Last week at Big Other, Paul Kincaid put up a brief but intriguing post in which he asks to what extent various factors surrounding a text influence the way we think about it or its author. He gives the following example:
The program I use for databasing my library pulls down information from a wide variety of sources ranging from the British Library and the Library of Congress to Amazon. More often than not, this can produce some very strange results. I have, for instance, seen novels by Iain Banks categorized as ‘Food and Health’, and novels by Ursula K. Le Guin categorized as ‘Business’. In all probability, these are just slips by somebody bored, though you do wonder what it was about the books per se that led to such curious mistakes.
Paul’s musings raise many interesting questions. For one thing, we might wonder whether the factors he’s describing are indeed extraneous or external to texts. Because I can imagine a good post-structuralist immediately objecting that texts more porous than that, and that it’s all just a sea of endless texts slipping fluidly into one another.
Me, I don’t have a problem with treating texts as discrete and coherent entities, but I admit the situation is complicated.
I kind of gave up on music during this decade. I got tired of the repeat. Or tired of things that could not be repeated, as most albums I got a hold of got thrown out of the window after a week. There were some things worth hearing a few times, as wallpaper, and then no need to hear them again. In me, music seemed to have become mostly tired of itself. On that note, here are ten albums from the last ten years that to me felt both new and worth repeating, or at least ones I spent some time with, or had their own business about them, whatever that means. Yeah, another list, feel free…
1. Liars, Drum’s Not Dead 
2. Madvillain, Madvillainy 
3. Storm & Stress, Under Thunder and Fluorescent Light 
4. Tom Waits, Alice 
5. The Angels of Light, Sing ‘Other People’ 
6. Fantômas, Delìrium Còrdia 
7. U.S. Maple, Acre Thrills 
8. Subtle, For Hero: For Fool 
9. Of Montreal, The Sunlandic Twins 
10. Boredoms, Vision Creation Newsun 
As much as I like these albums, along with perhaps a few others, I’m still going to maintain that this past decade has been by far the worst decade of music thus completed. 99% blank, in a bad way, and getting blanker. Somehow electronics and onlines and send this and that here and there has come to mean ‘less work, less presence’ in the sound. Here comes the 10s.
1. The Beatles
If these guys
suddenly stopped playing songs written for girls to get wet over and instead started writing ‘serious’ music, I wonder if generations years later would go around quoting and praising these fine young men as the greatest band of all time…
Naw. Ruiners of everything good.
kiplin: @tomwaits u so crazy. y u so crayzay?
tomwaits: @kiplin get off my fucking lawn.
kiplin: @tomwaits Y DO U H8 MERICA??!?!?! Y U H8 TWITTER?!?! Y U H8 CATS?!?!
tomwaits: @kiplin You’d better watch your back, stupid cat. ☠
kiplin: @tomwaits YOU BETTER WATCH YOUR UGLY FACE. YOUR MUSIC SUCKS.
tomwaits: @kiplin Why the hell am I wasting my time with you, cat. I’m gonna write a song about you and make you get hit by a flaming arrow.