I trust the fact that Justice Yeldham is through to week five of Bake Off is providing a sufficient palliative for our belated stumble into Tier 2. With luck, by the time the mid-winter peak arrives Caroliner Rainbow will be hosting The One Show.
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Some things for you to read and watch and hear.
Contributions always welcome. Tell your pals.
Firstly it is with near-delirious pleasure that I introduce to you the very first MH guest mix: ‘I Can See Your Breath Like Cirrus’ by the peerless DJ Centrist Dad. An hour and a half of low-end murk, mournful reverb, and machinic howl to be played while ambling round the park at twilight or watching the news on mute.
An exquisite downer.
I very much enjoyed Infrasonic’s recent interview with Ama Josephine Budge, in particular her call to understand the queerness of microbial life in striving for radical forms of coexistence, as well as a nice bit of background to this year’s virtual Apocalypse Reading Room project. The idea that texts ‘talk to each other, plan rebellions, debate philosophies and tactics, origin stories and love affairs’ when we’re not around floats somewhere at the hazy foundations of this project also.
A particular line from ‘Rupturous Desire: Queer Bodies are Made From Mountains,’ Budge’s excellent essay on Zanele Muholi, provided something of a guiding light during my chaotic scramble to finish an MA this summer. A prize for anyone that correctly guesses the line.
Shabaka Hutchings revisited Pharoah Sanders’ Black Unity in honour of the big man’s 80th birthday, and in reflecting on living with the album over time he touches on music’s capacity to objectify the listener with a rare clarity. It is possible that the wall-to-wall screen time of late 2020 might be amplifying the feeling that it’s me who is being consumed by music/films/Bake Off/what have you, and not the other way round. Either way, I’m planning to practice an approximation of Hutchings’ ‘intuitive reasoning’ while listening to Accordion & Voice followed by Planetary Clairvoyance. Will report findings.
The new film from the Otolith Group, Zone 2, was completed during lockdown and has a pretty different feel to most of their recent work.
Extended sequences of newly acquired domestic hygiene routines offset footage of some of North East London’s most idyllic green spaces. News footage of anti-racist protests interrupt multilingual public health advice. The disproportionate impact of the virus on BAME lives is laid bare. Statues are toppled. Overlaid Covid infographics express something of the anxious augmented reality we find ourselves in as 2020 begins to draw to a close.
Post-cinematic journaling that synthesizes the spectacular and mundane realities of this year, this country.
The sonics are a notable highlight here, and feature Elaine Mitchener, Speaker Music, David Toop, Ornette Coleman, Shabaka Hutchings, and Keiko Yamamoto.
Normal was already no use to us, and we were never normal.
Not Going Back to Normal is a collaborative manifesto for envisioning the ‘impossible world’ of a future in which disability and disabled people are centred. The manifesto comprises 49 responses to an introductory statement by founders Sasha Saben Callaghan and Harry Josephine Giles, and does an incredible job of exploring how the forms of discrimination faced by disabled people in the Scottish arts scene have been exacerbated in the pandemic, as well as collectively imagining ‘a future without normality.’
There is so much amazing work here that I am still making my way through. A model for thinking and feeling futurity itself as radically inclusive.
Given that I am several months late to the party, my recent discovery of LA’s Cathode TV has been somewhat bittersweet and I cannot help but think how those intense early weeks of lockdown might have been eased by a streaming channel programming exclusively brilliant weirdculthorrorcomedytrash every single day. I’m planning to make a dedicated commitment through the winter months.
Follow their IG for daily schedules, and be amazed.
Bessie Rubinstein’s response to Charlie Kaufman’s latest outing nails many of my frustrations with the film pretty squarely, not least the ‘canned lectures’ that frequently derail the dialogue with DFW-esque performative profundity (in one case literally). It’s also encouraged me to look again at Synecdoche, New York which I’ve mindlessly defended for years in some sort of distant and half-remembered way.
Mostly though I am grateful to Rubinstein for linking Pauline Kael’s masterful takedown of Cassevetes’ A Woman Under the Influence, a film I have barely stopped thinking about since watching it for the first time over the summer. Charlie and John might be cut from similar cloth but Gena remains a treasure.
The NYT’s profile of Sarah Hennies is a big deal and worth your time. For ‘the slightly akimbo biorhythms of lives intimately conjoined,’ I am extremely here.
Finally a quick round up of some more music-related odds and ends:
You should consider following Brighton’s Hive Mind Records, who have just released their second Maalem Mahmoud Gania reissue. From time to time you might even just get to nab a free highlife banger to sweeten the deal.
Very pleased to report that the aforementioned skins n slime is every bit the nerve-jangler I’d been hoping for.
At the time of writing, there are a mere five copies remaining of Tea Es G’s extremely fine Virotechnics tape, the proceeds from which go to Black Cultural Archives. With this and Kali Malone’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it reissue of Studies for Organ last week, I’m now in the market for a new tape deck. Recommendations welcome.