Thursday, February 14, 2019

Red cars and beige guitars

The Swedish guitarist Yngwie Malmsteen, (aka Yngve Malmsten, Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Yngwie Johann Malmsteen) is best known for his scalloped fingerboards and his Neo-Classical shredding, 'a genre of rock that draws influence from classical composers the likes of Bach, Vivaldi, and Paganini', it says here. For most of us, he is a complete mystery, for most of us do not read magazines about guitars written for budding guitar heroes, in which he is a permanent fixture.

Many people might be uncomfortable listening to Neo-Classical shredding. But now Malsteem has released a blues album, which we can all enjoy. As he says, "That’s something people don’t realise about me – I do have a strong interest in the Blues. So, when Mascot came to me with the suggestion of doing an album of songs in this style, it didn’t faze me at all. In fact, it seemed so natural.” And he has made a video to accompany the song, which is sure to attract attention.

Yes, we can all agree that this video was a unique viewing experience.

Thursday, February 07, 2019

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Oasis in the Trellick Tower:

Sunday, February 03, 2019

Before we begin

My favourite thing right now is this Broadcast covers band, playing in 2016 at the third Annual Halloween Covers Night at The Crown, Baltimore; they played alongside bands covering David Bowie, Fleetwood Mac and The Shaggs.

And this is the real Broadcast, at Night and Day in Manchester, in 2005.

And this is Broadcast at KCRW in 2006, playing songs from the Tender Buttons album.

And here is the Broadcast Soundcloud page. And here is Future Crayon, the Broadcast blog, which is updated with a song at least once a year, on 28th September, Trish Keenan's birthday.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Internalised whiteness and the single girl

'You are here because you have failed in humility, in self-discipline. You would not make the act of submission which is the price of sanity. You preferred to be a lunatic, a minority of one. Only the disciplined mind can see reality, Winston. You believe that reality is something objective, external, existing in its own right. You also believe that the nature of reality is self-evident. When you delude yourself into thinking that you see something, you assume that everyone else sees the same thing as you. But I tell you, Winston, that reality is not external. Reality exists in the human mind, and nowhere else. Not in the individual mind, which can make mistakes, and in any case soon perishes: only in the mind of the Party, which is collective and immortal. Whatever the Party holds to be the truth, is truth. It is impossible to see reality except by looking through the eyes of the Party. That is the fact that you have got to relearn, Winston. It needs an act of self-destruction, an effort of the will. You must humble yourself before you can become sane.' 

George Orwell, 1984. Part III, Chapter 2.

Jessica Pavone and Mary Halvorson:

Thursday, January 03, 2019

We have always been at war with Transphobia

An important new contribution to the theory and practice of Transgenderism  has been released on Twitter, marking the end of a momentous year. The author, known as Fangmeli,  has given lengthy consideration to the failings of cis allies like herself. From this analysis, she has developed recommendations for corrective action. The full text of her series of tweets is published below, for the edification of readers.

1. a lot of cis people use 'learning someone's pronoun' as a copout from doing the important internal work of actually reconsidering their impression of the person's gender 
2. like let's be real - the reason you have a hard time "remembering" her pronoun is because you don't really think of her as a her. if you practiced thinking of her as a her, her pronoun would just come. and then you wouldn't be privately betraying her in your head all the time. 
3. actively switching out a filter we've applied to someone is something we (cis people) already do all the time — like when we learn someone we thought was 20 is actually 32. when that happens, we take time to actively contemplate and re-conceive of the person as a 32yo instead. 
4.we already switch out gender filters, too. for example, when a parent asserts their baby's gender, we're ready to quickly apply that gender filter (i.e., gender-related assumptions, interpretations & schemas) by actively 're-rendering' the baby as a girl or boy in our head. 
5. because of transphobia, many cis people are unwilling to do — or unused to doing — this active, internal cognitive work for trans people. but it is absolutely something we can all do

At the time of writing, these tweets have been liked by over six thousand people, and retweeted more than seventeen hundred times. A lively discussion developed after the posting of this directive. Here are some comments:

"as well as actually thinking about their own gender or gender as a construct and interrogating gender performance, roles, and our collective attachment to the binary"
"For me it's more of a case of habit. When it's people I haven't met and I'm corrected, I change easily, but when it's someone I've known for a long time, changing that habit gets to be a lot more difficult."
"And that’s ok, it can be hard to switch how we envision a person when we have thought about them for a while in a specific lens. With the caveat that it ain’t an excuse if we misgender that person"
"I never act as if it's an excuse. I always apologize and try to be better in the future."
"I'm going through this for the first time. Every trans person I met before was already out when I met them. Now my friend came out, and its making me think about how I was able to put those other folk in their preferred mental category immediately."
"Some of it is just your brain caching things.  When I moved from Canada to the US and started pronouncing the letter Z how Americans do, I had to re-learn not just how to say Z, but Z in my name, Z in ZFS, Z in zlib, etc. Same with gender. It just takes practice."
"This plus the work of questioning 3rd parties when it takes interrupting the conversation to do so. It's a pain in the arse but people have to get on with just doing it."
"people do it for dogs and cats all the time but when it's a human being asserting their own identity it's just too much effort"

Subversive elements also entered the discussion: 

"How many fingers, Winston?";"This is the kind of ridiculous word salad that gets a mute from anyone with a functional brain.";"Everyone is important but that doesn't mean that every claim they make is true. People who refuse to validate the delusion that people can change sexes are  not committing thought crimes. Anyone who believes they are has been failed  by their mental faculties."; "Why on earth would I waste one second of time thinking about how to delude myself into cooperating with someone who is delusional and hates women?"; "Oh. You showed me. What was I thinking. I've been so wrong, and just needed the right comment to bring me round. Thank you so much for your pithy, thought-provoking take and all the unique arguments it presents. I've never heard anything like this before".

But Fangmeli responded swiftly:

6. a lot of transphobic people have been in my mentions saying that working on how one perceives gender is 'thought control'. not to worry: like all bigots before you, you are perfectly free to pace the stale, shrivelled quarters of your small-mindedness for the rest of your life 

7. you don't have to widen. you don't have to share. you don't have to consider people more compassionately. you can spend your life circling your stockpile of power, snarling and suspicious and stuck. you can nest in your own wretchedness. that cage is always available to you

Unfortunately, the very next day, Fangmeli's work was undermined by Epasolon:

Clearly, much more work needs to be done.

Madeleine de Valmalète:

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Big Mouth Strikes Again

What does this mean?   Self-identified  'mom, author, TV & Radio Host' Laura Ingraham sent a  tweet  on 15th June 2017 that said, 'MSNBC going out of its way to not mention that [James T.] Hodgkinson was a rabid Bernie Sanders supporter.' She was referring to James T. Hodgkinson, the leftish activist who shot at Congressmen practising baseball on the previous day. One Patricia Basile (of West Palm Beach, Florida) retweeted this tweet with the remark,  'See what happens when Democrats run their mouth litterick on our Republican Party Bernie Sanders was our last big mouth out there blame him.' This comment made perfect sense to one Chris Schey, who retweeted it to his followers. Nobody questioned the meaning of Ms Basile's remark.

Until now. Twenty-four hours ago, I sent a tweet to Ms Basile, asking the question that needs to be asked: "What does this mean?" I would like to know why my name was dragged into this controversy. I am not a supporter of the Republicans or the Democrats. I refuse to blame Bernie Sanders or anyone else.

I have yet to receive an answer.

The Smiths:

Monday, December 31, 2018

Wednesday, December 05, 2018

Manspreading for pleasure and profit

Pace Everyday Feminism, this man could not help but dominate the space around him. He is alone in his section of the train carriage – apart one other passenger, whose reflection can be seen in the window (Moscow rules). I think we should all cut this man some slack.

Let's learn Spanish with Bikini Kill:

Tuesday, December 04, 2018

How they used to live

The childhood home of the historian Keith Sinclair: 33 Johnstone Street, Point Chevalier, Auckland. The property more recently was the registered address of a company called Danish Control. The photograph was found in 2015 on the Quotable Value website

33 Johnstone Street as it was depicted on Google Streetview later in 2015. I found this image when I was planning to visit Johnstone Street to view the house.

