When an entertainer says
of one of their better entertainments,
one that has earned them plenty of money
and kept their name in the headlines
long after it was first shared with the public,
'It is in our DNA' you can be assured
that it might be a meme but it is not in anyone's DNA,
and that the idea of the language of science
being used in unscientific settings
is the biggest and most paradoxical meme in it all.
Friday, 30 April 2021
When an entertainer says
Thursday, 29 April 2021
In a world where it is normal
for governments to foment synthetic feelings
in it's citizens through their presence in the media
and through the choreographed public actions,
designed to be easy for citizens to mimic and repeat,
we should be no more surprised
when a member of the government dies
and we don't feel grief, we don't feel anything,
even as we predict being told to display grief with conviction.
We did not feel joy when the state taught us to display joy either,
constructs that outlast human life have no human life in them.
Wednesday, 28 April 2021
Tuesday, 27 April 2021
Comes when one community
or country looks past itself,
sees further it's own self interest
and looks out for other nations
whose sense of self is poorer
and it needs to be uplifted.
Such engagements are costly
and where they work well
can rarely be described
on the language of statecraft.
Monday, 26 April 2021
'Another album I very happy with is 'Megasonic Chapel' which is an improvised recording that fuses traditional Korean court music, Shamanic music and the Morton Feldman school of 20th century classical music. It happened after Willie Winant and I went on a scholarship to South Korea. Gugak, the Korean classical music institute in Seoul had several people tach us the rudiments of different instruments. Soo-Yeon Lyuh the haegum teacher said that she was coming to the U.S. and I suggested that we should make a record. We really enjoyed working with her and thought we could make a great record.
I always felt that Morton Feldman and Korean court music go together. So I took a solo recording of Soo Yeon and played it over a Feldman piano piece. I asked her 'Can you play like play no matter what is going on in the background?'. She said 'No problem'. So I said 'Let us get some musicians together and we will play a gig and record. Willy Winant, the cellist Danielle de Gruttolla, and the pianist Tania Chen all knew the work of Feldman really well. So that was our jumping off point. Gravity would pull the group in other directions occasionally and Soo-Yeon would always rise to the occasion and fit in. Shen never got flustered even when I started doing my screaming guitar stuff. It was all done at the dynamic level of her instrument so it was not loud in the room.
It was a great experience. We went into the studio and all of a sudden there was this eighty minute piece and we all go 'Whoa where did that come from?'. Soo-Yeon really liked how the album came out. It was about having remarkable musicians interact and collaborate. Willy is probably the best new music percussionist in the country. Tania is an incredibly good improviser and interpreter of John Cage and Feldman. Danielle is one of the best improvisers in the Bay Area. It was a really great group of people.' - Henry Kaiser, from a much longer interview which includes statements on many other subjects which is to be found here.
Sunday, 25 April 2021
Saturday, 24 April 2021
The first problem I have with censorship
is that when it shuts down a conversation
it shuts down all the conversations
that might have followed the first one,
with nobody knowing that it will be the case.
My second problem with censorship
is that it does not stop evil deeds,
but rather it becomes the perfect cover
for such deeds being allowed to continue,
well disguised by the lack of language
with which to describe them.
Add to that the false virtue
that comes from 'virtuous speech'
which helps people lie by omission
both to themselves and each other
whilst appearing to be moral and good
and we have the perfect recipe
for normalised perversity, forever.
Thursday, 22 April 2021
are just as elitist as the intellectual elites
who have a genuine vision, and the means
of delivering who they lead in that direction.
But the lesser elites have far less to be elitist about,
such that their biggest virtue is how much
their pose makes them look like people
with a genuine vision, whilst they practice
their cheap bully-boy rhetoric
upon an unsuspecting public.
Wednesday, 21 April 2021
What we remember we can recall
partly because of the conjunction
between time, experience, and language.
When we find the words
to classify and describe an experience
then they in themselves become the memory
we use to share what happened,
so that others might understand.
Thus life becomes a series of reviews
of events where first we were the actor
who then became the critic in the describing,
to the point where when much later our summaries
become us so we forget which we were most,
and wonder who it was who was actually there.
Tuesday, 20 April 2021
I was quite taken aback when my vicar
dropped into the light conversation
that I was having with him
a question about 'binge television',
the serials now transmitted online
and sold boxed, multiple disc, sets.
'Had I ever watched it?' 'No.'. I replied.
I had not had television 'on tap'
for several years when workmen came
and they disturbed some wire
between the satellite dish,
and the decoder box decided it did not like it.
I liked the silence of the television being off,
or at least the quiet of what it could have been
but for the intervention of BBC Radio 4.
I should have been more honest with the man
and said that I am a binge consumer, but of radio.
Many television programmes are padded out
with visual non-information, without which
producers think their product looks incomplete
when actually they should have had a better shooting script.
And afterwards it is always too late to change it.
