Stretching turned me into an insect.

Ouch! Did my back in and can’t walk at present. This was the last day of term too. I was in my office reaching for a book to show the folks doing my HERA interview (Higher Education Role Analysis – another surveillance exersize from the dark side that also makes us do quality assurance, research assessment, cv maintenance in a different format every time, and a dozen other tactics for interrupting the actual work of teaching and research, but hey, what’s my view on all this worth, what answer would I give to stop them inventing new ways to get their happy sheets filled in?).

Anyway, the book was an issue of Left Curve, and then there was this crunching sound across the base of my back, and the next day I could not move. Gregor Samsa from the “Metamorphosis” is my role model now. Given Goldies new ‘brand value’, that we offer a ‘transformatory experience’, perhaps this role thing does make a kinda twisted sense. I am a bug, flat on my back, can’t get out of bed. Faced with the creeping commercialisation of the sector, this seems a valid response, or repose, or refusal, or whatever. Anyway, hopefully it will have cleared up before I get on thee plane to Melbourne on tuesday.
Cat from Brighton, possibly a friend of Piper Jones.

BWO – Deleuze Eurovision-aries

What was Alexander Bard and crew doing in my sunday paper on the weekend. Oh No, the Eurovision song contest – look out – Deleuzians about. Hey hey.

The Observer Music section was reporting on

For more on BWO see here.

bye bye – Chicago’s storm troopers

Why should Blair go now? on the 3rd anniversary of the start of the Iraq war? Nah, head in the sand as ever.

The Guardian front page today “should” have been this picture from Chicago, rather they buried it small on page 15 – the tiniest of 6 snaps. OK, so maybe there’s a devious being tampering with my edition and this pic is somehow not ‘really’ from yesterday’s anti-war rally in Chicago, but is rather a still from the Star Wars after show party from 19 years ago. (Not that they needed riot cops to police that event – in the middle of the land of the free this speaks volumes).

What do we have to do to crush Bliar and those like him – get some posh French students over here maybe?


Notes on Repetition.
Adorno says no. (as Hektor Rottweiler)
Marx quotes Hegel – tragedy and farce.
Deleuze quotes Nietzsche- eternally.
Difference and repetition.
Migration and repetition – and that whole nasty NF crap about ‘repatriation’ that you hear in the words ‘second generation’ (usefully trashed in the new book “A Postcolonial People: South Asians in Britain” eds Ali, Kalra, Sayyid – see below)
Madonna and repetition, regurgitation, round and round.
Citation quotation plagiarism
Repetition in the age of digital resurrection
La Haine – So far so good.

Reviews Synopsis: “A Postcolonial People” is a lively, critical survey of contemporary South Asian Britain that fills a conspicuous gap in the literature. This specially commissioned book combines conceptually innovative analysis with empirically rich studies to map out the diversity of the British Asian way of life. The migration and settlement of South Asians in large numbers in Britain is examined in the context of the postcolonial condition, in which boundaries between the West and Rest, centre and periphery, home and abroad are increasingly blurred. The contributors provide both fresh insights and vital information on the Asian British experience in its socio-economic, historical and cultural dimensions. The topics covered include: identity, the transformation of urban space, policing, healthcare, electoral politics, music, British Asian theatre and cinema.”

Silence on Music and Politics. (thoughts to add to the word hoard)

Silence: on Music and Politics. thoughts to add to the word hoard, and for a Royal Holloway Talk given on thursday about Hip Hop in Europe, focussing on repetitions and the refusal of Paul Simon to give Fun^da^mental clearance to sample his Sounds of Silence track, while he of course made himself into Mr World Music dubbing little guitar ditties over the music of Odulum… (see my earlier rant on Mr Simon here)

So, I start with the theme of repetition, and so the usual starting point… “Elvis said that writing about music was like dancing about architecture” (see C of E book – its Elvis Costello I mean of course). I see a certain category error here which is in danger of rendering writing speechless.

This may be a conceptual rather than technical error. Aldous Huxley wrote of an assault on silence on the part of technology but today silencing seems to shout out to us at every corner – censorship terrorizes us exponentially.