Nevertheless, I wrote about the house in my thesis. Here is an exclusive but inconclusive extract:

In his 1993 autobiography, Halfway Round the Harbour, the historian Keith Sinclair recalled his childhood home in the Auckland suburb of Point Chevalier, to which his family had moved in 1931, when he was aged eight:
The house, I now know, was a Californian bungalow, New Zealand version, built in the late 1920s. Most of Point Chevalier and neighbouring suburbs were covered with rows of these houses, put up by ‘spec’ builders. Our house had a corner bow window, with a window seat, a small side porch and a back verandah. There was a coloured-glass window picturing a sailing ship—another mark of the Californian bungalow—a feature area of wood shingles beneath the bow window. There were three bedrooms, one of which had probably once been the living room, and a sun-porch.
The family home was merely a speculative builder’s bungalow, but at had an identity. It was Californian; it was of a type that could be found in books. It had an architectural identity, albeit one Sinclair only discovered later. Sinclair’s recollection was similar those of many New Zealanders. In 1985, the architect Nigel Cook spoke for his generation: “We’d grown up in post-war houses, our parents in state houses and our grandparents in Californian bungalows, so we knew more or less by personal contact those houses that went back to World War One.” 

Sinclair’s knowledge that this house was a Californian bungalow seems unremarkable. His brother, Donald, knew it as well: “The Californian bungalow in which we lived had a kitchen, where we had our table and chairs, and a form at the back for the three youngest boys.” That Californian bungalows could be found in Point Chevalier is confirmed by the website of Quotable Value, which describes the suburb’s houses as “generally large and built in either 1920s Californian Bungalow style or 1930s art deco style.” Further confirmation can be found in the information sheet for the Point Chevalier Walking Tour, organised for the 2013 Albert-Eden Bungalow Festival:
Influenced by popular American housing trends of the time, the typical New Zealand “Californian Bungalow” proliferated in Point Chevalier in the late 1920s. Key features include a low-slung form, asymmetrical composition, shallow pitched gable roof with wide eaves, deep porches, revealed structural elements, emphasis on hand-crafted and rustic materials (including use of shingles), and an informal open plan. 
Beyond Point Chevalier is a considerable body of writing that identifies the Californian bungalow as the main house type of the interwar suburbs in New Zealand. In 1973, Auckland University geographers wrote, in New Zealand: Pacific land down under, “American styles of housing, with the California bungalow supreme, dominated building between the two world wars.” In 1984, Hamish Keith wrote, “In the 1920s the suburbs were invaded by a new style of house, based on the Californian bungalow. Its spaciousness and informal layout suited the large suburban sections.”  Di Stewart wrote in 1992, “Just as the bay villa suburbs had been seen as a panacea in their time, the new suburbs of speculatively built Californian bungalows, spreading out on their quarter-acre sections beyond the old suburbs, were now promoted as the hygienic lifestyle for the 1920s.”  The fifth edition of the Bateman New Zealand Encyclopedia, published in 2000, informed the reader, “between the two world wars, builders constructed thousands of bungalows that were inspired by more informal California housing and sited so that the family car could be garaged off the road.”
This certainty that Point Chevalier was a Californian bungalow suburb, and that New Zealand was dominated by the Californian type, is common knowledge. But it is contradicted by the real estate advertisements published in the newspapers of the time. Of the many bungalows in Point Chevalier advertised for sale or let in the Auckland newspapers during the twenties and thirties, only one was described as Californian. A handful of other descriptive terms were used, but most houses were simply called bungalows. The Californian bungalow in Point Chevalier was described at greater length than the brief advertisements for ordinary bungalows, since it was more expensive, larger and better equipped than the sort of house in which the Sinclairs lived. The advertisement appeared in 1925, as a private sale by the owner:
£100 deposit—£1125 Point Chevalier, one minute bus and beach, absolute sacrifice—Californian Bungalow. Heart Kauri, five rooms comprising three bedrooms, sitting room, kitchen, bathroom, pantry, porcelain bath and basin, hot and cold water, built-in wardrobes and cupboards, linen press and airing cupboard, range and fireplace (tiled): washhouse, h and c; section 50 x 150 ft., laid out in lawns and garden, fruit trees, etc. Double gate entrance with wide paths tarred and shelled. Plenty of room for garage. Owner is compelled to sacrifice.
This house, with its three bedrooms (one probably once the living room) sun-porch and verandah, is more substantial than the Sinclair house. This advertisement is atypical of advertisements for houses in Point Chevalier, both in its descriptive detail and in the house having such details to be described. It is also twice the price of a typical Point Chevalier bungalow. A typical advertisement would be like that placed in 1927 by “the land man”, Wm. A. Horne Ltd: 

Value! Value! Point Chevalier. Bungalow four rooms. Total price, £550. Deposit, £135. Ideal for a worker—Neat Little Bungalow Home, only one door from main concrete road and buses and proposed tram route. Handy beach. Wonderful Section.

St Etienne – How We Used to Live: