How Space Girl Met Rocket Boy
by Mr. Apol;08282011;0312
Foreword: I’ve got a bit of explaining to do here. This is the full, edited version of “How Space Girl Met Rocket Boy”, a story that was loosely told through two previous posts on this site. This is the full version, as it stands today. There are significant differences in the first two parts presented here compared to the original posts. Either way, it’s been literally years since the original posts.
How Space Girl Met Rocket Boy
a love story in three acts
I used to think that it went to the center of the planet,” Johnny Taragon explained.
“Really?” the girl asked.
She was only vaguely interested in his story, lounging in the cloth deck chair with her legs straight up in the air. She had a toy ray gun that she was pointing at the ceiling. She’d squeeze the trigger and it’d whirl up, making little sparks inside as the mechanism within the gun squealed horribly.
“Have you ever read about the Shaver Mystery?” she asked.
“Well basically this guy, Richard Sharpe Shaver, believed that deep underground there was this race of evil creatures called Dero that kidnapped people and did nasty things to them. The Dero were created by aliens or something and were left down there before humans even existed. They’d been in the dark so long that they went nuts.”
“Sounds like your family,” he joked.
“What if I really am a Dero?”
“You probably are.”
“So, about this pipe to the underworld? Did you ever find out what was at the bottom?” she asked.
“No, I never saw the bottom of it. It was just so weird — this metal pipe in the middle of the woods stuck straight into the ground with nothing else around it, completely out of context.”
“There’s a name for those things. I forget the name now, but they’re like the crystal skulls and the Baghdad Battery. Out-of-place and out-of-time objects.”
“Well, those objects are anachronistic, you know? This was just a hole.”
She put the ray gun down on the floor and went to the window. The sun was setting and dust floated through the beams of light streaming in. The room was orange and hot enough to make them sweat — Johnny’s uncle didn’t get a chance to put an air conditioner in this room before he died. She had only known Johnny a few months. They had met at a local rock show in May and Johnny had taken an instant interest in her. She wasn’t much interested in Johnny, but he threw nice parties and had a big house. She lit up a black cigarette and turned to face the boy, her face backlit by the setting sun and just barely visible from the cigarette’s glow.
“Did you ever try dropping anything down it?” she asked.
“This may sound weird, but it felt cruel to do that to something. I had this crazy idea that maybe the hole didn’t have a bottom; that it kept. . .
"a pistol pointed at mount everest"
My old friend made a new friend. I recognized my old friend’s new friend as a psychopath the first time I met him. My friend went to lots of bars and clubs in the city and all-night DJ events out in the sticks with this guy. They hit on lots of girls. They picked up girls every once in a while. The new guy was an attractive, young guy; he surfed, on the weekends (in the summer). He was about as tanned as a cheap coffee table. He wasn’t even thirty and he wore a tennis bracelet and carried a Louis Vuitton clutch. The guy was a sleaze, to be sure.
He gestured a lot. He could not stop and ask a girl directions to the nearest convenient store without touching his gold watch and then placing his hand on the small of her back. My friend wasn’t convinced that the guy was also a psychopath. He kept telling me the guy was a nice guy: the evidence was that he had a real job at a bank and he made a lot of money. This meant that somebody with money at a place that dealt with money trusted this guy enough to pay him lots of money.
“I don’t see why you don’t like him,” my friend said, after he’d first introduced us and I’d dismissed him as a psychopath, or at least a carrier of a psychopath learner’s permit. “He likes Dragon Quest as much as you do. He’s played every one of them — beaten all of the optional dungeons, gotten every character in every game up to level ninety-nine.”
“Then he’s a psychopath and a video-kleptomaniac, then.”
“Come on — he killed God in Dragon Quest VII. I thought you respected people who have killed God in Dragon Quest VII. It takes hundreds and hundreds of hours of slow grinding to prepare to kill God in Dragon Quest VII.”
“Why would I respect that?”
Some months passed between my meeting this psycho and my friend telling me the following story.
One night my friend was out at a club with this guy. My friend saw a girl he liked. His type was the porcelain-faced lipstick-wet-lipped princess type. My friend bought this girl a drink. They talked a bit. He was really into her. She was maybe girlfriend material, he said. My friend had already gotten the girl’s number and pretty much secured a date. Then this psychopath friend slid up and said something like “Long time no see”. My friend realized his new friend knew this princess girl. The girl went all cold. Like, she transformed into a completely different person, one who happened to look exactly the same. Days later, my friend was texting the girl at work. He was on his lunch break; she was on her lunch break. She told him that he shouldn’t hang out with that guy.
“He’s not right”, she said.
Many months ago, this alleged psycho had taken her out. . .
Martinis at 4PM in a Dark Parisian Street
Many times I’ve asked myself “is Stefano Pilati the right designer for Yves Saint Laurent?” and I’m still not sure- I wonder what he’d produce without the weight of YSL sitting behind him like Jabba the Hutt. Nonetheless, his collection for YSL this year is one of the season’s best (if not the best). Even mistakes the mistakes are masterful.
The best pieces are simple and work upon you like a Hemingway short story. They appear to be hardly anything at all upon first glance- a well-cut black dress with a mysterious gold necklace hanging from it, a cloak seeming to reference both the Japanese avant garde in the early 80s and cloistered nuns. Yet they somehow worm themselves into my consciousness- I keep coming back and looking at them, and wondering why I keep coming back.
On some level I’m reminded of a chic Parisian. Not the one who inhabits plenty of other collections (Chanel, Givenchy, Sonia Rykiel…), but a woman who makes herself a martini at 4pm and lives in a penthouse where one of the elevators doesn’t work. This woman is from a darker side of Paris. The vocabulary in fashion has become so tired and worn for capturing “Paris” as of late (or the last 20 years)- just look at Karl Lagerfeld’s latest piñata themed Chanel collection- and I’m struck by how Pilati makes it all so new. This isn’t the Paris of socialites and chic dinners, but the small, dank and squalid Paris- the equivalent of a painting like “Whistler’s Mother.”
There’s something both familiar and distant about most of the clothes here, like a forbidden object from childhood one may not touch but nevertheless sees. Call it “The Black Telephone”, if you like: A old-fashioned black telephone, sleek as a polished Jaguar and with one of the round dials that make a click-click-click noise when turned, sits atop of a carved mahogany stand. It’s forbidden to be touched by your red-lipstick-wearing mother, and yet you pass by it every day (it looming over you like a malevolent devil). That’s the essence of this collection.
Pilati does occasionally veer into that gaudy neon showgirl territory Saint Laurent’s so well known for (his Ballet Russes collection, for instance). The thing with Saint Laurent’s more gaudy clothes is that they don’t hold up in the glaring spotlight of modern times. They just look really tacky- no matter how much they were hailed as a Flawless Work of Genius when they were first released. In this collection the archetypal example is a cape in what looks like satin (or some sort of silk). Yes, it’s a familiar object too- but it strikes me as a relic from the 70s re-imagined as what a relic from the 70s would look like today. Those sort of familiar objects aren’t particularly interesting, and they’re more distant in the sense that I want them far, far away from me.
What’s so great about this collection is that it’s pure, messy emotion. There’s not even the question. . .
"don't stop till you get too much"
Large Prime Numbers the rock and roll band experience is doing pretty well these days! We are rocking pretty hard. I’m going to post these two videos here. You might like them! You can view them in full-screen HD, if that’s your thing.
The first one is a Real Song — and one called “Don’t Stop Till You Get Too Much”. The second one is just us joking around during the sound check.
I recommend watching them both, if you have the time. The joking around one is pretty fun!
If you’re going to be in Tokyo anytime soon, just email me and I will let you know when we’re playing.
The Same America You've Seen Plenty Of Times Before
Hussein Chalayan has created some fantastic collections in the past- clothes that become an envelope, clothes that perform a metamorphosis, clothes made from furniture. He’s one of the few real auteurs in fashion. So it’s with a mixture of confusion and disappointment I’ve viewed his last few collections. They’re thoroughly commercial and the clothes are good, but they don’t seem to be from the same place as his earlier collections. Looking at style.com, the last collection from him that I really loved was in March 2008- a collection that represented speed in the construction of the clothes themselves. The 3 collections after that seem to mark a change in direction, towards “sophistication”, some would say. It’s only considered sophisticated because designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Bill Blass, Edith Head et al made it sophisticated- it’s not sophisticated thinking, but looks sophisticated because those designers are a typical point of reference for That Sort Of Thing; the sophistication in our collective consciousness. The little black dress and Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking and a porkpie hat and trenchcoat- visions of sophistication most westerners are familiar with.
It’s actually far less sophisticated than previous collections of Chalayan, because then he was doing something only he could do- these were (and are!) the collections of an auteur. Sometimes when people say “auteur” they mean “everything of theirs is recognizable”, and hacks can do the same thing by repeating themselves over and over. But Chalayan’s collections, up until the last 3, never repeated. They weren’t only fantastic because they’re unique to Chalayan- they also had a lot of thinking behind them, and interesting ways of presenting that thinking. Often the thinking was what seems like the most direct route. Experimenting with decay for his graduate collection, he actually buried clothes and dug them up later. In these last 3 collections, the thinking is less evident (is it evident at all?). More than a handful of people could make these collections. The coats in his recent “American” inspired collection are flawless, but that- and the memory of elegance, god bless it, is all the collection has. The concept of the collection was a road-trip through America, so we cycle through clothing inspired by various parts of it. It’s a cute concept. But when each piece is examined without this knowledge it looks exactly like a piece of clothing (and nothing more).
This isn’t all that far away from contemporary art practices. Often a work offers no clues to its “artistic” value or anything like that. I saw an exhibition last year where clear sheets of paper where taped to the wall- until you looked closely, and noticed tiny specks of dust on them. Oh, great Moses! This surely is Art with a capital A. Perhaps this artwork would’ve been interesting with context- why the artist created it, what other works the artist had created, etc, but we were provided with very little context. And so it was dust on paper.
What I’m wondering is how much “context” can. . .
“The Birdhouse”, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the town, is constructed of several rectangular blocks of white and glass stacked like children’s playthings.
It’s a place for socialites and their hangers-on - people who want to be something in this godforsaken place. Mrs. O’Leary walks into The Birdhouse, her hair permed and purple, her tired flapper gown her date. She wants to be accepted into the “upper class” of the town. Her family came here only 60 years ago!
Mrs. Von Mott, however, is the leader of the fur coat brigade. Her family has been her for over 200 years. She’s old money. The Birdhouse is her house.
The Birdhouse is a curiosity, something of a tourist attraction, for those passing through the town. It sits like a great white wonder preaching to the town in a geometrical fashion- out of reach for most townfolk. “PRIVATE PROPERTY”, the sign declares. There’s no need for anyhing more, everybody knows it anyway. Mrs. Von Mott is not nouveau riche. She is tasteful.
Several nights later at the bottom of the dusty dirt road we see the chewed “PRIVATE PROPERTY” sign. A car is beckoned to by an elderly woman with a flashlight, and we move through a hallway of white and glass and rails where the paint was chipping off.
“Oh, hello Tom. I’m Mrs. Von Mott,” Mrs. Von Mott says to a dapper looking man. She’s dressed in a very Italian way, looking younger than her name suggests but older than my mother.
Usual small talk muttered. We begin to hear squarks and chirps- a symphony of scratched blackbirds, blackboards. Mrs. Von Mott keeps a couple of birds.
SQUARKKK. The bird noises get louder as we leave Mrs. Von Mott and move into the bigger room. Again it’s white and glass. There are bird droppings on the floor- a few of them- mostly it’s the smell. A putrid and bitter rotting smell. The only lighting in this room is a few portable lights, a flashlight or two hanging down from the ceiling. The great and good and fabulously wealthy are mingling here: Plum has a diamond on her finger that looks like it’s about to tip her over. Stein is talking to Harold Truman- “How would you fancy a martini later?”
