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LINUS on Friday! [26 Apr 2005|04:33pm]
Hey you! Yes, YOU!

are playing at the Windmill in Brixton on Friday, supporting Pantsuit and Major Matt Mason from the USA. Pantsuit & Matt are offshoots of the extremely fine band Schwervon, and it is going to be GREAT.
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[26 Apr 2005|01:09pm]
Sigh. So, the living room is now clear of all the paper which made pollitesss laugh as she had to tiptoe through it, and my essay is handed in. I had a great time with this one, even if it did seem like a bit of a nightmare at first. In writing about sex'n'death I was able to include lots of pop culture - 1000 words on goth, the Doors, the Velvet Underground, starting & finishing the essay with quotes from Ann Magnuson/Bongwater's 'Folk Song', etc, as well as all the theory stuff. I was on shaky ground with all the philosophy - all I know about most of it came from my main text, Jonathan Dollimore's Death, Desire and Loss in Western Culture, but well, what can you do. I cleaned up & revised this one much more than the last one (I had more time) but still noticed an absolute clanger in there on the way to hand it in, but oh well.

This term will be much easier. We do group work, and they don't mark it. They used to, but people complained that if they were in a crap group, it had a considerable effect on their final mark through no fault of their own. I was worried - thought I might have to do something dull - then at the meeting to discuss it all & sort out who's with who, two of my classmates said they wanted to study gender in comics. I said, "I'll join THAT group."
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[25 Apr 2005|02:01pm]
Essay almost done. Corrections to be made, a few extra words in the conclusion, and that's it. All of yesterday the lounge floor was a sea of paper - notes laid out to the horizon, with big stars and arrows drawn on them to indicate the important bits and dayglo felt-tip to indicate the really important bits from six feet away. I'm pleased - doubt it'll get a spectacular mark, but I've gone from contemplating an essay which would have weakly rephrased a random selection of other people's vaguely relevant work, to something with a lot more of me in it - so opinionated it's positively cheeky. So I'm happy.

So, where were we? A couple of weeks back rustystiletto and I had dinner round at charleston and K's place, with caro7 and mal1, a reunion of old flatmates, and their respective 'birds' as the lesbians have it. We ate fantastic food, played Balderdash (some more enthusiastically than others) and drank a lot. Excellent. Last Friday we saw charleston & K again at grannybum's birthday drink, in an impressive bar in Stokey which used to be the Vortex. Also excellent. Saturday I was at the Abortion Rights AGM. Good speakers including the fab Wendy Savage. AR are running a postcard campaign for the General Election - take a look.

Tonight, I will fall down (and nurse my heavy cold) in Brixton. At last.
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Jaw drops [20 Apr 2005|08:21pm]
This is incredible. I could not resist. Meme from a zillion people:

1. Pick five songs that most people would know.
2. Select lyrics of up to but not surpassing 150 words from each one.
3. Go to http://babelfish.altavista.com/tr
4. Enter the lyrics thus:

English to German
German to French
French to Portugeuse
Portugeuse to English

5. Post the resultant gobbledegook and ask people to figure out what the songs are.

easy to guess, but funny anyway.Collapse )
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Another convert [20 Apr 2005|04:44pm]
Ladies, gents, and others, please welcome rustystiletto (a.ka. Poetry Girl).
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[19 Apr 2005|08:39pm]
OK, the next few days I'll be feverishly trying to assemble a coherent essay on the subject of sex & death - or, Western culture's insistence on the connection between the two - and sexual politics. Thing is, I don't have much that's recent on the sexual politics side. Anyone know of some vaguely recent feminist writing that addresses this stuff?

