The Local Noise

Saturday, 4 February 2017 14:31
songofcopper: (neg)
What unwary wordsmith coined the phrase ‘fake news’? I really wish they hadn’t. Far from its original sense (purposeful lies and/or mischievous satire, liable to be believed by the undiscerning reader), it has now become a throwaway insult to be lobbed in the direction of any media statement disliked for any reason by any consumer, of whatever political persuasion. It’s like the current affairs equivalent of “Your mama” - nyah, nyah, nyah.

Journalism does seem to be a dying art, of course. Local news is a joke now. Our ‘local paper’ is just one of a great many owned by one of those companies that owns local papers. The websites of the supposedly individual local papers are pretty much interchangeable, except for the header. Proof-reading and sub-editing seem to have been suspended, along with any genuine interest in relevance or depth. (…No, this in itself is not news.)

Yesterday they published an article with the headline, ‘Someone’s spray-painted ‘F**K TRUMP’ on a wall in Exeter’. Illustrated with copious modestly-blurred photographs of the graffito in question, the article does touch on local protests against the enthusiastic American amateur’s alarming Batman-villain approach to statesmanship, but its main focus is the titular act of opinionated vandalism. The distinction of concluding statement is given to the city council’s intention to wash off the spray paint. A whirlwind gallop from world affairs to parochial minutiae: no matter how global the issue, reliably, inevitably, our purview telescopes.

Elsewhere, we learn that ‘Devon woman finds face inside her pepper’. The fruit-or-vegetable at issue does not even have the decency to impersonate Elvis, Jesus or any of those other frequent habitués of perishable foodstuffs - ah, the juxtaposition of immortality and transience! - instead offering a simply-rendered smiley. The writer does not neglect, however, to tell us the woman’s age, in traditional tabloid style. Mind you, this has to be an improvement on that other popular strand of food-related journalism - finding a mouse, a centipede or mould in, on or under your dinner.

If happy produce is too workaday for your taste, then how about this: ‘Here’s why Adolf Hitler's telephone, used to bark his evil orders, is in Dawlish’. Apparently it was smuggled to Britain out of the Berlin Bunker by a British officer, and is now being offered at auction by the officer’s son. The auction is taking place in the USA; the vendor hopes a museum will buy it, but one may conjecture that there are a few folks across the pond who might like to own this object for more personal reasons.

I find myself imagining a horror movie in which the telephone is haunted by the spirit of the late Führer and anyone who uses it becomes his possessed slave, abetted by a horde of Nazi zombies. But wait a while and this very scenario may turn up as an example of present-day ‘journalism’.
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.

Cravattitude

Thursday, 26 March 2015 18:47
songofcopper: (Poste Dalferinin)
Something about today required a dash of vivid red. (I think it’s because I’m very tired: wan, weary and wilting. I really must force myself to go to bed at the proper time, though this is inconvenient to the natural flow of interesting conversation.) Anyway, red certainly does fill in the blank of one’s personality when it is AWOL owing to mental and spiritual fatigue.

BeforeTheGlass
“Would you buy a secondhand book from this person?”

Within: Crimson Silk, Cosy Coffins, Pens In Profusion, Notebooks For Idiots )
songofcopper: (Sparks - Big Beat)
[*Really, Dirtbert, not a coyly-implied Human Triskele. Soap well thy mind, pray!] …Amanuensis, dearest! I Am One…! That is to say, I have lately fulfilled a long-held ambition - been paid to type up a manuscript for an author. My author is an eccentric, voluble Welsh fellow who comes into the shop fairly often. He is a mine of stories, and quite the namedropper. Now he is composing his Memoirs of a Welsh Childhood, and on learning that I am an accomplished typist (and liking me as being the Right Sort of Fellow), engaged me on the spot to take care of the tippy-typing. We agreed a price for my labours, he wrote me out a cheque and off I went with the manuscript in its purple folder. Today I returned the purple folder, along with a blue one containing a crisp and lovely typescript, and a memory stick containing All the Wordses.

Commas, Cash and the Suburban Dilettante )
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 )

What Cosmé Did

Monday, 20 May 2013 19:13
songofcopper: (Prince Stash Klossowski de Rola)
[I have Been Away - bodily, I mean, not in the Jeffrey Bernard sense (oh, no, he tended to be unwell, didn't he, not away... still, you get the idea...) - and before that, there were Entirenet issues to contend with. So I feel sure I need to catch up on commenting &c. I shall go to it with a will, but while it is fresh in my mind, here is an account of my weekendly doings... It is LONG, but let me not make it longer still by apologising for my verbosity.]

