Saturday

free will and tomfoolery

what do you call a northern comedian?
a manc-jester?
no.

are people who read c'leb mags actually worth saving? what and who are we fighting this ideological battle for? people died in trenches so they could we didn't have, oh, just arrgh.

a qote from hofstader:

unless a person designed himself and chose his own wants (as well as choosing to choose his own wants, etc. [which leads to an infinte regress]) he cannot be said to have a will of his own.


this is what i was talking about with my superhero whose special power was free will. the only possible way to have free will would be to have no internal state, the body literally as a vessel for the soul, which is why i said all that stuff about being able to have absolute control over every cell and molecule in his/her body. dr. manhatten from the watchmen, which i reread last weekend, has really got me thinking again. it would thus be interesting for our hero to look like a normal person, but was actually hollow (except for the tube conecting mouth to anus and urethra, which can be percieved as outside the body), with a soul inside - the first ever. everyone else is completely deterministic. except that snake plicit in this argument is its own downfall - because we are not in a closed system, but a huge and chaotic one, it becomes impossible - nay, intractable - to actually determine what people will do (unless you're doctor manhatten - "a puppet who can see the strings"). so we might as well say we have free will after all.

no, again. while the minuteae is unpredictable, the broad trends are determined. choice is an illusion, but to an uncertain degree, and we can happily act with will. especially when we think we have free will and delierately try and break the cycle - then things get interesting. think of the person who was beaten as a child, and is now on the verge of beating his/her own children before someone says, "you can change". this is important - how the study of free will afects our predetermined lives. i digress. one can predict groups of people, and even individuals, very accurately. but one can never be certain, and there is always at least a small amount of chaos.

another thing i loved in watchmen this time round was rorschach's chapter. i'd love to use his and his doctor's diaries as commentry over an instrumental piece. but i found the last few panels slightly fallacious - the doctor is examining his rorscach tests after his wife has walked out, and writes something along the lines of "i wanted to say it looked like a pretty butterfly, but it just looked like [something disgusting]. but even that is masking the true horror. it is a picture of nothing." i would go one step further; i would say it's not a picure at all. it is nothing.

at work, the middle-aged man i was sitting next to, said to me,
"you only put your card up for the totty, eh?"
(you see, we put our green cards up in the air to show we're free and the red ones to show we've got a problem, so when a student walks into the room everyone who's free sticks their green card up.)
this was clearly untrue. i put my green card up whenever i spotted anyone waiting. besides, i don't think in terms of 'totty'. but i didn't want to say that, nor 'actually, a fie upon the creed of woman, i shall ne'er know that warm comfort again.' so i said
"actaully, i'm gay."
i couldn't help myself (see above).
"oh, right, okay. well, you just have a different kind of totty, don't you?"
did he lose that round or me? i think we both came out looking pretty bad. i told him i wasn't gay after all, i just said it to see how he would react. but that's not true - it just seemed like the best thing i could possibly say.

so then later, he asked me my name again. i was clearly wearing my name badge, and yet again, i could't help but lie. he was inviting me to take the piss out of him, and i wasn't really taking the piss anyway, just taking the opportunites where they arose. so i said my name was john.

later, he called me john, and i said
"eh? my name's not john. it's david," and i pointed to my name badge. he was so confused.
"whyever did you think my name was john?"
"well.. er.. i was speaking to jennifer yesterday, and i asked what your names were, and she said you were called john."
i didn't realise i was experimenting on this guy. he looked like he actually believed what he was saying. a simple, 'i don't know', or a factual 'stop being a dick! you told me you were gay, and you said your name was john!' would have sufficed. i didn't think i was even that convincing. but he was not only fished in, but also this analogy can't stretch far enough to convey my intended meaning. did he really invent a memory to make sense of the situation, a la (spoiler alert!) 'under suspicion', starring gene hackman and morgan freeman? how many times have you reimagained a memory, only to consult someone else who was there, or your diary, and find that it didn't happen like you remember after all? i know i've done it, 'though i can't recall any specific examples now.

la.


oh yeah, and then i went to see super furry animals on my own and it was bloody brilliant. first gig where i have actually found myself putting a hand in the air without meaning to. some suspiciously album-like sounds going on - see my comments about zabrinski's bacnking tracks - but a totally wonderful gig nonetheless.

