Monday, February 26, 2007

Recently I ended up at this bizarre nexus where an Ian Svenonius one-off disc, my nascent fascination with late-60's cult films (esp. those that rep specific "underground" cultures), Simon Reynolds, and the death of Arthur magazine all led me to the same exact book - an obscure (leastwise in America) 300+ pg. tome by Richard Neville entitled Playpower. It's weird that I've never heard of this book. Apparently it's seen as a UK analogue to Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book, and Neville (whom you and I've also never heard of) himself was a similar sort of mischief-maker. All I know from the meager research I've done is that 1) he was involved in at least two major censorship cases, 2) he helped spearhead Oz, one of the most reknowned of 60's underground rags (perhaps second only to the East Village Other), and 3) that he's a self-described "Futurist", however he's chosen to interpret that term.

I love old texts from the front. I read once that Bob Dylan, during his unknown days, used to head up to the NYPL to read newspapers from the Civil War, and I totally understand where he was coming from.. Documents made during the time-in-question are almost always more interesting and human than the thin, reflective stuff that comes after. It's why Greil Marcus' Mystery Train was so good, why Mencken's essays are entertaining. It's why people get obsessed with old blues 45s or, hell, the first Beat Happening record. It's the difference between a museum and a zoo, you know? Death vs. life. For me, what I often get in my investigations is a sense of possibility. These old texts, they have a way of sending ripples through your reality simply by coming from a different one. It's... reassuring.

(And moreover, I love outsized personalities and spectacularly flawed alternatives to the status quo, so I'm hoping I'll get a whiff of that here as well.)

So anyway, I bought that book for like $17. What else is going on in my life?:
1) It looks as though I'm going out on what could be reasonably called a "date" later this week. Details forthcoming, maybe.
2) I'm getting a free haircut - a free professional haircut, I should add - this Thursday.
3) I'm designing Fanatic's advertising for SXSW.

And that's it.



Sunday, February 04, 2007

Today I saw Children of Men, the latest film by Alfonso Cuarón, with my friend Carmiel. Cuarón's directing was magnificent, but I'm still in deliberations about the story. The movie - and this is completely reducing it, of course - is a sort of magical-realist dystopian what-if, with all of the good and bad that would attend such a description. I'm not going to get into specifics, but what I especially admired in the film was Cuarón's effort to make it seem real. It did the trick. It's worth a viewing.

After that, I headed down to Park Slope to pick up my guitar. I've been stashing it, along with my amplifier, at my friend Anne's house. It's nice to have it around again. Hopefully I can start making some use of it tomorrow. I'm in this weird almost-demoing-but-not-quite stage right now... I practice piano occasionally and I play with Ableton, but I haven't turned out anything like a song lately.

I came home and made some soup with my roommate Brian (also known as Tom). I'm taking steps to get more comfortable with the kitchen right now, as it will both make my roommates happier with me and save me some money. The soup was a hodgepodge, but it worked exceptionally well for my debut homemade soup (the first I've ever made, I might add). It consisted of carrots, potatoes, celery, scallions, red onions, parsley, garlic, ginger, bay leaves, cumin, and of course liberal salt and pepper. We used vegetable oil in lieu of olive oil as it was unavailable. The resulting mix had a nice amount of crunch - crunch is essential in soups - and bite, which I believe derived chiefly from the ginger. After two bowls apiece we still had several containers of it left, so it should last a few days.

More generally, I've been under the weather lately. My allergies are acting up for reasons unknown, leaving me a sniffly vacuum-sinused mess. In fact, the activities detailed above were largely to "soldier through this," with the soup in particular designed as a possible curative. (Thus the ginger and garlic.) All in all the tactic worked, I think. I do feel better. Hopefully this marks the falling motion of the illness.


PS. If you're reading this, you should check out the new album by Panda Bear. It's really phenomenal.