I went to London this weekend just gone, to see the Residents in concert at the Barbican. Originally I had intended to be frugal and go by cheap coach - I even bought the tickets - but eventually I realised that nobody deserves to be stuck for four hours in that kind of predicament, and bought train tickets after all. In another Universe, I suppose I endured the coach - and it must have done my soul the power of good, because meanwhile, in this Universe, A Pleasant Time Was Had By All. (Y'know, it's an arresting thought. Can you believe simultaneously in the Many Worlds hypothesis AND the Soul? How does that work? Ladies and Gentlemen, we interrupt this performance and beg to enquire if there is a Jesuit in the house...)

ANYWAY, the foregoing is not Germane To The Matter In Hand, so I'll put it in the Tray Marked Pending. (All brains must have a Tray Marked Pending, and ideally a Circular File, too.) And having done that, let's get on with it, shall we...?

My state of mind before embarking on this venture was much enlivened by having found this picture:

Cosmé is offered gallantry and accepts it )
What Would Cesare Do? Cosmé sez Confess! )
Do Freemasons eat sushi? )
Musical Interlude With Vitiligo Heart )
Stick A Hat On It - and have a bowl of coffee )
Cometh the hour, Cosmé the confused )
What Charlie Mortdecai Would Do With A Befouled Sandwich )
Monastic Ambience Gained )

And that brings us (I can tell you're glad) to those welcome words: The End.
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: (Da Zess!)
I read this article just now, on how people's judgements on others' taste in music affect their relationship choices.

Enjoy your free cheese! :-D )
songofcopper: (Da Zess!)
I read this article just now, on how people's judgements on others' taste in music affect their relationship choices.

Enjoy your free cheese! :-D )
songofcopper: (Tea is the drink of great detectives! :-)
Right now, I am waiting... waiting for a carpenter.  And I don't mean Jesus.  (In other words, this is not a post about how many days are left until Christmas...)

No, I am waiting for a modern-day carpenter who is supposed to be working on the bathroom...

[*knock knock* Haha, just as I was typing the above, he arrived.  Now that he's ensconced in the old salle de bains, let me continue...]

Tea for Me )

Thank You Mr Charles Hayward )
songofcopper: (Tea is the drink of great detectives! :-)
Right now, I am waiting... waiting for a carpenter.  And I don't mean Jesus.  (In other words, this is not a post about how many days are left until Christmas...)

No, I am waiting for a modern-day carpenter who is supposed to be working on the bathroom...

[*knock knock* Haha, just as I was typing the above, he arrived.  Now that he's ensconced in the old salle de bains, let me continue...]

Tea for Me )

Thank You Mr Charles Hayward )
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... )
songofcopper: (glance)
Something I've been meaning to write about on here for a while is what you might call ‘found sounds’.  Sounds – noises, really – that you hear sort of incidentally, as you are going about your daily round of activities... sounds that were never intended as an entertainment commodity... sounds that are only incidental to some activity or other, that were not made on purpose… and yet they sound, maybe only for the briefest, most fleeting instant, like music.

Arf, She Said )

This moment of convoluted introspection was brought to you by a combination of boredom and low blood sugar.  Time for some food now…
songofcopper: (glance)
Something I've been meaning to write about on here for a while is what you might call ‘found sounds’.  Sounds – noises, really – that you hear sort of incidentally, as you are going about your daily round of activities... sounds that were never intended as an entertainment commodity... sounds that are only incidental to some activity or other, that were not made on purpose… and yet they sound, maybe only for the briefest, most fleeting instant, like music.

Arf, She Said )

This moment of convoluted introspection was brought to you by a combination of boredom and low blood sugar.  Time for some food now…
songofcopper: (lalalalala!)
This entry is like that ‘bonus track’ right at the end of the CD that gives you an appalling fright when it starts up, really loudly, two minutes after (or so you thought) the album concluded.  A total non sequitur.  None of this stuff goes anywhere else, so I thought I’d stitch it together in haphazard fashion.

Despite the fact that it’s a very short ditty, it’s in three parts.  Four, if you count this introduction…

Identities

songofcopper: (Default)
songofcopper

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Eavesdrop, snoop, and sigh with yearning…

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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