Monday

hey, list fans!

for my purposes, as much as anybody elses, here is a list of all the music i brought oop norf with me. if anybody is wondering where i am at musically right now, or when i left brighton, this is your post.

dirty three, ocean songs
system of a down (new album, is it going to grow?)
my computer, 2 albums (not as good as they sound on paper)
fantomas, 2 albums
cult of luna, 2 albums
bach, the well tempered clavier volume one (2cds)
dillinger escape plan, 2 albums + ep
mj hibbett & the validators, this is not a library
kvein ayers, whatever she brings we sing
zabrinski, 3 albums
eels, blinking lights (2 cds)
david wrench, the atomic sound of tomorrow (DEAR GOD i'm drowning in cheese)
the serpents, you have just been poisoned by..
pig destroyer, terrifyer (ARRGGGH)
mc mabon, the hunt for meaning
radiohead, album +ep (guess which)
dead kennedys, fresh fruit for rotting vegetables
pink floyd, dark side of the moon (didn't think i would)
deerhoof, milkman (because i never gave it a chance)
brazil ost
scott 4, works project lp
christt, live tonight
pulp his 'n' hers (bought at the chazza for 50p)viv stanshall, teddy boys don't knit
various, gather in the mushrooms (60s folksploitation)
mansun, 2 albums
gorky's, 2 albums (only 2?!)
faith no more, angel dust
super furry animals, phantom power (going to see them on thursday, i'd better buy the new one soon)
humousexual, tahini beach party
ultrasound, everything picture (1 disc version)
mr bungle, california (a twatting great album, bringin general patton up to 5 recordings)
the locust, safety second, body last
ephel duath, the painter's pallette
garden, an introduction to...
the swarrrm tracks of relapse records' japanese assualt
7 mix cds
girls girls girls, the bronx sessions.

the question is, how did a new half man half biscuit album get released without me noticing until now? it's called 'achtung bono', and features the anthem 'joy division oven gloves', the sensitive break up song 'for what is chatteris..', 'aspargus next left', and more.. but not 'epiphany', which you'll have to download off their website.

so instead i bought ed alleyne johnson's new album, a 2cd collection of covers, played on his hand made electric violin. i knew it was going to be terrible, based on the last thing i got of his, but i assumed the fault in that recording (2020 vision) lay in his meddling wife. no, it seems ed's completely lost it; this album is worse than i imagined it could be. he sucks the life out of everything from 'clocks' to 'smells like teen spirit' to 'whatever' (y'know, *oasis*), and wanders into true parody territory with 'can't get you out of my head' (ok, i didn't actually listen that far). he could be the new shatner, if only he was already famous.. as it is, it's just hilariously, but still weakly, awful. sorry ed if you read this. it is. why can't you do another oxford suite?

(not that that's not in world o' shit. it's affectionate shit, not the bile that gets cathartised there)

which reminds me the the new exam rooms at school, converted from dormitaries, were christened the oxford suite and the cambridge suite, as if theat made us do better in our exams. sad really.

i've taken loads of great pictures, but i can't post any of them until i get back to brighton, so you'll have to wait.

Wednesday

word of the day: thanks.

does anyone actually have any information on the hyperborean empire - the "beyond the north wind men" of legend? outside a heavy reference in indiana jones 'n' the fate of atlantis, and fleeting references in robert graves' 'greek myths' and bal sagoth songs? oh wait, i forgot; this the internet. thank you, wikipedia: hyperborea. read this article before continuing the post, it's absolutely fascinating.


jokes:

what do you call the french breeze that drives you mad?
(the mistral?)
no, it was a trick question - all brie's french!

(which is in no way related to the isp that drives you mad)
and also:

so these archeologists were in iceland, and they found this amazing civilization - older and more advanced than the assyrians, the babylonians, the egyptians, the messopotamians, or the lemurians! it is literally the best find ever - amazing in every respect, absolutely the bestest thing ever. the diggers believe it to be the long lost hyperbolean empire.


