|Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 08:32 am: |
It is raining heavily in Hong Kong and the wind is blowing sideways off of the harbor. I just spoke to my wife in Korea and while it finally stopped raining there, it is unseasonably cold.
You opened the Slipstream panel in Glasgow with the statement that it is all “Fiction.” How true. Most people have it backwards. In the Venn diagram of of the reality of fiction, “mundane” fiction (not Geoff Ryman “mundane-sf”) is the subset, the “genre.” Mundane fiction implicitly assumes the validity of consensual reality. Of Philip K. Dick’s Koinos Cosmos. The writers don’t know that they’re making these assumptions – otherwise they’d be writing slipstream. The rest of us "know" better.
I remember Bruce Sterling publishing his list of slipstream in SF Eye. I treasured that magazine and I miss it ever so much. Not long after, I remember going downstairs in the flagship Forbidden Planet in London and seeing an entire rack labeled “Slipstream.” (It is still there but the work has osmosed into the rest of the more general section, leaving only obvious Big Names in a smaller rack.)
The grouping was split into what I think of as Yin-stream and Yang-stream.
SF writers who write within the mundane “thingy” [I think I heard the word “paradigm” about 12 times too many at Interaction] are conscious of the assumptions that doing this requires. I glommed onto the New Wave like a love struck limpit and followed, among others, Moorcock, Ballard, Aldiss, and Mike Harrison wherever they led. These are writers who understand that while reality seems to be “this” way – it could just as easily have been some other way. We had to leave for Singapore on Sunday and missed the NW panel, alas.
“Mundane” writers who try to write using SF “stuff” [I’m also burned out on “tropes”] make the same assumptions that they have always made while trying to write (or believe) as if they haven't.
Don’t ask which is Yin and which is Yang. I haven’t decided. And, I’m not pigeonholing certain writers. A body of work defines itself depending on its implicit (or lack of implicit) assumptions.
It briefly occurred to me during the panel that maybe some people within our community (self-conscious as it is) use the word “slipstream” to assuage some sort of guilt-complex resulting from reading outside of the field. This would be silly, which doesn’t mean that I’m wrong, since I’ll wager that none of us has ever met a serious science fiction reader who doesn't read heavily outside of the field as a matter of course.
I spent the day looking out the window at the rain, missing my wife, trying not to smoke too much, and reading the first half of Kelly Link’s Stranger Things Happen. Great stuff. I wish I had read some of her work before your panel. After every story, I alternate with a chapter from Interaction, a critical study of Chris Priest. I could be wrong (I’ll have to dig out my old copies if I ever get home) but I think it was SF Eye that introduced me to Chris’ work. Also Iain Banks via The Bridge and The Wasp Factory. Could SF Eye have introduced me to Winterlong?
I seem to recall that SF Eye had a pretty scathing attitude towards Locus. This must have been because of the time frame. I don’t know what Locus was reviewing contemporaneously but in the most recent decade Locus has introduced many readers to small presses like Golden Gryphon or PS Publishing (Gotta love that Bibliomancy!) – and American readers to British writers like Jon Courtenay Grimwood who finally has a US publisher.
Salisbury Road is starting to flood and I see several stalled cars. Did you know that Hong Kong has more double-decker busses than London? On the Island (I’m on the Kowloon side of the harbor) there are double-decker trams. If tomorrow’s weather is nicer I’ll take the Star Ferry over, ride a couple, and listen to Robyn Hitchcock’s “Trams of Old London” on my trusty mp3 player.
The finest time I’ve had o far here was the March 2005 International Film Festival which, despite its understandable focus on Asian cinema, also held several French treasures for me – and a deeply deranged Manoel de Oliveira.
Post-Geoff Ryman Mundane: http://mundanesf.com/default.asp?id=2&mnu=2
It seems churlish to point out that the M-theory-based ending of Geoff’s wonderful new novel Air seems to me to be no less likely than the tropes that the Mundane Manifesto gleefully eschews.
You’ve a piece in the forthcoming PS book on Cinema Macabre. Many of the authors and titles strike me as odd pairings, but I suppose I when I read it, it will make much more sense. You will write on The Last Wave – one of my top ten favorite films of all time.
Ciao, Liz If I had the discipline I’d do a blog but I don’t.. Maybe one day……
Next year with any luck Concussion and Finnicon 2006. I spent some nice time with some Finns in Glasgow talking about the Finnish music that I love so much and that I think I suggested on one of your older threads. And talking about their great director Aki Kaurismaki (Hi Lucius. He's a big fan.)
|Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 10:10 am: |
Hey Bill! It was great to meet you & your wife -- I'm sorry we didn't run into each other again. It was a crazy time, as ever, but I had a lot of fun. Sounds like you did, too.
Your comments on fiction are interesting and I'll have to mull them over before making a stab at a coherent reply. I feel like I'm still not working on all cylinders -- only got back from UK a few days ago and am thrashing towards the final (I hope) revision of GENERATION LOSS.
It's funny you mentioned Iain Banks's The Bridge & The Wasp factor -- I reviewed those for SF EYE. Haven't read the reviews since I wrote them, I guess that's almost 20 years ago, but that's where I got my start as a reviewer. The great Steve Brown. He lived in DC, as I did. As an unknown, I was thrilled to be writing for a magazine with such a strong roster of reviewers and essayists and general all-purpose rabble rousers. It was a great, influential, wide-ranging journal. I wasn't aware so much of an anti-Locus bias as a more basic anti-SF mainstream bias. I think there's more provocative SF/F around now than there ever has been; the rise of the small presses andd the internet has fed that, but I think SF Eye helped pave the way by pulling a few bricks from the wall, way back when.
I have to confess that I don't read manifestos and never really have. They seem beside the point, writing-wise, and a needless expenditure of energy. For me, anyway. But I guess they serve a purpose in getting people revved up and also in helping younger writers establish an identity, which I think is important.
I'll be at Concussion, and I think Finncon in 2007. SO let's hope we can spend more time talking (in person) then ...
|Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 10:12 am: |
Oops! Typo -- The Wasp factory, not The Wasp Factor. That would be the sequel to MJH's A STORM OF WINGS ...
|Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 11:16 pm: |
So, basically, you introduced me to Iain Banks. I still remember that review and how psyched I was to find the book. And how pleased I was when I read it and found that you were absolutely right. Would I have read Winterlong by then (I read it as soon as it hit the shelves) or was I convinced merely by your skill as a reviewer, novice though you may have been?
Reading Storm of Wings made me feel like an insect. This is a compliment. Love the idea of a direct sequel. Its my favorite out of all of the Viriconium sequence. Which takes some doing....
The Mundane Manifesto is pretty funny. And I love Geoff Ryman's work, so....
SF Eye was a major turning point for the literature.
|Posted on Saturday, August 20, 2005 - 11:19 pm: |
Need I mention that I can't wait to read Generation Loss. ETA?
|Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 04:01 am: |
I agree: SF Eye was a major turning point for the genre. Maybe Steve should get in touch with a small press and see about bundling the run of the magazine into a single volume. Among other things, the Eye published great commentary on (then) emerging technology and its potential impact on our culture, and gave Sterling (among others) a springboard to the sort of writing he's been doing ever since.
A Storm of Wings is my favorite Viriconium book, too.
I think my Banks review was the very first review I ever did. This would have been what? 1987? 1986? Can't even recall. A long time ago, anyway.
I have to revise GL first, then find a publisher. For some years now my agent has wanted me to write a book on spec, and this time I finally agreed to do it. Since it's not SF/F it seemed like a good place to make a break. But it'll be a while before it's in print, because of the lag time between finding a publisher and actually getting it into the public's hands. If you can track down a copy of the literary magazine Gargoyle (google Gargoyle + Atticus Books), their Issue #50 includes the opening chapters of GENERATION LOSS. I may end up posting some of it on my website as well as a teasser, once the site is redesigned for the new book.
|Posted on Sunday, August 21, 2005 - 10:25 pm: |
I sent Steve Brown email a couple months ago, trying to spur him into action. I really miss the Eye. I got only an automated reply to the effect that my message would have to be sorted from spam...I assume he doesn't actually check the SF Eye account anymore.
John Joseph Adams
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 04:01 am: |
He does still check the account, or at least he did as of Dec. 2004. I contacted him via the email addy listed on the SF Eye website, because I wanted to order a back issue so I could read an article Gordon was telling me about.
I got the Earthlink spam message too, and when I got the real reply from Steve, he apologized for having to take "draconian measures" to keep the account alive, and explained that that addy attracts over 600 spam emails every day.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 04:11 am: |
Hmmm. Maybe I'll just call him, if I can find a phone number. I emailed him too a few years back and didn't hear anything. Now at least I know why.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 05:44 am: |
OK. Your first review slammed one right out of the ballpark.
Picked up Gary Wolfe's book and John Clute's new book in Glasgow and I think an SF Eye compilation would be wonderful to read and as an addition to the available history of the field.
