Wednesday, 28 December 2005

someone teefed my mobile so txts etc are going unanswered (unless our tea leaf has a sense of humour)

Wednesday, 21 December 2005

yes it’s the [typically idiosyncratic if that’s not too arsey to note, and – this year – gruel-thin] 05 listing from this gaff

it’d be pretty absurd and cheeky to catalogue anything, part of me thinks, given the disgracefully anaemic mode into which this weblog has fallen in its sophomore years.
so let’s just give thanks for all the dancers, ravers, popists, jazzists, folkists, grimeists {& grimmists}, furrow-ploughers, and general loons out there, and the rockists too [tongue in cheek: i know how the lovely Jon feels about this word].

‘Moolaade’ was a satire that just seemed to eclipse everything else, in what has clearly been a decent year in most categories [there’ve certainly been plenty of good blockbusters, and as pure cinema].
not the biggest advertising budget to play with, but Ousmane Sembene is probably someone who we can describe as still being near the top of what he’s attempting to do.

Beauty and the Beast: New Swedish Design, at the Whitworth, Manchester (in association with the Swedish Institute, the Crafts Council and Swedish Embassy).
an awesome survey of just the diverse above, with lots of shade and thrilling spaces filled with fascinating textures, the straightforward and the fantastic.
the lips of glassworks that were suffused with coloured lights were exquisite.
the programmed breakdown into beauty areas, and beast areas, seemed to work.

Dan Flavin: A Retrospective, at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (also at the NGA, Washington, D.C., and in Fort Worth iirc).
biggest retrospective to date of this minimal poet, a large scale look at prints and sketches and the like, but mainly filled with the wonderful fluorescents that people must have on the whole come for.
the very generous size of the space was a huge plus, and although it’s clear i’ve not the wit to paint a picture it seems that if James Joyce were still around and carrying his notebook for epiphanies, he’d have had cause for an entry in that afternoon we spent rapt at the MCA.

Nik Cohn’s New Orleans rap tome started well, and carried on.
unfortunately i haven’t yet had the chance to read a certain chap on post-punk but am working on it…

two items here: that quality, quality short documentary that came with Roll Deep’s debut album. i especially love the bit where they’re in the studio, all messing about. Riko is magnetic. it’s excellent. i watch it endlessly on repeat, delighting, thrilling.
another big city though a different shaped ball was the New York that someone shot Ryan Adams and his Cardinals band in as they plugged away at their rootsy Jacksonville album. there’s one particularly great shot of a skyline but the most exciting bit for me is probably a scene with Adams in front of what looks like the most awesome wine shelf in Manhattan.
all plonk shops are created equal but some are more equal than others.

big up all the bloggers - i.e. pompous fannying about mates and assorted lovelies

the superb (eat your heart out Guardian arts coverage) and always fabulously attention-holding silverdollarcircle went bust [RIP] but then again the amazing WOEBOT came back, as did the very special worlds of possibility. hurei &c!
Penman too...
and Luka!!

Geeta’s final sentences here = floored the reader.

not to get all Christopher Howse on you but to note Craner’s OTM conclusions while discussing Fahd.

- have your NYE, just have it.

a personal beery year in passing at the tap here

Monday, 19 December 2005

Scott and Evans boss the show pretty well, but their ignorance about marching with animals is colossal.

Captain Oates

Wednesday, 14 December 2005

finally got to the end of the bonfire of the vanities for the first time. had had it on the go for ages, at least a good year or so and whilst finishing reading other books during this period never somehow managed to complete this one.
first impressions (a bit late, eh) are that this seems one of my favourite contemporary American novels.
Wolfe writes with a remarkable focus when describing acts of violence, all the little scuffles and shoves that mark his narrative that occur at political meetings, outside courthouses, inside holding pens, anywhere.
at the beginning someone from the mayor’s office drives his elbow into an unruly protestor’s solar plexus. near the end a chapter has the words “solar plexus” in its title.
the eye for detail, and capacity for insight, and appetite for (frequently outsized) satire is certainly astonishing.
his sketch of an aeroplane tycoon at the dinner table comes straight from Hogarth, really.
the most repellent major characters seem to be the hypocritical, buffoonish and vain ADA Larry Kramer, and the self-serving Maria.
in the Picador paperback here Wolfe writes a ferocious, well-researched, thrilling – but also wrong –
introductory editorial calling for novels of the city, literature as bearing witness to society, and a fiction of real life.
citing such quality as Dickens, Balzac, Zola, Sinclair Lewis, and Thackeray he pours a sort of mild scorn on fancy-schmancy “Neo-Fabulists” such as Kafka and Borges (whilst recognising their talents) and laments what he sees as a current problem: the best literature coming out of his own land each year as he writes most recently is non-fiction reportage, not any novel.
unfortunately, Wolfe’s principled attack comes off as a bit bollocks and falls apart under its own weight by its conclusion (whilst making plenty of reasonable points and ending with an admittedly rallying war cry), but good novel like.

Monday, 12 December 2005

You know what I noticed. When you run down the street on fire people get out of your way.
Richard Pryor

Saturday, 10 December 2005

there’s this one busker who sets up a big keyboard on a couple of those big yellow buckets you drum up a dime on.
he’s blind as in he literally doesn’t appear to have eyes: like they’ve been plucked out, as if whisked away and drawn out on a wire. the set seared shut with hot poker treatment.
he sits in the subway and conjures up a storm of toasty standards, the occasional shout and a lot of soul.
he stops and sometimes he doesn’t, but there’s always this incredible holler.

Thursday, 8 December 2005

a laugh out loud line from an aide to an oligarch on the documentary that screened earlier on BBC2 (and a lesson in conciseness),
Russia's woes are due to a fucked up ex-KGB agent

Wednesday, 7 December 2005

perhaps you might have read various letters to various newspapers on the subject yesterday but if you're arsed try putting the following words into a search engine