Friday, January 27, 2006

England Prevails

Life, as I understand, is a semi-violent but always banal farce, where nothing that happens matters to anyone except the victims. Actually, that is a total lie, I don't believe that at all, but, sometimes, the circumstantial evidence can be fairly strong. Like the time I asked the operator, at one in the morning, for the number of a certain taxi company. And then I blow my one call on that number, only to get the answering machine for a taxidermy service. Taxidermy? One in the morning, guys, one in the bloody-bitter-cold morning! What was I supposed to do then? This homeless thing, let me tell you, is way over-rated. Don't let those guys selling The Voice seduce you. Or, there was the time I got pulled over by the same policeman four times in one week-end. Twice on the Friday, twice on the Monday. You know, on Monday he asked me how my stats final went and seemed surprised to hear that I'd failed it. Right, buddy, because I stood with you for two hours, waiting for the tow-truck to take my baby away! Remember? Life, I tell you. Sometimes, it's thumbs down.

V For Vendetta + Alan Moore This "graphic novel", or set of comic books fastened between two covers, is silly good. George Orwell fans like me can't get enough of his stuff. The whole dystopian universe/Batman feel of the book draws me in like pencil on paper.

But. An observation, which is this—if the graphic novel ever achieves anything more than a casual "That's interesting" in English departments around academia, then the university is dead. A lot of people, bitter and not so bitter, would say that the university is already dead, that it died over five hundred years ago when it radically departed from the mandates of the very churchly beginnings of the colleges and quadrangles established by John Wycliffe and such and became, instead, a place for confused young women to experiment with both their sexuality and tolerance for alcohol. Which would certainly explain why young men continue to enroll themselves in such soul-destroying institutions. Certainly, men like Egerton Ryerson would be dismayed at the flourescent classrooms and confused ideologies under the Ryerson University logo. Well, now I'm getting too serious for my subject. What I mean to say is, what part of the word "graphic" can be misunderstood as "writing"? Now, I understand that "novel" follows "graphic" and I understand that pictures scribbled over with dialogue and explication and bound together in book form can tell a story equal in character and content to any novel by Dickens or Grisham or somewhere in between, but just because it tells a good story doesn't mean something should be studied as literature. Films, anyone? Not lit, last I checked. My Grandpa? Also not lit. Literature is writing, not writing and something else. Godsake.

Still. There is nothing I can say which has probably not already been said about this work. V For Vendetta is wonderful and a better read than most novels I read last year. Which also goes to show that one doesn't have to be a regular novelist to tell a good story. You can also be a magician who worships, for instance, Glycon.

Sorry about the constant delays. The music post will be up Saturday night, either early or late. Four songs this time, one of my fave releases of last year. You'll either love them or hate them, or, possibly, not give a damn. What are you, Gone With The Wind? Shut it, Butler.

"Baby Said" and "Down With Prince" (the last of which you've already seen a billion times around the net) are, to me, pitch perfect examples of what Hot Chip can do with a song. Nobody knows what to call this band, genre-wise. Electro-blues? But R.L. Burnside already sort of notched that label, didn't he? These songs are smooth rides, not even the smoothest in Hot Chip's bag, but still killer compared to most hip-hop out there. No, it doesn't feel right to call this hip-hop or thug-pop or Your Sonic Lollipop. This stuff is too one of a kind. Blue Steel, that's what this business should be labelled. I'm announcing a new genre to the world, yes, blue-steel. The beast is ready to leave the cage. Anyway," Baby Said" is excellent, closing with enough crazy Casio to keep the painfully alone in warm company long after the song ends. Typical (this album, anyways, which is all I know) Hot Chip sound, a long low building buzz ending with either a bang or a whimper. "Down With Prince" stands out a little from the rest of the album, though, with a Prince haircut and some Princed-out clothes. Whatever, it's still got that Hot Chip chill. These songs are bulletproof, massive slow-beats for cruising around calmly to, or, even better, listening to traffic through an open window by. An almost-unforgivable sentence, that, but this music justifies—really—just about anything.

Hot Chip refuses to remain the single avatar of its own genre, though. It keep bringing other kids to the yard to play, and some of them are pretty popular, like Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out (Hot Chip Remix)", which I don't like at all—for one thing, it's too long— mostly because it's like sandpaper on my eardrums. Whatevs, I'm just posting it so you can hear what HC is capable of. There's no way to improve on the Scottish band's single, but kudos or jeers, whatever you think best, to Hot Chip for trying something new. BUT this business, The Go Team's "Ladyflash (Hot Chip Remix)" is brilliant, I like this better than the first effort, and I loved that first effort! But this eliminates all the confusion from the original while still keeping the heart and enthusiasm of the piece AND still leaves enough room for the hearer to draw a few deep breaths of delight. Wonderful stuff, music should always be this good.

Oh, there is too much music on my computer.

No comments: