Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Of course, the flipside of art-as-therapy is that you become a sort of professional patient, much like actors learning their craft can lose whatever it is that makes them unique as individuals and turn into wankers. Art isn’t a cure-all, by any means.
2. Who Counts?
Whereas the previous song has a sort of clear-eyed resignation about it, this one is just a kind of unfocused low-key rant. They seem to tackling the same subject though, which is either coincidental programming or because I’m always baubsing on about the same kind of stuff.
Ah, but what?
This is a remix of all those other songs about the same thing.
5. Potter’s Wheel.
This is the soundtrack for skill in creativity, the point where art meets craft, or vice versa.
This is a Marxist analysis of class/race in relation to rock ‘n’ roll labour (and alienation from it), and explores the dialectical tension between base and superstructure implicit in the aforementioned.
This is meant to sound like we are cautiously approaching a clearing.
8. The Half-Half.
Pete Um gets his misogynistic comeuppance when an emissary arrives.
9. Thru The Wooze.
This is the sound of something fighting to establish itself, but uncertainly, like the first steps of the baby giraffe. The “almost” moment, the anticipation, is precious, because one can never come back from the new state once it is reached.
I did a Wiley-style mix-CD intro for this last Bumskipper. It was like: “Yo, this is Pete Um! Bumskipper 11! Hold tight Dave!” Unsurprisingly it didn’t come off and I realized it would mess up my tracklistings as well. It would be great if someone could spit on this, actually.
11. Honey, I’m Lost.
My computer is unnervingly stable these days, but I’m grateful to my buddies in the ADAT and reel-to-reel kingdoms, and even the humble cassette four-track, which provides two songs, of which this is one.
12. Timorous Western Economy.
And this is another, albeit a different cassette four-track. What does it feel like to be China? Maybe like suddenly finding yourself to be the QE2 on her final cruise.
13. ReVox Entity Shakedown.
Can’t bring myself to record over the African voices on the Distance Learning reels C. Joynes gave me. Recordings as sacred, like ancestral voices, which will outlive us. Tape as a ghost, a temporal blur. The half-working ReVox, fitted with tape of unknown provenance, is looped into a muddy, hissing mystery. Run the voodoo down.
14. The Night’s Afternoon.
The nighttime counterpart to that languid bit of the day around 4PM. The all-too-brief period where humanity shuts up for once.
15. + bonus recording!
It seems unlikely, but Richard D. James came round my house once, really, really pissed.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
We may never know whether Richard D. James is a genius, or whether he’s just gone off the boil, or whatever. Personally I’m a Selected Ambient Works 2 man. With the Analord series, however, one is forced to accept that he’s ingeniously got shot of a sizable chunk of his backlog of tracks without having the pressure of people scrutinising a new album proper. He may well have made some money out of the enterprise too. Now the last CD-R I did was Giraffe, and I’m quite proud of it still. In fact I’m a little bit worried that I may have peaked with Giraffe, because everything I’ve done since hasn’t really felt like a track on the next album. Admittedly I’ve had a lot of computer voodoo, which for various reasons has resulted in either not being able to use a PC to make music (and relying instead on reel-to-reel tape, ADAT 8-track, and even crap loops on the Line 6 DL4) or making music with a PC but in the sure knowledge that it won’t be for very long. The point is I’ve got tons of stuff but it lacks the sexy pop sheen that characterised my earlier work, perhaps, and so I’ve decided to shamelessly ape our Aphex by releasing it piecemeal. Obviously I haven’t got the cash to present eleven 12” records in a retro culture fetish binder, so the Bumskipper project, as I’m calling it for now, will consist of a series of eleven 3” mini CDs. They play in normal CD players, it’s just that they’re smaller and therefore, possibly, cuter. You can fit 21 minutes of audio on a 3-incher, which is OK for the Um sound on account of the artistic denseness, obviously. I’ll be releasing them over the next few months as the whim takes me, but hopefully on a monthly basis at least. Think of it as being like a magazine or something. Anyway, Bumskipper 1 is available now at £3. I’m kind of hoping that if you visit PayPal at www.paypal.co.uk and tell them you want to give email@example.com £3+50p(p&p) then that will work but otherwise get in touch at the same address and I’ll tell you how to do it cheque-styles. Or see me at an Um gig or come round my house, innit.
