In the Pink

Saturday, 12 March 2016 17:56
songofcopper: (fred)
This Friday I’m tasked with saying a few words to introduce a film showing. (Film club time again!) I think my words shall indeed be few: rather than loose off a tirade o’trivia, I’ll just share a few brief personal impressions. Let’s face it, any old so-and-so can look up trivia on the internet (in other words, do it yerself, fact fans). Besides, I’m not an expert (on any topic, least of all cinema!). All I can bring that is mine alone to give is… my perception. *flutters ridiculous quantities of eyelash*

Yes, well, anyway - the film I’ve picked is one I’ve seen numerous times, but not very recently - and I’m not going to re-watch it in advance of the showing (I want to anticipate enjoying it again, in company, rather than taking a Mastermind-specialist-subject-revision approach). It’s one that has a distinctive look, a mischievous sense of humour, and stars some of our most beloved Silver Screen Luminaries. It’s silly and frothy, but does dip a toe into potentially-serious notions of identity, personal authenticity and the masks we wear for one another and ourselves. (Plus, it’s a musical. I imagine that may divide opinions right there.) My title of choice is ‘Funny Face’, starring Audrey Hepburn and Fred Astaire.

Just now, rather than elaborate a comprehensive overview of the film in this, my own cosy little corner of the Entirenet, I have it in mind to plumb a tangent inspired by one of its songs. Namely, ‘Think Pink’.

Pink to Make the Boys Wink )
songofcopper: (Purrodigy)
Last evening I was reading a fascinating article about the ANS - an unusual synthesiser developed in Russia in the 1930s. It was designed in 1938 by a certain Evgeny Murzin and was named after the composer and occultist Alexander Nikolayevich Scriabin. The unusual thing with the ANS is that it is not operated in the conventional way of synthesisers - or of musical instruments in general - i.e., you do not instruct its pitch and tone by pressing or touching it. To quote the article linked above,

‘Instead you etch images onto glass sheets covered in black putty and feed them into a machine that shines light through the etchings, triggering a wide range of tones. Etchings made low on the sheets make low tones. High etchings make high tones. The sound is generated in real-time and the tempo depends on how fast you insert the sheets.’

Splitting the atom of the self )

*

Another friend started me on another, somewhat-relevant train of thought by discussing the propensity for psychological states to affect physical ones. This meandered towards an idea that it would be fun to have physical states affect musical forces (e.g. your blood pressure hooked up to guitar effects). Immediately my mind was full of hilarious possibilities.

Unwitting automata )

*

Human will has scant reach, I feel. The last thing I want is Power - or at least, I’m tolerably certain that I don’t have any. Rather, I’m an instrument awaiting a Composer.
songofcopper: (CAKEZ!!!)
Thinktide.

"Music (of quality) provides nutriment - spiritual calories. We all need these and are actively, though often unconsciously, seeking them out."

That thought from the other day has not left me alone since. Food, I think, is the only useful metaphor (that I've yet encountered) for the Substance of Music.

(Yes... the Substance of Music. It can be present or not-present, it can be perceived, it can be made and it can be contained. It can only be destroyed in the way that anything can be 'destroyed' - by being broken down and remade into something else.)

I've always felt that the only helpful way to describe music is to invoke food-language. You can't get far by explaining that the Joe Bloggs Band sounds a bit like the Fred Jones Group crossed with the Mary Smith Quintet - this is of limited help to anyone who hasn't heard Fred Jones or Mary Smith... or indeed to anyone who dislikes Fred Jones or Mary Smith.

But if you say that the Joe Bloggs Band combines richness with astringency, or spiciness with a lick of salt, that gives an immediate, visceral notion of what it might be like. Most people eat food, let's face it.

So there's that.

But it struck me suddenly, powerfully, yesterday, that how we make, share and consume music - how we prepare it, how we give and receive it - is exactly like our behaviour around food. Going way beyond the dotty linguistic tropes favoured by yer hapless scribe (*waves!*), our music, culturally, exhibits the same tendencies as a cuisine.

It was the word 'hobby' that got me to this thought. I had read two people's remarks on 'music as a hobby', and somehow that word rankled - it felt incorrect from my perspective. When I'm making music, it's not something I do to pass the time or to give me something to talk about at parties. (I'm not suggesting that this is really the aim of many people who make music, by the way - just that the word 'hobby' is not quite apt.) There is also this idea of separation between 'work' and 'hobby', and a thought that for each participant, music is one or the other. We have, alongside that, this notion of 'turning one's hobby into a career' - which tends to be characterised either as The Ultimate Ideal or Utter Blinkin' Sacrilege.

When I put this dissatisfaction with the word 'hobby' next to thoughts on music-as-food, suddenly it became obvious.

What I am doing is not an optional entertainment activity - it's as necessary and automatic as cooking a meal.

Breaking Bread )
songofcopper: (pendigestatory interludicule ^_^)
Thinktide.

Perhaps when we respond to a music it is filling up a space within us/going to meet an appetite/our appetite is going to meet It. Music (of quality) provides nutriment - spiritual calories. We all need these and are actively, though often unconsciously, seeking them out.

Grammatical Gravy )

Good old Universe. It's a bit like Staples: 'You want it, we got it!'

Permit me, gentle reader, to elaborate. (And, cheekily, to address you as 'gentle reader'.)

Thursday night, I Ooood the Tooob in search of the luminous Mr Fripp. A small urge to cup an ear around his well-received album 'Exposure' led me hither and yon.

Circular Encounters )
songofcopper: (le dauphin de kobaia)
"What is your ambition?" people like to ask. "What do you want to do? What do you want to be?"

Witless questions all - unless you come pre-packaged with the desire to inhabit the societal and economic rabbit-hutch that has been set aside for you. Few do, and fewer still actually find their respective rabbitry ready and waiting for them, clean and inviting and lined with hay. No: it doesn't really work like that.

Also, 'ambition'... I have a real problem with that concept - Aspiration. I tend not, as a general rule, to Aspire. I Respire, and that is sufficient. ;-) Ambition is gnawing, which is best left to rodents*. [*Silvanic in-joke, which nobody but me will appreciate...]

Anyway... drifting orf ye pointe, innit? To resume: those silly, silly questions, which anticipate answers suitable for inclusion in University application forms and job interviews. I (in this current context) refuse to answer in the directed manner. Nevertheless, I do know what I want to do, and what I want to be.

I want to Elucidate, and I want to be an Elucidator.

That is, one who shines a word-torch on Meaning.

It's not about forcing understanding, or reducing the sense of something into bite-sized, palatable chunks. Very often, Elucidation is achieved opaquely. The aim is to enable and stimulate whoever reads or hears your words to decode their own sense of the thing. To tickle up a teasing itch of Think.

Wildly bold to state such an aim, of course, but if I have one particular challenge en train at the moment, it is... Death to Self-Effacement!! False Modesty be Damned! Saying Things is one of the few things I can do well, so I may as well do it. Besides, annoyance and affront (which you may feel on clocking my presumption) are excellent thinkstimuli. ;-)

*

"Once upon a time there was a cat called Fripp and a dog called Eno." There ought to be a cat called Fripp and a dog called Eno - it seems correct, in an unbudgeable way. Whatever, with Elucidation in mind, these two characters - Robert Fripp and Brian Eno - are Elucidatin' away like champions. Mr Eno, obligingly, has made a deck of cards. "Fetch!" you may command him - "Go on, boy, fetch me an Oblique Strategy!" Turn up another card and there it is. Bingo! Of course, now it's up to you to decide what to do with it. And he's not going to tell you - nope, he's wandered off to bury a squeaky toy (always innovating sonically) or to rhythmically consume water from his bowl (lap, slop, splish, drip - a compelling ambient soundscape!). But he offers no obstruction, and every entry wins a prize.

But the four-footed Fripp is really very inscrutable. Now purring, now biting, now cuddly, now sulky, there is no telling what he's going to hand you. Very often he will not even look you in the eye. His utterances are concurrently obvious and cryptic. He has an oddly precise memory for dates that is curiously joyous. His approaches come from unexpected directions: he is left-handed - woo, SOLIDARITY - but has ordered his world around playing the guitar the right-handed way. (Further, the man claims to have been, prior to embarking upon his musical trek, tone-deaf. At which my brain goes, Huh?!?! This is less like Mohammed scuttling dutifully mountainwards - more as if he'd dug up the entire mountain with teaspoons and rebuilt it in another place! Seriously, I believe 100% that very few humans are truly tone-deaf, and that most who feel they are might be coaxed, with practice and encouragement, to sing a decent 'Happy Birthday', but... to go from 'tone-deaf' to World-Mending Musician is... Something.) He gives off a most unusual energy. A wild and strange gathering of the utterly ordinary and of towering otherness. I dunno, I... like him. Watching and listening to various snippets of Youtubeage in the last few days, hearing him Say Things, I came away quite elated - delighted - hypnotic mischief afoot. This, I declared, is most presently and persistently An Elucidator!

This man is also a contrarian. As protective of his privacy as a sea-urchin... yet he posts in his online diary about chiropody appointments and what he had for lunch. :-) (I love this. Especially the photos of cakes! He likes cakes.) Then again you might get, alongside the cream tea, an impossible premise or philosophical conundrum. Or a rant of apoplectic expostulation... followed by a moment of stark and honest humility. I approve utterly, too, the pursuit of 'gentling'. :-)

Geographically all is auspicious. I grew up rather near to Wimborne (the Frippsource), and the elegant Worcestershire town where he is now installed with Ms. Toyah has great romantic significance for me, for it was there that my wedding-dress was made. (I used to go for my fittings - becoming more and more ensilked each time - and leave David to potter - to gentle, perhaps! - before reuniting with him, usually to repair to a tea room.)

*

When feeling capricious one day, I Asked Facebook what one ought to do in re King Crimson. (Well... it's there, innit; I've always left it for others, but it is good to break the habit of abstinence once in a while, and who knows, I might like it...) A very kind friend sent me a lot of CDs (all nice legal ones, I hasten to add - in his profession one gets given these things, and ends up with multiple copies, which it was most generous of him to pass on to me, rather than having an ebay moment!). This is strictly opposite to my preferred MO when sampling a new music. I like to pick one album and do that, and if it excites me enough I'll get another, and if it really excites me I shall glutton. But I don't like to glutton from nuttin', as it were. Plus, I am still VdGGing and owe my foremost attentions to them. So I've given the KC roundels the odd spin, but not yet in a very conscious way (this is to come), nor in the passive-listening* way that is best when approaching something 'difficult' - although, if it has recognisable melodies, and it begins and ends, it's not 'difficult' by my reckoning... but it's not 'Old MacDonald Had A Farm', 'Moon/June/Spoon' type stuff, so it'll need its due share of Thinktide - and will receive it. [*The passive-listening thing works really well, though, on anything your brain isn't quite ready for yet. Just put it on whilst you do something really boring and mentally untaxing - cleaning, or filing. Don't 'listen', until your attention Goes There of its own accord. That's when you know you're Getting It.]

But, no, yes, what I was leading up to saying was, more than ever I recognise in my style of music-appreciation the need (more often than not) to hang the music on a personality. And the need for that personality to have the correct ingredients in order to inspire useful thought/be in harmony with current aims or sense-of-self. A very self-regarding way of looking at things. But I realise also that it has to be like that. I've 'been musical' all my life, and my first experiences of making music (making my own music) pre-date my first interactive contact with other people's music. All of us compare everything to ourselves, always, but I do that more than most others, because my world has always been a consciously self-made world. I become elated and excited in the presence of hints of fellow-feeling, even when they come from a mind that is utterly alien - any hint of communion or empathy is precious, but it is especially so when you have not been inspired to begin (you just began, inevitably). You don't need to be inspired by others in order to continue (you will continue, inevitably) but... it's good to realise that you can be inspired by others - the world you have made may connect with other worlds. Usually there is exquisite timing at play (the Ultimate Music) - many, many times I've encountered something at not quite the right moment, filed it away in the back of my mind, and had a Large Revelation later on. Sometimes it takes years, but the moment always comes.

By which circuitous ramblement I intend to say: the experience of listening to a new music is always less piquant and meaningful (for me) if it's purely about the sound of the music. If there isn't a personality to enjoy. There are lots of things I can hear and think, "This is really good" - but it does not move me because I am not somehow clued in to the person who made the music. It doesn't have to be that I like the person; just that they interest me. My reasons for being interested can be pretty daft or whimsical, but the interest must be there.

And Now, the interest being found to be there (purring - biting), I shall happily anticipate a cream tea date with KC destiny when the moment comes.
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
It's very unusual for me to go so often to concerts as I have in recent months. The reason for this is tripartite - first, I live in rural seclusion and quixotically combine distance-from-cities with reliance-on-trains. (I'm a whimsical so-and-so.) Second, I'm picky about music. Only a very few things really please me, or please me well enough to send me out-of-doors after dark to stand-or-sit in a room with 'em. Thirdly, the musical personages I do like are often (a) semi-retired, (b) permanently retired to the Sussex Downs or (c) irrevocably retired to the Next Life. This makes that rare beast the concert-I-want-to-go-to a Special Occasion indeed.

I wasn't sure when I started listening to Van der Graaf Generator whether I'd get an opportunity to hear them (or just Mr Hammill) play live. They had done the whole getting-back-together thing in triumphant fashion, even weathering a personnel change and sending out new albums into the aether - pretty well-received new albums, too (haven't heard these yet myself, but people seem to like 'em), which is quite unusual amongst reconstituted prog rock* formations.

A Joyful Noise )
songofcopper: (Albrecht Dürer Forever)
[Note: lots of lovely pictures in this post. Most images should enlarge when clicked. I've tried to choose the best quality ones available, so if you like poring over old paintings in detail... have at it. ;-P]

Permit me to take you with me on a small art history adventure. First, I went in search of a little more information about the boy in the painting - my little doppelgänger.

The Sad, Sweet Prince - in the Shadow of a Bigger Brother

philipp_baldung
Pfalzgraf Philipp, 1503-1548

Leave Nothing Untried )

Green Hans: Dürer's Friend & Apprentice

Hans Baldung Grien, St Sebastian Altarpiece - saint and artist in detail (1517)
Hans Baldung, called Grien, 1484/5-1545

The Man in Green - his Many Guises )

Two Pairs of Eyes Meet Across an Easel

Hans_Baldung_Freiburg_flipcosme_face

Imagining the Conversation )

In Search of Green Hans: Purported Self-Portraits

Hans_Baldung_1526a

Who Are You? )

Restitution at Journey's End

Hans_Baldung_Young_Man_1509

Hans Escapes the Nazis )
songofcopper: (full head & shoulders)
[Notice to Patrons: I've purposefully avoided reading any in-depth reviews of this film before writing mine. Also, I am unwellversed in matters comic-related. So if I say something stupidly-obvious, that is why. I'll be interested to go off afterwards and see what other people think! NB: Spoilers.]

Yesterday we went to the kinema to see 'Man of Steel'. It was quite an unusual experience. Usually I go to see these comic book action movies and just sit there and shrug at the blandness of them. This one, however, caused such symptoms as the Raised Eyebrow, the Scoop-of-Air Palmed at the Screen, and the Turn to your Neighbour and Smirk. Also the Falling-Open Mouth. Really.

Man of Stelae )
songofcopper: (neg)
Question: Must we automatically despise people for the wrongs they do? (You must, as always, supply your own value for 'wrongs'.)

On a related note, in referring to my own acts, I can no longer think of 'right' and 'wrong': only 'correct' and 'incorrect'. I find this makes useful contemplation much easier.

