As Scott said the other day in the Trench of Despair 'The future is flint'.
Friday, 25 September 2009
I will go so far as to say that as things are, the future can only be a disappointment. Contemplation of the future can only, as things stand, be pessimistic. Example? We meet a friend in the Graucho. He's delighted to be in the Graucho because he's just come back from Uzbekistan, but even in godawful Uzbekistan tomatoes taste like tomatoes and mushrooms taste like mushrooms, largely because the Uzbekistanis haven't travelled down the line of so called development that brings us universal tomatoes not tasting like tomatoes and mushrooms not tasting like mushrooms, and not yet demanded some poor Jamie Oliver figure to embark on a path of despair advertising the crap. No wonder, in his latest TV series, Jamie appears to be conspicuously hitting the bottle- a relief to me- something has clearly dawned on him. The Uzbekistanis do not yet have a hideous Simon Cowell figure in control of all musical production by means of pseudo opportunity and the mass marketing of humiliation, they only (as yet) have the President's daughter, who is apparently both top pop star, top fashion designer, top actress, top everything. There's nothing like keeping it in the family. Uzbekistan was the only former republic that wanted to STAY in the old USSR (perhaps one other?)
Tuesday, 15 September 2009
You might not believe this, but this is my old home. My parents were the last owners. They remain unsure what cannabis might be.
Thursday, 10 September 2009
Keef plays his guitar really hard, I've just read it in a Rolling Stone magazine from July 17th 1975 (courtesy of time travel via e-bay and some collector in New York and aeroplanes). His guitar minder is moaning that all the guitars are broken after one gig in Batton Rouge. Funny, I was playing (the earlier) Get Your Ya Yas Out the other day. I was playing it loud for lots of reasons in the sunny afternoon (great speakers (Mordant Short towers), fabulous amp (NAD 3020- bought when I was seventeen) university meeting that morning, whisky in the afternoon) and I could feel him playing that guitar hard, I could feel him wrenching the noise out of it, it wasn't even as if he was playing it. That immediacy, that challenge to the cosmos, is the essence of rock and roll for me. You don't have to be brilliant, you become brilliant in demonstrating the effort and soar to the gods, and you do it in every way. The Stones live, at their best, were always ON THE EDGE OF BEING AWFUL.
If only universities understood they were not manufacturing products or tickets with such mechanistic banality, but selling TIME itself. Time to do fuck all if you like, but most people would get bored with that after a while, and then people would just get on with stuff - playing hard if you like, and if you were any good, dedicated, just like Keef, and you enjoyed advice, history, whatever, who knows what would happen. Not knowing what might happen seems good to me- constructive failure you might call it. The alternative is a nasty little bastard called FASCISM which is creeping up on us. In ten years time I wouldn't be surprised if I was paid by the number of students who passed. I always thought having the happiest FAILING students was more constructive in the long term. Still do.
Funny. Our authorities are currently extinguishing education in their apparent enthusiasm for it, simply because they have adopted a stupid model and never listen with care to rock n roll.
Tuesday, 8 September 2009
Spent the morning in a meeting trying to...what...I have no idea. The need to re-think everything at this time of year (I call it The Phoney War) is a an eternal recurrence, and of course we shouldn't bother. The university, of course, is only interested in product, so innovation is needed, but innovation is hardly needed in education at all- education is the delivery of knowledge. That can't change that much. So we fiddle about and waste time and I get pissed off.
So I go to the pub, the barman is educating me on the state of our times- he is clearly off his face. Whatever he has taken gives him VERY STRANGE facial twitches. He is probably working out if I'm a reptile or not, and trying very hard not to be conspicuous. Strangely I cheer up. I catch the bus to The White Horse. It's a lovely day so it's quiet- the girls are pissed off. Then a gang of guys turn up, and THEY ARE CLEARLY OFF THEIR FACES TOO. Their eyes bulge, they talk all the time, they love each other in the way that people on drugs love each other and everybody else. Is this my life? Guess it is. Shouldn't we we wondering just a little more about just what the fuck is going on?
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
What the fuck is wrong with this country? I return to the university and it's like a day swatting wasps. I sit with a headset on in a big room full of computers and it's like a call centre and everybody has a complaint and THIS IS A UNIVERSITY! I venture up to my pigeon hole (how quaint!) and discover a copy of the university's corporate plan. It's titled 'Students First'. I realize where we are going wrong. We have managed to reverse the whole polarity of education. You could spend forty years becoming somewhat good at a subject- it takes that kind of time- and, well, suddenly, 'Students Come First' WHAT THE FUCK IS THAT! Conspicuous consumption for all, even knowledge. Might as well work for Tescos, and Tesco's sells food which is NOT SO GREAT. As far as I'm concerned, everybody should have a chance, but if you can't make it, then at least have the dignity to acknowledge that- for whatever reason- and NOT SUE MY FUCKIN ASS!
Here we go again lovelies