“If our young men miscarry in their first enterprises, they lose all heart. If the young merchant fails, men say he is ruined. If the finest genius studies at one of our colleges, and is not installed in an office within one year afterwards in the cities or suburbs of Boston or New York, it seems to his friends and to himself that he is right in being disheartened, and in complaining the rest of his life. A sturdy lad from New Hampshire or Vermont, who in turn tries all the professions, who teams it, farms it, peddles, keeps a school, preaches, edits a newspaper, goes to Congress, buys a township, and so forth, in successive years, and always, like a cat, falls on his feet, is worth a hundred of these city dolls. He walks abreast with his days, and feels no shame in not ‘studying a profession,’ for he does not postpone his life, but lives already. He has not one chance, but a hundred chances.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance (via jacecooke)
“s24o is an abbreviation for sub-twenty-four-overnight, a style of bicycle camping promoted by Grant Petersen of Rivendell Bicycle Works as an easy way to spend more time outside on a bike.Unlike conventional touring, the s24o encourages going on short (sub twenty-four hour) camping trips.”—http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivendell_Bicycle_Works#S24o
Atop sheets at home stay in Ubud, Bali, a sarong lain across my feet to keep them cool. Do the songs I hear outside mimic the fluttering voice of the local birds, the local bugs, the local frogs? The swell of avian chorus gives way to a mirrored cluster of ringing bells. Practicing Balinese gamelan next door plays counterpoint and harmony with the opera of nightly birdsong and insect pulse. I’m lulled into sleep and and then step out of dreams with starling morningsong and a stadium of roosters announcing the next day.
Flying to Bangkok via Beijing (formerly Peking) aboard an Air China Airbus, in the middle of some forgettable American Jennifer Anniston film (ok, ok, I was enjoying Bounty Hunter), the projected-VHS image stopped and a brief intermission of an exercise video began. Simple stretching to enliven and then cool down our twelve-hour-flight ground bodies. Not everyone joined, but I enjoyed glancing around the plane to see the mostly-Chinese passengers engaging in this halfway-mark stretch and break. From our seats, we engaged our muscles, sat up straight for the first time in hours, and mimicked the video’s attractive couple as they stretched in front of the Great Wall and that strange aquatics complex from the Beijing Olympics. Earlier in the flight I saw (and then joined) groups of passengers occupying empty spaces in the plane (in front of lavatories, empty galleys, exit door rows) engaging in similar exercises. I practiced the Swimming Dragon warm-up exercises, thinking to myself that there was something very Chinese about body- and health-minded activities integrated into everyday life. Now served some green tea, and OH, the movie continues…
"There is an ascetic, Brancusi aesthetic in the simplicity of the perfection of these boats and the loveliness of their wood. They are violins." About motorcycles, surely, but this quote about the "severe gorgeousness of these needles that go slow" perfectly captures the playfulness and love of life/things in Seidel’s prose and poetry.
Local weirdo and man-about-town Raub (seriously, look down from the stars, brother, here he comes a-ramblin’ now) featured: “The sounds themselves include guinea pigs, broken hard drives, cell phone speakers in mouths (like a talkbox), playground equipment, E-bowed metals, all sorts of prepared instruments, answering machine feedback, found vibrations, as well as a bevy of spectral, granular, and quadraphonic processing and rerecording.” He also mentions distributing kits of the instruments he builds to kindred souls to perform as Horaflora in their on cities as a “creative ways of staying above water […] for those of us who would prefer to make a career out of this.”
Jay Reatard’s version of Nirvana’s “Frances Farmer Will Have Her Revenge on Seattle”. Posted yesterday on Pitchfork, from an upcoming In Utero tribute LP. Really, a blazing cover of probably my favorite song from that record.
Oneohtrix Point Never, performing live on the July 23, 2009 edition of the Rare Frequency podcast. Bubbling, building synths, somewhere in the Tangerine Dream / Terry Riley / machine music matrix. Thanks Root Strata for the turn on.
Awkward grammar appals a craftsman. A Dada bard
as daft as Tzara damns stagnant art and scrawls an
alpha (a splapdash arc and a backward zag) that mars
all stanzas and jams all ballads (what a scandal). A
madcap vandal crafts a small black ankh — a hand-
stamp that can stamp a wax pad and at last plant a
mark that sparks an ars magna (an abstract art that
charts a phrasal anagram). A pagan skald chants a dark
saga (a Mahabharata), as a papal cabal blackballs all
annals and tracts, all dramas and psalms: Kant and
Kafka, Marx and Marat. A law as harsh as a fatwa bans
all paragraphs that lack an A as a standard hallmark.
from Chapter A of Christian Bök’s work Eunoia which consists of chapters written using words limited to a single vowel. I first came across this work in the June 2006 issue of Harper’s but was somehow reminded of Bök this morning while reading a sonnet by Frederick Seidel. Other rules for each chapter of Eunoia:
Each of the chapters must refer to the art of writing.
Each of the chapters have, “to describe a culinary banquet, a prurient debauch, a pastoral tableau and a nautical voyage.”
All the sentences have to have an, “accent internal rhyme through the use of syntactical parallelism.”
The text has to include as many possible words in it as it can.
The text must avoid repeating words as much as possible.
Lévi-Strauss comes from two immediate disciplines, the French sociologists Émile Durkheim and his nephew Marcel Mauss, and the British school of anthropology, Tylor, Radcliffe-Brown, Evans-Pritchard, Needham. He is quick to mention his deep debt to American ethnographers and folklorists. He seems to have learned from everybody. His mind is too original to be the exponent of a master or a school. His Marx, Rousseau, and Freud are not anybody else’s. He claims to have a Neolithic mind: one that makes a foray, brings down its game, and forgets. His autobiography, Tristes tropiques (only last year translated into English in its full text), is a classic in modern French literature because of its presentation of anthropology as an intellectual and personal quest.
He is, to my knowledge, the best and most diligent interpreter of our time. I would like to think that he will be ranked higher than Freud as a reader of riddles and a rediscoverer of the primacy of human behavior. In our knowledge of the world. To his distress (or amusement) his discipline has flowed beyond its anthropological and linguistic contours into literary criticism (“another Parisian fad,” he remarks) and other endeavors. Structuralism has become a rage; structuralist books are kept locked behind glass in bookstores around the Sorbonne, and French theses know no limits to structuralist subjects; there is a study of the structure of Freud’s punctuation.
Certainly the mode of analysis Lévi-Strauss gives us a model is a bound to enrich both anthropology and other subjects in a vigorous and wonderful way. It is a discipline which he invented, using ideas from Jakobson, and Saussure, Rousseau and Frazer; a study of the forces flowing through him would sound like the intellectual history of Europe. And yet he resists being the front of a movement (what movement would it be?), as he has no ideology to promote, no body of knowledge that anyone except anthropologists can master, no theory about humanity to be thinned into a facile vulgarity. He is, I think, more like Montaigne , in that his writing is the essence of restless, intelligent, endless inquiry. He is deliciously French (like Simenon, he is a transplanted Belgian) in his abrupt put downs, his fidgety rages (read him on India and his British disciples), and his passion for the exotic.
He is not an easy writer, The Elementary Structures of Kinship is one of the most difficult books ever. The Savage Mind is, in its charming way, almost as difficult. The four volumes of the Mythologies, require dedication and stamina to read all 2,500 pages. Yet he has never written an uninteresting sentence. He exemplifies a remark he makes in this book, that in the study of man, there is nothing that we dare consider trivial or incidental.
”—Guy Davenport on Claude Lévi-Strauss, RIP, from Every Force Evolves A Form, originally published in the Hudson Review in 1979.
The final part of the Grouper set at ATP earlier this month. Perfectly glossing this bed-ridden early evening, just before it gets dark enough to actually put the lights on. Although it may be passed that point. And Grouper’s sound here fills this space. Graciously posted and hosted at the Free Music Archive.