Saturday, 31 October 2009

Oh Stacey! That was not rock! Not even X Factor 'rock'. Unfortunately for the format, 'rock' conjugates too well with 'band' and the only band left are those circus performers 'Ed and whoever' Why didn't they provide a damn rock band live for the show? They play the late lamented but essential Darkness in the background...which only proves that rock is guitars AND hairdos (or lack of them- check out the wonderful 'Bald' on the second album) and that Simon Cowell has never 'rocked' in his life. There is one rock album where I never got past the first track- it's Aerosmith's 'Rocks' and the first track (Back in the Saddle) is so blistering that I either play it again and again and again or have to just turn it off. Thats how you should feel about rock.   

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Good things like a big soft bass reverberating through the room, with all the tinkly bits on top - each knowing when to play and not to play, this artistry never ceases to move me. As I'm nearing fifty of course the artist in question is Jackson Browne (The album is The Naked Ride Home). Me and my brother share the same tastes - he's nearly sixty- I got a good musical education from him at age ten, but I can't play a note. I can't play a note but I can feel it right at the heart of me, and I hope, desperately hope, that my students of architecture will be able one day to feel that subject too. It's not so different. I hope they will spot the chicanery and love the unlikely, that they will see through magazine promo and smile at gentle intensions, that they will appreciate the odd polemical gesture, and of course that thing about when to play and not to play, that they will appreciate Keith Richards for just being fucking brilliant, and struggle for an architectural equivalent only to realize that there is none. You can't make buildings you can dance to.....but you can understand 'up on the roof tops baby- baby I'm ready to go!' (strangely co-opted for both the world cup and selling of bicycles) Maybe they will even appreciate pirates in general. After all the Somali's just want their cut.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Ok, we are close to the end of western civilization. Danyl nearly went out of X Factor. This travesty, this truly horrific moment displays all our psychosis and mean despair. That you yes you, nearly vote out the best singer in a singing competition is a demonstration of how stupid we have all become as folk who enjoy a simple talent competition. I shall use this information for weeks in theory lectures, I shall use it as a precise demonstration of .... you know the rest.
However this also makes me out to be a total fucking modernist, when I should be surfing on the absurdity of it all. Oh well.  
Apparently we are all our own brand now! Peter York - Oh you can hear that chocolaty patter as he writes- says so in the above. The system has eaten us all up, the technology has given us the almost level playing field, we've all now just got to scramble about on it wondering what we are doing on it - I would say preferably something just a little bit more imaginative than 'being successful'. Perhaps everything is now only appreciated for it's/his/hers exchange value (as opposed to use value) Apparently successful people are now all so consistently branded they may appear rather stupid. Who would honestly want to be a breakfast TV presenter, a weathergirl or a top estate agent? But they do. 
However to enable us to gobble each other up some more, it's up to us alternative brands to seize the moment. Ha bloody ha- read some Burroughs and Ballard first and the news could be fun.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Of course we all know blogging is a fucking waste of time (Hi Kit!) However, perhaps those possessed by golf, loyalty cards, cheeseburgers, oil or international diplomacy might wonder at what the fuck they are doing instead. It's all (not to get Marxist on you all) a question of power. Personally I love wasting time, it is almost the be all and end all of my existence. I do a bit of activity, then I have to fuck off and do nothing at all of value for at least twice the amount of time and preferably more. I suggest this has always been the way for intelligent folk, which is why Simon Cowell is such a turd. Also, wasting time may also be how art gets made in one form or another. My old colleagues at the Coach and Horses long debated the issue of work, since manly we were avoiding it en masse. The conclusion was that three hours a day was the maximum to be effective. You may think this view is decadent- I see it as criticism- at least as long as I've done a decent job at doing the job bit in the first place. That job? Working hard in your head and having fun with it too. And anyway, the Coach and Horses in the old days was a real education.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Is time travel the same as nostalgia? Of course not. Time travel seems to be where technology is taking us, not literally yet, but certainly in terms of information at our disposal and the workings of us as sentient beings. I know more about the hell of the past (I usually choose Stalingrad TV docs on the remote) than I could have done twenty years ago. It puts me there progressively more. However it only works backwards. Looking backwards is usually called nostalgia. They are obviously not the same thing, infact they are probably totally opposite things. And don't think I'm going all William Burroughs on you. This has confused architecture, which appears to have confused knowledge with progress; less and less knowledge- more and more tomorrow. This is a troubling thought.  

Friday, 16 October 2009

Tough week. They seem to get tougher. Reading William Burroughs probably doesn't help matters. When you start to think ' Oh, I'll take WB's 'The Job' up to bed with me for a little bedtime read' (instead of the usual ancient James Bond thriller) you may be in trouble. However, in The Job, Burroughs comes over as a fabulous intelligence even if he was bonkers.
Julie was bonkers yesterday- trying to do the Frankfurt Book Fair in one day. Trouble was, deciding to do such things usually happens late in the evening after decent quantities of fine wine, and you end up the day before realizing that Ryan Air are going to deposit you for threepence halfpenny on an ex-military base at least a hundred miles away. At least the planes were on time, but for five hours in Frankfurt Book Fair hell, she had ten hours of shlepping back and forth from our front door. I'm not sure that is good for anybody. However, for somebody who is proud of his personal dedication to the sedentary, I would say that. 

Saturday, 10 October 2009

X Factor is not terrible, and then it is. It's a good bonding instrument on a saturday night for sure. You sit on the couch and get amazed. Tonight I heard Danni and Cheryl slag off pole dancers as if they were some sort of disease. Sorry, won't have it- perhaps Danni and Cheryl may have had some problems with pole dancers that make them rather prejudiced. At the end of a fantastic performance by Danyl (sic)-the sort of spelling that ranks with Danni (smiley face after) Danni starts making insinuations about his sexuality. Are these two ladies repressed...or at least somewhat parochial in attitude? Of course it's all about selling 'the papers', good old footballers talk for knowledge. I despair. Read Terry Eagleton's 'After Theory'. After a lunch with Scott on the significance of the Rosicrucians (and I'm n0t sure who they were exactly) it was an easy ride. Get real everybody, read stuff like that. I promise it will make you feel better in time.

Friday, 2 October 2009

For my AA H&T students, this is the essay we will discuss this coming Wednesday.