Tuesday, April 22, 2014

ghosts of my life, or, the atrophy of dreams (Jung hearts run free)

On Reboot.FM, Lisa Blanning talks with Mark Fisher and Kodwo Eshun about Mark's new book Ghosts of My Life: Writings on Depression, Hauntology and Lost Futures, with topics ranging from 2step and grime to the recent strain of melancholic rap.

Some records get played, including Drake's ditty about forgetting how much money's he actually made, as support of  Mark's argument  about "sad rap" / depressive hedonism  -  proof of the existential emptiness of late capitalism even for those outwardly triumphing in all its fruits of hyper-affluence and prestige symbols.

Generally agree but had a few problems since reading the Rolling Stone Drake interview in which he talks, seemingly highly enthused and not the least bit hollow-inside,  of  how his big dream is to own, or build,  the "largest residential swimming pool in the world", i.e. the planet's biggest private swimming pool. Now, nothing against swimming pools - I'm not intrinsically opposed to people owning their own pool -- indeed wouldn't mind having one myself. But to have as your strongest (non-artistic) ambition to own / build the largest swimming pool in the world....  

Reminded me of something else I read that Drake said: that his dream was to earn 25 million by the age of 25, and now he's done that, his new dream is 250 million by the age of 30. Not exactly Martin Luther King "I Have A Dream" now is it?

But nor is it dreams as in the dream life, the unconscious. The whole idea of dreams and dreaming in that sense -- nocturnal movies, the dreamwork, symbols to be interpreted, but also the irruption of dream imagery into art, from Surrealism to Monty Python and Terry Gilliam's animations -- that has all faded from the culture. We live in hyper reality not surreality. In a post-repression, post-sublimation, late capitalist society, "dreams" and "dreaming" is secularised and de-mythified; it means wanting to be famous or a billionaire, something that you could do but 99.9 percent won't.  

Videogames and CGI have something to do with it as well.


Here's my blurb for Ghosts of My Life:


"Ghosts of My Life confirms that Mark Fisher is our most penetrating explorer of the connections between pop culture, politics, and personal life under the affective regime of digital capitalism. The most admirable qualities of Fisher’s work are its lucidity, reflecting the urgency of his commitment to communicating ideas; his high expectations of popular art’s power to challenge, enlighten, and heal; and his adamant refusal to settle for less."

Also, an event this Thursday in London around Ghosts - Mark in conversation with Laura Oldfield Ford at the UEL, 7pm to 9pm - April 24 - Room US.G.17, University of East London, University Square Stratford, 1 Salway Road, E15. 1NF



piece by Amy Merrick at New Yorker on "vicarious nostalgia for an era [one] didn’t actually live through" and "the commercial allure of the Eighties" - meaning literally the allure of the 1980s deployed in TV commercials

 "For advertisers, the eighties are suddenly the decade to strip-mine for memories. During the Super Bowl, RadioShack débuted a self-mocking commercial with pop-culture icons such as Mary Lou Retton, Hulk Hogan, and Teen Wolf clearing the store of its old boom boxes and fax machines. Its punch line is “The eighties called—they want their store back.” (The background music, incidentally, is Loverboy.)....

"At RadioShack, the idea for the Super Bowl commercial came from focus-group participants who accused it of being stuck in the eighties. The company decided to own up to its image, while explaining that it had, indeed, remodelled its stores since the Reagan Administration. “There were so many memories associated with the decade that we realized we were onto something,” Jennifer Warren, the chief marketing officer for RadioShack, told me. “I was a big Cyndi Lauper fan, and I remember teasing my hair.

Merrick's explanations for the enduring appeal of the Eighties even to those born after 1990: 

"The eighties might also be the last era associated with an exuberant visual vernacular. The nineties are too dour for marketers—try selling a Waffle Taco with Kurt Cobain and dark flannels....  when you excise the actual news from our collective memory and are left with neon leg warmers and keyboard guitars, the eighties at least look fun."

Another  explanation:

"Since the nineties, though, it’s become more difficult to define the aesthetic of a particular decade. This might have something to do with the fragmentation and the proliferation of media, and with the fact that so much of our cultural experience is now virtual rather than physical. It also relates to the democratization of fashion; a few big brands can no longer dictate a look. Valerie Steele, the director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, told the Times that, if people in the future want to throw an aughts-themed event, “it does seem like it would be harder to dress for the party.”

Finally, snippets of research  on nostalgia and its relation to age. This first seems obvious and well-known ("as  people enter their fifties and begin to take stock of their lives, they become more susceptible to nostalgia, according to Erica Hepper, a psychologist at the University of Surrey" - yeah, tell me about it!). But this other  discovery is intriguing: "According to Hepper’s research, the other time nostalgia tends to peak is when people are in their late teens and early twenties. They’re facing a series of anxious life transitions, such as starting a career and moving out of their parents’ homes."

Friday, April 18, 2014

"Frontman of rising Nottingham duo Sleaford Mods hits out at retromania and the dearth of protest music - 'Noel Gallagher's got blood on his hands''"

full story at NME.com

Actually the full full story is in the newsprint edition of NME  but the website has a taster:

Stating that their name is not meant to be ironic, frontman Jason Williamson of the Nottingham based rap duo, confirms that he grew up as a Mod but turned away when the scene became too retro for him. "Creatively speaking, Noel Gallagher's got blood on his hands." Elsewhere, Williamson decries the lack of politically outspoken music in 2014, saying; "Ever since Thatcher got in and cut everything to the bone, it should have been protest music all the way."
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/oasis/76793#Oaq4Seeo0TpMPZkE.99
"Stating that their name is not meant to be ironic, frontman Jason Williamson of the Nottingham based rap duo, confirms that he grew up as a Mod but turned away when the scene became too retro for him. "Creatively speaking, Noel Gallagher's got blood on his hands." Elsewhere, Williamson decries the lack of politically outspoken music in 2014, saying; "Ever since Thatcher got in and cut everything to the bone, it should have been protest music all the way."

Stating that their name is not meant to be ironic, frontman Jason Williamson of the Nottingham based rap duo, confirms that he grew up as a Mod but turned away when the scene became too retro for him. "Creatively speaking, Noel Gallagher's got blood on his hands." Elsewhere, Williamson decries the lack of politically outspoken music in 2014, saying; "Ever since Thatcher got in and cut everything to the bone, it should have been protest music all the way."
Read more at http://www.nme.com/news/oasis/76793#Oaq4Seeo0TpMPZkE.99
 I don't know about "blood on his hands" but this post-peak Oasis #1 single, recently discussed on Popular, is culturcide or historycide -  something of that order of atrocity:




Good group, Sleaford Mods





Sorta like Pitman, but for real.

reissue culture reaches 2001!

reissue culture reaches 2001!

viz, the Life Without Buildings reissue
 
which is also


reissue culture takes on the already-retro/revivalist/recyclical !

(what next in the postpunk revival revival? The Erase Errata Box Set? A deluxe expanded They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top?)


and also, finally


 reissue culture takes on the not-much-cop-in-the-first-place-let's-be-honest !

(except that's hardly a new development)



There's probably some examples of reissues of records after 2001 that I'm not thinking of.... well there was that 10th Anniversary Interpol job of course...