Whatcha reading?

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Dr. Medulla
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 14 Jan 2019, 4:41pm

Kory wrote:
14 Jan 2019, 4:17pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
14 Jan 2019, 3:54pm
Kory wrote:
14 Jan 2019, 1:57pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
12 Jan 2019, 8:14pm
Bedtime reading: That Fugazi book that Flex (ugh) and Kory (ugh) recommended.
Perhaps you'll think better of us when the book turns out to be good.
I'll be finishing it up tonight. I haven't found it all that compelling, to be honest. It does its descriptive job, but not much else. One question I always have students answer about their term papers is: Why is this important? Why is this a story worth telling? I'm not really sure what Gross would say. But for Fugazi fans, getting that extra detail is quite valuable. I get that. I'm fine with those kinds of books for bands I love. But as someone who's never gotten why Fugazi is such a big deal from an aesthetic standpoint, the book doesn't exactly compel me to rethink things. But I doubt Gross sought to convert the unbelievers, so that's not exactly harsh criticism.
Oh, I didn't realize you weren't a fan already. Why did you pick it up?
I'm more intellectually curious about the DC hardcore scene. It's not that I dislike Fugazi—their ideological rigor when it comes to DIY values is fascinating as hell—but the music itself has mostly made me shrug. And they're especially interesting to me for having successfully resisted how scenes die—they become too diverse (new audiences that don't have the same ideological zeal of the original members), personality clashes create divisions, and ambition lures bands away from their original site of nourishment. What I understand of Fugazi's story is of resisting all collapse. That's the kind of stuff I had sort of hoped would have shown up more in Gross' book, but he mostly extricates them from their social environment. Again, not a crime on his part—he wanted to write something more biographical, which is how most rock writing goes. But it's less my area of curiosity.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Flex » 25 Jan 2019, 12:41pm

Hey Doc, have you read this?


There's an article about is here that might interest you: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/ret ... repressed/#!
YOU MADE ONE MISTAKE, LENNON, YOU DOUBLE CROSSED MIKE LOVE AND LEFT HIM ALIVE

Sous les pavés, la plage.

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 25 Jan 2019, 1:19pm

Flex wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 12:41pm
Hey Doc, have you read this?


There's an article about is here that might interest you: https://lareviewofbooks.org/article/ret ... repressed/#!
Ha! I've ranted about that one here (probably) and in class (definitely). There are some potentially interesting ideas in there, but it's all cloaked in an old man ranting about kids these days. Kids don't appreciate the thrill and importance of tracking down an obscure Romanian pressing of an Aztec Camera single because they can just dial up their Google machines and it does it for them. It's too easy, so they don't appreciate music the way his generation did. And there's nothing new anymore. Kids don't create anything new, not like when he was younger. All they do is variations of older stuff. Reading between the lines, it's an old guy who's listened to a shit ton of music in his life and it no longer gives him the same old thrill, so he assumes his experience is that of everyone else. There are valuable questions to be asked about nostalgia in popular music and why function of canonization of certain artists and turning certain records in sacred artifacts, and of pastiche and re-interpretation, but the tsk-tsk-ing guts the book's potential.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 25 Jan 2019, 1:39pm

Whole bunch of new startin's.

Audiobook:
Image
Starting this tomorrow as I finished Harris' Fatherland on my ride this morning. I liked that one a fair bit. Thematically, it reminded me of Daniel Quinn's After Dachau, which also deals with alternate histories and obscuring of the Holocaust, and the disturbing question that once the atrocity is over, who cares? If it can't be undone, it's just pointless and self-indulgent moralizing. Which is to say, then, does truth count if you can't apply it practically?

Tub book:
Image
I read this when it first came out. Full of self-congratulations and bemoaning all the losers he's had to endure (like Lydon's memoir in that respect), but it has its charm. It also contains a wonderful passage that describes the man quite well: "Manchester has always had men like that, hard livers with hard livers; faces like unmade beds. Even though they’re clearly doing themselves damage, there’s a zest for life there. And that’s a rarity. They’re not as oblivious as you might think. They’re not all boring cunts. Drinkers have a good sense of the absurd. I like that."

Bed book:
Image
Just started last night, so no impressions. Finished those three 33 1/3 books. I already mentioned the Fugazi one. The Raincoats was mostly decent, definitely leaning to the personal in it all. I quit the Banshees one at the halfway mark. I really wanted to like it because the concept is quite neat—tying each song to film criticism—but I'm either too thick to appreciate the argument or the author didn't do a good enough job writing for the layperson. So it came off as more clever than insightful or persuasive.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by WestwayKid » 25 Jan 2019, 2:23pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 1:39pm
Whole bunch of new startin's.