On speech radio having nothing to say
means submitting to the silence,
the words have to be right for programme to go out.
Monday, 19 April 2021
Nobody knows when the first measurements
of time were introduced, who introduced them,
and to whom they were introduced. What was clear
is that soon after time was measured the idea of eternity
for the virtuous few was made to seem normal.
But the idea of eternity is as new in human history
as human history is within the history of the world.
Eternity is an idea that all too easily
detaches from what it is part of,
and where it came from,
as any great disbeliever
of what other people believe
will give you chapter and verse on.
I have yet to hear
from the moral materialist,
or the clear eyed atheist
who believes that the world
is only the sum of the material
it is made from, and even more
about the differing rates
of natural, and unnatural, return
of materials to their original state of matter.
A human body takes 80-100 years
to be reduced to dry bleached bones,
maximum. It will take less time
if life on earth hastens the process.
Only since the industrial revolution,
a nanosecond ago in historical terms,
have humanly developed materials
been made that take longer to decay
than humans will reduce to, also.
Rubber can take 50 years to decay
Plastic food containers can take 80 years,
plastic shopping bags 200-1000 years,
plastic water bottles 450 years,
aluminium cans 200-500 years
commercial strength fishing nets 600 years
and dirty 'disposable' nappies 550 years
and I have not even thought about the bombs
and iron ships from our many wars
that drift on the sea bed of the oceans.
Perhaps the truest measure of eternity
is the measure of the incontinence
of human want and then wastage
that changes the landscapes it litters
which is beyond all human measure.
Sunday, 18 April 2021
When I was too young to cook or bake
Mother did it all. Her kitchen was small,
so I was kept out. But I was pleased enough
back then to play and simply enjoy her baking.
I was 'just' a growing boy; no reason to worry.
But when her birth family came for tea
out came the mince pies from their tins
and the jam tarts made with home made jam,
which often displeased her family
Not long after them there would follow
the repeated preemtive complaint
'Fresh baking disagrees with me',
as if her pastries had the power of speech.
Mother would then have to disclose
when the batch of baking was done,
which made her feel smaller than she was
-between being pastries being 'too fresh'
and potentially stale there was no sweet spot
where the visiting relative felt that Mother's pastries
were not being argumentative.
The curious point was how often
these relatives had to eat the pastries
to prove how they disagreed with their maker,
as if disagreement was all they had in common,
Saturday, 17 April 2021
One phrase that disinclines me
to believe a given writer or speaker
is 'I have always.... '.
in their habits from the distant past to the present day
and in the process they still be accepted by others as alive,
particularly when changes so much around them.
Friday, 16 April 2021
Recently War on Want asked to send a letter
to my MP in the House of Commons
to tell them to tell the government to stop
selling arms to repressive regimes,
as if instead the government might try harder
to sell more arms to enlightened liberal regimes,
who having bought the arms would then
have them dismantled and the steel recycled
to make sharp knives for chopping food with.
I signed it anyway, though my MP
is of the only UK party that will never enter
the House of Commons; they will never swear
the required oath of loyalty to The British Crown.
There seemed to be something faintly rhetorical
about the phrase 'repressive regime'.
If the many 21st century political regimes
are not about root to branch political repression,
then what why did they form and grab power?
They were never going to become democracies.
Finally, I wondered why these regimes
don't make more of the arms that they use,
abroad and against their own populations?
It would do their balance of trade good
and repression seem the more efficient
mode of government, better than democracy.
Thursday, 15 April 2021
Wednesday, 14 April 2021
Tuesday, 13 April 2021
After some recent disruptive times
with the machine
on which these blogs get written.
I was forced to muse
whilst the laptop was 'processing'
and I could not write. What came to me
how far the words 'computer'
and 'robot' have travelled over this last century.
In reports from elections in the local press
from the early 1900's the paper would say
'The count for the vote is being completed
by computers', and these were live humans
whose job it was to count things, like ballots
but other things too. One of the most boring
but lucrative short term jobs I did was one
counting Boots vouchers that had been spent
in their shops across the country.
I spent all my breaks on my own,
reading the diaries of Soren Kierkegaard,
I hated the job and the company that much
that Kierkegaard seemed like good company.
'Robot' was the Hungarian word for 'slave'
though long before the times it was coined
there were many legal forms of bonded
or indentured labour around the world.
There the labour of slaves was a currency
owned and depreciated by their masters
such that they had to top up the supply often.
In the nineteenth century the English ruling classes
used to call the English and Irish working classes
'niggers' even though they were white.
The name got used so that the Upper Classes
could set themselves apart from all they disliked
whilst being of the same skin tone.
If the upper classes had believed in evolution
they would have called the white working classes
monkeys and worse, to make out
that those who they exploited and disliked
was justified by them being a different species.
Monday, 12 April 2021
When I look at the videos
of the music that was made
between fifty and sixty yeas ago
I love the rich sounds I hear,
and it pleases me even more
to both see and hear the notes
being plucked from the instruments
that the bands played and to survey
the keenness of the young audiences
of the time, I wish I had flares like they had
and there were concerts for me to go to.
But with age I find myself distracted
as I wondered, who were the seamstresses
who designed and made the stage clothes
that made them stand out so whilst on stage?
Who were the army of hairdressers
who washed the lustrous locks
of all those peacock rock stars?
And at the scuzzy end of the scale,
who were the groupies who were masseurs
to the egos of stars they found hard to resist?
In other words the music was serviced
as it was presented by an entourage
without which none of it would have happened.
These people, the roadies and crew etc, matter
and they should be remembered when the music plays.
Sunday, 11 April 2021
As the media in my country
defers to the commonplace
and wallows in unnecessary obituaries
to a well kept 99 year old Greek prince
and consort who led a peripatetic early life,
after which he married into wealth and luxury
beyond the dreams of an older Greek, Croesus.
As the media maunders on before his funeral
I cannot avoid noticing when he was born;1921.
This was a few short years after Edward Bernays
made opera singer Enrico Caruso the first million seller,
Bernays was the man who reinvented deference to the wealthy
via 'Public Relations', and told the public pleasing lies
about the Treaty of Versailles, which the press perpetuated.
Ever since then wealthy nobodies
have made themselves famous
by applying Bernays' methods
to package themselves as public figures
who worthy deeds should occupy the time
of those busy being poor, below them.
The only difference between those
whose time is taken up
and those who take other peoples time
is the size of their income.
Saturday, 10 April 2021
When people say they seek love,
as opposed to friendship or sex,
what they mean is that they are
looing for that personal chemistry
with someone else that renews itself
without them being over effortful.
This chemistry may well be sought
but it can only be found by accident.
Once it is kindled, it is a thing of joy
that feels like forever for those in it.
But the sting in the tail
for those who enjoy the otherness
that their choice of company brings
-they have to quietly enjoy
being themselves first.
Friday, 9 April 2021
When ever radio presenters
talk about the death of anyone
they always put the word 'sadly'
before the word 'died'
as if every death was a sad death
both for those the departed left behind
and the departed themselves.
The breath-taking depth of assumption
behind this constantly use linkage
never fails to remind me
of those who I know have died
who I wished I'd never met
and wished I'd never been beholden to.
Thursday, 8 April 2021
When telling the truth
becomes the latest tactic
because all the lies
we were taught to believe
are now past their tell by date,
then it is clear and official;
they were a waste of time,
and a was of the life it took
to tell them and have them believed.
After all that waste
do not expect their replacement
to serve any great intent
if we have the energy to listen
we will be too worn down
to act with grit and integrity.
Wednesday, 7 April 2021
It is better to be confused
about male sexuality,
than it is to be consumed
by it's potential for toxicity,
which by the time it is done
will leave the typical man
not knowing who he was
or who he was meant to be
amid the chaos that panned out
from his unplanned lack of planning.
Tuesday, 6 April 2021
Is presently short for 'the reproduction rate'.
It is a term applied to the Covid virus,
though other viruses might like their own census.
But I would like 'The R rate' to refer
to how racist different countries are,
with defined units of measurement
based on what one country's citizens
would do to another, hinted at,
but never asked directly,
in the name of schadenfraude
on behalf of their own country.
Surprise surprise, the research has been done
with the unit measurement provided by
proposals tabled or passed by the United Nations,
and forty page report (that's short!) produced about it.
Here it is for you to mark, read, and inwardly digest,
indigestible as any proper account of racism should be.
Monday, 5 April 2021
When we lose the narrative thread
for losing the sense of purpose
to what we thought we were doing
-such as seems common
with life amid a pandemic-
then our only way through
is to look back to where we began
to rediscover where it took us,
in the middle, for us to imagine
how life might 'go forward' again.
Sunday, 4 April 2021
Saturday, 3 April 2021
My church closed for lent;
it had to rest from the sinners
who went to refuse to repent.
They stopped giving their money
whilst showing off to each other
over tea, after every service.
I was more engaged with personal change
I felt apart when we said the liturgy.
I sang the hymns like everyone else
but with my voice like a corncrake
my silence, or even better absence,
would have made other folk safer.
I was just too bad at showing off,
I missed the friendliness of the vicar,
who when he was not wearing his surplice,
in just his God-collar, was rather nice.
As I observed the absurdity
of other people's behaviour
I saw that accepting myself
as being different to others
was as near to salvation
as I was likely to get.
Friday, 2 April 2021
How fast time goes for us will vary.
If we are the ones to tell more lies,
and procrastinate to disguise
the lies we told before,
then time flies for us-it must
if we are to prevaricate our way
past accusations of prevarication.
But if we the people being lied to
and we know it, but we can't see the lies
for what they are, among the truths,
then time slows as we live out being set up
to be a genuine audience for continued falseness.