:: Buzzwords Archive: September 2012. Click here for the latest posts.

Repeat after me (published 14/09/2012)

Joshua Cohen interviewed by Harper’s:

Through wordplay — repetition, rephrasing, rhyming — each of the stories in the book carries an active, energetic sense of “noise” on the page. In addition to the narrative, the interaction of language tells a story of its own. How should this style shape the reading experience? Should your stories be read aloud?

I write everything by saying it aloud. I believe in the ear. Most of our narrative history has been oral/aural. It’s the tradition of sitting around a fire, listening to lore, hearing myth, but then the development of writing systems, and of publishing systems, caused and confirmed this transition to the visual/manual, or the graphic/manual. We became more eye-and-hand-oriented, creatures crouching alone, reading off the page. The Internet extends this, but reaches back in the other direction to reincorporate the older sensorium—the mouths and ears coming out of retirement so that everything’s engaged now but, perhaps, the olfactory. I don’t expect my readers to read aloud—but I do hope to remind them of the literary primacy of their mouths and ears.

The repetitions are, in my mind, linked to the idea that the Internet is conceptually vast, but you end up spending the bulk of your time visiting the same sites again and again (or perhaps this is just my own practice). I’m not especially interested in the variety of the Internet; rather I’m interested in the human experience of the promise of variety, a promise fulfilled only by a similarity or sameness, and the idea that the computer seems to license every option of virtuality, while our own humanity seems limited, or to self-limit, through laziness or shame, to the same thing every day.

Friday Film Focus: Cold Fish (published )

By Amy Seaman.

If you’ve read Tokyo Vice, you’re already familiar with the story of Sekine Gen and Hiroko Kazama, the husband and wife pet-shop owners that killed at least four people in the nineties, poisoning them and dismembering their bodies in a very gruesome but effective fashion and the strange twists and turns the police investigation took along the way to their arrests. (Both have been sentenced to death). The cult film director, Sion Sono, made a movie based on the case, in which he changes the venue from a pet shop to a tropical fish shop, but is more or less faithful to the actual events until the final third of the movie. Jake Adelstein caught the film while it was still playing in Tokyo and later did an interview with the DVD producers for the UK release. The protagonist of the film who become an accomplice, Shamoto-san, is based on a real person, who was not convicted for murder but was arrested on those charges.He was later convicted for helping in dismembering and burying the bodies illegally. Jake says that the portrayal of Sekine Gen, called Murata in the film, is eerily accurate.

Jake said, “I had the pleasure of meeting Sekine twice before his arrest and watching him interact with customers several times and the performance is dead-on. I was awed by the movie until the point on the bridge where the plot bridged off from the real events and knowing the real story as well as I do, I’m probably not able to give the film an objective review.” My take on the film is that if you’re interested in the psychology of serial killers, how ordinary people can be coerced into playing a role in murder, and have a very strong stomach – it’s a film worth seeing, but not before dinner.

Related: interview with director Sion Sono / Andrew Stevens’ interview with Jake Adelstein, who first covered the Saitama dog-lover murders on which the film is based

Exquisite course (published 13/09/2012)

Lydia Lunch has talent on stage as well as in the kitchen. While playing underground music venues early in her career she earned her name cooking up banquet feasts out of whatever ingredients were on hand for fellow starving artists and musicians, including Sonic Youth, Suicide, the Dead Boys, and the Butthole Surfers. In her book Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed, Lunch, along with the help of chef Marcy Blaustein, present witty and provocative recipes for feeding your friends and lovers nourishing, deeply satisfying food while maintaining a hedonistic downtown lifestyle.

Lunch draws on her experiences and the celebration of a healthy obsession for foods that not only satisfy our craven desires but are also nutritious, delicious, and exactly what a body hard at work and play needs. She states “high-octane food is mandatory in order to feed the passion that fuels me… I take great delight in inspiring others to imbibe deeply, indulge completely, flirt outrageously, and binge to their heart’s content.” Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed serves as a provocative guide to setting the mood as well as the table for a rousing three-course meal and her recipes are sure to stimulate, energize, detox, and even sweets to sate. As Lunch herself articulates perfectly “…everybody loves you when you feed them. And I love to spread the love. As long as they kiss the cook on the way out the door.”

© Johan Olander, Lydia Lunch: The Need to Feed by Lydia Lunch, Rizzoli, 2012

Related: Lydia Lunch on l’affaire DSK / Three poems / Interview

Listen with prejudice (published 12/09/2012)

Blake Butler interviews David Byrne:

You write early on in How Music Works that “Making music is like constructing a machine whose function is to dredge up emotions in performer and listener alike.” Do you think of yourself as channeling something when you are writing a song?

Well, lots of people use that metaphor that they’re channeling something, or that they’re a conduit and they don’t know where the inspiration comes from and they’re just a pen that writes it down or whatever. That’s pretty common. And yeah, there’s definitely something to it. I guess what I’m also saying is that it is usually presumed that the emotion is something that’s put into a song, that it comes from the person and goes into the song. And there’s probably a lot of truth to that, but I’m saying that just as much as that happens, I think it happens in the exact reverse way, where a person makes a song and the song makes the writer feel emotional. The song brings out the emotions in the writer. You realize that this chord changing and singing this melody and these words, it takes you to a place. As a writer as well as a listener. I mean, we all share that in common. And so the song becomes the thing that does it. It’s not that the writer necessarily channels the emotions or the ideas or whatever and puts them down on paper. What got put down on paper is also a thing that reaches inside the writer or the person listening and brings that stuff out of them.

The Missing Links (published 08/09/2012)

How to say nothing. * A performance of 4’33” by the BBC Symphony Orchestra. * More tributes to John Cage. * Charles Ball R.I.P. * Great piece by Brian Dillon on John Stezaker. * The Biographical Dictionary of Literary Failure. * Nicholas Rombes on his Blue Velvet Project. * Tom McCarthy interviewed on France Culture. * Male anxiety and the female reader. * Scott Esposito responds to Lars Iyer‘s death-of-the-novel anti-manifesto. * “Writing isn’t a career choice in this visual age. We’re a dying breed.” Lee Rourke. * On an early interview with Malcolm McLaren, 1975 [see picture of Jordan above]. * Joe Stevens‘s photography (including an iconic shot of McLaren). * Jon Savage on Dennis Browne‘s 1978 fanzine, Dat Sun. * Bret Easton Ellis dismisses David Foster Wallace as “a fraud”. * “David [Foster Wallace] was special & the purity of his commitment to his readers & his interest in their well-being was seductive.” D.T. Max interviewed. More here. * Gabriel Josipovici on why Kafka isn’t understood. * The King’s Road music and fashion trail. * The speech Obama won’t give by Steve Almond. * How artists fell in love with chess. * Chris Killen‘s spanking new website. * Matthew Newton on the end of the suburban dream. * Jean Cocteau reads six poems (via UbuWeb). * Why Faulkner, Fitzgerald & other literary luminaries hated Hollywood. * Aleksandar Hemon on the Wachowskis. * “Spaces for contemplation & deliberation have been greatly reduced. Most people don’t spend two or three hours thinking or reading. Books seem to be artefacts from a slower time.” Junot Díaz. * The enduring saga of The Smiths. * Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s passion for looking, not thinking. * Adam Kotsko deconstructs the theories of popular philosopher Slavoj Žižek. * Internet connectivity error, Johannes Lichtman on Joshua Cohen’s Four New Messages. * Marcel Aymé, where have you been all my life? * See something say something, Ben Graves on Alfredo Jaar, bin lids & Mo Tucker. * Jarvis Cocker narrates a documentary on Ziggy Stardust. * Simon Reynolds on Roxy Music‘s debut. * Who was Humbert Humbert? * The New York Dolls in Paris, 1973. * Jayne Joso interviewed. * Midnight tourism with Badaude. * How Google & Apple’s digital mapping is mapping us. * Photoblending the 1906 San Francisco earthquake with today. * “I’m not interested in clubbing together behind some flag of the avant-garde.” Zadie Smith. * And Zadie Smith on the Subaltern podcast. * Geoff Dyer explores representations of reality through the lens of Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness.