Danny's unique skill.

Danny would cheerfully do demonstrations in the boys' toilets, whose urinals ran adjacent to an external walkway, by elevating his stream with such infernal diabolical accuracy as to pass cleanly through a tiny slit window near the ceiling thereby splashing golden droplets on unsuspecting passers-by. The height alone that he effortlessly achieved was miraculous and yet, despite diligent practice, our own attempts to get anywhere close were in comparison - quite frankly - derisory.

A couple of years later, having now left school, I saw Danny shambling along the street looking rather down on his luck and cutting a rather lonely figure, and despite much lingering nostalgic affection for him, realised how utterly silly our erstwhile admiration seemed in retrospect.

This morning I noticed a story about John Lydon in the Guardian and, by the time I got to the full list of tour dates, realised that it's just a desperately fucking pathetic press release.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

FLAMBOYAN


The most beautiful tree in the world.

ENDURE 2

Thanks so much for all the nice messages and comments, either in person or online - it's been both unexpected and quite overwhelming, and it means a lot. Oh, and it really isn't true about the violence.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

METASIGNIFICANCES 2

#2: I think - I believe - I feel

There are things that we know, and there are things that we know that we don't know - this is about the things that we don't know that we don't know. We are all surely aware of people who always have something to say about every single thing there is.

And what I'm going to say most certainly isn't an opinion, nor is it even necessarily the truth or something I believe in or am right about - it's a free invitation through words to take my hand and join me up on a ledge where there's an interesting view. Once you're up here, you can even push me off, or do anything else you like - and I say that to relieve you of all responsibility of response.

We often talk about superstitions like black cats, and broken mirrors, lucky charms - or even refer to religion as being based upon superstitions. Actually, as soon as we begin to refer to something as a superstition, it already implies that it's a belief that's lost its force because, using the word (as I like to do) in the wider meaning of 'a belief that's harmful or not useful', it's clear that a superstition is most harmful when it just is (e.g. 'sinners will go to hell'), and not merely a superstition ('it's a superstition that sinners will go to hell').

We love to rationalise outcomes. A friend recently said that he didn't think he could get a girlfriend because his cock wasn't big enough, another woman friend mentioned that she felt she was too old and not attractive enough to get the job she wanted, and of course the list is just endless. They are essentially carrying around superstitions, but as we see, worse because they are not identified as such.

If you try to stop thinking about anything, what happens? You carry on thinking - in fact you can't not think because it's not really you thinking at all, it's an it (referred to as the you in several songs of mine) and it's what gives us all the illusion of identity. Neither will you stop believing or feeling.

So let me finally haul you up here onto this precarious ledge. I think - I believe - I feel are superstitions, always.