Thursday, September 06, 2007

Spring

There is a Chinese man at the side of the road. He might be fifty, maybe a little younger.

How do I know he's Chinese? I don't. I'm guessing. It's an educated guess though. There are fewer immigrants here from other east Asian nations because they have been much richer for a long time, and of course people tend more to migration when they are poor. So Chinese is my default assumption and you know how our minds are, even if it doesn't matter to you what someone is, you think "he's Chinese", "he's black", because that's what you do. It doesn't mean anything. He is also quite shabby, which inclines me to believe he's not Japanese. This is not a racial stereotype. I don't think there is any particular reason for Japanese men to be more neatly dressed than Chinese men. It's just my experience that they are. Again, this is quite likely an outcome of their relative wealth as much as anything: most Japanese that I have seen in my life have been affluent.

But this is not how I am thinking when I see him at the kerb. I just think, there's a Chinese man. If I heard him speak, then I would know for sure. I can distinguish Chinese from Japanese from Korean. I couldn't tell what type of Chinese though -- although I think I could pick a Beijing accent from another, because it is so distinctive.

He is not talking. He is slouching by the kerb. It is as though he is considering crossing the road, but he is not looking this way and that. He is just standing there.

So far as I know, there is not a word, not in Greek nor in English, for a metaphor that is for nothing. Because he seems to mean something but I don't know what.

***

It's an ongoing joke between me and Mrs Zen that my top ten songs include far more than ten songs. I'll play her a song and go, that's one of my top ten. And she'll laugh and say, there's about a million songs in that top ten.

So I tried to narrow it down, so that I could make a tape for the car and say, now this is my top ten. I got it down to 24 songs by using a couple of rules: only one song from each band (except for New Order, of course, because it's too hard to pick just one) and each song I chose had to be a genuine longstanding favourite, not something I heard last week and really liked.

It's not revealing of anything though. It's just a list of music I like, with no surprises. I have not slipped in some weird noseflute shit just to look cool.

***

The sky is blueless. Mansfield is at its worst on grey days. You notice the warehouses, the light industrial zones, the trucks belching exhaust just that bit more. Everyone looks weary.

Spring in Mansfield is a curious thing. Even if the weather was clearer, it would seem more like autumn to me. It's only a convention anyway that we call this spring. There are only two seasons here, wet and dry. The European settlers did not invent new paradigms; they simply applied the old. So we have magpies that are not magpies, crows that are not crows, spring that is just the tailend of winter.

A Brisbanite reading that would say, but it's not cold and it's not yet warm. So that's spring, right?

But it's not very cold in the dry season. The coldest days have a maximum in the late teens, and only drop to eight or so at night. And "winter" is simply a process of gradually cooling to that point and then warming back up again. There is no prolonged cold, as there is back home. Usually, the weather changes quite abruptly around Eastertime. One week it is hot and sultry, the next it has become clear and cooler.

It is strange that Easter is the end of summer here.

***

Picking a Boards of Canada song is a challenge, because I love their music. It's intricate and clever, without being difficult. Telephasic workshop is trademark BOC: a stomping beat is overlaid with entwined delicate melodies.

I am no dancer, so the dance music I love is stuff it's difficult to imagine dancing to. You could just about shake a tailfeather to Telephasic workshop, but you're more likely to put some fire in the bowl and let it drift over you. BOC make stoner music par excellence.

I'm not much of a fan of straight-ahead rock. You won't find much in my record collection, although a lot of what I like falls squarely within the rock idiom. I do like Buffalo Tom though. When I was younger, I was heavily into post-hardcore and the associated college rock, and I stuck with Buffalo Tom when they mellowed out and became more rock and less alt. You probably couldn't find much daylight between them and Springsteen, but I think the underlying aesthetic is different, and of course, they have different subject matters, or the same but from much different angles. Porchlight is an enduring favourite. It has a beautiful, rewarding melody, typical of Jankovich's songwriting. The album that features it, Let me come over, is a gem, chockful of wistful, gentle songs. This is not rock as fuck music, but rock as a way to reflect on life.