“Oh, Gertrude, that’d be divine” he says, tiny pig-eyes behind his hopelessly outmoded surgeon’s steel glasses.
There are no amenties. No toilets, no kitchen. There’s no tables or chairs. Just what appears to be a gaggle of people with drinks that’ve materialized out of nowhere.
There’s a couple of rooms off the main room: We move into the left one first, shuffling through people making vague small talk- “good, yeah, good”. The left room has no lighting and contains several parrots. They’re not the type that speak. SQUARKKK.
The right room- more shuffling, more small talk- contains supermarket petshop budgies. The floor’s filthy. Most of the people are leaving.
Birds are moving out from the rooms, and there is bread placed on the floors in crumbs. The lighting’s mostly. . .
see large prime numbers live in koenji any weekend
hey! i have been busy making $$$ and all that stuff, so have neglected this blog for what seems to be a little over a year. you may have noticed that i have a website called Action Button Dot Net, and have had said website for several years, only i have never once pimped it here (aside from putting that lovely button on the left sidebar). i write stuff there, sometimes (expect a big final fantasy xiii review next week). i also write monthly columns at Kotaku.com, the latest of which (an of-the-decade roundup) is here. i also have a twitter thing here. i promised a novel last time i posted (a year ago), and hey! it’s nearly done. it’s all terse and to-the-point and shit. it’s a greatest-hits compilation encompassing this entire blog, plus a 40,000-words-or-so update on what has been happening with me in the last two years. the back-of-book text would be something like “a chronicle of the long wait between terrible things and a boring life”. i had asked people to email me if they wanted to read it when it was done, and now i kindly ask you to do that again: 108 (at) actionbutton (dot net).
anyway, our band is doing great, and that’s what i want to talk about today. last week we started a set with this vintage-final-fantasy-battle-music-inspired improvisation:
if you are in tokyo and would like to see us live (or if you are in osaka and have a dozen friends wanting to see us live (we need an excuse to travel)), you are hereby invited to email me at the above address. after doing so, you will be given the (not-so-)SECRET INFO regarding our next show in koenji DOM. it will be either “this coming saturday night” or “sunday afternoon”. nothing like a bit of noise on a sunday afternoon, i always say! actually — i never say that! i just said it for the first time right now! i bet i just totally baked your noodle like the oracle bakes neo’s noodle in the matrix. anyway, the reason i / we want you to email is because, you know. DOM is actually a (photogenic) sound studio, and the laws of physics don’t permit us to fit more than a dozen people inside. so consider your email an RSVP to an exclusive event.
we (and i) hope to see you soon! and i can’t wait to post info about our upcoming super-hot t-shirt, with the NEW large prime numbers logo, drawn by a super amazing legendary japanese artist who is actually a huge fan of the bullshit we call “music”. (should be early february. (the shirts are going to be all v-neck, by the way. fuck crew neck. the 2010s will the decade where all band shirts go v-neck, the decade where men stop hiding their collarbones once and for all.))
Rei Kawakubo, for once, has delivered a collection under the Comme des Garcons mainline that is commercial.
I hesitated writing about this specific collection for a while- was there anything to write about it? What was there to say? What was Kawakubo saying, if anything? The collection didn’t as much baffle me as leave me stricken of words.
The collection has no emotional punch. I clicked through each look mutely- there wasn’t anything to write home about. There was no fever holding the collection together, as with the previous “Wonderland” collection. Sometimes Kawakubo’s ideas are simple, and each look is a variation on these simple but strong ideas. “Wonderland” called to mind the homeless- use of blankets as part of coats, etc- it was a raw, overpowering collection. Conversely, this latest collection seems to be a robotic, systematic and synthesized exploration of key motifs in recent Kawakubo collections. Tops were deconstructed, made out of shoulder pads, polka dots were used, hair reminist of the “Football” collection sat atop the models like insane plumes, and various prints were used in a seemingly random fashion recalling several previous collections of Kawakubo’s. Yet where the motifs served a purpose in each previous collection, the motifs here seem to be the purpose. Technique equals idea, whilst eroding emotion.
Sarah Mower suggests that this is perhaps Kawakubo wryly commenting on fashion of recent seasons: the obsession with shoulders- which Kawakubo deconstructs and turns into tops (perhaps recalling a vanished ghost of fashion- Martin Margiela, who often created clothes out of unconventional materials), the fetish for military coats (see: Balmain.), and so on. In essence it’s The State Of Modern Fashion According To Rei Kawakubo.
Kawakubo doesn’t actually make a judgement on The State Of Modern Fashion itself. She simply synthesizes it into a sort of gross pastiche that’s still no doubt sellable. Many of the pieces are fairly basic, if the complex elements are taken out- so many of the complex elements come from the styling. Belts, shoulder-accessories, the hair.
In creating a collection that’s Modern Fashion, synthesized, Kawakubo creates another limit- it’s actually very hard for this collection to be better than Modern Fashion itself. Most of the pieces don’t transcend Modern Fashion. Looks 33-35, innocent dresses in either white or polka dot are an exception- shoulder pads are incorporated over the right breast, creating a slightly exaggerated silhouette (more than slightly exaggerated given the flat-chested, pubescent boy models who’re wearing the dresses.). Yet even these dresses, though clever, don’t provoke a reaction. They’re clinical but not perverse. We’ve been bombarded with some many variations on the same look, both in the wider arena of fashion- shoulders, military etc, and in this particular collection, that this subtle wink either goes unnoticed or noticed but pushed to the side. It doesn’t have any shock attached, and whatever innuendo it may carry is neutralized by the rest of the collection.
The collection’s kind of pretty in an odd way. I’m reminded of fallen leaves off a tree, multicoloured, broken and delicate. It’s. . .
At the Edge of the Depraved Decadent Dessert- Dover Street Market
The burnished silver stainless-steel sign at the bottom of the Dover Street Market is unerringly businesslike- the names of the brands on each floor written in businesslike, doctor’s office black. They act as pornography to certain members of the public, and in such sexless fonts too. “3F: Alber Elbaz for Lanvin, Alexis Mabile, Anne Valerie Hash…” it’s even in alphabetical order! “2F: Adam Kimmel, Arts and Science…” to the untrained eye the sign could be describing a pediatrician’s office and some fusty old, government-funded office dealing with arts and science. Yet this is the unassuming entrance to the Dover Street Market, favorite store of the avant garde and fabulously-well-to-do-starving rich.
The Dover Street Market is essentially an emporium of several floors selling goods at several times the price that they should be sold at. I encountered it early on in London- the first day I arrived on my flight, existing on a supply of adrenaline and Berocca. The building itself is situated in that part of London where all the buildings look more or less the same: old and projecting a feeling of vintage wine spread over stone tablecloth at sunrise. I’d already passed by it about twice without knowing it was The Dover Street Market, and even when we were on our way there we had to doubletake, make sure it was the right place.
Our gallery of rogues at this point consisted of myself, Tavi, and Laia- the fourth member of this troupe was to arrive the next morning- Elizabeth. We walked around the Dover Street Market (which I’m going to refer to as “DSM” from now on because it’s quite a mouthful, and I can’t be bothered typing it out in full all the time) in a half-dazed haze. Walking around the Comme des Garcons “Black” store first- a glass edifice of white polka dots and clothes that sort of represent what Comme des Garcons is about without being too specific. They’re Comme des Garcons in a very vague manner. The whole idea of “Comme des Garcons Black” is to make Comme des Garcons affordable to the “public” without making the clothes look like traditional, half-rate-discounted, thrift-store clothing for a funeral (as per Comme des Garcons H&M). It’s a pity the jacket I tried on was one thousand pounds. The jacket itself was all black and embossed with sticking-out polka dots like a fabric ream of bubble wrap. It wasn’t worth one thousand pounds, even if the salesman was incredibly nice; a rarity compared to the rest of the staff there. I recall one man, pretentiously dressed probably, informing Tavi and I that we were not allowed to take photographs inside the Dover Street Market (we’d already taken photos on another floor anyway, and the one-man-band staffing it didn’t care.)
The females at the DSM (I should mention here that the DSM is owned by Rei Kawakubo, who owns Comme des Garcons- it’s an elegant hodgepodge of labels she controls and labels she likes) all look like the previously. . .
What I talk About When I Talk About Marc Jacobs
For some reason, I’ve written a review of Marc Jacobs almost every season. He gives good review fodder, even if his clothes end up being much the same, finding themselves in discount bins at high class joints. They’re seasonal, incredibly seasonal, because Jacobs plays a shallow and vapid game- that of contradicting what the rest of the establishment is doing. I remember talking to people in London, and we were talking about what shows we actually cared about at New York Fashion Week. I reeled off “Rodarte, Calvin Klein”- then a pause- “Marc Jacobs?” with just the faintest whiff of a question mark at the end. But it is a question, and the question becomes more and more pronounced with each Marc Jacobs show as of late. (For Loyal Readers, you’ll remember I actually have positive reviews to two Marc Jacobs shows, and even claimed that this is what more girls should be wearing. Forgive me. Nobody should be wearing pieces from Mr. Jacob’s latest collection. For one, they’re probably too expensive for what they are.)
What Marc Jacobs has so boldly created is a collection that’s cheap-looking, derivative, ticky-tacky, banal and mundane. That’s quite an achievement, to do all at the same time. I find the glass of nothing sitting on my desk more interesting than this collection, though you’re all going to look at me as if I’m mad if I start writing about that. The Neil Young I’m listening to- the record being “Decade”, my first Neil Young record, might be more interesting to write about, and it’s certainly more interesting than anything by Mr. Jacbobs. I’m sorry- I don’t share the same teenage love that the rest of the world shares for his collections. That doesn’t mean he can’t make a good collection, but this collection wasn’t it.
We need only look to Rei Kawakubo to see who has influenced Mr. Jacobs on this collection. And by “influence”, what I mean is “shamelessly rip off whilst basking in the adulation of the fashion world.” To which I ask the question- does the fashion world suffer from amnesia? Is this actually just a simple case of almost everybody in fashion also being amnesiac? In which case, we can all pack up our deckchairs, I can stop writing and go to bed, and we can dust our hands off and go “Forgetting Rei Kawakubo’s last collection! Oh, you fashion world you! Whatever zany antics will you get up to next!”
Mr. Jacobs has had some successes with his hokey-pokey mash-ups in the past- I recall a collection inspired by Yves Saint Laurent as being stunning, at least on the runway. Yet his best work is purely American (saying “Americana” is too folksy for a designer like Jacobs)- reimaginings of American sportswear, evening wear, casual wear and so on. The “Sonic Youth” collection, where he showed one sleek polar fleece silhouette after another on the faces of depraved youth being a prime example. His mish-mash technique doesn’t work here. His treatment of. . .
A review of (most) of the Couture Shows- Fall 09
I’ve avoided writing too many reviews here because I hate most of the collections, so eventually I’d sound like a record on repeat. For some reason, though, I feel compelled to write about the recent Couture shows. At the very best they were mediocre; at the very worst just plain awful. Most of them erred toward the “very worst” category.
I’ll start with Dior because it’s the show that showed first. It’s funny: when I started “being interested” in fashion I was a John Galliano (the designer of Dior) fan. I recall opiate and opulent shows of metallic golds and models dressed like transvestites. The clothes were batshit insane: he’d calmly explain in his faux-French accent to reporters something like “I was inspired by the Matrix and dead animals”. Yet through the years he’s either been heavily medicated or became the bitch of rich upper-class 90-year-olds everywhere. That is- his clothes have became boring. Along with Ralph Rucci, he makes clothes for ladies who lunch (and then throw up about half the lunch, probably.)
