Tuesday, February 27, 2018

space music sweat lodge

"My concerts are a flowing, seamless, collective dreamscape that we’re all stepping into for a couple of hours. There’s an amazing amount of subtle tweaking, and responding to the space, and I can move into the realm of shadow. They can be overwhelming, I push the sound system to the limit, then back off. It’s like [being] in a sweat lodge, building the heat up until it’s almost unbearable, then rinsing off, and doing it again"

- Steve Roach, interviewed at bandcamp.daily

Also interesting on the relationship between his music and the desert where he lives:

"The sense of time is the through-line woven into all of my work. That’s why I chose to live in a desert environment because, visually, there is a different sense of time here. Everything around me is about expansiveness, and space, and texture, and physical extremes. There is a kind of audio-sensual impact from the environment that has a big effect on me....

"It’s like the tabula rasa state. What I get constantly when I step outside is that I’m in this place where my thoughts cannot be contained. It just feels like sound. I feel sound all the time—not necessarily music, but sound forms emerging when I see certain features of the desert. They translate to sound, and it’s renewing every day. That flow, wanting to be connected to that sound current, that’s the beauty of having the space to create in on your own terms."

I'm guessing the desert state he lives in is Arizona, which is proper New Agey (Sedona with its power spots... the tinkle of wind chimes often to be heard on our SW driving vacation of some years ago)

Roach has long been on that long - ever lengthening - list of figures i need have to a proper explore with the discography

This is the album considered to be his classic

Noticed that he did an album with the same title as a late period Omni Trio  - Skeleton Keys

Odd that he's such an analog, hardware fixated guy - and never transitioned to computers, DAWs etc - if only because the music is so clean and clear and regular in its construction that it might just as well be achieved digitally 

Here's an earlier tour of mine through this zone, albeit more about the prehistory of 'space music' in the Roach sense, or perhaps it's the first half of the game, that then continues with Roach, Stearns et al. 


Ah convergence point of the Steve Roach and Robert Haigh universes - Rob gets reviewed in Audion, the magazine of space music

Sunday, February 18, 2018

"borrowing the vast energy of positive pus monkey"

your postmodern folkcore saviours -- SEBADOH

your new favourite dopesmoking renaissance threesome -- SEBADOH

Jason Lou and Eric -- three guys who appreciate and simulate the power of modern drone rock - SEBADOH - Jason Eric and Lou

Sebadoh featuring that guy who played bass in Soul Asylum -- LOU BARLOW

another evening of oppressive noodling courtesy of -- SEBADOH

three guys in search of the eternal party -- --SEBADOH

open-chord tuning saviours of alternative rock’n’roll -- --SEBADOH

and now, shattering the barrier between artist and audience, three guys with smiles you can trust -- --SEBADOH

three more reasons to doubt your boyfriend --SEBADOH

an easy love that strokes in circles -- --SEBADOH

just dumb enough to try to control a modish idiot -- --SEBADOH

urging you to openly weep -- Eric Jason and Lou

music to hold hands by --SEBADOH

so bad it’s good --SEBADOH

never hesitating to bite the hand that feeds --SEBADOH -- seb-ay-do

three guys who think it’s much more important if music is heartfelt rather than if the music sounds like shit or not -- --SEBADOH

the east is where the vampires live, the west is where the searchers go

searching for a reason just like you -- ladies and gentlemen the sensitive power of -- SEBADOH

in the tradition of Daniel Johnston, under a cloud of hiss --SEBADOH

it’s not bullshit, it’s -- SEBADOH

soul bare introspection framed with fragile melody --SEBADOH

puffing proudly upon the pot pipe, their poopy diapers stinking, ladies and gentlemen, three guys infected with new faith -- --SEBADOH

mudhoney superchunk mudnhoney superchunk mudhoney superchunk

distinctive songwriters, any beatle wannabe, three guys you want to know -- super show, -SEBADOH

music to give your girlfriend a hard time by -- --SEBADOH

a moment of inept grace courtesy of -- --SEBADOH

three guys who are free to disagree -- --SEBADOH

Eric Jason and Lou

way to go, SEBADOH

unencumbered by structure, masters of melodic atonal free association, three free spirits -- Jason Eric and Lou --SEBADOH

a crystal shining forever moment, courtesy of --SEBADOH

sweet, destructive…. turning musical corners at breakneck speed… music with which to mourn the death of human spirit -- SEBADOH

batting monumental indifference, sadly overlooked as creatively inferior bands are basically treated like geniuses and receive enormous recording budgets, bums up to corporate wastemongers -- SEBADOH

standing proud the test of time…. impulsive in the presence of strangers… three dumpy guys with no fashion sense… shaking hands or sharing feasts, three friendly minstrels who aren’t very friendly --- reinventing folk music -- SEBADOH

jamming where no brain dare to go -- --SEBADOH

boys and girls, as free as the fingers go, a heartfelt drone you should know -- --SEBADOH

Jason Eric and Lou --

the lonely band that mothers -- perhaps smoking pot or drinking beer before setting foot on stage -- it’s … SEBADOH

another hollow proclamation -- courtesy of --SEBADOH

another shallow communication --courtesy of --SEBADOH

mind expanding confusion -- courtesy of -- SEBADOH

staying true to their hardcore roots, rocking against negative boredom, and filling you with dreams of freedom -- SEBADOH

figuratively pissing in your mouth, humiliating and subduing your spirit, exposing every nook and cranny of the human psyche -- way to go, SEBADOH

wallowing in the pissing pig pen of evil, swallowing everyone, reason to ignore it, festering with sex frustration, they don’t use your imagination, they spit it in your face -- ladies and gentleman, --SEBADOH

searching for the lowest common denominator, resorting to tired tales of naughty boy boredom, asking annoying questions and providing  bogus answers, self serving closet fascists, making money from marijuana masturbation, incompetence masquerading as inspiration, inspiration mistaken for true talent, a specter of egocentric behaviour sputtering wildly out of control -- ladies and gentlemen, indierock’s newest unrecognized genius of songwriting sucker punch…  in a minivan for a six week tour -- SEBADOH

making it up as they go along -- SEBADOH

borrowing the vast energy of positive pus monkey, Sebadoh snaps forth with remarkable agility -- nodding solemnly in sad resignation -- three guys who never went to college

taking every opportunity to subtly manipulate your expectations for a moment’s amusement -- becoming suddenly bored at your immature attempt to engage our approval with your typical buttlicking fanboy fervour -- SEBADOH

driving dozens of college age lemmings off the cliff of limited imagination, smashing their soft skulls on the jagged boulders of our bitter sarcasm -- three assholes --SEBADOH

boring you shitless -- yet no one is approaching baldness -- laughing at your shortcomings -- tactlessly wielding destructive honesty to protect themselves from true feeling -- eagerly buttfucking your grandpa -- turning personal vendetta and small minded revenge tactics into eventual cult status - the only man in the world who truly appreciated the genius of the Swans -- LOU BARLOW

rescuing wounded animals and diligently nursing them back to health --and returning them to their woodland homes --SEBADOH [screamed]

putting down everything,
judging all as lame,
but for all their hype as something new,
they play the same old game,
another let down,
another reason to do it yourself,




[from "Show Snippets", released on  the Subpop compilation  Curtis W. Pitts: Subpop Employee of the Month, which Sebadoh apparently used to play before they went onstage at gigs circa 90/91]

pop tarts and the "criminality" of sweetness

Pop Tarts got on the front of Melody Maker in 1987.

They were a bit like the Pet Shop Boys if they'd read some of those little black Foreign Agents Semiotexte books by Baudrillard and the rest. The idea that resistance and being "alternative" just replicated the system - that hyper-conformism was the right strategy.

Frank Owen did the piece and the cover line was "Superband of Simulation Pop". So absolutely Baudrillard-infused.

Long before it became common for pop stars and rappers to have merchandise and branded clothing lines and perfumes, the Pop Starts talked about wanting to start a whole range of Pop Tart luxury products -  truffles, you name it.

This is the late Eighties. They would sneer at the faux-authenticity of REM or Smiths.

Indeed I think they got the name "pop tarts" from something someone had written disparaging all the Second British Invasion MTV bands - Dave Marsh, who wrote scathingly about the  "new pop tarts" from England assailing American shores and destroying rock?

Well, maybe not - most likely they got it from the sugary, refined-carbohydrate-dense "breakfast" snack. 

They were this couple, Randy and Fenton, who after the pop stardom masterplan fell through, then succeeded hugely with a company called World of Wonder making TV docs that specialised in anything extreme or wacky or kitschy.

Imagine if John Waters made documentaries.  

They also directed the movie, Party Monster,  about that Limelight club fiend Michael Alig. A Leigh Bowery type who created a Taboo-style scene of exhibitionism and excess in New York, populated with pill monsters and drug pigs. And who then murdered one of his drug dealer associates, chopped him up in the bath if I recall right.

These divides have been going for ever, actually - the ironic embrace of frivolity and worthlessness and vapidity. It goes back to Wilde -  probably further still.

You want to avoid anything that smacks of earnestness or the hale 'n hearty.

To be worthy and wholesome is anathema.

Certainly as long as I can remember, there's been someone ostentatiously publicly liking something  merit-less  - which is fine as far as it goes (challenge the boring established metrics of merit, sure, why not) - but worse, something devoid of interest on any level - at MM, for a moment, you had certain people saying that they thought Curiosity Killed the Cat were good - while looking sideways to see if it was going to get a rise from other people.

Or there was Morley saying that a  particular Tight Fit 12 inch was better than Led Zep III. Admittedly witty  - and, at the time, a timely polemic. 

But even before the New Pop era transvaluations, you can find examples of this reflex in pop writing.

Right back in the early Seventies, you'd get a few critics saying actually Gary Glitter is good, the Sweet are good... arguing that manufactured product has a certain purity of mercenary intent to it.

I'm sure somebody in the rock crit community  must have opined of The Archies's "Sugar Sugar", that - bubblegum - was pop at its purest - in that sense needing no defense or apology.

Probably it was Nik Cohn was the very first to say  - in the field of rock writing - that teen crazes like PJ Proby  meant more to him than Dylan. That he preferred Hollywood pulp to art-movie profundity.

Then again Noel Coward - speaking through the character Amanda in Private Lives - declared "extraordinary how potent cheap music is" back in 1930. 

It's like a structural position within the field of pop taste.

So the question for me has always been - what's the dialectical next step beyond that? Given that it's already a played-out, over-familiar game.

At one point I was thinking it could actually be the embrace of middlebrow.

Or, conversely, a re-theorization of the value of snobbery and the hip versus square worldview. 

retro and standardisation

from a discussion (circa 2012) with someone about the connection between retro and standardisation
  • Baring in mind the fundamental characteristic of popular music: standardisation, what’s your opinion on the current state of popular music?
I’m not sure I totally agree that the fundamental characteristic of pop music is standardization, that is something that it’s been accused of certainly by often Marxist thinkers like Theodor Adorno, as well as conservative critics who just think it is all mindless, repetitive garbage degrading the minds of the youth!  

There have been phases in the history of pop when there’s a flood of new voices, quirky artists, strange sounds and a great premium on novelty and eccentricity. If you think of the Sixties, with psychedelia, or the postpunk late Seventies and early Eighties when you had all kinds of oddballs and freaks – Ian Dury, Adam Ant, Kevin Rowland from Dexy’s Midnight Runners. 

But it’s true that there are long phases, and great swathes of pop, that are quite homogenous and assembly-line in their construction, when the music industry seems to be in control. Although equally it can be done by independent labels: think of Motown in the Sixties, or Stock Aitken Waterman in the 80s and 90s.

Certainly a lot of recent R&B and club dance pop is quite interchangeable. We seem to going through a phase when there aren’t many novelty singles or wacky characters in pop, it’s all machine-built beats and almost an identical palette of textures and sounds, based on the kind of equipment that’s being used. And something like AutoTune is a form of vocal standardization, so that even singers who have quite distinct voices, like Britney Spears, whose main virtue is her great husky voice, she has been fed through AutoTune and now just sounds like any other fembot pop star. 

That said, I think part of the strength of pop music can be it’s same-ness, when a hot sound is dominant, you kind of want endless iterations of the same sound. Especially in black music and in dance scenes, the sameyness isn’t a bad thing particularly – in Jamaica, or in house music, or R&B at particular pointa, a certain rhythm is running things so all the producers copy it. That happened with Timbaland in the late 90s, everybody copied his innovations.

Pop does seem to be going through a particularly characterless period-- in a literal sense: there are no equivalents in the charts, as far as I can see, to figures like Ian Dury, or Madness or Morrissey or Jarvis Cocker or Mike Skinner... That was one of the great things about UK pop, that you could have these eccentric figures, who didn’t necessarily have good voices in the conventional, Pop Idol sense, but who had character, and something to say. Now, under the influence of Cowell-ism and also the rise of this international club oriented sound that everyone from Taio Cruz to Flo Rida and Pitbull has,  you have a lot of music that seems very impersonal, lyrically inane, and that also lacks any kind of national characteristics. It’s music designed to sell on the global market.

  • Music today works on seizing a moment by sticking to a formula. With this in mind, what sort of future do you think pop music has?
I enjoy a lot of the club oriented radio pop, I live in Los Angeles it’s a good adrenalin buzz to hear in the car as you’re whizzing around town and some of the sounds are quite exciting, in so far as they are basically banging techno and house of the sort that I would go hear at raves in the 90s but now they are right in the heart of the American mainstream.  

But at the same time, too much of anything is boring and dispiriting, so I am hoping there will be a counter-reaction to this pop that’s based around an unholy merger of bling  and banging. I don’t know what form it will take, but music that has some kind of played musicality to it, but isn’t retro, would be nice. It was very refreshing to hear things like Foster the People “pumped up kicks” on the radio, because it had a lightness of touch and a certain kind of melody and wistful emotion that was a bit more subtle than the primary-color, celebratory, sexed-up pop that dominates. 

I think people will get tired of the current formula, it stands to reason. Hip hop will probably go back to slower tempos and more of a black feel, as opposed to this Euro sound it’s adopted. I think as long as people want to dance, they’ll always demand some kind of new beat every so often, and producers are competing to supply that demand.
  • If standardisation and ‘Retromania’ of pop music is here to stay, what do you feel lies beyond it?
I don’t know. I think something has to break in this pattern of recycling and revivalism, though, because in a few years time people will be talking about 2000s revivalism or the Noughties revival – and they won’t find anything there to revive, because the period was dominated by revivals – the 80s revival, the postpunk revival, the garage punk revival, the sixties soul chanteuse thing that amy winehouse and duffy and adelle did, the late 60s folk rock revival with fleet foxes and all the bearded young men. How can these things be revived? You can’t have a re-revival, surely.
  • What do you think it will take to change this repetitive cycle within popular music? 
A new sound-making machine  that’s as radical as the synth, or sampler was, or indeed as electric guitar was in its original heyday.  And possibly a new rhythm or sound from outside the West. Maybe China or India or Africa has the answer.
  • Do you think this change is possible?
Totally. Change is the only constant. We just seem to be in a weird holding pattern, caused in part by the archiving power of digital culture and the Internet, filesharing, YouTube.  Those things arrived at a point when there was such an accumulation of rock and pop history behind us, four or five decades worth, so the technology enabled people to revisit and recombine and mash-up all the old music. I am hoping that retromania of the last decade or so is a historical phase and that we will get past it. But certainly that process could be sped up by promoting impatience and dissatisfaction, which is what I’m trying to do with Retromania. Sow seeds of discontent!