Image
Just started last night, so no impressions. Finished those three 33 1/3 books. I already mentioned the Fugazi one. The Raincoats was mostly decent, definitely leaning to the personal in it all. I quit the Banshees one at the halfway mark. I really wanted to like it because the concept is quite neat—tying each song to film criticism—but I'm either too thick to appreciate the argument or the author didn't do a good enough job writing for the layperson. So it came off as more clever than insightful or persuasive.
This looks interesting. One of those bands I've always liked - but never quite knew much about. I discovered them through Johnny Marr. I played the heck out of Mind Bomb and Dusk when I was younger - and they still hold up. I might have to give them a spin today.
"If they believed in a place called Kokomo, then so did I." - Michael Edward Love

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 25 Jan 2019, 2:34pm

WestwayKid wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 2:23pm
This looks interesting. One of those bands I've always liked - but never quite knew much about. I discovered them through Johnny Marr. I played the heck out of Mind Bomb and Dusk when I was younger - and they still hold up. I might have to give them a spin today.
Every so often, I'll go on a massive The The kick when I know Matt Johnson is a fucking god. Yet, if I had to name my top 15 favourite artists or so, I'll bet I'd come up with reasons to leave him off. A strange thing.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Flex » 25 Jan 2019, 2:41pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 1:19pm
Ha! I've ranted about that one here (probably) and in class (definitely). There are some potentially interesting ideas in there, but it's all cloaked in an old man ranting about kids these days. Kids don't appreciate the thrill and importance of tracking down an obscure Romanian pressing of an Aztec Camera single because they can just dial up their Google machines and it does it for them. It's too easy, so they don't appreciate music the way his generation did. And there's nothing new anymore. Kids don't create anything new, not like when he was younger. All they do is variations of older stuff. Reading between the lines, it's an old guy who's listened to a shit ton of music in his life and it no longer gives him the same old thrill, so he assumes his experience is that of everyone else. There are valuable questions to be asked about nostalgia in popular music and why function of canonization of certain artists and turning certain records in sacred artifacts, and of pastiche and re-interpretation, but the tsk-tsk-ing guts the book's potential.
Oh, that's too bad. I was hoping for a slightly different angle, I guess. The article I linked tries to get at the question of how nostalgia changes our understanding of, and interaction with, older material, which is a fairly interesting question. Too bad that's not what the book is really about.
YOU MADE ONE MISTAKE, LENNON, YOU DOUBLE CROSSED MIKE LOVE AND LEFT HIM ALIVE

Sous les pavés, la plage.

Pex Lives!

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by WestwayKid » 25 Jan 2019, 2:44pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 2:34pm
WestwayKid wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 2:23pm
This looks interesting. One of those bands I've always liked - but never quite knew much about. I discovered them through Johnny Marr. I played the heck out of Mind Bomb and Dusk when I was younger - and they still hold up. I might have to give them a spin today.
Every so often, I'll go on a massive The The kick when I know Matt Johnson is a fucking god. Yet, if I had to name my top 15 favourite artists or so, I'll bet I'd come up with reasons to leave him off. A strange thing.
Yeah, he's kind of an under the radar genius for me. When I listen to The The I'm struck by just how talented the guy is and how much I enjoy listening to his music...but then I'll forget about him again until the next time.
"If they believed in a place called Kokomo, then so did I." - Michael Edward Love

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Kory » 25 Jan 2019, 3:42pm

Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 1:39pm
I quit the Banshees one at the halfway mark. I really wanted to like it because the concept is quite neat—tying each song to film criticism—but I'm either too thick to appreciate the argument or the author didn't do a good enough job writing for the layperson. So it came off as more clever than insightful or persuasive.
I could see it being hard to read for non-musicians, she went a lot into the arrangements for each song, breaking down the sections into cinematic moments. Are you very familiar with the album?
Inder:
Absolutely. Here's another collection of words:

Table salt (spoon hinge)
Octopus (Ukraine)
St. Petersburg (arms)
Ginger beer (cauliflower)
Pat Sajak (PSak)
Lamp post (self evident)
Florida Timeshare (ditto)
Heraclitus (EMI)
Developers (Developers Developers)
Boogie With Your Children

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 25 Jan 2019, 3:46pm

Kory wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 3:42pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 1:39pm
I quit the Banshees one at the halfway mark. I really wanted to like it because the concept is quite neat—tying each song to film criticism—but I'm either too thick to appreciate the argument or the author didn't do a good enough job writing for the layperson. So it came off as more clever than insightful or persuasive.
I could see it being hard to read for non-musicians, she went a lot into the arrangements for each song, breaking down the sections into cinematic moments. Are you very familiar with the album?
Oh, definitely. Quite like the album. But that's the grab bag nature of those books. It's wonderful that the series editors welcome such diverse approaches, but it does mean alienating some audiences right off the bat.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 25 Jan 2019, 3:52pm

