Wednesday, 30 June 2010

Woke up feeling rather good. Played 'Jump' (Van Halen 1984) as a result. This is a most unusual thing for me to do as I empty the washing machine and it is a most life affirming record ( 'I stand with my back against the record machine....I ain't the worst that you've seen' etc) . More unusually I was then inwardly directed towards a dose of 'Roadhouse Blues'. The line 'I woke up this morning and I got myself a beer' has had quite an effect on my life after all. I happened to stumble on a Spotify live version where the the Big Jimbo says as an intro 'Of course everything is fucked up as usual' and this struck me with equal poignance, because, before any event happens, like a rock show, or an architecture show for that matter, everything BEFORE the event is inevitably 'fucked up as usual'. It is the event that must take over, it is the human impulse to perform, to enjoy each other, that follows a kind of schematic dread of failure that prevails beforehand.
How brilliant is that! And weirdly it happens time after time. So I would like to thank all those people who for one reason or another were very lovely to me last night 'at the show' which of course , before hand, was 'fucked up as usual', but ended with myself and Julie feeling terrific.
I thank you all, especially Wayne.
Meanwhile, when you think about it, The Doors were better at 'the blues' than Led Zeppelin at least twice, with 'Roadhouse Blues' and 'LA Woman'. I say this because Zeppelin is mostly about having sex in a rather simplistic way ('Juice running down my leg..' 'deep deep down inside' etc) of actually doing/having it; Penetration, climax POW WOW WOW! with delightful mystical accompaniment of course which rather suits us idiots.
However, Jim Morrison is somebody so fucked up with his life in the world you can't imagine him ever having either the inclination or the energy to have sex at all, and I have a vision of him dying rather happily in that Parisian bathtub after having said 'fuck it' in so many METAPHORICAL, alienated, ways. THAT is what makes Morrison a rock god, and as of today I will no longer have any truck with the 'fat bastard pretentious wasted twit poetry writing scumbag' line on him. I'm so pleased I've finally gotten to the bottom of it.
And if you think this kind of thinking as any good, then remember to spend lots of time sitting on your arse NOT DOING STUFF.
Lots of Love and thanks to you all.

Monday, 28 June 2010

Julie's just come in after some 'Research' shindig. Said at the end they all had to practice networking over canapes and chocolate fountains. Being the girl she is, she just stood bemused, feeling a distinct lack of interest in networking with some nerdy systems consultant. And it was all apparently extremely boring.
We approach our show, tomorrow, which is another event I detest. I have always detested 'The Show' other than when, as a young tutor, we painted all floors, walls and ceilings yellow (don't ask me why but it rather caught on for a while- everybody did it- one year it was grey, the next pink, etc). I wouldn't mind it if the students organized it all, and, just as in the old days, I could fuck off into Soho for a nice lunch while they got on with it, and they could have some fun. But now times have changed. Now it's all of us pulling up our bootstraps and putting on a great impression of 'excellence' and not a touch of all over yellow, grey or pink madness.
This could easily turn a man like me in to a grunting, miserable incomprehensible Mark E Smith (excellent with the Gorillaz I thought) a man who, of course, in his very droll and utterly authentic way, makes perfect sense for our times (listen to 'English People in Hot Weather') by snarling well and not making a lot of sense at all. Perfect. Oh I wish I had that talent.

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Julie is cooking up photographic chemicals in the kitchen. I'm wondering why so many Glastonbury bands sound like New Order, and Muse are up to wonder at next. Oh dear. However, tomorrow we will sing the songs of ages.

Marx for Beginners

Because I've been reading 'Marx for Beginners' this afternoon (and highly recommended it is too) life once more becomes at once more straight forward, and at once more horrific. For instance, how about a realization that these days, ALL managers are 'marketing managers'. It's true, you are more likely to acknowledged for 'promotion' of your activity that actually doing it. I'm also not sure that the promotion people really have a handle on what they are promoting. However, what is clear is that it is always an 'image'; that most fickle in the pantheon of values. This is almost tantamount to fetish, fetish of course operating on that singularity of interest at the denial of all others. And you know what, the whole edifice is complicit in this, even promoting it, so the promoters, will appoint more promoters. This is not good.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

OK, I love the fact that the England team are now invincible heroes and..........