Would be useful if for no other reason than I wouldn't have to delve into The Basement Archives in order to answer silly questions like:
Marc - I know that I read Dad's Nuke and became a steady reader of yours because of a review somewhere. Would THAT have been SF Eye?
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 09:37 am: |
Bill, if you read it in an Eye-like zine, I suspect it was Richard Geis's equally seminal (and missed) SFR. I still get all warm inside when I remember the rave he gave the book.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 01:01 pm: |
I remember SFR. More digging in The Archives. Yeah, he gave it a rave sure enough. I remember that review also. I went right out an bought it and (except for the game oriented piece 'cause I'm too much of an old codger to know anything about games) I haven't looked back. Had to settle for a signed galley of The Orched Eater before it came out 'cause I couldn't spot it on a release schedule. (Oh Heck. Just ordered 3rd Force anyway. I can cope with the game references.)
Malapropped the name of The 37th Mandala when trying to recommed it to someone at Lucius' place one time about a year ago when, due to a temporary massive infusion of adrenaline, I tried to keep up with his board for a few hours. Sorry. Oh the humanity.
These are important parts of our shared history and the people who read them shouldn't find it this hard to re-structure their intellectual history. I want to give credit where credit is due. And think of the salutory affect on anyone who thinks The NEW SF sprung full born from the head of Charlie Stross like Venus from the head of Zeus. (Nothing at all intended against Charles.)
"Ignorance of your culture is not considered cool." quoth The Residets.
Hugo Kvetching: Actually read all 5 nominated novels for the first time, uh, ever. Strongly supported River of Gods but reading Gary Wolfe's old reviews of his stuff in Locus is making me feel better about Ian losing.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 01:12 pm: |
"Residents" Residets is a throat lozange
Ron and Russ Post
You bad, bad boys
Where are you now
When we need you the most
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:00 pm: |
Ah, the Residents! SFR & "Dad's Nuke" ... why, this must be where old SF Eye readers come to roost.
I used to like Geis's stuff in the Voice -- same guy, right? And you're dead right on the importance of saving & sharing history. I wish i'd saved all my old issues of Punk & NY Rocker -- another part of the past lost. No room in a 400-square-foot cottage. Maybe this is a job for Jacob Weisman at Tachyon? They did a great job & a great service with THE BEST OF XERO, a compilation from Lupoff's influential 60s/70s fanzine. I'd never heard of it (sorry), but I read & reveiwed the book and thought it was great.
It's a crime to lose this stuff. I've been talking with my partner, John Clute, about this for a long time -- the importance of finding & saving fan & writers' culture before it's gone forever. Among other things, it would make it possible for newcomers, readers & writers & criti8cs alike, to see their own work as part of a continuum, one that doesn't just consist of larger, well-known long-acknowledged movements like the New Wave or cyberpunk or the Beats or whatever, but all those teeny weird little moments that bubble up and produce a few novels or stories then disappear. What little academic background I have is in cultural anthropology, and it really bums me out to think of such a vibrant subculture or folk culture fade without a trace. Well, not exactly without a trace, but without leaving the kind of priamry source material that could be useful to future cultural historians.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:07 pm: |
With Tobias B, I'm compiling an online resource that will link to all online manifestos, rants, and secondary resources in the form of essays and articles related to same. I really, really wish a lot of the SF Eye stuff was up on the net so it could be linked to. Like, Richard Grant's fine essay (or maybe it is and I can't find it) and the replies to that, equally fine.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:09 pm: |
Where's the nihilist in you, Liz? Tear it all fucking down. Punk and NY Rocker would be chagrinned at being saved.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:15 pm: |
Er, it's already all torn down. Let's just resurrect a little bit of it, okay, you gorgeous raging nihilist, you.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:38 pm: |
Tear it all fucking down was a less a demand than a spirited shout, a battle cry....and they would so be chagrinned.
No really....Fan culture? To quote Star Trek:
Spock: They're dying.
Kirk: Let them!
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 02:51 pm: |
I've every issue of Punk and New York Rocker that ever came out (sorry, Lucius) - plus lots of smaller zines on No Wave (Remember James White and the Blacks) plus a ton of stuff on European Psychedelia (Ptolomaic Terroscope which I'm sure I spelled wrong, etc.)
