I normally don’t do politics …
But recently I’ve been investigating the book Aristote au mont Saint-Michel.
Because I’m interested in a perceived clash of civilizations.
Illustration: Folio 195 of the Très Riches Heures du Duc de Berry.
Furthering my previous post on “places that cannot be left” (“The Captives of Longjumeau” and The Exterminating Angel), I remembered the book Krabat which I read as a child, about a young boy who winds up in a mill from which it is impossible to escape. Everyone who tries to run away wades through swamps all night, only to find himself (at dawn) back at the gates of that very same mill.
And by coincidence, yesterday, I watched the absurdist/surreal film Woman in the Dunes. Its male protagonist is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them.
It’s an excellent film, one of my World Cinema Classics.
P.S. : I cancelled my cable and bought this gadget, Google ChromeCast, which allows you to play YouTube films from your smartphone or PC.
Borges’ “Kafka and His Precursors” mentions Léon Bloy’s story “The Captives of Longjumeau“, which, in the words of Borges “relates the case of some people who posses all manner of globes, atlases, railroad guides and trunks, but who die without ever having managed to leave their home town”.
Wondering if someone else had noticed the similarity between these two plotlines, I googled “The Captives of Longjumeau” and “The Exterminating Angel” and found A Reading Diary, a book by Alberto Manguel which lists fiction in which “time is suspended”, where “places cannot be left” (what I was looking for) and the opposite, “places cannot be reached.”
Catch the Beat: The best of Soul Underground 1987-91
Dave Lubich of Soul Underground was kind enough to send me a copy of Catch the Beat: The best of Soul Underground 1987-91 (2010). This 440-page book contains a selection of features, interviews, charts and news stories from each of Soul Underground’s 38 issues.
I especially like the charts.
Both The Phantom of Liberty (Luis Buñuel, 1974) and God Told Me To (Larry Cohen, 1976) feature a scene in which a sniper shoots innocent strangers from a highrise. Both scenes are probably inspired by Charles Whitman‘s spree killing in Texas in 1966.
In Buñuel’s film, the sniper randomly kills people in the Parisian streets below.
Phantom of Liberty as featured in Blixa Bargeld’s cover of “Soul Desert“, sniper scene starts at 0:42
In Cohen’s film, the sniper is perched on a water tower in New York and opens fire on the crowded streets below, killing fifteen pedestrians.
God Told Me To, the sniper scene starts at 1:26
I recently met a woman who is into conspiracy theories. I’m not fond of conspiracy theories (think the Zeitgeist rubbish). Why invent injustice when the world is riddled with very real injustice already? By coincidence (or was it? haha) a week later, I stumbled upon “Living in an Unreal World“[below] by famed and brilliant documentary maker Adam Curtis, whose The Trap,The Century of the Self and The Power of Nightmares I had seen and admired. So I decided to check some of his more recent work.
And so it came about that yesterday I watched Bitter Lake and for the first time I was disappointed by Curtis’ work. It struck me as a conspiracy theory film lacking a culprit. Arty and well executed, but a conspiracy theory nonetheless.
So I googled “conspiracy theory” and “Adam Curtis” and found “The Loving Trap“[above], a Bitter Lake spoof by a certain Ben Woodhams who described Bitter Lake as the ‘televisual equivalent of a drunken late night Wikipedia binge with pretension for narrative coherence’.
I see Woodhams’ point but remain a loving fan of Curtis’ work.
He is perhaps best-known for the film Dances Sacred and Profane (above).
While researching Gustav Klimt, I thought it was a good idea to watch the film Klimt (2006). It’s a truly silly film, take for example the scene where Gustav Klimt smears a piece of cake in the face of Adolf Loos to solve a dispute over ornament:
Gustav Klimt, responding to Loos’s claim that ornament is crime and having covered the face of Loos in cake:
I’m not sure Loos and Klimt met. But I’m quite certain Loos would not have allowed to be pied like that.
Over the last seven years I have been compiling the Jahsonic 1000, a list of thousand songs I would put on a mixtape if mixtapes were that big. I finished the list a while ago but I only recently made it into a YouTube playlist you can listen to here.
The Jahsonic 1000 (2007-15) is a list of 1000 songs compiled by Jan Willem Geerinck. It was started early 2007 as the World music classics category and concluded in November 2015. Every time Geerinck heard or remembered a recording which he thought fit to be in the Jahsonic 1000, he added it to the category. There were no second thoughts.
Neil Young and Lee Perry are the artists with the highest frequency: both are featured 8 times; they are followed by Serge Gainsbourg (6), Stevie Wonder (5), Herbie Hancock (4), James Brown (4), Kraftwerk (4), Nina Simone (4), Peggy Lee (4), Sylvester (4), The Kinks (4), The Rolling Stones (4) en The Velvet Underground (4).
The alphabetical arrangement makes for some interesting juxtapositions. “I’m Not in Love” by 10cc is followed by “I’m Still In Love” by Alton Ellis and there are four songs which start with “California”: “California Dreamin’” by The Mamas & the Papas, “California Love” by 2Pac, “California Soul” by Marlena Shaw and “California Über Alles” by the Dead Kennedys.
Three songs start with the phrase “Baby I”: “Baby I Love You So,” “Baby I’m Scared of You” en “Baby, I Love Your Way”. “I Want You Back” and “I Don’t Want You Back” are not far apart, as they are in real life and “Hurt So Bad” and “Hurt So Good” are neighbours. Other neighbours are “Soul Cargo”, “Soul Drummers”, “Soul Finger”, “Soul Fire”, “Soul Makossa”, “Soul Man” and “Soul Sauce.”