Friday, 26 June 2009

Mobile phones = shit

WOT FON U GOT

I am 19 and I've never sent a text message in my life.

One object which epitomises the shallowness and arrogance of people is a mobile phone. Mobile phones are what determines your position within the social spectrum; mobile phones are what people use to communicate with each other, sending themselves vacous messages characterising their vacous lives; mobile phones represent the futilty of this generation, and they represent all the idiotic values embodied by this generation.

There are many vile people who determine the value of a person by the mobile phone the certain person possesses. They determine whether you will make a potential friendship by the phone you own.

A lot of people who use these things don't have any other centre to their lives; their whole life revolves around their mobile phone. These people don't want to attempt to try anything new, different or exciting. All they do is repeat the same activities again and again: go and get pissed. These activities are centred around their mobile phones.

When I was at school I remember the look of horror in those people's faces when they found out I didn't have a mobile phone. It seemed to be heresy ("oh my god"); it didn't make me human. Teenagers have these standards in the playground where they conjure up an assortment of labels on you.

After finishing school I turned into a recluse, but I went once (only once!) to a party where a friend attacked me for being 'stubborn'. He attacked everything I believed in, and the centre of his argument was that I didn't have a mobile phone! What was most incredibly outrageous about his dumb fucking argument was that I was wasting my life, that I wasn't making any experiences. My activities surpass those pursued by these mobile phone-owning teenagers, and I extract far more experiences than these people.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Overuse of overblown metaphors, similes and personification = shit

When it comes to writing fictional prose, one should attempt to create an ambience or setting with the minimal amount of poetic techniques: metaphors, similes and personification. When you want to create a narrative, you should restrain any flowery language; you should create what you are attempting to create with the minimal use of intervening techniques.

Who says that surreal, otherworldly landscapes must be evoked with these techniques? Just look at Franz Kafka: he creates the most unexpected ambience with a straightforward, direct register. You can conjure up a wide array of situations with a bare, simpler style.

It's often pretentious, young people that use a great amount of metaphors, similes etc. in their writing. They think they can impress everyone with how profound they are, and they can consequently form a little clique where they are constantly praised. These people don''t have the intimate necessity of writing; they merely want to get a little vanity.

In Borges' The Aleph, he writes how the work of the poet isn't in poetry, it's to invent reasons for why the poetry itself is admirable. That's what flowery fiction, for the most part, is: attempting to make the work itself something which it isn't. This defeats the purpose of writing.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

Students favoured by teachers

When a student is fully-formed and has an interesting, distinct vision of the world he will be ignored. If a student is conformist and formulaic in his vision and lifestyle, he will be eulogized with awards and admiration. The student will be favoured by a teacher.

I think it's a terrible mistake to judge intelligence by the prevailing education system. Achieving certain grades at school is one particular type of intelligence, but it require more persistence and endurance than any kind of original, independent intellect.

Students favoured by teachers usually have no lives - it's depressing. They have been bombarded with information from the age of 3 by their parents, they play musical instruments and can automatically decipher advanced mathematical problems at an early age. Because they have been adequately prepared, the teacher revels in this competence and estimates the student higher than the rest of the students comprising the class.

Not only are these students highly regarded by the teachers, they are approved by the rest of the school companions as well. The bullies respect this student, so they pick on the one that stands out both academically and socially - the outsider.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Unhealthiness > Healthiness

There is a common delusion which has been widespread by psychiatrists and an assortment of academies that is a favourable advantage to be mentally healthy.

It is possible to accomplish an unlimited amount of achievements when one is in a disoriented state of mind. A whole range of possibilities are opened up to you, and you discover more about yourself.

It is regarded as 'wholesome' to be healthy; it is thought that the whole equilibrium and stability of your life is solely based around your mental health.

Ultimately, life is meant to be led to its fullest potential. It is idiotic to restrict it with idiotic values and limitations. Psychiatrists think that mental health is paramount, but they shut themselves off to the possibilty of psychosis.

Psychosis can be self-disciplined, and you can manoeuvre it and control it to whatever way you see fit. People can willingly delve into unhealth and extract positive feelings and sensations. Life should be followed in accordance to one's personal vision, and this vision may look impenetrable and distorted to other people's eyes, but if it makes sense to the person - this person must pursue it.