I was reading in the Guardian the other day that a Swedish newspaper had given the Rolling Stones a bad review, in which it had been suggested that the Stones were past it, so useless that they should pay everyone their money back. It got me thinking about longevity in popular music. The Stones are of course the great symbol of it: the 40-year career, the pure oldness of them, the likelihood that Richards will snuff it on stage one of these days. But the Stones have not been any good for a long time. Their last even half-decent record was more than 25 years ago, and that wasn't a patch on their sixties stuff. So I move from thinking about the Stones to thinking about the bands I've loved for a long time. Did they flourish and then tail off? I suppose some did, but most had the good taste to split up before settling into mediocrity. Cabaret Voltaire don't make records any more, but they did for 30 years. I think their later stuff was a bit dodgy; they seemed to have fallen behind the pace: where they had once been pioneers, so far out in front that the avant garde would consider them the avant garde, they became just another techno band. A good techno band, true, but no longer so exciting, so pathbreaking. They specialised in a creepy, millennial paranoid groove, with songs that whispered murder, police state, fear. I particularly like Bad self part one, although I prefer the remix that they did at Western Works in the eighties. I have no idea what it's about but it's the typical solid groove. It's about the only song with flute (faux flute, I should say, because it's all synthetic) that is bearable. Flutes do not rock.

***

So I was talking with P yesterday about my theory of the hierarchy of concepts. It explains why it's very difficult for a person like me to give ground to someone like Mrs Zen in terms of worldview, and why, I think, a/ educated people tend to be liberal and b/ minds open but rarely close.

When you view the world, you do so with a conceptual framework. It's how we make sense of it: we take a set of concepts and see how the world fits them. We might do that explicitly, by using science, but we also do it implicitly. We think about everything through the prism of the ideas we have about the world. Some concepts are narrow; some much broader.

So for a nationalist the concept exists that their country is better than others, and it's good that its citizens deserve better than others. Their concept is "I am an xian, so xians deserve better". My concept is "I am a human being". It's a broader, more powerful concept.

Or a person might have the concept that it is good for them that taxes are low. But you might have the concept that it is even more good for you that everyone benefits from higher taxes. The first person cannot see the breadth of positive outcomes from the spread of wealth.

These are arguable, of course. You could say that they are not narrower or broader at all. But it's my theory that they are. What I think people do is take narrow concepts and use them as their filter for viewing the world. So a nationalist uses their nation's specialness as a precondition of looking at the world. This leads to having a narrow view, because all you can see is what will pass through your filter. The low-tax guy cannot see broader benefits of higher taxes, because he uses the desire not to pay taxes as a conceptual filter.

I see broader concepts as outcomes of taking the world as it is, and answering the question: what fits what I'm looking at? rather than what fits my concept?

The concept we were discussing was marriage. P thinks you should accept t1he conventional view of marriage: a partnership sealed by vows that include at least an implicit promise of fidelity. But the conventional view is hopelessly narrow. It doesn't describe what people actually live, and it constrains our ability to define our relationships in ways that make them work for us. So people who maintain the conventional definition are bound to feel pain when what they have doesn't measure up (just as the nationalist finds defeats or setbacks for his nation painful out of proportion to their actual importance). And sometimes they allow their relationship to be destroyed, even though it is good, simply because it fails to match the convention.

So I said to P, if you have a 40-year relationship with someone, and you are happy and content throughout, then you have a marriage. No, she said, not if you don't have the paper. And not if you're not sexually faithful.

Maybe all I mean to say is that concepts like that just aren't very useful, either as ways to think about your life and your world, or as ways to create worlds that work for you. And I think my concept of a marriage, as a type of relationship with certain purposes, is much more useful.

I had more to say about that, but it's become muddy. Maybe another post another time.

***

I first heard Eighties fan by Camera Obscura on the Rough Trade Indiepop compilation. It had what you might call wow factor. Sometimes, but rarely, a song is so good you love it instantly. It was lucky to have stumbled on the band's best song first, but Camera Obscura have many other gems. Tracyanne Campbell's literate, wistful lyrics are complemented by memorable melodies, particularly on the first and third albums.

Time for a great segue, from eighties fan to eighties band. The Chameleons are one of those bands who had little success but have been very influential. The Editors, in particular, should be paying Mark Burgess royalties. Burgess is one of my favourite people in rock. A friend of mine, B, had a rough breakup when in his teens. His gf, his first serious one, copped off with his best mate, losing him both. He was suicidally depressed for a couple of months. In the end, he wrote to Burgess, which shows the unbalanced place he was at, I suppose. Burgess might have been expected to send back a signed photo or a curt note. But he didn't. He sent a three-page letter, telling B about hard times in his romantic life, how he'd been knocked down and got back up, and about a ton of other things that Burgess felt might help B.

Anyway, whenever I listen to Second skin, or any other of Burgess's deeply human, warm and wonderful songs, I am reminded that he is for real, and when a fan in distress reached out to him, he was big enough to reach back.

Given my age, it shouldn't be a surprise that many of my favourite songs come from the eighties. Not only were my teens and early twenties -- the time you form your music taste, I think -- in that decade, but for most of the decade, popular music was just great. Punk redefined what was possible in music, sweeping away the (narrow) notion that technical proficiency was what made music good and replacing it with the (broader) idea that creativity and energy count for more in popular music. Why do I think that's a broader concept? Because the former idea was invented by people who wanted to make music a closed shop on the one hand, and people who wanted to exclude others from criticising it on the other. If one insists that an artform is technical, only those who understand the technique can criticise it. (A lesson for theminotaur in there: I'll leave it to him to figure out what it is.) This also allows the proficient, or those who understand well what proficiency is, to mystify those who are not or don't by discussing something that the latter respond to in a much more basic way than the connoisseurs. (Another lesson for theminotaur there: dude, your stance on movies is exactly that of those who claimed that prog was superior to punk because the proggers could play their instruments. Yeah, they could, but popular music doesn't have to be about that, just as movies do not have to be high art to be good.)

Anyway, that's a long way of saying that Rolling moon by the Chills is next. I don't know whether Ruth from NZ still reads this blog, or whether, if she does, she would have made it this far through this post, but I daresay she'd agree that the Chills are the best thing in music ever to come out of NZ. At the time, there were a bunch of bands, mostly from Dunedin I think, who made scratchy, clever pop. The Chills were the best, mostly because of Martin Phillipps' gift for melody and nice turn of phrase.

Rolling moon comes and goes all of a rush, and so does The skin of my yellow country teeth, the standout track from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah's first album. I swear, if you play this one in the car, you'll be bouncing up and down in your seat like a lunatic. I understand that some find Ounsworth's voice hard to live with, but it does grow on you -- who couldn't grow to love a lunatic David Byrne?

After these belting rockers, you need a change of pace, so it's time for pure pop (quite by chance, because these are in alpha order, not sequenced to make any sense). Erlend Oye is half of Kings of Convenience, who make Simon and Garfunkel-style folk and do it well. Oye himself made a poppier album that showed off his love of electronics and his engaging singing voice (he rarely sings for KoC, but he features on Hey Leno on Royksopp's first album). So engaging is the voice that he employs it when he DJs, singing over the top of tracks, usually the lyrics of favourite songs (as in his rendition of Fine Day). The black keys work is on his DJ kicks album (one of the series of that name); it's an original and a belter. It makes me think of Coles supermarket, because whenever it plays on my iPod there, I secretly feel superior to the other shoppers, because I have this great music, and they have muzak. They probably prefer the muzak though.