At Dior this season we were presented with a similar collection to what was presented last season, and the season before that. The typical Dior silhouette- nipped in waist, coats and dresses billowing- in a very mechanical way- from below. Pretty colours, but more court painter than Matisse. Clothes your grandmother would’ve worn. Hell- half of them look like flapper clothes- clothes your great grandmother would’ve worn. This season, the twist was that your grandmother’s clothes were shown with the models wearing lingerie. The models were not sexy- they had as much sex appeal as an actual mannequin in a shop window. Whether Mr. Galliano is trying to say something with the lingerie, his words are lost in the flurry of traditionalism that was his collection. It wasn’t so much as “Dior by Galliano” as “Dior by Galliano disguised as Dior”. Christian Dior is dead. The clothes presented in this collection are dead- nothing new was said. The ladies who’ll no doubt purchase this collection (and it’ll sell well- you can bet that) would do better simply wearing the same Dior Couture from the past few seasons (or from 1950).
I almost don’t want to write anything about Christian Lacroix’s collection. The collection itself was produced on less money than you can buy a family sized car for. This is because the house in Mr. Lacroix’s name is bankrupt. It’s very nearly dead, unless some rich old man decides to suddenly inject some cash into the almost-corpse of Lacroix. To criticize it would be nearly speaking ill of the dead. I mean- it’s not a terrible collection. It’s not even a bad one. I’m listening to Regina Spektor’s album, “Begin to Hope” right now- good songs that’re overproduced- her new album has similar problems. All the songs have been shrink wrapped in plastic, a label stuck onto them and a barcode too. In some ways I feel that Spektor is like a kid in a candyshop when. . .
lettuce, ice, and different feelings
So, I kind of like having a band. I don’t feel nearly as bad when I spend $300 a week on eBay on guitar equipment.
Anyone in Tokyo is hereby invited to come to Rinky Dink Studio in Ogikubo, Tokyo any Saturday afternoon this year to sit in on our practice. We will gladly begin said practice by running through our entire “live set” for you. We are calling this the ROCKING THE WORLD, ONE PERSON AT A TIME TOUR 2009. You don’t even need to pay to get in on this! We would appreciate it if you at least paid for our dinners afterward. (We eat cheap, subsisting on produce and brown rice.)
Seeing as the video for “hone” promptly exceeded 1,000 views on YouTube when I featured it on this blog, I hereby use this entry to promote this song — it’s called “Love In The Time of Global Warming, Chapter Two (Lettuce and Ice)”. This is the earliest demo we made of it, not a half hour after “writing” it as a “song”. It’s gotten so much better that every time I think of the eventual album version my knees buckle, even when I’m sitting down. This snapshot of imperfection captured in this demo on YouTube, terrible sound and all, is so far the high point of my “career” as a person who tries to make anything anyone would call “artistic”. Anyway, go ahead and watch some of the other videos on my YouTube channel, too! I promise to get my guitar sound even closer to “figured out” as the next couple weeks roll on.
the above seems to be the popular opinion re: these rising stars, whose latest tricks include staging LIVE PERFORMANCES in small sound studios and inviting anyone hip enough to know what BYOB really stands for.
The girl was blonde and had a nose-ring. I don’t remember exactly what clothes she wore; maybe a black dress. As I browsed the men’s racks, not really looking for anything- just idly flicking through various garments; she came up to me. She asked me how my day was.
My day was uh, ok, I said. Asking somebody how their day was is the normal thing to do, at establishments like this. At establishments that charge a small fortune for a jacket that looks slightly different to a hundred dollar jacket at the store across the road. I mean, if you’re going to sell your soul you might as well have nice customer service.
I mean- it wasn’t what she said, it was more the way she said it. It wasn’t a flirt exactly, but it had a certain lilt to it. You can count on the sales assistant at an expensive store for a fancy manner of speaking.
So nothing happened there. I just thought I’d mention it, because she was the most interesting part of the store. The menswear racks were populated by the sort of clothes that guys who need an “alt” or “intellectual” label that costs lots of money to justify their existence buy. Margiela- check. Raf Simons- check. Nom D- check (Nom D being the in-house label anyway. In New Zealand, it’s kind of famous for no apparent reason. The clothes are a synthesis of the dark elements of other designers: Martin Margiela, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei Kawakubo, etc. They’re nice clothes, but I feel like buying them is a bit like buying a really clever fake. Or a slice of cheesecake in a bakery that you know was your Grandma’s recipe that the goddamned bakery stole whilst she was out at Keita Takahashi’s knitting group.)
Whilst I’m writing all this, I’m listening to Bob Dylan’s “Modern Times”. It’s a weirdly clean album. Clean like a doctor’s surgery, or an Howard Hugh’s bathroom. The sound kind of dies- when a note is played, it’s gone forever. There’s no sense of distance, there’s not even a hint that maybe the A# the piano plays lives on elsewhere. It’s simply stopped, forever. The clothes here are like that too. They’re the sort of expensive that likes to be anonymous. If I were to purchase a jacket (I say jacket because that’s the majority of what they sell), like the girl with the nose-ring probably hopes, I’d be forever trying to justify it afterwards. I’d hand over my money or card, or note-holding-them-ransom, and feel the cliched sinking feeling. I’d go “Oh, fuck. What the fuck have you done Eden?”
“What the fuck have I done” is a recurring feeling when I buy clothes that I know are too expensive for what they are. I thought “What the fuck have I done” when I recently purchased a t-shirt. It’s a great t-shirt: white, with two collars creating a faux-sense of layers. There’s a picture in the corner that’s oddly saturated of a boy holding. . .
Rei Kawakubo: clothes from the past that never happened
It sounds like a radio- my battered ipod nano plugged into one of those cheap ipod speaker systems- playing PJ Harvey’s “Rid Of Me”. Not so much playing as banging it out- it’s like sort of audio equipment workmen have on a building site. Cheap radio with paint splattered all over it (not unlike my jeans today- I could be in a grunge band!). Rei Kawakubo’s Comme des Garcons collection festers inside of me like PJ Harvey’s scattered lyrics. Exactly what’s festering inside there is anybody’s guess. It can’t be packaged into a nice collection of words. Fuck- it’s not even an intellectual collection. Rei Kawakubo isn’t some…Stephen Hawking figure. She relies of emotions. On ripping out our guts and then charging us money for the privilege.
Man, Rei Kawakubo doesn’t even design half these things. Nobody knows what goes on at the Comme des Garcons building- the stories change every time you hear it. You go into a bar. And the man in a Pork Pie hat (let’s say Mingus is playing) says something to you- gives you in-for-ma-tion regarding the Comme des Garcons process. It doesn’t matter what- could be that pigs fly into the offices and deposit ideas sketched out on napkins from KFC which assistants then memorize as the napkins self destruct. Make up your own! I’ve never heard one where Rei actually designs the clothes that’re on the runway, though. As far as I’m concerned it doesn’t matter anyway- the pigs flying thing might as well be true (nobody’s worked out the purpose of these flying pigs, so this might as well be it!)
Anyway I don’t know what PJ Harvey “means”, specifically. I mean, I know she’s ranting and crying and fucking and yelling about some ex of hers. There’s no specifics, lyrically. I don’t know whether Jack the Ripper Gets a New Wig, or I Kissed a Girl and I liked it. It’s just this metal-machine-rusting feeling. I don’t know what Rei Kawakubo “means”, if she “means” anything at all. Maybe she just wants to sell t-shirts with love hearts on them.
There’s been a lot of whining about the PLAY line, which sells the t-shirts with love hearts. It’s a terrible, tacky, tourist-trap of a line. I have no idea who buys them- every now and again I see somebody on the street wearing one. Every time I’m tempted to go up them and tap them on the shoulder and say “hey, why did you just spend an obscene amount of money on a t-shirt with a heart on it?”
Of course I don’t ask them and they look like they’re Very Busy People anyway. The main point is that this tourist trap makes a lot of money, and apparently that money goes into the show that was about a week ago.
I still don’t know what to say about this show, maybe I’m biding for time. There’s no analytics that can go into it. It just evoked a kind of dusty feeling for me. These big. . .
Burning Candles into the night- Yohji Yamamoto and Margiela
Finally! The flower of Paris fashion week starts to emerge and bloom- chopped up plumages of red and black. Yohji Yamamoto. The quiet gardener. Who gives a toss about Balenciaga now? (Don’t answer that.) Sure, the Balenciaga show was terrible- a step back. Costuming for a harem in Arabian Nights- all the draping and tacky satin-like fabrics. I was sighing. But Yohji, you can have my babies and I’ll mother them too.
Folks- I don’t want to say this show from Yohji was genius. It’s more of a slow burner after dark, a study of Bach for the piano student. Up and down the piano passages the student goes until finally she hits upon something. It takes a while to see- you’ve gotta look closely. Here we have one millon inversions of the coat. They’re mostly in shades of black with a bit of red and bizarrely a sort of washed out white. Asymmetry, normally odd proportions and different fabrics- the usual suspects in a Yohji show are lined up here. It’s just that it comes out and hits you. “Good God!”, you think to yourself; “I need one of those!” For a second there you’ve fooled even yourself that you can afford a Yohji jacket.
There’s a sort of ritual-quality in this show. Gowns. Painted faces- white. At the very end, models grouped ’round wearing long red coats in a circle. Red Riding Hood and the fashion week of doom? More likely an allusion to Japanese ritual. Plenty of rituals at fashion week- Yohji’s show is one of them.
I don’t know what to say about Margiela. Bodysuits. Shoulders. It’s very much along the same course as the last few Margiela collections, sans wit. I’ve been through the collection several times now: the first time I saw a few things I liked, a few things I didn’t like so much. The second time I admired the cubist aesthetic in one of the jackets. The third time- right now- I’ve got style dot com open and I’m more interested in the freckles on one of the model’s backs than the clothes (ironic considering Margiela tries to play down the model’s importance. Frankly when a model is more interesting than the clothes, you’re doing something wrong or you’re selling perfume.)
That’s not to say it’s a bad collection. There’s plenty of wearable clothes in it save for the polka dotted abominations at the end- and the bodysuits. Please post all pictures of people wearing Margiela bodysuits to the forums here at largeprimenumbers dot com, please. “Everyday situations” meaning cooking food, or reading the paper- you get the idea. I just thought, uh, maybe Margiela would do something new this season. It’s like a “Greatest Hits” album. “Greatest Hits II”, seeing as the house put out a 20th anniversary collection not so long ago.
Below: 1 and 2, Yohji Yamamoto. 3, a rather horrible look from Margiela. 4, something more palatable- also from Margiela.
Raf Simons Fall 2009, a review
Some time ago I was in a little shop where they sell designers like Margiela and Comme des Garcons; and I came across a subtle but brilliant jacket by Raf Simons. It had pockets that were sort of semi-circles that stuck out; as if it was Matisse in all black. It was a ridiculous price and I didn’t buy it. It’s remained with me ever since, like the dregs of an excellent cup of coffee or the crumbs of a pizza that was constructed by the world’s only genius in pizza-cooking. I actually felt Raf Simons and knew where he was at; I understood for that brief moment whilst a tried the jacket on, alone surrounded only by racks of over-priced clothes and a window on the second story with a view of people passing by on the street below; I understood the very specific non-genius of Raf Simons.
And a short while ago (or a decade ago, if you’re in fashion-land), Raf Simons showed his Fall 2009 collection. It was terrible or divine, depending on your level of delusion. It was greeted by the fashion press at large as a step into the future, yet I really wonder whose future we’re talking about here. Is this show to say that In The Future, men will dress either like Italian vineyard owners at an industry award dinner, or Batman’s nemesis The Penguin?
Take for example the pictures above. You can’t approach these things intellectually, there’s nothing intellectual to say. You might ask, for instance: “Why is he wearing something that appears to be a suit drawn on in crayola?”. Or “why does it remind me of an elephant?” or “Who the fuck would wear that?”
I can’t answer the first two questions- especially not the first. I can’t approach it intellectually because it makes my eyes bleed. It’s got the inherent ugliness of an insurance salesman or a bank teller. It doesn’t have the playful ugliness that say, Comme des Garcons might have. It’s not a “Look at me! Can you stand me? Can you dare yourself to actually wear me?”