Cage suggests that silence cannot exist except as an ideal, Attali argues that it is the political arrangement of sounds that organizes society, Burroughs wants to tamper with the audio track of control.

It makes some sense then to still think that the politics of music is not to be wholly abandoned to Musicology.

The situation is bifurcated, on the one hand sound offers a critique of the dominant visual privilege in culture, often remarked (see Swedenburg on how hip-hop becomes the vehicle of Muslim youth protest in Europe). On the other hand sound also implies surveillance, eavesdropping, order words and control (Attali, “Noise”) and the ways music is co-opted to the culture industry EVERY time. There is reason to battle over sounds and silence, over censorship and co-option – who will sing these songs of freedom, and on what label?)

I am amused to find that RZA from Wu Tang Clan scored both Ghost Dog and Kill Bill. (See Ko Banerjea in “Travel Worlds” talking about this sort of eastern promise, and also Vijay Prashad’s “Everybody was Kung Fu Fighting”.)

Meanwhile… I am becoming obsessed with backwards messages in music as a way to rethink the whole exoticist fascination/distinction and categorisation obsession of ethnomusicology. Edgard Varese describes an alleged difference between Western and Eastern music – citing one of his Indian students who thought Western music jerky and edgy he writes ‘To them, apparently, our Western music seems to sound much as it sounds to us when a record is played backwards’ and Varese then conducts his own quaintly charming experiment: ‘playing a Hindu record of a melodic vocalization backward, I found that I had the same smooth flow as when played normally, scarcely altered at all’ (Varese 1936 P 20 of “Audio Culture”)

What is it to play a Hindu record ‘normally’? And to then compare it to ‘our’ Western, clearly more dynamic or developmental, music in a way reminiscent of Hegel reading the Gita as described by Gayatri Spivak in “Critique of Postcolonial Reason”

As if George Martin was doing anything strange when reversing tapes for the Beatles White Album experiments (Paul is dead)

Or William Burroughs and Brion Gysin cut up exercises just purchased for the New York archive. Twin Peaks has a room in which all speech runs backwards. We are no longer surprised by this sort of roundabout.

Topsy Turvy world in the “Magic Faraway Tree” books of Enid Blyton was my original reason for wanting to know about anthropology… but the whole repetition/backwards message thing has been done to death – The Beatles not only, also Led Zep, Styx, you name it – The Rutles…

Of course I pointed out how the reversibility of recorded music was crucial to scratching in hip hop – not that we always got to source things back to Bam and Herc. There is much more to riff on here yet… something about the bleating repetitions of the war-mongering types marching up and down the corridors of the West Wing (yes you Prez Barlett!) chanting “War on Terror, War on Terror” – itself a sampling of Ronnie and Nance Reagan when they were there – bouncing on the bed cackling with glee about their “War on Drugs, War on Drugs” – and all this clearly about quotation, plagiarism, copying, so writing, in the age of digital repro-dunkings, and so much in debt to Pynchon

Powell’s Books – Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies by John Hutnyk

Powell’s Books – Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies by John Hutnyk: “
Bad Marxism: Capitalism and Cultural Studies
by John Hutnyk
ISBN:0745322662 (More details…)
Available at:Quimby Warehouse
Synopses & Reviews
Book News Annotation:
To Hutnyk (anthropology and cultural studies, Goldsmiths College, UK), figures like James Clifford, Jacques Derrida, Antonio Negri, and other theorists of ‘cultural studies’ have had a substantial impact recently with eclectic, but ‘substantially misconstrued’ versions of Marx. He offers a critique of these theorists, presents a relatively positive re-evaluation of Georges Batailles, and attempts to point the way towards a substantially expanded cultural studies that is able to take on such topics as geo-politics, theory, war, and capitalism. Distributed in the US by the U. of Michigan Press.
Annotation �2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (”

Back in the UK…

Imogen is back in the UK. This is a pic of the lear jet on which she flew back from New York. Reports from those who were visiting with her just before she left said she was smiling at people, and even laughed at a joke about Heidegger (hmmm, I wonder what that signifies). Whatever the case, its good news that those of us in England can visit her – she’ll be in Exeter.
Full support to Angie, John, Fred and Jere. Red Salute. See you soon.