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Fabulously drunk

Fabulously drunk last night, the kind of drunk the ancients would have understood. Dancing naked in hat and high heels drunk, playing early Roxy Music albums because you feel 'the neighbours need to hear them' drunk. Feeling the power of Bob Dylan drunk.
But it's alright ma, we don't feel bad at all, in fact we feel remarkably good that we virtually set up a nudist commune in our block of flats. The world would be better for it. Is nudism the answer?
Then I got down to some course documentation.

Monday, 21 June 2010

To cheer you up, an old picture of me in a beach bar in Playa del Rey, Los Angeles. I was researching at the time (Julie took it).
OK, so John Terry is in the dog house for 'speaking out', under the situation outlined below, 'speaking out' is all you can do, it is an elemental instinct which brings consequences, but consequences we should all try live with. I have been in this situation myself. It does not bring comfort to watch others squirm with agony in the same predicament.
Of course, if Spain get beaten right now, I want the Nobel fucking peace prize for the stuff below, but this is unlikely. However, France have imploded, England looks like it's imploded, and Italy drew with New Zealand.

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Imagine this pyramid upside down, feel the weight of it on the pinnacle that now hits the ground. That is how you can visually clarify yesterdays blog. The England team are just eleven players on the pitch, they are the people 'adding value', above them is a whole industry based on that value. As if you want to worry about it, just think of the workings of a factory, the government, the NHS, a university and you will find the same inverted pyramid. The problem is the weight of that pyramid, the weight of what is basically media, insurance, management, promotion at so on, if it gets too big (and it inevitably gets too big in the system we work in), can only induce, at best neurosis, at worse psychosis, on that tiny group of people actually doing the job.
Meanwhile, take a long look back, England was at the heart of the industrial revolution, and football came with it, 'the working man's ballet'. Now, just like the miners who founded the industrial revolution have become obsolete, the footballers will become obsolete. In 1966, can you imagine the tiny size of this inverted pyramid? Can you visualize the size of it now?

Saturday, 19 June 2010

After enjoying a plucky performance by the Japan team this lunchtime, and especially enjoying the collection of Japan fans in 'The Trench of Despair' who consistently expressed a delightful, sympathetic 'Arrhh' when their men went down and seemed to run about the pub a lot, it is time to address wider WC issues. Firstly those bloody horns are no more than versions of mobile phones, everyone can meaninglessly blow on them to no effect whatsoever.
Second, England came last in the Eurovision Song Contest, and have been super crappy so far here. Don't you think the world is trying to tell us something? If you thing of the WC as a media event, and if you consider the consequences of globalization, you will realize that the 2050 WC will be Inuit tribes vs Yak herders of wherever and variations thereof ; Sony Computer Nerds vs Nintendo Gamesters. 'England' can no longer represent itself as the bastion of 'the working man's ballet' because the working men of Britain are probably best represented by a bunch of coked up scaffolders; the Teamsters of the UK construction industry (with the architects as the Masonic Lodge). What is left is Rupert Murdoch selling newspapers and Simon Cowell selling inanity.
This is why you should never trust a fat bald guy wearing an England shirt right now.
Look, we're crap, and in the most insouciant of ways, we already know it. Our call to arms 'Come On England' ALREADY tells us we are not doing as well as we might in some mass social, highly organized, hypnotic, mythology. Sure we have SOME of the best players in the world, but, at team level, they are supported by massive economic migration. So we should get real.
If we changed our slogan to 'Well Done England' David Cameron would probably love it (as well as those who 'believe' in congratulation as the only form of value and the power of propaganda in general) but I would hope more of us would squeal in the irony of our final confrontation with the 'real'.
The solution to the 'Engerland' problem lies not in the dressing room or with a manager with the values of a nineteenth century mill owner, but with RECOGNITION of a bigger situational problem. I personally feel sorry for our guys on the pitch, because they look to me like fall guys.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

After a bad couple of days (a case of Winston Churchill's 'Black Dog' I'd like to think) and entirely predictable too, I surface to engage once more with our 'culture'. I sway with the knocks- kids are now authorities, the food prescribed on 'This Morning' by Scofield and The Bimbo is unspeakable mounds of crappola, served up by smarmy smiling git model chefs. I realize TV is like a disease, I realize the the news is fiction, I subscribe to the London Review of Books and it doesn't arrive, perhaps it's been banned . Within this morass, I find some gems, a 1954 copy of Raymond Chandler's 'The Long Goodbye' is delivered, and the power of language is restored like an ancient find. No matter that the plot is nonsense, it doesn't matter.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Alright, I've been watching the Isle of White Festival on tv. Firstly, I thought there was a band called Blondie that was, actually, Blondie. I couldn't work it out until she sang 'Heart of Glass'. Then there seemed to be loads of crap rock music- personified by The Doves, who clearly have nothing to say at all. Rock music must say something, The Doves personify an inability to say anything with limp wristed U2 riffs and are utterly shit.