It’s simply just ugly. Plain ugly; butt ugly; ugly betty; ugly duckling-without-the-fuzzy-
Raf Simons’ clothes have always (generally) have this over-reaching seriousness about them. They’re like how violinists treat Bach, or bedsheet-wearing-fanboys treat so-called videogame god Miyamoto. Seriousness is fine, as long as the clothes are damn fine. When they’re simply ugly, they have no refuge of playfulness to fall back on.
a shotgun reads the phone book
I must have received two hundred emails regarding “rock and roll heart attack“, which I previously posted on this blog here as something of a joke. Apparently, despite being, uhh, readers of this particular website, it seems not many people actually got the joke. The most common question, however, is whether or not I was on heroin. I was (and am) not. I had spent the previous year training for marathons. Anyway. I have been building muscle lately, which means the shirt I am wearing in the video below does not fit me. The music, however, is real.
cobras in the streetlight
by Mr. Apol;01192009;2101
what would you have me do with washington?
pepper it with spitballs?
how dare they anticipate my strategy?
i have morons on my payroll
we expect you to fry
as of now, your little project is deader than disco
get off me, you moron!
i will not allow such impertinence!
especially from an enlisted man
she’d never risk destroying you!
i on the other hand,
have no such qualms about eliminating her!
that man has the constitutionality of a vending machine
Inside the lair of the beast, an eyewitness account
I’ve been inside the beastly womb of fashion for about a year now. I’ve sat and observed; I’ve designed; I’ve written. The pre-conceptions about fashion are wrong. The image presented to you in The Devil Wears Prada is nowhere near true. It’s as true as the words of a song being uttered by any plastic sycophantic pop star. Ugly Betty is no better. None of that fashion-on-TV crap is (the closest is The Rachel Zoe project, a show about fashion-addicted lady who goes into credit card debt to buy fashion and uses phrases like “I DIE“. She‘d be an internet meme if the creators of memes didn‘t wear t-shirts made out of bedcovers and masturbate to Samus Aran.
); because to really understand fashion– to understand the addictive and terrible reality of fashion, you have to be in it.
There’s no point on getting into the clichés of fashion-on-TV. Yeah, there’s the Anna-Wintour-like boss who’s the boss-from-hell-demanding-a-copy-of-the-eighth-Harry Potter-book. There’s the gay man who dresses horribly; although Joe Public probably thinks that it’s “fashionable”. There’s the fashion designer….some catty bitch who talks about “inspiration”. Most importantly, there is the moral which the fashion-on-TV show tries to teach: whether it be “Fashion doesn’t like fat people so you should like fat people and fashion is bad and evil blah blah blah”, and “Fashion is a vindictive machine that takes you away from reality”. And the audience, dull as they are, nods sagely at the show feeling smug about themselves because they’re not in “the gosh darn fashion business.”
Essentially, apart from The Rachel Zoe project: the greatest show on earth, most of these shows pander to Joe Public and Mary Average in all their polo wearing glory.
On the other side of the fence; let’s call it The Fabric Curtain, lies the fashion people. On the most extreme side of the fence lies the tools of fashion: blazer-and-tights wearing tools who follow trends like a executive follows a golden carrot. They probably post on lookbook.nu; even though some genuinely creative people post there as well– sometimes amazing people. (I’ve become kind of addicted to this site, I admit…for better or for worse). These tools go to lookbook.nu and post their blazer-and-tights with the caption “UGLY FACE, UGLY LEGS” and get about 50 votes, because they’re trendy-brain-dead-sympathy-whores. Or if it’s a guy, it’ll be skinny jeans and wayfarers. Not that I have a problem with either skinny jeans or wayfarers, I happen to own a pair of each (although the wayfarers are proud fakes, and I bought them because Bob Dylan wore them and looked damn good in them; not because some stupid model or “celebrity” wore them.)
In this great and cold Fabric Curtain, there’s those who’ll support you and those…who won’t care. Maybe, if you’re famous enough someone will try and get you down. But the general attitude of fashion people is to ignore you. You walk past them on the path of fear and loathing in the mall and they ignore you; they don’t. . .
Blonde ghostal hair trailing behind her striped green of-another-world cardigan; she walks into the room. It’s painted different shades of white and piled up upon each shelf stands shoes; the oddest shoes imaginable. Gucci has no place here; the imagined “elegance” of the old ladies of society does not exist. Neither does the “elegance” of sex-shoes; the gleaming black shiny tinted monstrosities that were a-la chic in 2000 and even though Balenciaga heels may all the rage in the catwalk-world; the black shoes are what’s worn by the starlets and the closet starlets, and the starlets of X high school.
This girl doesn’t wear those shoes: her taste has become so refined that it has outgrown the cold air-kisses of other’s taste and exists on it’s own. She walks over to the shelf in the corner; and puts on long steam-punk-but-not boots and walks around; Andy Warhol comes in and takes a picture of her.
Her hair pirouettes by itself, washing over her head like it’s been struck by a wind of consciousness.
Her blue eyes delight in the next pair of shoes: large beige concoctions to go with the outfit of an elegant fishmonger (who’s never mongered fish in her life). Her face is like water lapping into the sand, with two blue pebbles thrown into the water; skimming it forever.
A man walks into the room where the photoshoot’s taking place: he has tobacco hair and a suit like a velvet morning and stands cautiously behind Andy; who continues to press buttons on the Polaroid camera. He puffs up a cigar and the smoky stardust emitted by it creates a black and white fantasy of red yellows and yellow red; time stops and she turns around, into another pair of shoes. Black, but curious. The black shoes curl around her feet (toes painted green) and throughout cigar-man’s cigar they prowl off into a pair of black cats. Twins.
Behind cigar-man tramps the commander of Dior’s last will and testament; he emits a loud screeching sound which could be French spoken by Bismark, and says “stop!”
Yet nothing happens, although the cigar-smoke hovers for a bit, as if it’s not sure of what it’s role is now. Dior’s last lawyer starts up again, hurling up the last remains of verbal vomit, and vanishes into a very solid nothing.
The blonde girl; the shoe girl is dancing again, as she changes outfits to a rabbit-hat and heels with bunnies at the back of them.
Slaves come up beyond the floorboards; slaves looking like models and marching like a convict. They’re all glossing by in multi-thousand dollar dresses; their eyes looking up to the sky as if to pray- but for what? You can see their eye-whites, their egg-less whites and their pale, pale skins. They’re being skinned alive.
The blonde girl is dancing. Rows of people are watching her; watching her every move. The blonde girl is dancing.
H&M and Comme des Garcons: a review
Comme des Garcons for H&M is basically a piss-take.
I can imagine the Comme des Garcons designer, Rei Kawakubo, sitting in her polka-dot walkpaper office in her polka-dot-chair, wearing her polka-dot-jacket backwards (when I wear a jacket backwards I feel like I’m wearing a poorly made but very fashionable straightjacket, but I have it from my Japanese Fashion Sources that Rei looks damn good wearing a jacket backwards); and positively cackling over the moderate-sized lines of people who lined up to buy Comme des Garcons branded H&M merchandise at the giant H&M stores.
She’s cackling because she’s just gotten away with selling H&M quality clothes at more than double the H&M price. In other words, she is making a killing. She’s slaughtering all the little fashion cows who’re rushing to grab their polka-dot shirt and normal-looking trench coat; one by one. She grabs each of these little beasts who’re trying very hard to ignore each other: ignoring each other is what most fashion people do. She grabs them and slits their throat by only looking at their eyes, as they happily hand over their money, and merrily skip home to where they blog about “OMG I JUST GOT COMME DES GARCONS!!!!!”.
I say this with great pain because I love Rei Kawakubo and I love her “fuck everyone!” attitude. This is the lady that gave us clothes that appear to have tumours growing out of them, and the lady that gave us upside down pockets. This is the lady that designs by telling her team what “Mood” she’s in and expects them to read her mind and make the clothes according to her “Mood”.
I mean, imagine that. She walks into the room, claps her hands and says “today….I am angry.”
And goddamit, her team’s gotta read her mind and translate this specific angry into clothes that…somebody might buy. Comme des Garcons is not only a fashion house; but a fashion house powered by psychic powers.
The clothes aren’t bad. There’s a men’s polka-dot shirt that resembles a 1960’s-era Bob Dylan shirt. It’s 50 dollars, US. The problem with the clothes is that they’re…the norm.
Martin Margiela pioneered distressed denim and exposed seams, but those are the norm now–what Margiela did doesn’t appear to be revolutionary in 2008. Nor does the H&M Comme des Garcons line. It’s all very nice; blacks and navies; polka dots and Victorian-looking coats and dresses. I’ll have to take people who were actually alive in 1980’s word for it that this sort of shtick was revolutionary then– but honestly, I wouldn’t bat an eyelid at most of the pieces from this collection for H&M. Aside from what looks like a pyjama set belonging to the joker, nothing is out of the ordinary in the men’s collection. It’s just….nice. I’d love to think more of the women’s collection; but the more experimental pieces remind me of a timid and mousey librarian who might wear Yohji Yamamoto and the Balenciaga clothes that nobody can afford (if you can afford Balenciaga or Yohji, send me. . .
Ma and Pa at Balenciaga (a review of the spring/summer 2009 Balenciaga show)
I’m walkin’ in a haze of mystic clothes and prints that speak rather that say. Once upon a time fashion was full of elegant ladies, not the juicers and fakes that fill the ranks of the designated seats now. Anna Wintour, the bastion of conservative fashion, sits in her chair cat-like; her eyes which we’ll imagine to be green- staring out of her dark sunglasses- which double as actual glasses. She’s poised in fashion but as Andy Warhol said she has “no taste”. Or rather, she has taste but it’s the taste of upper-middle-class America. Where and who she sells her Vogues to.
Balenciga’s been on and the critics are calling it a triumph. They’re always going to call it a triumph because most of them don’t have fucking balls anyway and they’re too scared to offend this oracle of fashion. There’s very few observers at any of these shows that actually has an opinion. A couple do; the wonderful ladies who write for the New York Times and International Herald Tribune. Suzy Menkes and Cathy Horyn. Do other people? Fuck yeah. But they’re probably not writing a review.
I bet half the people who said “Oh I love Balenciaga” did not really love that show: the spring/summer 2009 show. They just said it because well, that’s what a fashionista says.
I did not like the show the first time I saw it. I liked one jacket.
That jacket’s now been spread all over the screens of the fashion-conscious of the world; and it’ll probably be in magazines soon too.
On my 5th look of the Balenciaga show I have decided I like it. That I genuinely like it; despite the “wrongness” of the colours and shapes- they looked right for Balenciaga, but one wonders how they’re going to translate onto the flesh and bodies of Actual Females (who can’t afford Balenciaga) It’s not a disturbing wrongness either- not like parts of a David Lynch movie or Bob Dylan’s 1993-ish concerts where he apparently didn’t tell his own band what key he was starting in. It’s not the wrongness of a Comme des Garcons collection where hands might be affixed to a top to appear to be pinching the wearer. It’s a kind of homely here’s-a-cup-of-tea wrongness ‘cause the wallpaper’s a funny colour.
What’s wrong is the way the whole shebang assaults you, and rushes you off course to somewhere else. The carpet in the Balenciaga show was perfectly representative of this; and in a way the carpet was the show. (Not the collection.) Apart from the carpet had no redeeming value whatsoever- it consisted of the blue found of classroom carpets, matched with 80’s gold squares on top of it creating an effect not unlike a used carpet shop scraping the barrel of their inventory.
And this somewhere else isn’t anything you expect. There’s similar elements to previous collections: that space-age-meets-fashion aesthetic, the cut of the clothes (one undeniably good thing was the pants. Man, everyone’s going to want to get into. . .
Grown-up, alive, awake, and in a bright place, speaking the language (called “love”) only understood by quiet people: we, the Large Prime Numbers sit anti-dead within the computer of the universe.
Together with Vienna Percussion Academy graduate Duke X Alexander, I myself entered a studio with un-straightened hair (how dare I!), a Gibson SG 61 Reissue in Sapphire Blue, a blues driver, some octave fuzz, and various other sound-contraptions, to engage in a literature-esque three-hour exploratory thrashing session answering the eternal question: what if rock and roll . . . had a heart attack?
The answer is as frightening as it is timeless.
Presenting: Rock and Roll Heart Attack: Part One: Rock and Roll Heart Attack is Rock and Roll Heart Attack as Rock and Roll Heart Attack in “Rock and Roll Heart Attack”.
On New York Fashion week, NZ girls, and why she has some other kinda lover
As an veritable outsider to What Happens At Fashion Week, I don’t see the bitching, the bitchiness, the bitchery and other assorted forms of the word “bitch”. I don’t see the parties and the painful hipsters with their obnoxious neon wayfarers and their “vintage” clothes that they brought for more money than they’re really worth. I don’t see what happens among the prim and proper editors and buyers and occasional celebrities who sit in the front row. All that I see, and all that most of the world sees is the clothes. The clothes have to stand up and actually speak for themselves, they have to function as a piece of design without the use of alcohol, fear, or a reality distortion field.
The clothes didn’t have much to say. In fact the majority were too lazy to bother saying anything at all. The majority of designers this season opted to uh, to do nothing. Alexander Wang was a godawful attempt at something, but nobody really knew what it was. There was pieces of other collections by other designers flying all around the place in his “collection”. That’s fine- there was in Marc Jacobs’ collection too. Actually there was hints of other collections in everybody’s shows. But where Marc Jacobs makes a coherent picture or whatever for us (I refuse to call it “statement”. There’s plenty of statements if you want to look at it that way, but they don’t make the collection. It’s just everything that Marc Jacobs feels like showing this season shoved together in a picture that you could compare to “Tombstone Blues” or another surreal song of the same ilk. All these references, tossed together, but it works.)
But Mr Wang’s references to other designers and collections didn’t work. As I said; they were flying all over the place. They pissed on the on the floor.
I really do adore Alexander Wang- he’s incredibly unpretentious and seems sweet. He just didn’t have a good season.
Nor did most designers.
Ralph Lauren et al delivered the same goods they deliver every year. By “et al” I mean, well, I mean almost every designer who showed at NY fashion week.
Their clothes were mostly wearable, and stuck to the same formula that each designer’s known for.
That’s the problem– they didn’t do anything interesting. Ralph Lauren looked like Ralph Lauren. DKNY looked like DNKY. Carolina Herrera probably looked like Caroline Herrera even though I haven’t even bothered to look at that collection. I will now.
And by golly it does.
And that’s NY fashion week’s problem. Most of the designers are stuck in this very rigid cast that they can’t develop or take risks or move about. I won’t bother asking “why?” because I know why. You probably do too.
They’re scared; or either bad designers. Possibly even both.
I don’t really care that much, though. More success to the designers who aren’t like that. It’s just a terrible bore when an entire fashion week almost entirely consists of boring clothes.
An American in Paris (a review of the Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 09 show)
It’s impressionism. American impressionism. An American in Paris- Marc Jacobs.
Even though “Rhapsody in Blue” played during the show–quintessentially American–it’s not the actual music to “Rhapsody in Blue” that matters here. It’s the fact that with “Rhapsody in Blue” Gershwin tried to fuse “Classical” music with Jazz. Here, Marc Jacobs is trying to fuse America with Paris.
There are people out there who’ll say “nah man, this ain’t got any Paris in it at all”. It’s not so much the colours and patterns and fabrics- it’s the cut. The silhouette.
In “The Big Picture” of things, this whole show with its mirrors lining the runway (immediately brings to mind warm-lit images of Chanel’s mirrored staircase), with its models walking out in some kind of coherent form–it’s more a Tone Poem than a Symphony. Where Karl Lagerfeld is fashion’s Bach–yes, I did just compare Karl to Bach–Marc Jacobs is more fashion’s Debussy on a bender. No, Debussy stark raving drunk whilst taking LSD and more experimental chemicals. Debussy with plenty of funding from patrons- LVMH. Debussy the rock star living in hotel rooms.
…In the Big Picture of things, this collection is damn good simply because it’s a nuclear bomb to the petty collections that have been churned out at NY fashion week so far. It’s the streaker. The damn hot streaker. And among a crowd of bare-boned, anaemic collections, it’s gorgeous. It cannot be anything else than gorgeous because it’s so delicately obnoxious; it ain’t boring. It’s essentially Edie Sedgwick–except it isn’t dead yet and there are some pieces here that’ll lurk in the wardrobes of those that dare to buy pieces from this collection (how many people with money and good taste?) for a long time. Maybe they won’t wear the piece for the longest time, but they won’t be able to throw it out. It’ll cling to them because, on some level, they believe that it’s going to be an important piece. Really, it just has that look.
Parts of it feel like Broadway Porn. Here’s the obvious nod to Yves Saint Laurent–the hats, straight off Broadway. Americana as interpreted by a Parisian (Yves Saint Laurent) and then quoted by a American living in Paris. It’s all American though–he clashes the hats with shoes, pumps, stripper heels out of a seedy bar. The exaggerated bondage through the crisscrossing on the legs of the models.
–The models you don’t really notice. Last season I said they were models out to murder someone. I suppose they’ve done the deed now, and they’re sort of being meek and unnoticeable. Maybe they were once showmen–maybe they were once superstars themselves. But you’d never know it.
Is the time of the model over? When I see the set–the mirrors, the warm lighting, the wooden floorboards–I feel like I’m viewing a collection in one of the saloons: a small showing by Chanel; Yves Saint Laurent; Monsieur Dior. I feel like it’s really the clothes that matter. It’s this attempt to create intimacy in a frenzied, party-like atmosphere. A. . .
rubik's cube for the blind (a murder mystery in which no one dies)
It used to be that I was in the enviable position — enviable to myself — of escorting a girl to my house who was so recognized as beautiful that I found it not at all out of the ordinary to have sex with her right in the entryway of my apartment. I’d open the door, and there, between chilly aluminum and the ceremonial wooden step, as she’d stop and bend over to undo her boot buckles, I’d realize what a thing temptation could be, I’d pick up all the signals, and I’d answer the ringing phone in my testicles, and I’d greet the breathless phantom on the other end with the formalest perfunctory greeting. “Rogers Private Investigators. Tim Rogers, Detective of Love, speaking.” I don’t think a single case was ever solved, which didn’t matter because no one was ever found dead. If my life were the reign of one of the more boring Roman emperors, it’d be only a twitch of an eyelash before I coined the phrase “a murder mystery in which no one dies”: it was that near-silent moment months after the fact to end all facts where that schizophrenic little sister of the girl whose averageness only reached from dermis to bones called me at three o’clock in the morning, asked me how I was, received an answer of “decent”, and fielded the question of “how’s your sister” with a groan, and then “she got married; I’m tired.” She hung up. This was the first time the words “a murder mystery in which no one dies” occurred to me. It wouldn’t be the last.
Sex in the entryway of an apartment — it matters not with whom — that level of spontaneity is the thing I presently envy. Or, at least, I only envy it today, after waking at pre-noon and departing at post-noon, arriving in my office at the tail end of a freak rainstorm, and arriving back home to find a paper slip from Pelican Courier Service jammed in my door. My Contact in the United States has sent me my new credit card, and he has sent it EMS, meaning that I need to sign in order to receive it. The postman no doubt counted to thirty very quickly immediately after ringing the doorbell before he tapped his fingers together like a greedy thief fluffing a doily and proceeded to rip the package open and scan all the documents therein with a portable document scanner. I call the number on the receipt, only to find that all their operators are busy being at home, and I am forwarded to the 24-hour service line, where I supposedly can arrange to have the “package” (an envelope) delivered tomorrow morning. I’m still in my shoes. I still haven’t entered my house. I’m not going to enter my house until I feel good about having finished something. Eventually, “for privacy purposes”, I’m told to enter my name, typing it as though I’m writing it in hiragana using. . .
These are lyrics for a song I haven’t recorded yet, but a friend said they thought it works as a poem– so I figured I’d post ‘em here.
So close, so far I could hear the heart
Ticking outside near the docks
Sailors they came and went, told me; “better luck”,
Some wore fishnets on their heads, others, just shook their heads and laughed
The tiger in my glass abode, the boxer who didn’t know how to act
Seems like an age ago I told you: “you are, the only one”
Yes it was true, when I said, as so many other things are
The mayor agreed, signed a form- almost was a diktat
I couldn’t believe that it was real, and pretty soon you flew away;
On my brass bed you sit and chat, with men, stars and a clown
I musta sold that bed to you, I can’t see nothing like it anymore
A Warhol stands in it’s place, sitting there, being nothing
It doesn’t talk, it just remains-, where it always was
Don’t know if I’d make out now, I hear you got some ants on your lips;
Wouldn’t want to brush them off,
But I probably would, anyway,
That’s what lovers always do
Love is, and love isn’t that
Love is a box of Arabian nights long gone,
They blew some lies right into my ears,
Until I laid back into some more,
Saw the doctor the other day, saw three wise men, riding on a horse:
They threw to me “don’t disappear” , don’t tangle yourself up in wireless cords.
Oh yes I said I’d heard of that- have you ever loved a girl?
And if you did, did you write on her; make paper out of her strawberry hair-
And when you’d finished, doing that- would you leave her out to dry?
They walked away.
It’s illusions that keep us here, it’s illusions that stops seeing ourselves
It’s a clock that’s longer than a day, formality has reached the top-
Illusions of what you were, illusions of- what we did,
You couldn’t break them, will you now? Said he to her.
She said something he couldn’t hear, turned her back on him
I was there, being him- the red haired girl was cast as her
Andy Warhol. Superstar. Painted patsy of the 60s. Flaky skin falling off like a bad waxwork, all in white. Soup.
It was a Monday we found him, sitting in a little old people’s flat. Blanket covering his legs, no wig at all. He was shivering and staring out the window onto the people outside the blindfolded curtains.
The 60s weren’t roaring all about him, more like moaning delicately. A picture of a superstar in the corner- blowing up slowly. A couple of prints hung up on flower covered walls that had one too many nights out and far too many vodkas. The wallpaper’s kind of dark- the entire flat it. It’s submersed in the depths of suburbia, I can tell you that much.
“Who are you?”
We try and introduce ourselves as well as one can when really one just walked into his flat. The man isn’t disturbed, just looks on, in Andy Warhol’s Patented mock expression of boredom. Maybe he really is bored?
He asks us if we want some tea. I don’t drink tea I say, but my partner says she’ll have some.
So he kind of stumbles up and shuffles around (brown tartan slippers), and goes into his little old people’s kitchen- motel kitchens. So tiny they look like they’re made for a child, a foetus even.
Well, I heard some strands of some music coming of there. An old radio, maybe. Record player. Just propped up on the coffee table- all glossy brown mock-wood surfaces, looking like it came from an advertising firm in the 70s- just propped up, is a copy of “The Velvet Underground and Nico” with the sticker still on it.
“Peel off and see” says Andy behind us. His voice is like the absent minded 5 year old professor/fish monger grown up. I’ll admit that it’s kind of creepy. Like if the wind was a 80 year old child- that’s Andy Warhol’s voice.
“Well, if you don’t want to you don’t have to guys. But boy oh boy it’s fun”.
I tell him that his record could fetch a lot of money.
“Oh. Ok. Why don’t you do it anyway, huh?”
He shuffles back into the room- tick tock- and sort of slumps down. His glasses are still the same as they were last time everybody saw him.
So we peel the sticker- me and her, I mean. Andy’s still on the couch, watching the two T.Vs that are muted at the back of the room, beside some horrid pot plant that was all shrivelled and simply beyond dead.
And peeling the sticker, well, it’s a great feeling. Illicit. Illegal. And Andy sort of just half-smiles.
The record player’s playing “I like Traffic Lights”. The song goes: “I Like Traffic Lights, I Like Traffic Lights”- just some old fart standing there singing that by himself. Then a chorus joins in “He likes traffic lights…he likes traffic lights”. It’s like a pack of farmers travelling the London are singing it, admiring the new fangled technicolour traffic lights.
“Isn’t it great?” says Andy.. . .
It is exactly 12.20 AM and I’m going to write about something.
I think I started to grasp what “cool” is when I was at a friends house- I was 8 or 9- and we were playing with his skateboard (I have never been on a skateboard since, or before. It was that one time). I was going down the hill on it with my knees trembling at the top of the skateboard like I was on a very small sort of boat, and then somehow I was on my stomach flying like superman.
What an American sort of story, I’m thinking to myself. Next up we’ll have cookies and homemade lemonade.
Of course, I’m not American so what happened next after congratulating ourselves was that we were invited back into my friend Tom’s perfectly inhuman house. I remember leather couches, and lots of white and metal. The kitchen I was fascinated with; this was when everyone in our town was going for white-washed appliances and wooden cupboards and such and such. And here was this kitchen with shiny, shiny black and silver knobs and silver fridges and dishwashers. They had a lemonade maker as well, but what’s going to happen next is not the drinking of lemonade but the drinking of a ginger ale as dry as it could possible be. I’m amazed it was a liquid. It felt like drinking towels.
And to go with the ginger ale was different cheeses all cut up very nicely, thank you very much. I remember the “leavers dinner” at the primary school I went to (ie. From ages 5-9. Or 5-10. Can’t remember) where the ladies put out all this cheese that nobody would eat. It was probably damn expensive too.
Nowadays I’m fond of putting expensive cheese onto pizzas. Camembert- though not really expensive- works well on it.
Anyway. So I’m sitting at Tom’s parents outdoor table and eating the win- ginger ale and cheese (honestly, I really wanted to say “wine and cheese” there. Where I live it’s so drummed into the poor, poor population that we “make the best wine and cheese around” that one can’t seemingly co-exist without the other. Like bobs-and-bits. And there’s another one too; now there’s “wine and cheese”. That’s the local authorities for you) feeling pretty sophisticated. You could throw on a jazz record of say, Thelonious Monk and it wouldn’t be out of place. The only music I remember hearing at Tom’s house was Michael Jackson, though. That was “cool” for us then too. It still is. It was all Thriller stuff, mostly- except the MIDI-ish ramblings on the Sega of “Moonwalker” of songs such as “Smooth Criminal”. The best part of that game is that you could throw off your hat- al la “Billie Jean” and just kill somebody. Just like that. WHAM.
I still have a tape of “Thiller” that I borrowed from him.
I wonder where that tape has got to. The case is probably dusty and Michael’s pristine white suit. . .
a review of the dior homme fall 08/09 show
I could write a lot of dust about the Dior Homme show.
Dior Homme was a display of a very refined tackiness. A very tunnelled tackiness, targeted with one specific vision. It’s worth noting that Karl Lagerfeld wore vintage Dior Homme, from when Hedi Slimane designed for the house. Karl Lagerfeld, the man whose mouth becomes an opening for a verbal hurricane when he speaks about “The Now” and why he only wears clothes from this season. Yet recent Dior Homme isn’t in “The Now” at all. It ain’t where it’s at.
It started with the pants. That’s what I saw first- everything else comes after that. In my head I have visions of MC Hammer type affairs, in metallics. And behind those pants- so big that they’re in front of everything else- I see ill fitting black suits. A tat of fabric here, a bit here. They aren’t clear in any case. Even if I went back and looked at those suits again, I wouldn’t really remember them. They’re a forgettable person.
I’m sure you can have damn stylish forgettable people, too. There’s a girl who passed me on the street, I only remember her red jacket. There’s millions of people who’ve passed me on the street, and I don’t remember too many of them. Most of ‘em don’t stick out in my mind as the Dior Homme collection is.
See, the Dior Homme collection is an obnoxious forgettable person. You’ll remember the smell of it.
The smell of this collection is a girl- a groupie- who’s having sex with a rapper. It’s the smell of the girl as she turns 40 and her she’s telling the story in a bar someplace. It’s the smell of the girl post-sex with rapper.
Really, the guy who wears these sort of clothes will look like a sleaze. That guy who slicks his hair back and tries to pick you up with his voice oiler than his hair. I almost think that the clothes themselves are trying to pick me up. “Do you want to go out, Eden?” I respond with a slap.
I was watching the excellent “IT crowd” last night, and one of the characters was trying on varying forms of dicky glasses which made them look like an asshole (this was the point, because he said women liked bastards more than any other type of a guy and was trying to prove it. Just go watch it. Watch all of ‘em).
Anyway, maybe the character should try on glasses from the Dior Homme show. Here we have varying forms of bastardry. Put these glasses that look like rejects from a B-science fiction movie on, and you’ll look like an idiot! The sort of idiot of shaves his hair short, dyes it platinum blond, and puts those glasses on and does the patented “cool guy” look. You know the one. You’ve seen it all the time, down the street. The guy walking like an ape is probably doing it.
They say Marc Jacobs is the new Andy Warhol
I’ve been listening to David Bowie’s song “Andy Warhol” a lot lately. The chorus just won’t get out of my head (”Andy Warhol looks a scream…hang him on my wall”), and that’s fine because I quite like it. If it was something like “Nature”, that nostalgia-tinged piece of sound which has been used in countless New Zealand commercials - including a milk commercial for (what else) Nature’s Fresh - which still haunts me to this day, then that wouldn’t be fine. At Primary School we were forced to sing “Nature”, by a teacher who presumably had sadistic tendencies. (And that song stuck in my head for days because of her).
Of course, if you hear a song too many times it eventually loses its meaning (just ask Bob Dylan). It’s the same with repeating a single image ad nauseam (I’d say “just ask Andy Warhol” apart from he’s dead right now).
I’m seeing the same sort of repetition-for-meaninglessness with Mr. Marc Jacobs, the subject of my last review. Here’s this blue-haired forty-something year old, with a toned body and plenty of superficialness. He rains superficialness. The man designs for Louis Vuitton.
How can one design Louis Vuitton bags anyway? It’s like trying to redefine McDonald’s. The whole concept, the whole dream of Louis Vuitton and McDonald’s, is laid out for anyone to see.
I’m not saying I don’t like Marc Jacobs, the man. I’ve never met him. He likes Spongebob Squarepants, so he can’t be that bad.
I don’t know him. Maybe nobody does because Mr. Jacobs has created that blue-haired persona for the world to see. No person has blue hair; brands do. We’ve got Marc Jacobs: The Brand. That’s what the world sees. Trouble is, Brand Jacobs looks like a bit of a fuck up. It’s like Marc dug right to the bottom of the bargain basement bin at the largest superstore in the world, and picked out a brand that was tossed off by the marketing version of Jackson Pollock on a bad day. The brand is like those commercials that appear on late night TV, where the advertising slots are cheap enough that ma-and-pa funeral establishments can show their commercials made with Windows Movie Maker and a camcorder.
To answer the semi-question posed in the title: Marc Jacobs is not the new Andy Warhol, because his brand is too messy. He almost has the symptom that 90% of fashion design students have: trying too hard.
Karl Lagerfeld is the new Andy Warhol (apart from the fact that he’s only a few years younger than Warhol). More on that later.
Jacobs has become meaningless because he pops up in every 2nd magazine vaguely related to fashion. The clothes haven’t. Actually I don’t really see the main Jacobs line being worn much (readers: post in photos of non-models or Victoria Beckham wearing Marc Jacobs clothes! And I don’t mean Marc by Marc, either). I want to ask him how it feels to be him. How does it feel to be someone you’re not? How does it. . .
a review of the fall 08 Marc Jacobs show (OR, NEW FASHION JOURNALISM)
It’s almost in slow motion, the models walking out with impassive dead faces looking pretty glum. It’s so teenage melancholy. They’re worried about something; are they walking into the Principal’s office to be punished? Are they about to lose their virginity? Most models look glum, but these are particularly so. It’s as if they are self-aware mannequins, realizing that their only purpose is to display clothes that some rich person is going to buy.
Holy Mother of God, these are models on a murderous prowl and they’re icy calm about it - and they’ve got sharp, gleaming things around their necks.
The clothes they’re wearing might even be made by these animated mannequins. They are all exaggerated shapes, dressing gown fabrics and headbands that are so home video VHS aerobic instructor that it’s almost endearing. This is chic by being anti-chic. Nothing here looks in the least bit showy, fabulous, sexy. It doesn’t look like fashion. The colours comprise those that adorn grandmother hats and matronly skirts; browns that cling to the tattered suitcases of tired men. I hated those colours the first time I saw them and I still do. They evoke memories that just aren’t chic. These memories are warm and fuzzy - very homely. What they really make me want is some pumpkin soup and homemade bread.
There’s no dream in this collection. It’s not something you want to dream about. It’s a dream within reality, within a dark room where there is no inspiration; a harsh reality from a walk in a park where a rich boy is being beaten by a thug with a family to feed and all the trees are burning down. It’s cold, concrete reality. This collection is about proles - think 1984 - infesting the establishment and changing the way the establishment dresses. One can imagine the lords and ladies of the city arriving in their carriages of steel and Italian leather to a function held by one of these proles: Marc Jacobs.
He doesn’t so much dazzle them as infect their collective minds with subversive takes on their own aristocratic uniforms. Here comes the white coat, over sized. Here’s a dress with a toothpaste top. Here’s a dress that’s grey, uniform grey. Not “Perl grey” or any other glamorous colour that may inhabit the wardrobes of these lovely ladies and gents. It is the grey of smoke vomiting factories. The real genius of this ruse is that it’s a fusion of two polar opposites: the proletariat and the bourgeois.
This feeling of adolescent tragedy lingers throughout the show - perhaps it’s the headbands. It’s in the sullen faces of the models. It rings out in the Sonic Youth playing too loudly. “Revolutionary” teenagers changing the world from the inside. Teenagers like (forty-five year old) Marc Jacobs. Maybe Jacobs is trying to change fashion from the inside. Change what, though? It’s still expensive as hell so if you want to make a rebellious statement in Mr. Jacobs’s latest. . .
SAVAGERY IN THE DARK HEART OF THE SOUTH
by Mr. Apol;04292008;0038
An orgiastic vortex of twenty-four hour violence, unneccessary drug use and blood-drenched psychosis centering on one boy, a girl with a penis, a suit jacket haunted by the ghost of memphis blues, a robbery at a pharmacy, a den of sunshine addicted lunatic theives, gravel roads to nowhere, burned out shells of abandoned factories, labyrinths, menthol cigarettes, a woman who has unintentionally switched bodies, a talking cat and a single guitar case that may or may not contain a high yield nuclear device.
None of these events, people or objects are related beyond a tenuous connection, but they will be brought together against their will.
I am chewing on a pen when he walks up to me and smiles and he’s got the most beautiful olive eyes I’ve ever seen. A bit too tall for my tastes, but he’s got that whole walking-up-to-a-girl thing down just perfectly. You know the walk I’m talking about? Well, maybe you don’t, maybe you’ve never seen it, but forget about it. It’s not important. The important thing is that he looks strange – out of place, out of time – like he probably shouldn’t be in this juice bar on the corner of 13th and Magnolia. He looks like someone out of a dinosaur’s wet dream. I wouldn’t be able to tell you what was so strange about him; it wasn’t something you could really pin down. Clothes that were a few seasons behind the curve, or maybe ahead of the curve, these things are cyclical anyway. His eyes remind me of a violent upheaval; a nightmare shut up into the twin coin-lockers set into his face.
