Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Things I Think About . . .

As well as listening to as much music as possible one does try to ingratiate oneself with as much of the arts as possible. I'd never read anythingby Malcolm Gladwell before, just heard about him and glimpsed his nerdy presence in one or two photos. In the past few weeks I've read the one that started it all "The Tipping Point" and I'm now halfway through "Blink." Both excellent reads, "Blink" is arguably the better of the two but as mentioned it's unfinished. I've got "Outliers" and "What The Dog Saw" upstairs in the bedroom to come. I had already read "Freakanomics" and its successor, "Superfreakanomics" before turning to Gladwell but, impressed as I was by the approach of those two I thought they were rather limited in the range of subjects they covered. Gladwell is more all-encompasssing knitting together more disparate data (at least that's how it seems). In anywise, thoroughly enjoying reading this data-logged stuff.

Before getting into the above, I'd finally got around to reading James Ellroy's "Blood's A Rover." I first discovered him by way of "American Tabloid" when I was living in Paris during the mid-nineties, after which I bought the LA Quartet and then followed up with The Cold Six Thousand." I've yet to read his earlier stuff but have an autographed copy of "My Dark Places." "Blood's A Rover" didn't disappoint. I won't go into detail here but this is as psychedelic a book as I've ever read. It's a macho world though, and it's difficult to believe that people like this could actually exist; but they're a select band of freaks.

Film wise, very impressed with Banksy's "Exit Through The Gift Shop" the working title for which was "How To Sell Shit To Cunts." I can well believe it. While watching the wife noticed a guy, Andre, who was a friend of hers in Paris at the end of the eighties, beginning of the nineties, so that was a moment. Got Bunuel's "Los Olivadados" to watch tonight. Great Hendrix documentary on BBC4 the other night, "Jimi Hendrix:Guitar Hero," which is part of a Hendrix season, the rest of which I'll have to catch up with on the IPlayer.

And then there's the music. I listened to tons of stuff yesterday and fed back, as you can see in the previous post. Getting sent loads of good stuff at the moment but if there's one thing I don't want this blog to turn into it's a repository for reviews and publicity. Interesting debate on Resident Advisor in the comments section of a review of the "Kalachakra EP" by Lucy on Prologue, relating to the discrepancy between what rating the reviewer, Richard Brophy in this case, would have given the release and what it was actually awarded by RA. I always enjoyed writing reviews for RA, but have gradually written fewer and fewer, my last being for the Mr G album back in July, because of the policy of RA scribes scoring reviews on the reviewers behalf, a practice that's been going on for a year or so. I hate the rating system anyway. I remember being slagged off for giving releases a five, which I did on one or two occasions, as five must be seen to represent the pinnacle of an artist's output and, by definition, can't be reached that easily. RA issued new guidelines for scoring not that long before they took over the ratings, if I had a copy of them I'd publish them, but suffice to say, no matter how good something is, giving it top marks is almost impossible to justify due to achieving this standard of excellence is something that only happens once or twice in a lifetime, if not ever. Having said that, the previous editors of RA, although more flexible with ratings, were often more than a little inflexible with words, and, it seemed to me, often had a hidden agenda when it came to criticism. My review of M.A.N.D.Y. 's "12 Great Remixes For Eleven Great Artists 2001-2007" for example was printed only after a heated round of email correspondence between myself and the then editor, who demanded that I give the review more depth, the implication being that if I didn't I could be potentially associated with holding back the group in question's artistic development (actually it wasn't implied, it was directly stated). I was left in no doubt that there were vested interests here, and would have understood a little better had I given the release a negative review. Also, after having submitted a review for Matthew Styles' debut release on Horizontal, "Sources" I was heavily patronised by the same former editor regarding my references. They declined to use it so I posted it on here anyway. Out of curiosity I contacted Mr Styles and asked him what he thought. I've never met Matthew myself and I hope he felt under no obligation to be anything else but honest. In any case he couldn't see what all the fuss was about and thought it a fair write up.

Right, I'm now going to try to enjoy what's left of the weekend. Got the remains of a green monkfish curry to finish off tonight, along with a bottle of 2009 Grenache Marsane Pays d'Oc. I've also just realised that my Tumblr page, reserved for mixes and phone photos could do with some new music, so I'll be doing a mix next weekend. Have a good one everybody.

No comments: