Sunday, April 26, 2009

reading matter:

Emmy Hennings a/k/a Anwyn of Aloof from Inspiration on Belbury Poly

Charles at Fantastic Journal on The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and the bygone art of the Britcom

Nick at Riffmarket explores complicated feelings about Lady Sov

Carl at Impostume continues his thought-provoking series of meditations on writing and reading
(particularly liked "the literature of insufficiency" and this bit--"in its aspiration it’s only a polemical or didactic work that can finally escape the gravitational pull of the fiction’s hermetic world. A useful ugliness in the face of all this useless, trite beauty"--without necessarily agreeing completely, although it is quite a postpunk stance (the autodidact/didactic syndrome)... but then again, postpunk did exhaust itself by the early Eighties and necessitate other approaches didn't it?)

(even more belatedly)
a thread on "current trends that will age horribly" at Dissensus

as well as people's suggestions of candidates (oddly nobody said "every last one of them" or "which of them won't?!?!") there's an interesting tangent provided by one poster spiralling off the nomination of "bloghouse", arguing that
mid-range frequency dance music (bloghouse, wobblestep) as well as lairy-bleary rock (Oasis etc) is closely related to alcohol--supposedly booze reduces one's ability to hear lower frequencies, leading to an audience responsive to the mid-freqs. Never heard that one before! Also that drunk people tending to talk loudly this leads to vicious cycle of everybody else drowning everybody else out (c.f. your average pub) hence need for mid-range riffage to cut through and compete on the same frequency spectrum as rowdy blare.

more generally, re. the idea of the Judgement of Posterity, people do try to shake that off, on the grounds that's there's no way we today can tell what Posterity will rate or not, therefore it's stupid to try to project forward, and also irrelevant, some things being good for their moment and none the worse for that... and I'm quite in sympathy with this attitude, but it is hard to do, isn't it, to chase away completely that lingering apprehension that our current faves will turn out to be the Blood Sweat & Tears or Boomtown Rats of their day?

This topic--the irrelevance of critical judgements made on behalf of an imagined Posterity ("this will stand the test of time" etc) -- comes up fairly regularly.... Strangely what hardly ever does is its temporal opposite--the idea of the Judgement of Antiquity.... the possibility that there are benchmarks, a measurement system, all too readily available to us (more accessible than ever, in fact, given the archival overdrive that's possessed the culture), the accumulated genius of the past -- in this case, the stacked masterworks of 50-plus years of rock/pop/etc. Perhaps because that specter is not so easy to brush off.