:: Buzzwords Archive: June 2010. Click here for the latest posts.

Electronic Music as the Sound of Space (published 18/06/2010)

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There’s an excellent essay by Ken Hollings in this month’s INTO magazine, commissioned for the Sonar festival and a history of British electronic music that includes Joe Meek [read Cathi Unsworth on Meek], Ghost Box records and (3:AM favourites) the Radiophonic Workshop, in the context of British science fiction and as bygone visions of the future.

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R.I.P. Sebastian Horsley (published 17/06/2010)

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Writer, artist and Soho dandy Sebastian Horsley has died of a suspected heroin overdose, just days after after a play based on his memoir opened in London. As Toby Young says, “I’ve met a few Soho characters in my day and most of them were drunken bores. Not Sebastian.” He continues:

“He styled himself an artist, but his true genius was for conversation. Aphorisms and one-liners came pouring out of his mouth like gusts of fresh air, blowing away received wisdom and herd opinion like so many cobwebs. He was steeped in the works of Oscar Wilde, but could just as easily quote Balzac or Flaubert. I never spent an evening with him without having to write down something he’d said immediately afterwards.”

Asked by 3:AM‘s Sophie Parkin as to why Dandy in the Underworld couldn’t have a happy ending, Horsley replied, “Because anything that consoles is fake. You see, the good ended happily, and the bad unhappily, that is what fiction means.”

Further: Tom Jeffreys’ tribute to Horsley / A conversation between Horsley & Tony O’Neill / Sebastian’s introduction to the Decadent Handbook / Guardian

Bawdy House Rules (published 16/06/2010)

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‘Rude Britannia: British Comic Art’ is showing on BBC Four this week alongside its exhibition at Tate Britain. You can also read 3:AM‘s related interviews with cartoonists Steve Bell & Martin Rowson and Gerald Scarfe. The Forbidden Planet blog has more.

In Bloom (published )

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Today as people everywhere are raising a glass in honor of Bloomsday, Joshua Cohen traces the heirs of Joyce’s Ulysses, from Wales to Russia to Turkey to Argentina:

I wrote a book called Witz. It’s capacious (800 pages). It’s complex (puns in a dozen languages: fun in a daze of longuages). And it’s about a Wandering Jew – the Last Jew in the world.

A friend of my father called after having tried a page to say, “It’s like the Jewish Ulysses.” That wasn’t a compliment. Problem is, James Joyce‘s Ulysses is already the Jewish Ulysses; featuring, as it does, Leopold Bloom – that Dubliner born Jewish, raised Protestant, converted to Catholicism to marry Marion “Molly” née Tweedy, who at the end of the novel says “Yes” a lot. That’s what I said to my father’s friend. “Yes,” I said, “yes.”

That wasn’t a compliment either: I knew he wouldn’t get the reference. I began wondering. If Ulysses was the Jewish Ulysses – and the Irish Ulysses, too, one would think – shouldn’t other cultures have Ulyssi of their own? Having worked as a weekly book reviewer, I came across marketese like this all the time: “Known in its nation of origin as the Icelandic Ulysses” – publicity talk for “a difficult but ultimately rewarding novel by a dead man from Reykjavik.” In other words, the summa of a culture.

Bloomsday 2010.

Midweek Movie (published )

[In 2006, dogmatika polled writers for their favourite books, music & films of the year. With the World Cup at full throttle, it seems appropriate to share Tom McCarthy's choice]

By Tom McCarthy.

The best work of art, in any medium, that I’ve come across this year is Douglas Gordon and Philippe Parreno’s film Zidane. Almost exclusively following Zizou through an entire football game – a game during most of which he’s not really ‘doing’ much other than meandering one way and another or indulging his nervous tick of scraping the top of his foot against the grass – it’s a brilliant disquisition on time, event-space, mediation, consciousness and, of course, repetition. During half-time we pan out from the stadium to find out what else is going on in the world during the game, and see, among footage of various trade pacts being signed, space missions being launched and so on, the inevitable image of a roadside bomb in Iraq’s aftermath – and one of the blood-soaked, screaming victims is wearing a Zidane t-shirt. I think it’s a major masterpiece.

3:AM in the Mix (published 15/06/2010)

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Hailing from Tel Aviv, Mister E blend synthetic beats, shoegazing guitars and ethereal female vocals. Links below to Soundcloud.

April by MISTER E
BabyFace by MISTER E