Monday, October 26, 2020



'Historical understanding is always situated and necessarily coloured by our present values and interests. Historical accounts are stories we tell to provide a coherent narrative about who we are and how, through interacting with each other and the world, we got here. Such stories are inherently retrospective - each community in each age will tell the story differently - and they are constructed. The only sense in which a historical narrative can “gets things right” is by telling a story which proves to be both acceptable and enabling to the members of a community; and the only sense in which one such narrative can be “better” than another is not by offering a more faithful description of the objective sequence of events, but rather by redescribing the events in a novel and helpful way.’  

James Conant. ‘Freedom, Cruelty and Truth: Rorty versus Orwell’. 
In Rorty and His Critics, edited by Robert B. Brandon. 
Oxford: Blackwell, 2000, 276.

Revolutionary Army of the Infant Jesus

Saturday, October 10, 2020


 'The mere possibility that something of value will not fall under the rule of time - and here we need not raise the question of how that value originated, whether inherent or the creation of interpreters - is the real justification for our continuing the clamorous, opinionated conversation.'

Kermode, Frank.
 Forms of Attention
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 
1985, 91.

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Tracking and tracing

In the war against the coronavirus, many stories are told of heroes and heroines fighting for humanity. The Fundy Post, a blog of record, will serve to tell the lesser-known stories of entitled pricks who are concerned only with themselves. Here, for a start, are some reactions to a report in the New York Times: "Last week, doctors on Long Island in New York started treating Covid-19 patients with estrogen in an effort to increase their immune systems, and next week, physicians in Los Angeles will start treating male patients with another hormone that is predominantly found in women, progesterone, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can potentially prevent harmful overreactions of the immune system."


Sunday, April 19, 2020

Caveat vendor

Someone in Palmerston North attempted to sell a guitar on TradeMe, unaware that one of his neighbours is a man who will not take no for an answer. This could be the start of a horror film. They Are Out There could be its title.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Friendly reminder

Many bearded men on Twitter issue friendly reminders, seemingly at random, to ensure we remain fully aware of something terribly important to them. Often these men are called Tyler. Here is one. 

Tyler want to remind us that white privilege exists and is not up for debate. White people have privilege. This is  so important  that he turns on the caps lock and writes PERIODT, a spelling  appropriated from black culture.

Right on, Tyler.

But then, in comes Tim, with a reminder about two other privileges, straight/passing and male. Tyler cannot tell Tim to bog off and write his own friendly reminder, because that might appear homophobic, or transphobic. So Tyler falls in line, and Tim parades his privileges.

But then in comes Nicky, who asks difficult questions. And I come in, just for the fun. Tyler sees an opportunity to parade his virtue, so at the end of the day everybody is happy in a very real sense.

The Tyla Gang:

Friday, April 17, 2020


Coleman is, apparently, all things to all men. According to Martin Williams, who wrote the liner notes for this album, his playing "will effect the whole character of jazz music profoundly and pervasively". An advertisement for a concert he is participating in refers to him as "the new alto saxophone sensation”. A jazz disc jockey calls him the "most talked-about musician in town". And in the "Goings On About Town" section of The New Yorker, he is "Ornette Coleman and his perhaps mortally wounded alto saxophone.
I will be more than happy to leave technical discussion of Coleman's music to Williams' liner notes, for he seems to have a much better grasp of the situation than I.  
The instrumentation of this group will suggest the Gerry Mulligan Quartet, but the only point of similarity is that Coleman's musicians have taken harmonic advantage of the absence of a piano, while Mulligan's thought in such a harmonically conventional way that the piano might as well have been there all along. 
In reference to the various quotations above, it will be interesting to see what happens to the career of the first new prophet to appear since the publicity machinery of jazz has gotten itself in full swing. Coleman's is an authentic attempt, and the initial praise for it came from musicians. Now it seems, everyone else has climbed aboard for what may be a long, long ride.
What I hear from this group (Coleman, alto sax; Don Cherry, trumpet; Charlie Haden, bass; and Billy Higgins, drums) is almost completely different on fast and slow numbers. The uptempo selections are nerve-shattering unrealized fragments, departing, it would seem, from Charlie Parker at the time of KoKo. On slower numbers, Coleman, who sounds much like the late Ernie Henry, is capable of composing strange melody lines that stick naggingly in the mind for days, and, on his solos, playing isolated phrases that have an instantly affecting beauty.

American Record Guide 
Vol 26, 1959, 339