Saturday

98

i think that 9/8 may have completely supplanted 7/8 as my favourite time signature.

7/8 is possibly the ultimate rock metre: listen to the dillinger escape plan's 'sugar coated sour', several 65daysofstatic tracks, or, even, why not the end section of my own 'klein bottle fish tank'; 7/8 can be pummeling, but somehow beautifully symmetrical.

intuitively, 7/8 can split into a compound of 3 beats and 4 beats, or 2-3-2, and so on. in the same way, 9/8 divides into 5 and 4, or any combination of threes and twos. or even 8 and 1, as in soundgarden's 'never the machine forever': the rhythm of the bass line is '¦:do-do-doo, do-do-doo, do-do-doo, do-do-doo, doo :¦' (using 'do' for half beats and 'doo' for full beats). the frankly wonderful scottish (or possibly geordie) folk song 'byker hill' is difficult to resolve in anything but an emphasis on every single beat.

but there's another way to express the metre, and this is why i love it so much now; consider either radiohead's 'the tourist' or super furry animal's 'run, christian, run!'. they sound normal, maybe a little waltzy. in fact, they're in 9/8 as some sort of meta-waltz: 9 beats wrapped up in three main beats, each lasting three third-beats, like how 12/8 in jazz and blues collapses into four main beats each consisting of a triplet. it flows so naturally that people don't seem to notice anything 'unusual' (as they would have it) is going on.

it would an interesting experiment to see what 9/9 sounds like. i imagine that 9/8 signifies each beat of the 9 there are ultimately is still evenly divided into 2s, 4s, 8s, &c. 9/9 might mean it would infinitely split down in 3s.

i was also wondering what the golden ration would sound like as a harmony; it turns out i'm not the first.

by the way, this is my 504th post, including ones that weren't published. lets have a drink.

at the crystal dome!
http://www.greatkat.com/TheFlightOfTheBumbleBeeMusicVideo.mpg

Tuesday

i went to a wedding

Back in the days of Durham, nikki was one of the girls who brought on aiden and introduced the bishop fuckers. I can't remember who the other was. They even wrote a song about her. I managed to stay in very good contact with the durhamers for a long time, although the group has been whittled down somewhat in the last few years. I don't think I'm in touch with anyone from Robert house anymore, nor all those boys who used to go on the Friday night bar crawl – in fact, they were the first to go.


So I was down in the bookshop on sussex campus, one time, possibly buying a calendar, and nikki appeared out of nowhere and said hello. we went for lunch, chatted and really got on. and then we sort of lost contact again.. house parties came and went and we never got around to it. except one time, when the other durhamers were around.

so it turned out she was getting married, and i hadn't been invited, but got talked into going to the reception the night before by lovely peter, who was over from nice.

so rather than making a weekend of it, i thought i'd just go down and come back up with ed and jez. so it happened like this: i got to victoria, a little after half five, and met jez coming out of the vodaphone shop, after his mugpocketing the previous night. ed arrived joined us presently and we huffed off to the train, just making it and getting a table all to ourselves. ed had brought some vodaka/cherry coke cocktail, and i had been quietly swigging ginger beer/whisky all day, so things went quite nicely and i do love the train ride to brighton. there's that perfect little valley you go through, and all those trees... and then the south downs, looming over the landscape and you head straight into them. i went and got a grubs burger off the train - malaysian with cheese, or mexican with peanut butter, depending on how you look at it. obviously. being back in brighton was magic. maybe it's just the affinity i have for it, or maybe it is really nice (except the tawdry hen parties. whose tradition is that, anyway?). we walked down the front to hove, then walked all the way back, realising we'd missed the de vere grand by a long way, since it was somewhat overshadowed by the hilton - you're just meant to realise it's a different hotel, are you? there's actually a reference to this in my mind hacks book - the brain loses attention temporarily after a positive, making a near but subsequent positive much harder to spot. you can use that. i suppose that's a bit like the twist to minority report. spoiler warning! sorry.

so there we were, peter, ed, jez, i, and nikki, on the dancefloor, and sometimes you wonder if your entire lives have been leading up to this moment. we didn't erally talk to nikki that much, as you'd expect she was rather busy, but we did enjoy the competant motown covers band, the free food, the brighton rock with 'micael loves nikki' written through it, and guests. ed complained at the 3.60 pint, but honestly, this is the grand hotel in brighton - i thought we were getting away pretty lightly, even if it was just carlsberg.

we had some great conversations outside - most have faded with sozz and time but three stick in my mind - the solicitor who worked in family law; when asked 'what's your favourite law', could only reply 'family law' or 'well i work in family law so that's my favourite'. 'no, what's your favourite actual, single, law' didn't get any more of a response. - the woman who really liked sharks, and when asked 'what's your favourite shark?' replied 'well, i'm sorry, but the great white, but my next two are [insert two sharks i've never heard of here],' and obviously really knew her shit. she liked going down the aquarium and said sometimes they hypnotised her. - the teacher (married to the solicitor) and the charming lecturer (makes you sick dunnit) and the conversation about the devaluation of degrees under labour, which i'm not sure how i felt about.

come 10.30, we had to decide whether to get the 11 o'clock, or the 4 o'clock, train. you might notice that this is quite a drastic split. we decided to stick it out, and go for the late one. an evening was to be had. the party closed up at midnight, and ed unsuccesfully tried to get a singer from the band out with us. i'm quite glad she didn't come now, because it was pretty disasterous from this point on.

we wanted an indie club. we asked the band where we should go; they said 'audio,' on the seafront. yeah, that was the one, i said. no. we meant 'ark'. we completely missed it and ended up at the actual audio, which has nothing to do with indie whatsoever. downstairs was electro house for 8 pounds, upstairs in the bar was hip hop and salsa and shit for two pounds. we went in, then left. by the time we got to the glouster, which i was dubious about, it was one, and they had an 80s night on. it was a fiver. being easily pursuaded by this point, we went in. it was shite. complete shite. we stayed in there for as long as we could manage - ed and i left after about an hour and a half, but jez stayed in as he prefered to be indoors with beer than out. so ed and i went down to the sea, which is what we should have done in the first place. and there we sat for as long as we could, staring at the beautiful big sea. we left about quarter past three, when some guys who were throwing stones were throwing them a little too close for comfort. we headed back up to the station, via an offlicence (yay for all night drinking) and burger king for ed. which was funny, because jez got a mcdonalds before we got the train and i don't know why because neither really enjoyed it but had a 'gotta be done' mentality. the train left on time and we fell asleep as best we could. i woke up, and it wasn't moving. it was quite nice, but it wasn't going anywhere. when it did start moving, it was in the other direction thatn it had been before, and we passed through lewes. after we passed croydon the driver announced we were stopping at all stations, it was daylight, and an hour had turned into two. 6 o'clock at victoria on a fucking sunday. we got back at 7 and slept. while not deserted, it was weird to see london so quiet. oxford street was dead, like it should be.

Monday

going to the theatre

I saw some plays last Thursday; 6 ten-minute plays by teachers at mulberry (rachel's) school. I haven't seen live theatre for ages, and the kind of rough slightly improvised feel of the drama was well good. They were readings really, as in, acting with a script in hand – they were real, as in professional, actors, so weren't going to give up too much of their time to hawk their living for free (I'm not saying this as a criticism, it's good that they would do it at all). Mulberry is the first school I have heard of to have a playwright in residence, and he has undertaken a course for several of the teachers, the end result being this evening in the half-moon youth theatre in limehouse, where I found myself loading up on free wine and Bombay mix among a diverse flock of teachers.

The first play was titled 'I hate how much I love you'. A woman walks out on a man because he's rubbish, irresponsible, flirty, and never acts like he cares. Months later, he turns up on her wedding day, seduces her with 'but I love you's, then promptly fucks off again. Yet months laterer, she surprises him on his birthday outing with news she's up the duff with his kid, and it must be his because her marriage is unconsummated. She 'hates how much she loves' him, but there's nothing she can do. Is there. Because that's how love works. I needed to know how we were supposed to feel; it matters to me whether the author's own sympathies lie. I thought this was a tragic play, full of awful and stupid characters; but that doesn't mean it's a bad play. It's a drama; you don't have to have a happy ending, or even any section of the story. If it's well written and performed, it's valid art, regardless of what happens in it. If I hate the characters, who seemed oblivious to the fact that their lives suck and it's their own fault and they can change, then that's fine. I got to talk to the author of this one, and was as confrontational about it as I need to be.

The second started weirdly with some mimed props, leaving a few minutes before you worked out where it was supposed to be. A family-outcast lady was down the charity shop looking for clothes that would still fit when she got 'a lot bigger'. The play was a dialogue between these two women, the first effectively a down-and-out (not the good kind of squatter) prostitute (hinted at) but with a veneer of 'I don't need your help' pride, and the other a volunteer and person who genuinely wanted to help. It was all about the clash between them, both accusing the other of game-playing with the situation, and given the passion and reason, I really couldn't tell what the author was trying to tell us, which made me like it; right up to the point where the pair finally managed to agree on something, but only implicitly: the pregnant woman wouldn't have an abortion (despite the misery she was about to inflict on her baby) and the help-character secretly-obviously regretted having hers. So it appeared the whole play was about 'abortion is wrong in any situation'. Which teethed with me a little bit.

The third took some traditional am-dram themes – retards and violence – and didn't really do anything else with them. Two thieves – one an idiot, the other his friend/egger-on – have brought an old man back to their flat, and try to extract his credit card pin by force. I didn't find much of a point to this one – but despite the slightly implausible story, the author somehow did manage to fulfil the 'write about what you know' rule, being a special needs teacher. Which does make it more interesting. I initially wrote off the play as ridiculous and silly, which I still think, but I can't criticise her use of the retard because she actually knows what she's talking about with it. and that just leaves too many variables for me to think through. Damn her hide.

Then there was an interval and we refilled our cups with the wine.

The second half opened with the fourth play, complete with comedy west Indian accents. Considering everything else in the night had to be imagined, even genders in this (and another) case, this seemed a little unnecessary, as good as they were (they weren't actually comedy, it just sounds better). maybe there was something in the script that had to be pronounced a certain way to carry over; and anyway, why not? In this situation, a head teacher was in dialogue with a parent whose child had had her hands severely beaten by an over-zealous teacher, after the child had mooed at her in class. The head was adamantly defending her, while conceding that the school would pay for the healthcare. You just wanted the parent to launch over and hit her. And she did! hooray for happy endings. this one had a clear, agreeable message and comedy, while simple, which I suppose is a pay off.

Play number five was again a dialogue – ten minutes is really too short to have more than two actual characters. Again, annoyingly, we had to figure out exactly what the relationship was between the two characters through their dialogue – or maybe that was part of the point, the confusion about who 'she' was, and how these two weren't friends, or brothers, they were lovers. It seemed the least pointful, the least messagey play; it was just about emotion. a man was leaving for the army, and working up to tell his mum. Along the conversation his boyfriend reveals he is pregnant – sorry no, he is hiv+. Women get pregnant; men get hiv. Right. most of the play deals with the emotional fall-out; "I want you to go and live your life" finally being exposed as a "please stay, I need you". In terms of drama, it was the first time I thought during the night, 'that was a really good silence.' It had the best pace, even if it may have been a bit soap opera.

And then came allison's play. I have to say that, because I knew it was allison's, despite not wanting to, and there's no way it won't have coloured my impression of it, so I need you to know that so you can understand the colour of my review. In all of the plays at some point, I thought 'this is actually really good'. And in retrospect, I don't remember the actors holding scripts, although I know they were. I don't think they really needed them. However, in allison's play, occurred the first time I thought 'this is actually really well written' as well. It was similar in some ways to the first one, but more reasonable. The characters were more mature and believable (I'm afraid that might be a metaphor for 'middle class'), and it had a good balance of observation, comedy, and drama.

so it was a really good evening. then we went to the pub and got even drunker, and then went home. teachers rock.

an interested pedant writes

Paul Simon: "leaves that are green, turn to brown"
A Pedant: well not all do. Some trees are evergreen.
PS: well what would you have me say?
AP: how about 'some leaves that are green turn to brown'
PS: if I say that, I'm effectively highlighting that while some leaves turn brown, others don't, which isn't what I'm trying to say at all. I'm trying to say everything withers'.
AP: how about you just stick to deciduous trees?
PS: ok: 'leaves that are green on deciduous trees turn to brown'.
AP: well that's a bit of a redundant statement, isn't it? It's inherent in the definition of a deciduous tree. You might was well just say 'deciduous'.
PS: very well then: 'deciduous'. Hmmm. It doesn't really scam as well.


Note to self: /lack of free will does not necessarily imply a lack of meaning?

Saturday

i found some odd pages on wikipedia...

i was searcing for "bal-sagoth into the silent chambers of the sapphire throne tab" and came across the hopelessly incompletable "List of non-instrumental songs with titles that do not appear in the lyrics".

however, from there we link to the more interesting "List of songs whose title constitutes the entire lyrics", and the especially fascinating "List of "songs with questionable lyrics" following the September 11, 2001 attacks"

i'll try not to spoil any of the hilarity of that list for you... many songs are simply unfortunate, like public enemy's '911 is a joke', and many don't make sense until you start singing it to yourself like john lennon's 'imagine'. others are cynical, like 'everything by rage against the machine'. i hate clear channel.

Friday

sort it out, grilly

i've read too much paul auster recently. really over done it. the first two thirds of 'leviathan' was ok, i made it through 'city of glass' as i'd already read the graphic novel adaptation, and gave up somewhere in 'ghosts' which clearly wasn't going _anywhere_.

then i was reading david bohm's 'wholeness and the implicate order' for the second time - the first time, i'd given up up on each chapter individually in case the next one managed to hold my attention better. none did. this time i went for it full on. i made it through the introduction, the first overview-style chapter, the bizarre second chapter about the 'rheomode' - his invented grammar/language for demolishing the subject-verb-object grammar system and replacing it with an entirely verb orientated one. in the third chapter, he deals with 'reality and knowledge considered as process'. first he separates consciousness into thought and intelligence - thought being mechanistic and intelligence, well, here's what he says:

we have put together all the basic mechanical and conditioned responses of memory under one word or symbol, i.e. thought, and we have distinguished this from the fresh, original and unconditioned response of intelligence (or intelligent perception) in which something new may arise. at this point, however, one may ask: 'how can one know that such an unconditioned response is at all possible?' this is a vast question, which cannot be discussed fully here. however, it can be pointed out here that at least implicitly everybody does in fact accept the notion that intelligence is not conditioned (and, indeed, that one cannot consistantly do otherwise)


oh really, dr bohm? well that sounds pretty religious to me, especially the idea that deep down, people who disagree with you know that you're right. sack it. he continues:

consider, for example, an attempt to assert that all of man's actions are conditioned and mechanical. typically, such a view has taken one of two forms: either it is said that man is basically a product of his hereditary consitution, or else he is determined by environmental factors... evidentally, in both cases (as well as in the case of one who asserted that man is completely controlled by hereditry plus environment) the answer would have to be in the negative, for otherwise the speakers would be denying the very possibility that what they said had could have had any meaning.

and you just can't handle that, can you? the meaninglessness of it all. still, conditioning does not imply a lack of meaning, and it's him that's confusing the matter with that claim. what happened to the 'meaning is inherent in any complex formal system school? and who said that anyway?

furthermore...

...so we see that no-one can avoid implying... that he accepts at least the possibility of that free, unconditioned perception that we have called intelligence


HOW?

now, there is a great deal of evidence indicating that thought is basically a material process. for example, it has been observed in a wide variety of contexts that thought is inseperable from electrical and chemical activity in the brain and nervous system, and from concomitant tensions and movements of muscles. would one then say that intelligence is a similar process, though perhaps of a more subtle nature?
It is implies in the view we are suggesting here that this is not so. if intelligence is to be an unconditioned act of perception, its ground cannot be in structures such as cells, molecules, atoms, elemntry particles, etc.... so, we see that the ground of intelligence must be in the undetermined and unknown flux, that is also the ground of all definable forms of matter.


[citation needed]
that's something you just said, you haven't given any reason for it. no, not 'ah', &c.

i couldn't read the rest of this chapter, and had to skip onto the more solid quantum physics stuff. well, you can't really describe quantum physics as solid... but let's see what happens, i don't expect the earlier stuff in the book to make sense withouth the later... it's that kind of book. but honestly, what a load of rubbish he's been talking. i zone out when reading it, the words just flow straight past my eyes without stopping to make an impression.

next week: why i hate 'stranger in a strange land' by heinlein. hmm, i've just had an idea, i could do something like idiot toys or uk resistance but with books... won't get the same adsense but there you are.

Sunday

when you've nothing left to talk about except yourself

it occurs to me that complaining about the utterly formulaic game engine of dragon quest is futile - i might as well complain about how putting words on paper is cliched - it's just a way to tell a story. however, this gives me excellent grounds to complain about the story of dragon quest - scepter, villain, quest, yawn. the story is as rudimentary as the game engine itself - so what is actually the point of the game other than to level up a nameless and featureless character?

that out of the way, i'm worried if i keep writing about my life it'll just turn into a list of things i've done with rachel, and you will find that boring, honestly. except maybe setting up a tent in her new living room and camping in it on friday night.

no, i've been in a bad way recently. very grumpy and infantile. i've hit bottom and realised how far i've fallen and how every day has just been habitually wasted, and it's almost too late to turn it around. i keep fucking up and pissing people off. everything else is wonderful - i just can't afford anything. put like that it doesn't sound so bad, but it's rubbish because i don't know when i will be able to.

musically, the last two tracks i've made are just collections of riffs stuck together with no hope of a vocal to carry them along. can anyone help?