Wednesday, September 24, 2003

"An arrangement is when someone stops playing." (Eno) His diary is interesting, good to be reminded that some people think and are serious. Of course, better on big ideas than details (why professional philosophers aren't in public life), but no fool. I didn't realize he was so dubious about computers. The book's from mid-'90s; wonder what he thinks of ProTools.

Costello press event yesterday. I liked the songs better after hearing vocal/piano versions -- so I guess the event was successful. Still, the failures of craft (setting of syllables to notes) bother me. I may be the only person not currently writing a Broadway show who gives two shits about this.

My God, the terms of American cultural debate really are bankrupt. If Fresh Air is pornography, Sarah Vowell's recent piece on Johnny Cash was a snuff film. (Distinction rarely made, though -- seeing someone's work in the context of their own previous WORK is different than seeing it on the lens of biography. Excusing myself for recent Steve Turner piece.)

Monday, September 22, 2003

Can't even begin to catch up, won't try. Decided today that I need to push forward with more resolve on several fronts over the next month. 1) Health/weight loss. Want to be down to 210 by the time I go to NYC, and 205 by the time I go on tour (about 1 month exactly). 2) Type up poetry MS; some of the deadlines are the end of this month, I think a lot of others are in Feb. 3) 3 major freelance pieces -- really the most pressing is the Costello/Newman. The Young People can probably wait until they come to town, I can interview them then and turn it in early Nov., and the same for Farber. But I've been writing parts of the Farber piece in my head from the moment I took it on, so I should really just start trying parts of it -- I could probably finish on the road. Always an issue, what to bring to read or try to finish on the road. 4) I -really- want to finish my EP for Douglas before I go East. I owe it, and I have some selfish reasons to. To this end, the idea is to do about 10 hours of work a day, any day where this is at all possible. I know from experience I can't prioritize all of this easily, but I've almost put myself in one of those periodic situations were I fuck off for practically a month and push a bunch of medium-term goals into too short a frame. Let's get all this done in 4 weeks instead of 2!

Couldn't sleep last night, woke up around 2, fitful between then and 5, wrote a song -- one of those 'Tired of the West' experiences where it goes from idea from execution in the space of a night rather than my usual slow accretion. I think it's called 'Two Knives.' Had a short story idea too, though it may be too recognizable Boggsian -- what would happen if a small business that said, forged money welcomed cheerfully? (Would that be legal, if a small self-contained community chose to use non-legal tender, as long as they didn't pass it out of their community?) Hell, there's no gold standard anymore for the official stuff, and what's gold anyway, other than durable. Scrip. Funny, b/c the song has a Lockean bit too.

A few notes from the Farber screening (Musketeers of Pig Alley/Grand Illusion). Whoops, where's the right notebook?

Sunday, September 07, 2003

utilities/futilities (cf. 'ill at ease' rhymes in R&H's 'To Keep My Love Alive.")

nice man/Weissman (use of fictional character as internal rhyme in Sondheim's 'Broadway Baby' cements the fiction)

"Let the rich bury the rich. I can only destroy their language." (Bromige, interview in Jacket #22) Fine, except the rich will bury us as well.

"However exultant a work's texture may be, terror and wandering laziness shaped it." (Kostenbaum, Poetics of Indifference) Also: "Wrongly, we often imagine that, as exercise burns off calories, industrious habits can force writing into existence." A curious analogy -- wouldn't the effect of exercise lead one to thing that exertion would destroy, erase -- break down -- writing? Alchemy.

Hoberman misidentifies Harry Warren as a lyricist in his small book on 42nd St., casting everything else factual into doubt. In general, he's not very interested in the role of music in this musical -- could it be, just a little, that the fact that this musical brought the form back in fashion had, as well as its good social fit with the moment, and Berkeley's dances, that it had -better songs- than a number of others. (The musical offers something of this theory, by way of the rejected number "It Must Be June," zipless Kern-style boiler plate.) And performances: Dick Powell's leap into the third A section of "Young and Healthy." (Hoberman calls him a strangled saxophone -- more like an unmuted cornet.)

"...often, when we have an apprehension that turns out to have been uncalled-for, we should be wary, and be guided into gauging the vastness of what we embarked on less by the result (often a shallow and simplified interpretation of the latter) than by the apprehenseion)..." Toufic, Over-Sensitivity, 15. The context -- writing, and the incredibly, almost unreadably bitter run-up to the body of the book via a clutch of letters to women who aren't interested.