Think of all that can be experienced with disoriented outlooks. The visions which can be extracted from these experiences are singular and can't be replicated. The person who undergoes 'unhealthy' experiences - be it schizophrenia, depression, psychosis - takes a vision that can't be seen by anyone else. It only makes sense to that person.

Psychiatrists are full of preconceived prejudices. When they come across a particular way of thinking they immediately box it with a label. They consequently take the whole tendencies and defining singularity of a person for granted and scrutinize them by applying a label on them. The person's intentions are lost, as they are left aside with no hope. They are prescribed with medication and their lives are turned into mundane, meaningless existences. The person's intentions are ultimately lost, ignored or misunderstood.

Thursday, 11 June 2009

The world changing colour

Composer Steve Reich said that "the world changed colour" when he heard Stravinsky's Rite of Spring. There have been several moments in my life when the way I perceive the world has to be re-assessed. One is never conscious of this re-assessment because you are undergoing such a drastic change with your perceptions that you can't become aware of it. You become aware of it posthumously, as you eventually come to the realisation of how the world has changed. You come to the realisation that the world has changed colour.

I think that if you have certain experiences around the age of 14, the experience forms a dent in your mind and this alters your outlook on life. Around this age, a whole range of possibilities are opened up to you since you're leaving childhood and entering a new phase in your life. The way you view the world is often psychologically based in the encounters one comes across at this age. Writer Paul Auster, for instance, was hit by lightning at this age, killing his friend next to him. This formative experience is what produced his interest in chance and arbitrary events that he pursues with his fiction.

Around the age of 14 I returned to Chile for the first time in 3 or 4 years. This is what ignited a transition in my life from one point to the next. My uncle-in-law's father died, and there was an overwhelming aura of misery and bleakness in everyone's lives while I was there for two weeks. While being in this environment, I matured considerable. I think that my life would have taken a whole new, parallel course if I hadn't been exposed to this experience. I had this sombre experience at just the right time. If I had been a little older or a little younger, it wouldn't have the same impact. Around this period of time I also started to remember my dreams, prompting a creativity during my conscious life.

Great works of art (as Steve Reich mentions) often cause an overwhelming response from you. The musical work that introduced me to a fascination for strangeness was Trout Mask Replica by Beefheart at the age of 13. I had only heard boring, bland music before encountering this record. This record made me come to the realisation of attempting to pursue purity, to be myself against the detractions of what others may think of you. Later, I discovered literary works such as Crime and Punishment and A Portrait of an Artist as a Young Man that developed this attitude to further degrees, and they shrouded my life with a range of possibilities. These books, especially, altered my ideological, aesthetic and emotional viewpoints very strongly to the extent of changing the colour of the world.

All that I've described in this post is in the past, and the colour of the world during those moments in my life differ strongly from the way the colour in my world is now. After my psychotic episode (which was prompted, to some extent, by my reading endeavours), reality doesn't seem credible. The way I perceive things is now very distinct. Everything is now a figment of my imagination, and everything I see in reality is false. I have to re-imagine the world, and I have to accommodate myself around reality to demand what I want from it. The 'colour' of the world, I think, will remain the same for the rest of my life, but it will continue to progress and morph into a stronger vision.

Friday, 5 June 2009

Review #1

Here there is yet another monthly regular that I have conjured up. I am constatnly digesting various works of art, and I think that it'd be great if there was a little space on my blog devoted to my adventures in this terrain. I shall span across the whole spectrum of art - literature, music, cinema - to give a well-rounded review of art objects I adore. I shall review classics I have liked for some time as well as recently-discovered gems I will report on. This month I shall start with a record that opened up a whole range of possibilities in my life: Trout Mask Replica by Captain Beefheart.

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Trout Mask Replica - Captain Beefheart & His Magic Band


Often misunderstood as cacophonous chaos or used by poncey intellectuals to parade their hipness, out of the many people that have heard this record few have have actually comprehended what it seeks to accomplish and what it successfully obtains.

This album is a deconstruction of rock music. Everthing that characterises the standard rock song - stability, coherence and predictable lyrics about love - is dismantled and destroyed here. If you're bored with your record collection, this is the album you need. But even if you've heard free jazz from the likes of Albert Ayler and are fascinated by the experimentations with noise by the likes of composers like Varese, this is still a challenge. Trout Mask Replica is a phenomenon for itself; nothing like it preceded it and nothing like it has followed it. When something as unique as this appears, you have to adapt to it and re-evaluate your perceptions of what music is.

What characterised James Joyce's Ulysses as a masterpiece was its sheer size and scope. You can revisit the book again and again, and you can discover hidden facets which went over your head the first time round. Trout Mask works at the very same level. There are many different elements which are cramped into a container, and these elements attempt to burst out but are restrained by a strange, warped logic. This logic is what drives the record forward, and it is what gives it its enduring appeals. Trout Mask is filled with details like these that will last you for a lifetime.

I think that a starting point to understand the album as a whole is the track 'Dali's Car'. The guitars play around each other; they both ignore each other yet complement themselves at the same time. Listen to this track, and attempt to apply this topsy-turvy structure of the other tracks, and you'll come to the eventual realisation of what is achieved. The guitars bounce off one another, the bass rumbles along and the drums turns itself inside out yet at the same time is centred around the three other instruments. Amidst all this you get Beefheart's voice which is utterly distinctive, a Howlin' Wolf groan that enhances the instrumentations he emotionally and passionately yells against. His words are abstractions that don't make any kind of sense but, when heard orally, are displayed as revelations that succinctly summarise and encompass the ambitious scope of the album.

Trout Mask is a milestone. We shouldn't apply it to history because it doesn't belong within the historical development of rock; it stands on its own as unique. Ignoring any influence (many people say that its structure is derived from free jazz and modern composition, but they're wrong), it erases memory and presents a new art-form which is timeless, inexorable and indisputable.

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

The remote edges #2

This is the other side of Firth wood that I didn't photograph in the previous selection of 'Remote Edges' photos. It isn't as beautiful as the top of Firth Wood, but it is nevertheless fascinating and wonderful to look at. I'm taking it easy with this project of photographing all the 'remote edges'; I am going to gradually take these photographs until I eventually have nothing more to take. Considering the amounts of woods, parks and countryside around this side of Dronfield, this will last for a very long time - maybe even two or three years! :)

Monday, 1 June 2009

My state of mind #2

A flaw is present in these my state of mind posts: they aren't an accurate representation of my state of mind throughout a whole month, because I write it at the beginning of the subsequent month. You get an insight into my emotions during quite a narrow period of time. Nevertheless, I shall try my hardest to span across an entire month, and to attempt at presenting a more well-rounded portrayal of myself.

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The month began with the nerve-racking prospect of exams. With college work, my commitment goes through phases. I either am very, very lazy or quite proficient. Unfortunately, I got lethargic just at the wrong fucking time. At the beginning of the month when I needed to revise, I just lied about and did nothing. To make matters worse, I hardly attended any of the my lessons throughout the first week of the month. Instead of making me become more active and energised, exams had the opposite affect of me. I kept procastinating and putting things off. This resulted in a week and a bit that was very uneventful.

Around this same time I had quite an annoying - and somewhat disturbing - dream. My unconscious, for some fucked up reason, keeps picking on one of my teachers. In a dream she holds my hands as she goes through a computer screen which shows my weaknesses, and she keeps reassuring me of how great I am. I also had another dream in the past with her, and this was quickly followed by a dream where she was horrible and mean to me. Fortunately, when I thought my lessons with her would get awkward I had another dream where she screamed at me - thank god! As another example of how waking life and dreaming life converge, I saw her walking across a steet in Sheffield and going into a train station. In my first dream I had with her, I saw her walking along a multiplex cinema that solely showed arthouse movie... I don't know why my unconscious has chosen her for some of my dreams as I don't even find her particularly attractive...

Eventually, I finally got around to studying for the exams. I didn't revise as thorougly as I could have because I left it for too late. My film studies exam was good in places and mediocre in others, my language exams was fucking disastrous and my literature exam was the most successful of all of them. Fortunately, my grades at coursework were quite high, so this may boost the result I get. During my exams I didn't designate any time for myself, so this result in a lot of anxiety and desperation for craving the 20th of May when my exams ended.

The 20th of May finally came, and I celebrated it by watching 'A Man Escaped' by Robert Bresson. I greatly anticipated this day, as college has deeply supressed me over the past year and has hardly left any time for myself. This isn't because of the workload, it's because of my stubborness. After this date I wanted to become very active, but I haven't always succeeded as I've been interrupted by several things. It seems to me that my parents are the cause of this... I don't mean to critcise them as they're very nice people, but whenever I'm on my own and have the house to myself I'm able to focus and get things done. I had the house to myself in the Saturday and Sunday following this exam, and this was a period of time when I was most occupied and accomplished the most.

