Wednesday, October 31, 2007

In streaming media res

It's wall-to-wall displacement activity here at Thompson Towers. I'm trying to finish a couple of (as yet barely-begun) pieces for my gig on Saturday: it's my first poetry reading in over two years -- details are over there on the right, if you're going to be in London at the weekend and you feel like spending twenty minutes of it being shouted at by a fat man in a crumpled shirt (and why wouldn't you?) -- so I'm hoping to have some rock'n'roll fun with it. But it's too hard, the writing bit, that's partly why I withdrew myself from the fray for a while. So I'm training as much of my attention as possible on other things, in the hope that some fairytale scenario will eventually transform the poem-making labour: a Rumplestiltskin-style collaborative effort one night, say, or chancing to happen upon a golden Geoff Ward poem lying in the snow which I can take home and show to my four-in-a-bed grandparents.

Annoyingly, the most productive imaginable alternative tasks (aside from curing cancer or ridding the world of Chris Moyles) would also involve heavy-duty writing. I have a backlog of five theatre shows to review, and three films, and I want to write something about privateness in art... Oh, well, soon come, soon come.

In the meantime, a little bit of unobtrusive late-spring cleaning here: I've finally changed the playlist in the Gevorts Box widget to your right. Naughty of me to leave the last lot up so long. So here is the new tracklisting -- and the same provisos as before: if you own any of these tracks and want them removed, just yell. It's quite a random grab-bag but I should hope there's something to tickle most palates.

01 Max de Wardener: 'Hundreds and Thousands', from Where I Am Today (Accidental)

02 Tiny Masters of Today: 'Stickin' It to the Man', from Bang Bang Boom Cake (Mute)

03 Mutya Buena: 'Fast Car', from the compilation Radio 1 Established 1967 (Sony)

04 Hi-Speed: 'Animocosica Balts', from Eroika Con Animac Planetico (Creative Man)

05 The Flying Lizards: 'Hands 2 Take', from Fourth Wall (Virgin)

06 Cody: 'Rounder', cd single (Shinkansen)

07 The Bird and the Bee: 'Fucking Boyfriend', from The Bird and the Bee (Blue Note)

08 Richard Sanderson: 'Dealing in Absolutes [DJ Wrongspeed remix]', from the archive of tracks at Richard's Baggage Reclaim site

09 Giorgio Moroder: 'Rotwang's Party (Robot Dance)', the B-side of Freddie Mercury's single 'Love Kills' (CBS)

10 Spring Heel Jack [feat. Evan Parker]: 'Lata', from The Sweetness of the Water (Thirsty Ear)

11 Peter Bellamy with Dave Swarbrick: 'The Maid of Australia', from Both Sides Then (Fledgling)

12 The Owls: 'Isaac Bashevis Singer', from Daughters and Suns (Magic Marker)

13 Mike Sophia: 'Cow', from the WFMU 365 Days project

14 Bobby Vinton: 'Mr Lonely', from the not-yet-released soundtrack of Harmony Korine's awesome new film of the same name, and/or any bargain-bin Bobby Vinton Best Of near you

15 Ivor Cutler: 'The River Bends', from a bootleg of the BBC Radio 3 series King Cutler

16 Keiji Haino: 'You Who Will In No Way, I Who Can In No Way', from A Challenge to Fate (Disques du Soleil)

17 Subtle: 'F.K.O.', from A New White (Lex)

18 Tod Dockstader: 'Shout', from Aerial vol.1 (Sub Rosa)

19 So [Markus Popp + Eriko Toyoda]: 'Untitled D', from So (Thrill Jockey)

20 Yamaha Music Foundation: 'The Salad Song', from the WFMU 365 Days project

If that's not enough of an ear-bashing for you, you might be interested to visit the archives of Bookworm at the KCRW web site, which I stumbled upon today. First we'd better define our terms for those to whom they are unfamiliar: KCRW is the national public radio station that broadcasts from the campus of Santa Monica College in California; among the many important and useful programmes under its aegis are Nic Harcourt's Morning Becomes Eclectic (for which I developed a deep affection when I was briefly in or around LA the best part of a decade ago), Harry Shearer's rambling Le Show, and Bookworm, a regular half-hour programme in which significant contemporary authors are interviewed by Michael Silverblatt. Silverblatt sometimes sounds a bit like a Frank Oz-voiced creatureshop fantasy, it's odd to think he's only in his mid 50s. But that's largely beside the point. He is an astoundingly acute, curious, virtuosic reader of texts, meaning that he is able not only to ask the right questions but also, quite frequently, to propose to his interviewees some perspective on their work that is fresh to them and that they immediately and gratefully recognize.

So I was trawling for critical stuff on Miranda July yesterday, and that's how I came across the Bookworm archive. There is a free podcast from the KCRW site or via iTunes, and recent epiosdes are always available for download -- the current roster includes William Gibson, Michael Ondaatje, and a Kurt Vonnegut re-run, along with July, as well as lots of other writers who I'm sure are just as interesting if you like that kind of stuff... But the whole archive at the KCRW web site is also worth spending some serious time with. Unfortunately the archived interviews are Realaudio streams only, so you can't download them (unless you have some superscary bit of Russian mobster crackware or something). But as free online resources go it's pretty remarkable. I spent most of yesterday afternoon listening to four interviews with Dennis Cooper, spanning four different publications and several years: a really fascinating and instructive experience. Go make friends with the search box, and if your favourite Major Novelist isn't there, I'll give you a satsuma. Five interviews with David Foster Wallace, anyone?

If your brow's coming in a bit lower now that the clocks have gone back -- mine certainly is, don't be ashamed -- then instead I leave you with a bit of sublime telly. As I think I may have mentioned in these pages only about 46,000,000 times, I don't have a tv, with the exception of a wretchedly unreliable tv card in my computer which only works when I can hang the stubby little aerial thing out of the open window, and is therefore a bother and also colder and more breezy than not watching tv. So this is normally the Amish part of the year for me, where I get on quietly with my needlepoint or catch up on some whittling. But a man in need of displacement activity can be pretty resourceful... It turns out that 4oD (which I don't think I recommend, but still...) has the whole first series of Skins free to download (with annoying built-in self-destruct as per Mission: Impossible), so I've been hugely and indulgently enjoying every moment of that, or at least every moment that doesn't feature horrible celebrity cameos from the likes of Neil Morrissey and Arabella Weir.

And I've also been keeping a close eye on YouTube for clips from The Peter Serafinowicz Show which has been going out on BBC2 on Thursdays for the past few weeks. I'm a huge, huge fan of the guy. (Eek. I said 'guy'. Well, he's kind of a 'guy' kind of guy.) From what I've seen, the show is every bit as hit-and-miss as the second series of Look Around You, but hit-and-miss is my middle name, so I'm happy to roll with it. The unmistakable collaborative hand of Robert Popper is easily detected in this spoof ad, which made me make embarrassing snorty laugh noises. I'm quite prepared to believe you will conversely sit stony-faced through the entire thing. It is awfully silly.

Right. Back to work. Seriously. See you Saturday, maybe?


Anonymous said...

I have not been able to find Munchmallows for some years.

If you (like I) miss them and hate all other similar products... Try Marks & Spencer Teacakes.

They are the same to my very sensitive tastebuds.

Martin, Oxford.

Kali U.Hughes said...

'Fraid I can't see and details for Saturday night London poetry gig... am I just being blind?