Friday 20 September 2013

High rotate

Three pieces of upbeat indie-pop for the weekend.

The winsome lead-in to The Blackwhite's 'All Of Your Voices' doesn't signal the forthcoming stomping chorus

Speaking of choruses, Satellite Stories have produced an enormously satisfying one in 'Campfire', a story of summertime love

And you also can't sniff at Magic Man's 'Every day, every day, every day, I want you in my life' in 'Every Day'

Wednesday 18 September 2013

A man who no longer lives with a woman

Thanks to a link in one of the New Yorker's Letter from the Archive columns, I've been slowly digesting Janet Malcolm's 1986 article on Artforum and its editor, Ingrid Sischy (part one and part two), which pans out into an exploration of the concerns and personalities of the American artworld in the 1980s.

It's a slow and very enjoyable read, for reasons like these:

John Coplan's loft, on Cedar Street, has the look of a place inhabited by a man who no longer lives with a woman.

... every year he and his wife would drive down to Las Vegas, and he would take maybe a hundred dollars and gamble as long as the money lasted. The he would come home; he had purged himself of frivolity for the year.

(the phonetic spellings that leap off the pages of the transcript - "Grancoozi," "Saint Gordons," "DeSuveral," "DeEppilo," "Modelwell," "Manwhole" - testify to the gap that exists between the ordinary literate American and the tiny group of people who are the advanced art public)

I once watched Sischy chop tomatoes. She took a small paring knife and, in the most inefficient manner imaginable, with agonizing slowness, proceeded to fill a bowl, tiny piece by tiny piece, with chopped tomatoes.

She is less afraid than anyone I have ever met of expending energy unnecessarily. 

Monday 16 September 2013

A reason to celebrate

I don't read nearly as seriously as I used to right now. Four out of five days still start with a clean out of my feeds (using Feedly now - recall the laments for Google Reader, so strong at the time, so vaguely remembered now ...) and then work, of course, is made up of a lot of swift review/reading (the kind where you're reading almost more for the exceptions and aberrations, the little thorns that catch your eye, than for sense). Outside of that, my reading has become focused almost exclusively on young adult fiction - strong narrative, memorable, often comforting. Lately I've been back through Terry Pratchett's Tiffany Aching books, read Neil Gaiman's latest, and am currently halfway through Patrick Ness's new (and distinctly uncomfortable) More Than This.

Poetry in particular has fallen away, as I don't get to the public library nearly as much as I used to, and this was where I did all my shelf-skimming. Still, a pointer from Bill Manhire on Twitter led me to four new poems by Alice Oswald (linked to from the right-hand column here), and that indeed is a reason to celebrate.

Oswald's Memorial blew me away last year. Of these four poems, it's 'Living under the digestive system' that gives me the same tingle (although this, a comedy of manners and visceral detail, bears little relation to Memorial's nature-soaked chant). It's formatting however is impossible to reproduce here, so before you go read that, try on 'Aside'. (It's the 'hear-through' that kills me here.)

In Berkshire somewhere 1970
I hid in a laurel bush outside a house,
Planted in gravel I think.
I stopped running and just pushed open
Its oilskin flaps and settled down
In some kind of waiting room, whose scarred boughs
Had clearly been leaning and kneeling there
For a long time. They were bright black.

I remember this Museum of Twilight
Was low-ceilinged and hear-through
As through a bedroom window
One hears the zone of someone’s afternoon
Being shouted and shouted in, but by now
I was too evergreen to answer, watching
The woodlice at work in hard hats
Taking their trolleys up and down.

Through longer and longer interims
A dead leaf fell, rigidly yellow and slow.
So by degrees I became invisible
In that spotted sick-room light
And nobody found me there.
The hour has not yet ended in which
Under a cloth of Laurel
I sat quite still.

Friday 13 September 2013

High rotate

Life is a blur. Why else would I recommend you listen to a Miley Cyrus cover?*

*Apart from the fact that it is AWESOME.

Friday 6 September 2013

High rotate

This week, a playlist - made in honour of a friend's birthday. A smattering of happy rock, concluding with two party songs.

Wednesday 4 September 2013

On the radio

Today on the radio I'll be talking about

Gabby O'Connor's new show at Toi Poneke in central Wellington

The New Olds design show at The Dowse (breaking my own house rule of not talking about our shows on the radio, but it's very good and only on for a short time)

The Cooper-Hewitt's acquisition of the iPad app Planetary

Monday 2 September 2013

Intergalactic, planetary, planetary, intergalactic

If you've been hiding under an internet-free rock, you might like to emerge and check out Seb Chan and Aaron Strauss Cope's long blog post on the thinking behind the Cooper-Hewitt's decision to add Stamen design's music visualisation app Planetary (no longer in active production) to their collection as an example of interaction design and data visualisation. I'll be having a bash at talking about it on the radio this week as well.

In addition, I really enjoyed Cooper-Hewitt intern Rachel Sakai's review of using MOMA's new audio guide. An attentive and optimistic response.