I stopped reading for pleasure for practically a whole month. I started William Faulkner's 'Absalom, Absalom!' and it's motherfucking titanic, wonderful novel. You need to have had experience of Faulkner in the past, as he develops the themes he explores in his previous books. Unfortunately, I have been finding it difficult to submerge myself in the text. It requires great levels of concentration, and I've only been able to read it at moments when I feel right for it. I have read it mainly at night. It took me about 4 hours to just get about 20 pages read (but I did stare into space for a substantial period of time, though)! I hope to get really into it in the forthcoming days, or it will take me months to finish...

Another thing I could return to that was left aside for too long was my walks. Like my reading, I didn't do any of it for weeks with the exams going on... On wednesday I went to Graves Park, and I walked throughout the whole enormous park with a coffee in my hand. I read a bit of T. S. Eliot in the various benches scattered all around it. On Friday I set out on an epic walk that lasted for 7 hours. I went to the valley, and this visit culminated with me stopping at the enormous pond. I enjoyed the beautiful tranquility (which words can't really do justice to), and I read a smidgen of Faulkner. This valley is wonderful as it's just for me - no-one else goes there... It is beautiful, beautiful, beautiful.

I finished writing my short story 'The Desolate Valley' quite a while ago, but I only finished typing it up yesterday. My creative writing was yet another activity that was interrupted by the exams. I read it yesterday (it's about 11 pages long), and I was very pleased and satisfied with it. It is not necessarily my favourite short story I've written, but it is the most 'complete' and 'total' work I've produced (as I mentioned in the previous 'state of mind' post). Today I'm going to attempt to start a short story called 'The Prostitute's Customers', and it isn't as ambitious as 'Desolate Valley', but it will be extremely difficult to write... Well, I won't know that until I start writing it, but that's what it seems like in hindsight.

I turn 19 on the 7th of June... I'm such a self-centred bastard that I'm only looking forward to my presents :). I wrote down a whole list of potential presents for my parents and I listed many, many things including paintings by Hieronymus Bosch and Willem De Kooning as well as a Bunuel box set.

There are many events at the moment of people who may die soon. Elliott Carter is coming to England, but I won't see him as I have scheduled two other events to see :). On the 14th of June I'm going to Huddersfield to stay with my sister (she lives there), and I'm going to see Mark E. Smith in conversation. He may die soon despite being in his 50s :p. At the moment I'm thinking of a question I could ask him. On the 19th of June I'm going to go down to London to see Ornette Coleman. This isn't a regular Ornette Coleman concert, it's going to be a reflection on 'The Shape of Jazz to Come'. This should be a monumental event.

I awoke this morning from the strangest of dreams... There were a whole group of people in my house that persuaded me to commit a crime (can't remember what kind of crime), but I escaped and went to the house of my aunt in Santiago to phone the police. I then went to a house where there was a cocktail party of black people, and this really strange guy had a conversation with me. I feared that the criminals in the house would nick or destroy my book collection, but as I arrived home it was there. :) They had also left my house, but the police hadn't made an effort to chase them.... Around the same time as the dreams I had with one of my teachers, I had a dream where Damo Suzuki was performing a concert in my aunt's garden and that a whole load of Chileans turned up to attend it....

Every month I buy 5 books with my pocket money. :) This month I bought 'Confessions of a Mask' by Yukio Mishima, 'The Immoralist' by Andre Gide, 'Walden' by Thoreau, 'Queer' by William Burroughs and 'The Periodic Table' by Primo Levi. The previous Monday, after my piano lesson I went into the town centre and bought a book that looks extremely, extremely appealing - 'Atomised' by Michel Houllebecq. During this day I had a coffee at the cafe above the book shop and read about my favourite directors in 'The Rough Guide to film'.

The previous week was a half-term holiday, so I had no lessons. This week I don't have any lessons either as it's study leave and have no exams! :) I aim to make the most out of all this free time I have, though... I will have to do as much as I can... I look forward to watching a film that is apparently on a par with 'Citizen Kane' - 'Bicycle Thieves'. I will watch it on a Wednesday as usual. :)... I will have to try my hardest not to waste any time in the upcoming days... After the this week, there are 3 weeks of AS to A2 transition classes that I will have to attend.