Saturday, July 07, 2007
The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins · Bantam, 406 pp, £20.00
Imagine someone holding forth on biology whose only knowledge of the subject is the Book of British Birds, and you have a rough idea of what it feels like to read Richard Dawkins on theology. Card-carrying rationalists like Dawkins, who is the nearest thing to a professional atheist we have had since Bertrand Russell, are in one sense the least well-equipped to understand what they castigate, since they don’t believe there is anything there to be understood, or at least anything worth understanding. This is why they invariably come up with vulgar caricatures of religious faith that would make a first-year theology student wince. The more they detest religion, the more ill-informed their criticisms of it tend to be. If they were asked to pass judgment on phenomenology or the geopolitics of South Asia, they would no doubt bone up on the question as assiduously as they could. When it comes to theology, however, any shoddy old travesty will pass muster. These days, theology is the queen of the sciences in a rather less august sense of the word than in its medieval heyday.
Dawkins on God is rather like those right-wing Cambridge dons who filed eagerly into the Senate House some years ago to non-placet Jacques Derrida for an honorary degree. Very few of them, one suspects, had read more than a few pages of his work, and even that judgment might be excessively charitable. Yet they would doubtless have been horrified to receive an essay on Hume from a student who had not read his Treatise of Human Nature. There are always topics on which otherwise scrupulous minds will cave in with scarcely a struggle to the grossest prejudice. For a lot of academic psychologists, it is Jacques Lacan; for Oxbridge philosophers it is Heidegger; for former citizens of the Soviet bloc it is the writings of Marx; for militant rationalists it is religion.
What, one wonders, are Dawkins’s views on the epistemological differences between Aquinas and Duns Scotus? Has he read Eriugena on subjectivity, Rahner on grace or Moltmann on hope? Has he even heard of them? Or does he imagine like a bumptious young barrister that you can defeat the opposition while being complacently ignorant of its toughest case? Dawkins, it appears, has sometimes been told by theologians that he sets up straw men only to bowl them over, a charge he rebuts in this book; but if The God Delusion is anything to go by, they are absolutely right. As far as theology goes, Dawkins has an enormous amount in common with Ian Paisley and American TV evangelists. Both parties agree pretty much on what religion is; it’s just that Dawkins rejects it while Oral Roberts and his unctuous tribe grow fat on it.
A molehill of instances out of a mountain of them will have to suffice. Dawkins considers that all faith is blind faith, and that Christian and Muslim children are brought up to believe unquestioningly. Not even the dim-witted clerics who knocked me about at grammar school thought that. For mainstream Christianity, reason, argument and honest doubt have always played an integral role in belief. (Where, given that he invites us at one point to question everything, is Dawkins’s own critique of science, objectivity, liberalism, atheism and the like?) Reason, to be sure, doesn’t go all the way down for believers, but it doesn’t for most sensitive, civilised non-religious types either. Even Richard Dawkins lives more by faith than by reason. We hold many beliefs that have no unimpeachably rational justification, but are nonetheless reasonable to entertain. Only positivists think that ‘rational’ means ‘scientific’. Dawkins rejects the surely reasonable case that science and religion are not in competition on the grounds that this insulates religion from rational inquiry. But this is a mistake: to claim that science and religion pose different questions to the world is not to suggest that if the bones of Jesus were discovered in Palestine, the pope should get himself down to the dole queue as fast as possible. It is rather to claim that while faith, rather like love, must involve factual knowledge, it is not reducible to it. For my claim to love you to be coherent, I must be able to explain what it is about you that justifies it; but my bank manager might agree with my dewy-eyed description of you without being in love with you himself.
Dawkins holds that the existence or non-existence of God is a scientific hypothesis which is open to rational demonstration. Christianity teaches that to claim that there is a God must be reasonable, but that this is not at all the same thing as faith. Believing in God, whatever Dawkins might think, is not like concluding that aliens or the tooth fairy exist. God is not a celestial super-object or divine UFO, about whose existence we must remain agnostic until all the evidence is in. Theologians do not believe that he is either inside or outside the universe, as Dawkins thinks they do. His transcendence and invisibility are part of what he is, which is not the case with the Loch Ness monster. This is not to say that religious people believe in a black hole, because they also consider that God has revealed himself: not, as Dawkins thinks, in the guise of a cosmic manufacturer even smarter than Dawkins himself (the New Testament has next to nothing to say about God as Creator), but for Christians at least, in the form of a reviled and murdered political criminal. The Jews of the so-called Old Testament had faith in God, but this does not mean that after debating the matter at a number of international conferences they decided to endorse the scientific hypothesis that there existed a supreme architect of the universe – even though, as Genesis reveals, they were of this opinion. They had faith in God in the sense that I have faith in you. They may well have been mistaken in their view; but they were not mistaken because their scientific hypothesis was unsound.
Dawkins speaks scoffingly of a personal God, as though it were entirely obvious exactly what this might mean. He seems to imagine God, if not exactly with a white beard, then at least as some kind of chap, however supersized. He asks how this chap can speak to billions of people simultaneously, which is rather like wondering why, if Tony Blair is an octopus, he has only two arms. For Judeo-Christianity, God is not a person in the sense that Al Gore arguably is. Nor is he a principle, an entity, or ‘existent’: in one sense of that word it would be perfectly coherent for religious types to claim that God does not in fact exist. He is, rather, the condition of possibility of any entity whatsoever, including ourselves. He is the answer to why there is something rather than nothing. God and the universe do not add up to two, any more than my envy and my left foot constitute a pair of objects.
This, not some super-manufacturing, is what is traditionally meant by the claim that God is Creator. He is what sustains all things in being by his love; and this would still be the case even if the universe had no beginning. To say that he brought it into being ex nihilo is not a measure of how very clever he is, but to suggest that he did it out of love rather than need. The world was not the consequence of an inexorable chain of cause and effect. Like a Modernist work of art, there is no necessity about it at all, and God might well have come to regret his handiwork some aeons ago. The Creation is the original acte gratuit. God is an artist who did it for the sheer love or hell of it, not a scientist at work on a magnificently rational design that will impress his research grant body no end.
Because the universe is God’s, it shares in his life, which is the life of freedom. This is why it works all by itself, and why science and Richard Dawkins are therefore both possible. The same is true of human beings: God is not an obstacle to our autonomy and enjoyment but, as Aquinas argues, the power that allows us to be ourselves. Like the unconscious, he is closer to us than we are to ourselves. He is the source of our self-determination, not the erasure of it. To be dependent on him, as to be dependent on our friends, is a matter of freedom and fulfilment. Indeed, friendship is the word Aquinas uses to characterise the relation between God and humanity.
Dawkins, who is as obsessed with the mechanics of Creation as his Creationist opponents, understands nothing of these traditional doctrines. Nor does he understand that because God is transcendent of us (which is another way of saying that he did not have to bring us about), he is free of any neurotic need for us and wants simply to be allowed to love us. Dawkins’s God, by contrast, is Satanic. Satan (‘accuser’ in Hebrew) is the misrecognition of God as Big Daddy and punitive judge, and Dawkins’s God is precisely such a repulsive superego. This false consciousness is overthrown in the person of Jesus, who reveals the Father as friend and lover rather than judge. Dawkins’s Supreme Being is the God of those who seek to avert divine wrath by sacrificing animals, being choosy in their diet and being impeccably well behaved. They cannot accept the scandal that God loves them just as they are, in all their moral shabbiness. This is one reason St Paul remarks that the law is cursed. Dawkins sees Christianity in terms of a narrowly legalistic notion of atonement – of a brutally vindictive God sacrificing his own child in recompense for being offended – and describes the belief as vicious and obnoxious. It’s a safe bet that the Archbishop of Canterbury couldn’t agree more. It was the imperial Roman state, not God, that murdered Jesus.
Dawkins thinks it odd that Christians don’t look eagerly forward to death, given that they will thereby be ushered into paradise. He does not see that Christianity, like most religious faiths, values human life deeply, which is why the martyr differs from the suicide. The suicide abandons life because it has become worthless; the martyr surrenders his or her most precious possession for the ultimate well-being of others. This act of self-giving is generally known as sacrifice, a word that has unjustly accrued all sorts of politically incorrect implications. Jesus, Dawkins speculates, might have desired his own betrayal and death, a case the New Testament writers deliberately seek to rebuff by including the Gethsemane scene, in which Jesus is clearly panicking at the prospect of his impending execution. They also put words into his mouth when he is on the cross to make much the same point. Jesus did not die because he was mad or masochistic, but because the Roman state and its assorted local lackeys and running dogs took fright at his message of love, mercy and justice, as well as at his enormous popularity with the poor, and did away with him to forestall a mass uprising in a highly volatile political situation. Several of Jesus’ close comrades were probably Zealots, members of an anti-imperialist underground movement. Judas’ surname suggests that he may have been one of them, which makes his treachery rather more intelligible: perhaps he sold out his leader in bitter disenchantment, recognising that he was not, after all, the Messiah. Messiahs are not born in poverty; they do not spurn weapons of destruction; and they tend to ride into the national capital in bullet-proof limousines with police outriders, not on a donkey.
Jesus, who pace Dawkins did indeed ‘derive his ethics from the Scriptures’ (he was a devout Jew, not the founder of a fancy new set-up), was a joke of a Messiah. He was a carnivalesque parody of a leader who understood, so it would appear, that any regime not founded on solidarity with frailty and failure is bound to collapse under its own hubris. The symbol of that failure was his crucifixion. In this faith, he was true to the source of life he enigmatically called his Father, who in the guise of the Old Testament Yahweh tells the Hebrews that he hates their burnt offerings and that their incense stinks in his nostrils. They will know him for what he is, he reminds them, when they see the hungry being filled with good things and the rich being sent empty away. You are not allowed to make a fetish or graven image of this God, since the only image of him is human flesh and blood. Salvation for Christianity has to do with caring for the sick and welcoming the immigrant, protecting the poor from the violence of the rich. It is not a ‘religious’ affair at all, and demands no special clothing, ritual behaviour or fussiness about diet. (The Catholic prohibition on meat on Fridays is an unscriptural church regulation.)
Jesus hung out with whores and social outcasts, was remarkably casual about sex, disapproved of the family (the suburban Dawkins is a trifle queasy about this), urged us to be laid-back about property and possessions, warned his followers that they too would die violently, and insisted that the truth kills and divides as well as liberates. He also cursed self-righteous prigs and deeply alarmed the ruling class.
The Christian faith holds that those who are able to look on the crucifixion and live, to accept that the traumatic truth of human history is a tortured body, might just have a chance of new life – but only by virtue of an unimaginable transformation in our currently dire condition. This is known as the resurrection. Those who don’t see this dreadful image of a mutilated innocent as the truth of history are likely to be devotees of that bright-eyed superstition known as infinite human progress, for which Dawkins is a full-blooded apologist. Or they might be well-intentioned reformers or social democrats, which from a Christian standpoint simply isn’t radical enough.
The central doctrine of Christianity, then, is not that God is a bastard. It is, in the words of the late Dominican theologian Herbert McCabe, that if you don’t love you’re dead, and if you do, they’ll kill you. Here, then, is your pie in the sky and opium of the people. It was, of course, Marx who coined that last phrase; but Marx, who in the same passage describes religion as the ‘heart of a heartless world, the soul of soulless conditions’, was rather more judicious and dialectical in his judgment on it than the lunging, flailing, mispunching Dawkins.
Now it may well be that all this is no more plausible than the tooth fairy. Most reasoning people these days will see excellent grounds to reject it. But critics of the richest, most enduring form of popular culture in human history have a moral obligation to confront that case at its most persuasive, rather than grabbing themselves a victory on the cheap by savaging it as so much garbage and gobbledygook. The mainstream theology I have just outlined may well not be true; but anyone who holds it is in my view to be respected, whereas Dawkins considers that no religious belief, anytime or anywhere, is worthy of any respect whatsoever. This, one might note, is the opinion of a man deeply averse to dogmatism. Even moderate religious views, he insists, are to be ferociously contested, since they can always lead to fanaticism.
Some currents of the liberalism that Dawkins espouses have nowadays degenerated into a rather nasty brand of neo-liberalism, but in my view this is no reason not to champion liberalism. In some obscure way, Dawkins manages to imply that the Bishop of Oxford is responsible for Osama bin Laden. His polemic would come rather more convincingly from a man who was a little less arrogantly triumphalistic about science (there are a mere one or two gestures in the book to its fallibility), and who could refrain from writing sentences like ‘this objection [to a particular scientific view] can be answered by the suggestion . . . that there are many universes,’ as though a suggestion constituted a scientific rebuttal. On the horrors that science and technology have wreaked on humanity, he is predictably silent. Yet the Apocalypse is far more likely to be the product of them than the work of religion. Swap you the Inquisition for chemical warfare.
Such is Dawkins’s unruffled scientific impartiality that in a book of almost four hundred pages, he can scarcely bring himself to concede that a single human benefit has flowed from religious faith, a view which is as a priori improbable as it is empirically false. The countless millions who have devoted their lives selflessly to the service of others in the name of Christ or Buddha or Allah are wiped from human history – and this by a self-appointed crusader against bigotry. He is like a man who equates socialism with the Gulag. Like the puritan and sex, Dawkins sees God everywhere, even where he is self-evidently absent. He thinks, for example, that the ethno-political conflict in Northern Ireland would evaporate if religion did, which to someone like me, who lives there part of the time, betrays just how little he knows about it. He also thinks rather strangely that the terms Loyalist and Nationalist are ‘euphemisms’ for Protestant and Catholic, and clearly doesn’t know the difference between a Loyalist and a Unionist or a Nationalist and a Republican. He also holds, against a good deal of the available evidence, that Islamic terrorism is inspired by religion rather than politics.
These are not just the views of an enraged atheist. They are the opinions of a readily identifiable kind of English middle-class liberal rationalist. Reading Dawkins, who occasionally writes as though ‘Thou still unravish’d bride of quietness’ is a mighty funny way to describe a Grecian urn, one can be reasonably certain that he would not be Europe’s greatest enthusiast for Foucault, psychoanalysis, agitprop, Dadaism, anarchism or separatist feminism. All of these phenomena, one imagines, would be as distasteful to his brisk, bloodless rationality as the virgin birth. Yet one can of course be an atheist and a fervent fan of them all. His God-hating, then, is by no means simply the view of a scientist admirably cleansed of prejudice. It belongs to a specific cultural context. One would not expect to muster many votes for either anarchism or the virgin birth in North Oxford. (I should point out that I use the term North Oxford in an ideological rather than geographical sense. Dawkins may be relieved to know that I don’t actually know where he lives.)
There is a very English brand of common sense that believes mostly in what it can touch, weigh and taste, and The God Delusion springs from, among other places, that particular stable. At its most philistine and provincial, it makes Dick Cheney sound like Thomas Mann. The secular Ten Commandments that Dawkins commends to us, one of which advises us to enjoy our sex lives so long as they don’t damage others, are for the most part liberal platitudes. Dawkins quite rightly detests fundamentalists; but as far as I know his anti-religious diatribes have never been matched in his work by a critique of the global capitalism that generates the hatred, anxiety, insecurity and sense of humiliation that breed fundamentalism. Instead, as the obtuse media chatter has it, it’s all down to religion.
It thus comes as no surprise that Dawkins turns out to be an old-fashioned Hegelian when it comes to global politics, believing in a zeitgeist (his own term) involving ever increasing progress, with just the occasional ‘reversal’. ‘The whole wave,’ he rhapsodises in the finest Whiggish manner, ‘keeps moving.’ There are, he generously concedes, ‘local and temporary setbacks’ like the present US government – as though that regime were an electoral aberration, rather than the harbinger of a drastic transformation of the world order that we will probably have to live with for as long as we can foresee. Dawkins, by contrast, believes, in his Herbert Spencerish way, that ‘the progressive trend is unmistakable and it will continue.’ So there we are, then: we have it from the mouth of Mr Public Science himself that aside from a few local, temporary hiccups like ecological disasters, famine, ethnic wars and nuclear wastelands, History is perpetually on the up.
Apart from the occasional perfunctory gesture to ‘sophisticated’ religious believers, Dawkins tends to see religion and fundamentalist religion as one and the same. This is not only grotesquely false; it is also a device to outflank any more reflective kind of faith by implying that it belongs to the coterie and not to the mass. The huge numbers of believers who hold something like the theology I outlined above can thus be conveniently lumped with rednecks who murder abortionists and malign homosexuals. As far as such outrages go, however, The God Delusion does a very fine job indeed. The two most deadly texts on the planet, apart perhaps from Donald Rumsfeld’s emails, are the Bible and the Koran; and Dawkins, as one the best of liberals as well as one of the worst, has done a magnificent job over the years of speaking out against that particular strain of psychopathology known as fundamentalism, whether Texan or Taliban. He is right to repudiate the brand of mealy-mouthed liberalism which believes that one has to respect other people’s silly or obnoxious ideas just because they are other people’s. In its admirably angry way, The God Delusion argues that the status of atheists in the US is nowadays about the same as that of gays fifty years ago. The book is full of vivid vignettes of the sheer horrors of religion, fundamentalist or otherwise. Nearly 50 per cent of Americans believe that a glorious Second Coming is imminent, and some of them are doing their damnedest to bring it about. But Dawkins could have told us all this without being so appallingly bitchy about those of his scientific colleagues who disagree with him, and without being so theologically illiterate. He might also have avoided being the second most frequently mentioned individual in his book – if you count God as an individual.
Terry Eagleton is John Edward Taylor Professor of English Literature at Manchester University. His latest book is How to Read a Poem.
Thursday, June 07, 2007
Tuesday, June 05, 2007
My Mum saw Elton john in concert the other night.
Our pick of the Month is Flying!!!
CARBON RACE (WKN 15Q105)
Last price: 0,95
52 Weekrange : 0,50 - 1,16
Watch for Monday May 14th 2007. Our Best Pick of the Week. This is our
9:30am Richard Christy's Stories Of Crapping And Wanking. 6:05am Sour
Shoes As Elton John Calls In. Benjy said that he went and got a colonic
and the people he got it from knew Robin because she used to get the
Jules said that today is Melanoma Monday and everyone should go to the
doctor to get their moles checked to see if they're cancerous.
