Friday, 23 April 2010

I like but I don't like

I like Bach but I don't like Handel

I like Philip Glass but I don't like John Adams

I like Dostoyevsky but I don't like Tolstoy

I like Roberto Bolano but I don't like Isabel Allende

I like Godard but I don't like Rohmer

I like De Sica but I don't like Visconti

I like Los Jaivas but I don't like Congreso

I like Johnny Cash but I don't like Bob Dylan

I like De Kooning but I don't like Pollock

I like Stravinsky but I don't like Schoenberg

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Miscellaneous lists

Top 5 Cortázar short stories

1. Circe
2. Continuidad de los parques
3. Lejana
4. Casa Tomada
5. Las Puertas del cielo

Top 5 Borges short stories

1. El Aleph
2. La biblioteca de Babel
3. Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius
4. El milagro secreto
5. Las ruinas circulares

Top 3 Stravinsky periods

1. Russian
2. Neo-Classical
3. Serialist

Top 5 Zappa albums

1. The Grand Wazoo
2. Uncle Meat
3. The Yellow Shark
3. Civilazation Phaze III
5. Burnt Weeny Sandwich

Top 5 Godard films

This list might change when I see Le Mepris, which will be any week now.

1. Alphaville
2. Vivre Sa Vie
3. Week End
4. Breathless
5. Band A Part

Top 5 Universities I want to apply to

1. UCL
2. King's College
3. Manchester
4. Glasgow
5. Leeds

Top 5 Stravinsky pieces

1. The Rite of Spring
2. Symphonies of Wind Instruments
3. Symphony of Psalms
4. Les Noces
5. Pulcinella

Top 5 romantic composers

1. Late Beethoven
2. Hector Berlioz
3. Sergei Rachmaninov
4. Gustav Mahler
5. Frederic Chopin

Top 5 Werner Herzog films

1. Aguirre, The Wrath of God
2. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
3. Nosferatu, Phantom Der Nacht
4. Woyzeck
5. Encounters At the End of the World

Top 5 places to have coffee near Dronfield

Not only the taste of the coffee determines this list, but also the ambience of the cafe.

1. Coffee Central in Dronfield
2. Pumpking coffee in Chesterfield station
3. Graves museum cafe
4. Graves Park cafe
5. Costa in Chesterfield

Top 5 short stories by Saimon A. King

1. The Land of Dreams
2. Victoria Red
3. David Crapper and Mary Vagina's Love Affair
4. The Moon of the Mirror
5. Dream Stairs

Top 5 The Fall albums

1. Hex Enduction Hour
2. Perverted by Language
3. Bend Sinister
4. The Wonderful and Frightening World of The Fall
5. The Real New Fall LP

Top 5 beautiful French actresses

This is, of course, when they were younger. Now they're old hags and even (in Bardott's case) fascist.

1. Anna Karina
2. Isabelle Adjani
3. Jeanne Moreau
4. Catherine Deneuve
5. Bridgette Bardot

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Top 10 directors

After my list of top 10 writers, I felt obliged to create one for directors. There are many other directors I like who I think are waaaaaaaaaaaaay better than Tarantino - Jean Renoir, Akira Kurosawa, Orson Welles and Alfred Hitchcock to name a few - but the reason why they don't appear is that I have only seen one or two movies by them. The criteria to get into this list is that I must have seen at least three films by the director in question. I know less about cinema than I do of literature, so this list may be less accurate and less representative of my tastes than the list of writers.

The 'three key works' I chose for each director aren't my own preferneces, but those generally deemed to be the most pivotal and important in each person's oevure.
10

Quentin Tarantino

Tarantino made non-linear story-telling fashionable, and mediated astute dialogue with visceral violence. He makes trashy fiction and B-movies simultaneously sophisticated and puerile. His films often feature unpleasant characters insidiously taking advantage of others.

3 Key works: Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown.

9

Ingmar Bergman

Creating emotional dramatic films, Bergman addressed the human condition by exploring themes like spirituality and existentialism drenched by despair and bleakness.

3 Key works: The Seventh Seal, Persona, Fanny and Alexander.
8

Luis Bunuel
The grandfather of surrealist cinema, Bunuel produced a number of unforgettable eccentric oddities. The absurd permeates in his work, and characters often conform to unerring, bizarre situations without questioning them.

3 Key works: Un Chien Andalou, Los Olvidados, The Discreet Charm of the Buorgeise

7

Stanley Kubrick
Kubrick took every genre and re-invented, be it war movie or science fiction. He proved to be one of the most scintillating auteurs from the post-war Hollywood era.

3 Key Works: Lolita, Dr. Strangelove, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

6

Coen Brothers
Using their cinephile knowledge of films, the Coens encompass genres from screwballs to thrillers and always with an unquestionablt Coen signature. Their movies always make reference to film history, and always in an unpretentious and enjoyable way.

3 Key works: Fargo, O Brother Where Art Thou, No Country for Old Men.

5

David Cronenberg

Injecting intelligence into B movies, sci-fi and terror, Cronenberg is the biggest exponent of 'Body Horror'. His films often involve characters experiencing hallucination and bordering into the brink of insanity.

3 Key works: Videodrome, The Fly, History of Violence.
4

Robert Bresson
Bresson's films explore ascetic themes in a fashion more literary than cinematic. His films are often are very sparse and minimalistic, but they result as greatly overpowering and emotional.

3 Key works: A Man Escaped, Pickpocket, Diary of a Countrypriest.
3

David Lynch
Lynch conjures up intricately strange and enigmatic pictures, where the unconscious mind predominates and unquestionable and baffling events occur. The darkness resides hidden and latent beneath the serene comfort of suburbia.

3 Key works: Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive.
2

Werner Herzog
Often going to extremes to attain the unattainable, Herzog's film blur the distinction between fiction and documentary no matter what medium they're in. His films often feature obsessives in doomed quests or men with strange talents in specific fields.

3 Key works: Aguirre: The Wrath of God, The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser, Fitzcarraldo.
1

Jean-Luc Godard

Godard deconstructed cinematic language in a way that broadened the possibilities of cinema. His films often consist of disjointed narratives or cinematic essays on political or aesthetic subjects. This can often be impenetrable and self-indulgent, or extremely absorbing and engaging.

3 Key works: Breathless, Pierrot Le Fou, Weekend.

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WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED WITH ALL THESE LARGE SPACES???!!!!!!!!!! FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK FUCK................... I may have to edit it again!!!!!!!!! AGRRRRRRRRRRRRRR.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Academic biographical details #2

Here I attacked the biographical notes that accompany most authors' work... The big hypocrite that I am, I decided to do just that. This was written to accompany my forthcoming self-published book Juvenilia: An Unacknowledged Literary Prodigy. I thought it'd be nifty to share it with the few people who read this blog...

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Saimon A. King (Simon Alan King) was born in Santiago, Chile in 1990. He spent his childhood in the southern city of Concepción prior to moving to the United Kingdom at the age of eleven. Saimon had experiences with psychosis at the age of seventeen, where he spent three months in psychiatric wards. After been discharged, he resumed his studies. He hopes to study philosophy at UCL, and he will write a novel called See-Saw and a memoir of his mental illness. He will travel from the north to the south of Chile, and will keep a diary and photographs of this experience. Juvenilia: An Unacknowledged Literary Prodigy is a collection of his best short stories from the ages of sixteen to nineteen.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

College

It's great to be away from college for a short while. College isn't designed for me; it doesn't suit my style of living. The students; the painfully long lessons; walking across the corridors; being painfully ignored.

My creativity is constantly stifled by college. I find it difficult to get anything off the ground because of the responsibilities and tasks that college entails. What's even worse is that, because of having to be constantly worried by something related to college, I procrastinate and loaf around. Not only none of my college work is completed, none of my leisure activities are done either!

This isn't the most painful aspect - no, no, no... It's having to be next to the students. These cunts ignore me; I am completely invisible to them.... I would never come across these people otherwise... I hate having to sit next to them in the lessons because they make me feel nervous, and I begin to feel tense and alarmed by their nearby presence. In school I was scorned, in college I am ignored - that's much worse.

The only thing that keeps me going is the fact that this opens up the possibility of a university education. Also, when college finishes I will be able to return to being a full-blown recluse again in my year off... Hopefully, I won't write a negative and derogatory blog post about university when I start going there... But it should hopefully be a splendid experience.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Lust

It's fucking annoying how I get so fucking horny so frequently. My lust is uncontrollable. In a correspondence with an older male, he mentioned that I'm admirable for my 'candour'. This post consists of brutal honesty; I don't make any concessions to the reader - fuck the reader.

I was watching a small documentary on Woody Allen, and he mentions how he walked across the streets he'd rate women he saw on the street. Last summer I found myself in a constant sexual flux, and as I'd walk across the streets I'd compare women obsessively and look at them.

My relation to women is interesting... I've never had a relationship with one nor have I had a real friendship with one... Yet I jerk myself off to women on a regular basis... Interestingly, out of all the people I talk to in my little life the ones I can have the most coherent conversations with are female... I don't hate women as my mother seems to think; I am obsessed with them...

In the same documentary on Woody Allen, he mentioned how he'd walk across musuem merely to find girls. I also sometimes walk to certain places in the vague hope that I'll find a girl... I go to a cafe every Tuesday because of this girl, but she ignores me... An MSN contact asked me if I'm looking for a relationship or merely sex; the answer is both...

I can seldom go a few days without tossing off... This has been the case for me since the age of about 13. My life is solitary and reclusive and, as a consequence, my sexual frustrations and lust only find an outlet through masturbation....

Monday, 5 April 2010

Review #11

Civilazation Phaze III - Frank Zappa

This is, quite simply, Zappa's magnum opus - it is his culmination, his musical pinnacle. Even for those familiar with Zappa's more abrasive output, this is still a challenge because there is so much within it. This is the project Zappa spent most time on; he kept working on it off and on for about ten years, and then intensely during the last few years of his life when he was killed by cancer. It is entirely composed by the 1980s synthesizer Synclavier, and its sound may sound outdated to some, but its ability to emulate instruments is better here than it was on Jazz From Hell. I don't see it as a synthesizer which replicates instruments, I see it as another instrument altogether in its own right. Zappa was obsessed by perfection, and he was often unsatisfied with the inaccuracy of renditions of his own work, so he turned to this machine which was capable of performing every single note the way he envisioned it. This isn't, however, the end result - it's just how Zappa left it on his death bed.

This album is a continuation of certain motifs and themes Zappa was exploring way back in the 1960s. It is called 'Phaze III' because of its predecessors Lumpy Gravy and We're Only in it for the Money which were both released in the late '60s. The long tracks of stupid talking are actually tapes from the Lumpy Gravy sessions.

Zappa here is continuing his endeavours into serious composition, albeit still in a tongue-in-cheek register. The sheer complexity of the music makes practically impossible to be played by humans, so the closest parallel to it is the music of Conlon Nancarrow. Nancarrow also wrote music for a machine - the pianola - in such a way that it could not be played by humans. There are segments of piano music here which closely resemble Nancarrow. However, the way the music is structured and ordered is most akin to Anton Webern. As I am not a musician I can't tell whether there's any serialist structures in the music, but to my knowledge there isn't any. But the way the instrumentation is arranged is very similar to Webern's. Zappa himself was a big fan.

One of the painful aspects of sitting down and hearing this record the stupid fucking talking. You can either put up with it or skip it: the latter is favourable. I think that Zappa often sabotaged his best work with stuff like this, and this often obscures his greatest achievements. The talking consists of people who live inside a piano, and while the concept is interesting the end result is boring as it results in meandering, incoherent conversations between hippy dorks.

Two tracks, for me, stand out as monumental and tremendous: 'Amnerika' and 'N-Lite'. These are meticulously crafted masterpieces... 'N-Lite' was ten years in the making, and it shows; it overflows with unremitting music ingeniously splodged together. 'Amnerika' is noteworthy how such polyphony and polytonality can eventually sound relatively pretty consonant and harmonious.

There are also additions from the Ensemble Modern as well as the Synclavier. This ensemble was pretty much the only classical unit that gave performances that satisfied Zappa. Their occasional participation adds the record a new dimension as well as a 'human' feel that isn't really present on Jazz From Hell.

