Blackbeard Blog: That Hideous Strength -
If you like the stuff I write in Blackbeard Blog you will also like a piece I’ve just had published in http://mauramagazine.com/ on the topic of “business speak” and its discontents - it’s in Issue 20. (And subscribing to the magazine will mean you get to read thoughtful cultural criticism,…
My first piece for Maura Mag - I hope subscribers enjoy it!
HOPE not hate news: UKIP members of Lincolnshire County Council refuse to back anti-racism pledge -
All 16 UKIP councillors on Lincolnshire County Council have refused to sign an anti-racism declaration. Labours Rob Parker presented the document to ensure all Lincolnshire residents are treated equality and have access to the same services. But Chris Pain, leader of the county councils UKIP group, the official opposition, told todays annual …
UKIP: We’re not racist! But we’re not anti-racist either!
TBH the fact this pledge appeared on this council agenda days after the UKIP lot were sworn in suggests it was introduced as a bit of politics, a trap for UKIP to walk into. And obviously they then did walk into it. Because UKIP is - spoilers! - an enormous magnet for racists.
(These were also, as I understand it from talking to people who know about local government, the tactics which worked on the BNP or on any non-mainstream group - marginalise them so they can’t get anything done and they will get frustrated and bored and eventually voted out. UKIP have a much larger notional supporter base, of course, but demonstrating their petulance, ineffectiveness and nastiness feels like a good way of making sure said base doesn’t keep growing. People like voting for insurgents, they don’t like voting for losers.)
‘Drama!’ by Erasure
Their best song by miles - does so many things which shouldn’t work yet do.
How to be Awesome by Diplomatic Ensign Noh-Varr, age 23 1/3 (possibly) -
I’ve finally got around to writing another thing for Freaky Trigger about Young Avengers, this time addressing whether anyone around here is cool or what. (yes)
Also Noh-Varr’s butt. Quuuiiite a lot about Noh-Varr’s butt.
Hurrah! (And also shame on me, my piece on #3 is still languishing in my drafts folder)
When you post a link to Tumblr, you get the green box, and an excerpt which Tumblr reads from the data on the original post I guess.
And if you delete the excerpt and write your own description and press post, does it just delete what you wrote? Or is that just a thing for me and I need to update something on my PC?
It’s happened a couple of times, depriving you of my golden insights on, er, an airport in Amsterdam and something else I can’t remember. But it’s the principle dammit.
Obviously there is NO SHORTAGE of artefacts in our culture for and possibly by ageing dudes, so Random Access Memories doesn’t get a special critical pass based simply on that! (Except from Q, and Mojo, and Rolling Stone, and and and)
But for better or for worse I am such a dude and I liked the record a lot.
In the end, they wound up making the “Daft Punk sucks!” record themselves. At a moment when mainstream pop has never sounded more like Daft Punk, Bangalter and de Homem-Christo went the other way, crafting a gold-plated homage to the pop music of their youth, the kind of sweet and sad and sexy sounds that ruled radio waves years before most of their fan base was even born. It’s extremely impressive musically, weirdly pedantic in places—unless you think there’s merit in listening to Giorgio Moroder haltingly talk about his early days as a German club warrior over a click track—and probably a little overgenerous to guys like Panda Bear, who basically gets to sneak a solo track onto one of the most anticipated albums of the past decade. I would say the disco-connoisseur-y songs outnumber the potential pop smashes by a ratio of about 4 to 1, but there are definitely a couple of potential pop smashes. I have no idea who they imagine Random Access Memories being for, besides themselves, but there is something seductive about that, the band’s ability to do something so totally, breathtakingly self-indulgent—it makes you want to try to see it their way. —
Really enjoyed this Zach Baron profile of Daft Punk. The above summary of the album seems, after two listens, right on. The sort of inherent contrariness of the album makes me want to love it more than anything else. Random Access Memories is a dusty gold record hanging on a closed studio’s wall. An old disco medallion in a pawn shop display case. A gaggle of retired session musicians drinking Campari on a quiet Italian beach. I do sort of love it. (via bmichael)
I agree with your description - “A gaggle of retired session musicians drinking Campari on a quiet Italian beach” is perfect - but I don’t see what’s self-indulgent here exactly. There are an awful lot of people who used to go out dancing and now don’t - not because pop music sucks now but because their bodies and souls are older. Making a record that connects with those people seems commercially fairly smart. I found the Moroder talking bit probably the most straightforwardly moving thing on the whole record, to be honest.
I think there was a watershed moment for rock a couple of decades ago where its longer-running, smarter practitioners took a look at the terrible music they were making in order to appeal to “their fanbase” and thought, I’m too old for this, OK, how can I make music that is honest about that? So you get things like Dylan’s late-career renaissance, which started with him going back to very old, long-gone music and rebuilding himself up using that. I think Random Access Memories is a bit like that (on one listen, granted!). I don’t think it’s a bad thing if people who make dance music go through that kind of thought process too.
The first thing my wife said when she heard “Get Lucky” was, they sound really OLD, not meaning it as a compliment. But it’s sort of true. At some point staying up all night becomes a big deal again, something worth remarking on or building a chorus around. I can relate, certainly.
Short version: “contrarian” as a response feels like a feature of perspective, not of the record.
Viral James Mattis Email About Reading -
But what does he have to say about Bracknell?
Time To Give Ourselves Into Strange Gods’ Hands -
I am - very very belatedly! - getting into Hellboy. So I wrote a bit about him, which turned before my very eyes into something about Lovecraft and Cthulhu instead.
BuzzFeed Starts Program to Train Agencies in the BuzzFeed Way -
Buzzfeed to offer training in storytelling to ad agencies.
Marketers who complain about how easy it is to make ‘branded content’ that spreads are in an equivalent position to their topic as music fans who roll their eyes at the simplicity of pop songs. But it’s hard not to be amused imagining the look of granite disdain on the face of an adland grandee exposed to this golden paragraph.
“We know dog content resonates strongly online, so we have created a number of stories around the loving and joyful connection between dogs and owners,” Melinda Winter, senior brand manager at Milk-Bone, said in a statement. One of these stories, for instance, is a collection of 10 GIFS of dogs warmly greeting humans.