***

It has been raining here for a week. Zenella loves the rain because it means her tennis lessons are called off. She hates learning tennis but I won't let her quit.

I think it is, to some extent at least, the role of a parent to be their child's scourge. We are cursed with knowing the rewards, whereas they can only see what they have to sacrifice. More importantly, we know how much the older them will appreciate the rewards.

When I was a teen, my mother would say, as many mothers do, it doesn't matter what you do with your life so long as you're happy. The problem is, most teens are happy being indolent, and they imagine they'll be just as happy doing nothing in 20 years.

Wrong. It soon wears on you in truth, and you start wishing you had a challenging job or money to spend on having fun. Being a copy editor is not challenging -- a monkey could do it, and given some of the other editors' work that I see, I suspect more than one does -- and it is not well paid. I make a decent hourly wage but a doctor would not get out of bed for it. It's not very glamorous either. You are simply never going to impress women with the correct use of gerunds. At least I don't think so. Who knows? Maybe it is the key to your getting laid? (The joke in there is of course lost on everyone but the copy editors among us.)

***

Having rejoiced in the blowing away of prog, I have come full circle and am now a devoted fan of post-rock, which is largely prog in an updated idiom. Sort of. Explosions in the Sky don't really noodle in the same way Yes did. Like most post-rockers they play quiet, gentle instrumental rock that explodes (kof) into loud riffing on more or less the same theme. It's one of those types of music, I think, that either flicks your switch or not. I suppose it can be thought of as the new prog because it's musicianly and serious, and sort of aimless in the same way as some prog. You could equally well think of it as ambient rock though, particularly a reflective track such as Six days at the bottom of the ocean. I chose it rather than other great EITS tracks such as With tired eyes... because it has this fantastic passage where it grinds to a halt and is reborn in a lovely, delicate figure that goes on to soar. But they have made three albums of such consistent quality that it's really hard to pick one track.

Less consistent are Interpol. The new album, Our love to admire, has some great, some not so great songs, including Wrecking ball. Which just belts it out of the park for me. I'm a sucker for songs that build up and end with a prolonged instrumental passage, and Wrecking ball's is quite lovely. Interpol are often compared with Joy Division, whom they sound nothing like at all, but their lyrics are rarely in the same mould. Banks writes about sex, mostly, and drugs. But Wrecking ball hints at the same dark core that fuelled Curtis.

Talking of whom (I know, I should be a mobile DJ with segues this awesome), one of my favourite JD songs is Dead souls. No particular reason; I just love the crunching riff and the lyrics, which are, as so often for Curtis, about something and nothing. Something and nothing is okay by me, so long as you can sing along with it, because popular music is much more about music than lyrics, and the voice is just one more instrument more often than not. That doesn't mean I don't appreciate a clever, well-written lyric; I just won't hate a song if it lacks one.

One that does have a great lyric is The great dominion by The Teardrop Explodes (which is out of alpha order, the more anal might have spotted, because I ripped it from a Julian Cope retrospective). Copey is one of music's great eccentrics, as well as one of its great talents; mostly ignored like all great prophets of course, but nevertheless a brilliant songwriter and lyricist when he's in the mood (and not too fucked on whatever he's fucked on this week). And who doesn't feel like a small boy in a pickle jar on a paper carpet from time to time?

***

Although I was proud of myself for attending the last British meetup and approaching strangers in a way that is very not me, I have not been to the other meetups I'm a member of. I keep coming up with great excuses: the flu, tiredness, children. Naturally, the real reason is that I'm a pussy. I hate meeting new people.

I don't hate having new people in my life. Far from it. I simply hate meeting them for the first time. I have often thought about why this is, because it's not at all rational. I don't think I'm that bad a person to meet, although I'm quite gauche, and when you know me, I have plenty to say for myself.

I think it is to do with empowerment. I'm sure I've blogged this before, but I've been thinking about it. I have no problem meeting people when I can do so in a role. When I am "Zenella's dad" or "guy buying chips in a shop", I have no problem approaching strangers. It's when I don't know what role I should be playing.