Every issue of Crawdaddy. Every issue of the original Creem with Lester Bangs. Every Rolling Stone except the first 3 up until the NFL cover when I realized they weren't covering as much music. I have all of the original 60s Eye (as opposed to....) Every Melody Maker that I could get my hands on with a Mal Dean characature, every Fillmore East program book for every show I ever went to (most of them including opening night) plus the ticket stubs, my ticket stubs to the 1969 Woodstock. Every OP and Option. Lots, Lots more. Just call me the Forrey Ackerman of the psychedelic/punk set. Bought 'em all on the newstand. None from collectors' markets.
I quite seriously need a place to donate all this stuff (and much, much more) so it stays together in coming years when I fall apart. "The Decline and Fall of Me" Sparks.
I have two frieds named Mike each of whose collections is as ridiculous as mine but with little overlap in emphasis (I have the most jazz and tin pan alley, Mike F. the most classical and opera, Mike F2. the most comedy and post-1940s chart hit songs and gospel.)
I've suggested a tontine.......
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 04:52 pm: |
Hi Liz. I didn't realize John Clute was your husband, 'till now. He's gotta be an intelligent and sensitive man, 'cause you're way cuter...
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 05:52 pm: |
Steve! Is this really you? Have you been outed? I'm so excited to hear from Steve Brown that all else falls by the wayside!
John is my partner, not my husband; minor semantic difference. Almost ten years now. He is very intelligent and so so sensitive -- who could read all those SF novels and not weep?
But RG was over last night for game night with the kids and we were talking about you and the glory days of the Eye! Jeff, I'll tell him you remember his essay, he'll be surprised and pleased to hear that.
Oh, Lucius, you know how it is with us nihilists -- we're all disappointed idealists. Me, Joey Ramone -- well, me and Joey Ramone, anyway. All the first generation punks were hippies who arrived a little too late for Woodstock. That's my theory, anyway, As for the purity of Punk Magazoon, my (much younger) cousin Malcolm gave me a book compilation of the early issues of Punk a few years ago. Legs McNeill seemed very happy to capitalize on it, especially seeing as copies go for ten or twenty or fifty bucks on eBay. Hey, I checked, but I'm still too muchy of a poor punk to be able to afford them.
Let's remember Patti Smith's spirited cry: We created it -- let's take it over. I think we did exactly that, and the frustrated anthropologist in me thinks we should have a record of the fact.
As per Legs McNeil's PLEASE KILL ME: An Oral History of Punk. Great stuff.
Steve, if this really is you, email me, email@example.com. I'd love to hear how you're doing! This summer I met a young writer who is a member of the present Vicious Circle in DC. I was telling him about my time there, much treasured and often recalled, especially my terror of Ted White reading the first pages of Winterlong within hours of them spewing from the printer. To this day I look up any word, even very commonplace ones, if I have any doubt whatsoever as to their usage. You guys made my whole writing life possible.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 06:11 pm: |
Nope, wrong Steve, Liz. Sorry to get you excited and let you down.
Don't know if you read Lucius' board or not. But I'm on there a lot.
Yeah, I figured after I posted that, that you guys aren't neccissarily married. But, you may just be a less traditional couple, who keeps their own last names.
Anyway, this probably seems weird now, so never mind.
By the way, I've read a few of your stories and really liked them. Cleopatra Brimstone was a great story.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 06:57 pm: |
Too late for Woodstock? Then you can't possibly understand the words, "We are stardust/billion year old carbon/and we've got to get ourselves back to the garden..."
Well, that's American punk you're talking about, which always seemed a little too exuberant and well-fed, in most instances...or else too art-conscious. The grunge thing before Nevermind happened seemed more authentic to me. But it was co-opted so quickly, it never got to develop.
Legs McNeil....Hey, the hippies had Jerry Kaufman.
I guess I'm not sentimental about stuff like that. I don't value old music, old books....
If I were going to write about Rock and Roll, which I'm not, I'd write about a band that I think Larry Brown might write about, just some guys or girls playing armpit bars, no dream of making it, no ethos punk or otherwise, just doing covers and shit, because it beats some boring alternative...
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 07:00 pm: |
Huh? Just covers and shit? Doesn't that get boring...
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 07:03 pm: |
I just remembered -- I do have a complete works of Destroy All Monsters, a band I used to play with sometimes back in ASquare, so I guess that make me a sentimentalist....Damn!
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 07:37 pm: |
Anyway, I agree about some of the people who're into punk and alternative. Instead of actually having a true spirit of rebellion, instead of being real, it can become more about their own ego and image. Some guys just take themselves too seriously, sometimes.
