Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Boiling, Boiling


There are some 'proper' posts cooking away on the back-burner at the moment - I find actually getting shit down on virtual paper difficult enough when I'm forced to, let alone when I choose to do it of my own free will - but for the moment I'll direct your attention to a rash of interweb goodies that have come onto my radar recently:

1) A belated column at Pitchfork on the Ghost Box phenomenon, almost on the point of convincing me I need to get the entire GB catalogue (I possess not one album, not from hatred so much as apathy and terminal stinginess.) I'm still not completely sure to what extent Pitchfork is allied with the evil forces of Williamsburg, but it certainly seems appropriate that a bunch of joyless, irony-bound ruling-class cunts should be so late in coming to Ghost Box (and we should note that it's Mike Powell, a decidely non-evil (and potentially British - am I wrong?) writer (and former Stylus associate editor) who's brought this to the evil world's attention) - the time-scrambling textures, structures and signifiers of Ghost Box have an effect that's as much political as it is aesthetic, as we may well know: converting the base linearity of neo-liberal historical narrative into the spinning, out-of-joint time of the record. Which brings me onto...

2) A magnificent two-post run at Fangirl (and we'll quietly thank the Lord I've been left out of this meme - no fucking way I could compete with this). There's also a post from a while back - the end of March, if you can believe it - that I've wanted to respond to for a while, but haven't gotten round to (bizarrely, despite being one of the most beautiful pieces of personal writing I've read in ages, it has only one comment.) Reading Doris Lessing's The Golden Notebook I've been finding it more and more necessary to acknowledge the political and the personal in my writing; the sheer difficulty in doing this is one of the reasons why nothing much has turned up here in a while. The confused interplay between various things which I find difficult to write about at all - my history of depression, my tentative anarchism (currently waning towards an increasingly melancholic socialism), the working-class identity that I sometimes feel I've simply more or less invented for myself, the ghosts that drift around in my own and my family's past (my black ancestor, my grandfathers' experiences in the two World Wars, the occult significance of the New Forest, where my parents grew up) - make these issues inextricably difficult to either negotiate or get myself out of. Emmy's doing all of this for me, and far better than I ever could.

3) A slightly disturbing post from Owen Hatherley almost a week ago, partially concerning the somewhat sickening rhetoric of the walking-troll reactionaries who seem to rule the south coast. Living in a part of the country where almost every person you meet - even people who've been in the working class (ex-labourers, retail workers) all their lives - whilst carrying the most apparently nice manners, is revealed as having a total contempt for human life at the first mention of politics. That's what it comes down to: the Nietzschean dismissal of socialists and anarchists as "soul-sick" remains incorrect, because the right are the ones with the largest levels of insidious hatred in their veins, a poisoned loathing for human beings in general. Working-class conservatism as neurotic disorder; now that's a notion I can understand.

4) Not words, as such, but Il Canto Sospeso has had a remarkable run of albums free to download (as long as you have .rar decompression software.) I know I'm not supposed to publicly support internet downloads, but it's not as if you'd be stealing from independent artists - it's Deutsch Grammophon, for fuck sakes. In any case, most of the composers involved are dead. The Messiaen Edition Vol. 4 CD is very much appreciated, and massively beautiful, as if the Bartok Concerto For Orchestra/Music For Percussion, Strings And Celeste and Glenn Branca's Symphony No. 1. Not so recent, but make sure to download the Il Canto Sospeso/Kindertotenlieder CD, by Nono and Mahler (now out of print, so don't feel guilty). And leave comments!

4 Comments:

Blogger owen hatherley said...

I, for one, would greatly enjoy any discussion of familial New Forest occultism. (something extensively covered in this, which I read recently)

May 20, 2008 at 5:19 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hmmm... I might try it at some point. The problem is the entire issue is terribly vague, and all readers, in order to get what I'm blathering on about, would have to be a) unreconstructed socialists, and b) Coil/Current 93 fans - an uneasy combination. Essentially, it hinges around the fact that the New Forest was the site for a number of self-sufficient communes of occultists and pagans in 19th C. There's a book in the local library about it, I'll get it out on Monday...

May 25, 2008 at 3:07 AM  
Blogger emmy hennings said...

Hey Dan,

Thanks for your kind words. Two points:

a) Don't let your anarchism wane into melancholy socialism! We could do with more anarchists in the ranks, and less melancholics.

b) Mine or anyone else's writing couldn't possibly "do it for you", in terms of untangling whatever ley lines you find yourself compelled to follow. I very much look forward to reading your own explorations, in time.

May 27, 2008 at 5:25 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Great, another to add to the 'Doomed Projects' list... I'm currently researching a bit about this, some of it may slip out here some time...

June 1, 2008 at 2:19 AM  

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