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26 March 2012

The internet wasteland & a museum to ephemeral feeling


The internet deserves to be treated like a wasteland. I am not referring to T. S. Eliot, mind you — more like Cormac McCarthy‘s The Road, Denis Johnson’s Fiskadoro or, fuck it, Mad Max.

Hell, maybe the internet deserves an even madder Max.

We live in a world which (if the consistently apocalyptic tone of most media reports are to be believed) is quite redolent of Mel Gibson’s breakthrough film — out-of-gas, out-of-hope, ready to abandon our fading settlement upon rumor of a brighter kingdom just past the next ridge. The internet is a perfectly ephemeral medium for this kind of world. By contrast, I remember when I fancied myself more of a proper writer, rather than someone merely capable of writing well & conveying stories and feelings. I treated each word on a screen like letters etched on marble tablets — each one carefully placed, every publication a monument to some kind of pretension. On the ‘net, however, I’ve come to realize words are more like water or, better, something sweeter. Nowadays, I see each new web platform as a honeycomb to be sucked dry until there’s only a husk to leave behind.

And so I’d like to point you toward my latest internet property alechanleybemis.tumblr.com where I’ve gone practically wordless, choosing instead to focus on concerts & photographs. I like to think I’ve opened an online museum to ephemeral feelings, a museum that may close without warning, at any time. But one that’s devoted to featuring some of the more elevating & tipsy-making aspects of our world. Contrast Mad Max with the wild dancing that happens on the edges of darkness.

Two shining examples of the exhibits on display after the jump. Follow me or don’t. If you agree with Drake it’s probably not for you; but if you understand David Foster Wallace’s wiser words, it will make sense to you.

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12 January 2012

I aspire to take photos that have not been taken

I aspire to take photographs that belie this quote from Geoff Dyer‘s unique & inspiring book on photography, The Ongoing Moment:

    That’s what this book is trying to do also: to find out what certain things look like when they’ve been photographed and how having been photographed changes them. Often it turns out that when things have been photographed they look like other photographs, either ones that have already been taken or ones that are waiting to be taken.

I aspire to take photos that have never been photographed before. For the most part, I don’t think the images hit the mark; rather I just end end up having fun with my cell phone… (Not a bad thing!)

But rather than mull on that, let’s linger a second on Dyer. Perhaps “unique” does a disservice to his talents. Many creative people are praised as being unique, but he actually deserves the adjective. See, too, his book But Beautiful: A Book About Jazz. I find myself purchasing it (or almost purchasing it) as a spontaneous gift for various friends & associates & new acquaintances at least once a year.

Dyer writes books that have never been written before. My hallowed view of the people who make photographs that have never been photographed before extends to people who are able to write books that have never been written before. More snaps after the jump…

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15 December 2011

Talking secrets

In the secret history of the Talking Heads & the founding generation of New York punk rock — whenever that was — one of the biggest ones may have been that David Byrne was actually a crooner, always was. Check out this video from the first show of theirs attended by Seymour Stein, the founder of the label that made them famous.

And read more about it at NPR. Or don’t.

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17 November 2011

Alternate life :: after life :: back to the land

Through me you pass into the city of woe:
Through me you pass into eternal pain:
Through me among the people lost for aye.

Justice the founder of my fabric mov’d:
To rear me was the task of power divine,
Supremest wisdom, and primeval love.

Before me things create were none, save things
Eternal, and eternal I endure.
All hope abandon ye who enter here.

Such characters in colour dim I mark’d
Over a portal’s lofty arch inscrib’d:
Whereat I thus: Master, these words import.

(via Phrases.org.uk)

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7 November 2011

Brassland’s Song-A-Day Giveaway

Above a video whose inspiration lay, in part, in Marxist economic theory. Which is not to say the thing which it advertises is either Marxist or economical.

Starting last week on November 1st, my label Brassland has been giving away a song-a-day as part of a month long celebration of our 10th anniversary. You can participate by either liking the label on Facebook or Tweeting about it from our site. To those of you who do not partake of social media, our apologies and sympathies — and I assure you we’re putting our thinking caps on to figure out how to get you some of this music.

Anyway, a lot of people have been talking about this effort including Pitchfork and Spin and last but note least Sequenza 21.

Yay internet!

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