Saturday, January 15, 2005

I've got myself an independent contract. I've got to do a lot of writing, essentially. Thirty pages of fiction, twenty pages of criticism. By the end of the quarter. This will be tricky. I'm also reading some books. I finished Franz Kafka's Amerika. It would be better if it were finished. There's fragments that Kafka wrote which aren't included in my printing. If they're in other editions, I'll be kind of pissed. The Trial wasn't finished either, but The Trial's incomplete fragments cohere and don't leave out major events. Amerika is a little bit funnier towards the end, but a lot less compelling on the whole. It's acceptable if you like Kafka. I can't quite recommend it.

Hey, the new Caribou record leaked. Caribou is what Manitoba is called now that he's been sued by the frontman of an old punk band who has not released any albums under a name that even included the word Manitoba. The worst thing about the record is that it's coming out under the name Caribou. Which would probably be the case even if the album didn't totally kick ass. Wow. Dan Snaith said this album wouldn't have the whole indie vibe of Up In Flames, but it totally does. There's also a hip-hop influence and a krautrock influence, yes, but mainly... It's pretty indie. It all coheres into one sound, though. Or at least a coherent vibe throughout. It is kind of great. It's a little less psych-pop, I suppose, but my roommate Thor still said that Manitoba was one of the most psychedelic things he'd ever heard. I hope for a Caribou/Animal Collective collaboration at some point. Anyway: The album's called The Milk Of Human Kindness. Two of my roommates plan to buy it on vinyl the day as soon as it becomes available. I plan to buy it, and any accompanying singles/EPs once I'm in a place that's not Olympia.

The Bloc Party full-length's alright. They're a band that's like Gang Of Four in 2oo5 but not shitty like those other bands that people compare to Gang Of Four for no apparent reason. When I say this, I am saying that they are better than Franz Ferdinand, which is to say I'm saying nothing at all. The album's alright.

I watched Hard Eight again tonight. That's a fine film. I'd forgotten a lot of it. I like P.T. Anderson a lot. Got in an argument with roommates about whether you can be said to like P.T. Anderson and not like Magnolia. For now, I'm maintaining no, on the basis that I feel that Magnolia is the most P.T. Anderson of all the films he's made. It's long, so it's just more P.T. Anderson. It's ambitious in scope, and it's personal to the film-maker. Granted, if someone said the clever line "I like P.T. Anderson a lot, but I don't like Robert Altman, hence I don't like Magnolia," I might not concede my point but I would laugh at that joke because it is clever.

I'm also listening to M.I.A. which I like okay, although it's not the kind of thing I get into. Music's like pop-hip-hop vaguely in the vein of Missy Elliott or something but she's British and skinny. (In many ways I am probably downplaying my enjoyment of the record when I say shit like that. I like the record but I'm not going apeshit over it, shall we say, because it's not in a genre I respond to in a way that I go apeshit over.) But: I did go over to her website,, and her art is pretty fucking cool. Graffitti type stuff and leftist politics and... It looks cool and some of it's offensive. Bundles of dynamite are a reoccuring image. The video for the single... I haven't seen all of it yet. She dances to a background of animated imagery that ties together explosions and spraypaint, graffitti stencils of tanks, and mushroom clouds forming black power fists. So... interesting.

Also: I bought The Believer issue with the DVD and the art profiles... Some of those L.A. artists are rather cool and make me regret that I never went to any of the art openings in Philadelphia. The DVD is pretty solid as well. Money kind of well-spent, although the Raymond Pettibon interview is kind of a letdown. I like art, and I wish I knew more about it, had my finger on the pulse. The only thing I can say in my defense is that no one else knows anything about modern art either. (the good kind... The kind that looks cool and isn't avant-garde and conceptual. Is it reductive and over-simplifying to say that stuff is crap and boring? Yes, yes it is, but at the same time: Fuck man, I can come up with concepts and ideas. That's not very hard. I've done it: If anyone wants to give me gallery space and pay me I'll show them to you. I can't draw things with any degree of competency. This is the kind of argument I base around phrases like "fuck John Cage." Fuck John Cage.) Evie said she had a friend in art-school whose work comes off like show flyers, and although meant in at least a kind of degrading way: That's not a bad vibe to working off of. This is not to say that painting isn't awesome either, but... Sadly the last few paintings I've seen by people I know, including my brother, were leaving me flat. Still: these paintings weren't made by professionals. I don't know. Familiarity breeds contempt. There's a lot of art out there I'm not familar with. I like things that look cool, and that's my basic description of what I want out of art because I am five years old. (I also like leftist politics and extremist imagery if that makes me seem somewhat more discerning. Which, really, it shouldn't, because art should probably be judged more on aesthetic grounds than ideological ones... This is the kind of argument I base around phrases like "fuck punk rock.")

I am rambling like shit. I have class tomorrow. Do people still read this anymore? Did everyone give up once I realized that my life was boring and I just started talking about books, movies, and music instead?

I am sleepy and I'm mainly talking for the theoretical enjoyment of a nonexistent audience. Goodnight.

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