I ‘m a bit bemused by the range of reactions to it . Some people have averred on twitter that it’s the most captivating music book they’ve read but others seethe with rage and hostility towards it, and to me!  One reviewer described the book itself as full of bitterness and negativity and self-loathing --  which even in the more neutral and objective historical section of the book “lingers like smoke from an explosion”. I couldn’t recognize that at all. But certain people do seem to have bizarrely low tolerance for negativity and pessimism.  This is usually Americans, I guess they just didn’t grow up on the UK music press, to me that it is the norm, violently polarized late/hate, this is God/this is shit responses. (as I was saying in the Critical Beats thing).  It struck me how much optimism and positivity are considered obligatory these days when it comes to pop culture analysis.  A book about the economy, or the environment, that was negative and alarmist  or talked about a decline of some kind or other, that would be considered a completely legitimate intervention, but in music/pop cult you’re supposed to be always emphasizing the bright side. I always used to enjoy “Death of...” type pieces – Death of Art, Death of Rock, etc. Ah well, it takes all sorts.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

on the roles of the conceptual musician and the conceptualizing critic

[from a discussion with someone who took exception to my approach]

... I might be misunderstanding here, but you seem to be arguing that it’s misguided to look for  --and arrogant to claim to have detected  -- larger patterns in the swirl and sprawl of musical production...

That we should attend to the specificity of discrete musical objects, all the aspects that make a given artist or work unalike...

Certainly one doesn’t want to be seeing things that aren’t there, at all. But larger patterns and currents are discernible....

I would never say digital maximalism is a genre  -- it’s a tendency that allowed me to talk about a bunch of things on my mind along with some records I really liked.

But surely you’re not denying that there are entities such as genres, movements, scenes etc -  zones of musical practice and discourse that are much more defined and objectively real than a tendency like digimax. Self-defined too,  by the practitioners and fans – as opposed to imposed from above by critics.   

To write about genres/scenes/movements, or about tendencies/currents... it seems to me that this is much more of a break with “the charismatic ideology of creation” than writing about an artist or a particular work as a stand-alone entity.

Nothing exists in a vacuum...  musicians are always working within a field of possibility that is governed by technology, things going on in adjacent fields of music or adjacent zones of culture, the state of the discourse around music, social energies etc  

The exceptional artist is the one who sees and seizes the new possibility, the area of unexplored territory, before the others.

An example of this would be My Bloody Valentine... they emerged out of a set of ideas prevalent in the mid-Eighties rock underground (approaches to the guitar, an aesthetic of fatalism and confusion and surrender, etc), at first they were second-raters but after various changes they found some possibilities with the guitar that no one else had hit on, while content-wise they took it a little bit further into androgyny/bliss...   on the EPS and Isn’t Anything  they rise to a peak where they are at once the culmination of the mid-eighties tendencies (husker du, dinosaur jr) and inauguration of  the next paradigm (fully achieved with their own Loveless) ...  and in the process they play the largest role in spawning the next phase of UK indie rock, ie. shoegaze

MBV go from being generic, to being exceptional, to being generative (or genre-rative, even) – but even in the exceptional moment they are still embedded in a wider field of musical practice and discourse.

on the subject of the critic as “cultural seer” 

... well I would never accuse myself of humility!

I’ve written  in various places, books and blog posts and columns, and I’ve spoken (in interviews) extensively about the tradition of music writing I come out, and how the attraction of what my role models did was that they actually seemed to make a contribution to music, to have power...   maybe that’s archaic in its inflated notion of what a critic can be, but that’s the ideal, and the path 

Personally I think it’s more egotistical for a writer to issue an endless series of discrete opinions about disparate musical objects (the generalist model, most music journos in fact but especially newspaper staffers) and expect people to be interested.

I mean if you can’t form larger clusters of significance out of what your taste is drawing you towards, or repelling you from.... why should I bother to pay attention?  Why do your opinions and judgements matter more than any old bloke in the pub?

But for sure, this is an old fashioned view of the critic’s role --  the Clement Greenberg/Susan Sontag/Lester Bangs idea  -- although my following that path began long before I read any of those people, the spurs for me were British music writers like Burchill, Morley, Hoskyns....

on the rise of the conceptual musician or critic-musician (or simply musician who's read a lot of criticism, books on music - resulting in a feedback loop - e.g. there's one well-known 21st C electronic artist who told me when I interviewed him that he read Blissed Out in college)

I am actually hatching a piece on this, the rise of the conceptual musician, who is well versed in criticism and basically a kind of critic themselves...   and what role does this leave for the critic, when the artist explicates what they are doing so well

It’s not a totally new thing, you had your Green Gartsides during postpunk, or Momuses, or whatever... but it does seem to have reached a new pitch recently... and often feels like the music doesn’t seem able to stand up by itself without that critical support and framing


This idea that genres are fiction and classification is arbitrary (yes you could classify songs by other ways, like songs that refer to birds, or songs that have a mandolin in them, or...).... i think it misses the point, which is that genres are social facts.  If you have a population that decides for itself that such-a-such a zone of music-making is a genre...  according to discernible musical affinities and restrictions... and then you have an array of institutions and social spaces associated with that genre (specialist record labels, specific clubs, etc)...  then you have a scene and a genre.  Saying that this is just an effect of power/knowledge is sort of meaningless, because power/knowledge is everywhere. Truth doesn’t exist outside of it, it’s an effect of it. It’s a war of “this is my truth” versus “this is my truth”.

And if your argument is that I, or any critic, is trying to exercise and achieve effects through the employment of power/knowledge... I’d be like, yeah obviously.  When I posit the existence of a musical entity, I’m engaged in a conscious attempt to persuade people to see things how I see them. It’s never based on nothing – the raw materials of musical practice and so forth have to support the construction. But equally sceptics or anti-adherents are playing the game of power/knowledge too - they are refusing the sway of one set of ideas, suggesting a counter-truth.  Discourse is a battlefield and there is no pure, outside perspective from this.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with the writing of Chuck Eddy but he'd adopt this stance of  contrarian skepticism towards new genres that were hip with his fellow music critics. So he’d say, reflexively, oh what’s this jungle nonsense, it just sounds these old Mark Stewart tracks I used to half-like. He wrote a book called The Accidental History of Pop that was about deliberately playing mischievous havoc with the idea of genre. Possibly read some of The Archaelogy of Knowledge because he references that thing Foucault wrote about like the Chinese Encyclopaedia with all the bizarre taxonomy of animals (animals that look like the Emperor, etc). He deliberately and provocatively devised a whole bunch of daft ways of reorganizing and reclassifying the history of pop and rock. However not one of these genres took off in terms of becoming part of critical parlance....  partly because people sensed the intent behind them was satirical not serious. But also because there actually has to be some genuine social energy at work behind genre-formation and scene-formation.  The critic can’t just move around populations and sets of musical practices into shapes that don’t have any correlation with what’s going on.  Not if they want to have an impact.

I don’t know if I ever think about these things - the impact I'm looking for - consciously when embarking on a specific piece – at the first degree I’m a journalist looking for a story  – or some phenomenon or tendency that makes for a good argument

But on a more general level, there is a self-conscious imperative: one of the effects aimed for is an acceleration  – for things to keep moving, both ideas around music and – directly or indirectly – the music itself.

Like that Beat/Norman Mailer idea of not going anywhere particular, “just go” – “to go and keep going”. Stagnation is the enemy.