Yes, I know. "Stranger". But I don't know what that is, what it consists in, how I should play it. None of that should worry me, of course, but it does. I do not know why. I'm scared of embarrassment but smart enough to know that embarrassment doesn't matter, wouldn't matter to me, and also smart enough to know that most other people have the same fears as I do, but manage.

I suppose I fear that I will go to the meetup and try hard to be personable but no one will like me. I recognise the need to be liked as a motivating force in my life, and being liked as empowering, allowing me to be myself (just as a role empowers me by allowing me not to be myself) and I know that if I am too afraid of not being liked, I might do something else, empower myself in another way.

More than once, someone I've trolled has said boo hoo, you wouldn't do that "in real life", if we were in a pub. But they are wrong. I'm not mean to people on the web because I lack something in real life. I'm mean to them because I like it. I am empowered by being freer than they are. And I wouldn't be afraid to call them a cunt to their face. The truth is, they are less likely to be a cunt! People are far more aware in real life that they cannot set the boundaries themselves, that they cannot even try to restrict others, and that if they don't like it, their best option really is to fuck off.

Not that I'm not cowardly. Just not in that way.

***

Dance music has, it's fair to say, meandered a bit in the past few years. It has lost a lot of its spark. Maybe I feel that way because I'm too old for dancing; and maybe anyway I only ever liked dance music that had a bit more side, was a bit deeper. So my record collection has plenty of dance music that you can't dance to, and not so much dancefloor stuff. I've liked drumnbass since back in the day, and there's none better than Klute. His dnb is techno flavoured (he has released three double albums that have featured one disc of dnb, one of dark techno) and inventive. Song seller features a magical female vocal -- no idea where it's from -- and a straightahead beat, almost trancey I suppose.

Before all of that though, there was Kraftwerk. I can't claim to have been a fan since day one (because I was a preschooler when they began their career) but I have been since I first heard them in the late seventies. I was blown away by how different they were from everything else. They seemed to fit alongside punk: like the punks, their ethos was antimusical (you don't need to be technically proficient to create music on a synthesiser), yet deeply musical (because even so they were technical to the max). I suppose you can place them somewhere in the krautrock scene -- but I couldn't then, because I had no knowledge of it. Even now, I find it hard to think of Kraftwerk and Can or Neu being part of the same genre. Computer love stands out for its sweet melody (butchered by Coldplay in the execrable Talk), but what is not often noted is that Kraftwerk's lyrics are often arch, drily humorous. It's very close between this one and Neon lights, which is just crystalline in its perfection. What sets Kraftwerk apart is that they embraced the roboticism of industrialised music, yet had such a wonderful talent for melody that they made their long journeys into sound quite beautiful and rewarding. Great stoner music, in case you were looking for some.

More organic (and probably in need of stoner music) are Mazzy Star, whose fragile Americana has featured on this blog more than once. Halah is one of the songs here that actually would make my top ten, if I was forced to make one. It is just the perfect breakup song. If you don't love this, by the way, I can never love you. I really mean that. I'd have to consider you unloveable. It'd be like seeing the Taj Mahal and going, oh, it's just a building.

An observant reader will have noted that the post-rock content has so far been low, and here we are at M. Which means Mogwai and Mono. All new post-rock bands are compared with either Mogwai or Godspeed! You Black Emperor (although few actually compare particularly closely with either). Mogwai are in the quiet-loud-quiet camp, and GYBE are more your long song-within-song-within-song exponents (so that one song will be composed of maybe six different segments, each segment quieter or louder). Mono are a Mogwai-type band, you could say, although you would never mistake one for the other. Where Mogwai are modernists -- futurists almost -- Mono are Romantics. Particularly on the new album, You are there, which features Are you there? (cunning, these Japanese!), which is simply beautiful, a lazy, lovely riff that builds into a stunning crescendo, relaxes and fades away. It's recorded by Steve Albini, and by gum, you can hear it. Albini is a genius at capturing sound faithfully, which makes him the best guy for loud rock. Nothing is lost in his work, no matter how much is piled on, stuffed in, you can distinguish it all. The Mogwai track I chose was 2 rights make a wrong, mostly because it has a fantastic banjo break (I am not kidding) that is strongly reminiscent of the recurring theme in Once upon a time in the West (which I will risk my commenters' ire by stating is my favourite western and not far off my favourite film).

***

Our friends D and E have finished their world tour and are now back in London. In Sydenham. I wouldn't mind being in Sydenham. There are nicer places, but it would be realler than southeast Brisbane.

It's something I struggle with. It just doesn't look like anywhere to me. It doesn't look real. I think it's the lack of people as much as anything. It's all cars here.

I hate cars. I have a longstanding belief that I will die in a car crash, and I can't shake the feeling that I would avoid my fate easiest by simply never getting into a car again. I could do that if I lived in Sydenham, but it's impossible here. I drive every day. It's a bit weird, because until I was a bit shy of *mumbles*, I didn't have a licence.

I miss the Smegma though. It felt like mine. The other car is Mrs Zen's. The kids even call it "mummy's car". Whenever we drive past the workshop in Newnham Rd (which is every time we go to the twins' preschool), Naughtyman shouts "it's the workshop, where's daddy's car?".

Daddy's car has been crushed into a cube, son. That's another metaphor for something but I don't know what.

***

Any top ten must have New Order. That's a rule, actually. Unless it's top ten chicks with enormous tits, and even then, they should do the music. My top ten could all be New Order, of course, so picking just one song was impossible. So I went for one rocky and one more poppy. Rocky is As it is when it was, which is my favourite song of all. Well, sometimes it is.

A secret ambition of mine, which I can share because no one is reading this, is to have a film made of one of my books (yes, I do know there has to be a book first) and include As it is when it was in the soundtrack. I mean, I will refuse to sign the contract unless it's agreed that there will be a scene in which the hero drives into the sunset with As it is when it was playing.

If they sneaked in Everyone everywhere as well, I'd probably die on the spot. I love that song. No particular reason. It's just a sweet pop song about love and stuff. It reminds me of summer. Not the sweltering nightmare that goes by that name here, but those wonderful days of late July, when we all go to the park or the beach and throw off our clothes, sigh and wish that this day, this afternoon, this moment could last forever. It's a song to sip Pimms to.

I once watched the Psychedelic Furs at Glastonbury. I have no idea whether they were any good, because I dropped a tab and it all went disjointed. I remember that Richard Butler was sixty feet tall and wore a coat made entirely of coloured lightbulbs, but I can't remember his actually singing. If he did, maybe he did So run down, and maybe not, because it's only an album track. Well, let's face it, I might as well have it as part of my memory that they did that one. They don't mix: acid and rock concerts, whatever people say, they don't. I once went with a friend to watch the Spin Doctors (her choice, not mine) at the Brixton Academy and scored in a pub nearby. Now I know that some rock bands like to do that solo thing: you know, here's Jerry on drums, and Jerry plays a roll or two; here's Bill on the bass, and he does a couple of runs up and down. But I'm pretty sure that no band does that for the whole fucking show. Not that I minded.

Sometimes you hear a song and think, that is x. I mean, it makes you think of x. X might be a place, a time, an image, whatever, but sometimes it is a person. And sometimes that song becomes the song that belongs to that person. If you mean anything to me, you probably have a song. (Except for Naughtyman, he has none yet.) Vapour trail is Zenella's song. Maybe it's the lovely melody, the dreamy instrumental coda, or the lyrics, which express the impossibility of expressing love. Yeah, and maybe it's because it's just such a spanking good song.

There has to be Shins, of course, and it has to be Saint Simon. If you don't know why, go and find it, then you will. If you still don't know why, this is me sorrowfully shaking my head. There's no hope for you.