7:15am Nicole Sheridan Has Phone Sex With Governor Schwarzenegger? Jeff
said he's on his way home now and he will check himself into the
hospital when he gets home.
6:45am Eric The Midget Needs A Job.
Jules know that they're going to go back and admit him to the medical
center so he can get treatment for that mess on his ass.
Robin said that she used to have a lot of carrots come out of her. He
lifted up his shirt and still had hanging skin.
Howard said Levy was eating some chick's ass up on stage. Benjy tried to
speak but his mouth was dry from not drinking any water.
Jules said that there are some people out there who can go through stuff
like that and live no problem while other people go through similar
things and die trying to fight it. Howard had Scott the Engineer get on
the scale and he came in at 213 pounds.
Jason started out at 271 pounds and weighed in at 212 this week.
Artie said he did figure out the best way to possibly get laid while
he's out on the road.
He didn't get into details. The guys said he was really out of it from
starving himself. 8:15am Joey Buttafuocco Calls In. Benjy was acting
weird so the guys pointed that out and said it looked like he was on
speed or something. Robin said Benjy looked crazy this morning and he
was acting crazy as well. 10:15am WednesdayThursday Various Bits, Clips
And Song Parodies.
8:45am Imus Lawsuit Discussions.
Jeff was yelling at Dr. Brian asked him how it felt to be meth'd out but
Benjy said it's just not right to accuse him of something like that.
He didn't get into details. 9:30am Howard 100 News And Wrap Up Show
Tim Sabean wasn't there but everyone knew he didn't have a chance of
winning. Jules when he was trying to tell him he needs to go back to the
hospital this week.
7:00am Lisa G's Howard 100 News Preview.
10:15am WednesdayThursday Various Bits, Clips And Song Parodies.
Brian Phelan from Howard TV was first up. Artie said he had about 5
girls up in his hotel room that night down there in Miami.
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Bumskipper 10 Sleevenotes.
1. Freeking In.
Music to help one FREAK BACK IN.
2. God Of War.
I was on a bit of a Kool Keith tip here, and I really wanted a saxophone suddenly, and all I had was a balloon.
Or joyless fader impeller.
This inverts the Freudian conception of Thanatos to position the death-seeker as a cold-blooded type who waits in dread for The End, which will arrive as the result of the risky business undertaken by those who brim hotly with life.
5. She Gets To Work.
Who is she? This could refer to a number of possible scenarios, so essentially it is up to you.
6. If You Speak My Real Name.
This is the love song sung by those who have no-one to love and be loved by, to the person somewhere that they hope will one day fill that role.
7. Guildown Moonrise.
I, tripping, saw the moon come up over a hill in Surrey once, and I swear that it was so large that it wasn’t until almost none of what I perceived to be some MASSIVE UNKNOWABLE FREAKY SKY-EGG was still obscured by the land that I could trust myself to believe that it was indeed the moon.
8. Safe Part Of The World.
This is meant to replicate the sense of unease produced by living in a non-militarized zone in the modern fucked-up world.
9. Quiet Days.
This is about living in what one hopes is bohemian obscurity. Sneagles is our family word for head lice.
10. The French Section.
I think every city should have a French section, and that it should be quite mysterious, especially at night, in rather an exaggerated way. Don’t overdo it though. No more than one mime-artist, for instance.
11. Born To Loop.
I feel lucky to have reached manhood in the full flush of the Age Of The Loop, so this is kind of a love song to the loop.
Ideally this should be played well, with feeling, by a proper group. Stereolab would do at a pinch. It would be danced to by the young Mahotella Queens.
13. Mortal Song.
This kind of belongs with Cold. Thought my days were numbered again.
14. Crop Destroyer.
This is about losing a lot very quickly.
15. Rewind Loukas.
From The Loukas Tapes.
Friday, May 11, 2007
1. Built To Spill.
This song has a totemic quality to me that is explained at least in part by the fact that I thought I had lost it for ages during that voodoo incident when the drives on my PC exchanged names. Thus, when it was saved, and came back to me Prodigal Son style, it had lived to tell me about my poor character and wastefulness. The song also suggests that one should not believe in oneself and act accordingly, but rather listen to what you’re told, as the other bastard often has a more objective view. Current moralities, such that they are, have led to a decline in good advice, I feel.
2. Nigerian Secret Service.
Fela for President!