Further: people do like to say that if you're not supposed to do something, this makes it more attractive. But that is only true when there is some sort of circumscription - some proscription - for you to kick across. For example: no non-religious person is truly capable of blasphemy - and blasphemy, for a non-religious person, holds zero allure. Myself, I will not wear or use any religious symbol. I just will not. First, because they are not meaningful to me. Second, because offending against orthodoxy would itself be meaningless for me - it would be a completely pointless expression of... what? Poor manners? Thirdly, there can be no thrill in it. Nothing I could do with a crucifix could be anything other than... lame, and insincere.

I saw a young man in town today with 'Day of the Dead' iconography tattooed up his arms. Unwise of me perhaps to adjudge him un-Mexican in the extreme, based only on his appearance, but he did look terribly English, and those sugar skulls are excessively fashionable these days. I had to wonder whether he'd chosen the device for spiritual (anthropological?) reasons, or just because it looked nice. We have a phrase for that nowadays - 'cultural appropriation'. Fair enough. Personally I don't want to cluelessly ape the symbols of a culture I have not experienced. But then again, what cultural devices have I, that could be appropriated by others? It's disturbing to realise that you have nothing of the kind - no sacrilege is possible, no defilement.

No line there for another to cross, and no currency in crossing another's. Where, then, does desire originate? And how can I feel in the presence of another's trespass?

How very curious it is: with very few exceptions, the figures who interest me the most tend to be trespassers*. This, despite my own complete and utter harmlessness. I can even be somewhat clairvoyant here: being drawn to persons who appear fairly socially acceptable - admirable, even - at first scrutiny, but whose inner life is later revealed to plumb depths that would enrage, disgust or shock most nice folks. It should be pretty clear to you that I am not most nice folks. Well, I'm nice. But... I can condemn an act, but find it very hard indeed to condemn a whole human being.

Context-free, is what I often am. I have no home-context in which to situate my reckonings - no ground zero. In all things I'm a pair of scales that insists on balancing. The Devil's Advocate - or just on the fence? Except... there is no fence!

Often we 'go with the majority' rather than following Instinct. Context-free: at this point in the Lifelong Trek I don't find it helpful or comfortable to judge my actions based on how many people agree with me or would do the same as me - or how many would condemn me. Correct and incorrect are not to be arbitrated by others. Context-free.

Moral questions - ack. I must abstain from parsing them, being unequipped to do so. My only correct response to anything is to strive to be sincere and to be self-defined. I forget this occasionally, and want others' approval, forgetting that perhaps the onus is just as much on them to earn mine.

*

Today in the bookshop we were presented with a slim volume of verse (listen to me, 'a slim volume of verse'... stock phrases au-go-go!!) - translated from the Japanese, into German. I once passed a GCSE in German (I got a 'B') which enables me to pronounce it beautifully, whilst understanding something in the order of every ninth word. I stood there, making the correct mouth-noises, whilst my two friends - the one my Anglo-Saxonist colleague, the other our pop-culture-expert regular - tilted at translation, indulging in flights of lateral guesswork. If I do say so myself, it sounded very well, my recitation; but other than divining the poet's interest in cranes and cherry-blossom (to which the pen-and-ink illustrations conspired to clue us in), the meaning remained elusive. I rather prefer it that way, for once in my life.

*

Coda: I voted today, in the local elections; and the only honest (...honest!) choice was... the Green Party. I can't imagine they'll get in, despite my (...ha!) illustrious patronage. Once again I prove HARMLESS, and leave no mark behind me.

*

[*Post-scriptum: Case in point: I posted this on Facebook earlier:

"Did ya ever get the paranoid feeling that Salvador Dalí was following you...? I've been reading his novel, 'Hidden Faces' (no, no, his navel! His Magnificent Octopus! ...Baldrick must've been a surrealist!) and his 'Secret Life of Salvador Dalí'. The navel-octopus is pretty good; the 'Secret Life' (an autobiog - an autofiction?) is where it's at, though - it's just as you'd imagine it would be, only more coherent/clever/readable. Anyway, I turned up to the bookshop today to be confronted with the sight of Himself staring out from the cover of some exhibition catalogue, whilst beside it sat a general book on surrealism. Then some donations came in - a book about Ms. Gala's progress through the ranks (Eluard, Ernst, Dalí), and a huge book of colour reproductions of Dalí paintings. I suggest: The man loved notice so much he can still feel us looking at him! Even posthumously, he queues up to be admired, drawn to where the eyes are! May madness: mind your shadow, and don't leave your watch on the windowsill in the sun. :-)"

As Max Bialystock said, 'They find me... how do they find me?!' Well... sometimes, Clive, I find them.]

STINK.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013 12:10
songofcopper: (disdainful domination!)
I truly love the notion of the 'signature scent'. A bit like a leitmotif in air. One of the most desirable luxuries I can imagine is to have a scent created in my name. If I am ever rich in coin, I will get right on it - along with hiring a driver and acquiring a number of very small, almost monastic cubby-holes in picturesque locations. I'll be like a one-woman Landmark Trust. I could not bear to live in a mansion - too ostentatious - and of course excess cash would have to be Made Useful somehow.

If I had what it takes to be a philanthropist, I'd start right at the pavement's edge with Homelessness. Then I'd get on to Education. (The Arts can take care of themselves - I tend to feel that creative urges happen as a matter of course. But they can't be fruitful to a very great extent without the necessary plastic skills and lack of life-crushing worry that come with (a) a safe place to live and (b) some form of educational instruction.) As for Saving The Planet - buying up trees etc. - I can't see that this is likely to help much when so many humans are too busy surviving to care about such sentimental extravagances. A human being in survival mode is a dangerous article. In our world we have millions of 'em. A bunch of well-meaning fellows choosing to buy an electric car is never going to make a dent in that - what about the hordes of people having to burn garbage just to keep warm?

You will forgive me my digression - I've always had a stubbornly practical streak, 'neath the flummery.

Speaking of which - back to the flummery.

I can take or leave make-up, and fashion goes right over my head (that is, it occupies a goodly number of people who seem to need something to care about, or at least some sort of ammunition with which to judge others, but for me there can only ever be Utility or Dressing-Up). But I can never feel right in myself without wearing scent. And choosing something to smell of is an intricate process. There are 1,001 unwritten messages in a bottle of scent. Undercurrents of advertisement: what does this stink say about me?

Volatile Organic Vocabularies )
songofcopper: (Demetrio Stratos.  Oh yes.)
Sometimes, beauty irritates me. I mean the cheaply-handsome, symmetrical, inborn kind of beauty - flawless skin on a young face, native perfection. It is subtly annoying, like a too-clean house. (Unfair of me to feel this way, I know; intolerant. Call it a dietary caprice if you will - like to unnecessary refusal of dairy for reasons of the mildest digestive discomfort. Perhaps I should put up with it - suffer nobly!! On the other hand, to assume a noble pose is an indulgence too far, even for me.)

All my life I've been suspicious of that which is too easy to love. Things obviously-pleasant seem to stick in my throat, somehow. Odd, really, considering how Effort remains a foreign concept in most regions of my being. It's as if the first muscle I deign to exercise is my heart. It can't love what it needn't try to love, and in desiring to try it succeeds.

It also cannot love what does not reward its trying. You will never see me dance attendance on indifference.

The foregoing only goes to prove that Your Correspondent was not fitted for a diet of sugared comfits and anodyne harmonies, served on plastic platters at dainty arm's length. I'll take instead the scouring jagged savoury stew served up by The Magic Band. I put off until rather late the decision to go and see them in Bristol on Monday, and for some reason I still don't feel 100% after the rigours of travel etc., but it was a good decision indeed.

Drool-flecked blitherage & conceited muso-burble )
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
[Notice To Patrons: there is a lot of ‘I’ in this entry.  Look Away Now if self-referential rambling is not yer glass o’tea...]

So apparently, last night saw a gathering of the luminaries of the Progressive Rock world, and prizes were handed out to the sparkliest amongst them.  Yes, lads ’n’ lasses ’n’ leftovers – it was none other than the Progressive Music Awards.  This scintillant conventicle of caped crusaders convened under the auspices of Prog Magazine – a glossy, overpriced periodical that I, for one, have failed to buy in several railway stations.