“Can I help you?” I ask him.
“Yeah, can you make me an orange smoothie?”
“Sure,” I can hear myself thinking, even thought it comes out of my mouth as a sort of unintelligible half-mumble.
I turn around and start looking for the ingredients. God, if there’s one thing you’ll let me do perfectly, just this time, let me make a perfect orange smoothie. I open the bone colored cabinets under the counter and get two oranges. I get milk from the fridge and ice from the freezer compartment and dump the milk and the ice into this blindingly neon-green blender by the sink. My hands grab an orange and go to juice it and the orange does the strangest thing – it slips right through my fingers and falls apart into eight perfect slices. These little slices shatter into sixteen when they slide out of my hand and hit the countertop. The pieces tumble to the floor, shattering again into perfect halves as they strike the tile floor.
Speechless, I go to juice the other, too shocked to clean up the first shattered orange. This orange suffers the same strange fate. Eight slices fall through my fingers to the counter. I try to catch them as they fall, flailing my arms like a coked-up valley girl, but I’m not able to hold on. Some melt in my hands like icy flakes in a late spring flurry; others fall right through my fingers, slipping out of my grasp like wet soap. I grab more oranges from under the cabinet. These oranges fare no better than their fellow citrus. All of them split and slide one after another right through my grasping hands, eventually shattering into pieces too small to make out. I get the impression that they are separating all the way down to the individual atoms that made up the oranges, splitting down to the lonely quarks and perhaps farther than that. Elementary particles are nature’s wallflowers.
"love in the time of global warming"
Where do you want this?
I’m not sure where any of this goes:
Glaciers on opposite poles have been holding a tenuous argument for millenia; a representative of the North Pole faced — well, any direction, really — and whispered a terrible lie; it would take a hundred years to reach the south pole, and what happens then, no one born nearly thirty years before yesterday has half of a right to imagine. The sky over Los Angeles was the color of recycled newsprint, late one night, and formless rumors kicked up inexplicable action and sound. A cat yearning for something unshapeable, a vintage record player playing a dead jazz lady’s not-best work on a rooftop far away, police sirens looking for something by making themselves heard; me sitting on a sofa listening to the sound of the needle of the cosmos in the record groove of the earth, everything distant reduced to a near-mute wailing treble squeal. In several weeks’ time, back in Tokyo, I’d arrive at the somewhat-adult, existentially horrifying decision of how, precisely, I’m supposed to throw away my garbage can. Seriously, what do I put it in? Back on that night, with a window open, a diet root beer, wildfire smoke clouding the Hollywood sign, the full moon beating like a human heart, the minute ticks of the earth’s second hand came within audible range. The shotgun holed up next door, contemplating suicide and unable to bend his barrel to fit his will, instead took it upon himself to begin reading the phone book, in as soft a voice as he could manage. The sky shook subtly with the passing of the months-long words of glaciers.
Days later I’d be stopped at a shoulder on US Highway 1, the Pacific Coast Highway, confronted by the inverse of existence, at two in the morning, maybe mere miles from Santa Cruz, with less than a tenth of a tank of gas. We turned off the headlights; after a few minutes, the stars were all over the place. The ocean roaring two thousand feet below, barely a guardrail on the road, no electric lights, no passing cars. I recalled something I felt like I’d overheard, though really it was being presented to me as a paying customer at a planetarium that shared the top floor of a shopping-building with an aquarium that looked from the outside like all the glass within was green: out by Ayer’s Rock, down in Australia, late at night, they’ll escort people out by candlelight and serve them a full-course meal; at one point during dessert, they blow out all the candles, leaving the people alone with the stars and feelings, resembling memories, of everyone else around them. The narrator, back then, had recommended this to me, if I were ever in Australia, and the suggestion — as I wrote earlier — felt cheap, and immediately impressed all the experience of having worked as a busperson in said wild outdoor restaurant for three decades before giving in to. . .
I am not, by natural preference, a Politics Junkie.
My good father is an addict, though, of a very different color. I used to watch him go google-eyed (this was before Google’s failed challenge of the Microsoft eyeball patent) between CNN and MSNBC and (later) Fox News, shouting at regular intervals at a prime-time pastiche of puffy politicos and pontificating pundits. Again and again, Whitewater or Iraq or Osama or Lewinsky or The Giant Wall To Eliminate Mexico, his mustachioed point was pretty much always the same thing:
This thing that was happening! He could not BELIEVE this! This thing!
The things the man is unable to believe are, I think, a great source of fun and energy for him. As the kid, though, I found it all kinds of depressing. I mean, it was basically the same Talk Stew 24/7 . . . the context kind of changed, I guess, but for me it was all just a re-type of a nearly identical format. That whole Journalism thing - - I couldn’t really see why anyone would need to actually take out student loans for that sort of thing. You just needed to read The Onion or The Lampoon or The Daily Omniscient Laughtacular or whatever, and have less of a sense of shame about spotting inconsistencies in the figures and events of the day. (That’s called bias.)
So now I’m steering the ramshackle Life Express towards Thirtiesville (Population: Previously Unnecessary Zeal for Hair Removal/Preservation); apparently we are in the midst of some kind of election, here. And wouldn’t you know it . . . I think the horrifying civics-minded parasite paddling around my father’s spinal fluid has somehow, in some way, gotten to me.
Oh, I vote. I vote and I have voted, but in terms of actual gee-gosh civics rushes I’d have to say that helping send this one Baby Shaker to prison for life was a far cleaner and longer-lasting high. But now I’m starting to get breathless at the little things. WILL the Puerto Rican delegates become instrumental to selecting a candidate they can never elect? DOES futuristic space candidate Barack Obama have the momentum to carry a demographically-challenged Rhode Island? HAS McCain’s face been subtly re-textured and stylized throughout the course of the campaign? I’m starting to believe that it has. I want to believe that it has.
You should not DO this for days at a time, as I foolishly have. I’m starting to think big and hazy and conspiratorial: just how did Hillary get that mysterious cough, anyway? Am I really supposed to believe that Bill Clinton was able to smooth his way through an impeachment and a record-breaking number of presidential pardons, and then - - OOPS, SORRY HONEY - - accidentally blow off his wife’s leg (metaphorically) by disenfranchising a legion of committed black voters with a sudden case of late-onset foot-in-mouth?. . .
The world's full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man! Though twisty roads packed tight with choads May stymie you, you can Demure! Avoid their macabre gaze! As gray as Dorian! The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man! Fortuna’s foal find purchase whole Upon Earth’s azure span! The blessed few then sure to view God’s Holy Caravan! The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man! Delight in Worry? Foolscap jury! Non-Prescription Flan! To wit: the Embers cattle-called Entreaty the Sudan; The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man! Malarkey’s barking pale moon parking Innocence D’urban! The atmospherics fear to hear the Cousins of Dianne! The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man! Debase yourself upon the shelf You purchased in Spokane! And nevermore’s a whore’s encore: A frozen-jawed Cheyenne! The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
The world’s full of Beauty, Sir, and I am but a Man!
Ovyerrun ARG UPDATE (more Caldecott info!?)
Clicking the hidden link on the staff page of the DolphinSafePlasticRings site (click the fourth green pixel from the top) will let you hear amxxx.mp3. Portions of the audio are corrupted (perhaps due to their interception and subsequent re-broadcasting by The Nefarious Collective), but a rough transcript (Thanks Kevin!) follows:
WOMAN: They’ve found me. I don’t ***** if they traced the pathways from Caldecott, or whether ****** Relfon Corporation again, but I don’t ****** time to discover a cure for the virus. Or a virus for the cure. ********** going to sign off ******* Oh no!
Caldecott is also referred to in the surveillance footage shown on the Adabraxian Pharmaceuticals page (use name WHYGAR and password POSSIBLEPAST to download the files from the Remote Login page - - this information was obtained by the first 50 people to purchase the Ovyerrun Chronicles game collection via a heat-sensitive sticker on the back of the game box). On the third oil drum from the left in the warehouse footage (check at the 1:14 mark) you can see that the delivery sheet on the drum has been signed by one J. Caldecott (though this may be difficult to see at some resolutions - - check the HD version of the file). There’s a further reference to James Caldecott in the interrogation transcript available in the HTML code of the Smithtrone Security Services site - - apparently he was working on the original Tridium Cluster at the time of the initial impact (January 2057 in the Blue Timeline, February 2031 in the Green Timeline). As for the Relfon Corporation, little can be concretely confirmed at this point, though there is a reference to both “the corporation” and “the virus” in the fourth track of the limited-edition version of the game’s soundtrack (only available from select Spielplan stores during the August 2006 German release). Of course, all of this is moot if we’re following the Red Timeline version of events: in that version of reality, the EMF pulse of the impact eradicated the functionality of 1) the electronics used to record The Disturbance and 2) the transmission tower from which The Disturbance originally originated from; if we accept this as the most realistic version of events, it’s unlikely that any of the Collectives (Nefarious, Seven Keys, or 001-Group) would have been able to piecemeal together the final version of the formula used after the final Convergence, and you have the re-splitting of the timelines predicted on the corrupted version of the About or Community page of DoctorChurch (the original page loads as an uncorrupted JPEG of a woman sitting with a seashell; use your TAB key to highlight and click on all of the hidden links on the page to view the un-cleaned version of the page (this option isn’t available in the White Timeline after the execution of the PurityAtAllCost campaign)).
I’ve got the feeling that we’ve got a few more twists coming up, though -. . .
THE EXCLAMATION BUFFET (the screaming season)
I haven’t masturbated in over two years. I suppose I could have said “masturbated to completion”, though as I am a man, masturbation isn’t really masturbation if it’s not “to completion”. If you’ve ever seen a rated-R motion picture made after, say, 1999, whose main character is a writer or another person whose occupation is creating static pieces of “art”, you might have the impression that masturbation is necessary to getting anything finished. This is both correct and maybe not correct; either way, in the last two years I have found myself almost cripplingly realistic; as a child, I never believed in neither Santa Claus nor the Easter Bunny, and as an adult I dare not apologize for having never tried to pretend I did; as a post-adult I find myself dissatisfied with my own powers of imagination. I’m not having trouble getting laid, I keep telling myself: it’s just that I don’t feel like dealing with the people aspect. I don’t want to have to share my bed, my room, my corner of the city, et cetera. I’ve had interrupted sleep for more than two months; first by a man who snored like God must snore, second by someone who hung a wet towel over my (kind of cheap) wooden living room door, which now makes a horrible squealing sound whenever it’s closed, third by a good friend who actually did nothing to irritate me, and fourth by someone who doesn’t bother me, really, it’s just that by now, when I’ve not had a string of days alone in over two months, I kind of need everyone to go. Today I was working on something that requires excessive concentration — I couldn’t have gotten rich any other way — and the very fact that my mind was wandering from the subject of dollar signs is evidence that I wasn’t concentrating enough, so behold, pornography. Years ago it would have been only slightly untrue to say that typically it’s impossible to find pornography starring “the kinds of girls I find attractive”; now, languages have blossomed in new ways, and my loves are reduced to single keywords. There she is, someone I’ve never met. Like a gosling, I find myself attracted to a specific three-point-two seconds of doggy-style penetration; I find her tooth-line incredible and her little hiccuping-sob-like squeal of pleasure arousing on a philosophical level. Playing the guitar has developed in me amazing enough muscle memory to click the mouse with my left hand while doing something else with the right, so I replay those three-point-two seconds long enough to realize why pornographers spam one camera angle for so long at a time. Repetition rots the mind, truly; after hearing that delightful squeal more than a dozen times, after mapping out its exact shape with the insides of our ears, it becomes like the nickname our mothers called us. It becomes something we respond to with indifference. Imagine having sex with a girl (or a man, if you must) who. . .
the sinking ship dilemma
by Mr. Apol;09112007;2239
I’ll call this “the sinking ship dilemma”.
