Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Have been reading the mammoth M.I.A. thread at ILM for the last two hours, as am seeing her live on Wednesday. I'm currently 2/3 of the way down the post.

I got to the bit where everyone starts accusing everyone else of constructing strawmen, and I started asking myself: just what is so wrong with strawmen? Why can we not be satisfied with a man made of straw?

But then it dawned on me. Of course!

Everyone is so dissatisfied at strawmen because what we need is a strawwoman!

And so, as I groggily head to bed, allow me to present a woman with the finest straw bossoms that I have ever seen.

Good day to you.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

New The Knife album to be released in MarchSilent Shout. And from what I’ve heard of what’s leaked on the internet (thank you ILM), it’s very, very good. Emotional, distressed, kind of nuts, electro - though possibly not as immediate as Deep Cuts. The one that really presses my buttons, and which should be tracked down by all means, is “Marble House”. It’s snakey, futuristic, synthesised salsa which slithers through your ears and your chest. It's about denying to yourself each time you fall in love that you have been in love with someone else before this, that this is not as unique an event - even though you must believe this in order to be in love, and feel that you have found The One. I was listening to it while going for a run before and heard the words properly for the first time – it literally brought tears to my eyes and goosebumps to my shins.

Also to be watched-out for are a Knife-sound-alike group, Zeigeist. Their first offering, “F as in Knife”, is almost exactly what you would imagine a bootleg of Kate Bush's "Running Up That Hill" and New Order's "Bizarre Love Triangle" to sound like, if it was sung by Karin Dreijer. I can't recommend it enough.

Finally, if you want to hear the gayest song in the world, then have a listen to the Pet Shop Boys Maximix of Madonna's "Sorry". I know I've described the Rex the Dog mix of The Knife's "Heartbeats" as an entire mardi gras in one song, but I didn't mean that kind of mardi gras. I was thinking more New Orleans or Rio. This, however, has broad-shouldered men in little pink, fluffy shorts dancing on floats in Sydney. It is literally a monologue delivered by jilted poof to his unfaithful boyfriend after hearing of the latter's pill-induced philanderings at the Pride March afterparty. Remarkable.

The Man With Guitar Remix, meanwhile, is Stuart-Price-by-numbers. There's a link to both of them somewhere in the ILM Confessions on a Dancefloor thread.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The new Papal Encyclical is worth checking out. I've only given it a very rough read-through, but it's an interesting text to juxtapose with Badiou's Saint Paul, which I am reading at the moment. Benedict XVI mentions Nietzsche's view that Christianity poisoned eros! A reference that I was not expecting to find. Anyway, do have a look. To whet your appetite, I leave you the following excerpt from the first section, on love, eros and agape:

Nowadays Christianity of the past is often criticized as having been opposed to the body; and it is quite true that tendencies of this sort have always existed. Yet the contemporary way of exalting the body is deceptive. Eros, reduced to pure “sex”, has become a commodity, a mere “thing” to be bought and sold, or rather, man himself becomes a commodity. This is hardly man's great “yes” to the body. On the contrary, he now considers his body and his sexuality as the purely material part of himself, to be used and exploited at will. Nor does he see it as an arena for the exercise of his freedom, but as a mere object that he attempts, as he pleases, to make both enjoyable and harmless. Here we are actually dealing with a debasement of the human body: no longer is it integrated into our overall existential freedom; no longer is it a vital expression of our whole being, but it is more or less relegated to the purely biological sphere. The apparent exaltation of the body can quickly turn into a hatred of bodilines. Christian faith, on the other hand, has always considered man a unity in duality, a reality in which spirit and matter compenetrate, and in which each is brought to a new nobility. True, eros tends to rise “in ecstasy” towards the Divine, to lead us beyond ourselves; yet for this very reason it calls for a path of ascent, renunciation, purification and healing.

Meanwhile, our Prime Minister is still a psychopathic biyatch - he claimed in his Australia Day speech that we have lost our sense of history due to post-modern, 'thematic', relativist accounts of history... What a nut bag. I was shocked to hear him refer to the Enlightenment in an interview on the 7:30 Report - perhaps he did a short course during his holidays?


Hot Songz

Coldplay - Talk (Jacques Lu Cont Mix) | here is the remixer to whom I want to build false idols
Goldfrapp - Ooh La La (Tiefschwarz dub)
TATU - All About Us | lesbian love has never before sounded like such a dangerous, defiant frontier! well, not since their last single... Or since The Veronicas' 4ever - oh wait, they're sisters, my mistake, I totally got the wrong impression from that film clip...
Erasure - A Little Respect | why did I not know that this song exists until last week?
Che'Nelle - The DJ | it's perfectly reasonable, ebullient dancehall - and it's from PERTH?!?
The Event - Fidelity to the Event
Royksopp - What Else is There (every single freaking remix!) | I want a new remix of this song to be released every month until the end of this year
Robyn - Konichiwa Bitches
M.I.A. - Bucky Done Gun | yes yes, I know
Astudio ft. Polina - S.O.S. | sweep me away, surging synths
Annie - No Easy Love
Freeform Five - No More Conversations (Richard X Mix)

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

A note on a thought that remains to be fleshed out

Mark k-p, in his piece on Peter Jackson’s King Kong and the lack of historical sense in the postmodern, makes the following observation in passing:

“in 2005, technological progress is the only faith that remains to us”.
I have been stewing over Michel Houellebecq’s Atomised (aka The Elementary Particles - the title under which there are more complete reviews on Amazon) for a good week and a half now. The novel is most certainly a most striking portrait of the dissolution of the West’s collective hope for a meaningful future. But I have been unable to put my finger on precisely what hope or myth the book embodies. I believe I now have it, however: the novel depicts the realisation of precisely what Mark has named, that is, the belief that technology provides the only source of salvation that we can hope for now.

I’m posting this unfleshed-out thought here in order to stop me from filing it away and then forgetting it. I will try and develop it more in the near future. In the meantime, it goes without saying that k-punk’s piece is worth checking out.

Interestingly, I had an experience similar to the one that Mark describes – that of a film refusing to linger in the memory – when I saw another current film that attempts to effect an ‘atmosphere of history’: the much-lauded, Goodnight and Good Luck. I could make no comment to others about the film other than to say that it was so perfect that it seemed to round itself off wholly as the credits rolled. Not having seen King Kong, however, I suspect that this may have as much to do with the parable-like nature of the film – parables being enclosed things – as with the sense of period Goodnight and Good Luck contains in its visual style. Why on earth was the Goodnight shot in black and white, anyway? What was the effect of this?

To be continued.

Monday, January 02, 2006

"The initial day of a calendar serves as a historical time-lapse camera. And, basically, it is the same day that keeps recurring in the guise of holidays, which are days of remembrance. Thus the calendars do not measure time as clocks do [....]"
- Walter Benjamin, "Theses on the Philosophy of History" (a quote wrenched hideously out of context)

Happy new one. Time for relaxation has proved successful - I can promise a lot less bitching and moaning in 2006, as compared with the previous year. And though 2005 was, for me, officially the least productive twelve months on record, it did bring me knowledge of The Knife, Stuart Price in all his incarnations, Desperate Housewives and Kate Bush, so I guess it's not all bad. Bis Später, meine Freunde!