diasyrmus

an emotional soup kitchen of mutant allegorical hermaphrodites

http://witchinthecherrytree.tumblr.com/post/94319563743/i-just-saw-god-help-the-girl-and-dont-waste-your

korhwythkevrinek:

forestpines:

witchinthecherrytree:

I just saw God Help the Girl and don’t waste your money on that one pals, it is some disappointing misogynistic bullshit, like just because you chuck a fringe on a girl and show her occasionally writing stuff in a diary doesn’t give her any actual agency or make her any less of a manic pixie dream…

This is not a surprise.  I haven’t seen the film, but this is definitely not a surprise.

Back in the 90s and the 00s, I used to be something of a Belle & Sebastian fan.  “Manic Pixie Dream Girl” is, frankly, their number #1 trope.  Particularly for Stuart Murdoch.  The standard Stuart Murdoch song plot goes something like: girl is misunderstood and alienated; girl finds solace in music; music leads girl to shy indie boy who is so shy he just wants to be friends.  Repeat until your share of the album is finished.

When B&S started to get press coverage, when their second album and first few singles/EPs came out back in late ‘96 and early ‘97, they were fairly derided by Manly Music Journalists such as the late Steven Wells for not producing Manly Music; for being fey, twee, and non-alcoholic.  In other words, they were hit with exactly the same criticism that Manly Music Journalists had been giving to every Sarah Records release a few years earlier, and many times since B&S have been described as the sort of band who should have been on Sarah had Sarah still existed when they formed.

The recent Sarah Records exhibition at the Arnolfini gallery, though, made me realise just how wrong the comparison is.  Feminism was one of Sarah’s founding principles: for that reason, the label never, ever used pictures of women to sell music.  You’re more likely to see a picture of a railway station on a Sarah sleeve than a twee indie-girl; B&S have done quite the opposite, including a topless woman doing the ironing on their DVD compilation.  One of Sarah’s best-known stars was Prof Dr Amelia Fletcher OBE, whose various titles and honours are from her work as an economist.  There’s simply no space in the B&S universe for any of the subjects of Stuart Murdoch’s songs to have that sort of career or success, because as it says above, none of the girls Stuart writes about has any degree of agency of their own.  He’s never been able to write about any kind of fully-formed female character, only about the ideal girl inside his head.

I still quite like a lot of B&S songs, of course, and B&S have had several other songwriters in the band.  Moreover, there were always plenty of girls in the B&S fandom, and plenty of space for them; I can think of at least one who became a professional musician through the contacts she made as a B&S fan.  At the time, I wasn’t entirely aware that there was anything wrong with the way Stuart wrote about women, although I like to think I was occasionally suspicious.  When I heard he was making a film, though, it was immediately obvious it would be one of his songs writ large, expanded to fill 90 minutes of plot; and that sort of expansion is bound to make his failings rather more obvious.

^^^reblogging for the points on Sarah Records and old school twee more than the B&S stuff, but v good points.

now got this in my head:

http://youtube/NtjQiooqwsc

Sydney

diasyrmus:

tomewing:

I have questions about AUSTRALIA - got me Visa, need to plan my visit. What should I see in Sydney and - most urgently - what bit of it should I find a hotel in? Please assume I am a BORING TOURIST not some kind of fashionable person who wants to see the “hidden Sydney” or whatever. Any ideas?

In Sydney next week! I also need to know these things. Interested in hidden, unhidden, and not really hiding but not really bothered Sydney.

Feel in a bit of a better position to answer some of this now.

1st bit of advice - get on the water. Sydney only really made sense for me once I understood the incredible natural harbour in which it’s set. To stumble across it must have been a remarkable thing.

It also seems to explain a lot of sydney - the haphazard, slightly messy way it sprawls around the harbour, and fans out from it, greedily using all the space available to it, and generating a vast sprawl of suburbs.

The CBD is a botch - a belligerent group of uninspired skyscrapers blocking out light and views for those “less important” dwellings behind it.

In fact, retaining low-rise buildings would have made the city centre more impressive, certainly to walk round.

The high rise as a profile is undoubtedly impressive tho.

2. The zoo! The zoo was great (good talks, bird display, native fauna etc) but give yourself at least half a day as it’s set in a large piece of parkland. (Warning: it’s $46 for a day pass)

3. went out in Newtown which everyone seems to say is one of the places to go out. I was incredibly tired and didn’t really do justice to it, but the beer I had was good, it wasn’t horribly busy, and they played a load of lee perry, toots, I-Roy and others.