It might be argued of course these peculiar demands of music on my part – that it not just be enjoyable and have various artistic virtues, but also stir in me new thoughts – that this is an unbalanced or corrupting perspective. 

I couldn’t say really , it’s what I’m saddled with anyway – I’m wired to look for that!

(I can also have new thoughts about old music, whether new to me or stuff I’ve lived with for years).

But in that specific case of the conceptronica piece, the argument that I might make is that a certain kind of dead end has perhaps been reached – what seemed striking and interesting with the Ferraro/Lopatin phase, is now becoming  parodic in some instances and problematic on some levels – the elevation of concept over music.  A certain over-neatness and over-cerebralized tendency has crept in.  The idea of music having some kind of viscerality or expressive/purgative/energy-releasing-or-activating  aspect, that has  disappeared.

So the point of such piece would be to identify this tendency, acknowledge what it has going for, but perhaps get people thinking about what has been lost, or what alternative routes might be.

I tend to have a dialectical view of music as something that progresses by correcting itself – it goes too much in one direction, then you get an exaggerated correction.

But these swings back and forth are actually what propels the music forward....

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Monday, February 12, 2018

mouth music (human freakbox)

i'm talking about the bit at 2.36 where Jonathan Davis goes into this thing  where he sounds like the Tasmanian Devil crossed with Skinny Boys

Friday, February 9, 2018

mouth music (ethertronica)

Chris Carter: “Sleazy and I had worked together on ways of developing a sort of artificial singing using software and hardware. This was me trying to take it a step further. I've taken lyrics, my own voice or people's voices from a collection that I'd put together with Sleazy, and I’ve chopped them up and done all sorts of weird things with them.”

“If there’s an influence on the album [Chris Carter’s Chemistry Lessons Volume One] it’s definitely ‘60s radiophonic. And over the last few years I’ve also been listening to old English folk music, almost like a guilty pleasure, and so some of tracks on the album hark back to an almost ingrained DNA we have for those kinds of melodies.”

a good excuse to play this beaut again

Saturday, February 3, 2018

down with skool (fifties versus eighties)


Down With Skool! (1953) - first in the Molesworth series, by the great Geoffrey Willans and the very great Ronald Searle.

Very tempting to scan every single one of Searle's drawings, and then move on to the other two books in the series I still have. (Mystifyingly there's a fourth which I don't possess, but I'm sure I would have bought it at the time). 

Clues in the end pages of this paperback about forthcoming books due April 1972 suggest I read the series in 1971 or thereabouts, aged eight or nine.  The world described by Nigel Molesworth, purported author of these tell-all guides to surviving boarding school, would have been recognisable to me as a day boy attending a minor prep school.  Blotting paper and ink-stained fingers, corporal punishment (not canes at my school,  but a gym shoe), doing lines, the tuck shop, virtually inedible school dinners, the typology of masters, the typology of pupils (swots, cissies, etc), the kind of rousing, virtue-encouraging things headmasters would say at assemblies, prize givings, and other occasions, paper darts (just one of several crazes that would spread throughout the school, rage for a few weeks, and then expire just like that).... It was all pretty intact still, really not changed much from the just-after World War Two world described by Nigel Molesworth.*

That's why things like the St Trinians films (which I hadn't realised were based on Ronald Searle's cartoons also) were both enjoyable and relatable. 

And why if....  - if you were allowed to stay up late enough to see it on BBC2 -  felt intoxicatingly subversive.

Only a few things in Molesworth had become trapped-in-time period details, e.g. references to a New Elizabethan era, a notion then in the air on account of the young E II's coronation.

At my school the desks still had holes where the ink wells had not so long ago been. It was still blackboards and chalk - and as a result a classroom would have a faint misty quality from motes of dust in the air catching light through the big windows. By the time I got to middle school, we would all be given slide rules.  But by the time we'd mastered them,  calculators arrived, instantly rendering the slide rule a relic. Then towards the end of the Seventies, the blackboards at my school were started to be replaced by the white, wipe-clean kind for marker pen use.

