20/05/2010

Crouching hooded gods of word and number


"It's you who lets me live in the major key."




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Saw this nasty little thing in oxfam the other day:


Now, I'm not expert in either field (Funk Science nor Divanity), but I reckon any such study which begins with Dido's "Here With Me" and Sophie Ellis Bextor's [anything] hasn't put the right level of scholarship in. Though the ground is oft obscured by casuistry.

Let's formulate a First Envogueosophy, shall we?

1. A diva. Sorry, sorry: the diva.








2. Funky and yet ~Diva.








3. P&Q --> Blige.








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Found a dirty pigeonhole for the general slant of my epistemology in prior posts - "transcendentalism".

Eeww.

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PRESENTISM

A rolling limit on it all, wide as world,
effortless Shiva-Brahma, Now.

Entire
entire anew
entire anew everything
instantly entirely
sleight.

times pass and pass away
we pass, and now flies
the tick.

it is cold, the godclock;
its truths are transiences.
it'll allow you only a moment,
the moment, and fling
juxtapositions unexplaineds halfperceiveds
rushed right by finalities beautiful firsts
ephemera and quantum bullshit at you
for observation,
though more like for not.

The past cannot save,
the future cannot promise.

Fuck Zen,
sight without a backbone in one's eyes.
Now, not Tao.
More than shallow, divorcing Zen;
the dead men you consort and tussle with
are at your elbow,
waiting for us to forget.

Only what is present is and all that is is present.

This, time's null-series and
its dynamic hindtruth:
bug-eyed, austere, and punk.

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Two Dogmas of Hiphop:

1) oldschool is nice, partying and unspoiled








2) new hiphop is sexist and nihilistic








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OUR MAENAD

Then howling, then lowing,
she donned quick dull and bedded -
but did not settle - down,

in a feu de tristesse. There's no
choicer torturers than selves.
It's masturbation for clean hands.

Endlessly dressing; life as vanity table
in an alcove offstage (ever offstage).
Words will do for clothing in a pinch.

Of late what words they are! Silken
Armour and feather helmets,
a ridiculous expressionist war.

Sparagmos! the jubilant wrong
that we'll pause by, observing rites
over rights. Drink deep, fill your boots.

Impress, prepossess, distance;
petition from the surface.
I hate it when you say it's only skin.

Valuable, people. Opaque, though, so much so
that muck that covers brass; all is muck
if you never scratch it, and reason seems alone.




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A performance piece I wrapped around a friend's rant for the occasion of the AU Creative Writers' 'big' recital. "A Dieselled Dialectic":





Roddy:You once told me that driving was “aesthetically bankrupt”. You are, for the most part, probably correct. It stirs up pictures of angry, desperate people sweating their lives away in expensive, planet-sickening, resource-consuming, look-alike rep-mobiles, each more pissed off and impatient than the next. It is an environment where one being may hate another blindly, hysterically, willing horror upon their very existence - this despite the fact they’ve never met, never wronged each other but for a delay of the six seconds of their mechanized, productivity-maddened lives. It conjures an environment where one man can, by the weeest human lapse or smidge of impatience, remove the existence of another.







The world needs to change its attitude towards transport, of that there is no doubt. Hydrogen cars, lower speed limits, improved social attitude towards public transport; all of these things must and will happen. We will curb our emissions, we will become safer, more conscientious drivers, and perhaps we will even do away with cars altogether. Speaking as not a pessimist but a lethargist, fuck, the future seems tight. But I love driving. And it’ll be the death of you if I don’t hear some qualification.

G: I suppose I meant that it’s the effect on the humans doing it that’s what’s so “bankrupt”. Driving is a skill that goes all the way up to sport, profession and, when the object escapes sport and moves to studies in motion, sure, art. I'm more than willing to amend the premise from “All acts of driving are aesthetically bankrupt.” to “Almost all acts of driving are aesthetically bankrupt.”
For almost all driving, your massive list of things-amiss, your bdelygmia there is probably dead on. Which doesn’t really serve your point. Cars, static or in motion can be intensely beautiful. But-



R: I want you to stop for a second, and try and imagine you are somewhere else. I want you to imagine that on a beautiful, hot, sunny, mid-summer’s day you are standing next to a race track. The track is wide and dark, and a thick heat shimmer hangs over it. Thick black tyre marks paint criss-cross patterns onto the hot asphalt; from right to a left as a long, dipping straightaway curves sharply into a smooth, ever-so-slightly sloping, right handed half moon of hard top. The sky is spotless and blue and the grass on which you stand is soft. The air is utterly still and totally silent.



Silent; save for a murmur on the horizon, a whisper in the distance. Gradually, the murmur turns into a grumble. Slowly:
louder,
louder,
louder.
You can’t see it yet – the haze swims thickly over the tarmac. That bellowing roar belongs to a small block, big bore, direct injection, race tuned V8. That screeching wail that rides the thunder is a forced induction single stage supercharger. You can just about make the car out now as it approaches. What is it? Mustang 500? VXR8? Vantage S? It doesn’t matter. The corner is coming up fast; the driver lifts off the accelerator and the noise calms for a fraction of a heartbeat, the exhaust crackling and popping with overrun as unburnt fuel vaporises through the box and explodes against the back of the car.



R: Time stands still.

