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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13 Aug '03 09:31:29 AM

And also foul.

13 Aug '03 09:30:50 AM

Is every classical music performer ever except Glenn Gould a big fucking pussy? Wait, don't answer that.

My, so belligerent this week.

13 Aug '03 09:28:48 AM

And I am well aware that the way I noted the instruments is standard. And yet.

13 Aug '03 09:26:27 AM

I wanted to mention Monk's late sixties quartet in a paper I'm writing, but as noted below I am avoiding, like, filler. But I acknowledge that I should probably include some. So I was proud to have written:

'This aphorism of Thelonious Monk's takes on special significance in light of his later recordings, especially those of the quartet with Charlie Rouse (ts), Larry Gales (b), and Ben Riley (d).'

Yet somehow I feel like anything less than a big dumb ugly sentence or paragraph full of context-setting information will be regarded as unacceptable. Mark called something I asked him about - a place where I was being snotty about someone else's argument - a 'mastery move', and now I see them all over the place. I think the coded instrument names are a kind of mastery move. Or at least an exclusionary move. There shouldn't be a problem with them - I can't write without excluding some people, especially when it comes down to contingent exclusions based on knowledge - but in this paper, at least as I've got it in my head so far, I'm going to be testing those limits much further. I'm allowed to act as if Kraftwerk is common knowledge, right? And a million jazz records? And 'NY State of Mind'? All in the same paper? I know how footnotes should work and how they can be abused, but I hate footnotes. And anyway they would be cheap.

My constant excuse to myself - pre-emptive excuse in response to my pre-emptive mental failure to live up to imaginary standards - in the past few months has been: I am writing about popular music here; if you aren't familiar with these canonical artifacts then that's your problem, not mine. Yes, I know that this is likely a serious attitude problem when 'you' is my professor.

I mean, seriously, it's like that phrase I quoted somewhere a couple of years ago, from an academic source: 'The Beatles, a popular British rock music group'.

13 Aug '03 09:07:28 AM

Mock indignation is so cute, isn't it?

13 Aug '03 09:04:33 AM

I intended to complain here about Columbia's apparent reluctance to profit off of the repackaging of old material to a new generation of listeners, namely me, since I have been able to find very few reissues (and remasters) of Monk's sixties recordings since I discovered a few years ago that I like them better than his earlier recordings for Riverside. I was under the impression - no, I had the true, justified belief - that this was because they were just not reissuing them for some dumb reason to do with profit margins. Until about a year ago that was probably partly it, but last September they reissued two studio albums and a live set. And this month, or rather 'this month' in the special release-date language, they're reissuing four more. Aside from the fact that I'm utterly destitute and in the middle of a massive music purge that if I were more disciplined would not be immediately rendered moot by my rapid acquisition of new records I will never play, this should make me very happy. I can't stress enough how much more I like Straight, No Chaser than any of the fifteen discs of the Riverside box. That might even be true of the It Club and Jazz Workshop live sets, sound issues aside. I get more continuous pleasure out of them, at least, though the Riverside recordings are more interesting for what I'll dumbly call 'historical' reasons. (Hearing Monk play Ellington for a whole album, or Monk play standards for a whole album, or Monk play with Coltrane, or Monk practicing 'Round Midnight' alone in the studio for twenty minutes, or Monk with a big band, or plenty more, are all 'historically' fascinating and certainly not unpleasurable just because I have gotten stuck using a stupid word like 'historical'.) But. The three reissues from last year have been out over a year! And despite my ceaseless record store patronage I haven't seen any of them, in any store, for the entire year. Even though I don't really think I care about this that much - I will buy and love these records in due time, I'm sure - the fact that it bothers me enough for me to notice makes me somewhat unhappy. Or irritated. Tonight I am a free-music anti-copyright crypto-anarchist.

13 Aug '03 08:14:58 AM

'all really new ideas go through three stages - the joke, the threat, and the obvious'.

12 Aug '03 06:43:09 AM

A biography of Heinrich von Kleist, favorite of Deleuze and Guattari, especially in plateau twelve, '1227: Treatise on Nomadology - The War Machine'.

11 Aug '03 08:23:43 AM

I truly dislike these moments when an as yet unvisited (but planned) part of something I'm writing rushes up at me, like the edge of a cliff, and it's nothing like my map said it would be, and I can't see how to get back on the trail other than to go back home and draw a new map. Which is not an option.