josh blog

Ordinary language is all right.

One could divide humanity into two classes:
those who master a metaphor, and those who hold by a formula.
Those with a bent for both are too few, they do not comprise a class.

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14 Mar '03 08:35:44 AM

My seven favorite rap tracks of the moment:

Cee-Lo - "Big Ole Words (Damn)"
Clipse - "When the Last Time"
Ice Cube - "Down for Whatever"
Killer Mike f. Big Boi - "A.D.I.D.A.S."
Mobb Deep - "Survival of the Fittest"
Nas - "N.Y. State of Mind"
The Notorious B.I.G. - "Things Done Changed"

My seven favorite dance tracks of the moment:

Akufen - "Deck the House (Herbert Stops Like This Mix)"
Basement Jaxx - "I Want U"
Herbert - "The Audience"
Luomo - "Tessio"
MRI - "Tied to the 80s"
Recloose - "Can't Take It (Herbert's Some Dumb Dub)"
Superpitcher - "Tomorrow"

Why only seven of each? Because I couldn't go on. But I wanted to see how long I could go on, so that's OK.

Yes, I know the dance selection is notably limited: three Herbert tracks (one original, two remixes), five or six (loosely, now) microhouse tracks, three on Force Tracks. Don't think that I'm just caught up in a particular interest at the moment. That might imply that there's much other dance that I really listen to, which is not true.

14 Mar '03 07:51:56 AM

Killer Mike, you may remember, did a verse on one of the new singles on the Outkast best-of, "The Whole World". The second (?) single from his own album fucking bangs. There's some kind of toy piano or jack-in-the-box melody from time to time, but mostly it's big hollow-sounding fuzzy dirty bass pulses, four on the same pitch then another thing, over and over. So in the middle, when right under the lyric, "took 'The Whole World' and murdered that shit," the "Whole World" beat plays for about two seconds, er, something happens. I don't know what. The two seconds is just long enough to set me up to be excited to hear the "Whole World" beat, to recognize it as oh, it's that. But it's taken away so fast that I'm a little shocked and confused.

13 Mar '03 09:44:24 AM

If I still owe you a response to a recent (or even three month old) message, don't worry, I haven't forgotten it. Chances are I think of it, and what exactly to say in response, quite frequently. Things have just gotten away from me, a bit.

13 Mar '03 09:18:55 AM

"Xenia told me once that when she was a child in Alaska, she and her friends had a club and there was only one rule: No silliness."

13 Mar '03 09:11:38 AM

Incidentally, I just received Silence as a lovely gift from Tanya. I couldn't be happier, especially as I've had the book on my mind (or rather the idea to read the book) often in the past few months.

(I get the impression Cage would have happily been able to follow Wittgenstein's suggestion that an entire book of philosophy - or in Cage's case, a book on music, or whatever, a book on both, or neither - might be written consisting of only questions, or only jokes. Happily, that is, aside from thinking it would be more interesting to not write a book consisting of only one thing.)

13 Mar '03 09:08:25 AM

From John Cage's "History of Experimental Music in the United States", p. 67 in Silence, something I thought Mark would like, or probably already knows about and does like:

About the same time, Willem de Kooning, the New York painter, gave a talk at the Art Alliance in Philadelphia. Afterwards there was a discussion: questions and answers. Someone asked De Kooning who the painters of the past were who had influenced him the most. De Kooning said, "The past does not influence me; I influence it."

13 Mar '03 08:59:36 AM

This is of interest for two reasons: a) it's Jess, writing again (not for big bags with dollar signs on the sides, or in the case of Citypages, big bags with dollar signs on the sides, made comically floppy by dint of being mostly empty), and b) it seems connected to me, in some way I'm unsure of yet, to the post I just made about dancing. In particular, what he says about the beat that Makes You Dance.

13 Mar '03 08:52:26 AM

On Saturday, I went out and happened to dance again. I never really wrote anything about the last (first) time. I did have a few things in mind, particular things. Perhaps my total and utter refusal to even try dancing, before, left me inclined to think it would be best not to start analyzing what happened once I did. (In the past, in this particular case, analysis has only helped me remain where I was. Actually, in this dancing is not so different from a number of other things I am anxious about.) But, you know. I have to do it now.

What, aside from my slowly building unease (building over years) at feeling I had no real reasons to avoid dancing, got me to dance? Hectoring (to be fair, it was not hectoring, I just like the word) from friends, like Jeff, didn't really do it. When I was a freshman in high school, I went on a trip for band - the long kind, with bags, hotels, sightseeing, that sort of thing. So there was a special dance on the last night, after the dinner, and nothing really else to do (that is, to use as an excuse to be somewhere else - we all had to be there). Nothing, aside from staying far away from the dancefloor. At the time, that didn't matter, because a big group of people came and found me and the nice couch I'd discovered, and carried me - bodily, picking me up from the ground - to the dancefloor. And dropped me on it, in the middle of a circle of them. It didn't work; surely it made things worse. I don't fixate on this memory, as far as my not dancing is concerned. I don't often think of it, at all. But it seems that, given what happened, and excepting any drastic changes in attitude I may have undergone in the more than ten years (!) since then, a little bit of ribbing and needling and questioning from friends will not be strong enough to move me.

Being drunk, now, that helped. But only so much. On Saturday, though I had been drinking quite a bit earlier in the night (since the afternoon), I didn't feel especially drunk by that point, after dinner and water and time. I had been sobering up quite a bit on the first night, too, up to the point where Katie dragged (to be fair, it was not dragging, I just like the word) me out to the floor. Anyway, I admit that it helped, but I certainly never do things while drunk that I don't already have inclinations, at least, to do when not drunk.

It occurs to me that each of the four times (three on Saturday, because I kept leaving the floor) that I took to the floor was after some girl encouraged me to. I can't say I stand around expecting or waiting for this to happen. I think I can gather some things from this, though.

I'll gather them tomorrow. I'm very tired.

I also need to think about this, or at least how to put what I want to say about it: there was no dancefloor epiphany.

Actually, about a list of things.

Dancing is hard, and it takes lots of practice to do well.

People seem to have very different attitudes, sometimes, to the experiences and habits that help form a person's identity, as opposed to say the things that make up a tradition.

It is interesting to me that Simon Reynolds so frequently advocates losing yourself on the dancefloor, but never seems (to me) to discuss just what dancing might be like (or more significantly, not be like) when you're not losing yourself, as I reckon perhaps happens to lots of people who are at least dancing to some of the same music Simon endorses losing it to.

It seems possible to me that the preference for losing it might sit very nicely with the habits of a listener who scrutinizes music a great deal, and routinely makes fine distinctions about music, and perceives closely what's going on in it. When you lose it, maybe you can stop noticing things like these, and, importantly, feeling constrained by them.

11 Mar '03 09:23:17 AM

(The tape is gone.)