Saturday, January 06, 2007

radiohead and a ramble

trust these guys?

Today's quote comes from the Buddhist Nanrei Koboro, via that shining old secularist Carl Sagan: God is an invention of Man. So the nature of God is only a shallow mystery. The deep mystery is the nature of man.

Sarah is approaching sixty [she's actually just turned fifty-nine but she seems perversely drawn to the idea of being sixty, so who am I to stop her] and has recently discovered Radiohead. Like me, can't always understand what's being sung, but the intensity, the moodiness, the raw power of the singing gets to her. She feels jealous too. She's a technically proficient singer but feels she'd never be able to abandon herself to the energy of a song like Thom Yorke does.

Her interest has gotten to me, and I've been listening a bit more carefully to what Radiohead I've got – that's to say, The Bends and My Iron Lung. I've heard OK Computer a lot too, but I don't have a copy. Influences go right back to the Beatles, but laced with a punk sensibility and with elements of electronica, all distorted and punctuated by a confusion of angst and cynicism. It's a grand but consciously self-undermining sound, and Yorke's voice gives it much of its depth and edginess, as with the very different baritone of Ian Curtis of Joy Division. I find I can identify with this stuff – it has deep roots in British pop – much more than with most modern offerings, either on the mainstream or alternative circuit [not that I expose myself much to new music these days].

Altogether I've been finding it hard to settle down, to direct the energy, and the heat of course hasn't helped. Weight has ballooned, and I'm behind with this reporting. I'm a little dazed, to tell the truth, at the impending improvement in my finances. Like I'm about to get out of jail and I've no idea what I'll do with myself when I'm set free.

I drove into town the other day and spent some time at Super Elliots where they had a range of Giant bikes, and various other makes, but no Innova as far as I could see. I didn't actually ask, as I'm still a way from having the requisite ready, and because I'm hapless.

I finished the bio of Lord Palmerston. The past really is another country. Welcome to a world where the term democrat and radical are virtually synonymous, and where it's casually assumed that republics [that's to say where democracy rules ok?] have a greater tendency to warmongering than monarchies or despotisms [nowadays the opposite is just as casually assumed].

Still, there are plenty of reassuring similarities. British foreign policy arrogance – called gunboat diplomacy in those days – has been superseded by Yank foreign policy arrogance, which is bigger and brassier as befits our more legendary and trivial age. Let's play star wars. I note that Radiohead's Yorke has been around the traps, protesting at US bases, agonizing over whether Blair's worth talking to on global warming [Yorke's a FOE ambassador], and just generally failing to accept that governments are doing their best to protect, improve and nurture their citizens. Typical cynic. Archetypal rock star in fact.



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