Flex wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 2:41pm
Dr. Medulla wrote:
25 Jan 2019, 1:19pm
Ha! I've ranted about that one here (probably) and in class (definitely). There are some potentially interesting ideas in there, but it's all cloaked in an old man ranting about kids these days. Kids don't appreciate the thrill and importance of tracking down an obscure Romanian pressing of an Aztec Camera single because they can just dial up their Google machines and it does it for them. It's too easy, so they don't appreciate music the way his generation did. And there's nothing new anymore. Kids don't create anything new, not like when he was younger. All they do is variations of older stuff. Reading between the lines, it's an old guy who's listened to a shit ton of music in his life and it no longer gives him the same old thrill, so he assumes his experience is that of everyone else. There are valuable questions to be asked about nostalgia in popular music and why function of canonization of certain artists and turning certain records in sacred artifacts, and of pastiche and re-interpretation, but the tsk-tsk-ing guts the book's potential.
Oh, that's too bad. I was hoping for a slightly different angle, I guess. The article I linked tries to get at the question of how nostalgia changes our understanding of, and interaction with, older material, which is a fairly interesting question. Too bad that's not what the book is really about.
Popular music's relationship with its past is fascinating as hell given that the rock n roll era has also been the postmodern era, which has complicated our understanding of our relationship with the past (some would argue postmodernism has severed that connection, but that's exceedingly narrow thinking). An additional point is that rock in the general sense has had a skeptical view of its own longevity, of being serious and worth preserving. But it's success artistically and especially commercially has forced those questions into the conversation. But Reynolds makes the classic ahistorical mistake of wishing people in the present acted the way they did in the past without appreciating that conditions are not the same as they were in the past. There can never be any going back. You can't begin to have a constructive discussion about these issues if you're pining for dead historical contexts.

edit: Heh, I just looked at my notes for the book and apparently I have to give Reynolds some belated credit. One of his complaints about our attitude towards music is that we're less diverse and adventurous, more content to go deeply into what we like and reluctant to stray. Which is something that streaming services certainly encourage with their predictive algorithms. I've since made a similar argument (if Reynolds influenced my thinking there, it was subconscious) but more along the lines that there is now so much music available, sliced into finer and finer sub-genres, that we have no need to venture beyond our tight sphere if we don't want to. There is more than enough out there to serve our very personal tastes. That degree of individualized satisfaction, I've suggested, has bound us tighter to free market ideology—your personal happiness in your own customized cocoon can be purchased, there is no reason to venture into the rest of the big bad world. I don't blame postmodernism so much as neoliberalism more broadly, tho it's not an either/or situation.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 28 Jan 2019, 9:37pm

Tub book, starting tomorrow:
Image
Okay, I generally dislike Klosterman. I liked Fargo Rock City but other stuff made me think he's an up-his-own-ass dink. But The Boss ws clearing out some stuff abandoned by a past employee, which included some Klosterman books. I said, sure, I'll take them for hate-reading. This will be Round One.

edit: Roger Kahn's book is a lot of fun. It's written in a very conversational manner, by and for people who just plain love baseball stories and mythology.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Silent Majority » 31 Jan 2019, 2:34pm

Frankie Howerd - Graham Mccann. Excellent bio of the old fashioned but great comedian with a quintessential showbiz story. I've read several by the author on similar topics. Howerd was a trailblazer in his day, but, Bob Hope style, used writers so gets very little respect today. YouTube has videos from his peak where he owns the stage. Lightweight fun read.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Silent Majority » 07 Feb 2019, 3:50pm

4) The Conquest of Bread - Peter Kropotkin. Audiobook. Brilliant anarcho-socialist tract, really well thought out and argued. I can't say enough good things about it. The language is clear and free of nineteenth century verbosity and the ideas remain ahead of their time.

5) Margaret Thatcher, vol II: The Iron Lady by John Campbell. Paperback. Fascinating right-of-centre telling of Thatcher's life from the day she descended on Downing St to about 2003, the book's publication. Honestly going to have to stand as the definitive take. You just watch this determined individual strip everything she possibly can from the people of Britain and succeed because her foes aren't prepared for the level of ruthlessness of their opponent. The miners, the Labour party, the Falklands, even the IRA. The book's actually quite approving and affectionate towards her, but is unafraid to point out where being a terrible person, just terrible, occasionally got in the way of her goals. As a part of my ongoing completist sickness, I've already ordered similar books about John Major and Gordon Brown.
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Re: Whatcha reading?

Post by Dr. Medulla » 10 Feb 2019, 11:01am

Silent Majority wrote:
07 Feb 2019, 3:50pm
As a part of my ongoing completist sickness, I've already ordered similar books about John Major and Gordon Brown.
You pursue voluntarily that most grad students would endure while sulking. That might be a compliment, but I'm not sure.

Tub book, starting today:
Image

I've had this forever. Can't even recall how I acquired it. I gather it's similar in theme as Greil Marcus' Lipstick Traces—high culture, popular culture, youth culture, and rebellion all in a stew pot—but presumably without Marcus' irritating hyperbole.

That Klosterman book was a lot of navel gazing that never gets past the crucial question: Why should we care? There is a sort-of interesting hypothesis that the villain is the person who knows the most but cares the least, but doesn't really go anywhere beyond that. He just plays around with examples but doesn't bother pursuing why any of this stuff matters.
And that's when Lincoln said, "Don't diss my homies.”

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