The music is very inconsistent and unpredictable, and as a result it demands a lot of concentration. You need to be alert all the time because if your mind wanders, there is a possibility of missing out on a lot of it. This is the case for a lot of avant-garde music: it require 100% commitment.

The track 'Dio Fa', which contains Tuvan throat singers, leads to a stunning finale that keeps crumbling before reaching what sounds like a field recording of birds. This is very serene and tranquil, and it belies the rest of the record and pretty much the rest of Zappa's career. Most Zappa records ended with relentless parodies and satires, so it refreshing to have this calm and meditative ending which brings the rest of Zappa's discography to a perfect close.

Friday, 2 April 2010

My state of mind #12

A full year of state of mind posts... It first started with me recounting my trip to Chile and is now continuing with me on the verge of ending my A levels...

I find foreign people far easier to communicate with. In the Spanish evening course there's this guy from Italy and this girl from China, and they are practically the only people in the class I can have a coherent conversation with. Brits seem to have a secret code amongst themselves.

I'm going out with 3 different people on 3 different occasions... That's fucking loads for me! I went out with Jenny for a second time last Monday to see an Argentinian film, I'm going out with an old school friend to see a concert and the Chinese girl said she was going to invite me but appears to have forgotten about it. This isn't, however, the start of a social life.

The A2 examinations clash with the World Cup with Chile in it! My film studies exam is on the day of the first match, Chile V Honduras, so I'm catching a taxi from college to watch it. There's no fucking way I'm missing that match! The match starts half an hour after the exam... This is fucking shit: I won't be able to concentrate fully on my examinations fully because I will be distracted by the fucking football.

I started reading a book by Mario Vargas Llosa despite saying to myself that I wouldn't read a book until the end of my exams. It's about the tyranny and eventual assassination of Dominican Republic's dictator Trujillo. I finished reading Wuthering Heights earlier on this month and found it to be a splendid read. I'm going to answer the main section of my Literature exam on this text.

The way this girl ignores me is fucking painful: "LOVE IS A FIST." If I saw myself walking along the corridors of the college or the streets of the city looking lonely, shy and distant I'd be really intrigued. The fact that this girl or the rest of the students aren't intrigued goes to show how different we are.

The Spanish evening classes are fucking shit. Ironically, out of all the A levels I'm doing the one I'm most shite at is Spanish. This isn't because of my Spanish, it's because of the shit fucking way the subject is taught. I'm very worried about the oral exam because I have to talk about this boring fucking bollocks I really don't give a fucking shit about - 'Education and Employment.' When the teacher witnessed my inability at answering the question she said "NOW I KNOW YOUR A TEENAGE BOY AND U CANT THINK OF THIS STUFF AS EASILY AS US." ughrhrrrr

Andrei Tarkovsky keeps haunting my dreams. I saw his film Solaris, and I had mixed feelings and wasn't overtly impressed. But there must be something very dream-like in his films because I keep getting these unusual dreams which are inspired by his work. I'm currently quite obsessed by him as a result of these dreams, and I'm going to look into his other work. I would have seen his other work if LOVEFILM had sent me his other films waaaaay back in October.

I usually buy 5 books every month. These are the ones I'm buying this month:

Confesiones de un burges - Sandor Marai

My cousin sent me an extract of this while I was in the intensive psychiatric care unit, and when I recovered and read it (because I literally couldn't read because of the medication affecting my concentration) I was much impressed by it. I'm buying it in Spanish despite it not been originally written in this language because I read the extract in this language, and because the idea of a 'Burgesia' is Latin-American phenomenon and it would therefore be more appropriate to read in this language.

La tregua - Mario Benedetti

This is a classic of Latin-American literature, and I've been wanting to read it for a while.

Biblioteca personal - Jorge Luis Borges

Just before his death, Borges completed prologues to 65 books to be kept in a special library. I'm dying to see what books he chose, and whether many of them are either cherished classics or obscure.

Inferno - Dante

Been wanting to read this. When Samuel Beckett was asked what he'd like to do most, he said "Sit under a tree, fart and think of Dante."

Selected Poems - Edgar Allan Poe

I've always really, really loved Poe's short stories, but apart from two or three exceptions I have never really read his poetry... I'm rectifying this by buying this book...