so i got the call at four o'clock on monday; kelly needed me in manchester the next day. they'd fallen short on the job and they needed my professional data inputting skills for the salford job, as we'd come to call it. so i said yeah, i can be in manchester tommorrow, just give me time to pack. so i called up pretty much everyone i knew in brighton for last night drinks, and thank you everybody, i thouroughly enjoyed your company.
it makes me think of this time last year: finding talking to people difficult, i drifted to the back of the procession as we walked across salford, and found myself talking very easily to someone with whom i could really communicate. there's about seven people from last year working again, some who've been working the registrations system for years. i feel very wierd about being back in manchester.. things haven't come together yet at work and i haven't seen any school friends (not that i don't count family as friends), understandably, but no-one knows i'm here yet, and surely none of you actually read this (although i can't understand why not). you might like to know, dear reader, i have about ten regular visitors. i'm comfortable with that. oh, i wandered off. the point is, i couldn't move home; it just wouldn't be a change enough to be worth doing. i need to change inside.

interestingly, instead of taking my ukelayle, i decided to take my laptop and midi keyboard, and then dreampt of my shoulders being in nasty pain. sometimes i dream my jaw has gone funny - locking my teeth together as a normal person would (i have an underbite) and having incredible pain from it. ha, the power of dreams.

i'm making more diary notes than ever before, thanks in part to the film 'pi' making me want to chronicle every thought i have (what would pi sound like encoded as sound? actually, i can imagine), and partly again as i've got heavily back into godel escher bach, which always makes me think oodles. both have re-invigoured my hunger for truth and enlightenment. i don't think i'll ever finish it; i've been reading it for a year, and when i get to the end i think i'll just start it again because there's so much in it. i've already had to go back and revise earlier chapters; rereading the chapter about zen has completely made me want to become a monk.

by the way, the word hemiolia refers to the rhythmic ambiguity i am so fond of. use it! another neologism, thanks to our job supervisor carla (oh, if she caught me with me caps down! (hey, maybe capdown just hate capital letters..)): 'clumbersome'. this autozygous word is so fantastic that i shall try and use it whenever it is called for (which won't be often).

hey - how does a photograph of a stopped clock differ to a photograph of a working one?

and i might have finally found a title for my new album (although go home and be a family man longs to be used, oh it whines at me every day): rebranding the wheel. either that or i'll make a song out of it.

...

Friday

blasphemy

i dreampt this morning that i was at the best music festival ever. that wasn't the remit, i remember there being lots of bands i could happily ignore, but ooberman and zabrinski were both playing. during zabrinski's first set some girl (no-one i've ever met) was all flirty with me, ruffling my hair and so forth. then pondman came on close the set with 'let me be still'. gorwel owen was wearing a mask. then, in the vip area high above the stage, damon albarn's asian girlfriend was a touch flirty with me too. a band called 'the bravery' came on stage, and since i don't know anything about them, they came on as a 22 person vocal group. i was fighting against waking up, but it couldn't be stopped, and happily, before my alarm went off.

then i got a rejection letter from the job i wanted.
which filled me with disappointment, and wierdly, relief. because all of a sudden i didn't know if being tied down to brighton is what i wanted. to be honest, i'm pretty sick of this town. aside from being in a period of massive redevelopment, i.e. they're building a huge new starbucks and a load of offices, i never found brighton that interesting, it's just a bunch of shops. laurence is threatening to move to copenhagen in january and i don't know if thom is ever going to move in. i never wanted to stay here forever and now i don't know if i want to stay here for very long at all.

yeah, laurence is thinking of moving to copenhagen. which prompted me to think one day, "you see what you could have? no, i see what i could never have."

ed asked me, so you've given up on women? yeah. i've trained myself to not care. i can now go to a fashionable drinking hole or coffee bar and not stare at them, and i can leave without thinking "damn." i've developed a tough shell, although my yolk is still drippy as the dream shows - i can't change my instincts, but i can change my thought patterns.
andy asked me, which is more pathetic? giving up, or not giving up? i.e., given a hopeless situation, is it better to admit it's hopeless and not try to get anywhere or deny it's hopeless and not get anywhere? however, neither decision is pathetic, it is the situation that is pathetic. my traditional answer would be, 'since the outcome is the same, you might as well try in case your assumptions are wrong.' that doesn't apply here.

is a middle ground possible, of hard skin and yet opportunism? i'm not so sure it is. to find someone, i must be hungry, and my romantic appetite has starved to death.
of course, the zen answer is inaction - don't try and it will come to you. this comforts me, i just wish i hadn't consciously realised it.

all this is bloody irrelevant. don't you make you're own luck? er, not when you don't meet anyone. ah. i see what i did there. gods. i give up.

in other, excellent, news, fred and molly are due a baby in january. isn't that great?