Thursday, April 19, 2018

About bloody Morrissey



Wednesday, April 18, 2018

About research

Academic research is mainly a matter of finding stuff that people have already written about (so you can include proper references) but got wrong (so you can justify your own pathetic existence by disagreeing with them).

Saturday, April 14, 2018

About spaghetti

I’m generally allergic to anything that hints at the “modern art is bollocks, a three-year-old could do that” flavour of philistinism but this made me giggle.

Thursday, April 12, 2018

About words and things

From Benjamin Woolley, Virtual Worlds: A Journey in Hype and Hyperreality (Oxford: Blackwell, 1992):
In the commonsense world of science and especially mathematics, ‘words’ really do not matter, because they represent no reality, they float above the surface of it. In the world of ‘theory’, however, the very opposite is true. Reality exists in language, in history, in culture, in all the contingencies of human action and creativity, in the very substance of Hamlet’s being, in ‘words, words, words’. A universal, objective reality, and the science that seeks to reveal it, was the great sustaining myth of the modern age. The question is, then, what happens to it when the myth is punctured, when the paradigm has shifted?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

About silence

I haven’t seen the movie A Quiet Place yet, but the concept sounds fun and anything that shows up the noisy eaters has to be good. That said, it does reinforce the idea that silence per se is vanishingly rare; removing sound only reveals more sound beneath, as these Quakers found when they squeezed their 30 minutes of quiet into a podcast.

But, as usual, someone got there first:

Sunday, April 08, 2018

About the NME (RIP, etc)

Paul Morley, one of the old NME hands mourning their alma mater in Record Collector:
Post-Wikipedia, writers spend about nine-tenths of their piece setting out facts and received wisdom before saying anything original. Back then, we could make it all up. You didn’t know the “facts”. Didn’t really need them. I remember doing an interview with the Monochrome Set, in which I numbered them, one to six. What mattered was the words, the making up, that colouring in, which became the truth, the narrative of the music.
Now, this may feed into our modish hysteria about Fake News, and also confirm the prevalent belief that Morley is nowt but a posturing pseud. But surely it’s preferable to the recent banal prattlings of another NME alumnus; or the Best of British list, so male, so white, concocted by listeners to a radio station that once had vague claims to being alternative, whatever that might mean.

Friday, April 06, 2018

About Jeff Koons

An article about the forthcoming sale of a sculpture by Jeff Koons describes him as “notoriously perfectionist”. I understand what they mean; Koons wants his art works to be just so, and he’s prepared to be a bit of a dick about it. But it implies that the end result he desires – and, presumably, gets – is ultimately a thing of wonder, rather than the pile of schlocky drivel that tends to occur. I mean, look at it.

Friday, March 30, 2018

About the street art/graffiti divide

I’m not going to get sucked into the whole Mear One/Corbyn mural saga, except to observe that the guys around the table do have noses that are rather larger than necessary and to suggest that if you want to defend yourself against charges of anti-semitism, there are better platforms on which to do it than David Icke’s website.

It does, however, add another layer to the whole debate about the dividing line between officially sanctioned street art and verboten graffiti, which I touched on here and here. I wrote a term essay about this in January, touching on the speed with which subversive, dangerous art can become officially recuperated in a relatively short space of time; one example was my local council’s attitude to the hoary punk combo The Damned, who were excoriated in the 1970s and are now lauded as favourite sons. Which, of course, means that the street art that celebrates them is falling victim to the spray cans of those (currently) beyond the pale. As is entirely right and proper, surely?