Friday, 11 June 2010

I realize I have an unfortunate respect for those people who get bored and die. People such as Peter Cook (the comedian not the architect) and Jeff Bernard in particular. It hasn't been a particularly good life choice unless you are me. For me, Jeff's biography 'Reach for the Ground' is not only the best title ever...but...etc etc. I mean, isn't Steven Fry just too conspicuous in his endless activity? Can anybody actually believe a David Cameron hand gesture? Isn't South Africa just being a little too effusive right now given you can't travel anywhere in that country without an armoured car? When you walk down the street by yourself, or shopping in Tesco's or even with friends, aren't you secretly in an internal Pete'n' Dud sketch imagining depraved things you are unable to vocalize? Jeff wrote his columns called 'Low Life' in the Spectator for years and years, and often didn't write them at all because he was 'unwell' (pissed) Where does this get me? There are tragedies; Marc Bolan was never going to do anything decent, whilst he could halfway swagger under the spotlight for a little while, Jethro Tull were, unbelievably, the biggest selling act in the USA in the mid seventies; these are both aborations and lessons. Central to our considerations should be 'How do We Do Good Work' ? Amazingly, and contrary to all present orthodoxy (and those who work conscientiously selling insurance in St Albans) this means, as far as I'm concerned, sitting on your arse and thinking for long periods of time.

Tuesday, 8 June 2010

OK, so you are fed up with what you believe is a Keef fixation, but my friend Scott, the cleverest guy I know, just said to me, 'There are only three people you need to understand (deeply understand) to understand rock'n'roll': John Bonham, Keith Moon and ...Keith Richards' This is a man who chews up Derrida for breakfast and spits it out before lunch. So much for those pretentious twats elsewhere.
On '999' off 'Main Offender' my present squeeze, Keef does substantial improvement on ZZTop.
So I play it out loud to the citizens of Bethnal Green with some enthusiasm.

Time traveling

I was sitting in the 'Trench of Despair' on Saturday. On the big screen they were showing Brazil vs Italy from 1970, they were (unintentionally) playing Mot the Hoople and Marc Bolan and I sported appropriate facial hair, and even my jeans were wide at the hem. Time travel I thought, a veritable Kurt Vonnegut experience. The game was fantastic, and it was a pleasure to return to a time when footballers hardly trained, or even knew what boots were, much less advocated whatever football boots have become. Certainly they were much less swamped in the nationalistic trauma which even included such valuable observations as 'people will drink more' and the lamentable 'Well the question is will there be more domestic violence if England win or if they lose?' on the idiotic news this morning, or sees my supermarket checkout ladies sporting 'Come on England' hats for that matter, perhaps in nervous anticipation. Another Total Theatre is about to play itself out.

Saturday, 5 June 2010

And as if to confirm the point, you've all voted SPELBOUND, the eugenically crazed, nazi hair cutted dumbos, as best representative of Britain's 'talent'. I wouldn't have minded them in Las Vegas, but here, Chandi the dog should have won (on sorts of levels, that act was much more interesting) along with the young Bonzo of course, cursed with real talent.

Exam Time

So it's exam time, and I froth at the mouth like Pavlov's Dog (even though my situation is far far better than the years when I ran a diploma design studio or two). Exam time back then was shear hell, when I existed on a diet of whisky, bananas and pain killers. But the reaction is still there, and Julie and I sit up night after night discussing the idiocies and atrocities we experience in our respective subjects just the same. And I tell you, these are very worrying times. I can't respect tutors who demand 'you give up your job' and 'spend thousands of pounds on rendering' at the same time. I cannot believe I hear of a student who took only three hours off on Christmas Day! I beg all of you, what's it all about? I always say history is about understanding technology and power, two simple but hardly benevolent terms. It now seems we are no longer interested in criticizing these conditions so much as participating in them in absolute subjugation. Remember 'Architecture' as a professional activity is pretty small beer, it is not a large Las Vegas style bourbon. It is an entirely artificial social construction and a flimsy one at that. I'm seeing too many casualties (including me). Be careful what you wish for.