3. Indigenous Craftsman.
The winds of technological change swirl into the blacksmith’s forge, or across the face of some guy mending his nets on the beach, and the rhythm of life changes forever. I’m sticking with vinyl, however.
4. Your Fascist Planet.
In which the singer attempts to redistribute our stocks of shame on a more equal basis. People, bound by arbitrary discourse, are unable to see the creative role they play in how fucked things are. Good men do little things here and there, but the rare Um guitar solo at the end is hardly likely to transform global consciousness.
Someone once said all that Morrissey needed was a hamburger and good fuck. This is more like Morrisette: Hand In My Pocket, that cultural pacifier you hear on Radio Two while yr hanging in the dead time of the charity shop, feeling Queasy. One must practice a Zen acceptance of Total Crap, however, to fight the good fight.
6. Lucky Star.
They say drawing is like taking a line for a walk. Once this woman tried to help me get from the Tate Modern to a warehouse party and got completely lost in her own part of London and we almost fell out, even though I only met her on the way. This is kind of what happened with this song, and the song and I both feel hurt and resentful. I feel like the song has let me down, and the song blames me because I was supposed to know where I was going.
7. The Thing.
This song expresses the (potentially inaccurate) hope that by ignoring the root of all your problems, if such a thing should exist, its effects would be lessened to a great extent.
8. Vote Pete.
This is quite hopeful too, in a piss-taking sort of way. It’s kind of about enfranchising yourself, because you have to be in it to win it, innit? You have to change the script, but you also have to remember what part you are playing, too. I finished mixing this and stepped out onto Mill Road and immediately spotted a youth wearing a T-shirt that said “VOTE PEDRO”.
9. In God’s Big Car.
In which we go for a ride in God’s Big Car, which is a large new black Mercedes or something. It’s a POV video where you just see the road, the footwell of the rear passenger seat, the door clunk shut and then shots of the city at night. You don’t see God, or find out what we are doing in his car.
10. Marriage Song.
When you’re young you see things in black and white, and then the world gets increasingly grey. This song evokes acceptance, resignation even, but is not about literal marriage. What would I know about that anyway?
11. Politically Unconscious.
Society of the Spectacle. If you’re not deeply troubled, you just haven’t figured it out yet, etc.
12. Heat And Flies Raga.
Just some technique-free hard-panned reel-to-reel jam to make up the numbers. Sorry the bongos sound like some idiot dog that’s trying to follow you home.
Thursday, May 03, 2007
Friday, April 13, 2007
Thursday, April 12, 2007
By Jerome Parks
Brilliant people in conflict with brilliant people. Follow the
labyrinth of move and counter-move as Rita Adler (The Jewess) evolves
from ordinary woman to formidable adversary.
Adolph Hitler gasped for air. A low moan sounded deep in
his throat. His right hand slid up and down his erection in ever
faster movements. His left hand held a glass jar over the head of his
penis. His body suddenly spasmed against the plush of the soft leather
couch. A primeval scream partially suppressed through clenched teeth
resounded through the room. The sound was deadened by the rich
tapestries that covered the walls of the semi-dark office.
Still breathing heavily, the leader of the Third Reich held
the jar up to a light and studied the sticky substance slowly sliding
down the insides of the container. He stood, screwed the cap into
place and set the jar on his desk next to the untouched photographs of
nude women in various provocative poses. He forced his still
semi-erect penis into his pants and buttoned his fly. He looked down
to see if his clothes were in proper array. Satisfied, he bent over
and picked up the picture of his mother that had fallen from his lap
during the final moment of ecstasy. He slid the picture into the
inside breast pocket of his tunic making sure it was deeply seated. He
then pressed a buzzer and left the room.
Moments later, Colonel Ludwig Schmidt, wearing the uniform
of the elite SS guard, entered and gathered the photographs. He placed
them in an envelope that had been lying on the desk. The envelope was
marked "TOP SECRET" in bold red letters across its front and back. The
Colonel then took the jar and placed it in an insulated steel?cased
box packed with dry ice. He closed the cover and secured it with a
heavy brass lock. From his pocket he removed a small candle and
cigarette lighter. After lighting the candle he held it so that the
hot wax dripped into the keyhole and the surrounding area of the lock.
