Saturday, October 01, 2005

"Thus a jug
appeared on stage
at their various

but purely
for effect."

Lean 'n' Pernod
after your mother's funeral,
(Adventist) later kitefights

at Piper's Lagoon--
luckily the barnacles
were their own antidote,

though not
to the ugly vintages of
the beerstrike summer,

picking little
Gregory Pecks
out of my belly

for months afterward,
scattered now
(those of us permitted to live!)

from the Palitinate of Prince Rupert
to the free city
of Holberg--

& as at the end of side two, today--
cresting the hill at Dogland,
Harewood below

at the peak of a dusty deshabille
out of Sigmund Romberg
in the last actinic

August sunrise
of the Trudeau administration--
was none of our concern.
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roundup of new sounds from the City of Syrup

"In the end, the chopped and screwed style may be Houston's most enduring export. TVT Records recently teamed up with Michael Watts to release official chopped and screwed versions of the latest albums by Lil' Jon and Ying Yang Twins. The effects are especially transmogrifying when applied to Lil' Jon's sound. The whistling synth notes on "What U Gon Do" become dripped candle wax, and his usually cheerful growl sounds like it belongs to Satan himself."
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Friday, September 30, 2005

GreenCine Daily has a round-up of rave reviews of the new film "Forty Shades of Blue" starring the great Rip Torn. I only hope the success of this film inspires the long-awaited DVD issue of Torn's similarly music-themed 1973 "Payday" (maybe the best film ever made about country music), directed by Vancouver's Daryl Duke.
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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Mountain Music

(Riley Puckett)

The fiddle, the yodel, the harmonica & the fife,
The drumskin, the flintlock, pack animal & knife,
The zither, the whistle and autoharp give life,
A great eye fluttering open in the deep forested host
Driving back Covenant, Cherokee, revenue's ghost.

The 78, the 33 & the 45 spin like
The rhododendron holler on its axis, to survive
Meant breathing the dissonance like so much pollen, not to fit
The rosin to the bridge or the finger to the mercury mind
Was to awake in an ancestor's grip, so clammy and unkind.

The singing dead glide through the layers as if tunnelling to France,
Their keening like the insect wail of an old thermos; to dance
As Bobby did, with one hand waving, shark-like above the shit-
Strewn beach of history, as they say "free", to unencumbered crawl
Beneath barbed wire, past parish dogs, around the bloody wall.

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Johnson entered the crowded shelter in near-total darkness; there were only a couple of flashlights to lead the way.

"This is your President!" Johnson announced. "I'm here to help you!"

David Remnick's New Yorker article about Katrina begins with a stirring account of LBJ's swift, decisive reaction to Hurricane Betsy in September 1963. For all his many well-documented faults and mistakes, it is difficult to imagine him (or FDR!!) belonging to the same SPECIES as that mouth breathing seat-warmer Bush, let alone an occupier of the same job.

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well deserving Dalkey Archive Press set to make out like bandits on use of Flann O'Brien's "Third Policeman" on the Oct 5. episode of 'Lost' (which is great this year so far).
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the magnificent and beautifully written book by McGill prof Bruce Trigger, The Children of Aataentsic: A history of the Huron People to 1660--which I read of in William Vollman's "Fathers and Crows"--really altered my mental map of North American history.

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Salon review of intriguing new 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus

"Given that the Ice Age made Europe north of the Loire Valley uninhabitable until some eighteen thousand years ago, the Western Hemisphere should perhaps no longer be described as the 'New World,'" Mann writes. "Britain, home of my ancestor Billington, was empty until about 12,500 B.C., because it was still covered by glaciers. If Monte Verde is correct, as most believe, people were thriving from Alaska to Chile while much of northern Europe was still empty of mankind and its works."

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

NYC area readers are advised to check out the show by Brian Jungen, one of the best artists out of Vancouver in recent years, at the New Museum on W22nd in Chelsea.
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Fragments From the Library

"The fact that most library books seldom circulate is part of the mystery and power of libraries."

Nicholson Baker, The Size of Thoughts

I have lived long enough to see the two most important libraries of my life, the sites of such intellectual development as I have attained, pretty much destroyed. The first was the Carnegie Library in Ayr, Scotland, where I lived ages 10 through 14. When I returned to Ayr a bit over a decade ago it was still standing, but years of Thatcher had closed the reference room (where I first encountered the old OED, bound issues of Punch &c &c), the beautiful marble alcove with newspapers on standing racks and a melancholy sightless bust of Burns not overlooking old gents in pipe tobacco suits and suedette tams reading the Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen, Dundee & Dumfries dailies, the little museum upstairs (cigarette cards, stamps, small shows of local art), all gone. The stacks held maybe a quarter of the books they had when I left, mostly bestsellers swollen with damp. The second, luckily not so drastic, is the Malaspina College Library in Nanaimo, which has just undergone a huge ugly expansion, cladding in lego sheets its rough, vaguely pagoda-like wooden exterior (a lovely example of 60's West Coast design) adding a huge amount of computer space, and driving the stacks to crowded cavernous dark upstairs rooms that feel like warehouses. And the whole place now has that Chapters coffee smell. At least the view, as good as any from any library anywhere, is intact, though harder to get to, and it no longer reaches in to the building.