G: -No it doesn't. With his left foot-



R: Yes, it does…


[long beat]


R: …With his left foot the driver declutches and block shifts from fifth gear to third; with his right foot he stabs the brakes, the nose of the car pitches forward hard, the pads light up white hot. Simultaneously, he twists his foot and covers the accelerator with his right heel. The driver releases the brakes and snaps the wheel one way; then the other. With a slight wiggle, the rear tyres lose their purchase on the track and the back of the car begins to slide out towards the edge of the curve. The car goes sideways in a screaming cloud of tyre smoke; the 1½ ton car is like a figureskater on a black river of ice: all grace and poise. The car begins to exit the corner still slightly diagonal to the track. The driver snaps to fourth gear, applying a touch of corrective lock, and firewalls the accelerator.



G:
Time stops. I've never been a luddite. Christ, the number of toxic bricks of tech I've truly been delighted to possess in my life would certainly get me on to Friends of the Earth’s deathlist, if we weren’t all on it already. The Romantic horror of human ingenuity ain’t what I’m reaching for, nor is any particularly ecologist/Marxist pout about the masturbatory consumerism of it.



That said, I really don't like cars. I can distance myself and get a sort of relative appreciation of them, in much the same way that one can say "that dogshit is less putrid than that elephant turd." But I've obviously got an impediment to begin with on the whole issue. Luckily we're talking verbs, not nouns here. Drivers not drivees.

MAN AND MACHINE IN TANDEM/ METABOLISMS WILDLY DIFFERING AND YET A / SYMBIOSIS OF TAUT ASS ON DEADER SKIN / WHICH IS USING WHICH? / WHOM OWNS WHOM? / YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE DAFT TO BELIEVE THAT / MIND WEARS BODY WEARS TORQUE / LIKE A LOGO.






[beat.] [Roddy is unimpressed by the Beatnicking.]




R:
…Time starts again.This is 4.2 litres of supercharged smallblock ignite: 500 brakehorsepower and 440 pounds/feet of torque explodes from the shrieking engine through the melting rubber of tortured Pirelli racing slicks. The nose lifts. The flaring exhausts blast twin flickering twists of dirty yellow flame. The rear wheels spin hard and the back tries to step out with torque oversteer. The driver holds it, though, and the racing car leaps forward, slicing along the track, flashing towards the horizon.


The keening supercharger starts to spool louder as the engine closes on the red line, and the driver short throws to fifth; the engine dipping then climbing again. It is soon lost in the haze hanging on the track, but you can still hear it: that tearing, snorting, bellow of the engine, accompanied by the banshee wail of the supercharger. Soon that fades too, and all you can hear is a soft grumble in the distance. This whole episode, from murmur to apotheosis and back, lasts a matter of seconds.


G: Well. Top Gear has artful cameramen. They do. They probably, in fact, earn the title "cinematographer." Your carporn polemic is indebted to their oblique, skilful style of making car reviews by Jeremy Clarkson have as little Jeremy Clarkson in them as possible. (Premise: Driving makes us all a little more like Jeremy Clarkson.)






R: Nothing provides the same level of sheer drama, entertainment and primal red bloodedness that the internal combustion engine does. Try standing next to a Nissan Skyline accelerating from 0 with the launch control settings all the way to bastard fast. Try not smiling. I have, and it’s impossible.


G:You’re giving yourself away when you say “red-blooded”; this stuff is about a certain kind of maleness; it’s an entertainment based in brutality, in pissing displays of power.
I actually feel much the same about a fucking big or fucking fast (or, more often in Aberdeen, just loudened artificially) car going past me as I do about walking behind somebody who is smoking. It's a tiny irritance, one miniscule blot on reality that doesn't have to be there. I don't smile. I just wonder what the driver's trying to compensate for.



R: For every hacked off fucking business man in his Mondeo, stuck for half his life in a traffic jam on a rainy M9, leaving the engine running and the air con on, for every kid knocked down and killed outside their school by a drunk in his Astra, driving is to some people still as fun, as groundbreaking, as eye opening, as enthralling and as liberating as it must have been to the original pioneers of internal combustion all those years ago when the top speed was 5 mph on cart wheels and all they wanted was to go faster still. Speed, and the machines that get us there, is intoxicating. And apart from anything else, the sight of Aston Martin V12 Vantage cresting a hill into dusk just makes me well up.





G: You’re doing very well at internalising these awful aspects, at accepting the worst of it so all I’m left to deal in is the aesthetic and intellectual and the asinine. You’re idealizing racing, or the American road trip or something, and I don’t think that you can so easily relegate Mondeo man and Astra kid; that is the nadir, the counterpart to your epitome. Your fantasy version of driving just isn't what it mostly is.

Though if you were to push me for what I’d change – ban cars to make the world prettier? - I’d of course be forced to retreat into relativism properly.










R: Finally, on the note of only some people being “aesthetic” drivers: I could tell you of dozens of nights that I’ve spent hammering my little Renault through the hills of the Borders, as fast, as loud and as stupid as you like. Every time I got home with no petrol left in my tank, needing new tires and with the brakes so hot they couldn’t close and the clutch so melted to hell that the gears won’t catch, and in deciding whether I’m glad to be alive or just lucky not to be dead, my self sings. There is nothing like it. The act of it, the feel, and indeed the spectacle, is a beautiful thing; of that I don’t think there can be any denial.




The earth is bleeding black gold,










G:
When it comes to your teen cruisings, your mad-eyed, destructive escapism - what you correctly call intoxication - I can't take that from you. I wouldn't even begin to want to.




I think even if you'd died one night, upturned in a Galashiels hedge with Bon Jovi still blasting, serenading you off - if I'd never even gotten to meet you, and all for a wee touch of adrenaline and a break from monotony - I still wouldn't take it from you.




Love and transmission fluid,