Toufic -- despite his 'over'-sensitivity, a classically masculine logorrhea. Or, if you don't want to gender it, aggressive. He's throwing down a gauntlet; could you write this much, in this much detail? (The way prose expands a detail is neither temporal and spatial -- though the text 'takes up' space and reading it 'takes up' time. This is an essay, not a poem, because 'takes up' is in scare quotes.) (Someone who overuses them recently asked me what they are!) Van Vogt. General Semantics.

Have you ever said too much in a letter? In your work?

Go to documentary on '60s-'70s revolutionary politics, primarily take away ideas for poster design. Miss another one a few days later. Videocassette of 'La Chinoise,' rec'd several days ago, finds its way under a corner of the sofa, just one corner peeking out.

Anti-mogul: Fire Hecht; hire Brecht.

This is a poem, not an essay, because I can simply write 'alchemy' or 'general semantics' and excite a bundle of connections between the bruited notion and whatever it's attached to (parataxis). This makes -you- think -I- have thought long and hard, done research, made the connections. It intimidates.

But, I could compress this into a phrase: 'Intimidation by parataxis,' which sounds better, reflects what I wanted to say, and is perhaps illegible to most readers. Though where it is placed might help.


Tarkovsky died on 12/29/86; my 18th birthday. This is notable because I have heard from various sources that Rasputin was excecuted on the same day. But was the calendar the same? (Note passage in 'Oversensitivity' where a friend wishes Toufic happy birthday on Godard's; my jealousy that my friend Guy share's Godard's, also Lou Reed's, while mine is Mary Tyler Moore's.) What could be more meaningless than sharing a birthday?

There is baring the device; and then there is flaying it alive and hanging it skinless in the window of the work.

Saturday, September 06, 2003

Sans Soliel (1982)

'small fragments of war enshrined in everyday life'

'he used to write to me'....with his camera-stylo

commercials as haiku.

Basho: "The willow sees the heron upside-down."

Cape Verde -- guerilla war against the Portugese. 1959. Forgotten revolution.

There is no simple/single way to read off the character of a culture from the organization of its music.

work - produce - distribute [don't know what this was attached to]

connection between illness and occupation

"Death Takes A Panda"


My mother was half Symbionese.

By any meanings necessary.

ZONE -- Tarkovsky, Cocteau (distorted/decayed video images). Toufic.

Getting rich off your critique of capitalism. Of course, getting rich doesn't stop capitalism. Or: Not getting rich off your critique of capitalism doesn't stop capitalism.

'60s revolution -- those rejecting wealth joining with those rejecting poverty. [paraphrase]

'a moment stopped would purn like a frame in front of a projector' !!!

Kamikaze: In the plane I am a piece of metal, on the ground I am a human being.

Monday, September 01, 2003

final kspc show of the summer

rekindle -- ice skating girl -- outpost comp
a luna red -- it is your anthem
party of one -- snap you like a twig
scrawl -- good under pressure
fred neil - that's the bag i'm in
randy newman -- great nations of europe
lisa moore -- dreadful memories (rzewski, cantaloupe)
juana molino -- el perro
esg -- you make no sense
sharon jones & the dap-kings -- I got a thing
ranking joe -- rent man style
stark reality -- say brother
george soule -- get involved -- black & proud comp (trikont)
grady tate -- be black
jojo melons -- dancing days
evan parker/george lewis -- four
steve lacy -- a ring of bone
roswell rudd -- jackie-ing (monk)
would-be-goods -- 1999
Band of Blacky Ranchette -- Getting It Made (Case/Buckner duet)
Kelly Hogan -- Dues -- Nashville sdtrck tribute (Mint)
Risk Relay -- The Bottle Let Me Down
Lazy Cowgirls -- Lookin' Back
(ebs test)
Theoretical Girls -- Computer Dating
Tyondai Braxton -- the violent light through falling shards (jmz)

Upsetting: Idly looked at Amazon reviews for -Tempting-, and there was a two-star one headed 'no melodies to speak of.' Shouldn't I be able to brush this off? Oh, he goes out of his way to compare me unfavorably to Stephen Merritt. Thank you.

-Hot Heiress- (1930). Not incredible, 3 R & H songs, uses the line "A cat may look at a queen," in dialogue not song.
-Oh! Mr. Porter- (194?). Marvelous, really entertaining British railway comedy.

worked a little today, not enough

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