After punk had cleared the air, the stage was set for a lot of talented, creative people to make great records. What came after punk was a lot of fantastic music, extremely fresh, innovative, without fear. The first wave of post-punk was surfed by Wire -- whose first album was among the first to be punk without being punk (I'm not sure that makes sense, but I know what I mean!). That album features a ton of great songs, none better than Fragile, which is S's song, as it happens. Check out the lyrics. More power, more accuracy in one song than sad bastards like Boner Vox achieve in a lifetime.

Last and far from least is Stockholm syndrome by Yo La Tengo. There are relatively few American bands in my top ten. This isn't because of any cultural bias; I have tons of records by American bands, some of which I like a lot. I think it's because most of my favourites are postpunk in one way or another and America really missed the boat on that. They were all still into Toto or making hardcore, some of which I liked, but it hasn't endured. To be a top-tenner, you must be inventive, beatiful, and, I suppose, have a great hook. This song does. It's just lovely. I never tire of it.

But I've tired of this post. It's my whole spring in about seventeen thousand words.

11 Comments:

At 8:28 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

boots sez:

Two seasons, wet or dry... that reminds me of California, though lately they've had only one season, dry.

Next time you see the chinese man standing at the kerb, consider what he's doing and try on your stranger role for practice; can't hurt anything to strengthen that role through practice.

WTF is a "kerb" anyway, is that like a "curb" outside of Amerkia?

 
At 11:35 pm, Blogger Miz UV said...

Wow. Okay, first, I get the gerund joke (I think). Second, it is a shame people have such narrow views on marriage, sex, politics, taxes, humanity, whatever. Mine are narrower than yours, of course, but I'm pretty good compared to most people I meet, which is pretty sad! Third, I agree about the online v. face-to-face thing. I have anecdotal experience that at least one giant cunt online acts nice and relatively quiet in "real life," so all his moaning about trolls, etc. and how they wouldn't do this and that in person is moot. HE doesn't inspire such retaliatory behavior in person. I see no reason not to generalize from my one experience.

 
At 11:43 pm, Anonymous Thomas said...

(The joke in there is of course lost on everyone but the copy editors among us.)

You forgot regular readers of your blog with a good memory.

 
At 1:21 am, Blogger Looney said...

A secret ambition of mine, which I can share because no one is reading this...

Heh, gotcha!

And no, I *didn't* get the gerund joke.

Okay, looked up my grammar defs. Now I get it.

Back to ambition... I have a similar ambition for several of my unfinished novels. Most of them have a song attached to them in my mind... heart. If I hear the song, I'll often pull it out of the box and hammer away on it a bit before remembering why it's in the box in the first place.

Oh well, I hope I see a movie of one of your books someday.

 
At 4:12 am, Anonymous bickerfest.com said...

let me guess.

this was a test to see how many saps would read the whole fucking thing, right?

a non-linear test.

i skimmed thru many parts, so put me down as a skimmer.

i do intend to read the whole thing later, so you can put me down for a sap as well.

 
At 6:52 am, Blogger Don said...

My book-movie has some A Perfect Circle in it, but only because there's a chick I know whom I need to fuck to that music, and I will never get to.

Funny that the lifelong marriage is lauded as an ideal because it's so rare. It's so rare because it doesn't work! But I am aging, and finding that it really does work, so long as you let age and "maturity" and the massive pain in the ass factor of making changes affect your idea of what you want out of life.

Weather-wise, Oz and CA are similar. When we were down there, we often could have been just an hour's drive from home. Of course, all those damn eucalyptus trees might have had something to do with it. They need to be eradicated up here. Eucalypts and palm trees: tear em all out!

The Chinese man is a metaphor for your future. He wants to cross the street - he thinks he sees grand things there - but he doesn't feel like dodging traffic, and the sight of what is over there just doesn't seem worth it. So he stares and watches awhile, set in emotional neutral by years of copy editing and self-suppression, saying nothing, as there's really nothing to say.

 
At 2:35 pm, Anonymous theminotaur said...

Zen, I know what "lesson" you are trying to teach me, but dude, you totally didn't get what I was saying about movies, because you were way too busy being upset. A movie doesn't have to be complicated to be good, but it does have to posess a certain originality. I didn't care for "gattaca" for instance, because I found it trivial, and therefore boring. A mindless action flick is cool - kind of like a bag of chips - you know it's shit, but damn, it's good sometimes. I know I wouldn't survive on chips alone, but I'm not the one to turn my nose up at them as a whole.

There are many movies out there that try to be complex for the sake of seeming "high art", but what you end up with is pretentious and insincere, and therefore, uncompelling. I find "A.I" one of those, along with the likes of "A Million Dollar Baby", or "Triplets of Bellville".

I brought up your stated enjoyment of "gattaca" (I'm getting sick of this goddamn example) and the like because I was pointing out to you that you were full of shit: you kiss Hollywoodds ass just as much as the next guy, because you gladly consume its products. Pardon me, but I will never believe that when you use words like "brilliant", what you meean is to be "slightly complementary". Anyways, if you enjoyed *that* particular piece of crap, well, so did many other people. I personally enjoyed "5th Element", "the Matrix", "independence day", and even to some extent "Resident Evil" (feel free to give me shit), to name a few. Just don't try to take this elitist stance, because when you lash out against Hollywood and actors in general, but cover up some films in particular, you are a hypocrite.

On meanness: Liking being mean in any setting is not healthy, and makes me concerened for you. It does make for a fun read, although way too often when you get mean you stop making sense. It's okay, though, I'll call you out on it, and explain to you where and why you're full of shit. BTW, there's nothing wrong with being a mean girl, and dude, you talk about crying all the time.

 
At 2:57 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Jeezus. You won't believe this but I wrote you a long reply, mino, and then forgot that if you look up other comments, you kill the one you're writing.

Anyway, I didn't say gattaca was "brilliant". I said I found it thought provoking. If you're going to accuse me of being full of shit, maybe you should avoid inventing positions for me? I'm probably quite full of it enough if we just stick to what I do say without needing to extrapolate. Also, I don't have a problem with Hollywood. I was just laughing at silly people saying silly things, as us mean girls do.

And it's sweet that you worry about my wellbeing but I'm only mean to those who ask for it, never to the innocent. Ask anyone; I'm lovely to kittens.

Hey, girls who pull hair are not nice! And you'll never make me cry, however mean you are.

 
At 4:05 pm, Anonymous theminotaur said...

From Wednesday, Jul 18

"In Gattaca, Vincent is broken. Clearly, his brokenness is a function of the society he lives in as well as his genetic fate. Perhaps the film would have been stronger if he did not have a serious condition, and was just imperfect in the way most of us are. But he overcomes his brokenness in a most astonishing way. It's a moving and brilliant film in a small way."

Well that "small way" thing is probably enough for you to wiggle yourself out of that one, you picky bastard.

Making you cry was never my intent, because I, unlike some people, don't get off on being mean just 'cause. As I've seen, you can make yourself cry plenty without my help and hair-pulling. And hey, who doesn't like kittens? Wouldn't it be great if we liked people half as much? But kittens do have one asset: they don't talk, and it makes them quite a bit more likable.

 
At 4:10 pm, Blogger Dr Zen said...

Well, okay, if you want to insist that I said it was a towering achievement of the film industry, you found your quote. You'll have to forget that far from being as lax as you like to make out, I'm quite careful with words, but that's not been a problem for you previously.


The cool thing with kittens is that they have no capacity to know better, so they can be forgiven for the most astonishing cruelty and viciousness. Humans, however, do and cannot.

 
At 9:10 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

5627

 

Post a Comment

<< Home