4. Mr Wong Chinese restaurant was v v good. Quite expensive but v good. Seems to be a place to go.

Going to Melbourne now.

EDIT: Oh, and went to Manly and saw proper SURF for first time ever.

travel fucks up the mind

(I was going to post this with relevant photos and stuff, but i can’t get them into the post using the app - may edit later)

In his book *Danube* Claudio Magris says of travel

”..to be on the move is better than nothing; one stares out of the window at the train as it hurtles into the countryside, one raises one’s face to the breezes, and something passes, flows through the body. The air creeps into one’s clothes. The ego dilates and contracts like a Portuguese man-of-war. A little ink overflows from the bottle and is diluted in an ink-coloured sea.”

It is not, in general, a reaction I have to air travel. The ego is tense for itself. It senses potential annihilation at every turn, sees others drifting in liminal spaces, a strange and controlled motion of waiting, queing and hurrying. The enjoyment to be had in air travel is a Ballardian enjoyment. That is to say watching the human being be reconfigured to a new template, designed upon a simplified nexus of desire, psychology, suppressed agressions, efficiency of movement and commerce.


Elsewhere, Magris describes a writer and sedimentologist, one “Amadeo”, walking round a clock museum in Furtwangen, with the multitude of clocks around him all ticking at once:

"In his letter, that isochronous movement that surrounded him on all sides seems the secret rhythm of life, the automatic scansion of a time that is perfectly pure and perfectly empty."

Again, in the airport it is different. There is a chaos of times, of time zones and points in time. The scansion of time, very far from pure, is in fact a dyspeptic peristalsis. (Humans are, after all, painfully indigestible. It really would be better if we could dispense with them entirely! Things would run so much more smoothly.) And the scansion of time is very far from empty, but beset on all sides by versions of itself, from which, coded, identified and stamped, you must follow one, the information so ordered as to make clear that you are selecting from this spindle of threads a line to a place and a time - your destination. (And a set of emotional expectations, not yet unfurled as in Magris’ example, but held in potential, as if this were another version of that old motif, the featureless hall of doors, behind each of which lays a fantasy world, good or bad. One aesthetic and spiritual moral of the story being that it is the featureless hall and doors that are real, and not what lies behind them.)

Once on the plane, the line out of the terminal having been chosen, the metaphysical emptiness of the passing of time is shaped by a guiding hand. A masquerade of mundane, urbane life is presented. Diurnal rhythms are repatterned as breakfasts and dinners are brought at curious hours of your clock. (Before landing at Singapore I was served breakfast - a curious fritter and baked beans - and after an hour turn around, we got back on the same plane to be served with gin and tonics and our evening meal). Lights and air-temperature are regulated to create illusions of morning, evening and night (with little in-between) as the Earth rotates beneath you.

Deposited at the other end, you are a raw-boned animal surviving on jittery-nerved fatigue, and negotiate the day as if a visitor in someone else’s dream - the stepping through the fantasy door, carrying in the background the stark alienation of interstellar travel.

However, now I’m here, writing this it’s the start of a warm winter’s day in Sydney. It feels real enough. The water is sparkling in the harbour, and the city is starting up a civilised bustle of church bells, car horns, construction and coffee drinking. And if my soul is not contracting and dilating like a P Man o W, it is at least relaxing a bit, beginning to taste the different air.

tho no one was looking at the books there. they were sitting round tables drinking coffee. not looking at the books. it was a bit weird.

while reaching to get a copy of Mason & Dixon to replace the one i lost, i accidentally clonked a man talking to a table of women about how he had a passion for helping people, a real passion for it.

it *was* accidental.

Sitting in Ampersand Coffee and Bookstore on a wet and dreary Sydney morning. Claude Magris on Céline, and “the single atrocious witches’ sabbath of Marshal Pétain” and “the madman Corpechet who proclaims himself Admiral of the Danube” at the castle of Sigmaringen is v good:

*Céline let himself be dazzled by the revelation of evil*

"Once upon a damp and moonlit night a man with greying hair was watching the autumn mist form figures of chimney-sweeps on the rooftops"

The Adventures of Sindbad - Gyula Krúdy

This is the sort of first sentence that makes you seriously consider postponing reading a book until the moment is exactly propitious.

Here, Autumn, obviously. Damp, and misty, with grey roofs made dull and reflective by the gloom and moisture. Maybe Mitteleurope, wide streets, lindens, gas lamps, or their modern preserved versions, baroque plaster mouldings, schnitzel, dumplings, a languorous stretching warmth in the mornings. Coffee. Studious-looking girls, clean-countenanced boys with old-style jackets and all youth with reserves of socially-available intelligence. Glasses of wine in winter sun, dense, wheaty beers or hot, appley gin in dark wood and arty bars in the evenings.

By starting a book at a propitious moment, you graft with it emotionally, live, effectively, a fantasy life with it, its magic tingles through your veins, its intellect becomes the prism through which a new world is made available to you.

Instead I’m in Sydney, which is fine. It is in fact a grey, rainy morning. About as wintry as Sydney gets, and there are church bells chiming outside my window from the street below.

I *did* consider postponing reading until a moment more exactly propitious, but this feels good enough.

http://timocraticyouth.tumblr.com/post/94749644266/slept-ten-to-twelve-hours-dreamt-a-dream-that

timocraticyouth:

Slept ten-to-twelve hours, dreamt a dream that seemed to embody so many features or symbols or topoi of the Tom W—- dream as to seem its epitome: it featured a videogame (TOPOS #1) whose characters travelled along unfolding skeins in two dimensions and were able to rejoin same at any point in…

I don’t know who said other people’s dreams are boring, but they are clearly wrong and projecting the fact their own dreams are boring. I’ve been dreaming more or less consistently and with a greater or lesser degree of recollection about cities on hills and two nights ago while flying over Turkmenistan dreamt I was attacked by a Succubus! who combined irresistable predatory sexual appeal with er black juice dripping from mouth and eyes. After or during the attack she also pulled out a multicoloured piano from a shanty town shack on this futuristic city hillside and started playing violent Nancarrow-speed honky-tonk.

Sydney

tomewing:

I have questions about AUSTRALIA - got me Visa, need to plan my visit. What should I see in Sydney and - most urgently - what bit of it should I find a hotel in? Please assume I am a BORING TOURIST not some kind of fashionable person who wants to see the “hidden Sydney” or whatever. Any ideas?

In Sydney next week! I also need to know these things. Interested in hidden, unhidden, and not really hiding but not really bothered Sydney.

dubdobdee:

rabbits as marginalia (3)

also snail combat! iconography of snails complicated: can represent a mocking of bravery (knights with lances facing snails), cowardice (retreat into shell), mistrust (carry house about with them for fear of theft), weakness within show of outward strength. "snail with head of Rowan Williams" more complicated, possible satirical intent, as can’t be accounted for by standard exemplar/monde renversé content. wonder what the insignia on the shield represents. (snails were occasionally used by French marginal illustrators to mock lombardians on analogy of greed (banking) and cowardice (fled Charlemagne).

dubdobdee:

rabbits as marginalia (3)

also snail combat! iconography of snails complicated: can represent a mocking of bravery (knights with lances facing snails), cowardice (retreat into shell), mistrust (carry house about with them for fear of theft), weakness within show of outward strength.

"snail with head of Rowan Williams" more complicated, possible satirical intent, as can’t be accounted for by standard exemplar/monde renversé content. wonder what the insignia on the shield represents. (snails were occasionally used by French marginal illustrators to mock lombardians on analogy of greed (banking) and cowardice (fled Charlemagne).

bubblegumcageiv:

Finally! The best Fall album of the 21st Century available on vinyl for the first time.


don’t think it’s the first time. remember seeing vinyl copies around. not least in Berlin where I almost bought a copy bcos I’d left my cd at home. decided to go back to the store the next day, but then a mixture of appalling hangover and not actually having a record player at that point.

tho v authoritative fall discog has cd only. still I remember (back in the days when I cared) thinking “wow vinyl, didn’t realise it had come out on vinyl”. I KNOW WHAT I SAW DAMMIT.

bubblegumcageiv:

Finally! The best Fall album of the 21st Century available on vinyl for the first time.

don’t think it’s the first time. remember seeing vinyl copies around. not least in Berlin where I almost bought a copy bcos I’d left my cd at home. decided to go back to the store the next day, but then a mixture of appalling hangover and not actually having a record player at that point.

tho v authoritative fall discog has cd only. still I remember (back in the days when I cared) thinking “wow vinyl, didn’t realise it had come out on vinyl”. I KNOW WHAT I SAW DAMMIT.

(via thefallthings)