Archive for the ‘music’ Category

So I did Land of Kings last weekend. First point: this post of JWZ’s, written about Homeless WiFi Fest….sorry, sorry…SXSW, has quite a bit of general validity. The points about not sticking to the schedule, not sticking around if someone is late, and not chasing the party, are all gold dust. I worked this out by following none of that advice.

On day one, we checked in for the wristbands, bounced off the new venue (Birthdays) which turned out not to be ready, and to the Shacklewell Arms to see some vaguely Kitsuné-ish French band, who were mediocre. I can recommend Hasan’s for the kebabs, which were excellent even in the light of twitter updates from Alexandra Palace, where they’d finally got their finger out to tell us about the mayor.

Pressing on, we headed to the Vortex for the Mauritian folk-dub bloke (it was hard to say if he was playing or not), the Alibi for Dollop (forgettable and in fact only not forgotten by consulting the schedule), and the Servants’ Jazz Quarters for someone with an outrageously silly band name who was actually very good. By this point, disenchantment with the whole project was setting in.

In fact, it had been feeling like work for some time, and my partner was getting into a multiple-walkout sort of mood, and in the end she wasn’t up for day two. As the rules have it, day two was actually much better, and the line-up should have told me that. This time out I made a list (it’s always the solution), with Is Tropical, Maurice Fulton, Speech Debelle, Hannah Holland, and the special guest who turned out to be Gilles Peterson listed as options.

I had to spend a week listening to a man in a white leather Schott Perfecto jacket yelling into a mobile phone in a mixture of Polish, Spanish, and what Ian Thomson called “a ghastly pimp’s English” on the 87 bus – I couldn’t work out if he meant it, as every so often he stopped speaking, listened, and replied “Yes. Yes. Of course. No. Yes.” like someone’s IT director – but even that didn’t worry me much.

As it happened I didn’t get away from the Brownwood/Peterson set until Tropical had done their thing and gone, due to dancing (someone thrust a DSLR at me, but as far as I know the photo didn’t make the cut, and anyway I saw them last year at XOYO), but the Debelle gig was fantastic even if it involved perching on a flight case and hanging on to the DJ’s PA stack. The cover of Tupac’s “Changes” was special and amazingly nobody seems to have youtubed it.

I had to be back for an early start, to get down to the French polling booth, so more Hollande than Holland.


non-Thursday music link

It’s not Thursday. It’s Friday!

non-Thursday music link


Bonus extra:

If I scripted something to chuck random music links into a G+ hangout, would anyone listen?

belated blogging

So Viktor Bout is guilty. Some discussion is here, including the suggestion that the GRU (Russian Military Intelligence) is losing out politically. Dunno about that, but it’s striking that the best politician they could find to speak out for him was someone from Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s outfit, and not even Anna Chapman or Andrei Lugovoi at that.

It took me a while to get around to this, but there you go. Apparently his defence was that he was really trying to sell the fake FARC a pair of Ilyushin-76 aircraft and just stringing them along with all the talk about surface-to-air missiles and millions of rounds of ammunition, but then I think if I went out to buy missiles and came back with two Ilyushins and a magic bean I’d think I’d been had.

Other recent things I cared about less than I expected – the Stone Roses reunion. Yes, I had the Facebook tickets app open and my finger on the button, but then it was the end of the month and I could do without spending the money. Was that being responsible or just excessively risk averse?

non-Thursday music link

By special recommendation from the other author of this blog.

non-Thursday music link

I think you’d have to be a perfesser to miss this point (h/t Jamie Kenny’s twitter feed).

But even Mass Observation conceded the startling contrast between the ‘mechanized barbarity’ of dancehall music and the wordless decorousness of the dancers’ movements. In order to request a dance, a young man would simply touch a potential partner lightly on her elbow, and they would move silently on to the floor. It was quite normal for partners to dance for hours without speaking to each other, before going their separate ways.

Well, a big dance hall implies big sound. That implies either electronic amplification, or before that was invented, a fuck-off big horn section. And either of those will help the dancing while cramping your conversation. (I SAID, HOW ABOUT ANOTHER DRINK!) In fact, the electric guitar was invented in the 1930s as a substitute for quite so many wind players providing the wash.

It’s true, as William Baumol said, that you need as many people to play a concerto as you did in 1900 and the same isn’t true of producing steel, farming, or running a phone exchange or a bank. Interestingly, the electric guitar was originally an attempt to substitute capital for labour in the music industry, with enormous unforeseen consequences.

Don’t believe me? Compare the horns-as-power-chord here and the the rhythm guitar-as-horns here, although those are ahistorical. Anyway, it’s not Thursday, so how about a music link?

So there was this thread with music. It went like this, and then like this, and this, then this, this, this, and finally this. Also a fair amount of stuff about shwi-vet Erik Lund and the most popular man in Britain. But mostly music.

Meanwhile, someone defined a tag for “oh yeah this is funky”.

it’s not Thursday, so…

Time for a non-Thursday music post.

And again:

In other “things that are good” news, I want one of these.

In Cybernetic Revolutionaries, Eden Medina tells the history of two intersecting utopian visions, one political and one technological. The first was Chile’s experiment with peaceful socialist change under Salvador Allende; the second was the simultaneous attempt to build a computer system that would manage Chile’s economy. Neither vision was fully realized–Allende’s government ended with a violent military coup; the system, known as Project Cybersyn, was never completely implemented–but they hold lessons for today about the relationship between technology and politics. Drawing on extensive archival material and interviews, Medina examines the cybernetic system envisioned by the Chilean government–which was to feature holistic system design, decentralized management, human-computer interaction, a national telex network, near real-time control of the growing industrial sector, and modeling the behavior of dynamic systems. She also describes, and documents with photographs, the network’s Star Trek-like operations room, which featured swivel chairs with armrest control panels, a wall of screens displaying data, and flashing red lights to indicate economic emergencies. Studying project Cybersyn today helps us understand not only the technological ambitions of a government in the midst of political change but also the limitations of the Chilean revolution. This history further shows how human attempts to combine the political and the technological with the goal of creating a more just society can open new technological, intellectual, and political possibilities.

an update

I may have to update the scoring in this post. I went to see this over the weekend – too late as it happened, but I floaked it – and I have to say that it’s not the project of someone torying-out. Far too 1945-68 British reasonablepunk.

(Or, imagine you had to make a Homo economicus. Other than money, what chemicals would you immediately look up in Angewandte Chemie?)

So Dave from PR’s constituency chairman was found dead in a portaloo at Glastonbury. Who now remembers William Hague in Notting Hill?

This made me think of something. There used to be a microgenre of writing in the late 90s that ascribed historical events to drugs. (Reader Richard J. occasionally threatens to write a history of the world titled Shitfaced: How Drunks, Junkies, Drink, and Drugs Created the Modern World or words to that effect, so it’s not entirely dead.) I remember a piece in The Face (yeah, it would be) ascribing peace in Northern Ireland to the right pills.

But what if the polarity was reversed? If Michael Howard was right, but in the wrong way and for the wrong reasons?

Throw your hands in the air! You’ll need the clearance from surrounding obstacles…

Because we’re about to do some serious handwaving.

What if there was a long-term pathology of MDMA abusers in which serotonin production, or perhaps more likely sensitivity, was permanently compromised? This was a big official-line fear back in the 90s and not totally implausible.

Steroid abusers run the risk of losing their balls as the levels of androgens in their system are artificially kept high and therefore the negative-feedback control never kicks in to demand more production. This is why they shoot HCG – it’s an alternate positive control – and hence why some of them can show up positive on pregnancy tests.

Similarly, keep a stimulus turned up long enough and the system will trim it out to deal with the new normal.

An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of Paul Staines

What might be the symptoms? Well…you’ll need even more space to wave your hands for this bit, but here goes. Permanently lacking in empathy, with lowered affect, and a tendency to blow up irascibly if challenged. Are you thinking what we’re thinking?

Actually, I’m indebted to Owen “Owain the marxist architecture critic, see” Hatherley for this insight: like so.

I like CIF’s preponderance of ravey right-wing libertarians. ‘MoveAnyMountain’, ‘TakeMeHigher’ etc

Yes. Yes. Perhaps we could do a poll on which Mancunian music hero is likely to make it to the Tory A-List first and therefore derive some assumptions towards a dose-response curve. Hooky? Squire? Barney? Shaun Ryder? Bez? Tony Wilson? I know he’s dead, but seriously, it’s the Tories and I’m kinda surprised he never had a serious crack at electoral politics. (John Squire, for his part, repeatedly threatened to but didn’t get enough tuit. But you’re a long time retired as they say.) Surely they’d find him a constituency down near Jake Rees-Mogg’s where the mere termination of his biological existence wouldn’t matter too much.

Aetiology, Diagnosis…and Treatment

I don’t know about treatment, but it should be fairly easy to devise a screening protocol based on demographic and biographical information and a few clinical markers. Not quite the Voight-Kampff test, but similar. Anyway it’s too well known, especially in the target generation.

The good news is that the demographic bulge ought to be near its peak and things should get better from here on in. A bit like public pensions.