Grunge started out real, with raw emotion and rebellion, but it became a pop culture trend. I can see how it'd be hard to take Nirvana seriously after Nevermind.
|Posted on Monday, August 22, 2005 - 08:46 pm: |
I wish that I agreed with you and The Divine Patti and thought that we had taken it over. It felt like it so many times.
But even if I don't, the ways in which we tried - at least the ones that I was involved with - were such special moments that there should be a record. That's why I sometimes want it to survive me in an generally accessible manner. This wasn't just my history, it was our history.
To the contrary: I read a survey that said that American kids in the vast majority look up to their parents and when asked to name their heroes name their parents. I had great parents but I find that horrifying. A Generation Gap is one of the great engines of change.
Dying to get the Legs McNeil book but can't find it in Hong Kong.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 03:49 am: |
Oh well, Wrong Steve, that's okay. It makes more sense for the other Steve to continue to be mysterious. I'll track him down someday.
Lucius, I didn't know you played with Destroy All Monsters. I remember them. I also remember the movie that gave them their name. But aren't all rock and roll novels doomed? I love reading trashy bios and autobios -- DeeDee Ramone's was especially good -- and stuff like PLEASE KILL ME, but novels ... they mostly just seem to suck. Though I agree, in theory, that the band playing in beat bars would make a better story. It usually makes for better music, in my experience anyway. The whole grunge/pre-grunge thing happened while my kids were infants, so I was either pregnant or dealing with the aftermath and so never really had the time or energy to seriously follow it, except at a distance.
But I was around for most of the proto-punk Big Bang, in NYC & DC at any rate, and it seemed pretty authentic to me. For every Richard Hell or Tom Verlaine spouting poetry you had three or four now-forgotten bands, like the Shades out of Trenton, who did great live stuff but only ever got one demo single cut, because that's all they could afford. The whole CBGBs scene got out of control and taken over pretty fast; in DC it stayed grittier a bit longer, because it's a more provincial town.
As for authenticity, that and three bucks will get you a latte at Starbucks. There's a handful of people who weren't destroyed by success. Well, there's Neil Young. The Replacements choked on their own integrity. We all know a great unsung band.
For the record, I always preferred NY or LA punk to the UK variety. Bands like the Buzzcocks were just as art-conscious as Television.
Pop will eat itself, to quote another great name.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 04:12 am: |
I saw Patti Smith at a CBGB's benefit earlier this summer, and she was on your wavelength, Lucius -- save the joint? No fucking way! Let it come down -- the kids don't need it -- they'll build their own place, a way cooler place, anyway . . .
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 05:49 am: |
Yup. That's my feeling, Paul. I saw Patty a lot after she married Fred and moved to Royal Oak. Played on a bill with her at the Primo Show bar with my band Cathouse. She was great, man... though calling her the Divine Miss Patty, like she's Bette Midler's scrawny lovechild, would have flat pissed her off.
By autherntic, Liz, I'm talking about there was a lot of weekend action in the NY and LA punk scenes, kids from Jersey and LI dressing up and then changing back on Mon morning, kind of like Raider fans. Not exactly living it. Musically, I prefer NY punk, but Brit punk seemed to arise out of real class issues, while NY and LA punk seemed more of a fashion statement. True, authentic won;t get you much these days, but it makes it less bullshit..
As to rock novels being doomed....yeah, well. Most novels are doomed, especially the good ones.
Ann Arbor/Detroit is where I came up musically. I played around on bills with bands like the MC5 (yecch!), the Stooges, up through Niagra and Destroy All Monsters, and I sat in with the Monsters on occasion -- they had a fairly free form act and I was friends with Niagra and this guy, Hiawatha, who was part of their troupe. The Stooges were a great band, but so what? As an era, my time in rock was okay, pretty cool, but pretty cool doesn't cut it for an era. I'm not trying to impose my aesthetic, this is just the way I feel, but hanging onto that shit is the opposite of what it meant. I like my memories all right, but I have no impulse to give them concrete form, to perpetuate them. I liked Patty Smith;s first few records a lot, but I don't listen to them, haven't listened to them since they were relevant, except when something pops up on the radio.
That music's purpose has been served and music today is so strange, so rife with bizarre combinations and syncretism, the new metal, acid-folk from Japan, Arab rock, etc, it gets all my attention.
Just my two cents...
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 08:48 am: |
I'm with Paul & Patti on the CBGBs thing. I was only there once, in 75 or 76, and it was great, and that was enough. But there's a difference between embalming a place or turning it into a tourist trap -- the Punk Rock Cafe -- and retaining archival material. The latter is what I'm interested in.
I don't have enough time to seek out new music, and it definitely doesn't get all my attention. Neither does the old stuff. I listen to what Paul sends me, and a few other folks, and the rest I discover on my own through reading about it or through our great local non-commercial radio station, which is run by volunteers and remains one of the reasons why I live in Maine. But for me, the most authentic music was always live music, and since moving here I've had to pretty much kiss that goodbye. So I make do. I hear enough stuff that I like not to become completely ossified, but it's not a way of life for me the way it was twenty years ago. But hey, what is?
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 09:19 am: |
The Punk Rock Cafe....What a great idea! I can see it. Waitresses in shredded stockings and safety pins, bartender with a bone thru his nose. We'll franchise it in Des Moines, Topeka, Omaha, places where they'll think it's exotic. You got a million dollar baby there.
Anyway, if I had a cd burner, I'd burn you some Malaysian reggae and Cambodian psych pop.
|Posted on Tuesday, August 23, 2005 - 10:12 am: |
Cambodian psych pop! That's what I need!
Eh, I feel like I already live in the Punk Rock Cafe. My kids, their friends, their clothes, their music -- this teenypunk stuff. Ugh. Ugh to most of it, anyway. I guess it's better than Lawrence Welk.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 24, 2005 - 07:48 pm: |
"I guess it's better than Lawrence Welk."
oh i don't know about that, i think i prefer his tiny bubbles to Green Day or god i can't even think of all the horrible drivel that passes for punk...
i must say though, Rancid has a soft spot in my heart...they remind me of the Clash...
we need more of Jello Biafra style music...it's a ripe political harvest nowdays...i think that must be why the Exploited have returned...
|Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 04:29 am: |
Sorry I dropped out for a bit. I just spent a couple of very long days travelling in China.
Lucius - Loved Destroy All Monsters but never knew you were involved. Which doesn't make you right about the MC5, 'cause you aren't. Ok, I only saw them once and you probably did dozens of times, but still... They played Asbury Park in '70 with The Stooges opening. If I close my eyes and concentrate I can still see and hear the '5 set but (and I know this makes me a minority of 1) I can't recall The Stooges. Rob Tyner tried to pick up my friend Joe, who politely declined. In those days the Asbury Park scene consisted of two equally popular bands - Springsteen's dreaded Steel Mill and Joe's New Menthol Foam. The wrong guy won and Joe turned into a building developer who votes consistently Republican. None of us have talked to him for years. What a waste. Oh, the humanity. I recognize that to enjoy the MC5 you have to studiously ignore all the John Sinclair-generated crap.
And you are ALL wrong about Television. Yeah, I could have done without the poetry. (Bear in mind that Patti Smith ("The Divine Patti" was a joke - Lucius, you take things SOOO seriously.) used to read poetry before her sets - and there is a valid arguement that Rimbaud wrote better stuff, at least when taken as poetry rather than spoken rock lyric. Maybe I was just more tolerant 'cause I was introduced to Rimbaud by Cordwainer Smith in "Drunkboat" about a decade earlier. Anyway, since Quicksilver I've been a sucker for twin lead guitars (hence the MC5) and Verlaine and Lloyd were brilliant.
I stopped going to CBGBs the first time I had to stand on line to get in some time in '76.
It occurred to me on the way here from Glasgow (ironically, considering the gist of the latter part of this discussion) that despite the appalling tendency for the Music Biz to spawn oodles of money, greed, ego, et al, certain music scenes really resemble the SF/F community more than anything else I've ever been involved in, as far as egalitarianism and breakdown of the concepts of "artist" and "audience." These include early CBGBs where every night dozens of members of every other band were lined up against the bar, San Francisco in the '80s and '90s where SF scene "has-beens" played with more honesty than they ever did in the '60s, Euro thrash jazz, and others.
I had more stuff built up to talk about but this is too long already...
|Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 06:13 am: |
'"...when I wake up in the morning, I'm bored..."
Well, Bill...you must have seen an exemplary 5 perf or been doing something, because mostly they were awful....esp Tyner. He thought he was James Brown and would do these screams half the time that sounded like Donald Duck with a mouth full of beebees. They had this basically blue and red Jackson Pollack-like light show and would mix the bass real high so it would get you in the stomach and, I swear, their shows could induce vomiting. They were the worst band I ever heard who had any reknown. Sinclair is another matter. When I have more time I'll tell you about tthe time one of my roadies laid him out.
I'm okay with Televison, but they never really did it for me.
|Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 09:38 am: |
The first Television album remains a favorite of mine. For the last year or so I've been writing a book from the p.o.v. of someone who never evolved much, musically or otherwise, since 1977, and so my working soundtrack has been fairly limited. I was surprised at how well that album holds up, and also suprised how much latter-day Wilco owes to them. A few years ago Verlaine showed up ehre in Maine and actually played at a hole-in-the-wall place a few miles up the road. I was really bummed I didn't hear about it until afterwards. "Marquee Moon" remains one of the handful of songs that gives me goosebumps from its oepning chords. I saw PS a bunch of times between 75-78, the first at a very small club, maybe 60 people there. She played with John Cale. When she was on, she was amazing. But I loathed Beacuse the Night, and she pretty much lost me after that. Paul has seen her in more recent years and says she still puts on a great show. So I've forgiven her for that one song.
When i was 12 or 13 our scary school busdriver played 8-tracks of this absolutely cacaphonous stuff, over and over and over again. It wasn't till a few years laterr that I realized these were the MC-5 and the Stooges RAW POWER, among others.
Yeah, poor old Jello Biafra. They did a DC gig, or maybe they cancelled a DC gig, at GW that I went down to but ended up leaving because the scene got weird, cops &tc. -- anyway, there were all these young kids there, some who ended up as the founders of Discord & Minor Threat. I later knew some of them tangentially. They were sweet & very young, also funny.
This BB is where I hear about half the new music I hear about.
|Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 08:01 pm: |
I get the same reaction from "Marquee Moon."
I may wind up hearing about more new music from this BB than anywhere else too. I used to depend heavily on Option/OP. I still depend on Wayside. Steve Feigenbaum's judgements are accurate and honest - if he doesn't like something that he has in stock he says so and why. And where my tastes clearly diverge from his (Doctor Nerve et al) it is obvious.
I remember Tyner being restrained in Asbury (except when talking to Joe.) Smith and Kramer remained upstage of him. And the tendencies you describe, Lucius, don't show much on the LPs except on the first. Oh well. I prefer to retain my dream.
|Posted on Thursday, August 25, 2005 - 10:31 pm: |
Speaking of music suggestions
I've suggested Blegvad before but now there are a couple of real bargains available:
Wayside Music http://www.waysidemusic.com/default.asp
has limited amounts right now of a few wonderful CDs for only $3.00 per CD:
Robyn Hitchcock's Groovy Decay (one of his best)
Peter Blegvad's Downtime and Just Woke Up
John Greaves' Little Bottle of Laundry is only $7.00 at Wayside but his best, Songs, is only available at Amazon for $18.98, although it is well worth it.
Liz - if we both make it to Finnicon you have to try to put aside some time for some music. I don't know who will be playing that far in advance, obviously, but Finnish jazz/folk/rock fusion is incredible through and through with literally dozens of great bands. Pretty much the only way to order this stuff is through Digelius Music in Helsinki:
|Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 06:07 am: |
I really have to hear something out of the blue to be hit by it; i.e., reading a review, even by someone I trust, is never enough, though it helps after the fact. This is where WERU, our radio station, is great. You can get them streaming online at www.weru.org. The best shows, I think, are in the "On the Wing" slot, weekdays from 11 AM-2 PM EST; staffed each day by a different DJ but playing a terrific mix of old and mostly new stuff. The early AM slot, 6-9 AM, is also good, and various other times during the week. There's also some community liberal talk shows and a few syndicated news programs keeping the leftist flame alive. WERU is a fantastic resource and a real treasure, and has become something of a radio legend, especially now that it's built up an international following through the web. It also has a following in Scandinavia -- maybe our friends ast Finnconn are listening!
|Posted on Friday, August 26, 2005 - 10:28 am: |
I can see why you would feel that way. Music is much more direcly emotional and, with rare exceptions, "rock criticism" never comes close to film or literary criticism in being able to establish a shared discourse. Just how do you describe it? (Although you did pretty well with Marquee Moon just above.)
For one thing, the popularity/social matrices that surround much popular music, i.e. the "scene", gloms (or "glams") far too much attention in most rock writing. I go to the opposite extreme and eschew those issues entirely in my conceptualizing. I also have created a structural history of rock (ignoring any other influences, even drugs) and can tentatively place new artists and new music within that using some wackazoid form of taxonomy until I get a chance to listen to something new with enough care that I may be able to take it on its own terms. And then hopefully fall in love with it. Sounds like work, huh? I know that in the real world, popularity, "the scene", do exert powerful influences but my approach is sort of a thought experiment where no listener has pre-conceptions (or is iterested in the lead guitarists tight pants.) It helps that my tastes hover pretty far down in the narrow end of what economists call the long tail where these issues really aren't as intrusive as they are with more popular material.
OP/Option (the SF Eye of experimental music) and Steve's honest and consistent reviews in Wayside gave me avenues to hear new stuff that I would never had known of before. Since there's much less of that (or of anything valuable) in print (except on Lucius' board) it is about time I hooked up with a streaming radio station. I'll definitely give WERU a shot. Thanks!!!!!
(Just picked up Richard Thompson's 2 latest down at the HMV on Peking Road. I'll listen to them before I go to bed, but not for long since In Kyung is flying down from Korea tomorrow. YAY!!!! I haven't seen her in three weeks.)
I know its starting to look like I get paid by the word. I'll try to edit these a little more agressively in future and try to get rid of the more egregious Billy-Babble.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 04:20 pm: |
Landlord says lease for CBGB's won't be renewed
As several hundred enthusiastic supporters rallied in Washington Square Park to keep CBGB's open, the landlord of the venerable punk club announced Wednesday that the lease on the 32-year-old landmark will not be renewed.
The Bowery Residents' Committee, landlord of the building on the Bowery, "believes it is in the best interest of our clients — the homeless and neediest New Yorkers — to sever this relationship," BRC executive director Muzzy Rosenblatt said.
The existing lease was to expire at midnight Wednesday. The statement from Rosenblatt called for CBGB's to "vacate the premises both voluntarily and expeditiously" — a scenario that appeared unlikely, given the promises of Little Steven Van Zandt and others to wage a battle to the end on behalf of the bar that launched punk rock.
"We're not going without a fight," said Van Zandt, who was joined at the rally by "Sopranos" co-stars Tony Sirico and Joe Pantoliano. "If the eviction proceedings start tomorrow, which I hope it doesn't, we'll fight it in the courts."
The rally was aimed at putting public pressure on Rosenblatt. But while Gavin Rossdale was leading his new band, Institute, through a rollicking version of "Machinehead," the decision on booting the club had already been made.
Even the hardy CBGB supporters at the rally, where Public Enemy and Blondie were also scheduled to perform, seemed resigned to the club's demise.
"It doesn't look hopeful," said Lucky Pierre, 26, a New York University student. "But we'll keep the fires burning until the last minute."
An increasingly frustrated Van Zandt blasted Rosenblatt for the inability to reach a new agreement. The E Street Band guitarist, "Sopranos" star and radio show host entered the negotiations about six weeks ago.
The club's owner, Hilly Kristal, also was not backing down.
"We intend to stay," he declared. "This is not a eulogy; there's no reason why we shouldn't come to an understanding."
It was Kristal who launched the club in December 1973, creating a space that eventually spawned bands like the Ramones, Blondie and the Talking Heads. The club eventually gained an international reputation as the birthplace of punk.
Some of the club's supporters at the rally echoed '70s fashion statements, sporting green hair, safety pin earrings and black Ramones T-shirts. Among them was 45-year-old Rochelle Goldman, who was wearing a "Save CBGB" T-shirt complemented by assorted CBGB's wristbands dangling from both arms.
"People say it's a museum, but I'm still going there," she declared. "I'm an old punk."
Rosenblatt's group holds a 45-year lease on the building, where the agency houses 250 homeless people above the club. CBGB is its lone commercial tenant; their rent feud dates back five years, when the committee went to court to collect more than $300,000 in back rent from the club.
The current rent is $19,000 a month, although that figure was expected to at least double under any new lease. The club's landlord-tenant woes were reminiscent of the fight over The Bottom Line, the vintage Greenwich Village club that closed in December 2003.
CBGB won a legal decision earlier this month when a Manhattan civil court judge ruled that the club couldn't be evicted for a bookkeeping mistake that left Kristal about $100,000 behind in his rent.
Not even the intervention of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who offered to mediate the dispute, could resolve the problem. Bloomberg said he hoped to find CBGB's a new location in the city.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 05:07 pm: |
Jeezs, that's kinda sad. Patti's words notwithstanding. I'm an old punk, too, and I hate to think it won't be there next time I drop by -- not that I've been back inside for, uh, 29 years.
This would never have happened if Joey was still around.
|Posted on Wednesday, August 31, 2005 - 05:08 pm: |
Christ, Bloomberg'll probably end up putting it in the "New" Times Square.