August 9, 2004

Well, I've been turnstyled, junkpiled and railroaded too

* The virtue of idleness . Author Tom Hodgkinson aruges that from the Bible on, moralists and nags have wrongfully promoted the benefits of hard work and early rising. excerpt:

"I wonder if that hard-working American rationalist and agent of industry Benjamin Franklin knew how much misery he would cause in the world when, back in 1757, high on puritanical zeal, he popularised and promoted the trite and patently untrue aphorism 'early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise'"?

"It is a sad fact that from early childhood we are tyrannised by the moral myth that it is right, proper and good to leap out of bed the moment we wake in order to set about some useful work as quickly and cheerfully as possible. Parents begin the brainwashing process and then school works yet harder to indoctrinate its charges with the necessity of early rising. My own personal guilt about feeling physically incapable of rising early in the morning continued well into my 20s."

"As a student, I developed complex alarm systems. I bought a timer plug and set it to turn on my coffee maker and also the record player, on which I had placed my loudest record, It's Alive by the Ramones. 7.50am was the allotted time. Being a live recording, the first track was prefaced by crowd noise. The cheering and whooping would wake me, and I'd know I had only a few seconds to leap out of bed and turn down the volume before Dee Dee Ramone would grunt 'One - two - three - four' and my housemates and I would be assaulted by the opening chords of Rockaway Beach, turned up to 11. The idea was that I would then drink the coffee and jolt my body into wakefulness. It half worked. When I heard the crowd noise, I would leap out of bed and totter for a moment. But what happened then, of course, was that I would turn the volume right down, ignore the coffee and climb back to the snuggly, warm embrace of my duvet. Then I'd slowly come to my senses at around 10.30am, doze until noon, and finally stagger to my feet in a fit of self-loathing."
"People criticise drunken sex but in my experience it tends to be better than sober sex. Drink and drugs improve sex by removing all the performance anxiety and guilt and concern about having a crap body, as well as certain, ahem, inhibitions.

"Dreams and idleness go together and are dismissed as 'the children of an idle brain', as the sensible and grounded Mercutio says to the starry-eyed Romeo in Romeo And Juliet. Dreamers are 'away with the fairies.' They are told to start living in the 'the real world.' The trick, indeed the duty, of every serious idler is to harmonise dreamworld and dayworld.

"Dreams make the world go round. Our dreams at night fill our subconscious with strange reflections of the day. In our dreams, our spirit roams free; we can fly, we can sing, we are good at things (I have dreams where I am brilliant at skateboarding, for example), we have erotic encounters with celebrities.

"For surrealist filmmaker Luis Buñuel, dreams were the highlight of his life: "If someone were to tell me I had 20 years left, and ask me how I'd like to spend them, I'd reply: 'Give me two hours a day of activity, and I'll take the other 22 in dreams ... provided I can remember them.' I love dreams, even when they're nightmares, which is usually the case.'"
"The art of living is the art of bringing dreams and reality together. I have a dream. It is called love, anarchy, freedom. It is called being idle."

* Olympic insanity: fans may be booted from events for using "non-sponsored" brands. excerpt;

"In a far cry from the high-minded ideals of humanity and tolerance embodied by the Olympics, the organizers of the Athens games have warned spectators that they could be barred for taking a surreptitious sip of Pepsi or an illicit bite from a Burger King Whopper.

"Strict regulations published by Athens 2004 last week dictate that spectators may be refused admission to events if they are carrying food or drinks made by companies that did not see fit to sponsor the games.

"Sweltering sports fans who seek refuge from the soaring temperatures with a soft drink other than one made by Coca-Cola will be told to leave the banned refreshment at the gates or be shut out. High on the list of blacklisted beverages is Pepsi, but even the wrong bottle of water could land spectators in trouble.

"Fans will be allowed into the Olympic complex if they are drinking Avra, a Greek mineral water owned by Coca-Cola, which paid $60 million US for the privilege of being one of the main sponsors. Officials are under orders not to let in rival brands' bottles unless the labels are removed."
"Kostas Giannis, a Greek sports fan, said: 'I don't see why, after all the money that Greek taxpayers will end up paying to host the games, McDonald's should dictate what I can eat in my own city.'"

* Review of a recent show by my first favorite band, the who. [via largehearted boy] excerpt:

"Townshend took swipes at the ravages of time -- leaping around crazily and violently stroking his Marlboro red Stratocaster during the traditional three-song opening run of "I Can't Explain," "Substitute" and "Anyway, Anyhow, Anywhere," as if he could somehow shake the whole thing back to life by himself. Daltrey, gorgeously oblivious, was the grateful marionette he has always been -- the struggle for the soul of the Who has always been Townshend's.

"Townshend was the zealot who clobbered Abbie Hoffman on the head when he tried to make a political speech during the Who's set at Woodstock. Music was more important than politics. In those days, the Who stood for something. Now the Who means million-dollar box office and $200 tickets.

"It wasn't as if Townshend and Daltrey took the opportunity to explore some of the intriguing nooks and crannies of the band's vast back catalog or bring some new ideas to some of the old songs or even play a song that might have come as a surprise. No, it was straight-down-the-middle FM classic rock radio Who -- the band playing second-rate broadcast fodder like 'You Better You Bet,' 'Who Are You' and 'Eminent Front straight-facedly as if they were certified Who classics.

"For a group that has gone without a new album for more than 18 years, Townshend took pains to play both the mediocre two new numbers the band tacked onto yet another greatest hits album this year, a move that already smacked of a certain desperation for some kind of commercial relevance in today's marketplace, even before having to undergo the further humiliation of the new songs largely going ignored. 'Real Good Looking Boy' finds Townshend writing again in the pop suite form of 'A Quick One, While He's Away' that led to the rock opera, 'Tommy,' although 'Real Good Looking Boy' is a long way from 'Tommy.'"

"But then so was the 20-minute medley of 'Tommy' that closed Saturday's show."

* Metropolitan plays DC's Ft. Reno tonight around 7:45pm, with Out Circuit & Pagoda.


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