Thursday, February 26, 2004
"Why Modern Fiction Is So Much More Punk Rock Than Music Ever Will Be Again" by Sarahbeth Purcell author of Love is the Drug
I was a voracious reader from an early age. I read everything. The backs of cereal boxes, lyrics, CD liner notes, and books by the thousands. I skipped school so I could go to the library and read. I read American Psycho when I was seventeen years old. There were portions of the book I had to take sips of water in between finishing. There were portions of the book that completely freaked me out. There were chapters I have memorized word for word. I absorbed this book, this creation that fifty years ago would have been burned and outlawed. It made me want to be a writer, this book. It made me realize how revolutionary fiction is, how much more vital and edgy it is than music has been for the last thirty years... How much cooler the process of creating a book is than recording some songs in a studio and going out and playing them on the road. Fiction, modern fiction, today, is punk rock. Maybe even cooler than punk rock ever was, because it's not about fashion. It's about expression. True expression. Without fear, without censorship.
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Tuesday, February 24, 2004
8 bit Records is offering free downloads of the Dangermouse-produced Grey Album, which crosspollinates Jay-Z's Black Album and the Beatles' White Album, and is being censored by EMI's legal moves on record stores that stock it
Only today though, so jump to it.
I'm not much of a hiphopper, so it's not something I'll be spending hours downloading on my caveman dialup connection.
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2 from Undernews:
Wordspy, "devoted to lexpionage, the sleuthing of new words and phrases," e.g. stop-loss job, "n. A job taken only to pay one's expenses and therefore to prevent the continued depletion of one's savings."
Terry Jones on the essentially reactionary nature of the Renaissance.
The Renaissance was a backward-looking movement that hailed the distant past - ancient Greece and ancient Rome - as the only source of enlightenment. Petrarch, a Renaissance writer, wanted to put the clock back and to return to writing in Latin. And not just the Latin that was then current. He wanted to return to classical Latin. The Latin that was then current and still being spoken in the churches and monasteries was condemned as deficient. Rather than reviving Latin, the Renaissance killed it stone dead as a spoken language.
Chaucer, Boccaccio and Dante (although writing at the same time as Petrarch) wrote in the vernacular. They also celebrated the vitality, exuberance and individuality of ordinary men and women. They were the modernists and in that way they were truly medieval. Petrarch was the backwards-looking conservative. The proud despiser of the common people. The willing servant of a tyrant such as Bernabo Visconti. Petrarch provides a prototype for the Renaissance and for much of what follows.
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Monday, February 23, 2004
Having just read and enjoyed David Goodis' Down There, I figured I'd try again to watch Truffaut's Shoot the Piano Player, which is based on it
Reading the glowing review on the IMDB page above, and it's intriguing Thomson quote, I feel utterly at odds with both.
Truffaut doesn't have a noir bone in his body, and the movie captures none of the depth and lyricism of the book. I figured people might plug into it as a deconstruction of the genre, which is fine. I just hope another director does the book justice at some point.
Charles Aznavour has no presence at all, and that makes sense in the context of Marcel Moussy's script because there's none of the dark, out-of-control violent side of his character in the book present at all. The relationship between "Charlie" and the prostitute makes them siblings instead of world-weary cast-offs. Aznavour's relationship with the waitress Lena has no charge, no gravity to it at all -- no resonance with his tragic and doomed liaison with Theresa.
Everything seems infused with champagne bubbles. The book's plot is completely buried under Gallic insouciance.
If I wasn't a fan of noir, and had seen this when it was released in '60, maybe I would've felt different. And I have to admit the only Truffaut movie I felt much of anything for was The Story of Adele H..
3:24 AM - [Link] - Comments ()
Sunday, February 22, 2004
I've yet to catch Walter Mosley's drift, but The Man in My Basement might be the one: review
The Man in My Basement is an eerie book, the more so for making no obvious attempt to creep out its readers. It hovers between the prosaic world of the genre writer and the spooked parables of Kafka. Where Kafka's style is spare, Mosley's is plain, like something made of unfinished two-by-fours, serving its purpose without any pretense to artfulness. It is utterly believable as the voice of Blakey, a man whose anomie only deepens as the novel goes along and whose pitiful inability to understand himself finds a parallel in the way language turns into a stiff, clumsy instrument in his hands. He can never quite get at what he's feeling, what might really be going on, whether he's talking to a friend or trying to fathom just what Anniston Bennet is up to.
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