Mostly I'm looking at Jonathan Dollimore & his analysis of Freud, Bataille, etc, and then at a whole bunch of pop culture. Plus a smidgeon of the radical feminists, but I really want to include something relevant from a more recent/less twisted feminist perspective...
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[17 Apr 2005|08:50pm]
Second question: Is there an LJ feed for Susie Bright's blog?
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[17 Apr 2005|07:41pm]
Anybody heard from Charity a.k.a. Mazette? She'd deleted her LJ, and I haven't heard anything back from my last email. She has a piece in my zine (out May 1st!!!) so I need to send her a copy...
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Crafternoon [17 Apr 2005|05:31pm]
Just received this mailout:

"Next Sunday (24th April) is the first ever Crafternoon - a fantastic new crafty club. There will be a knitting workshop where you can learn to make knitted punk rock wrist bands (or just learn to knit), DJs and cake. It will be lovely. A fun time crafting and chatting and making plans. Best of all it is FREE.
It's at the Pleasure Unit, 359 Bethnal Green Road from 2pm - 6pm. So please stop by and remember to bring your knitting needles and wool and your other crafty projects.

The Bakery x"

The wording's a bit ambiguous - I don't think they'll be teaching you to knit DJs and cake - but anyway, this should be lots of fun. I'll be in the closing stages of my essay-writing by then (at least I HOPE I will) so probably won't go, but don't let that stop you...
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[16 Apr 2005|09:43am]
Ed's sent me this:

>Vox 'n' Roll @ The Boogaloo
>Wednesday April 27th
>Doors Open 8.00
>Admission Free
>Simon Reynolds, Paul Morley, Howard Devoto,
>Gina Birch, Richard Boon
>Simon Reynolds' book "Rip It Up And Start Again" is
>a celebration of post punk bands like Public Image Ltd,
>Talking Heads, The Fall, Joy Division, Cabaret Voltaire
>etc.The post punk groups were fervent modernists.
>Experimenting with electronics and machine rhythms
>or adapting ideas from dub reggae and disco, they were
>totally confident that they could invent a whole new future
>for music. Tonight Simon will chair a panel consisting of
>writer Paul Morley, Howard Devoto (Magazine), Gina
>Birch (The Raincoats) and Richard Boon (Rough Trade
>"Never will there be a better account of this era" - Uncut

I can't go, but I bet a bunch of you will want to. The Uncut quote is a bit unlikely - this book is hardly definitive (there's no mention, not even in passing, of Kleenex/Liliput for example, and the coverage of NY etc is hardly exhaustive), but it is really well-written (hallelujah! Reynolds' previous books have been embarrassing) and well-argued, and full of interesting info.
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[13 Apr 2005|02:05pm]
Okay, I couldn't resist this one. From the_big_bop.

* Take the bands from my list that you have seen play live, and post them in your own LJ.
* Add more bands that you've seen until you have 30.
* Bands from Ruth's list are in italics.

01 - Magnetic Fields
02 - Gang of Four
03 - Bratmobile
04 - Clash
05 - Pixies
06 - Curtis Mayfield
07 - Pere Ubu
08 - Bikini Kill
09 - Raincoats
10 - bis
11 - Hole
12 - Adverts
13 - Zombina & the Skeletones
14 - Delta 5
15 - Jesus Lizard
16 - Bongwater
17 - Hidden Cameras
18 - Electrelane
19 - The Gossip
20 - Thin White Rope
21 - Le Tigre
22 - Sonic Youth
23 - Dinosaur Jr
24 - Lemonheads
25 - Butthole Surfers
26 - Sweet Honey In The Rock
27 - Crass
28 - Penetration
29 - Wet Dog
30 - Robyn Hitchcock & The Egyptians
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[13 Apr 2005|12:38pm]
Does everyone know about the London Zine Symposium this Saturday? It's from 2-8pm at 76 Gower Street, there's stalls & workshops & films, and it's free. I'll be there from the start (ish) until about 5.30.

Then in the evening, I'll be at the Unskinny Bop, of course.
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Andrea Dworkin [11 Apr 2005|11:44pm]
I heard last night that Andrea Dworkin has died. The Guardian, and a text from razorcheekbones, confirmed this today.

I read a lot of Dworkin, a long time ago. Even until recently I still admired her passion, the power of her polemic, respected her commitment to justice, even as I gradually started to question (and later strongly disagreed with) things like the Minneapolis anti-pornography ordnance she designed with Catharine MacKinnon, and the methods used to bring that ordnance into law. But recently I've gone back to her writing because of my MA, and see clearly now - in context of the huge diversity of writing about feminism, a field she once seemed to almost own - how dishonest and manipulative she is, so often, in her work.

Twenty-odd years ago it seemed she really would be one of those important names that would go down in history... now she just symbolises the 80s for me, the authoritarianism in the left of the late 70s & early 80s, which ravaged progressive politics at that time and for years afterwards. That impulse to win arguments no matter what.

I doubt anyone will read her in 50 years except as a historical oddity. Sad to say that about someone I used to admire, but also a relief to see how she's passed out of fashion. We do need someone like her, always aflame with righteous anger at the atrocities people will not talk about. But someone with a lot more integrity, I hope, when that person emerges.
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[08 Apr 2005|10:09pm]
It is tempting to rename this LJ "andypope".

Tomorrow I will be at the Spitz, watching Misty's Big Adventure, who are on earlyish I think. Do come along. Or go & see Ricky Spontane do one of their rare gigs, at the Buffalo Bar, which I am sad not to be able to see as well. By going to see Misty's I will get to meet Poetry Girl's sister, and see drummygirl. So, no Ricky.
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[08 Apr 2005|07:44pm]
Amy Spencer's book DIY: the Rise of Lo-Fi Culture is finally out.

Behind a very niftily-designed cover (by Michal Cupid with an illustration by Rachel Slampt), Amy traces the origins of today's zine/underground music/anti-corporate culture back to the old underground presses, early mail art, the SF fanzines of the 30s, and so on, and describes the ideas behind these cultural currents. She quotes or interviews everyone from skiffle musician Chas McDevitt to Gina Birch to Richard Hell to Tribe 8's Lynn Breedlove to a bunch of interesting people I'd never even heard of before.

I had no idea Amy was going to cover so much ground in this book. It is astonishingly wide-ranging, but clearly and concisely written - although she is doing a phD at the moment, there's no trace at all of any academic jargon. It contains lots of useful stuff I didn't know (which, oddly, includes the real surname of someone I've known for over a decade)!
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Red Monkey [06 Apr 2005|10:50pm]
I finally saw Red Monkey last week. I've known Pete & Rachel since their bands Pussycat Trash/Avocado Baby, and the birth of their label Slampt, back in the early 90s, but haven't seen Rachel for years and had never seen this latest musical collaboration.

I have a CD from maybe 4 yrs ago which is kind of Slint-y, post-rocky. Live, now, they are very like the early Gang of Four. Edgy, incredibly tight, very charismatic. Rachel is now a superb bass player and more confident than I would've believed possible twelve years ago. There are percussion breaks, there's dancing, R moves the mic stand onto the floor to perform right in front of us. Pete's guitar playing is pinpoint-perfect. The drummer's amazing.

When I say they're like the Go4, I mean the sound is superficially similar, the attitude is strikingly similar, and the content is similarly motivated. They are authentically post-punk - in that they're taking their 'punk' and moving beyond it, stretching its boundaries. They're actually a good deal more subtle, dynamically, and genuinely funky than the Go4 quite managed. Poetry Girl was impressed, and that says a lot - I listen to this kind of music all the time and have done for years, whereas it's not her natural habitat at all.

Supporting were Wet Dog. I love Wet Dog too. But more on them another time.
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[04 Apr 2005|12:29pm]
the_beanio has sent me some CDs, including the X-Ray Spex 'Anthology'. I already have their album on vinyl but had asked for a copy of the CD because the vinyl was mastered so badly back in 1978 - very muffled vocals. And they've added various other bits, including some early live recordings from the Roxy club.

