Saturday, December 27, 2008

New Words Needed: Translingual Euphoria

The assignation of great (but often unjustified or exaggerated) acclaim to a work in regions whose lingua franca differs from that used in the work.

On an individual level, this phenomenon is rooted in the subconscious sensation of immersion caused by a lengthy period of following an alien dialect (a phenomenon exploited to considerable effect in works such as A Clockwork Orange and Disco Pigs). This compelling, almost trance-like sensation can be termed individual translingual euphoria*.

Cultural translingual euphoria* occurs when the above is the catalyst for a  word-of-mouth campaign. Said campaign may begin as the well-minded efforts of individuals to share a positive (likely unrecognized) experience of individual translingual euphoria*; this phase often quickly mutates into an aggressive example of what game theorists call Informational Cascade. Cultural translingual euphoria* spreads quickly due to its canny reliance on the rule that if person (A) likes something eclectic/foreign, person (B) must also like it or be seen as a rube/bigot. Person (B), having liked the work, is then encouraged to share it with further persons, gaining in status both by being the source of others' cosmopolitan edification and by weeding out closet rubes/bigots in the community.

SEE ALSO: Kite Runner, The; Ring < Ringu; Stanford prison experiment; Guillermo del Toro.

* Terms used are placeholders until a less unwieldly word is provided.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What Monsters Would Say: Cthulhu


"What the fuck do you mean Twin Peaks never had a final episode?!"

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sam Cooke didn't know what I know

I interviewed David Geary earlier this month. All the good questions are Hannah and Francis' but all the topic-agnostic free-association was encouraged by me and performed by David, so it all evens out.

What Monsters Would Say: Werewolf


"Mrppphm mpphhrm mmm mrrphmm mphrm!"

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Corganwatch: No More Rekkids!


The poor fellow, having spent the past eighteen months acting an ass and calling it alternative, recently announced that he will no longer make albums because people no longer listen to albums. Says the skeletal-faced jackass,

"We found with Zeitgeist that the alternative audience isn't alternative anymore. They're a pop audience that listens to Nickelback. So doing a 10-minute song, nobody will listen to it."

Corgan's reasoning for nobody listening to 10-minute alternative music seems to be that not many people bought Zeitgeist, an album full of 4-minute, ludicrously conservative prock, that was so far outside of the mainstream that it offered exclusive tracks to Best Buy and Target. Is Corgan annoyed that the album's one 9-minute track, the stolidly pedestrian United States, didn't make any best-of lists?

In a pointed little swipe at one of the many, many people making a better go of it than him, Corgan pledged to "crack the egg like we did in 1992, without doing something embarrassing like working with Timbaland". This brave pledge to find whole new ways of being embarrassing might stand as a more reliable statement of intent if Billy Corgan had written anything in the past ten years half as good as You Know My Name.

The hysterically myopic dolt also assured fans that James Iha would not be returning to the band, explaining that the silky-throated e-bower "literally drove me insane". It is cold comfort to realise that for all the things Billy Corgan is, he is no abuser of the word "literally".

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Live from the Internet: Not Even Trying


The BBC have photoshoppers, but they appear to have fired them in favour of pictures of deep space. I am a positive force for good?!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Hilarious Adventures of Mr S Sweetman, Fiction has a fantastic column where they provide a pastiche of every self-righteous music-blogger twit you've ever read. Why go to Stereogum AND Pitchfork, while trawling Idolator to make sure gems of music-blogging haven't slipped through your fingertips, when charmingly-named made-up musical superdweeb Simon The Sweetman will provide you with all the blockrog cliches you could ever need?

From the name on down (at first it sounds ungodly terrible, then you realise it's a pun and it's a bit clever, then you get sick of the cleverness and it's ungodly terrible again), "Blog on the Tracks" has it all: from the fence-sitting paen to rock/roll authenticity that is "First thoughts on the arrival of Chinese Democracy", through the obsessive cataloguing of Sweetman's "guilty pleasures" (the writers are careful to provide him with countless examples of such, portraying the character as both would-be iconoclast and desperate approval-junkie), to the Office-like cringe of "Plugging back in to Nirvana", in which the character deftly treads the line between studied rockblog aloofness and canonised Cobain-worship (culminating in an hilarious assemblage of Cobain's lyrics the blog encourages you to think of as a "poem"). In between there are flatmate stories, petty beef, and plenty of adoration for the whitest of the rockblog canon.

Sometimes the "Sweet Man" persona is allowed to carry over into reviewing, and the results are always bang-on lampoonery. Reviewing a dire Pumpkins gig? Sneer at audience members who didn't buy Gish, alert readers to Billy Corgan's penchant for arrogance. Anticipating Neil Young's performance at the BDO? A page of talking about yourself will provide ample opportunity to establish your discerning disregard for the artist's lesser-regarded works. Guitars and teen audiences? It's emo-baiting a-go-go, like as if it was 2005 all over again!

The character outdoes itself in its review of the Kanye West gig last night. All the stops are pulled out: West is a primadonna, new rap is radio-friendly and thus dismissable, young audiences don't really like music, black people swear a lot, we didn't pay you to talk, the whole biz.

Oh, sure, the character could have been written as trying to "get it": to recount the prog-esque breakdowns, gutsy reinventions of even the best-regarded of hits, maybe even try and get their head around how an opulent neon-drenched orchestral rock-out becomes thrilling and unpredictable when the performer chooses to play the "difficult genius" role. A lesser-written character would have let West's disses of hacky journalists and reviewers slide, rather than wagging a hammy finger at the singer for his well-played glam-rap hubris.

But this would be breaking character for Sweetman. His fans know what they like: ranting about what we did or did not come for, obtuse comparisons to other artists ("Puff Daddy 2.0"?), trenchant observation of the fact that Nas has a song about Barack Obama and Barack Obama is in the news. And Sweetman delivers. For fans of wry satire in a field so crying out for deflation, this man is sweet indeed.