Filler by Proxy XXXVII: Filler by Proxy Week Continues! Oh yeah, and music stuff.

Wednesday 5 July 2006

The irrepressible Dr David Thorpe of Your Band Sucks volleys back a few Dorothy Dixers about modern popular music. Now you too can be as well informed about the latest trends in youth culture as someone who honestly gives a shit.
Dr Thorpe answers mail from readers who want to know whether Nirvana or Nine Inch Nails killed more teenagers, what is the current balance of T versus A in pop, as well as resolving the perennial questions about the Corrs and Tegan and Sara. In between, he also gives a few critical life lessons.
Will rap music ever receive the same level of critical acclaim as mainstream guitar-based radio friendly songs?
Hey buddy, next time you go back in time to 1989, bring me back a sports almanac like Biff in Back to the Future II so I can get rich.

Outside my window, yesterday afternoon

Tuesday 4 July 2006

I don’t know why the street was roped off: they were there when I got home and there was no evidence of what had happened. Whatever it was, it doesn’t seem to have been newsworthy; unlike last time the street I lived in was closed by the police, when I was living in Melbourne and Brenden Abbott decided to hole up on my block after breaking out of gaol. That was more exciting, if waiting for six hours to be let 25 metres down your street to get home is your idea of excitement.
He got away, in case you were hanging out to find how that last anecdote ended.
Wait! I’ve just had a leaflet slipped under my door. There was a shooting at the dodgy pub across the street. This place feels more and more like home every day.

Filler by Proxy XXXVI: Harry Pollock and the Halftone Prints*

Tuesday 4 July 2006

*Yes, it’s terrible. Just terrible. But I can’t be arsed finishing the longer post I was writing about art or something, and I’ve been ragging on Pollock lately. Also, this synopsis conjured up pleasing images of the series ending with a thick-set, balding Harry Potter getting liquored up and wrapping his car around a stobie pole. Thanks to the Flickr Crappy Bootleg DVD Covers Pool.

Previously: More fun with shithouse Chinese bootleg DVDs.

Speaking of crap photos…

Monday 3 July 2006

Fresh gherkin! Now part of the 30 St Mary Axe Flickr pool.

Filler by Proxy XXXV: More and more, these people run your world

Monday 3 July 2006

Found via Greg.org: The Online Photographer presents Great Photographers of the Internet:

Edward Steichen
Much too dark exposure and not sharp. I suppose you may say that you tried to make it unsharp but what the hell’s the point in that. I like things sharp. Maybe you should study some other peoples’ photographs here on this forum and get an idea of what a good photograph should look like.

There’s a heap more like this, in the same post and subsequent entries on the Online Photographer’s blog, culminating in some navel-gazing about how everyone feels compelled to point out “mistakes” photographers such as Cartier-Bresson have made by not following “rules” of exposure, framing and focus. Oh, and not using a Nikon. No, a Canon. No! A Nikon!

Taking a photograph in complete ignorance of the “rules” hurts no one, costs nothing, and might even be more fun.

You can read those posts and laugh at the silly nerdboys (there may be a girl or two in there) with their techincal hairsplitting, valuing process over results. But as you do, please spare a thought for those of us who tried to learn music composition at university. I doubt there is any other artform taken so seriously, which is so dependent on the same type of pointless nitpicking as which these internet kibitzers thrive on.
At about the same time as the Online Photographer was making his point, Kyle Gann at PostClassic had finished teaching another semester:

I’ve been becoming aware that, even among the Downtowners, there is a standard academic position regarding electronic music, and am learning how to articulate it. I’ve long known that, though much of my music emanates from computers and loudspeakers, I am not considered an electronic composer by the “real electronic composers.” Why not? I use MIDI and commercial synthesizers and samplers, which are disallowed, and relegate my music to an ontological no-man’s genre. But more and more students have been telling me lately that their music is disallowed by their professors, and some fantastic composers outside academia have been explaining why academia will have nothing to do with them.

Two generations ago, composition professors would promote the careers of unlistenably dull, academic composers who would say approvingly, in all seriousness, that a piece of music was “better than it sounds.” Today, those same fossils are still taking up space in most music schools, but now a whole new exciting branch of electronic music has opened up, so that a fresh batch of careerists can stifle it all over again; and refuse to state whether or not a piece of music they have heard is any good, until they know what technical equipment was used to make it.

Euston: Bend Sinister

Saturday 1 July 2006

In keeping with the overall character of London, there is no consistent plan to the design of the Underground stations. Some haven’t really changed since they opened in the 1860s, others try to keep some semblance of uniformity to distinguish one line from another, and then there are a lot of ‘one off’ designs which may not extend even to the entirety of the station.
Euston is one of the most confusing tube stations, being combined with a mainline train station connecting the north, and joining three different tube lines, two with the same name, in an unconventional layout. As a result the lower platforms tend to become clogged with bewildered Mancunians towing luggage and walking against the flow, trying to decipher the array of diagrams and direction signs in the passageways.
Most of Euston is lined with anonymous grey tiles, in the dreary British interpretation of modernism that influenced the design of the station when it was rebuilt in the 1960s. However, two of the six platforms have a newer, fairly arbitrarily applied decoration, which at first looks like a bit of 80s abstraction. If you’re stuck waiting for a train, you may notice the small plaque explaining what the design represents. It’s a stylised version of the shield in the Earl of Euston’s coat of arms: the Royal Standard defaced with a bend sinister (OK, technically it’s a baton sinister). In other words, the first Earl was the illegitimate offspring of the King.

I wonder how it was agreed that the best way to brighten up such an awkwardly constructed station was to cover it with a colourful display of the ancient symbol for “right royal bastard”.
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