Basically, you’re in this ship, right? It’s not a particularly attractive ship, but it has this sort of rusty charm that makes you like it despite its flaws. You feel really, truly at home on this ship and the way it rocks back and forth in the saltwater at night helps you go to sleep. One day, you decide to take this ship for a trip to the Arctic Circle even though your sailor buddies are warning you not to and you’re not even sure why you’re doing it yourself. You end up doing it anyway - maybe out of curiosity, maybe out of spite - and everyone sort of chuckles uneasily but they all bid you a safe journey into the wild unknown. You smile, light a cigarette and chug off in that rusty boat for the North.
So, let’s say that you’re chugging through the Arctic Sea and it’s so cold your words are freezing and falling to the ground, clinking when they hit the deck. “But hey,” you think to yourself, “This isn’t so bad. I can swing this sort of life for a while.”
Well, see, then you hit this big bastard of an iceberg. I mean it’s really fucking huge, right? Cuts this big gash all along the side of the boat while you were posing on deck looking cool in your Captain Gordon raincoat and you hear “The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald” playing. Problem is, the big bastard of an iceberg destroyed your radio equipment so you can’t SOS any boats that may be nearby. So, we’re left with a choice:
Do you hold on to the last second, abandon ship, jump into the icy waters of the Artic Sea, shoot some flares and hope to God that there’s a boat nearby that sees you before you freeze to death? Or, do you accept the consequences of your rash and ill-advised journey and sink down into the depths with this rusty but lovable hulk of a ship that really never did you any wrong?
The waters are cold, but the inside of the ship is warm for now; at least it will be until it sinks under the waves. Oh, and if you stay aboard you’ll drown which is quicker and probably more pleasant than dying of hypothermia, desperately trying to stay afloat until your strength wears out and you sink like a stone. Though, is that glimmering of hope - of possible rescue by another warm boat that might be rusty and lovable too - enough to deny fate for? Is that worth betraying the boat that stuck by you until the end - a victim of your decisions - for a few more fleeting moments of life? Do you think you’ll regret not going down with the ship, like a good captain would? Or, should you rage against your misfortune and forge. . .
On Track: How Japan's Railways Are Redefining Travel
Early 19th-century fettuccine magnate Adrian ‘Hats’ Hatsworthcelli once opined that “Speed and Leisure exist in that most dynamic of tensions; each pulls wincing at the other, and the band inevitably snaps.” Food for thought, I suppose - - but like so many people of his day, Hats did not live nestled in the Utopian clockwork of modern Japan. Nor did he ever ride Tokyo’s newest glimmering electromagnetic wunderkind: the 特別USAGI急行列車. If one rightly judges one’s self-worth by the experiences one accrues in life, I am far better than that man.
Outside the USAGI’s peculiarly convex plasticine windows, traditional Tokyo bonsai gardens blur past at a breathtaking 4000kph . . . doubtlessly impressive to the uninitiated, but a far cry from the train’s top speed of 32500. There’s no sound from the frictionless rails - - then again, how could there be, floating as we are a full seventeen meters above them. There’s a slight hiss, of course, pumped into the individual reclining seats that conform directly to the contours of every grateful passenger, but it’s nothing more than an auditory illusion designed to eliminate the unsettling sensation of Unmoored Frictionless Travel (UFT) in those unaccustomed to it . . . and it’s due to be phased out within the next seventeen days. Tokyoites, it must be said, are an adaptive lot.
The same can’t be said, sadly, for Jennifer Tetherbrackt, a self-described cosplay fan and street performer from Denver, CO. She’s wedged herself into the aisle next to me, her chalky, ham-like frame unable to find purchase in one of the USAGI’s chairs. The robotic onigiri vendors swerve nimbly to avoid her. She tries to engage me in lopsided conversation between great gulps of Pocari Sweat, but I realize just how greatly my verbal English has decayed during my long absence from the States. I give her a small origami crane and a wan smile, turning my attention back to CHIEMI.
CHIEMI is my constant companion for this journey - - the form I’ve chosen for her is that of a flaxen-haired Harajuku cosplayer, complete with black ginseng/clove cigarillo. But I’m no pederast: CHIEMI is nothing more than an adaptive-intelligence traveling companion calculated deep within the bowels of the USAGI’S centralized server farm in Hokkaido, beamed instantaneously to one of the JSDF’s orbiting satellite banks, and then down again to my speeding train car. She’s being beamed directly onto the back of my optic nerve via a tracking system in the ceiling (originally developed for use in LASIK). We’re playing Turtle Punch (rough translation), one of the games offered in CHIEMI’s entertainment pack, and the only one that doesn’t require signing up for direct withdrawl from my bank account (I’m no technophobe, but my hanko is currently being reworked to incorporate my new Japanese surname). She’s beginning to look pouty; she does this when you refuse to cough up any additional service fees. I kind of enjoy it.. . .
Second of all, I’ve been waking up a lot lately. You never really notice how much you’re waking up until you wake up at seven different times on seven different calendar days in a row. There’s almost no right to this rhythm. I might go to bed at midnight and wake up at four in the morning, and then I might go to bed at four in the morning that day and wake up at ten AM — and then go to bed at six PM and wake up at three AM. Or stay up that night until nine PM and wake up at three PM the next day. I don’t quite believe that desire to sleep stores up, for one thing. I’d wager that sleep is more of an opportunity than anything else. After all, if I stay awake for four days, that doesn’t mean I’ll then sleep for thirty-two straight hours. More notable is that I’m sleeping more deeply, and I’m seeing terrific dreams; my habitual urination has finally started to merely become part of my dreams. I tell you, there’s hardly anything worse than being heavy with tiredness, one navigational click away from the center of the forest of the night, and vaguely jealous of that pen-knife-like feeling in the groin that tells you you’re going to have to get up and turn on an electric light, and squint for sometimes upward of a minute if you ever want to see the dark side of your imagination again.
It’s been roughly five months since I earned my freedom and slipped into this erratically sleeping existence I occupy. Somewhere in the middle of a recent night, when a friend was sleeping on my sofa and snoring more loudly than a wig factory on fire and all its workers on strike and doubly angry, it hit me that this is probably how I’ll be when I die. It was a fascinating realization — here I was, locked up in a cage with iron bars in the square of that South-American village called My Own Life, with a hot slab of sleep dripping and bloody on a stick inches from as far as my hands reached, and for over a week, as well, and I was entertaining the fatalistic revelation that this way I feel is probably how I’m going to feel when I die, and that there’s nothing morbid about that, really. I see self-entertaining gentlemen all the time, on my increasingly infrequent trips to the hundred-yen store (hypothesis: I might be a human being capable of purchasing enough hundred-yen housewares to last him indefinitely, and eventually I might cease to remember things I’ve forgotten). I see men in their late fifties or even sixties, who seem like they don’t mind not getting up and walking to the train station every morning. . .
This is the fifth in a series, in which I take as much relaxation as a machine can manage to give me, and sip a bit at a bottle of water. It was actually pretty nice. Don’t know if I’m going to buy the T-shirt, but . . . yeah, actually pretty nice.
Love - - at least, the way I work the angles - - has got some explaining to do.
See, Death’s after Love, three feet off her heels; he’s riding flat-out like all the saints and the ghost of Moses was three feet behind him . . . and he’s hungry. Hungry, hot-chained and reckless, on a bike half Harley and half Hell Itself, tires hovering half an inch above the ground.
And you might think that would be enough, to catch a little thing like Love all there alone by her lonesome, but get this: she’s on God’s own moped, that girl, and she’s pushing that holy chunk of tin on high-octane rainbows and unicorn farts, and it’s always just fast enough to hold the distance there.
And so it goes down on down the road, as fast and steady as you please, through the sun and the bugs and the dust and the rain, the ever-loving grind of single-minded obsession and single-minded indifference. And then . . . hell, when they finally meet - - when Love finally digs her spiked pink heels into the dust, and jackknifes that damn moped right there in the middle of the road, and there’s that final conflagration of dust and grease and she looks Death full in the face and screams What. Do. You. Want . . .
That’s something Death hasn’t quite been prepared for.
I mean, he’s looked at the situation from all possible angles at that point, and it’s frankly kind of baffling, to a guy like him. He thought he’d readied himself for any eventuality - - everything from a cup of coffee to a quick rape behind a disused toolshed - - but now, actually face-to-face with her, there in the road . . . he finds himself very much the Dog That Caught The Car.
She flips back her visor. She’s a pretty thing, ‘course, better than Death could have imagined in his loneliest nights, and she’s got a little heart tattooed on her right cheek, right below the eye. He coughs a mess of grime into his fist.
“Uh . . . ”
Death wiggles his toes around in one of his boots.
“Was . . . well, was kind of wondrin’ if you’d like to maybe . . . ah, hell Clarence, you are fucking this up . . . I was . . . well, wondrin’ if you maybe could see clear to finding your way to a cup of coffee or somethin’. With me. I . . . uh, know a pretty good toolshed near hereabouts . . . ”
Love looks at him and blinks, just once - - long lashes and a perfectly balanced sense of the very most cosmopolitan corners of the modern cosmetics industry. She makes herself a damn unfriendly face.
And then she’s off again - - fast, blinding fast, and at the same time taking it just a bit easier, because she. . .
Been A Weird Few Months.
Hi, gang! Been super busy. Things are kind of up in the air right now, and maybe a little weird and also strange, but I think I am kind of trying to sort of deal with all of that here, now. Expect things, if you would. Expectantly.
THE SEXIEST DECADE (or "OH! YOU GRITTY THINGS")
Jobless in a technical sense for two weeks, pledged to begin spending time instead of wasting it, four to six days removed from something of a guitar epiphany [regarding scales], hoping to stop cracking my knuckles already and start finishing that science-fiction murder-mystery novel set during the male masturbation marathon in the 2244 Winter Olympics in Tokyo (chief reason for procrastination: My Lord, This Story is Dense) or else start recording a couple of these polished as hell pop-rock masterpieces (I’m like the Kinks sucking of Dinosaur Jr while Jesus and Mary Chain watch with Slurpees in hand over here) for the purpose of showing my drummer (chief reason for procrastination: Garageband is kind of an annoying program for not letting me layer tracks exactly as I want to), I’d instead fallen feet-first into a shallow era wherein I found it quite easier than anything to sleep for more than fourteen hours a day; yes, that’s more than half a day; I’d suggested to a goatee-wearing reflection of myself in a dream I don’t exactly remember (I had a couple of good ones of those) on a night that felt like the other night though was probably more than a week ago that I could make a killing on broadway if Salon.com were gracious enough to deem sleeping “the new singing and dancing”; following a moment-like twenty-two hour sleep session during which I think I filled out an IOU marked “one apology” to a girl who had come over with hopes of maybe putting her hand on my leg as I sat next to her on the sofa (reason for her failure: I couldn’t get out of the bed), I arrived at a revelation the way a train arrives at a station, the way a merry-go-round arrives at a revolution: that it was high time to start opening curtains, to let the sun shine in, to let the wind of the world blow once again into this kimchee-stinking (though otherwise impeccably clean) modern-day caveman haunt; and when I did this, it was good; I had woken up prior to noon six days in a row, and prior to ten AM for three days; I had proven that the prejudice that flits on the surface of a Japanese person-face when I say “I don’t have a job right now” (that prejudice that amazingly doesn’t go away when I say I have enough money to buy a condo with my fucking credit card (three reasons I haven’t bought the condo yet: Location, location, location)) is wholly unfounded and kind of sad: sitting around on a sofa that might as well be stuffed with dollar bills isn’t a bad or even dishonest lifestyle, especially when there are movies to watch; and I’m getting sidetracked and I know that, so to recap: recently sleepy, now wide-awake, after dinner, doing a little translation work, ready to go to bed of my own accord, I check my email on this here blazing-fast top-of-the-line highest-of-the-high-tech Macbook. . .