I wonder if a UK schoolkid today could relate to anything in these Molesworth books? I know they would mean absolutely zilch to my kids, educated in the American equivalent to state schools, with a progressive slant.

I tried explaining to my daughter what a fountain pen was the other day, and blotting paper.  I might as well as have been describing a traction engine.

*  The way schools and teachers were depicted in the Beano and other comics stayed frozen in time as well. Well into the Eighties the schoolmaster had a mortar board and wielded a swishing cane against malfeasant schoolboys with their trousers down. Kids have catapults etc. There's a frozen notion of schoolkid misbehaviour that hovers somewhere between Just William and Molesworth / St Trinians. 

Meanwhile, though, you had more up to date versions of school life coming from Gregory's Girl and Grange Hill  

Forgot that the Grange Hill credit starts with a Dandy / Beano style comic strip, but appropriately modernised 

What a nifty funky little tune that Grange Hill theme song is.

By library music staple Alan Hawkshaw. 

Talking about funky, also love the Scots jazz funk score to Gregory's Girl

Friday, February 2, 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

"consensus to delete"

Wikipedia:Articles for deletion/Hauntology (musical genre)
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The following discussion is an archived debate of the proposed deletion of the article below. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page (such as the article's talk page or in a deletion review). No further edits should be made to this page.
The result was delete. Consensus is to delete -- PhantomSteve/talk|contribs\ 14:19, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
[edit] Hauntology (musical genre)
Hauntology (musical genre) (edit|talk|history|links|watch|logs) – (View log • AfD statistics)
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Neologism made up by one reviewer. Ridernyc (talk) 04:50, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Delete hoax Shii (tock) 16:22, 1 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Note: This debate has been included in the list of Music-related deletion discussions. -- • Gene93k (talk) 01:08, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Delete - Hauntology is not commonly considered a musical genre. Therefor hauntology (musical genre) should be deleted and not (!) redirected. gidonb (talk) 21:34, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Merge and redirect to Ghost Box Records. Almost the whole thing could be comfortably placed in the "Aesthetics" section with little modification. — Gwalla | Talk 21:55, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
Why would we take unsourced information from here to expand the unsourced information there? Ridernyc (talk) 23:14, 2 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Comment From what I could find, the very existence of hauntology as a musical style is rejected by the relevant musical community. This community claims that what is described as hauntology is an effect at most. Between the strong "hoax" and light "unsourced", I think the term "fringe POV" covers hauntology (musical genre) best. In either case, the combination of hauntology with the words musical genre and the contents of this article are misleading and should be deleted. gidonb (talk) 00:38, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Delete Totally subjective and undefinable and unsourced term for another music sub genre. Guyonthesubway (talk) 19:09, 3 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Delete. It definitely seems to lack notability. I looked at the fifth reference, and IT SOURCES WIKIPEDIA! Ha, what a joke for that to be cited on wikipedia. Backtable Speak to meconcerning my deeds. 00:49, 8 March 2010 (UTC)
•             Delete The sources citated actually indicate pretty clearly that it is not a musical genre and that it is a neologism.--SabreBD (talk) 10:28, 8 March 2010 (UTC)

The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the debate. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made on the appropriate discussion page (such as the article's talk page or in a deletion review). No further edits should be made to this page.

[ a record of debate at Wikipedia about whether or not to erase the entry on ‘Hauntology (musical genre)’. In the end the shadowy cabal, led by one  PhantomSteve (wouldyafuckingbelieveit!) decreed that Hauntology was too ontologically tenuous an entity to qualify for status as proper knowledge. It’s the kind of Moebius pretzel of preposterous-yet-faintly-sinister discourse that could have inspired an entire monograph by Michel “Power/Knowledge” Foucault or Jacques “Archive Fever” Derrida. But look, look, how carefully and scrupulously they preserve (“do not modify”) the record of their own deliberations!!]