Weeknote 9 – 10
- I’ll be honest, the UK election stuff really got to me a couple of weeks ago. The politics of the right, but also the full-on refusal of the press to interrogate it beyond the most basic desk reckons. Shit like this. Complete 360 degree managerial incompetency.
- I think what breaks me most is the toxic masculinity of it all. Johnson is the archetype posh british butch male with his affairs and secret children, his financial corruption, he’s a big lad, he shouts over people, he hits people, he makes shit up rather than admitting he’s wrong or doesn’t know. In contrast Corbyn is effeminate, his whole political thing is caring about people weaker than him, he speaks quietly, he treats his exe-partners respectfully, thinks about his opinions and cares about complexity and facts. Doesn’t look like leader.
- So of course british journalists love Johnson, he’s exactly who they wish they were. It’s like the public dialogue on this island is all just a bunch of oxbridge beta males desperately trying to mimic their alpha. And I mean if Johnson can go from being a shit journalist coasting on reckons to being prime minister, why can’t they do it too?
- Anyway, sorry about that.
- To lighten things up a bit, here’s a Vice article about the Tory activist offering Johnson the opportunity to piss through his mum’s letterbox.
- Went to the United Visual Artists show at 180 The Strand, loved Our Time with the new score1. The other pieces were ok, Matt loved the animal noises one.
- Saw Transformer too, some nice work in there but mostly the Cedric Mizero pieces2 stuck with me - both funny and combative, without getting heavy or overwrought. You need to be mad sophisticated to make work that negotiates complicated, emotional subjects while staying lighthearted and accessible.
- Chris was right about the Japan House exhibition. It’s pretty but very tech demo. If you’re in the area, go to the Patrick Staff installation at the Serpentine instead, it’s fucking hard. Start from a “what would it be like if we filled the gallery with piss and screaming” vibe3 and build up from there.
- I guess the curators at the Serpentine are as disappointed with UK2K19 as the rest of us.
- Picked up a copy of Enghelab Street, a Revolution through Books: Iran 1979-19834, which I guess I’d describe as a photobook about independent books published in Iran during the revolution. It’s probably my favourite thing of this year.
- There’s not going to be any record of the counter culture from this century is there? That’s all online now, and one day will just be 404s.
- Both Deepwater Horizon and Patriots Day have been floating around on freeview recently. Wouldn’t have occurred to me to watch them otherwise but I really enjoyed them. Subtle as a fucking sledgehammer, Deepwater Horizon is an action movie telling of the oil rig explosion (subtle message - rich capitalists don’t care about working class people) and Patriots Day is an action movie about the Boston Marathon bombings (subtle message - racist reactionary politics makes things more dangerous, not less).
- Those of you who I’ve chatted about Spring Breakers with know I love creative works that subvert their own problematic genre tropes without undermining the stuff that makes them entertaining. Teach me something, but don’t make me feel like a bad person for liking the things I do. These films feel very much in that space, hyper masculine action movies where the hyper masculinity is the problem not the solution. Obviously reviewers hated them.
- Jay-Z had his fiftieth birthday this week. Happy birthday Jay! To celebrate he put his back catalogue on non-Tidal streaming platforms, which means I’ve been listening back to Watch The Throne. Murder To Excellence still fucking slams.
I feel the pain in my city wherever I go
Three hundred fourteen soldiers died in Iraq
Five hundred and nine died in Chicago
Kanye West and Jay-Z, Murder to Excellence
- Been sort of holding back from engaging with Kanye’s stuff over the last couple years, for obvious enough reasons. The little I know about model-minority conservative politics is enough to know that it’s not remotely my place to deconstruct or try to second guess what’s going on there, or even really to have an opinion about it. But the video for Follow God came up in my Youtube suggestions and those big open skies5 lured me in.
- And it’s a beautiful video6, and the song is good too fwiw. That closing text frame comes at you like a brick in the face though7.
- This interview with Jackmaster about his career after the sexual harassment stuff against him came out is interesting. Keep oscillating between thinking it’s a cynical bit of brand repair or a sincere discussion, but the point it raises about what punishment and rehabilitation looks like when you haven’t technically broken the law is… important? Or maybe it’s just incel propaganda, really who knows.
- Love this Pitchfork article about the appeal of Depeche Mode in 80s eastern europe;
It wasn’t just the music but the medium — the secrecy and paranoia, samizdat and paraphernalia — that made buying into Depeche Mode under late-socialism feel revolutionary.
As the climate crisis debunks the illusion of a limitless capitalism, what might a modern parallel to Depechemania look like — an artist at once anti-establishment and astonishingly popular, able to deal an existential blow to the ruling ideology?
- And to wrap up with some good news, the brilliant Forensic Architecture announced this week that they have proved that London Police lied about Mark Duggan being armed when they shot him8. Turns out the rioters were correct all along.
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