These aren't from the same set as the song on the famous Roxy comp featuring the Buzzcocks, Slaughter & The Dogs, Wire etc, but it must be soon after, because Lora Logic is still their sax player. It's fascinating to hear her original versions of the sax parts from their later records. You can hear plenty of hints towards what she would later do with Essential Logic, but you can also hear why X-Ray Spex fired her - there's a lot more sax than you get after she left, she follows the vocals and harmonises with them, making the sound of the band jazzier and more cluttered. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it's obviously not what Poly Styrene was aiming for.

But considering Lora was, what, 15/16 at the time, it's amazing to listen to. Everyone's out of tune with everyone else, but there's a terrific grinding energy to the sound, and LL's sax lines are much more subtle and imaginative than they ended up in the hands of the band's second sax player.
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He's back! [27 Mar 2005|07:19pm]
LJ-cut to avoid spoilers for those in the North American colonies, who won't see it for another couple of weeks...

What I liked about the new Doctor WhoCollapse )

Overall, great fun, and I can't wait for next week's show, which looks like being very Douglas Adamsish. Now to zip over to swisstone's journal and see what the real experts thought of it...
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More music [25 Mar 2005|07:32pm]
I've bought yet more cheapie CDs.

Immediate blitz of hitz, a double CD in a little book, is volume one of a series reissuing every single and B-side from Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham's Immediate label, back in the mid/late-60s. This first one is a CD of the hits the label had, plus a CD of the first bunch of singles they issued. Already got some of this stuff, but it's great to hear neat-o Small Faces B-sides, and to finally have P.P. Arnold's staggering 'First Cut Is The Deepest' (if you thought that was a Rod Stewart tune, you NEED to hear the original), Earl Vince & the Valiants' 'Somebody's Gonna Get Their Head Kicked In Tonight' (it's early Fleetwood Mac pretending to be 50s rockers), etc. The second CD demonstrates why it took the label so long to have regular hits - most of what they put out was very weak. But it does feature Nico's first single, and some fantastic US imports like the Strangeloves, and blues singer Barbara Lynn, who I hadn't heard of before.

The Very Best of Leadbelly is self-explanatory. Leadbelly was the blues singer and 12-string guitar maestro who wrote 'Rock Island Line' and popularised songs like 'C.C. Rider' and 'Midnight Special', and had a gigantic influence on rock music decades later. This collection's less intense than the likes of Skip James, positively jaunty much of it, but infectious and powerful. I've been playing this a lot since picking it up last week.

Anniemal is the album by Annie, whose insanely catchy single 'Chewing Gum' has been running through my head regularly ever since I first heard it a while ago. It's not all as good as that, but contains several gorgeous pop-dance songs with squelchy 80s synth-bass and new wavey touches, even postpunk/disco elements hear and there. Richard X is involved on some tracks. Is this man the new Jeff Barry?

Have also borrowed a Bach CD from Poetry Girl, but it doesn't really grab me yet - not keen on the orchestral instrumentation, I prefer his guitar pieces. Which, in that case, I should seek out. Hmm.
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This week [25 Mar 2005|07:17pm]
Well, it's been busy, let me tell you. There was the DIY comix event in Mile End last Saturday, where I saw a bunch of, you know, cartoonists and stuff. Jrmy, Damian, Pete, Sacha, and just caught Jenni and James in the pub up the road. Then off to Bristol early next morning to meet up with the_beanio. Sat in the Here shop and caught up with Camilla who was hosting Stitch'n'Bitch, and Soph did some knitting while I monged out - lack of sleep getting to me. Evening was Le Tigre and Gravy Train and we were RIGHT down the front. Le Tigre seemed relaxed, happy and strong, & boy, that was one of the four or five best gigs I have EVER seen. We stayed at Michal's (he's an angel), had breakfast at the Boston Tea Party (best cafe in the world?), then went our separate ways. Tuesday I saw Wet Dog supporting KaitO at Infinity. Wednesday was Poetry Girl and our pal Allan a.k.a. Karen Compassion performing at Turnmills - what an opulent place! And how much wine did we drink? I don't know, that's how much. So, who's watching Dr Who tomorrow?
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