He then pressed the face of a signet ring he was wearing against the
still soft wax. He then left the room taking the envelope and the box
THE BERMUDA TRIANGLE, ONE YEAR LATER
The submarine's periscope cleaved the warm waters of the
Caribbean Sea exposing no more than two feet of camouflaged metal
above the lapping waves. It slowly rotated, scanning the horizon
through the splash caused by the mild tropical winds. The bright
moonlight made the lone freighter on the horizon stand out in bold
"Down periscope," the Captain said, smartly folding the
handle bars. He turned to the young blond militarily erect man dressed
in ordinary seaman's clothes and said, "Come Colonel Schmidt, let us
go to my quarters and go over the plans for transferring the personnel
to the freighter."
Sitting at the steel planning desk in the cramped quarters
the Captain faced the Colonel and said, "It is no secret the war is
going badly. The Allies are dominating the sea lanes and I have grave
doubts about my ability to get this sub and its crew back to the
Fatherland. It is one thing to die for the Fuhrer in battle; it is
quite another to play nursemaid to a dozen pregnant women. Can you not
tell me as officer to officer what this is all about? I promise you
the information will go no further than within this room. It would
make our fate more bearable if I knew the sacrifice was of
The Colonel studied the submarine's Captain across the desk
before answering. "The twelve women are pregnant with the Fuhrer's
The Captain sat dumbfounded. Finally he said,
"Gottimhimmel! How is it possible? All twelve? Why are they on this
U-boat? What is this all about?"
As he started to speak, the Colonel's voice rose from low
key to a hysterical crescendo. "As you observed, Captain, the war is
going badly. Our Fuhrer is a brilliant man. He sees far beyond the
immediacy of today's battles?won or lost. He plans only for the
ultimate domination of this globe by pure Aryans. The twelve women
represent the best of German womanhood, each the purest Aryan. Each
selected for breeding qualities of health and intelligence. Each from
families that bore predominantly male offspring.
?Through the use of eugenic selection and artificial
insemination it is the Fuhrer's plan to father a child in his own
image. A child who would possess his genius and determination. That
child will be raised in America and ultimately rise to a position of
power. In America he will plant the seeds that will mature into the
Fourth Reich. He will become?The American Fuhrer.
Tuesday, March 27, 2007
We appreciate your chickens
Nachgesalzen und Raag wrote:
Great are your stories
They are excellent and first class
We are a group of visual artists called Blaumeise in Braunschweig
We collect chickens on paper. That means we incite people to draw chickens
on paper and sent it to us. We then show the drawing on our website.
You can draw one, two or more chickens. ….. please …...please
We appreciate your chickens
We are currently trying to create a gallery for prominent people, the " Promi-netten"
There is lack of such dignity on the site.
Three times Kikerike
Nachgesalzen und Raag wrote:
Dear UM ,
thats a great Zettelhuhn … thanx …
you can see it :
and we have LINK you :
thank you for all.
For more FUN in life …RAAG
Friday, March 23, 2007
Me and Phil had a chat about the fact that a lot of people seem to live inside a kind of bullshit dreamworld last night. I guess the point is obvious but it was refreshing to hear his mentalist worldview was so similar, and was experienced subjectively in much the same way. I think Phil then said he had been studying molecular science, because he wanted to start at the beginning. I told him he was living in a bullshit dreamworld. I dunno, I can't recall the conversation very clearly. We were quite caned.
I bought one of these in Resale the other week. It's a beautiful thing but of course the MFU has to have it, so it'll be trucking off to the Moonbase before long, and I'll have fifty notes to spend on Stella. I spoil that girl.
Do I pass on too many things to the Man From Uranus?
Tuesday, March 20, 2007
Friday, March 09, 2007
Um Bumskipper 8
The Loukas Extract.
I haven’t actually heard The Caretaker, but this is how I imagine it sounds.
If the future is a jackboot stamping on a human face forever then the only potential crumb of comfort is that they cannot make us want to be dominated or destroyed. Our fascist overlords can bend us to their will but our eyes will betray the fact that our humanity is essentially sovereign.
This is about being taken to another place.
My Fatal Floor.
Sometimes it can be hard to live up to oneself after round mine.
Soundtrack to construction/engineering project in space.
Andy Likes The Ducks.
Music to watch ducks by, or watch someone watching ducks, with the sun in your eyes.
If we had to sing an anthem for our race we would look like Frank Lampard moving his lips about uncertainly during God Save The Queen, much less get it in tune.
This one has a light touch.
More interrogation of the art and the artist by the artist and his art, with teasing and confusion.
Did you see that thing on TV where Dan Cruickshank visited some Ethiopian monastery and the priest let him have a quick gander at an ancient religious text which seemed to point to the role of psilocybin mushrooms in the visions of the first Christians?
Tribal acid theme for movement.
Theme for cultivated spot, a la Voltaire.
You would have thought that Phil and I knew better.