Prizewinners (really, it’s too like Speech Day at a minor public school) included Rick Wakeman, who was hailed as ‘Prog God’ (which presumably equates to Victor Ludorum) and Peter Hammill, who took laurels in the ‘Visionary’ category (…I dunno, is that like Scripture Knowledge?!).

The above intelligence gives me furiously to think.  For it seems that Progressive Rock music, after decades of being considered unspeakable, inscrutable, an under-the-counter brown-paper-bag habit of the stubborn few (‘On entend le prog, on ne cite pas’ to misquote a Frenchman), has suddenly been deemed… ok.  Venerable, perhaps.  And even somewhat hip.

This astounds me, and slightly worries me as well.  I’m astounded because generally, anything that seeks self-consciously to be intellectual, earnest, extravagant and emotional is given short shrift by approximately 80% of British citizens.  (Sincerity and cleverness make them uncomfortable, don’t you know.)  The worry comes because… if these scary and outré creatures, these wide-eyed pioneers, daring to dream of hydraulically-operated mushroom-shaped stage architecture and unfathomable wells of lonely lyrics composed upon esoteric topics and giant synthesisers, if These People are now part of Thee Establishment... well, thusly are they rendered toothless.  The really excellent thing about prog rock, in my opinion, is its ability to make people uncomfortable – its propensity to needle otherwise rational beings to outbursts of apoplectic discomfiture.  “But you can’t do that!” they splutter.  “You mustn’t!  It’s -- it’s not decent!”


Beneficent Aneurysm )
songofcopper: (peter hammill)
[Notice To Patrons: there is a lot of ‘I’ in this entry.  Look Away Now if self-referential rambling is not yer glass o’tea...]

So apparently, last night saw a gathering of the luminaries of the Progressive Rock world, and prizes were handed out to the sparkliest amongst them.  Yes, lads ’n’ lasses ’n’ leftovers – it was none other than the Progressive Music Awards.  This scintillant conventicle of caped crusaders convened under the auspices of Prog Magazine – a glossy, overpriced periodical that I, for one, have failed to buy in several railway stations.

Prizewinners (really, it’s too like Speech Day at a minor public school) included Rick Wakeman, who was hailed as ‘Prog God’ (which presumably equates to Victor Ludorum) and Peter Hammill, who took laurels in the ‘Visionary’ category (…I dunno, is that like Scripture Knowledge?!).

The above intelligence gives me furiously to think.  For it seems that Progressive Rock music, after decades of being considered unspeakable, inscrutable, an under-the-counter brown-paper-bag habit of the stubborn few (‘On entend le prog, on ne cite pas’ to misquote a Frenchman), has suddenly been deemed… ok.  Venerable, perhaps.  And even somewhat hip.

This astounds me, and slightly worries me as well.  I’m astounded because generally, anything that seeks self-consciously to be intellectual, earnest, extravagant and emotional is given short shrift by approximately 80% of British citizens.  (Sincerity and cleverness make them uncomfortable, don’t you know.)  The worry comes because… if these scary and outré creatures, these wide-eyed pioneers, daring to dream of hydraulically-operated mushroom-shaped stage architecture and unfathomable wells of lonely lyrics composed upon esoteric topics and giant synthesisers, if These People are now part of Thee Establishment... well, thusly are they rendered toothless.  The really excellent thing about prog rock, in my opinion, is its ability to make people uncomfortable – its propensity to needle otherwise rational beings to outbursts of apoplectic discomfiture.  “But you can’t do that!” they splutter.  “You mustn’t!  It’s -- it’s not decent!”


Beneficent Aneurysm )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
...Like a wheel within a wheel...

Nope, I have not been tilting at windmills.  Instead, I've been to a record fair, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long.  And instead of going on my own to run the gauntlet of shifty fellows in leather jackets scowling from behind paste tables groaning under the weight of several kilos of Beatles albums, half a ton of Jethro Tull (why is there always half a ton of Jethro Tull? Not that I have anything against 'em!) and reams and seams of Pink Floyd, this time I had a David to accompany me!  (Just call him Sancho Panza...)