(thanks wood's lot)

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

certainly enjoyed and was gripped by part one of the Scorsese Bob Dylan doc, though hard to see Marty in it anywhere--well assembled but otherwise standard clips 'n' talking heads. And if I see those kids diving under desks representing "the fifties" again...or JFK in the pool... the first chapter of Dylan's Chronicles is closer to the freewheeling spirit of Mean Streets. Great clips of Odetta and John Jacob Niles, who deserves a revival--his keening ballad stole the show. No mention of drugs, though the first part might as well be an ad for the benefits of methamphetemine--from chunky near-Canadian Woody Guthrie wannabee to high cheekboned King of Rock in two short years!

(Update: second half much better, faster, got right into the "Performance/Privilege" vertigo of 65-66, and contained footage of an improv on an English shop sign that gave as much insight into his composing practise as anything I've seen, read or heard of. Not to mention a few flickering seconds of a Jonas Mekas film, which must have freaked out a million ageing boomer dogs...)

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along with Santana's "Welcome" from the same year 1976's 801 Live represents for me the high water mark of rock and jazz's brief rapprochement (the term "fusion" rightly appropriated by cooking in the intervening decades). The rock guys get the dynamics right--the Weather Report and Return to Forever albums from the same time just don't let up, hot in the McLuhan sense, closer to metal's parched planetarium than 801's suave, bee-floating "Tomorrow Never Knows" which is to this day Eno's finest vocal. Keyboardist Francis Monkman went on to compose the theme to "The Long Good Friday"--Bob Hoskins, shot from below, striding through Heathrow...

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via metafilter the astoundingElectronic Biologia Centrali-Americana--many many large images...
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Monday, September 26, 2005

pulled down from the high shelf last night my copies of "Class Warfare" and "The Voice of Emma Sachs", two completely unique books of stories by the late Don Fraser. We were not close friends, but had a number of conversations that were of great importance and use for me, most memorably on Hornby Island in September 1983, where he received with great politeness and interest my half-framed ideas about how what I'd "learned" from lieder, Schubert and Mahler especially, might be applied to my poetry, spaghetti westerns, etc. The last time I saw him it was a typical sweaty rainy Vancouver spring day, running into him at a diner and after he left eating the two and half pieces (out of three) of his order of french toast...

"'One wanders through the days, observing and feeling and, occasionally, trying to understand, and unless one is terminally impercipient one finds abundant evidence to confirm the darkest world-view.'

'Dignity consists in staying put where the shame is...'

'Home is where the fortifications are, or should be...' "

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3 in 82nd Airborne Say Beating Iraqi Prisoners Was Routine

"In one incident, the Human Rights Watch report states, an off-duty cook broke a detainee's leg with a metal baseball bat. Detainees were also stacked, fully clothed, in human pyramids and forced to hold five-gallon water jugs with arms outstretched or do jumping jacks until they passed out, the report says. 'We would give them blows to the head, chest, legs and stomach, and pull them down, kick dirt on them,' one sergeant told Human Rights Watch researchers during one of four interviews in July and August. 'This happened every day.'

The sergeant continued: 'Some days we would just get bored, so we would have everyone sit in a corner and then make them get in a pyramid. This was before Abu Ghraib but just like it. We did it for amusement.'

He said he had acted under orders from military intelligence personnel to soften up detainees, whom the unit called persons under control, or PUC's, to make them more cooperative during formal interviews.

'They wanted intel,' said the sergeant, an infantry fire-team leader who served as a guard when no military police soldiers were available. 'As long as no PUC's came up dead, it happened.' He added, 'We kept it to broken arms and legs.' "
good STATS on the pervasive wave of crystal meth hype sweeping North America--

"Nonetheless, just as with crack cocaine, at the peak of the epidemic that was supposedly ravaging the country, only 5% of the population report even trying methamphetamine and just .3% report using it in the last month. For the latest "most addictive drug ever," this means that just 6% of those who've tried it are still using it. Of course, this survey may underestimate actual use rates to some extent because it does not include the homeless and those in institutions and because people may be reluctant to admit to illegal activities, still, the same research reports 40% of the population has used marijuana. "
Superdome Violence Exaggerated

"'I think 99 percent of it is bulls---,' said Sgt. 1st Class Jason Lachney, who played a key role in security and humanitarian work inside the Dome. 'Don't get me wrong, bad things happened, but I didn't see any killing and raping and cutting of throats or anything. ... Ninety-nine percent of the people in the Dome were very well-behaved.' "