Tryin' to make a living off an elpee's worth of tunes... )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
...Like a wheel within a wheel...

Nope, I have not been tilting at windmills.  Instead, I've been to a record fair, for the first time in I-don't-know-how-long.  And instead of going on my own to run the gauntlet of shifty fellows in leather jackets scowling from behind paste tables groaning under the weight of several kilos of Beatles albums, half a ton of Jethro Tull (why is there always half a ton of Jethro Tull? Not that I have anything against 'em!) and reams and seams of Pink Floyd, this time I had a David to accompany me!  (Just call him Sancho Panza...)


Tryin' to make a living off an elpee's worth of tunes... )
songofcopper: (pendigestatory interludicule ^_^)
Some would call these times that we are going through 'the Information Age'.  Personally, I see it as 'the Age of Opinions'.  Nowadays, having and voicing one's opinion is as de rigueur as knowing one's place used to be in the (bad) old days.  Sadly, our opinions are not seeking and finding pertinent targets - this is not a sudden rush of democracy to the head.  Sadly, sadly, it is mostly 'opinion smalltalk' - vox pops, comments to news articles, product reviews... and the more baroque form, the one that might get you your five minutes of fame (sorry Andy dear, we can't run to 15, what with inflation) - blogging.

Occasionally I think to myself, "Pshaw.  Blogging.  How hard can it be?  Umpteen morons do it constantly!  I can string a decent sentence together.  I am opinionated!  I've always wanted to be a columnist!  Maybe I should try it one of these days..."


My Excitingly Scientific Left-Handed Married Life? Oh Puh-Leaze!! )
songofcopper: (pendigestatory interludicule ^_^)
Some would call these times that we are going through 'the Information Age'.  Personally, I see it as 'the Age of Opinions'.  Nowadays, having and voicing one's opinion is as de rigueur as knowing one's place used to be in the (bad) old days.  Sadly, our opinions are not seeking and finding pertinent targets - this is not a sudden rush of democracy to the head.  Sadly, sadly, it is mostly 'opinion smalltalk' - vox pops, comments to news articles, product reviews... and the more baroque form, the one that might get you your five minutes of fame (sorry Andy dear, we can't run to 15, what with inflation) - blogging.

Occasionally I think to myself, "Pshaw.  Blogging.  How hard can it be?  Umpteen morons do it constantly!  I can string a decent sentence together.  I am opinionated!  I've always wanted to be a columnist!  Maybe I should try it one of these days..."


My Excitingly Scientific Left-Handed Married Life? Oh Puh-Leaze!! )
songofcopper: (poirot)
...Shock treatment -
I'm doing fine!

So saith the Ramones. ;-)

However, this is perhaps a rather drastic solution to the problem of Happiness and How to Get It.  Unless your neurons have really and truly given up their normal function, the chances are something simpler may help. ;-P

One Day We'll Look Back And Laugh... )
songofcopper: (poirot)
...Shock treatment -
I'm doing fine!

So saith the Ramones. ;-)

However, this is perhaps a rather drastic solution to the problem of Happiness and How to Get It.  Unless your neurons have really and truly given up their normal function, the chances are something simpler may help. ;-P

One Day We'll Look Back And Laugh... )
songofcopper: (Zzzzzzzappa)
I just came across a band called Wolf People, via a music-related email list.  As you can see, Captain Beefheart is numero uno in their long list of influences, which also includes lots of familiar names from the worlds of folk and/or psych, plus a bunch of other influential stuff.  ...And Frank Zappa. ;-)  So far, so possibly-interesting.

Here it comes - Mondo Rambling Philosophical Brain Dump... )

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This journal is not a private diary, it is more like an occasional, imaginary column. Therefore, much of it is on public display. However, if you want to read my occasional attempts at creative writing, my Caution Elf tells me I should only show that stuff to my friends. You know what to do. :-)

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